May 3, 2008

Passenger Trains Collide in China

A passenger train heading to Qingdao city in eastern China derailed early Monday morning, colliding with another train, reported the Xinhua News Agency.

The collision, which happened at 4:43 a.m., killed at least 66 people and left 247 injured. The accident happened in the city of Zibo in Shandong Province, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

The train headed to Qingdao city derailed going around a bend and slammed into the other train, derailing it as well. The collision threw at least 10 cars from the train into the ditch, according to witnesses. (New York Times)

"I suddenly woke up when I felt the train stopped with a jolt. In a minute or two it started off again, but soon toppled," said one passenger who managed to escape the collision unscathed. (BBC News)

This most recent accident is the part of a long line or train accidents in China, which has one of the world's most heavily used rail systems, according to the New York Times.

Last September on the very same line there was collision of two trains, but no one was killed. In January a train killed 18 track workers when it hit them while traveling 75 mph in the dark, according to the New York Times.

April 13, 2008

High Food Proces Threaten Haiti

High food prices have lead to deadly protesting and an increasingly large hunger problem in Haiti, reported the Associated Press Sunday.

Almost of all of the food in Haiti is imported, and global food prices have risen 40 percent in less than a year. Haiti is already the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, with most of its residents surviving on less than $2 dollars a day, according to the New York Times. The recent increase in food prices is just adding to the trouble, and the residents of Haiti aren't standing for it.

On Wednesday police had to fend off rioters in Haiti who were looting government buildings and burning tires in Port-au-Prince, the countries capital, according to the New York Times. A total of seven people have died in the past week do to protests, including a member of the U.N police force, reported the Associated Press.

The U.N. World Food Program has appealed for donations to help them reach their goal of $96 million to help aid Haiti. Mamadou Mbaye, who heads the U.N. World Food Program's office in Haiti, says that Haiti's deeply rooted problems of poverty and and dependence on imported food will take a while to fix.

"Some measures will generate results in the long term ... but whether people will be willing to wait for that is another issue," Mbaye said. (Associated Press)

April 7, 2008

Olympic Tourch Relay Disrupted in London

25 people trying to disrupt the Olympic torch relay in London were arrested by British Police Sunday, reported the China Internet Information Center.

One person tried to seize the torch from the carrier but was immediately apprehended, while two other tried to put out the torch with a fire extinguisher. The people arrested are being charged with public order offenses, according to police.

According to Deng Zhuting, president of the London Chinatown Chinese Association, the protest was by a group of Tibetan separatists. (China Internet Information Center) China came down hard recently on protesters in Tibet fighting for self-rule and democratic freedoms.

"The Olympic torch should not be going through Tibet while Tibet is under occupation," protester Simon Cook said Sunday in London. (CNN)

The torch was on its way through London as part of the global Olympic Torch Relay leading up to this year's summer games in Beijing. There were thousands of people lining the streets of London for the relay, which will cover 137,000 km in 130 days before entering the National Stadium in Beijing on Aug 8 for the Olympics' opening ceremony.

The torch is expected to go through Paris on Monday, where there will be 3,00 French policeman ready to combat any protesters, according to CNN.

March 7, 2008

Violence in Baghdad Continues with Twin Bombs

At least 54 people were killed in Baghdad Thursday when two bombs stuck a busy shopping area in the city, reported the New York Times.

Iraqi authorities reported 54 deaths and 123 more wounded according to the New York Times, but by early Friday an official said the toll had escalated to 69 people, according the <u>China Daily.

The bombing was especially deadly because of a tactic used by the bombers in which one bomb is set off followed by another a few minutes later. The second bomb killed many of the civilians, policemen and emergency officials who rushed to help the victims of the first bomb. Chucks of human flesh were sprayed for as far as 50 yards, according to the New York Times.

It does not appear to be clear how the second bomb was detonated. Some witnesses said it was strapped to a suicide bomber, but other think it may have been planted beforehand. Witnesses said the first bomb had been planted in a trashcan.

Baghdad has seen an increase in violence the past few weeks. Just back in February a series of bombings killed nearly 100 at two pet stores. Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki called this most recent bombing an attack against the Iraqi people.

"The remnants of terrorism committed a new heinous crime against innocent civilians in Karrada district in Baghdad which claimed the lives of many civilians and wounded many others." (China Daily)

March 2, 2008

A Top Pakistani Military Official Killed In Suicide Bombing

A suicide bomber killed the Pakistani Army’s surgeon general and seven others on Monday, reported the Daily Times

Lieutenant General Mushtaq Baig, the highest ranking military official killed since Pakistan joined the U.S. led war on terror, died when a teenager blew himself up near a military convoy on a road in Rawalpindi. The bomber approached Baig's car on foot at a stoplight and then blew himself up, according to the army, reported the New York Times.

