Recently in International News Category

World War II bomb defused in German city

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by Sarah Harper

Around 45,000 people evacuated their homes so that bomb disposal experts could defuse two World War II bombs in Koblenz, Germany Sunday.

The bombs, originally dropped by U.S. forces, were found in the Rhine River when water levels fell because of a prolonged dry spell, according to BBC News. Germany is full of unexploded British and American bombs.

According to Reuters, the bigger of the two bombs weighed in at 1.8 tons, making it one of the biggest ever found.

Homes, hospitals and a prison in a one mile area around the bomb were evacuated, reported Reuters.

The area had to be dry before the experts could begin working. After the water was pumped out of the river, the operation took three hours, according to the BBC.

Conservatives win in Spain

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by Sarah Harper

Spaniards showed their support for the conservative Popular Party in Sunday's elections, ending eight years of Socialist government.

The New York Times reported that according to the official results, the Socialists lost 59 seats to the Popular Party, which appeared to have won a governing majority. The Popular party won 186 seats of the 350-seat lower house of Parliament.

Spaniards hope that the Popular Party, led by Mariano Rajoy, will help them face problems caused by Europe's debt crisis. These problems include falling property values, unbearable debt and the collapse of the construction sector, according to the New York Times.

Reuters reported that Spain is experiencing the European Union's highest unemployment rate, with 5 million people out of work.

The Popular Party won the biggest majority of any party in 30 years, according to Reuters.

Iran news agency chief sentenced to a year in prison

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by Sarah Harper

The press adviser to the president of Iran was sentenced to a year in prison on the charge of "publishing materials contrary to Islamic norms," the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported Sunday.

Ali-Akbar Javanfekr, who is also the chief of the IRNA, was banned from doing any journalistic activity for three years, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

The Associated Press
reported that Javanfekr wrote that the practice of women wearing the head-to-toe black garment known as the chador was an imported practice, not an originally Iranian one.

Javanfekr has 20 days to appeal the sentence -- and his lawyer, Abdollah Nakhaei, said he will definitely appeal the verdict.

According to the Associated Press, Javanfekr is one of many of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's political backers who have been targeted by hard-line opponents recently.

Mario Monti named Italian prime minister in crisis

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by Sarah Harper

Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi resigned Saturday, and economist Mario Monti was named prime minister Sunday in Rome.

The Washington Post reported that Monti, 68, is a former university president and European commissioner. He now has the task of uniting Italy's feuding political parties.

The president of Italy, Giorgio Napolitano, chose Monti after meeting with political leaders, according to the New York Times.

Monti told reporters in Rome that he would form a new government.

Berlusconi hinted that he would eventually attempt to come back to the position in a video message to the nation, reported the Washington Post.

Tibetan nun dies by self-immolation

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by Sarah Harper

In the 11th case of self-immolation in recent months, a Bhuddist nun set herself on fire and died Thursday in China's southwest Sichuan province, Chinese state media reported.

Qui Xiang, 35, was the second nun in the ethnically Tibetan region to die from self-immolation, according to the New York Times.

Xiang, whose Tibetan name is Palden Choetso, was protesting Chinese restrictions when she set herself on fire in Ganzi Prefecture.

Also known as Kardze to Tibetans, the Ganzi Prefecture is the site of several important monasteries that have come under strict Chinese rule in recent months, according to the New York Times.

The Associated Press reported that the official Xinhua News Agency said the reason for Xiang's death is unclear. Xinhua reported that local government is investigating the case.

Tibetan people have been illegally demonstrating against Chinese policy since June, according to the New York Times.

Suicide bombing in southeast Turkey

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by Sarah Harper

Authorities said a suicide bomber killed two people and injured 12 others in the Kurdish region of Turkey, reported The Associated Press.

It happened on one of the busiest streets in Bingol, Turkey, a mainly Kurdish city.

According to the New York Times, the suicide bomber was a female. It was unclear what her target was, but the attack occurred near local headquarters for the governing Justice and Development Party, officials said.

Although no claim has been made on the attack, the Kurdistan Workers' Party, aka P.K.K., has been targeted by the Turkish government ever since they killed 24 soldiers on Oct. 19.

The P.K.K. has been fighting for autonomy since 1984, according to the New York Times.

Tunisia takes historic steps toward democracy

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by Sarah Harper

Millions of Tunisians voted Sunday for an assembly to draft a new constitution.

This historic event occurred ten months after the suicide of Mohamed Bouazizi spurred the Arab Spring movement, according to Reuters.

The New York Times reported that Tunisians waited in orderly lines to cast their votes.

Many Tunisians said that the most important choice in the election was whether to vote for the country's moderate Islamist party, Ennahda, or against it, reported the New York Times.

Reuters reported that the leader of the Ennahda party, Rachid Ghannouchi, cast his vote in the El Menzah 6 district of the capital, Tunis.

"Tunisia was born today. The Arab Spring was born today," Ghannouchi said.

Charges against Strauss-Kahn dropped

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by Sarah Harper

Legal officials chose not to prosecute Dominique Strauss-Kahn on charges of attempted rape, according to the New York Times.

Reuters reported that French public prosecutors dropped the investigation against the former chief of the International Monetary Fund due to lack of evidence.

Tristane Banon, a writer, accused Strauss-Kahn of attempted rape after an interview in a Paris flat eight years ago.

The New York Times reported that this is the second time French officials have chosen to not prosecute Strauss-Kahn.

Officials did not have much choice in the matter due to lack of physical evidence and the age of the case, according to the New York Times.

At least nine protesters killed in Syria

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by Sarah Harper

Syrian security forces opened fire and killed at least nine protesters demonstrating against the regime of President Bashar Assad on Saturday, according to anti-government activists.

According to the Washington Post, forces killed protesters in several parts of the country.

The Los Angeles Times reported that at least five demonstraters were killed in the heavily Kurdish city of Qamishli.

Those people were mourning the slaying of Mashaal Tammo, a Kurdish opposition leader.

Qamishli protesters shouted the Kurdish word for freedom, "Azadi," as they swarmed the hospital where Tammo was taken, reported the Washington Post.

Eight Afghan police officers killed

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by Sarah Harper

Eight Afghan police officers were shot dead early Wednesday in an area of Afghanistan where security is being passed from NATO to Afghan control.

Officials said the Taliban is responsible for the shooting, which happened near Lashkar Gah at a checkpoint in the southern province of Helmand, according to BBC News.

The Associated Press reports that prior to the attack, one police officer went missing from his post. His involvement is being investigated, authorities said.

Lashkar Gah is one of seven areas where security control is being transferred to Afghan powers.

The Taliban is trying to undermine the authority of Afghan security forces during the transition, said the BBC's Bilal Sarwary.

Note: BBC News reported that the incident happened Tuesday night. The Associated Press reported that the incident happened early Wednesday. In the AP story, the time is described as "pre-dawn."

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