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87 die in Bangladesh building collapse

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An eight-story building housing garment factories collapsed near Bangladesh's capital Wednesday, killing at least 87 people, ABC News reported.

The Rana Plaza building contained several clothing factories, a bank and a market, BBC News reported.

More than 600 people were injured in the event, and the death toll is expected to rise, BBC News reported.

"I gave them whistles, water, torchlights, I heard them cry," fir official Abul Khayer said about his rescue efforts. He said rescue missions to find survivors still trapped inside the collapsed building would continue through the night, ABC News reported.

Because Bangladesh's multi-story blocks are built in violation of regulations, building collapses commonly occur in the country, BBC News reported.

Workers said they hesitated going to work because of the large cracks in the building, which had been reported on local news channels, ABC News reported.

The collapse comes less than five months after a factory fire killed 112 people, eliciting greater concern for the Bangladesh garment industry's unsafe working conditions, ABC News reported.


New Zealnd became the 13th country in the world and the first in the Asian-Pacific region to legalize same sex marriage Wednesday, The Pioneer Press reported.

The country's Parliament passed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage Wednesday, and the law is expected to take effect in four months, CNN reported.

The vote was 77 to 44 in favor of the bill on its third reading Wednesday night, The Pioneer Press reported.

People broke into song, singing New Zealand's love song, "Pokarekare Ana" after the result was announced, The Pioneer Press reported.

"In our society, the meaning of marriage is universal--it's a declaration of love and commitment to a special person," bill sponsor Louisa Wall said as reported by The Pioneer Press. "Nothing could make me more proud to be a New Zealander than passing this bill."

The move comes a week after Uruguayan lawmakers approved a measure legalizing same-sex marriage, CNN reported.

A few other countries including the United Kingdom and France are also considering whether to allow same-sex couples to marry, and Nepal's legalization of same-sex marriage has not gone into effect because the country's new constitution has been in a transitionary period for years, CNN reported.

Margaret Thatcher, Britain's first and only female prime minister, died at 87 from a stroke Monday, CNN reported.

Thatcher suffered from a stroke Monday morning at the Ritz hotel in London, Tim Bell, Thatcher's spokesperson, said as reported by The Star Tribune.

Thatcher served from 1975 to 1990 as leader of the Conservative Party, called the "Iron Lady". After suffering a stroke in 2002, Thatcher retired from public life, CNN reported.

"Margaret Thatcher undoubtedly was one of the most remarkable political figures of the modern world," Russian President Vladimir Putin said as reported by The Star Tribune.

Queen Elizabeth II authorized a ceremonial funeral for Thatcher to be held at St. Paul's Cathedral in London next week with military honors, The Star Tribune reported.

13 children die in Myanmar mosque fire

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An Islamic school fire caused by electrical equipment malfunctions killed 13 boys in Yagon on Tuesday, NBC News reported.

The fire came after a period of violence from Buddhist mobs plagued Myanmar, raising suspicion among some Muslims, NBC News reported.

The compound in eastern Yagon, which included a mosque, a school and a dormitory, housed about 75 children. Most escaped by running out of a door rescue workers knocked open, after finding most of the building's windows blocked by security bars, The Pioneer Press reported.

16 of the children were trapped in a small loft when the fire began, and only three boys jumped to safety, The Pioneer Press reported.

Soe Myint, who helped with the aftermath of the fire, said the fire was not caused by an electrical malfunction.

"The whole mosque smelled of diesel," Myint said as reported by The Pioneer Press. "We don't use diesel at the school."

Yagon Division Cheif Minister Myint Swe said that diesel was normally used to power the mosque generator during power outages, The Pioneer Press reported.

A funeral for the 13 boys was scheduled to be held on Tuesday afternoon, NBC News reported.


Biggest cyber-attack in history slows global internet

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What security experts describe as the biggest cyber-attack in history has slowed the internet across the globe, BBC News reported.

The attacks stem from a row between Geneva-based spam-fighting group Spamhaus and a hosting firm, BBC News reported.

Spamhaus, a non-profit organisation meant to eliminate email spam, blocked servers maintained by a Dutch web host named Cyberbunker, The Pioneer Press reported.

