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December 13, 2008

China experiences trade plunge

CNN.com and the Star Tribune reported on China's recent trade plunge. CNN's article said China's exports shrank 2.2% unexpectedly in November. This could result in heavy job loss, political unrest, and a sharper downturn in the world's fourth largest economy. China received a massive stimulus package meant to prevent economic downfall and even boost growth. They were depended on for global support as the United States weakens. JP Morgan economist Frank F.X. Gong said, "They need to urgently stimulate domestic demand and generate jobs and keep society stable." There has been a drop in foreign demand so factories that export products are forced to close or lay off employees. China's leaders are still urging employers to minimize cutbacks to avoid further economic unrest. China's economy was expected to grow by 9% this year but it is now at it's lowest forecast of %7.5 since 1990.

The Star Tribune wrote that China's imports also plunged sharply last month by 17.9 percent. China was expecting a slowdown in their economy but they did not expect one of this size this quickly. The economic future of China looks gloomy even if it is better than the United States' and Europe's economic state.

December 7, 2008

Amsterdam attempts to cut down crime

The Associated Press and CNN.com published articles on Amsterdam's attempts to reduce crime in their city. The Associated Press said Amsterdam plans to close brothels, sex shops, and marijuana cafes and move business that "generate criminality". City Council member Lodewijk Asscher said, "I think that the new reality will be in more in line with our image as a tolerant and crazy place, rather than a free zone for criminals." These new measures will only effect a little less than 20 percent of the city. They will spend 30-40 million euros to implement these changes. Prostitution will be allowed only in two areas of the district.

CNN.com added that prostitution was legalized in the Netherlands in 2000. Marijuana is technically illegal but prosecutors will not press charges for possession in small amounts and coffee shops can sell it openly. Amsterdam will reshape the area by buying out businesses and helping to upgrade stores. Asscher said, "You won't have to be embarrassed to say you came."

November 15, 2008

Congo Crisis

CNN and MSNBC reported on the Democratic Republic of Congo's struggle with violence and the lack of military aid from the U.N. CNN said there has been an increase in incidents of forced labor, rape, and widespread brutality in Congo and there does not seem to be any urgent action being taken to help although this is an urgent situation. Fighting began at the end of August between the government and rebels led by Gen. Laurent Nkunda. The cause goes back to tensions from the 1994 slaughter of ethnic Tutsis by Hutus in neighboring Rwanda. There have also been 997 cases of cholera from early Oct. to early Nov. The U.N. is not able to stop the violence and there has been a request for 3,000 troops to the province. Approximately 800,000 people have already been driven from their homes and sanitation conditions are very poor. People have lost everything.

MSNBC says the U.N. finally provided help by providing food for thousands of hungry and homeless people on Friday. More than 100 tons of food were going to 50,000 civilians. Many civilians don't feel safe anywhere though

November 8, 2008

Iran President welcomes US election results

CBS/AP and CNN reported that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad congratulated Barack Obama on his election win. This is significant because this is the first time an Iranian leader has done so to a U.S. president-elect since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. He hopes Obama "uses the opportunity to serve the American people and leave a good name for history". Current U.S.-Iranian relations remain tense but Iran sees Obama's victory as a triumph over the unpopular policies of President Bush. CNN says Ahmadinejad told Obama that "other nations also expect war-orriented policies, occupation, bullying, contempt of nations and imposing discriminatory policies on them to be replaced by the ones advocating justice, respect for human rights, friendship and non-interference in other countries' internal affairs."

November 2, 2008

Photos of Kim Jong-il

Both CNN and the New York Times reported on the release of new photos of Kim Jong-il. He was thought to have had a stroke in August but recent photographs of him at a soccer match show him smiling and looking healthy. His leadership skills have been questioned with his absence from ceremonies celebrating the 60th anniversary of his state's founding. He attended funerals for lower-ranking party officials but he did not attend ceremonies for one of the state's top-ranking cadres. It was rumored that he was "gravely ill" but these pictures say otherwise. He is 66 years old and hasn't been seen in public since August 14.

October 26, 2008

Christians attacked in India

The Associated Press and CNN.com reported on the anti-Christian riots in India that killed at least 38, destroying dozens of churches and leaving as many as 30,000 people homeless. CNN said these attacks were from Hindu extremists but the Sunni extremists are supposedly behind the campaign. The pope called for all religious leaders and all men and women of good will about the tragedy. The AP took a different twist on the story by saying how people still pray in secret in the ruined churches of India. They say it's hard to find a Christian who isn't afraid. These attacks started back in late August and have been continuing since.

