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December 14, 2008

Nearly 100 arrests made after oppositional rally on Sunday in Moscow

Over 90 people were arrested in Moscow after participating in an oppositional rally Sunday.

Gary Kasparov, a former chess champion, organized the rally.

One of the organizations protestors were a part of was the Other Russia. According to CNN, “The Other Russia's Web site said Kasparov and about 200 other opposition members met Friday and Saturday outside Moscow, ‘finalizing a new movement, which aims to peacefully dismantle what they describe as the illegitimate regime ruling Russia.’?

At the rally, Kasparov said that the structure of the current Russian government makes it impossible for any legitimate reform to happen; thus the only possibility for change is to dismantle the Putin regime.

The BBC reported that “The Moscow authorities had warned that Sunday's demonstration, which had not been given permission, would be ‘firmly stopped by law enforcement officers within the framework of the law’?.

Both articles were very similar, providing quotes from Kasparov and details about the actions of Moscow police.

December 8, 2008

Anti-police riots in Greece continue in response to shooting of 15-year-old boy Saturday

Massive anti-police riots continue to take place in Athens and other parts of Greece after the killing of a 15-year-old boy on Saturday.

According to Al Jazeera, “At least 34 people were injured as thousands of protesters battled police on Sunday in the capital Athens and the northern city of Thessaloniki.?

Al Jazeera also reported that “protests started after Alexandros Grigoropoulos was shot in the traditionally left-wing Exarchia district of Athens on Saturday. The boy had tried to throw a firebomb at a police patrol car.?

The protests began immediately after it was released that Grigoropoulos died in the hospital.

Despite the fact that two police officers were arrested in relation to the death of Grigoropoulos, protesters see the shooting as an act of police brutality. According to the BBC, “One protester told the BBC he had been greatly angered by the actions of the police. ‘It's not the first time. They always kill people - immigrants, innocent people - and without any excuse,’ he said. ‘They murdered him in cold blood.’?

Both articles emphasized the destruction caused by the riots, including the demolition of private property such as restaurants and banks, as well as the use of tear gas and petrol bombs by police and rioters, respectively.

November 30, 2008

Death toll at 109 after floods in Brazil

Floods in Brazil caused by a week of torrential rainfall have led to109 deaths as of Saturday.

The floods have also left around 79,000 residents homeless.

According to CNN, “Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva surveyed some of the flooded areas from the air this week and proclaimed the disaster one of the worst in the country's history.?

CNN also reported that “about 1.5 million people -- one-fourth of the population -- have been affected? by the floods.

Al Jazeera
noted that the prospect of more rain in Brazil will likely cause even more damage. According to Al Jazeera, “officials warn that there is a danger of more deadly mudslides and are urging people in risk-prone areas to evacuate their homes and seek shelter elsewhere.?

Though most of the information in the two articles was identical, CNN was somewhat more exact with the data concerning deaths, losses and monetary figures. Al Jazeera offered slightly more information as to what the future may hold for Brazil.

November 23, 2008

'Israeli spy' hanged in Iran Monday

A man convicted in June of being an Israeli spy was hanged in Iran on November 17, though the execution was announced Saturday.

Ali Ashtari, a 47-year-old electronics salesman, was hanged after revolutionary courts determined he was leaking information concerning the Iranian atomic energy program to the Israel.

Al Jazeera reported that “A judiciary-issued statement said Ashtari had been working with Mossad - Israel's foreign intelligence service - for three years before he was arrested in 2006.?

According to CNN, “‘Evidence of Ashtari's crime was overwhelming,’ Iran's intelligence ministry director told Iran's state-run IRNA news agency.?

The execution comes at a tense time between the Israeli and Iranian governments. CNN reported that “Iran and Israel have been engaged in an escalating war of words. Iran accuses Israel of trying to destabilize the republic. Israel has not ruled out military action to halt Iran's nuclear aspirations.?

Though both Al Jazeera and CNN covered all the immediate details of the story, Al Jazeera contained much more coverage, including quotes issued in a confession statement by Ashtari.

Interestingly, both news sources put quotes around the term “confession?, indicating doubt that the confession was voluntary.

November 17, 2008

Pakistan secures IMF loan

The Pakistani government approved Saturday of a $7.6 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund.

According to CNN, the money will be used to “bolster Pakistan's dwindling foreign currency reserves amid concern that a run on the Pakistani rupee could force the country to default on its international debt.?

The IMF loan will be paid out over the course of two years. The only obstacle in deciding the factors of the loan was disagreement between Pakistan and the IMF over interest rates.

