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May 6, 2007

Naked Photo Shoot

The Associated Press reported that more than 18,000 people, "stripped down and bared it all," in Mexico City's main square. This was all for U.S. photographer Spencer Tunick's biggest nude shot ever. Tunick snapped photographs of the people standing up to salute, crouching in fetal positions and lying prone on the tiles of the Zocalo plaza from balconies and a small crane in the morning. "I think all eyes are looking south from the United Sates to Mexico City to see how a country can be free and treat the naked body as art. Not as pornography or as a crime, but with happiness and caring," Tunick said at a news conference. The Brooklyn, New York, artist has become famous for photographing thousands of naked people in public settings worldwide, from London and Vienna to Buenos Aires and Buffalo. The Associated Press reported that nen and women from a broad cross-section of ages and social classes began arriving before dawn, although most volunteers were young men. Between shots, the volunteers burst out into verses of Mexican folk songs such as "Cielito Lindo."

Reuters reported that this photo shoot beat out Tunick's previous record of 7,000 volunteers in 2003 in Barcelona, Spain. Tunick directed with a megaphone a series of pictures, one with volunteers arranged in the shape of an arrow. There were hundreds of police keeping nosy onlookers away, there was also a no-fly zone declared above the plaza. "This event proves that really we're not such a conservative society anymore. We're freeing ourselves of taboos," said Fabiola Herrera, a 30-year-old university professor who volunteered to strip, along with her boyfriend.

April 15, 2007

Girls Won't Remove Hijab at Sports Event

The Associated Press reported in the Houston Chronicle that a team of mainly Muslim girls was forced to pull out of a Tae Kwon Do tournament near Montreal Sunday because its members refused to remove their hijabs. Tournament organizers told team officials the girls could not compete because the Muslim headscarves posed a safety risk. The decision was made at a referee's meeting earlier in the day because hijabs are not listed under allowed equipement, said international referee Stephanie Menard. The team is made up of girls between the ages of 8 and 12 and is affiliated with a Muslim community center in Montreal. Five of the team's six players wear a hijab and have been allowed to participate in similar tournaments around Quebec. The team's coach Mahdi Sbeiti said his team suspects a changing political atmosphere played a role in this decision.

CBC News reported that officials told the coach that if someone yanked on the traditional Muslim headcovering, the hijab, a portion of which hangs beneath the players' helmets, strangulation was possible. Carole Ste.-Marie told CBC's Andrew Chang that her team had never encountered this issue in the three years her six-member squad, five of whom are Muslims, has competed. The tournament organizer, Raymond Mourad, said that he wanted officials to let the girls compete on Sunday and issue a warning for the next time, but his pleas were ignored.

April 1, 2007

Pope Celebrates Palm Sunday

The Associated Press reported that Pope Benedict XVI opened the Roman Catholic Church's most solemn week in Vatican City by urging young people during his Palm Sunday Mass to live pure, innocent lives. Holy Week this year will also include the second anniversary of the April 2, 2005 death of Pope John Paul II. Benedict walked through St. Peter's Square and up the steps of the basilica holding an intricately woven palm frond. Dozens of priests, bishops and cardinals preceded him, cluthing palms and olive branches in their red vestments. Palm Sunday commemorates Jesus Christ's entry into Jerusalem, and Good Friday includes the re-enactment of Christ's crucifixion and death and his resurrection on Easter Sunday.


The VOA news reported that Pope Benedict continued the tradition started by his predecessor on Sunday, and dedicated his Palm Sunday Mass to young people, who turned out in large numbers. The Pope told the faithful not to, "let themselves be carried along in life, and not to accept what everyone thinks, says or does, but to look around and search for God." Sabina Castelfranco said he spoke of the need for mankind to maintain innocent hands and a pure heart. The Roman Catholic Church will close one phase of the investigation into John Paul's sainthood on the same day.

March 3, 2007

UK Tourists Kidnapped in Ethiopia

According to Reuters in the New York Times, a senior Ethiopian official accused Eritrean forces of kidnapping five Britons and 13 Ethiopians and taking them to a military camp. The tourists included diplomats from the British embassy in Addis Ababa. They went missing on Thursday in a remote area of the Horn of Africa nation. To help free those who have been kidnapped, Britain has sent a six-strong team of senior Foreign Office officials to Ethiopia. The groups disappeared while visiting the northeast Afar region, considered one of the world's most hostile terrains, tour companies said.

