Recently in International News Category

Experts speculate cause of Red Sea shark attacks

by Shannon Lee
Scientists are trying to determine what caused the shark attacks on tourists in the normally calm waters of Egypt's Red Sea.
A German woman died and four other were injured last week during a series of shark attacks near the shore of a resort in Sharm el-Sheikh.
Marine biologist George Burgess told the BBC the attacks were very unusual and definitely caused by environmental factors.
"What you have here are rational attempts by a predator to find food," Burgess said.
International investigators identified at least two different species of sharks as the predators in different attacks, but the investigation into what caused the incidents is still ongoing.
Other experts said overfishing, irresponsible tourist behavior and unusually high temperatures in the area may have encouraged sharks to move into shallower waters, reported the Guardian.
Hossam El-Hamalawy, a certified Red Sea rescue diver, told the Guardian that the tourism industry has been damaging the Red Sea ecology for years and he is "surprised the government has just woken up and discovered this overnight."
Many beaches have been closed to swimmers following the fatal attack Dec. 5, and the Egyptian government is concerned about the financial impact the shark attacks will have on tourism.

Students protest tuition hike in London

by Shannon Lee
British police arrested 153 students who were protesting against increased university tuition fees Tuesday in London.
The proposed tuition hike would let universities charge up to $14,000 a year -- three times more than what students currently pay.
Many students said they feel betrayed by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, the leader of Britain's Liberal Democrats, according to NPR. His party previously had a large amount of student support after pledging to vote against any tuition increases. The party changed its decision after teaming up with the Conservative Party as the junior partner in a coalition government.
The House of Commons is expected to vote on the issue in December, and it is not yet certain how the Liberal Democrat ministers will vote, according to the BBC.

Building collapsed in India, leaving at least 65 dead

by Shannon Lee
A five-story building collapsed Monday evening in New Delhi, killing at least 65 people and injuring around 80 more.
City officials suspected the collapse was caused by exposure to water from heavy monsoons and from being located close to the Yamuna River.
Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit told CNN she believed the building was unauthorized and had water in the basement for several days.
Many migrant workers from India's countryside rented cheap rooms in the building. They often housed extended family members while they looked for work, reported the New York Times.
Local residents told the New York Times that up to 400 people lived in the building. On Tuesday, many people were still not accounted for.

Thousands protested nuclear waste shipment in Germany

by Shannon Lee
A train carrying 123 tons of nuclear waste arrived in northern Germany Monday despite three days of protesting from activists who are opposed to the governments nuclear policy.
Once the train arrived at its destination in Dannenburg, the waste was unloaded and will be taken by trucks to a nearby storage facility in Gorleben.
Protesters voiced concerns about the safety of the waste. They said neither the containers nor the site were safe, reported the BBC.
Most of the protesting was peaceful, but at times police used batons, pepper spray, tear gas and water cannons to control demonstrators who launched fireworks at them and who set a police car on fire, according to the BBC.
Gorleben has been the site of radioactive waste storage for three decades. Activists have tried to block the transport of toxic materials there for years, but this year's protests have been the largest, according to the New York Times.
The government spent approximately $70 million and assigned 20,000 police officers to ensure the shipment reached its destination, reported the New York Times.
Experts told the New York Times that public opposition to Germany's nuclear policy is growing and is expected to have long-term backlash on Germany's political future.

South Korea fires warning shots at North Korean boat

by Shannon Lee
The South Korean Navy fired shots to drive off a North Korean fishing boat that had crossed the border between the two countries in the West Sea on Wednesday morning.
The shots were fired after the boat did not respond to loudspeaker demands from the Navy that it turn back, the Korea Times reported.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff told the Korea Times it was not clear why the boat crossed the border.
The waters have historically been a site for attacks between North and South Korea, resulting in deaths on both sides.
Next week, Seoul will hold an economic summit meeting, and the government is on the lookout for suspicious North Korean activities, according to the Korean Times.
South Korea President Lee Myung-bak did not mention the West Sea incident during a press conference, and said he believed North Korea "will be responsible during the Seoul summit," reported the New York Times.

