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December 5, 2008

Parisian Jewels Stolen in Heist

Four armed robbers, two disguised as women, stole diamonds and other valuables listed between 102 million and 108 million from a Parisian jewelry store Thursday according to the Associated Press and Al Jazeera.net.

The robbers who brandished guns knew the names of some of the employees, were familiar with the hidden storage, and were described as “major pros? according to police as reported in Al Jazeera.net.

Some of the employees were struck by the robbers but no shots were fired, according to Al Jazeera.net and the Associated Press.

“The brazen theft was among the world’s costliest jewel heists,? according to the Associated Press.

November 22, 2008

Al-Qaeda Video Slurs Obama

Al-Qaeda’s second in command called President-elect Barack Obama a “house negro,? and warned that a “heavy legacy of failure and crimes awaits,? according to the New York Times and CNN.

The election of Obama only masks a “heart full of hate,? Ayman al-Zawahri said, according to the New York Times.

Because Obama has called for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq, Americans have admitted to defeat in Iraq, the leader said, according to the New York Times.

In a video released on the web on Wednesday, Ayman mocked Obama, and said he was the “direct opposite of honorable black Americans,? according to CNN.

He warned that moving troops from Iraq to Afghanistan is a “policy which was destined for failure before it was born,? CNN reported.

“And be aware that the dogs of Afghanistan have found the flesh of your soldiers to be delicious, so send thousands after thousands to them,? al-Zawahiri said according to CNN.


November 15, 2008

Forced Abortion Delayed In Remote China

Six months into her pregnancy, a Chinese Muslim woman sits detained in a local hospital awaiting a forced abortion of her third child, according to Radio Free Asia and the Pioneer Press.

Chinese officials warned Arzigul Tursun, now 26 months pregnant, “their house and property would be seized if Arzigul did not undergo an abortion,? the Pioneer Press and Radio Free Asia reported.

The procedure has been delayed following an international outcry, the Radio Free Asia reported. Rep. Chris Smith wrote an appeal calling on the Chinese Ambassador, Zhou Wenshong, to intervene, Radio Free Asia and the Pioneer Press reported.

Smith called the situation a “nightmare of forced abortion,? according to the Pioneer Press.

Rural dwellers are permitted up to three children, while urban dwellers are only permitted two children according to Radio Free Asia and the Pioneer Press.

This third child is called into question because although Tursun is a rural woman, her husband is registered as urban, Radio Free Asia and the Pioneer Press reported.

“The Chinese government is notorious for this barbaric practice, but to forcibly abort a woman while the world watches in full knowledge of what is going on would make a mockery of its claim that the central government disapproves of the practice,? Smith said, according to the Pioneer Press.

November 9, 2008

Bali Bombers Executed

Three bombers were executed Sunday in Bali; six years after their bombs exploded and killed 202 people in two Indonesian bars, the Christian Science Monitor, Reuters and Associated Press reported.

Imam Samudra, 38, Amrozi Nurhasyim, 47, and Ali Ghufron, 48, were “brought before a firing squad near their high-security prison on Nusakambangan island in the middle of the night Sunday,? according to the Associated Press.

Security precautions were high, because authorities feared a retaliatory terrorist attack from the terrorist network Jemaah Islamiyah which had been deemed responsible for the attack in 2002, the Chrisitan Science Monitor reported.

Australians reported to have “received reports of possible terrorist attacks in Indonesia,? leading to heightened security at the embassy and the U.S. mission in Jakarta, the Christian Science Monitor reported.

Emotional ceremonies, included “supporters shouting ‘Allahu akbar’ (God is greatest)? Reuters reported. However, Reuters reported that the funerals were “relatively peaceful? despite the fear of hard-line backlash.

November 2, 2008

Security Precautions Prior to Executions in Indonesia

Three men, sentenced to death for the 2002 bombing of Bali, are expected to be executed in early November, causing many nations to warn their citizens to exercise caution in their travels, according to the BBC, Telegraph.co.uk and Reuters news agencies.

Westerners were warned against travel to Indonesia. The U.S. warned its citizens to “maintain a low profile,? “Australia advised against all travel,? and the Foreign Office in London told British citizens to “exercise caution and be vigilant for political protests or any sign of violence,? according to Telegraph.co.uk.

Indonesia will not announce when the execution will take place, but executions were “very close? according to the Attorney General’s office report to Reuters.

The men, Imam Samudra, 38, Mukhlas, 48, and Amrozi, 46, are militant Muslims from the group Jemaah Islamiah are due to be “shot in early November,? according to the BBC, for their part in a 2002 bombing in Bali nightclubs that killed 202 people.

Officials are concerned about the potential for backlash, and details surrounding the planned execution are guarded in an effort to thwart retaliatory attacks, the BBC, Reuters and Telegraph.co.uk reported.

October 26, 2008

World Leaders Discuss Global Economic Crisis

Asian and European leaders finished a two day conference in Beijing Saturday to develop a coordinated response to the global economic crisis, according to Voice of America, the New York Times and the International Herald Tribune.

The heads of state failed to offer any specific solutions, but “pledged to take effective and comprehensive action to reform world monetary and financial systems,? according to the Voice of America.

The event “underlined China’s growing role as a diplomatic counterweight to the United States, but fell short of offering specific solutions,? the New York Times reported.

“We need financial innovation, but we need financial oversight even more,? Prime Minister of China, Wen Jiabao, said, according to the International Herald Tribune.

“We have undoubtedly learned that our own financial system is in need of reform,? the under secretary of the Treasury for international affairs, David H. McCormich said, “it would be unfortunate if, as a result of this turmoil, policy makers in China mistakenly abandon their pursuit of financial sector innovation and liberalization,? the New York Times reported.

