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April 28, 2008

Quarter Century of Captivity

A 42-year-old Austrian women was held captive for 24 years by her father the Associated Press reports.
Josef Fritzl, 73, confessed to imprisoning his daughter, Elisabeth, 42, for 24 years. During that time he sexually assaulted her and fathered 7 children with her.
One of the children died shortly after birth and Fritzl reportedly threw the baby in an incinerator.
He was captured after the daughter brought her eldest daughter to the hospital because she was ill the New York Times reports.
Elisabeth said she was drugged and handcuffed when she was 18 and locked in the basement complex. She says she has been sexually abused since she was 11.
It is reported that Frtizl's wife had no idea what was happening because she thought their daughter had run away.
The police want to figure out how Fritzl could support a second household without anyone figuring out.

April 14, 2008

Maoist Majority

The Maoist political party in Nepal is expected to take power over the government after the recent election numbers are tallied the International Herald Tribune reports.
Just two years ago the Maoists were a group of guerrilla dissidents marching across Nepal, in a few weeks they are expected to be the ruling majority in Nepal. This is surprising because predictions did not include them winning much and they are now poised to take the government over by a landslide.
With the early counts in it appears that Maoist candidates took 108 of the 196 districts where counting had been completed Monday the Associated Press reports.
Because of the Maoists now holding power the fear of an armed revolt after the elections has ended.
This new government is expected to end a 239 year dynasty and rewrite the constitution.

April 8, 2008

Hungry Haitians

A mob of Haitian’s tried to break into the presidential palace on Tuesday The Associated Press reports.
The protesters were eventually disbanded when U.N. peacekeeping forces used rubber bullets and tear gas on the crowd. Many of them were shouting "We're hungry."
The unrest stems from the global rise in food cost. With many Haitians living on about $2 a day, they are having a difficult time keeping up.
Many of the staple foods like rice and milk have gone up 50 percent in the last year.
The BBC reports that many Haitians are describing their hunger like "eating bleach" because their stomachs burn from hunger.
UN envoy Hedi Annabi has called the situation "extremely fragile, highly reversible, and made even more fragile by the current socio-economic environment."
President Rene Preval has been criticized for focusing too much on political stability and failing to address the issue of poverty and hunger.

April 3, 2008

Trouble in Tibet

The envoy to the Dalai Lama has called for U.S. involvement in the "grim: situation in Tibet The Associated Press reports.
Envoy, Lodi Gyari, has said that with Chinese forces present, Tibet is being "brutally occupied."
The violence has come about since China tried to control anti-government protests. The Chinese have been working hard to maintain peace ahead of the 2008 Olympic Games being held in Beijing.
Gyari has asked American lawmakers to make an "urgent visit" to Tibet in hope that light might be shed on the conditions and problems that have come about under Chinese occupation.
The Voice of America reports that the Chinese have put the death toll from the violence at 22 while Gyari said the number is closer to 140.
Gyari has dismissed the Chinese claims that Tibet's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, has plans to sabotage the Olympics.

March 24, 2008

Chile Quake

An earthquake struck Chile on Monday Reuters reported.
The quake’s epicenter was in the copper rich mining area of northern Chile. The quake registered a magnitude of 6.1 but no immediate damage or casualties were recorded.
The BBC reports that Chile is located in a very active seismic area of the world.
Despite the 6.1 magnitude the quake appears to have been mostly harmless. In 2005 a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck in a nearby Monday's quake leaving 11 people dead and thousands without homes.

March 10, 2008

Sins get a facelift

The Vatican unveiled a new list of Seven deadly sins Monday according to The Associated Press.
The new list is much more focused on a global scale. The issues are more of a worldwide team effort where as the original list was focused on individual uprightness.
Some of the new "social" sins include drug abuse, pollution and poverty. Another one of the sins is the concept of bioethical sins such as the use of contraceptive devices according to Bloomberg.
The new lists social dimension come from the increasingly globalized world.

