May 4, 2008

Virus outbreak in China

The Ministry of Health in China strengthened efforts to stop a deadly child virus that has infected over 3,000 children and has killed 22 since Saturday, according to the Xinhua News Agency. CNN

Numbers of children infected rose from 3,321 deaths on Friday to 3,736 early Saturday in the hardest-hit city of Fuyang in the Anhui province, the news agency said. Overall the virus has hit 4,529 children in 15 cities. The Washington Post

The virus, called Enterovirus 71 , causes fever, mouth sores and a rash with blisters, the Associated Press said.

"Authorities in Anhui ... are doing the utmost to treat the children and strengthen disease control," Wang Yan, an official of the Anhui provice, said.

April 15, 2008

75 dead in plane crash in Africa

A passenger plane crashed into a busy marketplace near the runway during takeoff from the Goma airport in the Democratic Republic of Congo, killing at least 75 people, officials said. CNN

Five crew members and 10 passengers survived the crash, Antoine Ghonda, a Congolese lawmaker and former foreign minister, said. It was not determined if the death toll included people on the ground. International Herald Tribune

"We have already picked up many bodies - dozens of bodies," Julien Mpaluku, governor of the province of the eastern Congo town of Goma, said. "There are a lot of flames, which makes it difficult to know if the bodies we are picking up are those of passengers of the plane or else passers-by or people that lived in the area where the plane crashed." International Herald Tribune

A family of four Americans, who sustained minimal injuries, were onboard, a U.S. Embassy spokeswoman said. CNN

The aftermath was described as "a scene of total devastation and chaos" by one journalist on scene.

British journalist freed

Iraqi security forces freed a kidnapped British journalist on Monday after two months of captivity in a Shiite militia stronghold in Basra, a defense official said. Associated Press

The story of Richard Butler's was shown on state television soon after his release surrounded by Iraqi military officials who welcomed his release.Yahoo News

Butler, who was abducted along with his Iraqi translator on February 10 while on assignment, was thankful for the soldiers who had rescued him. Associated Press

"Thank you and I'm looking forward to seeing my family and my friends at CBS and thank you again," Butler said, who was thin but in good condition. Yahoo News

The army patrol that found Butler was not looking for him, a military defense spokesman said. They were conducting a sweep of the area and responded after coming under fire from the house where he was being held.
Associated Press

Butler said the Iraqi troops were "brilliant." Associated Press

April 10, 2008

35 arrested in Olympics bomb plot

Terrorists from Islam were planning to attack Beijing, Shanghai, and other locations in China with explosives and other devices for the Summer Olympics, China announced on Thursday. CNN

35 suspects were arrested during a 10-day series of raids, a statement from the Ministry of Public Security said.

China also said that authorities discovered about 21 pounds (9.5 kg) of explosives, eight detonators, two explosive devices, and some propaganda materials for "holy war" from the raids in Urumqi, the capital for the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. The Autonomous Region is home to about 19 million people, mostly made up of Muslims and other minorities.

"We know that their goal was very clear -- that is, specifically to sabotage the staging of the Beijing Olympics," Communist Party Secretary Wang Lequan said.

Chinese officials have not produced evidence for the allegations against the subjects. Yahoo News

This event is the latest in a series of the latest in a series of terrorism charges against ethnic minorities in the run-up to the Summer Games, Yahoo News said.

April 1, 2008

Gore launches launches global warming campaign

Former Vice President Al Gore, launched a $300 million, three-year campaign for climate change today. Reuters

The Alliance for Climate Protection, which chairs Gore, announced its campaign, called "We," will educate the public about global warming and beg solutions from officials. It will air television advertisements combined with online strategies and partnerships with grassroots groups. CNN

Gore has been a long-time advocate of global warming, and will put worth his own money into the campaign, he said. CNN

"We can solve the climate crisis, but it will require a major shift in public opinion and engagement," Gore said. Reuters

March 29, 2008

Tanzanian mine floods

A mine flood in Tanzania left at least 75 miners missing, all of whom are feared to be dead, a government official said Saturday. CNN

Heavy rainfall in northeastern Tanzania near the town of Arusha lead to the mine collapse, which operates as a mine for a rare gem called Tanzanite, a government official said. Reuters

Six bodies have been recovered so far, a journalist and an owner of the mine said.

The government is attempting to drain the mines to retrieve the workers, Manyara Regional Commissioner Henry Shekifu said. The rainfall is causing problems such as power outages for the rescuers.

The mines are dangerous to work in, for they are little more than holes dug hundreds of feet deep with little safety precautions taken, CNN said.

Previous accidents have occurred, including another collapse ten years ago, when more than 100 miners died,
CNN said.

March 25, 2008

Curfew imposed in Basra

A nighttime curfew was imposed by authorities in Iraq on Basra, a southern city in Iraq, on Monday, said the BBC.

