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Protests Continue in Thailand

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva of Thailand rejected a new offer by anti-government red shirts to end protests early in return for the dissolvement of parliament within a month.
Red-Shirt protests have carried on protests in Bangkok for six weeks, where clashes two weeks agowith the police led to 25 people dead, the BBC reported.
The PM said parliament will be dissolved, not for the Red Shirts, but for the country. However, Mr. Abhisit said parliament will be dissolved by the end of 2010.
The red shirts protest the "double standards" where the wealthy, elites and military break laws with impunity, while the poor are held responsible, according to the NY Times.
Many protesters are former Prime Minister Thakskin Shinawatra supporters. Shinawatra was ousted in a military coup in 2006.
Red shirts like Shinawatra because he is said to have done the most to help the poor, according the NY Times; while Mr. Abhisit's government is illegitimate because it came to power by securing parliament's support after the judiciary dismantled the previous pro-Thaksin government in 2008, according to the BBC.

Facebook Called to add Panic Button

Facebook is being pressed by a British child protection agency to add "panic buttons" to its homepage at a meeting in Washington DC, according to the BBC.
Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) is criticizing Facebook for not having a "panic button" on every page of its website.
The button would alert police and possible other resources, such as CEOP, to potential pedophiles', according to Telegraph.
Alan Johnson, the home secretary, and Gordon Brown would like Facebook to install the panic button to their site, according to Telegraph.
Facebook said they will not add a panic button, but will add a CEOP to the site's Safety Centre.
Other sites, such as Bebo, have a panic button. Following the link takes people to a site on handling cyber bullying, viruses, distressing material and inappropriate sexual behavior, the BBC reported.
Facebook is scheduled to meet with CEOP in Washington on April 12 to further discuss the issue.
The suggestion for the button follows the murder of Ashleigh Hall, 17, last October in County Durham. Peter Chapman, a 35-year-old serial rapist met Hall on a social networking site, according to Telegraph. Chapman was jailed for at least 35 years after he raped, suffocated and dumped the teen's body in a field near Sedgefield.
Facebook said it was saddened by her tragic death.

Two Women Tried to Take Corpse on a Plane

Two women were arrested at a British airport after they tried to bring a family member's corpse onto a plane Saturday, according to BBC.
The widow, 66, and step-daughter, 41, of Curt Willi Jarant tried to check his 91-year-old body onto their flight, which is when airport staff became suspicious of Jarant who was in a wheel chair and wearing sunglasses, according to CBS.
The two women said they did not know he was dead.
"He was fine, the stepdaughter told the BBC. "If he was not fine, the hospital would not have released him."
Jarant was previously released from the hospital after being treated for pneumonia and the women were taking him back to Germany.
The women were arrested on suspicious of failing to give notification of death, police told the BBC.
The pair has been released on bail until 1 June.

Suicide Attacks in Moscow Leave 38 Dead

At least 38 people are dead and more than 70 injured after two female suicide attackers hit Moscow's busiest underground metro in coordinated rush-hour attacks on Monday morning, according to The Moscow Times.
The bombs were filled with bolts and iron rods, according to Federal Security Service director Alexander Bortnikov, making the injured in grave condition.
"We will find and destroy them all," Russian President Dmitry Mededev said.
No rebel group has taken credit for the attacks, but after identifying fragments of the two females, Interfax claimed the bodies resembled that of North Caucasus natives in Chechnya, according to the Moscow Times.
Past suicide bombings in Moscow have been blamed on Islamic rebels who fight for their independence from Russia in Chechnya, according to the BBC.
A Chechen rebel leader had recently promised to create a war in Russia's cities after President Medvedev declared an end to Moscow's "anti-terrorism operations," according to the BBC.
The first bomb ripped through a carriage of the train at Lubyanka just before 8 a.m. The second explosion, only six stops away, hit Park Kultury a little after 8:30 a.m.
"I smelled burning plastic and heard cries of 'let the wounded through,'" Alevtina Rogatova, a 23-year-old student who was on the train at Park Kultury, told the Associated Press.
The first bomb at Lubyanka station had the equivalent force of 4kg of TNT, according to security services; the second bomb was equivalent to 1.5-2kg of TNT.
President Barack Obama called Medvedev to offer his condolences and to promise a united effort in the fight against terrorism, according to the Times.
Russian leaders said Tuesday will be a day for mourning, and the masterminds behind the bombing will be "destroyed."

Prince Charles Visits Afghanistan

Prince Charles visited Afghanistan on Thursday to pay tribute to British troops and to discuss the country's next move in the conflict, according to the NZ Herald.
His trip was kept a secret for security reasons; the prince visited military bases in Helmand, and he laid a memorial wreath in honor of the fallen soldiers and had an opportunity to witness the happenings of a frontline hospital, the Herald reported.
"I am thrilled to have this opportunity after what is the fourth attempt, I think, to get to Afghanistan. It's a great joy to be able to get here and see some of you at least who I know do so much unbelievable work here," the price was quoted saying by the Herald
The prince said he was proud of what the troops were doing in Afghanistan and paid tribute to the relatives of soldiers, according to the BBC.
"As a parent, you worry the whole time...for everyone left behind it's ghastly," a quote pulled from the BBC.
Prince Charles met Gen Stanley McChrystal, the commander of U.S. and NATO troops, along with the Afghan District Governor Gulab Mangal.
He flew out of Afghanistan Thursday afternoon.

