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Climate Conference Ends With Legally Binding Agreement

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By Alison Henderson
The 17th U.N. Conference of the Parties came to a close on Sunday in Durban, South-Africa with an agreement to make all climate pledges legally binding.

The four-week international discussion also established the management of a climate aid fund for poor nations, but failed to determine where the funds would come from, and did not establish any targets to cut emissions, according to a CBS report.

The package extends the 1997 Kyoto Protocol agreement for another five years and legally binds developing nations like China and India, that were not included before.

"This is a very significant package. None of us likes everything in it. Believe me, there is plenty the United States is not thrilled about," said U.S. climate envoy Todd Stern in the CBS report.

Disagreements from India over the legal deal caused the negotiations to end 36 hours later than scheduled.

"India believes in maintaining the current stark division where only countries labeled 'developed' have to cut their greenhouse gas emissions," a BBC article reported.

Other developing and poor nations argued that industrialized nations are not fulfilling commitments, like financial aid, that were promised in previous agreements.

Talks about the legal deal will begin next year and are expected to be implemented by 2020, according to the BBC report.

World War II Bomb Diffused in Germany

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By Alison Henderson

A British World War II bomb that caused the evacuation of residents in Koblenz, Germany was successfully defused Sunday, according to an Associated Press report.

The bomb, weighing 1.8 tons, along with a 275-pound U.S. bomb were found last month after a significant fall in the water level of the Rhine river, according to the Associated Press report.

Residents, cleared from homes, hospitals and prisons, were bussed to shelters outside of the city for safety.

Experts said the operation was risky because of the bomb's position.

"We have a British detonator which was surrounded by water for a long time and the explosives within the detonator react with water over time, which causes a high risk when the detonator is being removed," Bomb disposal expert Marco Ofenstein said, according to a Reuters report.

Koblenz was heavily bombed during World War II. City officials said 28 smaller war bombs had been found there since 1999, according to a Washington Post report.

Uprising in Egypt Against Military Council

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By Alison Henderso

Thousands of demonstrators fled Tahrir Square in Cairo Sunday as police fired tear gas into the crowd of people.

Three citizens were killed during the protest according to a CNN report. Health ministry spokesman Dr. Adel al-Dawi said one was trampled and two were killed by blows to the head.

The protest, reminiscent of the uprising in late February, was targeted at the military council and its leader, Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, according to the CNN report.

The protest began Saturday and filled Tahrir Square by noon on Sunday, according to the CNN report. As the movement gained momentum, police fired tear gas and rubber bullets, and made several arrests.

Demonstrators set up a makeshift hospital to aid the several hundred that were injured during the uprising, according to a New York Times report.

Gen. Mohsen Fungary, a spokesman for the ruling military council, blamed demonstrators and an unnamed satellite show for the violence in a TV interview Saturday night. He suggested protestors were "enemies" of Egypt, according to the New York Times report. "The youth are blinded to the reality of the situation," he said.

A Sky News video shows security forces acting against the uprising with tear gas, rubber bullets and fires. Protesters chanted "The people want to topple their regime," according to the Sky News report.

By Alison Henderson

US Major League baseball player, Wilson Ramos returned home Friday after being abducted in Venezuela two days earlier, according to a BBC report.

Ramos, a 24-year-old catcher for the Washington Nationals, was in Venezuela to play in the winter league. His air rescue in the mountain zone was authorized by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, according to the BBC report.

Abductions are a problem for the Venezuelan government, who's statistics show that 895 kidnappings were reported last year, according to a NPR report.

Ramos said he was rescued during a shootout.

"There was a lot of gunfire," he said during a celebration of his on Saturday. "I got under the bed, prayed and cried."

Ramos was greeted by friends and family when he returned. His mother wrapped her arms around him, crying, "How good God is," according to the NPR report.

UN Reports Urgency of Climate Change in Developing Nations

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By Alison Henderson

An annual report from the United Nations stated that environmental trends will threaten the development of poor nations by 2050 if drastic action is not taken.

The report warns that poorer nations are most vulnerable to issues like polluted water, droughts and typhoons, which impact farming and lead to increased hunger and poverty.

"The key finding of the report is that the very impressive long-term development progress that we have been able to document in low-income countries in recent decades may slow down or even be reversed unless we, as a world community, come to terms with these central environmental challenges," William Orme, who oversees publication of the report, said in a Washington Post report.

Prosperous nations are being criticized for failing to meet their stated pledges "including promises made by the G-8, the European Union and the United Nations to give $100 billion a year by 2020 to fight the impact of climate change in developing countries," according to the Washington Post report.

The report titled Sustainability and Equity: A Better Future for All, calls for aid in the form of financial assistance, electricity, improved healthcare and an international currency trading tax, according to an LA Times report.

