April 26, 2009

World 'well prepared' for virus

A top UN Chief said Sunday that the international community is more than prepared for the potential threat of the new swine flu virus, reported the BBC.

While the UN warned that the outbreak could become an epidemic, Dr. Keiji Fukuda said the world stocks of anti-virals are high after years of preparing for bird flu, reported the BBC.

Canada became the newest country to announce cases of the flu, alongside 80 deaths in Mexico and 20 cases in the U.S, according to the BBC.

U.S. health officials declared a public health emergency on Sunday because of the rising cases of the swine flu, as investigators attempt to figure out its path, reported the New York Times.

“We are seeing more cases of swine flu,” Dr. Richard Besser, acting director of the Centers for Disease Control, said in a news conference in Washington, reported the New York Times.. “We expect to see more cases of swine flu. As we continue to look for cases, I expect we’re going to find them.”

Currently, there are no deaths from the swine flue in the U.S., and only one confirmed infected person has been hospitalized, officials said, reported the New York Times.

Airports in Asia and Latin America have begun screening passengers for symptoms of the virus, reported the BBC.

According to the BBC, there are no vaccines for the new strain as of yet, but there are anitviral medications that can be used to treat severe cases.

New York TImes:

April 19, 2009

Hemisphere's leaders see signs of hope

The leader's of the western hemisphere's nations concluded a two day summit Sunday, under the excitement of the new the American president, reported the New York Times.

After years of disagreement and difficulty with the U.S., the summit meeting declared a time of new and better relations in the region, reported the New York Times.

The BBC reported that the summit ended on a positive note, despite disagreement on a joint declaration and issues with the U.S. such as the exclusion of Cuba from the meeting.

“There was a spirit of good will that went way beyond the wildest dreams of any one of us,” Patrick Manning, the prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago, said Sunday, reported the New York Times.

President Barack Obama said that the summit signified a new start to U.S. relations with its neighbors and that he saw positive signs with Cuba and Venezuela, reported the BBC.

Leaders from both Brazil and Venezuela said they hoped for better interactions with the U.S., as Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva said he saw "potential positive signs" between the US and Cuba and Venezuela, according to the BBC.

"We have a different focus obviously, but we are willing, we have the political will to work together," Reuters news agency reported Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez as saying, according to the BBC.

New York Times:

Italy agrees to take in migrants

Italy agreed on Sunday to take in 140 migrants off the deck of a Turkish-owned cargo ship that had rescued them in the Mediterranean Sea, reported the New York Times.

The acceptance ends a four day diplomatic stand-off between Italy and Malta. Rome had intially said that ship was in Matlese search and rescue area and that they should take them in, according to the BBC.

Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said Italy was taking in the migrants for "humanitarian reasons", reported the BBC. Frattini made sure to insist the actions did not set a precedent.

“Malta should have taken them in,” Mr. Frattini was quoted as saying on state television, according to The Associated Press, reported the New York Times.

The migrants were initially rescued off the coast of the Italian island of Lampedusa after their boats got into trouble because of rough seas, reported the BBC.

“Thank God, thank God, the situation is now resolved,” said Laura Boldrini, a spokeswoman in Rome for the commissioner’s office, reported the New York Times.

The New York Times also reports that one woman aboard, who was pregnant, died. All of the migrants had traveled from Africa.

New York Times:

April 11, 2009

Somali pirates seize boat with crew of 16

Somali pirates hijacked a tugboat Saturday with a crew of 16 in the Gulf of Aden, reported the BBC.

The pirates seized the Italian tugboat with 10 Italians on board while focus still remains on the American catpain Richard Phillips who is being held by pirates on a lifeboat flanked by naval warships, reported the New York Times.

The BBC reported that the pirates holding Philips have warned that using force to resuce the captain would result in 'disaster'.

"This incident shows the pirates are becoming more daring and violent,"Andrew Mwangura, of the Mombasa-based East African Seafarers’ Assistance Programme, told Reuters in a telephone interview, reported the New York Times.

The American captain is being held hundres of miles of the Somali coast by four pirates as U.S. and other naval ships make their way to the area.

