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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.

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.

Secretary of State John Kerry went to Beijing Saturday to persuade the Chinese government to act on their frustration with North Korea's nuclear program, the Los Angeles Times reported.
He said that North Korea's nuclear program threatens the entire Pacific region and gained a restatement of sharing the goal of a non-nuclear Korean Peninsula, the Washington Post reported.
Kerry said there is a clear commitment between the United States and China to "bear down" to reduce the risk of nuclear war from North Korea, the Washington Post reported.
The United States and South Korea welcome reducing tension by talks under the right conditions, which China agreed to help in, the Washington Post reported.
Kerry met with South Korea's new president, Park Geun-hye and Foreign Minster Yun Byung-se to suggestions to opening the Pyongyang government to return to negotiations over its nuclear program, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Analysts believe a missile tests in North Korea might be timed for Kim Il Sung's birthday on April 15, a major public holiday for Kim Jung Un's grandfather who founded the nation, the Los Angeles Times reported,
"It is a huge mistake for him to choose to do that [a missile test] because it would further isolate his country and further isolate his people, who are frankly desperate for food, not missiles," Kerry told the Los Angeles Times in Seoul.

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.

U.S. ex-solidier charged with aiding al-Qaida group

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A former American soldier was charged Thursday for illegally using a weapon to aid an al-Qaida affiliated group in Syria, CNN reported.
Eric Harroun, 30, was arrested by the FBI Tuesday near Washington Dulles International Airport in Virginia, CNN reported.
Harroun appeared in federal court in Alexandria, Va. and was charged in connection of using a rocket-propelled grenade in Syria, CNN reported.
Harroun was accused of entering Syra in January and being aiding in attacks on Assad forces led by the Al Nusra Front, which is part of an al-Qaida group, the New York Times reported.
Harroun told FBI agent Paul Higginbotham that he was part of an "RPG team," firing rocket-propelled grenades, the affidavit filed said, the New York Times reported.
Harroun wrote on his Facebook page that "the only good Zionist is a dead Zionist," and told the FBI that he dient know any al-Qaida members and would help fight against any regime that imposed Sharia law in Syria because he is opposed to oppression, the New York Times reported.
Harroun was discharged from the army in 2003 after he was injured in a car accident, said the affidavit, The New York Times reported.

Two teens found guilty of rape

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Two high school football stars were found guilty Sunday of raping a 16-year-old girl in August, The New York Times reported.
Judge Thomas Lipps announced his decision after four days of testimony in the case against Trent Mays, 17, and Ma'lik Richmond,16, CNN reported.
Text messages, cell phone pictures and a video provided much of the evidence because the victim did not remember what happened, The New York Times reported.
Mays was sentenced to serve at least two years in the state juvenile system and Richmond was sentenced to serve at least one year, The New York Times reported.
Mays minimum sentence is twice as long as Richmond's because May was found to be a delinquent beyond a reasonable doubt for also distributing a nude image of a minor, The New York Times reported.
The trail gained media attention for its text messages, cell phone pictures and videos, and social media posts around the sexual abuse of the girl, CNN reported.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai accused the the Taliban and the U.S. of sharing the goal of convincing Afghans that violence will worsen if foreign troops leave Sunday, The Associated Press reported.
Kazai said that two suicide bombings that killed 19 people Saturday show the insurgent group is demonstrating that international forces will still be needed after their current combat mission ends in 2014, The Associated Press reported.
"The explosions in Kabul and Khost yesterday showed that they are at the service of America and at the service of this phrase: 2014. They are trying to frighten us into thinking that if the foreigners are not in Afghanistan, we would be facing these sorts of incidents," Karzai said during a national speech about the state of Afghan women, The Associated Press reported.
Chuck Hagel, the defense secretary, expressed hope that the United States and Afghanistan can move forward, The New York Times reported.
Karzai criticized the what he sees as doomsaying reports by Western officials which he describes as propaganda used by Western news media and picked up by local Afghan news media, The New York Times reported.
Karzai said in his speech that any foreign powers that want to keep troops in Afghanistan must do so under conditions made by Afghanistan, The Associated Press reported.

A one-day strike that could affect some of the Twin Cities' biggest corporations could begin as early as Monday by a union representing 2,000 security guards, The Star Tribune reported.
The union said that it would call for a strike if a deal was not reached by Sunday after contract talks broke down Friday regarding security guards from Target, U.S. Bank, Wells Fargo and other corporate buildings, The Star Tribune reported.
More than 100 union members and supporters prepared for a dozen public events this week for the anticipated strike Sunday, The Pioneer Press reported.
The two sides have made progress and have agreed to resume talks on March 12, David Duddleston, a lawyer for the employers told the Star Tribune.
The starting salary for security guards is $12.50 per hour who are seeking a "livable wage" and more affordable health insurance, Fred Anthony II, a guard on the negotiating team told The Star Tribune.
The same union who represented 6,000 janitors for many of the same corporations reached a tentative contract settlement Friday, The Star Tribune reported.
The store cleaners have filed complaints with the National Labor Relations Board for claims of workers being fired for being in videos about improving wages and working conditions, Brain Payne of Centers of Workers United in Struggle told The Pioneer Press.
The planned public events will include protests, rallies, and news conferences at the offices of Target, Wells Fargo, U.S. Bank and at the Capitol in St. Paul, Eric Fought of Minnesotans for a Fair Economy told The Pioneer Press.

Two Texas fire lieutenants died of burns after a Knights of Columbus lodge fire Saturday, a city official told the Associated Press.
Gregory Pickard and Eric Wallace worked for the fire department in the Central Texas city of Bryan. They were in the group that responded to the fire about midnight Friday, city spokeswoman Mary Lynne Stratta told the Associated Press.
Wallace, a 13-year veteran, was in the lodge looking for occupants and said over his radio he was running low on oxygen, The Los Angeles Times reported.
When Wallace did not come out of the building Pickard and two other firefighters rushed in to get him and were also overcome with smoke, The Los Angeles Times reported.
A response unit found the men inside the building, the other two firefighters were injured, the Associated press reported.
Wallace died at the scene and Pickard died in a local hospital in the burn unit, The Los Angeles Times reported.
The Texas State Fire Marshall's office is investigating the cause of the fire, the Associated Press reported.
Services for Wallace are scheduled for Thursday while a service for Pickard is still pending, the Associated Press reported.

2 in questioned in death of Chicago teen

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Two men were taken into custody Sunday in connection to the death of a 15-year-old, Melissa Stratton a Chicago spokeswoman told The Associated Press.
The two men are 18 and 20 and were taken into custody Sunday morning for questioning. No charges have been filed, Stratton told The Associated Press.
Hadiya Pendleton was shot to death Jan. 29 as an innocent victim in a gang-related shooting, Police told The Associated Press.
The shooting occurred a week after Hadiya performed at President Obama's second inauguration. Hadiya was an honor student and band majorette at King College Prep School, CNN reported.
The killing happened in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood near Obama's Chicago home. Michelle Obama attended Hadiya's funeral Saturday, CNN reported.
Her death has become a national story with the gun control debate in Washington, CNN reported.
Hadiya's death brought attention to Chicago's 507 recorded homicides in 2012, The Associated Press reported.

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