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Greece passes plan for aid and layoffs

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Greece's Parliament passed a bill Sunday that plans to dismiss 15,000 civil servants by the end of the year, the New York Times reported.
A loan of 2.8 billion euros, or about $3.65 billion, is expected to be approved by Euro zone officials meeting in Brussels on Monday, the New York Times reported.
The bill was approved by parliament in a 168-123 vote, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The bill was supported by the conservative New Democracy party and its junior partners, the Socialists, or Pasok, and the Democratic Left, the Wall Street Journal reported.
"We are working so that Greece will be able to stand on its own feet again," Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras told Parliament Sunday, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Greece needs money to pay pensions and wages, and bonds held by the European Central Bank that mature on May 20, so the bill was rushed into legislature, Stournaras told Parliament on Saturday, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The White House said Thursday that the Syrian government is likely to have used chemical weapons on its own people, on a small scale, The Washington Post reported.
Any use of chemical weapons in Syria would cross the "red line" a senior administration official tole the Washington post.
President Obama said that the deployment of chemical weapons would be a game-change and has threatened unspecified consequences if it happened, noting that it is mindful of the lessons from the Iraq war that started over ten years ago, Reuters reported.
The evaluation that Syria likely used chemical weapons is based on "physiological" samples, Reuters reported.
Britian, France and Israel have suggested that forces loyal to Assad have probably used sarin recently, The Washington Post reported.
Sarin, a nerve agent, which Iraq allegedly used 25 years ago in an attack on the Kurdish city of Halabja during the Iran-Iraq war, Reuters reported.

Deadly earthquake hits southwestern China

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A earthquake struck Sichuan, a southwestern Chinese providence, on Saturday, killing at last 179 people and injuring about 6,700 others, CNN reported.
The earthquake struck at a depth of around 12 kilometers and about 115 kilometers away from the provincial capital, Chengdu, CNN reported.
"Comparatively speaking, the scale of the disaster is not as extensive as in 2008, although there are still multiple locations affected," Meimei Leung, emergency response director for World Vision's China office told the Los Angeles Times.
Residents were prepared from the earthquake that hit May 12, 2008 that left 90,000 people dead or missing, the Los Angeles Times reported.
"This time people knew what to do. As soon as the tremors started, they went out into open areas. The government also is working in a well-organized manner," Leung said.
Authorities sent rescue workers to the are around the epicenter, halted flights at the airport in Chengdu and suspended high-speed rail operations, according to state media, CNN reported.
First responders said the damage didn't appear as severe as the 2008 disaster, according to CCTV, CNN reported.

The British and French governments have asked the United Nation to investigate Syria's government for using small amounts of chemical weapons in recent months, officials told the Los Angeles Times Thursday.
The diplomats, who spoke to the New York Times on condition of anonymity, said there had been a n exchange of letters with Secretary General Ban Ki-moon of the United Nations starting on March 25.
The evidence included soil samples and witness testimony but is not definitive, the Los Angeles Times reported.
President Obama said any use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime would be a "game changer," which could lead to American military response, the New York Times reported.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government has insisted that any United Nations investigation focus only on one instance of chemical weapons use in the Aleppo area which it says killed at least 26 people on March 19, the New York Times reported.
Ban said Wednesday that an investigative team he had assembled was ready to deploy as soon as they have the Syrian government's consent, the New York Times reported.

Palestinian prime minister resigns

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Salam Fayyad, the prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, resigned Saturday, the New York Times reported.
Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Western-backed authority, accepted Fayyad's resignation but asked him to stay until a new government could be formed, Palestinian officials told the New York Times.
Fayyad was known for building institutions of future Palestinian statehood while cleaning up financial corruption, the Washington Post reported.
Abbas's ruling Fatah party criticized Fayyad's economic policies, which created strained relations between the two leaders, and worsened after the resignation of Finance Minister Nabil Qassis last month the Washington Post reported.
Secretary of State John Kerry talked with Fayyad last week to proposing a movement to aid the Palestinian government, the New York Times reported.
Fayyad was expected to play a key role in the effort as an expert in development, the Washington Post reported.

New prime minister named in Lebanon

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Tammam Salam was named the new prime minister of Lebanon on Saturday, the New York Times reported.
Salam was named after receiving endorsements from the country's warring factions, the New York Times reported.
Lebanon's government is a sectarian system which is meant to balance power among the country's multiple sects by requiring that the president be a Maronite Christian, the prime minster a Sunni Muslim and the Parliament speaker a Shiite Muslim, the New York Times reported.
Salem was tasked by Lebanese President Michel Suleiman to form a cabinet which is likely difficult because of the differences between his own Sunni Muslim community and Shiite Muslims, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Salem expressed at a news conference Saturday that he would be independent and intended to establish a national unity government made up of technocrats, the New York Times reported.
He served as culture minister in 2008 and is expected to serve through parliamentary elections scheduled in June but are likely to be delayed amid deadlock among Lebanon's Sunni, Shiite and Christian blocs over the new election law, the New York Times reported.