The Associated Press reported in the Star Tribune that fifteen French and British tourists were kidnapped. The French Foreign Ministry confirmed Friday that Western tourists have been kidnapped in Ethiopia, but declined to say how many or indicate their nationalities. The tourists were in a convoy of four vehicles in Dalol and traveling to salt mines in the Afar region, a businessman and a tour operator who work in the area said. A diplomat who spoke on the condition said one of those kidnapped was Rossanna Moore, wife of Michael Moore, director of the British Council in Ethiopia.

February 25, 2007

Suicide Bomber in Baghdad Kills at least 40

According to the Los Angeles Times, at a crowded college campus Sunday in Baghdad, a suicide bomber set off a blast that killed at least 40 Iraqis. Most of the victims were female students who were waiting in line in the midday sun to enter classrooms for midterm exams. This was the second attack in recent weeks to target the mainly Shiite Mustansiriya University, and it follows the launch of the latest U.S.-Iraqi security plan. Radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, whose followers virtually control the campus, denounced the plan as a failure and said Iraqi government troops and police should take charge of security and that U.S. troops should leave.

The Star Tribune reported that the school's main campus was hit by a string of bombings last month that killed 70 people. According to the Star Tribune, Muqtada al-Sadr said any crackdown that includes U.S. soldiers was doomed to failure.

February 18, 2007

Bombs Explode in Thailand, Killing 3

The Associated Press reported in the Star Tribune http://www.startribune.com/722/story/1010152.html that at least 28 coordinated bombs exploded Sunday in Bangkok. The attacks were plagued by a Muslim insurgency, killing three people and wounding more than 50, the military said. The bombings targted the country's southernmost provinces and were set off in hotels, karaoke bars, power grids and commercial sites. Two public schools were also torched. The attacks occured while the country's Chinese community was celebrating the Lunar New Year.

Reuters http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/SP339156.htm reported that there were 23 bombs and that most went off around 7 p.m across the four southern provinces of Narathiwat, Yala, Pattani and Songkhla, near the Malaysian border. Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont said the government wanted to hold talks with Muslim insurgents.

February 10, 2007

Putin Says U.S. Undermines Global Stability

Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin blamed the United States policy on Saturday for inciting other countries to seek nuclear weapons to defend themselves. According to the Star Tribune http://www.startribune.com/722/story/994232.html, Putin attacked President Bush's administration for stoking a new arms race by planning to deploy a missile defense system in eastern Europe and for backing a United Nations plan that would give virtual independence to Serbia's provinvce of Kosovo.

According to the New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/11/world/europe/11munich.html?pagewanted=1&ei=5094&en=1420e557ab8f6041&hp&ex=1171170000&partner=homepage, Putin accused the United States of provoking a new nuclear arms race by developing ballistic missile defenses, undermining international institutions and making the Middle East more unstable through its clumsy handling of the Iraq war. Putin recited a long list of complaints about Amercian domination of global affairs.

February 4, 2007

Indonesia Capital Flooded

Rivers burst their banks in Jakarta on Sunday after days of rain killing at least 20 people and forcing almost 340,000 people from their homes, according to the Star Tribune http://www.startribune.com/722/story/980653.html. Some places are 13 feet deep in water and Indonesia's meteorological agency is forecasting two more weeks of rain.

The Los Angeles Times http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-02042007jakarta,0,2535431.story?coll=la-home-headlines said, "Environment Minister Racmat Witoelar blamed poor urban planning." Jakarta Governor Sutiyoso was criticized five years ago when the city of 12 million flooded and he blamed deforestation in Puncak, saying it had destroyed water catchment areas.

January 23, 2007

Taliban to Open Schools in Afghanistan

According to the Star Tribune, in an attempt to win support among local residents, the Taliban said it will open its own schools in areas of southern Afghanistan. The reported chief spokesman for the militants, Abdul Hai Muthmahien, said Islamic education will be provided to students in March and funded by the Taliban's ruling council. http://www.startribune.com/722/story/950820.html

I noticed that the reporter, Noor Khan, managed to say all the important information in the lede. Khan said the who, the what and the where in the first sentence. Khan used facts and avoided adding his own commentary.

The Los Angeles Times is reporting how the people in different regions of Afghanistan are reacting to the Taliban plan. Ahmad Jan Aqa said he would not send his sons to a Taliban school because he is afraid they would become militants. http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/wire/sns-ap-afghan-taliban-schools,1,6965620.story?coll=sns-ap-world-headlines

In my opinion, the Los Angeles Times reported the story with a little more depth. Both papers conveyed the message clearly and included all of the important information.