Argentina's ex-president dies at 60

by Shannon Lee
Nestor Kirchner, the former president of Argentina, died Wednesday after a heart attack.
Kirchner was president from 2003-2007. His wife, current President Cristina Fernandez, was elected when his term ended.
Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez acknowledged Kirchner's work for international justice and called for three days of national mourning, reported the BBC.
Argentinian congressman Juan Carlos Dante Gullo told the Vision 7 TV network that the country "has lost one of its best men," reported CNN.
Politicians in the Unites States have expressed sympathy as well. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said her country mourned Kirchners death along with all Argentines, according to the BBC.
Kirchner and his wife received some criticism in recent years when they were accused of using their power over local authorities to gain wealth. The couple denied the allegations.
Kirchner is acknowledged for helping Argentina recover from a recession and stimulating economic growth during his presidency.

Suspected cholera outbreak kills over 100 people in Haiti

by Shannon Lee
Over 100 people died in Haiti and more than 1,000 suffered vomiting, diarrhea and dehydration, which led Haitian health officials to blame the outbreak on cholera.
The outbreak occurred about 60 miles north of the country's capital, Port-au-Prince, leaving hospitals "overwhelmed" and forcing them to evacuate patients to other clinics, the BBC reported.
A Haitian Ministry of Health official told the Miami Herald that cholera is definitly responsible for the outbreak, though The Pan American Health Organization said that it was still too early to tell.
Jessica Duplessi, a spokeswoman for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, told the Miami Herald, "We still don't know if it's coming from one central source or not. That is what the doctors and experts are trying to analyze."
Several people feared a cholera outbreak would occur in Haiti when it's January earthquake hit, which killed around 250,000 people and left over 1.5 million homeless, reported the BBC.

Burqa ban takes hold in France

by Shannon Lee
The highest court in France approved a controversial law Thursday to ban the wearing of burqas in public.
The law will fine anyone wearing a face veil in public anywhere other than a place or worship, and will go into effect early January 2011.
The French government argues the ban will protect womens rights, according to Al Jazeera, though Amnesty International told CNN it goes against human rights.
A Pew Global Attitudes survey found the majority of people in France, Germany, Britain and Spain support the ban, while most Americans do not, reported CNN.
Many organizations plan to dispute the law to the European Court, according to Al Jazeera.

Two Israeli soldiers convicted of using boy as human shield

by Shannon Lee
Two Israeli soldiers were found guilty Sunday for using a 9-year-old Palestinian boy as a human shield.
The soldiers forced to boy, identified only as Majd R, to check suspected booby-traps during an invasion south of Gaza City on Jan. 15, 2009, reported the BBC.
When the boy was ordered to check bags for explosives, he had trouble opening one and a soldier shot at it, according to the New York Times. The boy was returned to his parents, unharmed but terrified.
The soldiers will be sentenced at a later date, reported the BBC.
Their convictions are the first serious ones in Israels investigations of soldier conduct during the Gaza raid, said the New York Times, though human rights groups said the military's criminal proceeding are inadequate.

Western intelligence uncovers al-Qaida plot

by Shannon Lee
Western security agencies are tracking an early-stage al-Qaida terror plot based in Pakistan believed to target the U.K., France and Germany.
U.S. officials told the Wall Street Journal Tuesday that investigators are trying to determine if the terror plot could involve the U.S.
France and Germany are in a heightened state of security alert, reported the BBC. France has expanded the number of police officers outside its national landmarks.
The U.S. has increased its number of unmanned target airstrikes in Pakistan in an attempt to hinder the terrorist plan, which brought criticism from some media outlets in Europe, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The al-Qaida plan is considered one of the most serious attack plots in recent years, the BBC reported.

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