The Daily Times, a local newspaper in Pakistan, focused the length of its coverage on the reactions of Pakistanis to the loan. “The IMF assistance would strengthen country’s financial institutions, which would lead to revitalisation of the economy, said Iftikhar Ali Malik, Co-Chairman of Businessmen Panel, the largest alliance of chambers and traders of Pakistan.?

It is clear from both articles that economic stability is the main goal of the loan, and that it has the potential to bring great change to Pakistan’s economic, and even political, outlook.

November 9, 2008

20 killed in Russian submarine accident Saturday

At least 20 people were killed on a Russian submarine after a fire extinguishing system malfunction on Saturday.

21 others were injured in what is considered to be the worst naval accident for Russia since 2000.

According to the BBC, “Vladimir Markin, an official from Russia's top investigative agency, later said forensic tests had confirmed that freon was the cause of death.?

Freon is released to put out fires, but under normal procedure, the affected area is first evacuated and sealed off. This is because freon takes out the oxygen in the air, which would cause human suffocation.

As reported by CNN, “The submarine was being field tested before it became an official part of the navy, according to a Russian Defense Ministry statement.?

The BBC focused instead on the link the vessel had to India. “The Nerpa is due to be leased to the Indian navy, and Indian naval personnel were due to travel to Vladivostok earlier this month to train on board the submarine ahead of its transfer, according to the website Indian Defence.?

It was not mentioned in the CNN article that the Indian navy was to acquire the submarine.

Both articles discussed the security and integrity of the nuclear reactor, which was not affected by the accident. CNN emphasized the efforts of the Russian government to revamp its military.

November 2, 2008

Iceland's financial crisis deepens with decisions made by British government

The financial crisis in Iceland is being worsened by decisions made by the British government.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown invoked a 2001 anti-terrorism law that enabled the British government to freeze Icelandic assets in the United Kingdom. The people of Iceland have to now deal with their failing banking institutions as well as the stigma attached to being labeled as a “terrorist? country.

The New York Times
reported the story with a focus on the reactions of the population of Iceland. ““I must admit that I was absolutely appalled,? the Icelandic foreign minister, Ingibjorg Solrun Gisladottir, said in an interview, describing her horror at opening the British treasury department’s home page at the time and finding Iceland on a list of terrorist entities with Al Qaeda, Sudan and North Korea, among others.?

Though the reasoning for the label was purely a safeguard measure for the British economy, it has caused much consternation for Iceland. Foreign investment has been made nearly impossible.

According to a Los Angeles Times article that focused instead on the British point of view, the move was made to protect the economic interests of the British people as well as the British government. “So some public embarrassment is understandable as officials here find themselves staring at a black hole where about $3.5 million of taxpayer money used to be.?

The differing viewpoints given on the matter is integral in a complete understanding of the financial crisis. The decision made by Brown was made in an effort to protect the people of his country, though it is clear it had great impact on the efforts of Iceland to reconstruct its banking system.

October 12, 2008

Mugabe jeopardizes power-sharing deal

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe gave control of major arms of his government to his own Zanu-PF party on Saturday, excluding the opposition Movement for Democratic Chance (MDC) from the process.

The move is seen as a threat to the shared power deal between the parties that was brokered last month.

According to Sky News, “The president handed control of defence, home affairs and finance to Zanu-PF.? The International Herald Tribune, however, noted that the details of the finance positions were still under discussion.

Both sources recognized the concern some feel over Mugabe’s unilateral decision. Sky News said, “The MDC has argued it should take the lion's share of power as it won most votes in a first round of elections in March.?

The International Herald Tribune article was much more comprehensive than Sky News in its description of the power struggle between Mugabe and the MDC, as well as in the overarching consequences this will have for Zimbabwe.

Furthermore, the IHT quoted representatives of both parties, family members of those involved, and even discussed the U.S. Ambassador’s involvement in the issue.

October 5, 2008

Turkey bombs PKK targets in Iraq

Turkey launched airstrikes against Kurdish rebels and suspected rebel bases in northern Iraq on Sunday.

The action was a retaliatory move in response to the killing of 15 Turkish soldiers by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) rebels in border clashes. Public anger at the government’s inability to prevent the cross-border conflict fueled the military response.

The basis of the conflict is derived from the PKK’s desire for autonomy for a Kurdish state.

Some Turkish leaders are calling for greater help from Iraq in controlling the PKK. According to the Washington Post, “‘We have no support at all from the northern Iraqi administration,’ Gen. Hasan Igsiz told reporters in Turkey's capital, Ankara. ‘Our expectation is that rebels be acknowledged as a terrorist organization there and that support for the rebels be eliminated.’?

CNN reported that the strikes took place on Saturday. The discrepancy could be attributed to the differing view of what constitutes an airstrike – when the decision is made to retaliate, or when the bombs actually hit the targets?