In other developments, a frenchman and two pirates were killed Friday in a French rescue operation for another vessel captured off the Somalia coast. The BBC reports that four others, including a child, were freed from the yacht.

Reports from the US say the pirates are demanding a $2 million ransom for his safe release.

NY Times:

April 5, 2009

Italy toughs powerful earthquake

Atleast six people, four of them children, have been reported dead after an eathquake struck central Italy Monday morning, reported the New York Times.

The earthquake had a magnitude of 6.3 and struck at 10 km depth some 60 miles north-east of the capital city, Rome. The epicenter was in L’Aquila, a small medival hill town, where many people were stuck under rubble and serious damage was done to buildings, reported the New York Times.

The earthquake occured around 3:30 a.m. and felt as far away as Rome, where a correspondent said he was woken up from the shaking, reporteed the BBC.

Four children died after being taken to a hospital after their house collapsed, ANSA reported, according to the New York Times.

The BBC reported that an aftershock was reported about an hour after the quake with a magnitude of 4.8.

According to the BBC, powerful earthquakes are rare in Italy. Thirteen people died when a strong earthquake struck the central region in 1977.

NY Times:

March 29, 2009

22 killed in Stampede in Ivory Coast

Twenty-two people were killed and another 132 wounded in a soccer stampede at a World Cup qualifying match on Sunday in the Ivory Coast, authorities said, reported the New York Times.

Fans pushed against eachother and sparked a panic that evolved into a stampede at the Houphouet-Boigny arena in the West African country's city of Abidjan, said Interior Minister Desire Tagro, according to the New York Times.

The BBC says a wall collapsed under the weight of the supporters, causing the fans already in to try squeeze into the stadium to panic.

''They started pushing to get in because the match was about to start and each and every one of them wanted to get in,'' said Tagro on state television, reported the New York Times.

Some 36,000 people were in the stadium for the where Ivory Coast beat Malawi 5-0. It was packed for the return of Chelsea striker Didier Drogba, who scored twice, reported the BBC's John James.

The BBC reports that one of their correspondents said the authorities tried desperately to control the panicking crowd, firing tear gas into the crowds to control the fans.

The New York Times reports that there have been many stampedes at Africa's stadiums, whose outnumbered and under equiped security forces 'are often unable to control the voluminous crowds'.

New York Times:

March 22, 2009

Jade Goody dies at 27

British Reality TV star Jade Goody died Sunday morning after a public struggle with cervical cancer, reported CNN.

Goody, 27, was a dental technician whose appearance in British "Big Brother" continued into a career as a full-time celebrity, reported the New York Times.

Goody died in her sleep at her home in Essex around 4 a.m., with her newly wed husband, Jack Tweed, and her mother Jackiey Budden by her bedside.

Gordon Brown, the British Prime Minister, said he was "deeply saddened" by Goody's death.

"Her family can be extremely proud of the work she has done to raise awareness of cervical cancer which will benefit thousands of women across the U.K. Every death from cancer is a tragedy and my thoughts go out to her two sons, husband and family at this time," Brown said in a statement, reported CNN.

Jane Goody was diagnosed with cervical cancer in August of 2008 and given only weeks to live, where after she earned more than$1 million by selling the media rights to her wedding, according to the New York Times.

“I’ve lived my whole adult life talking about my life,” she told an interviewer from her hospital bed, reported the New York Times. “I’ve lived in front of the cameras. And maybe I’ll die in front of them.”

Goody leaves behind two sons, Bobby, 5, and Freddie, 4, by former boyfriend and TV host Jeff Brazier, reported CNN.

NY Times:

Four Police officers dead in Oakland Shootings

A fourth police officer died Sunday as a result of shootings that occurred Saturday in Oakland, California, according to a police spokesman, reported CNN.

John Hege, 41, was pronounced dead about noon Sunday at Highland Hospital where he was on life support, Oakland police spokesman Jeff Thomason said, reported CNN.

Hege was one of four police officers shot and killed Saturday after a man was pulled over in a traffic stop and later battled SWAT at a nearby apartment.

Lovelle Mixon, 26, was the gunman who was shot and killed Saturday in a gunfight with SWAT. Police said Mixon had extensive criminal history, and had violated his parole for assault with a deadly weapon with a warrant out for his arrest, reported the New York Times.

