Recently in International Category

Exiled leader visits Gaza Strip

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Exiled Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal gave a speech to thousands to Hamas supporters Saturday, vowing to destroy the state of Israel and build a Palestinian state in its place.

Meshaal gave the speech on Hamas' 25th anniversary. His words reflected Hamas' long-standing position towards Israel, according to the New York Times.

For Meshaal, the visit was his first the Gaza Strip. His family fled his West Bank village when he was 11, and he currently lives in Qatar, according to an AP report in the Los Angeles Times.

Israel attempted to assassinate Meshaal in 1997, according to the New York Times.

The recent cease-fire between Israel and Hamas emboldened Meshaal to make the visit. As part of the cease fire, Israel vowed to stop targeting Hamas millitants

Meshaal insisted that Hamas won a great military victory over Israel.

France will back Palestinian statehood bid

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France's foreign minister said Tuesday that the country will vote in favor of recognizing a Palestinian state, according to reports by the Associated Press and Reuters published in the Star Tribune and Chicago Tribune.

The move will help the Palestinians secure greater international recognition, according to both reports.

A Palestinian bid for full U.N. membership was rejected last year, largely because of U.S. opposition in the U.N. Security Council, according to Reuters.

This time around, Palestinian leaders are looking for recognition as a non-member observer state, according to the Associated Press.

The measure, which implicitly recognizes Palestinian statehood, is projected to pass.

Israel amasses troops at the Gaza border

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Tensions between Hamas and Israel have escalated this week, as the two sides have exchanged rocket fire that has proven lethal, according to the New York Times, BBC, and Jerusalem Post.

Twenty-seven Palestinains and three Israelis have been killed since Wednesday, the BBC reported.

The Israeli Defence Force called up 16,000 reservists for a possible ground invasion into Gaza , according to the New York Times. The government will possibly call up 75,000 reservists, according to the Jerusalem Post.

Hamas fired missiles into Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem on Thursday and Friday, the New York Times reported. This is the first time that Hamas has fired rockets into Jerusalem.

The Egyptian Prime Minister Hesham Qandil visited Gaza Friday, the BBC reported

Netanyahu seeks to repair relationship with Obama

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu congratulated President Barack Obama on his election victory Wednesday, after campaigning for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, the New York Times and Time reported Thursday.

Netanyahu has been a strong supporter of Republicans, according to Time. He even appeared in a campaign ad for Romney.

Netanyahu's political rivals hope to capitalize on this potential damaging of the U.S.-Israel relationship, according to both reports.

The Israeli Prime Minister disagreed with Obama regarding the Iran situation, according to the New York Times. Netanyahu advocated a military strike on Iran while Obama wanted to let the economic sanctions take their toll.

Netanyahu is up for reelection on Jan. 22.

Hurricane Sandy sweeps across Haiti, causes 54 deaths

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Hurricane Sandy caused 54 deaths in Haiti as it made its way towards the eastern U.S., the Star Tribune and New York Times reported Wednesday.

Twenty-one people in Haiti are still unaccounted for, according to the Star Tribune.

More than 20 inches of rain drenched Haiti over four days last week, according to the New York Times. The Haitian government said that the storm damaged the homes of as many as 200,000 people. The Haitian president, Michel Martelly, declared a monthlong state of emergency, according to the Star Tribune.

The storm has caused more than 60 deaths in the U.S. and Canada, according to the New York Times, and 71 in the Caribbean, according to the Star Tribune.

Hurricane Sandy reached hurricane status on Oct. 24, according the New York Times. It made landfall in Haiti as a Category 2 hurricane.

An Italian court convicted six Italian scientists and one official of manslaughter Monday for failing to give adaquete warning of an earthquake that killed over 300 people in L'Aquila in 2009, the Los Angeles Times an Chicago Tribune reported.

The three-judge court sentenced each of the defendants to six years imprisonment.

The seven men will appeal the verdict and do not face imprisonment until the verdict is confirmed in appeals court.

The quake, which struck on April 6, 2009, killed 309 people, injured more than 1,500, destroyed about 20,000 buildings and left more than 65,000 people displaced, according to Nature.

Scientists around the world condemned the case, arguing that it will deter scientists from working in risk assessment.

Obama, Romney tackle foreign policy in final debate

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President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney challenged each other on foreign policy in the final presidential debate Monday night, the Star Tribune and Los Angeles Times reported.

Obama accused Romney of being all over the map on a range of issues, the Los Angeles Times reported. "Every time you've offered an opinion," the president said. "You've been wrong."

Romney also dished out criticism, both articles reported. He said the U.S. should have done more to prevent Iranian nuclear development, repeatedly saying, "We're four years closer to a nuclear Iran."

The two candidates painted different pictures of the world. Obama indicated that the world is safer and tighter-knit, while Romney said the world is dangerous and more threatening, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The candidates agreed on many issues, however, despite the heated rhetoric, the Los Angeles Times reported. Both agreed on positions regarding Israel, Iraq, Afghanistan and the use of predator drones.

Syrian airstrikes kill dozens

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Syrian government airstrikes killed 43 people over Wednesday and Thursday, according to activists, the Christian Science Monitor reported.

The Syrian government hopes to reclaim control of the main road linking Damascus and Homs to the cities of Aleppo and Idlib after rebels captured Idlib last week, according to CNN.

The Syrian government has been fighting to regain control there ever the rebel takeover.

Human Rights Watch said the government used cluster bombs during the raids, which are especially dangerous to civilians, according to the Christian Science Monitor. The Syrian government denied using them.

According to activists, more than 33,000 people have died since the beginning of the Syrian conflict, the Christian Science Monitor reported.

Thieves stole paintings worth potentially hundreds of millions of dollars from Amsterdam's Rotterdam Museum early Tuesday morning, according to the Star Tribune and the Telegraph.

The thieves pulled off one of the biggest art heists in years, stealing paintings by artists such as Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet, and Henri Matisse, according to the Star Tribune.

Police didn't said how the thieves executed the robbery, which occurred around 3 a.m., according to the Star Tribune. Police arrived at the museum at 4 a.m., five minutes after an alarm was triggered.

Art experts said that the paintings are would be worth hundreds of millions of dollars if sold legally at auction. They also noted that this is now nearly impossible.

The paintings were part of the Triton Foundation collection, which is being exhibited publicly in its entirety for the first time.

Shooting of Pakistani girl sparks outrage

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The Taliban shot a 14-year-old girl Tuesday who publicly protested the lack of education for women in Pakistan, the Washington Post and Los Angeles Times reported.

Doctors removed bullets from the teenage girl's head and neck, according to the Washington Post. She is unconscious and in critical condition.

The Taliban took responsibility for the incident, which provoked outrage across the country, according to the Washington Post. Impromptu rallies developed across the country Thursday in support of the girl.

The girl, Malala Yousafanzi, began speaking out against the Taliban at age 11. She advocated for the education of women, which the Taliban seeks to ban.

The U.N., which marked its first International Day of the Girl Child Thursday, condemned the attacks, according to the Los Angeles Times.

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