An annual United Nations conference will take place in Rio de Janeiro next June to discuss international solutions to present and future environmental issues.

Death Toll Rises in Turkey

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By Alison Henderson

The death toll has risen to over 500 people in Turkey since a 7.2-magnitude earthquake of shook the country on Sunday.

Rescuers said hundreds of bodies are still beneath the rubble, but they are turning their focus to the needs of the survivors who are now battling rain and snow, according to a BBC report.

"They say we will get prefabricated houses in one-and-a-half months," survivor Zeki Yatkin said, in an interview with Reuters. "We can't tolerate the cold, but what else can we do?"

Though help was initially denied, international aid arrived Thursday in cities most impacted by the quake. The Israeli government delivered supplies and several prefabricated houses, according to a New York Times report.

Rescuers also pulled a 13-year-old from the remains of a building 108 hours after the quake. He was seen being carried in a stretcher, appearing to be conscious, according to a Star Tribune report.

Mommar Qaddafi Killed by Libyan Rebels

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By Alison Henderson
Lybian leader Mommar Qaddafi was killed Thursday near Sirte, after being found in a drainage ditch by rebel leaders, according to a USA Today report.

Reports of his death were uncertain but have been confirmed by pictures, video and by several officials of the National Transitional Council.

"He was killed in an attack by the fighters. There is footage of that," the NTC's information minister, Mahmoud Shammam, said in a Reuters Report.

Abdel Hafez Ghoga, a spokesman from National Transitional Council announced the death, calling it "the end of tyranny and dictatorship."

Lybian prime minister Mahmoud Jibril confirmed the death while speaking at a news conference in Tripoli, according to an Al Arabiya News report.

"We confirm that all the evils, plus Qaddafi, have vanished from this beloved country. I think it's for the Libyans to realize that it's time to start a new Libya, a united Libya, one people, one future," Jibril said.

Fighters celebrated by shooting their guns and hoisting the red, black and green national flag above a building in the center of a Sirte neighborhood, according to the Al Arabiya report.

Canada Required to Arrest George Bush

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By Alison Henderson
Amnesty International is requiring Canada to arrest George W. Bush on accusations of torture, according to an Al-Jazeera report.

The former President is accused of authorizing "enhanced interrogation techniques" on detainees held by the Central Intelligence Agency, according to a National Post report.

Bush is scheduled to attend an economic summit in Surrey, Canada on October 20, according to the National Post report.

Alex Neve, secretary general of Amnesty International's Canadian branch, told a press conference the group will pursue its case with the governments of other countries the former president might visit.

"Bringing to justice the people responsible for torture is central to that goal. It is the law... And no one, including the man who served as president of the world's most powerful nation for eight years can be allowed to stand above that law," Neve said.

A 1,000-page memorandum cites alleged torture of detainees at the Guantanamo Bay naval facility, in Afghanistan and in Iraq, by the US military, according to the National Post report.

Amnesty's case, outlined in its 1,000-page memorandum, relies on the public record, U.S. documents obtained through access to information requests, Bush's own memoir and a Red Cross report critical of the U.S.'s war on terror policies.

Amanda Knox Guilty or Not?

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By Alison Henderson
The final verdict of the Amanda Knox trial was declared Monday, but the verdict differed depending on the paper.

Knox was declared not guilty of murder, but several online reports stated that she lost the appeal against her murder conviction, according to a CNN report.

The Daily Mail received the most criticism after posting a full-length article describing the verdict in detail.

"Amanda Knox looked stunned this evening after she dramatically lost her prison appeal against her murder conviction," said The Daily Mail article.

The URL to the article still exists, but the content has been taken down.

The Guardian made a similar mistake in a live blog, but the information was quickly corrected and apologies were made shortly after, according to a report from the Washington Post.

SEO consultant Malcolm Coles suggested in his blog that the reports were most likely a result of fast reporting, and posted when Knox was found guilty of slander.

"In their attempt to be first with the verdict on Amanda Knox, the Mail Online published its pre-written story the moment the judge said the word guilty," said Coles.

Denmark Implements "Fat Tax" on Comfort Food

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By Alison Henderson
Consumers in Denmark now have to pay a tax on comfort food containing more than 2.3 percent saturated fat.

The tax, deemed the "fat tax," is the first of its kind. It aims to limit the amount of fatty foods purchased and eaten in the country; it also seeks to add 1.5 billion kroner to state taxes, according to a report from the Copenhagen Post.

Charging 16 kroner per kilogram of saturated fat, the price increase targets staple foods like oils, and dairy products. The price of butter will increase by 14.1 percent, according to the Copenhagen report. Many feel the tax discriminates against lower income families, according to an NPR report.

It is unsure whether the tax will actually decrease the amount of fatty foods consumed. Some stocked up before the tax was implemented, others are expected to shop abroad, according to a BBC report.

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