The curfew was imposed due to clashes between authorities and members of Mehdi Army militia, a Shia organization. BBC

The movement of people and vehicles is forbidden from the hours of 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. everyday, and classes were also cancelled from Tuesday to Thursday. Reuters

Vehicles from other provinces are not going to be allowed in the city for three days this week, officials said. Reuters

A low profile has been kept in the last few months by the Mehdi Army militia, but gun battles in Baghdad and elsewhere have risen fears in the country.

March 16, 2008

McCain goes to Iraq

Senator John McCain, who has linked his success in the race for president with his position on the fighting in Iraq, was in Baghdad on Sunday for the first time since becoming the presumed Republican candidate, the Associated Press.

Though he was expected to go there, the details of McCain's visit were not released for security reasons, the U.S. Embassy said. It is undetermined who he met with, as no press conferences were held. CNN

He went with fellow members of the Armed Services Committee, Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, and Joseph Lieberman, I-Connecticut. CNN

McCain, a strong supporter of the United State's position in Iraq, is believed to be staying in the country for about 24 hours. Associated Press

"Senator McCain is in Iraq and will be meeting with Iraqi and U.S. officials," said Mirembe Nantongo, a spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. Associated Press

March 13, 2008

Hong Kong closes schools

Schools in Hong Kong were closed this week to prevent the spread of a flu outbreak, Fox News said.

Health Secretary York Chow made the decision to give all kindergarten and primary schools an extended break from school in addition to the scheduled Easter holidays. CNN

The government is also investigating the deaths of three children last week, one of the reasons for taking time off of school, according to Chow. The Secretary also said that this would help to reduce infections and calm the public.CNN

"We estimate this peak season of influenza will continue for a few weeks," Chow said. Fox News.

The influenza outbreak has contributed to overcrowding in hospitals, and Emergency Room activity has increased, Hospital Authority Chief Executive Shane Solomon said. Fox News

March 5, 2008

Paisley steps down

The Rev. Ian Paisley, an important figure in Northern Ireland politics, announced that he will step down today. MSN UK

As leader of the Democratic Unionist Party and First Minister in the Northern Ireland Assembly for more than 40 years, he has played a role in the conflict between Northern and Southern Ireland. CNN

The decision made by the 81-year-old Protestant evangelist was made because of pressure from within his party. He will step down after an investment conference in Belfast, CNN said.

Although he will resign as Northern Ireland's first minister, he said he plans to remain a member of British Parliament and a Northern Ireland Assembly member, MSN UK said.

"I came to this decision a few weeks ago when I was thinking very much about the conference and what was going to come after the conference. I thought that it would be a very appropriate time for me to bow out," The Rev. Paisley said. CNN

February 28, 2008

Prince Harry in combat

The UK's Prince Harry has been seen in combat in Afghanistan, the MInistry of Defense confirmed on Thursday. Reuters

The prince has been a combat soldier on the front lines for about 10 weeks, but his deployment was kept secret for the security of the prince and others around him, officials said. CNN

The news was leaked by German, Australian, and U.S. Web sites. Harry was deployed to Helmand, a dangerous southern region of Afghanistan, but now there is talk over whether he should remain there, for fear of Taliban militants and others making him a target. Reuters

In the past, Prince Harry has expressed a desire to serve his country.

"At the beginning of this year, it was very hard and I did think, 'well, clearly one of the main reasons that I'm not likely to be going (to war) was the fact of who I am," Prince Harry told reporters in 2007. CNN

Ministry building in Gaza hit

Israeli missiles struck the Palestinian Interior Ministry Building on Wednesday in the Gaza Strip, just hours after Palestinians fired rockets into southern Israel. CNN

A six-month old was killed, along with at least 30 people who were injured, military and medical emergency personnel in Israel said. CNN

Military sources said that the attack was part of a series of air raids in retaliation of the Palestinian rockets. Washington Post

The U.S. announced that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will meet with Palestinian and Israeli leaders next week to start peace talks. Washington Post

An opinion poll in Israel showed that 64 percent of Israelis favor peace talks with Hamas, the militants in control of Gaza. CNN

February 21, 2008

Inoperable satellite destroyed by United States

An inoperable U.S. satellite was struck Saturday by a U.S. Navy missile, military officials said. The destruction of the satellite needed to be done after the space shuttle Atlantis had landed, and the weather had to be perfect, officials said. CNN

The spy satellite was orbiting some 150 miles from Earth, and was destroyed in order to ensure that it did not fall to Earth and cause damage from toxic wastes, government officials said. CNN

Russia says that the missile may be a veiled test of anti-satellite technology under the U.S. defense system. BBC

The launch is also suspected to be a response to military rival China's destruction of a satellite last year, which was denied by U.S. military officials. CNN

February 14, 2008

Two dinosaur fossils discovered

Two new dinosaur fossils were uncovered in Africa by a Chicago team of archaeologists, said the Chicago Tribune.