October 18, 2008

Sex on the beach verdict

Both reported on a British couple who were put on trial for having sex on a public beach in Dubai. AP said the trial had not yet reached a verdict but CNN said they were sentenced to 3-months in prison. They were charged with illicit relations, public indecency and public intoxication although both denied they had had intercourse.

AP said even snuggling in the sand is too much in this Persian Gulf city. They don't want to injure Dubai's tourism industry but indecent behavior cannot go unpunished in Dubai. Although it might appear very liberal, there are strict Islamic laws and tribal rules restricting liberal behavior.

October 11, 2008

NATO agrees to attack drug trading in Afghanistan

Both CNN.com and the New York Times reported on NATO agreeing to attack drug dealers and their networks operating in Afghanistan. Although these articles were posted by different authors, they have very similar content with various alternative synonyms scattered throughout each article. They both basically said opium was discovered being trafficked and the United States strongly pressured for the attack.

Although the United States and the other NATO nations did not agree entirely on everything, compromises were made. Troops can only act if authorized by their own governments and "only drug producers deemed to be supporting the insurgency will be targeted."The drug trade is estimated to account for about half of Afghanistan's poor economy.

October 5, 2008

Tanzanian stampede kills 20 children

In Tanzania, children gathered on Thursday to celebrate an important Muslim festival when a stampede occurred, killing 20 children and leaving 50 others injured. Both CNN and MSNBC covered this story.

The dance was held to mark the end of Ramadan. Both sources say the dance hall was overcrowded to begin with so the children were trapped inside. President Jakaya Kikwete has sent condolences to the families involved and there is the possibility the club's owner could face criminal negligence charges regarding the stampede.

September 23, 2008

School shooting in Finland

According to CNN.com, a gunman went on a shooting rampage at a college in Finland on Tuesday. This source says 9 are dead and the gunman killed himself as well. CBSnews.com reports that 10 died before the gunman shot himself in the head.

CBS said police questioned the gunman Monday after viewing the violent YouTube video he made. But he was released because there was no legal reason to hold him. Tuesday, around 11am he showed up at the school masked and dressed in black, carrying a large bag, apparently filled with explosives. Students were taking an exam at the time the man started firing.

This was Finland's second school massacre in less than a year and there is a connection. Both gunmen posted violent YouTube clips, closely followed the Columbine school shootings, both attacked their own schools, and both shot themselves in the head afterward.

Both sources posted the name of the gunman as Matti Juhani Saari, 22. He was recently issued his first temporary gun license. They both compared the similarities between this shooting and the other Finland school shooting and they both went into relatively extensive detail on the past shooting.

September 20, 2008

School in Pakistan Bombed

MSNBC posted a story by the Associated Press about a school getting bombed in Quetta, Pakistan on Friday evening. This source says 5 were killed and 10 more were injured but CNN says only 3 were killed and 6 were injured. These reports were a few hours apart so the story may be still evolving.

CNN said this is the third attempted attack or attack on a Pakistani school this week, as it is the holy month of Islamic holiday Ramadan. On Thursday a vehicle was stopped when suspected of attempting to attack a school. Three men were found inside and upon confrontation, one man blew himself and another man up. The third man was arrested and brought to the police station. As a result the school was not attacked. On Tuesday, a suicide bomber drove an explosive vehicle into a school in the Swat District. Three soldiers and the bomber were killed.

The Associated Press did not go into as much detail on the previous bombings. They said no investigation for a motive will take place due to the country's frequent violence but police are trying to figure out how the bomb got into the school. They also mention the history of violence in Pakistan and provide possibilities of a suicide bomber being part of this specific attack. Students asked a man why he wanted to enter the school and he pushed past them in response. He blew himself up once he got inside.

September 14, 2008

Afghan governor killed by Taliban

CNN.com and MSNBC reported the governor of Logar in Afghanistan, Abdullah Wardak, was killed Saturday by a detonated remote-control bomb. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. The governor and bodyguards were driving from his home to his office in Logar.

CNN says three bodyguards were killed as well but MSNBC says two bodyguards and his driver were killed. Also
CNN says the bomb exploded 300 yards from the governor's home but MSNBC reports a 500 yard difference.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai said this was a great loss for the Afghan people. MSNBC says the governor was riding in the second car of a three car procession and the bomb was detonated directly in front of the second car.

CNN notes that this is not the first time an Afghan provincial governor has been attacked. As recently as September of 2006, Abdul Hakim Taniwal, governor of the eastern Paktia province, was killed by a suicide bomber as he left his office.

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