The eight deaths included five civilians, and 25 more people were wounded.

The Pakistani Army doesn't think Baig was a specific target.

“In my judgment, he was just waiting for a senior army officer,? said Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas. “When he saw a staff car with the signature of a senior officer, he carried out the attack.? (New York Times)

Rawalpindi, the headquarters of the Pakistani Army, has been the scene of a number of attacks on military personnel in the last few months. However the attack marks the first time a high-military official has been killed since 9/11, said Abbas in the Daily Times.

The attacker is unknown, but according to sources body parts of the bomber are being sent to the Combined Military Hospital for DNA testing, according to the Daily Times.


February 25, 2008

Raul Castro Becomes Cuba's New President

Raul Castro was named president by Cuba's parliament Sunday following his brother Fidel's retirement, reported the Associated Press.

Fidel Castro, 81, retired after ruling the communist country for 49 years. There will not be a significant shift in the communist government polices.

Some Cubans were hoping that the change would at least lead to some new economic policies, but that does not appear to be the case. The U.S. has called the change from one Castro to another "transfer of authority and power from dictator to dictator light." (Associated Press)

More evidence of this is the fact that Raul Castro has been effectively ruling Cuba for
19 months already while his brother was recovering from emergency intestinal surgery, according to the Washington Post. Little has changed during that time.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urged the government to begin a democratic change in the country, saying that Cubans have a right to choose their own leaders.

February 18, 2008

Afghan Suicide Bombing Kills At Least 80 People

A suicide bomber killed at least 80 people Sunday when he blew himself up among a crowd watching a dog fighting competition in Kandahar, Afghanistan, according to the New York Times.

At least 90 more people were injured in the worst Afghanistan bombing since 2001. After the bomb went off some of the guards at the site began shooting, and it is unclear how many deaths were caused by cross-fire as opposed to the bomb itself.

Afghanistan has been a country riddled with violence the past year; in 2007 there were a record of at least 140 suicide attacks and one bombing in November that killed 70 people. Kandahar Gov. Asadullah Khalid thinks the bombing was the work of the Taliban, according to the Star Tribune.

Many battles have taken place at Kandahar, which is a former stronghold for the Taliban, between NATO and Taliban forces over the past two year.

Among the gathered crowd were many Afghan militia leaders, including a well known one who opposed the Taliban and may have been the target, according to officials.

The Taliban has denied any involvement in the attack, "That is not our work and I will not take responsibility for it," said a Taliban spokesman, Qari Yousef Ahmadi. (Star Tribune)

February 11, 2008

Indian Doctor Suspected of Running Illegal Kidney Transplant Business Arrested

The fugitive Indian doctor suspected of being the mastermind behind an illegal kidney operation was arrested Thursday in Chitwan by Nepalese police, reported the Star Tribune
Police say Amit Kumar was the head of an illegal organ trading operation based in Gurgaon, a suburb of New Delhi. He was identified at a resort by an hotel employee who recognized him from the news.
Kumar illegal took up to 500 kidneys from patients, many of whom were unwilling. Some were promised construction jobs in return for their kidney, some were held on the operating table by gunpoint.
The kidneys were then sold over the past nine years to people visiting India, which has become an increasingly popular destination to undergo surgeries and transplants because of their low cost of medical care.
Kumar has been accused of organ schemes in the past and authorities believed he had fled the country, possibly to Toronto where his wife and two sons live. The Toronto Star Reported that Kumar has been traveling back and forth between Canada and Toronto for the past two years.
Kumar's wife, Poonam, believes that her husband had nothing to do with the accused crimes.
"He only did operations. He didn't know who was coming or going. He was the surgeon. He just did the operations," said Kumar's wife.

February 4, 2008

Rebels advance into Chad's capitol

Hundreds or Rebels forced their way into the capitol city of Chad, N'Djamena, on Saturday, reported the Washington Post.
After a three day trip across the desert from the direction of the Sudanese border, the rebel trucks came through the town shooting off guns. The rebel force is made up of three groups led by Mahamat Nouri and Timane Erdimi, who is a close relative of current of current Chad president Idriss Déby, according The Guardian.
Apparently the government was caught of gaurd by the swiftness of the roughly 250 vehicle attack. It is still unclear though whether the rebels of the government is in control.
Radio France International was told by the rebels that an offered to arrange for the departure of president Deby had been made in order to "avoid a pointless bloodbath." (Washington Post)
But Cherif Mahamat Zene, the Chadian ambassador to Ethiopia, contains that the government is still in control. He also believe that Sudan is the source of the rebels and the weapons in this attack.
U.S. officials say that the rebels have not taken over the city yet, but that the fighting remains intense.