Recently in International News Category

Mexico security official's convoy under fire, 4 dead

Gunmen armed with high-caliber weapons attack Mexico's top security officer's convoy Saturday, killing a least four, according to the L.A. Times.

Minerva Bautista Gomez, the public security minister, had just left Michoacan's state fair, which was attended by other high ranking officials as well, according to the L.A. Times.

Two of Bautista's bodyguards and two bystanders died. Nine others were wounded including two girls ages 2 and 12, according to the Associated Press.

The motive and identity of the 20 attackers is still unknown, but drug violence is common in Michoacan, according to the Associated Press.

Hu visits Tibetan quake zone

Chinese President Hu Juntao flew to a remote, mountainous Tibetan region Sunday to visit the survivors of the recent earthquake, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Hu visited a village on the outskirts of Jiegu, and the injured in a sports stadium, according to the Associated Press.

On a blackboard in a makeshift classroom he wrote "There will be new schools. There will be new homes," according to the Wall Street Journal.

More than 1,700 have been confirmed dead and 256 are missing in the region.

Supplies have begun to arrive at a faster pace according to the Associated Press.

Zou Ming, head of disaster relief at the Ministry of Civil Affairs said 25,000 tents, more than 50,000 cotton-padded quilts, and 850 tons of instant food and drinking water have been delivered, according to the Associated Press.

Polish president and others die in plane crash

Polish President Lech Kaczynski and approximately 97 others were killed Saturday in a plane crash outside of the western Russian city of Smolenski, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The plane crashed about one kilometer short of the runway on it's second attempt to land in the heavy fog, according to the Wall Street Journal.

There are no survivors, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The L.A. Times reports that the the location of the crash is where thousands of Polish prisoners of war were killed and dumped in unmarked graves by Soviet secret police in 1940.

Also on the plane was the army chief of staff, head of the National Security Bureau, the national bank president, the deputy foreign minister, the deputy parliament speaker, the civil rights commissioner and other members of parliament, according to the L.A. Times.

Chinese coal ship threatens Great Barrier Reef

A chinese coal ship threatened Australia's Great Barrier Reef as it ran aground Saturday, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The ship, which left Gladstone Saturday, had strayed nine miles from the shipping lane, about 40 miles east of Great Keppel Island, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Besides the physical damage, there was also an oil spill of 300,000 gallons of oil that the ship carries to run its engines.

Australia's federal government is concerned about the impact an oil spill could have on the world's largest coral reef, Peter Garrett, the nation's environment protection minister said, according to the LA Times.

Environmentalists said they were "horrified" at the possible damage to the ecosystem that is home to about 25 percent of all identified marine species, according to the LA Times.

US, Russia agrees to nuclear-weapons treaty

The United States and Russia signed a nuclear arms treaty Friday planning to decrease the number of deployed nuclear arsenals by 30 percent, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The countries agreed to reduce the number of missiles, bombers and submarines on patrol, and pursue broader reduction talks, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The agreement is a critical victory for the United States as they begin to embark on a period of meetings aimed at reducing the number of weapons rogue states and terrorists possess, according to the Washington Post.

Additionally the agreement will strengthen the nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty and increase global pressure on Iran and North Korea to reduce their nuclear programs, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Sen. John Kerry said the ratification of the treaty could be a renewal for the Senate's bipartisan tradition on arms control, according to the Washington Post.

Suicide attacks in Kandahar, Afghanistan kills 30 and wounds 40 more

Four suicide attacks in Kandahar, Afghanistan killed 30 civilians and wounded 40 more.

The attacks struck near a prison, hotel, mosque and a city centre road junction, the BBC reported.

The southern city of Kandahar is a former Taliban stronghold, and is one of Afghanistan's largest cities.

According to Ahmad Wali Karzi the largest attack was aimed at Kandahar's prison, though no prisoners escaped, the Associated Press reported.

Top U.S. commander, Gen. Stanley McChrystal foresaw the event. For the past several weeks he had warned of the Kandahar area being a next target for operations against the Taliban.

Armed group pulls heist at German Poker Tournament

A group of masked men stormed a German poker tournament Saturday armed with automatic weapons, machetes and hand grenades, the Telegraph reported.

The four men struck Berlin's Grand Hyatt hotel, forced employees to hand over money and fled, police spokesman Carsten Mueller told the Associated Press.

Several participants at the tournament organized by the European Poker Tour were injured in the panic, the Associated Press reported.

The jackpot for the tournament was $1.35 million but it is unclear how much money was stolen.

According to a German news website Spiegel Online, witness Claudia Sommerey said panic spread in the room as the "disguised men with rifles" burst into the players.

Security concerns after Chile earthquake

Reports of looting have raised fears about security in areas of Chile since the earthquake hit Saturday.

According to CNN, looting broke out in the country following the 8.8-magnitude earthquake, especially in the nation's hardest-hit major cities, Concepcion and Santiago.

Concepcion's mayor, Jacqueline van Rysselberghe, told Radio Cooperative that things are "getting out of control."

On Sunday morning, tear gas and water cannons were used to dispearse looters in some areas of Concepcion, CNN reported.

In Santiago there have also been isolated incidents where supermarkets have received floods of panicked shoppers, the Christian Science Monitor reported.

As of Sunday afternoon the death toll from the quake was 708, the Christian Science Monitor reported.

"We're facing an emergency unlike anything else in Chile's history," President Michelle Bachelet said.

Dalai Lama and Obama meet at the White House

President Obama and the Dalai Lama met Thursday to speak about democracy, human rights, and the need to preserve Tibet's religious identity and culture.

China said the meeting had seriously damaged the ties between the U.S. and China, the New York Times reported.

According to the New York Times, the White House went out of its way to keep the meeting low-key to appease China.

The Christian Science Monitor reports that because the meeting took place in the Map Room instead of the Oval Office, Obama may have been downgrading the US relationship with the Tibetan spiritual leader.

Robert Barnett, director of the Modern Tibetan Studies Program at Columbia University said the location is "an obscure issue of protocol that, as the White House knows, makes a lot of difference to Beijing officials, but none to American or Tibetan perceptions of the meeting."

The Dalai Lama told reporters on the White House driveway that Obama was "very supportive," the Christian Science Monitor reported.

Following the meeting Thursday, the White House issued a statement affirming Obama's support for the preservation of Tibet's unique religious, cultural and linguistic identity.

Marjah offensive kills civilians in Afghanistan

An errant American rocket hit a crowded compound Sunday killing at least 10 people including five children.

According to Capt. Joshua Biggers the compound that was hit was not the one they were targeting, the New York Times reports.

According to the Christian Science Monitor the offensive was a test of the president's new counterinsurgency plan.

Top American officials say the two-day operation has been a success despite the civilian casualties, the Christian Science Monitor reports.

Top American commander, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal apologized to President Hamid Karzai, saying, "We deeply regret this tragic loss of life."

The current US NATO strategy puts the protection of civilian populations ahead of killing enemy fighters.

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