The attacks on Spamhaus measured at 300 billion bits per second, according to San Francisco-based CloudFlare Inc. "It is a small miracle that we're still online," Vincent Hanna, a Spamhaus resaercher, said as reported by The Pioneer Press.

Cyberbunker, in cooperation with criminal gangs from eastern Europe and Russia, is behind the attack, Spamhaus said as reported by BBC News.

Spamhaus was abusing its position, said Sven Olaf Kamphuis, who claims to be a Cyberbunker spokesman. Kamphuis said Spamhaus should not be allowed to decide "what goes and does not go on the internet", The Pioneer Press reported.

Five die in Afghan helicopter crash

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Five NATO foreign forces members in Afghanistan died in a helicopter crash Monday, NATO said as reported by BBC News.

A NATO news release said there was no enemy activity in the southern Afghanistan area when the crash occurred, but it did not disclose the nationalities of the service members or the crash's specific location, CNN reported.

US, British, and Australian troops normally operate in southern Afghanistan, BBC News reported.

This was the coalition's first helicopter crash resulting in deaths since September, CNN reported.


Hot air balloon crashes in Egypt, killing at least 19

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A hot air balloon crashed into a Luxor sugar cane field on Tuesday, killing at least 19 tourists, BBC News reported.

The balloon was 1,000 ft high, carrying more than 20 tourists when it exploded, BBC News reported.

The victims included French, British, Belgian, Hungarian, Japanese citizens and nine tourists from Hong Kong, Luxor Governor Ezzat Saad said as reported by The Star Tribune.

The explosion started during the balloon's landing, in which a landing cable got caught around a helium tube and combusted, an investigator said as reported by The Star Tribune.

The Egyptian pilot and one Briton survived the crash, The Star Tribune reported.

Thomas Cook travel company said it owned the balloon and that the accident was a "terrible tragedy", BBC News reported.


$50 million in diamonds stolen from Brussels Airport

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Eight robbers, disguised as police and armed with automatic weapons, stole $50 million in diamonds from Brussels Airport Monday evening, The New York Times reported.

The eight masked men stole diamond loaded from a Brink's armored van from Antwerp, Belgium from Flight LX789 around 8 p.m., 20 minutes before takeoff, and then fled the scene, The New York Times reported.

The men drove through the Brussel Airport's perimeter fence dressed as police officers and were armed with automatic weapons, CNN reported.

The robbers took the diamonds in the small gap between the time of loading the valuables to the time of takeoff, Caroline De Wolf, Antwerp World Diamond Centre spokeswoman, said as reported by The New York Times.

No one was hurt in the incident, although the pilot, co-pilot, and a transport security guard were threatened at gunpoint, CNN reported.

Ine Van Wymersch of the Public Prosecutor's Office in Brussels, said the robbery was "very precise, almost military-organized," and said the robbers were "professionals," CNN reported.


Pope Benedict resigns

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Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation Monday, becoming the first pope to do so in almost 600 years, CNN reported.

Benedict, 85, said he is stepping down "because of advanced age", noting that he no longer has the energy to "adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to [him]," according to the Vatican as reported by CNN.

Benedict made the announcement in Latin on Monday morning during a meeting of Vatican cardinals, The Associated Press reported.

Benedict will devote the rest of his life to prayer and reflection in a monastery. He will not be involved in the church's decision of his successor, CNN reported.

According to NPR's Sylvia Poggioli, the pope had been planning on stepping down for some time.

The last pope to resign, Pope Gregory XII, did so in 1415, NPR reported.

Tsunami hits Solomon Islands killing 5

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A tsunami, triggered by an 8.0-magnitude South Pacific earthquake, killed five Solomon Islands people Wednesday, CNN reported.

The 1-meter tsunami hit Lata of the Santa Cruz Islands, killing four elderly people and one child, CNN reported.

At least 100 Lata houses were destroyed. The tsunami also caused an outage of water and electricity in the Solmon Islands's Temoto Province capitol, Christian humanitarian organization World Vision said as reported by The New York Times.

Most of Lata's residence fled to higher ground because of a tsunami warning, which included several surrounding islands, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said as reported by The New York Times.

The U.S. Geological Survey reported the tsunami's causing earthquake was 17.8 miles deep and occurred near the Santa Cruz Islands, CNN reported.

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