The dinosaurs lived some 110 million years ago, said archaeologists. News Times One was named Kryptops palaios, meaning "old hidden face," for a thick skin covering his face, said a journal by University of Chicago paleontologist Paul Sereno and Stephen Brusatte. The other was named Eucarcharia dinops, or "firece-eyed dawn shark," because of its sharp teeth and bony brow.

Also according to the journal, the dinosaurs were about 25 feet in length and stood about 7 feet high. Chicago Tribune

Paleontologists say that this discovery is important to understanding the world 100 million years ago. Peter Makovicky, curator of dinosaurs at the Field Museum, said the discoveries are "an important slice in geological time, and we don't yet fully comprehend how dinosaurs on the southern continents were evolving then." News Times

Hezbollah Militant Leader Killed

Wanted terrorist leader Imad Mughniyeh was killed in a car bombing in Syria, according to MSNBC. The man was suspected to be responsible for the attacks on hundreds of Americans in Lebanon in the 1980's.

Israel is thought to be behind the bombing, according to the Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah and Iran. No admittance was made to the assassination, but officials did not show remorse in Mughniyeh's death, . AFP

The Hezbollah leader was on FBI's list of wanted terrorist for nearly 20 years, and there was a $5 million reward for information to help with his arrest. In 1985 he was indicted for his role in the hijacking of a TWA airliner when a U.S. military officer was killed. AFP

Along with Israel, the United States was thankful for Mughniyeh's death. "The world is a better place without this man in it," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said. "One way or the other, he was brought to justice." MSNBC


February 7, 2008

Two possible Bhutto murder suspects arrested

Police in Pakistan arrested two men possibly involved in the assassination case of Benazir Bhutto on Thursday, said MSNBC.

The two men are Rafaqat and Hasnain, said Interior Ministry spokesman Javed Iqbal Cheema. MSNBC They were arrested in Rawalpindi, a garrison city where Bhutto was killed in a bomb attack on Dec. 27. The suspects are expected to appear in an anti-terrorism court on Friday, but no further details were given.

A team from Britain's Scotland Yard and Pakistani investigators are looking into Bhutto's assassination. Authorities arrested two other suspects last month, one is 15-year-old Aitzaz Shah, and the other is Sher Zaman. Pakistani officials have not yet named any of the detainees official suspects. MSNBC and CNN:

Pakistani and U.S. officials concluded that Bhutto's assassination was headed by Baitullah Mehsud, a leader of the Pakistani Taliban who is liked to al-Qaeda. MSNBC and CNN:

Video found shows al-Qaeda training boys to kidnap and kill

A video found by U.S. troops shows al-Qaeda training children to kidnap and kill civilians in Iraq, U.S. and Iraqi officials said, according to the New York Times.

The tape was found in December by U.S. troops during a raid in Khan Bani Saad, northeast of Baghdad. It showed that al-Qaeda was using children in terrorist attacks, said American military officials.

The video is believed by American intelligence officials to be a propaganda tape made by al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia. It may be used in training young boys to become members of the terrorist group. In it, several violent scenarios are acted out, including one of young boys holding guns to an unarmed man on a bicycle, saying, "Put your hands behind your head." New York Times.

The adult victims were most likely acted by the children's parents or other relatives, according to military officials. It is believed that the tapes are used in early training sessions with children in "the process of indoctrination and training that starts early to ensure they grow up to become future terrorists when they become of age," Rear Adm. Gregory Smith, an American spokesman, said. Union Tribune

February 4, 2008

Earthquakes in Congo

A strong earthquake struck the Democratic Republic of Congo in the eastern part of the country near the Tanzanian border on Sunday, according to the BBC. At least 39 were killed, and hundreds were injured.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the first quake was a 6.8 magnitude and it struck early Sunday morning near the border of Rwanda. Aftershocks also damaged the city. (

"Dozens of houses have collapsed, several children were buried by the roofs of their houses," said Jean-Donne Owali, a Congolese humanitarian worker, said. ( Some were killed while attending church.

January 30, 2008

Mentally Disabled Women Involved In Suicide Bombings

Two female suicide bombers, who were apparently mentally handicapped, were strapped with explosive devices and killed dozens of people in a marketplace upon detonation in Baghdad, Iraq on Friday, according to Casualties resulting from the bombing were the highest they have been since the increase of 30,000 U.S. troops to Baghdad in the spring of 2007.

The suicide bombers may have been unaware of their actions. Iraqi officials said they were mentally handicapped and the bombs, which were hidden under the womens' robes, were remote-controlled.

The attacks were apparently coordinated. The first occurred at 10:20 a.m. at the al-Ghazl market, a crowded pet bazaar in the New Baghdad district. The woman frequented the market and was known as "the crazy lady." The second blast occurred 20 minutes later in a largely Shiite area in southeastern Baghdad. (Yahoo! News)

The bombings were determined to most likely be the work of al-Qaida, according to a U.S. military spokesman. ( Women may have been used in attacks due to the increased security measures, as they are able to pass through security easily because the men cannot search them.

The Iraqi President said the attacks were meant "to stop the march of history and of our people toward reconciliation."