Both CNN and the Washington Post took care to discuss the political ramifications of the continuing border struggles between Iraq and Turkey. However, CNN cited the Iraqi government’s condemnation of the clashes. The Washington Post focused instead on the tensions the clashes have caused for the coalition.

September 29, 2008

6 kidnappers killed in Sudan

Sudanese officials confirmed that six of the kidnappers who abducted a group of European tourists in Egypt last week were shot and killed Sunday.

According to the BBC, “A spokesman for Sudan's military said that the kidnappers had been killed following a high-speed desert chase.?

Sawarmy Khaled, the representative of the Sudanese military that spoke to the BBC, also said that “the group's leader, whom he identified as a Chadian named Bakhit, was among the dead.?

Documents suggesting ties to the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) were found in the kidnappers’ vehicle. According to Al Jazeera, “Mahgoub Hussein, a London-based spokesman for a key faction of…SLA said: ‘We completely deny any report that we are involved in this kidnap.’?

Al Jazeera went into greater depth as to the statements released by the SLA denying any connection to the kidnapping. This included several quotes and Hussein’s condemnation of the kidnapping. BBC simply noted that several factions of the group denied involvement.

11 tourists and eight Egyptian guides were kidnapped on September 19, and they are believed to be in captivity in Chad. German negotiators have allegedly reached an agreement allowing the release of the hostages in the near future, though German officials have only confirmed that a crisis team has been set up.

Continue reading "6 kidnappers killed in Sudan" »

September 22, 2008

43 killed in nightclub fire in China

A fire in a nightclub in south China Saturday night killed 43 people and left another 88 injured. The fire is believed to have been started by fireworks that were used during the show.

Apparently, a performer lit a firework that ignited the roof at around 11 p.m. The fire spread rapidly through the whole building, causing the patrons of the club to rush to the exit. This stampede was the source of many of the injuries sustained in the fire.

The fire has led many to question the fire safety codes in China, as well as the government’s ability to ensure buildings are within code. According to China Daily, “The district government's supervision and inspection has been loose and law enforcement inefficient, Zhang said. Mourning the dead and sympathizing with the injured, he apologized to their families.?
China Daily also reported that13 people have been detained in connection with the fire, including the owner, the general manager, the safety officer, and the performers. Furthermore, it was noted that most of the injured were being treated in local hospitals.
CNN had considerably less coverage on the fire than China Daily, and much of the article was comprised of references to comparable fires in other countries. “The fire in China's Guangdong province was reminiscent of a much larger 2003 blaze in the United States that killed 100 people at a club in Rhode Island during a rock performance.?

The inclusion of this previous fire in the story serves mostly to offer American readers a parallel to better understand the degree of damage caused by the fire. Much of the details necessary in China’s national paper are not as relevant or important to the international readership of CNN. However, CNN did make sure to cite China Daily’s reporting on the fire.

Continue reading "43 killed in nightclub fire in China" »

September 15, 2008

88 killed in Russian jetliner crash

A plane crashed early Sunday in Perm, Russia, killing all 88 passengers onboard. The plane, a Boeing 747 operated by Aeroflot-Nord, caught fire in the air then crashed into railway tracks before dawn.

Most of the victims were from Russia, though there were 21 non-Russians on the flight from Azerbaijan, Ukraine, France, Switzerland, Latvia, Italy, Germany, Turkey and the United States. Seven of the victims were children.

The specific cause of the crash is being investigated, but the likely explanation is a technical breakdown. In CNN’s coverage of the accident, Russian Transport Minister Igor Levitin was quoted as saying, “[t]he flight data recorder has been recovered and will be analyzed by the International Aviation Commission.?

The CNN report, here at http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/europe/09/14/russia.plane/index.html, made sure to explain that the crash was not believed to be a result of an act of terrorism. It further clarified that although there was a US citizen on the passenger list, the US Embassy confirmed no Americans were killed in the crash.

This reference to concern for the citizenship of the victims was also reflected in other sources. A Turkish newspaper reported the name of the Turkish man that died in the crash (http://www.turkishdailynews.com.tr/article.php?enewsid=115310). Most larger international papers did not include the names of the victims.

Due to the American manufacturing origin of the plane, investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board will travel to Perm to more closely examine the incident. Some have raised questions about the actions of the pilot of the flight, and this will come under consideration. "The pilot was behaving in an unusual manner. He wasn't following my instructions. Something was happening but he didn't want to say anything or was hiding something,? said an air traffic controller, according to Russia Today.

The paper gave a description of emergency centers for the relatives of victims, as well as the telephone numbers for information hotlines (http://www.russiatoday.com/news/news/30400). Few other papers devoted this type of coverage to the story.