October 19, 2008

Taliban Attack Bus Killing 30 to 40

The Taliban attacked Thursday kidnapping and killing between 30 and 40 people on a bus, Afghan officials told CNN Sunday.

The victims were civilians, according to Afghan officials, but the Taliban spokesperson said “the group’s fighters arrested and killed 27 Afghan soldiers,? CNN reported.

“Defense Ministry spokesman General Zahir Azimi says the militants hijacked the bus and its 50 passengers,? according to the Voice of America.

CNN reported that 10 passengers were released, six were found beheaded, and the remaining are believed dead. It is difficult to find the passengers or their remains “because of the poor access to the region,? the Voice of America reported.

The Taliban claimed 27 Afghan soldiers were killed among the passengers, but an Afghan general told CNN that “no soldiers were killed in the attack, noting that ‘army soldiers are not allowed to travel by road, they always fly.’?


October 11, 2008

North Korea Removed From Terror Blacklist

Despite once being referenced as “an axis of evil? by Pres. George Bush, North Korea will be removed from the terrorism blacklist according to the Bush administration’s announcement made Saturday, according to the New York Times.

North Korea, who recently stopped deconstruction of its main nuclear reactor and had threatened to rebuild it in retaliation for not receiving treaty promises of oil and removal from the blacklist, agreed to decommission its known reactors. They have not however guaranteed inspectors access to any other potential nuclear reactor sites, according to the Christian Science Monitor and the New York Times.

Japanese officials voiced disappointment over the announcement given Saturday, according to the New York Times and the Christian Science Monitor.

“Conservatives, including some of the president’s former neo-con supporters, object on principle to the deal of cutting a deal with a regime which they regard as murderous, illegitimate and inherently untrustworthy,? the Christian Science Monitor reported.

John McCain, republican presidential nominee, also voiced disapproval according to the New York Times.

“So that’s a clear victory for North Korea,? John Bolton, the former United States ambassador to the United Nations under President Bush, told the New York Times.


October 4, 2008

Kim Jong Il Makes First Appearance in 50 Days

Kim Jong-Il emerged Saturday after about fifty days of seclusion to watch a university’s soccer game, the state’s media said on Saturday, as Reuters reported.

This is the first appearance since mid-August when U.S. and South Korean officials think he may have suffered a stroke, and perhaps undergone surgery, reported Reuters.

Kim failed to appear at the 60th anniversary of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea festivities on Sept. 9. His absence sparked speculation regarding his health during a tumultuous time of talks regarding nuclear proliferation, Bloomberg reported.

“Kim’s reappearance came as the secretive state finished talks with a U.S. nuclear envoy,? Reuters reported.

Kim congratulated the team saying “the revolutionary and militant students in our country are good at art and sporting activities while devoting all their wisdom and enthusiasm to the study of science for the country and the people,? Bloomberg reported.

September 27, 2008

Chinese Astronaut Walks in Space

A Chinese astronaut walked in space Saturday, making one large leap for China’s space program.

“Greetings to all the people of the nation and all the people of the world,? Zhai Zhigang,said as he walked in space, according to the Associated Press.

A second crewmember, Liu Boming reached out and handed Zhai a small Chinese flag which he waved, CNN reported.

China has made dramatic progress in its space program in recent history and is fast becoming a strong competitor in the space race.

In the U.S., NASA hopes to return to the moon by 2020. However, China’s progress has cast a pallor on the program. “I admire what they have done, but I am concerned that it will leave the United States in its wake,? Michael D. Griffin, administrator of NASA, told the New York Times.

The space program is highly guarded within both countries. On Wednesday, the day before the Chinese launch into space, “the F.B.I. arrested a Chinese-born physicist in Newport News, Va., on charges of illegally exporting space launching technical data and services to China beginning in 2003,? according to the New York Times.

Shu Quan-Sheng, “was born in China but was a naturalized American citizen,? the New York Times reported.


September 19, 2008

Reinstating North Korea's Nuclear Reactor

North Korea began reinstating its nuclear reactor earlier this month despite a prior disarmament agreement because the United States has not removed the country from its terrorism blacklist.

North Korea claims a treaty agreement has been broken. The treaty - made in 2007 between North and South Korea, the U.S., China, Russia and Japan - included provisions for “diplomatic concessions and energy aid equivalent to one million tonnes of oil,? the Guardian reported Friday.

The reactor’s decommissioning process had been about 90 percent complete. Officials believe it may take between one and two years for the reactor to return to full operation.

North Korea has not offered any information about when the reactor will be working.

The Christian Science Monitor compiled information regarding the restoration of the reactor.

“You’ll come to know soon,? Hyan Hak-Bong, North Korean diplomat, told the BBC, according to the Christian Science Monitor's website.

North Korea’s supply of plutonium has increased. Earlier information suggested that North Korea was capable of manufacturing one or two nuclear weapons, the Washington Post reported.

But now “outside analysts and U.S. officials believe North Korea has 53 kilograms of plutonium, enough to produce about 10 or more weapons.?

September 6, 2008

Paralympics Open In Beijing

The opening ceremony, awash with color and caricature, initiated the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing.

Saturday's ceremony centered around "space, time, and life."

According to the BBC, China implemented accomodations to ease access to the subways, buses, sidewalks and the Great Wall. USA Today reports "Beijing has spent $80 million since 2001 to improve access for the city's nearly 1 million people."

The BBC pointed to a flaw however, for grooves etched into sidewalks can guide the blind right into a parked car.

Interestingly the paragraphs addressing these types of inadequacies had been cut from the story when the BBC's webpage was revisited.