North Korea's leader announced Sunday that his country was determined to rebuild its economy while expanding its nuclear weapons arsenal, the New York Times reported.
Korean Central News Agency said North Korea's nuclear weapons "are neither a political bargaining chip nor a thing for economic dealing," the New York Times reported.
Kim Jung Un presided over the meeting of the central committee of the ruling Worker's Party which discussed building a stronger economy and nuclear arsenal, CBS reported.
The announcement comes after military exercises from the U.S. and South Korea, the New York Times reported.
U.S. and South Korean officials are still trying to persuade North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons through sanctions and diplomacy, the New York Times reported.
North Korea's nuclear weapons are a "treasure" that they will not trade for "billions of dollars," a KCNA statement said, CBS reported.
North Korea identified itself as a nuclear power when it revised its constitution last April, the New York Times reported.
President Obama and Thomas E. Donilon, his national security adviser, have urged Kim to learn from Myanmar where changed resulted in billions in debt forgiveness, large-scale development assistance and more foreign investment, the New York Times reported.
Economic development and expansion of their nuclear program could take place "simultaneously" because the nuclear development could allow them to limit military spending and pur more resources in agriculture and light industries, North Korea said Sunday, the New York Times reported.

North Korea puts rockets on standby to strike the U.S.

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A plan to prepare standby rockets to hit U.S. targets was approved by North Korea's Kim Jung Un, state media said Friday, after a practice mission over South Korea by American stealth bombers, CNN reported.
The rockets are aimed at military bases in the Pacific and South Korea, the state-run KCNA news agency reported, CNN said.
"The United States is fully capable of defending itself and our allies," Lt. Col. Catherine Wilkinson, a Pentagon spokeswoman in Washington told the New York Times.
Kim's order was given during an emergency meeting Friday, and was similar to the one issued Tuesday when the North Korea's top military command told all of its missile and artillery units to be ready to strike the U.S. and South Korea in retaliation for their joint military exercises, the New York Times reported.
There has been more vehicle and troop movement at North Korean missile units in recent days as the U.S. and South Korea has been conducting joint military drills, government officials and South Korean media said, the New York Times reported.
North Korea carried out a long-range rocket launch in December and an underground nuclear test last month which prompted the U.N. Security Council to issue sanctions on North Korea, CNN reported.
A photo released by KCNA on Friday showed Kim meeting with his top generals with a military chart behind them showing what appeared to be trajectories of North Korean missiles hitting major U.S. cities, the New York Times reported.

Thousands of dead pigs in Shanghai river

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According to state news media, at lead 2800 dead pigs were found in a major river that flows through Shanghai and created fears of contaminated tap water for residents, The New York Times reported.
Labels tagged on the pigs' ears indicate that they came from the upper waters of the Huangpu River, one of the main sources of Shanghai's drinking water, CNN reported.
It is unclear why pigs were dumped in the river. Local media reported that a disease had killed thousands of pigs in a village south of the city earlier this month, CNN reported.
The Shanghai Municipal Agricultural Commission said the water quality where most of the pigs were found remained normal as of Sunday, CNN reported.
State news media reported that a sample of the water was tested positive for porcine circovirus, which officials sad does not spread to humans, The New York Times reported.
Local residents have expressed concern on whether the water is safe to drink through use of Twitter-like microblog service Sina Weibo, CNN reported.

Analysis: Karzai's televised speech

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In The Associated Press article about Afghan President Hamid Karzai's speech on Sunday shows good use of quotes, paragraphs that back up or explain quotes, and use of information outside the speech to offer a point of reference.
The reporter leads with Karzai's accusation and then a following paragraph of what Karzai specifically gave an example as. The next paragraph is quote which gives a voice to Karzai and reiterates what was just reported in Karzai's own words.
The reporter then offers background information about Karzai being known for using public speeches as a tactic, citing past speeches about Karzia threatening to join the Taliban.
The article goes on for a few paragraphs of U.S. responses to the speech and what the Afghan government said about the speech. The reporter takes a break from Karzai's speech for awhile to explain how others feel about it.
The article then continues to show other specific examples Karzai used in his speech.
The reporter really goes beyond the event by covering what Karzai has said in the past speeches and finding other comments in reaction to the speech. The reporter does a good job of structuring the article by giving the right piece of information to make the facts flow. Each fact block seemed to fall into place even though the story told was not chronological.

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