Vice President Joe Biden went to Israel Monday to assist new discussions between Israelis and Palestinians, according to USA Today.
Vice President Biden and his wife traveled to Israel on Monday to discuss the "full range of bilateral and regional issues," according to a statement pulled from Biden's office.
Israel and the Palestinians have agreed to hold indirect talks; however, Israel's decision to build in Beitar Illit, a Jewish settlement in the West Bank, has added new strain to the already fragile talks between the two.
Palestinian leaders in the West Bank demanded a stop be put to the settlement building as a prerequisite to re-engaging talks.
Israel declared that the building was set to go up before the talks of a moratorium were established.
The U.S. pressured the Israeli government to pause their building, but Israel refused to stop building in East Jerusalem.
Israel is building in the location where Palestinians said they want to build their future capital, according to the BBC.
Israel welcomed the Vice President, but said his visit "has no genuine intention to advance the peace process," the group's settlement expert, Hagit Ofran, told AP.
As of now, all West Bank settlements, which include East Jerusalem, are considered illegal under international law.
However, Israel disputes this.

Fourteen Killed and more Wounded in Iraq's Elections

At least 14 people were killed in Baghdad during Iraq's first day of voting in its parliamentary elections on Thursday, according to the NY Times.
Suicide bombers attacked two different polling stations.
The first bomber attacked a station in Mansur where three soldiers were killed and 15 more were wounded, according to the Times.
Less than an hour later, a bomber blew himself up in central Baghdad and killed at least four while wounding 10 others.
Agence France-Presse news agency said a mortar was fired at a polling stations, but missed and hit a busy market. The mortar killed four children and wounded 23, according to the BBC, a roadside booby-trap caused the blast.
Insurgents threaten to disrupt the elections.
"Terrorists wanted to hamper the elections, thus they started to blow themselves up in the streets," Deputy Interior Minister Ayden Khalid Qader said, a quote pulled from the BBC.
A majority of Iraqis go to the polls on Sunday, reported the Times, and the election is a key component to allowing the U.S. to reduce its military presence in the coming months.

Court seizes $1.4 billion from Thailand's prime minister

Thailand's Supreme Court seized $1.4 billion from former prime minister on Friday after finding he gained assets illegally through a conflict of interest during his term, according to the BBC.

Thaksin Shinawatra will still get to keep $2.3 billion in frozen assets, but must return a portion of money he illegally made by concealing his ownership of his family companies and using his power to benefit those companies, according to the Times.

The nine-judge panel said Thaksin's business was "unscrupulous,"

The court said Thaksin tailored government policies on cell phone stipulations to benefit his former telecommunications company, Shin Corp.

Security forces were ready to act as red-shirted supporters waited to see if the court decision went against Thaksin.

As predicted, the crowd was upset about the judges' decision and chanted, "Thaksin, fight! Fight!"

Thaksin said he gained the money legally and would continue to fight the bureaucratic elite.

Clinton Pushes Leaders to stand against Iran's Militarism

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton encouraged Iran's political and religious leaders on Monday to stand against the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps who are taking over large portions of Iran's political, military and economic organizations, according to the Times.

The United States fears Iran is becoming a military dictatorship, which is why Clinton visited a university in Doha, Qatar, Iran's close neighbor, and later visited Saudi Arabia to speak out against Iran's Revolutionary Guards rising militarism.

Iran's leading figures must "take back the authority which they should be exercising on behalf of the people," Clinton said, referring to the marginalization the Guards have imposed on Iran.

The U.S. is also trying to get the United Nations to impose stricter sanctions on Iran.

Russia has considered harsher sanctions for Iran as well.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said, "If anyone does anything against Iran, then our response won't be the same as in the past. No, we will definitely react and make them regretful," quoted the BBC.

He also attacked Clinton for calling Iran a military dictatorship.

As it is, the five permanent members in the UN Security Council and Germany told Iran to swap their nuclear materials for enriched uranium in a monitored process in order to pursue their nuclear development.

Iran did agree to swap their nuclear materials, but they want French nuclear isotopes and a swap that is done in their territory.

The biggest concern for the U.S. and its allies is the notion that Iran is trying to develop a nuclear weapon.

Iran denies it and insists its program is wholly peaceful.

Saudi Braggart Arrested for Talking Sex on TV

A Saudi Arabian man was arrested for boasting about his sex life on TV and will receive five years in prison and 1,000 lashes.
Mazen Abdul Jawad went on a Lebanese Channel LBC and told stories of sex, foreplay and his first time losing his virginity at age 14, according to The Huffington Post.
Saudi Arabia is one of the most conservative societies in the Arab world and is the country where the prophet Muhammad came from, according to the BBC.
A segment of Red Line's show that has Jawad's interview can be viewed on YouTube, according to the Huffington Post.

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