Recently in International News Category

Six-year-old Missing In Arizona

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Arizona six-year-old Isabel Mercedes Celis was discovered missing this morning around 8 a.m. Saturday, April 21, according to
http://www.cnn.com/video/?hpt=us_c2#/video/us/2012/04/22/dnt-az-girl-mising.kgun">CNN and NPR. Her parents last saw her in bed around 11 p.m. Friday, and her father discovered her bed empty when he came to wake her up, reports CNN.

Police have been "scouring the neighborhood" for Isabel by air and by ground, and bloodhounds, reports CNN. "Additional detective and investigative resources" are part of the search, said Sgt. Maria Hawke of Tuscon Police Dept.

In addition to examining the house for any signs of a break-in, investigators posit that Isabel could have wandered out of the house, NPR reports. "We are treating it as a suspicious disappearance and possible abduction," Hawke said.

Police did not have evidence that a child custody dispute was involved, as both parents live in the home with their daughter, reports NPR.

"You don't think anything like that would actually happen to you," Mercedes Celis uncle Justin Mastromarino said to CNN reporters. "[Mercedes Celis's] mother is beside herself." Police are keeping family members away from the house while conducting the search, Mastromarino said.

Mercedes Cellis is about 4 feet tall and weighs 44 pounds, with brown hair and hazel eyes, according to NPR.

Chilean Student Protests Continue

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http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/08/magazine/camila-vallejo-the-worlds-most-glamorous-revolutionary.html?ref=magazine

The setting of this New York Times article was Chile, where students congregated to protest college tuition. The story began in a bar, where students met to protest. According to the article, the bartenders gave the students bags full of lemons to bite into, should they be sprayed with tear gas.

The 23-year-old president of the University of Chile student federation, Camila Vallejo, has been part of organized student protests since last June, the article reports. College students across Chile participated in protests that are described in the article as the "Chilean Winter."

This article described the author's experience during a protest that began at Plaza Italia, through Bustamante Park. The author describes it as being relatively small: "official estimates were 7,000 people; unofficial 15,000."

The protestors included students as well as older adults. The writer described the protest as having a somewhat relaxed atmosphere -- once the police administered tear gas, however, the crowd dispersed, trying to hide from the gas. The gas not only burned the eyes, but the skin of the body, as well.

The presence of encapuchados was a factor in the disturbance of the protest. Encapuchados were people who created violence by throwing molotov cocktails, among other forms of disruption, in order to get a reaction from police. These people were often stationed in the protest to stop it from being successful.

On a positive note, the protests, although interrupted by policemen and tear gas, have been effective: by December, protests "had forced the resignation of two education ministers and succeeded in placing educational reform at the top of the parliamentary agenda." The article credits Vallejo for this success, describing her "charisma and talent for capturing the public imagination."

According to Forbes Magazine, the U.S. economy will grow faster than the European economy in 2012.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development issued a report stating that "the U.S. economy will expand at a 2.9 percent annual rate in the first quarter and then a 2.8 percent rate in the second quarter."

The article reports a positive outlook for the Canadian economy, as well as the Japanese economy, whose growth rate is projected at 3.4 percent in the first quarter.

Europe's economy will experience only 1.9 percent over growth rates, due to slowed consumer activity, unemployment and limited credit availability, as reported in the Forbes article. France and Italy are both projected to decrease in growth rates within the first quarter.

The article reports that although the outlook for the U.S., Canada and Japan are bright, rising oil prices, decreased world trade, and slow market growth in China could adversely affect the projected rates.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

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President of Iran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad faces massive opposition in upcoming parliamentary elections.

A conservative religious reformist, Ahmadinejad became president of the Islamic Republic of Iran in 2005. According to a Guardian article, Iranian citizens protested Ahmadinejad's 2009 re-election due to suspicion that it was rigged: according to the Times, Ahmadinejad's opponent, Mir Hussein Moussavi, had been in the voting lead but a few days before the election results were finalized. According to the article, protesters even used "dictator" to describe Ahmadinejad.

Ahmadinejad's religious views have played a significant role in his life and career. An article by globalsecurity.org states that Ahmadinejad joined Islamic Revolution's Guards Corps (IRGC) in 1986, during the Iraq War. He also became a member of the Islamic Revolution Devotees' Society. According to globalsecurity.org, once appointed Mayor in 2003, Ahmadinejad made policies that focused on religious rules, such as separating men and women dress code regulation and closing of businesses during religious holidays. Ahmadinejad practices Shi'ism, a belief system that Ayatollah Khomeini banned in the '80s.

Ahmadinejad was recently summoned by the Iranian parliament to answer questions and criticisms about his economic, foreign and domestic policies. This summoning was not previously supported by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, but in recent, according to CNN, the Ayatollah and the president have been "at odds." According to the Washington Times, Ahmadinejad refused Khameni's request for him to reinstate an intelligence minister he had fired in 2011. The Ayatollah has the final say in policies of the state, so for the president to defy him is unheard of. The Washington Times reports that Ahmadinejad is the first Iranian president to be summoned by the parliament for questioning.

http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/2012/03/21/zakaria-ahmadinejad-is-weak-and-getting-weaker/?hpt=wo_t3
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/may/14/potatoes-iran-election-protest?INTCMP=ILCNETTXT3487
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/14/world/middleeast/14iran.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all
http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/iran/ahmadinejad-bio.htm
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/mar/14/iran-parliament-questions-president-ahmadinejad/

Kony Video Could Re-Ignite Issues in Uganda

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GULU, Uganda -- A campaigning group called "Invisible Children" has caught the attention of millions. According to The Guardian, the group, instigated in 2004 by filmmakers, released a 30-minute video in March 2012 to raise awareness about the leader of the Lord's Resistance Army, Joseph Kony. The video went viral upon its release on YouTube.

According to Luna Magazine and MSNBC, in 2005 the International Crimes Court indicted Kony for his activities in Uganda, including sexual enslavement, murder, rape and crimes against humanity, as well as building an army of child soldiers.

According to MSNBC, the last massacre to occur in Gulu, Uganda, was in 2004. According to both MSNBC and Luna Magazine, some Ugandans have expressed concern that bringing attention to this 9-year-old conflict may inflame LRA activity in the region.

A Yale Professor, Chris Blattman, expressed concern that an attempt by Invisible Children to remove Kony from power would result in mass killings of the people that the organization is seeking to protect. As quoted in Luna Magazine, "Kony usually prefers a bodyguard of 13-year olds, since he doesn't trust anyone older," Blattman said. I'm not sure if there are many children with him now [...] but either way it will be messy."

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