Recently in International News Category

Greece accepts bailout

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou formally accepted the European Union's proffered €45 billion in financial aid Friday, according to an article in The New York Times.

The announcement came after Greece's bond market took a sharp downturn, forcing Athens to accept the aid, which is equivalent to $53 billion, according to CNN.

The bailout money, EU officials said, will hopefully be dispersed as quickly as possible, but there are many critics of the disbursement. Germany, with the largest economy of the euro zone, was hesitant, but one German official said that saving Greece would be in Germany's national interest as well, since it saves the euro.

Other critics wonder at what the procedure will be for other economically failing countries like Portugal and Spain, if they should prove to default on loans also.

Volcanic Eruption Shuts Down European Air Travel

According to The Guardian, a volcano that erupted near Eyjafjallajokull, Iceland, Wednesday sent huge plumes of ash into the atmosphere, causing flight cancellations as far south as Paris, and St. Petersburg, Russia, to the east.

Nearly 6,000 flights were canceled due to the clouds of ash, reported The New York Times. The ash clouds are made up of a silicate compound that can severely damage an airplane's engines.

Currently, planes can only fly under what the Guardian calls "agreed emergencies." European airports are likely to be shut down through the weekend, or until the eruption abates.

The eruption caused the most flight cancellations since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Iceland, known for its great geothermal activity, experienced a volcanic eruption in March that only recently died down.

Vulcanologists predict that the clouds of ash may remain in European airspace for up to six months. The last time the Eyjafjallajokull volcano erupted was in 1821 and the ash lingered for nearly two years.

7.2 Magnitude Earthquake Rocks U.S.-Mexico Border

An earthquake with a magnitude of about 7.2 on the Richter scale struck the Baja California Sunday, leaving at least one man dead, reported The L.A. Times.

The quake's was centered about 108 miles south of Tijuana but was felt as far north as Phoenix and Las Vegas, according to The New York Times.

Residents in Los Angeles and San Diego reported major swaying of buildings and streets in those cities. Some businesses and establishments suffered broken windows and inventory, but Southern California was well prepared to handle earthquakes.

Conversely, information from bordertown cities and northwestern Mexican regions has been slow in coming. There have been many reports to Mexican authorities of property damage, water pipe and gas line leaks, but as of yet, only one death.

This earthquake is the third major quake in the Southern Hemisphere as many months.

New bin Laden Video Causes Major Stir

CNN reported Thursday that al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden has possibly released a new video that threatens to kill any captured Americans should the United States execute Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

Mohammed, whom U.S. forces captured in 2003 and was charged with murder and war crimes in connection with the 9/11 attacks in 2008, might now be facing the death penalty, Pentagon officials said. His death could be perceived as martyrdom in the al-Qaida community, according to the AP.

Clips from the video aired on the Arab-language network Al-Jazeera. CNN official Octavia Nasr believed the video was authentic.

In the message, bin Laden claimed that President Obama was following in the footsteps of President George W. Bush. Bin Laden also called for the relinquishing of Palestinian lands to Islamic hands.

Earthquake of 6.2 hits Turkey, kills 11

The AP reported that an earthquake struck Turkey at 7:32 CST, leaving 11 people dead. Although, a more recent report from The Bangkok Post said that the death toll had risen to 17.

The epicenter of the quake was in the small Turkish village of Basyurt, but most of the victims were from the nearby village of Okcular where buildings collapsed.

Four of the victims were children, according to the AP.

Earthquakes are not uncommon to Turkey, as most of the country lies upon the North Anatolian fault. Deadlier quakes struck the country in 1999 that killed over 18,000 people.

Over 100 Dead After Attack on Nigerian Christian Communities

An attack from a Islamic group left 107 Christian Nigerians dead in the town of Jos, Nigeria, early Sunday morning, reported CNN.

Attackers from the Islamic Hausa-Fulani ethnic group assailed the predominantly Christian town of the Derom ethnic group around 3 a.m., using gunfire to bring the citizens out of their homes, only to strike the frightened victims with machetes. The attackers also burned down the houses of the town.