Police said that Mixon shot two motorcycle officers after being pulled over around 1 p.m., killing one and wounding the other. He then fled to a nearby apartment, where after a hunt through the streets of Oakland, police found him and busted into him apartment. Mixon shot and killed two more officers with an assault rifle, before he was shot dead by police, reported the New York Times.

The officers killed were Sgt. Mark Dunakin, 40, Officer John Hege, 41, Sgt. Ervin Romans, 43, and Sgt. Dan Sakai, 35. The killings mark one of the worst days in the Oakland Police Department's history, reported the New York Times.

NY Times:

March 8, 2009

Two British Soldiers Murdered

Two British soldiers were killed execution-style and four others wounded in Northern Ireland on Saturday night reported CNN.

Police said Sunday the attack was "an attempt at mass murder", while Prime Minister Gordon Brown condemned the attacks as "evil and cowardly", and that "the whole country is shocked and outraged."

A Dublin-based newspaper received a call supposedly from the Real IRA, claiming responsibility for the attack at Massereene army base, reported the BBC.

The soldiers were shot as pizzas were delivered to their base to the base, Detective Chief Superintendent Derek Williamson of the Police Service of Northern Ireland said Sunday, reported CNN.

Two other soldiers and two pizza delivery men were also wounded with serious injuries, a police spokeswoman said.

Williamson said the two gunmen had automatic rifles and fired an initial volley of shots, then after moving forward, proceeded to fire a second round at people lying on the ground before fleeing in a car driven by a third person.

The dead soldiers were both in their early 20s and were scheduled to leave for Afghanistan in a few days, according to the BBC.

The soldiers are the first British troops to be killed in Northern Ireland in 12 years, since Lance Bombardier Stephen Restorick was killed by an IRA sniper in 1997.


February 22, 2009

Tourist killed, 23 wounded in bombing

A tourist was killed and 23 others wounded in a bombing Sunday in one of Cairo's busy tourist disctricts, according to Egyptian authorities reported CNN.

A bombing killed a 17-year-old french tourist and wounded 23 others, 18 of whom were Europeans, Sunday in an open-air hotel cafe packed with tourists in the Khan al-Khalili area. It is a major attraction and home to a prominent mosque, reported the BBC.

Security officials said a man and a woman were arrested after the explosion, but no further details have been released.

The BBC reports Egyptian police said the device, most likely home-made, was thrown from a balcony. Conflicting reports, such as that from CNN, say the bomb may have been left under a bench.

Several of the injured are expected to be released from hospital treatment on Monday, said Egyptian medical officials, reported CNN.

President Hosni Mubarak was "closely monitoring the situation" and had ordered "full medical care for all those injured in the blast," said Nile TV, according to CNN.


February 11, 2009

New Zimbabwe Prime Minister sworn in

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai was sworn into the newly created prime minister post in Zimbabwe on Wednesday reported CNN.

Tsvangirai was given the oath by President Mugabe, beginning the new unity government, a result of the power sharing agreement reached between the two in September.

Zimbabweans are hoping this will bring the end to months of political violence and a broken economy that Tsvangirai has promised to address and fix, reported the BBC. Citizens and outsiders alike hope the new unity government will restore Zimbabwe to the once-prosperous country it was, now facing some of its worst conditions since gaining independence from Great Britain in 1980.

"The first priority is to stabilise the economy," said Tsvangirai speaking to thousands of supports as the country work a festive look, according to CNN. "The economic collapse has forced millions of our most able to flee the country. This must end today."

Zimbabwe is dealing with massive inflation, a cholera epidemic that has kill near 4,000 people, and 90 percent unemployment. International aid has been promised if the country makes real positive change reported the BBC.

President Mugabe vowed to co-operate in the new unity government with his long time bitter rival.

"I offer my hand of friendship and co-operation, warm co-operation and solidarity in the service of our great country Zimbabwe," he said.


February 8, 2009

Australian fire deaths expected to increase

Australian officials have said that the death count from the wildfires, already at 128, is likely to increase reported the BBC on Sunday.