March 3, 2008

Nepal Copter Crash

Ten people died when a helicopter crashed Monday in Nepal CNN reported.
The United Nations helicopter crashed in Bhawasa, a mountainous region of Nepal while it was heading back to the capital Kathmandu.
Nepal's home ministry said there were 12 people in the helicopter and all on board are feared dead.
The BBC reports that witnesses saw the helicopter get hit by lightning and burst into flames before it crashed in the Ramechhap district.
So far ten bodies have been pulled from the wreckage. The specifics of exactly who was on the helicopter are not known.
Bad weather has hindered recovery efforts to the area that is not accessible by road.

March 2, 2008

Putin picked candidate wins

Dmitri A. Medvedev has won the Russian presidential election The New York Times reported Sunday.
Medvedev who has never held political office, was selected by Putin as his successor. Medvedev was a lawyer and First Deputy Prime Minister under Putin.
The question now is what role Putin will play. Following constitutional rules Putin was not allowed to seek a third term. He has done much to consolidate the Russian government into a one part state.
After Putin endorsed Medvedev last December the election race has been nothing more than a coronation for Medvedev according to The Washington Post.
Putin has said he will stay on as Medvedev's Prime Minister and expand the role.
The whole situation begs the question: will Medvedev be a real leader or nothing more than a figurehead puppet for a Putin to continue to rule through?
Time will tell but for now Medvedev is looking forward saying "mood is good, spring is here."

February 18, 2008

Bush in Africa

President Bush is visiting Africa this week The Associated Press reports.
During his six-day trip to Africa, Bush will visit five countries.
On Monday Bush was in Tanzania showing support for the U.S.'s efforts in the fight against Malaria.
Sub-Saharan Africa is the hardest hit area in the world for Malaria with 100,000 deaths a year in Tanzania alone.
The disease is deadliest for those under age five. The goal is to give enough mosquito coverings for every child under five in the country.
Bush was also praised for his efforts to control and stop the spread of AIDS in Africa. Being touted as a friend of Africa Bush was received with praise everywhere he went. He has spent much more money than former President Bill Clinton did. "African countries held more favorable views of the U.S. than any others in the world," according to a Pew Research Center report.
Bush's next stop on his African journey brings him to Rwanda on Tuesday Reuters reports.
This stop will be much different than the hero’s welcome Bush received in Tanzania. The stop with commemorate 1994's Rwandan genocide, one of the darkest moments in African history. Many survivors are still angry about the U.S.'s lack of involvement and help during the attacks.

February 11, 2008

Taliban leader arrested

A high ranking Taliban commander was captured on Monday in Pakistan The Guardian reported.
Mansoor Dadullah was the former Taliban commander for southern Afghanistan. He was captured during a gunfight near the city of Zhob.
Dadullah came to power after his brother who was also a Taliban leader was killed last May by British troops.
He was considered a rebel among the leaders and even was said to have been dismissed as a leader by the Taliban central command the Agence France-Presse reports.
All this comes as questions are being raised about border security between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Tariq Azizuddin the envoy to Kabul went missing and is feared abducted according to the State television.

January 31, 2008

Winter weather puts freeze on holiday travel

Facing the worst winter in 50 years, Chinese officals are asking millions of workers to cancel their annual trip home for the Lunar New Year CNN reported. The nasty weather conditions have halted much of the countries transportation. Frozen electric grids have halted trains in some places for 40 hours while the snow and ice made a dozen major highways impassable, all this during one of the heaviest travel times for China's city dwellers.
The Lunar New Year is often the only time when workers in the city can go home to visit their family. "It is our Chinese tradition to go home and reunite with the family -- especially in the last day of the year -- having dinner with my parents," stranded worker Jim Hui told a CNN reporter.
Despite the call to cancel plans "for the sake of their safety, and relieving the stress on transportation" as Zheng Guogang chief of the China Meteorological Administration told the China Daily, people were still trying to get out of town anyway they could.
As an incentive to stay put the goverment as well as some private organizations were offering free movie passes, parties and in some cases an extra week of vacation.
As Al Jazeera states China's government is declaring war on the winter storm. Dispatching millions of police and soldiers to aid in the storm clean up. Chinese officals are hoping to prevent political unrest linked to the transportation failures since rail networks are govermnet owned.
On top of all the travel plans and crippled transportation the weather is expected to stay bad for three more days forecasters say.