Recently in International News Category

Jury verdict reached in Boy Scouts of America Case

A jury found the Boy Scouts of America liable for the sexual assault of a 12-year-old boy over 25 years ago, slapping them with $18.5 million in damages.

According to CNN, there were six men suing the organization over allegations of sexual abuse.

Attorney Kerry Clark claimed the Boy Scouts of America was aware of the abuse by scoutleader Timur Dykes, now 53.

The organization was going to dispute the allegations, insisting they have always stood against abuse, the BBC reported.

"This is by far the biggest award against the Scouts for sex abuse, probably by several times," said Patrick Boyle, editor of the Youth Today newspaper and author of a book about sex abuse within the Boy Scouts of America.

Under state law, the victims will not be completely compensated because 60 percent of the money must go to the state crime victims' fund.


Diamonds are running out, according to De Beers

De Beers, the worlds largest miner of diamonds, believes the world's supply is running out and is reducing production in an attempt to extend the life of their mines.

CNN reported that rough diamond prices could rise 5 percent per year for the next five years, according to Des Kilalea, analyst at RBC Capital Markets.

De Beers expects a new Asian demand for diamonds, depleting the mines.

According to the Telegraph, De Beers produced about 48m carats in 2008 and will reduce that to 40m carats in 2011.

In the last two decades, the diamond industry has not been able to find any more mines as plentiful as the two largest mines in Africa, both owned by De Beers.

De Beers accounts for about 40 percent of the world's diamond sales.

Abducted peacekeepers in Darfur 'ok' and in good health

Four South African police advisers who were abducted are in "good shape" and officials are negotiating terms of their release, the peacekeeping mission in Darfur confirmed Friday.

According to the Associated Press, the United Nations-African Union mission, or UNAMID, talked to the advisers on the telephone and confirmed they are ok.

However, the spokesman said they would be happier if they were released soon unharmed.

The advisers had not been heard from since Sunday.

The AFP reported that a Darfur group calling itself the People's Democratic Struggle Movement had a member who claimed responsibility for the kidnapping.

"We want one billion Sudanese pounds (400,000 dollars) but that is not the most important. We want to show the international community that security conditions in Darfur do not allow for elections," Ibrahim al-Dukki told AFP.

The kidnapping came as Sudan was preparing for their first competitive elections in over two decades.

Polish president dies in plane crash

Lech Kaczynski, the president of Poland, died Saturday in plane crash in western Russia.

According to Russian officials, the plane crash also killed 96 other people, including Kaczynski's wife and other government officials.

CNN reported that the plane crashed as it was trying to land at an airport near the city of Smolensk.

The president had been traveling with a Polish delegation for the 70th anniversary Russian massacre of Polish prisoners of war.

The event was intended to ease relations between Poland and Russia.

Although Russian television portrayed Kaczynski in a mostly negative light Saturday, the country declared Saturday a day of mourning.

According to the UK's Mirror, the Polish government declared a week for national mourning.

People gathered outside the presidential palace to lay flowers and light candles.

Parliament Speaker Bronislaw Komorowski took over as acting president.

Kaczynski was 60 years old.

Nine Chinese miners rescued after one week

Nine out of 153 trapped miners have been rescued from a flooded coal mine in Northern China where they have been for a week, Chinese state TV said.

According to the BBC, the mine in the Shanxi province flooded after a wall was broken in an abandoned shaft.

There have been around 3000 people constantly working to rescue the miners and pump out the water in order to reach them.

According to officials, the miners are in a weak state and their eyes were covered in order to prevent permanent damage since they've been exposed to complete darkness for a week.

The Telegraph reported that Chinese officials believe more people in the mine could still be alive.

People were hopeful when they heard tapping on a metal pipe on Friday but have since heard no sounds.

A preliminary investigation reported that the mine's managers ignored water leaks before the accident, the State Administration of Work Safety said.

According to the State Administration of Coal Mine Safety, China's mines are the world's deadliest, killing 2,631 coal miners last year.