According to the BBC, most of the victims were women, children, and the elderly who were not quick enough to escape the attackers.

The BBC also reported that acting President Goodluck Jonathon has put Nigeria's armed forces on high alert to prevent more violence and the trafficking of weapons in the plateau region of Jos.

This is not the first of ethno-religious clashes in the region in recent years. CNN reported that 150 Muslims were killed in a town south of Jos in January, and over 700 in a Muslim-Christian riot in November of 2008.

Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa with about 250 to 400 different ethnic groups residing within its borders. The population is almost evenly divided between Islam and Christianity.

Massive Earthquake Hits Chile, Effects Entire Pacific

An earthquake with a magnitude of 8.8 rocked Chile early Saturday morning, reported The Chicago Tribune.

The quake's epicenter was near the Chilean town of Concepcion, about 200 miles from the nation's capital of Santiago. But the BBC reported the quake was felt as far away as Buenos Aires to the east. MPRNewsQ reported that the quake initiated a tsunami wave that is currently traveling across the Pacific and could effect up to 53 countries and territories.

The state of Hawaii is projected to be hit and evacuation and safety measures have been put into effect, said The Chicago Tribune, though the wave should not crest over two meters.

As of 1:30 pm CST, MPRNewsQ reported that the death toll is currently at 147 and rising. Due to many collapsed bridges and communication lines, rescue efforts have been severely hindered in the ravaged country.

UPDATE: As of 11:45 p.m. CST on Sunday, the death toll in Chile has risen to 708 and is still rising as rescuers uncover more bodies. The tsunami initiated by the quake was not nearly as severe as projected, with reports that the wave only rose about three feet in Maui, Hawaii.

Flood kills dozens on Portugal island, country mourns

On Madeira Island in the Atlantic Ocean, flooding that began early Saturday morning has killed 42 people and left 120 injured, reported CNN.

Many of the Portuguese citizens who were residents of the island are still missing as of Sunday, and about 250 have been evacuated to Portuguese military bases on the mainland.

The rain caused massive amounts of damage to the capital, Funchal, and the city of Ribeira Brava, both cities in the southern part of the island.

The BBC reported that Portuguese officials announced Sunday that three days of mourning have been scheduled nationwide to commemorate the fallen citizens.

NATO rockets misfire, kills 12 Afghan civilians

CNN and The Guardian reported that two NATO rockets missed their insurgent targets in Halmand, Afghanistan, Sunday, leaving 12 Afghan civilians dead.

The rockets were fired from a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System and landed 300 meters from their target in the Nad Ali district of the Halmand province. The Guardian reported that a British Ministry of Defense spokeswoman said the rockets were a "U.S. responsibility," specifically the Marine Corps.

The loss of civilian life puts a huge damper on the political ramifications of Operation Moshtarak. The Guardian reported, "High rates of casualties help Taliban recruitment in war-torn areas and stir public anger that has eroded support for the fragile government."

Analysis: Attribution in The New York Times

Many sources are named in a Sunday New York Times article about Sri Lankan politics.

Writer Lydia Polgreen cites five different men from the Sri Lankan political scene. The article centers around the issue of the Tamil ethnic group based in the northerner penninsula of Jaffna in Sri Lanka. Polgreen's sources are mostly pro-Tamil independence, with two of them straddling the fence between independence and nationalism, and the incumbent Sri Lankan president who is very much a nationalist.

Her sources consist of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who claims responsibility for quelling the 26-year Tamil rebellion, Professor S. K. Sitrampalam, a historian who is also a senior member of one of the largest Tamil political parties, Douglas Devananda, a former Tiger who has become a powerful minister in Rajapaksa's government, S. Arihan, president of the student union at the University of Jaffna, and Ahilan Kadirgamar of the Sri Lanka Democracy Forum, an organization that is trying to reconcile the country's ethnic divides.

More often than not, Polgreen uses direct quotations rather than paraphrasing in her story. Most quotes are also grouped near the end of the article to show contrasting ideas. No institutions or records are directly quoted. Her style and use of attribution is effective in getting the point across.

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