The raging wildfires in Australia's state of Victoria have killed 128 people and burned some 200,000 hectares of land and 600 homes, according to CNN. About 25 fires are still being fought, 2 of which are threatening urban areas in the midst of some towns being completely destroyed and flattened.

"I think it's important that the nation braces itself for more bad news ... this is a little horror which few of us anticipated," said Australian President Kevin Rudd. "That's why we have deployed the army, that's why we will be deploying every possible resource."

Police are saying the wildwires are the worst in the nation's history, as thousands of firefighters tirelessly battled the fires Sunday. There are reports of arson suspected and that fires may have been set deliberately reported the BBC.

The president has announced an immediate $7 million aid package to assist the affected families. The fires have surpassed the 75 person death toll from 1983 that was previously the most devastating fire in Australia, now known as Ash Wednesday.


Protests turn violent in Madagascar

Twenty-eight people were killed during protests in Madagascar on Saturday according to the BBC. CNN reports only 23.

A rally of some 20,000 people was held Saturday that continued into a march toward President Marc Ravalomanana's compound, where police opened fire killing 28 and injuring more than 200.

The protests come after the dismissal of Andry Rajoelina from his position as mayor of the nation's capital, Antananarivo. There have been repeated protests since his removal, amidst a power struggle between Rajoelina and the president.

Rajoelina has called to his supporters for the protests to continue until President Ravalomanana steps down. The BBC reports that Rajoelina has successfully tapped into the vast frustration with the government, accusing the president of misuse of public money and being a dictator.

According to CNN, Rajoelina claims to head a transitional national government, after taking to the streets a week ago and declaring himself the nation's leader after a week of violence leaving 80 dead and 300 more injured.

"The people need change," Rajoelina said to BBC reporters. "What is Ravalomanana's answer? Shots."


February 1, 2009

Many killed in Kenyan oil fires

More than 100 people were killed Sunday in Kenya after a crashed oil tanker caught fire and exploded.

The BBC reports that around 200 are also injured from the fire. Four policeman attempting to control the crowds were among the victims of the fire, according to CNN.

The explosion occured in a small town in the Rift Valley Province called Molo, CNN reported. The tanker had overturned on the highway, where people gathered to scoop up the spilled oil. They collected and siphoned the oil for over an hour before the fire was lit and the vehicle exploded.

The cause of the fire is at the moment unknown, but some reports have indicated the possibility of a lit cigarrete being the cause, or the fire being set deliberately.


January 31, 2009

Mass Protests in Russia over economy

Thousands protested across Russia Saturday, voicing unrest and frustration with the continually sinking economy.

The protests were of criticism and displeasure over the economic policies and what they call the government's mismanagement of the economy, reported the BBC. The largest of the protests occured in Vladivostok where they called for Prime Minister Vladmir Putin to resign,while in Moscow the police arrested many.

Protests were uncommon to unimaginable after years of economic growth and prosperity among rising oil prices and the increase of government control over all of society. They are a result of growing public anger with the government and fear over what is in their and their country's future.

The BBC reports that the large protest in Vladisvostok was called by the Communist Party and joined by many others upset over the tariffs on foreign imported automobiles, which the city had prospered upon. In Moscow, authorities allowed around one thousand protesters to demonstrate in the capital, where they called for the return of centralized economic policies and chanted "Down with the police state" and "Russia without Putin", according to the New York Times.

The government had at first avoided acknowledging the country's economic downturn, and still has yet to make clear any comprehensive strategy to deal with the increasing unemployment and devaluing of the ruble, despite putting aside billions of dollars to support and bail out struggling banks and companies.

New York Times:

January 21, 2009

Hello :)

Well I am just setting the blog up and making sure everything works. Hello Everyone, my name is Adam.

I would venture to guess that President Obama and his recent inauguration is on a lot of people's minds including my own. In that case and in the spirit of testing the blog, Ill throw a link here to the new White House website that the President and his team have constructed, as I think its an impressive and exciting tool we should use and understand, and is worthwhile being aware of and checking out. They hope for it to be "a central part of President Obama's pledge to make his the most transparent and accountable administration in American history", and we as citizens should utiilze it as a great way to hold him and his administration to just that. Exciting times!