At least 321 killed, more kidnapped in Congo area

At least 321 people were killed and around 250 others were abducted by rebel forces in the Congo in December, a United Nations official said Sunday.

The event is just now being released to the public.

CNN reported that the Lord's Resistance Army was behind the four day attack in northeastern Congo, according to Human Rights Watch.

The Makombo and its surrounding areas is the size of Spain, making this attack huge.

According to Alan Doss, a United Nations Special Representative for Congo, the area the attack took place in is very remote and there are no intelligence or communications so cross-checking information was important.

Times Online reported that one of the victims was a three-year-old girl who was burned to death.

Officials said the majority of the people killed were men.

Officials said the Makombo attack is the deadliest documented since the attacks around Christmas of 2008.


American spokesman for al-Qaeda arrested, official says

An American spokesman for terrorist group al-Qaeda was arrested Sunday in Pakistan, a senior Pakistani government official said.

Adam Gadahn, who renounced his U.S. citizenship in 2008, has appeared in a number of al-Qaeda videos including one that praised the November shooting at a Fort Hood, Texas army base.

CNN reported that several U.S. officials said however that they heard no indication that Gadahn was captured.

Gadahn was raised on a farm in California but his family has not heard from him since 2002.

He began appearing in videos in a disguise in 2004 and continued appearing without a disguise in 2006.

In a recent video, he said he believed Muslims should emulate what happened at the Fort Hood, Texas shooting.

According to BBC news, Gadahn was charged with treason in 2006 and is the first American in 50 years to be charged with that crime.

Storms in Europe kill at least 51

Violent storms killed at least 51 people in France, Spain, and Portugal, officials said.

According to the BBC, 45 of the victims died in France as a result of either drowning or being hit by parts of buildings or trees.

As of Sunday, at least a dozen people are missing and 59 others are injured in France.

The storm system, named Xynthia, caused winds of up to 108 mph at the top of the Eiffel tower.

The AP reported that this is the worst storm system to hit France since 1999.

More than 900,000 people in France lost their electricity.

In the Pyrenees Mountains, the threat of avalanches is high due to high winds and wet snow.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy plans to visit the worst areas on Monday.

Officials say 119 flights have been canceled from Frankfurt airports and at least 100 flights were canceled from Paris airports.

The Taliban's second in command captured in Pakistan

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the top Taliban military commander and overall Taliban number two, was captured in Pakistan and is in custody.

According to the BBC, Baradar was captured in a secret joint United States-Pakistani raid on February eighth.

The government has not yet confirmed the arrest and the Taliban is denying it occurred.

According to correspondents, Baradar is in charge of all long-term military planning for the Taliban in the southern part of Afghanistan.

Officials believe this arrest may result in difficulties for the Taliban in this region and the BBC reported that he has been talking.

The New York Times reported that Baradar is second in command only to Mullah Muhammad Omar, the man who founded the Taliban and who is also the current spiritual leader.

The Taliban has been denying that the capture took place however.

"This is just rumor spread by foreigners to divert attention from the Marja offensive," said Zabiullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban.

Baradar was captured once before in November 2001 but were released after Pakistani intelligence operatives intervened.


Luge resumes with caution after fatal crash

Luge training continued for the 2010 Winter Olympics Saturday following the death of Nodar Kumaritashvili.

Kumaritashvili, a luger from the Republic of Georgia, died Friday during a practice run.

The BBC reported that the track has been modified to fully prevent more injuries, including raising the walls at the exit of the final curve where Kumaritashvili went off the track.

After investigating, the International Luge Federation said that the crash was not a result of the track but of a mistake made by Kumaritashvili.

According to the Associated Press, out of the 16 times Kumaritashvili took off from the original men's luge start, he crashed four times.

For the other lugers, the most difficult part of starting practice Saturday was the emotional aspect.

At the opening ceremony, the athletes from the Republic of Georgia wore black armbands and somber expressions to remember their teammate.

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