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Chavez To Undergo Cancer Surgery

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Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced Saturday that his cancer is back and he will undergo surgery in Cuba, CNN reported.

In a televised address, Chavez named Vice President Nicolas Maduro as his successor, should his health worsen. The admission was shocking to many, as this was the first time Chavez has spoken publicly of the possibility of a successor.

A special session of parliament will be convinced Sunday morning to discuss Chavez's health and his upcoming trip to Cuba.

Neither Chavez nor his Cuban doctors have ever disclosed what kind of cancer the president faces.

Recurring bouts of cancer have filled Chavez throughout the last few years of his presidency, requiring him to be treated for weeks at a time in Cuba.

Chavez was reelected in October for a fourth six-year term in office, the BBC reported.

Thousands Protest in Bangladesh

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Thousands of workers protested in Dhaka Monday after a textile factory fire killed more than 100 people, Reuters reported.

The fire, Bangladesh's worst-ever factory blaze, took place in a factory that supplied clothes for Li & Fung, a Hong-Kong sourcing giant that is a buyer for stores like Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Wal-Mart said it had cut ties to the supplier, which had apparently subcontracted work without authorization. Other retailers like Gap and Nike denied any relationship with the workshop.

The fire was the latest in a series of deadly factory fires in Bangladesh, according to the Wall Street Journal article.

Textile workers have been demanding working conditions and better pay, but efforts to create a safer working environment for garment workers have moved slowly.


World Celebrates 'Malala Day'

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The world celebrated Malala Yousafzai, a young Pakistani education activist, Saturday as the UN declared the day a "global day of action" for her, NBC News reported.

Malala, a 15-year-old blogger, was shot by members of the Taliban last month in Mingora, in northwestern Pakistan, for her campaigning for girls' education rights.

Malala was shot in the head and neck. After several days in critical condition, her condition improved. She was transported to a hospital in the UK for safety reasons and is now walking. She shows no sign of brain damage, according to CNN.

Over the past month, Malala has become a global symbol for the education rights of young girls. Furthermore, the incident sparked outrage within Pakistan against the Taliban's continued influence in the country.

Malala Day is expected to be marked by vigils and demonstrations calling for girls across the world to be allowed access to education.

However, in Malala's hometown, threats of reprisal by the Taliban against Malala's supporters have minimized demonstrations.

Taliban Bomber Kills 6

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A Taliban suicide bomber killed himself and five others near a vehicle carrying a prominent anti-Taliban politician in northwestern Pakistan Saturday, the Boston Globe reported.

The bombing, which occurred in the Buner district of the Khyber Paktunkhwa province, wounded several others, according to senior police officer Akhtar Hayyat.

Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan claimed responsibility for the attack over the telephone shortly after the attack.

The anti-Taliban politician, Fateh Khan, was a longtime member of the Awami National Party, the secular party that rules the province and has opposed the Taliban, according to the New York Times. Several years ago, Khan joined forces with an opposition politician. Khan also led an anti-Taliban militia in the area.

The Taliban spokesman vowed more attacks on the Awami National Party, saying the Taliban would "show no mercy."

Bangladesh Workers Strike After Fire

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Thousands of workers protested in Dhaka Monday after a textile factory fire killed more than 100 people, Reuters reported.

The fire, Bangladesh's worst-ever factory blaze, took place in a factory that supplied clothes for Li & Fung, a Hong-Kong sourcing giant that is a buyer for stores like Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Wal-Mart said it had cut ties to the supplier, which had apparently subcontracted work without authorization. Other retailers like Gap and Nike denied any relationship with the workshop.

The fire was the latest in a series of deadly factory fires in Bangladesh, according to the Wall Street Journal article.

Textile workers have been demanding working conditions and better pay, but efforts to create a safer working environment for garment workers have moved slowly.

Former Italian Prime Minister Sentenced for Tax Fraud

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Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was sentenced Friday to four years in prison for tax evasion by a Milan court, CNN reported.

However, only house after the four-year sentence was revealed, Berlusconi's sentence was cut to one year in accordance with a 2006 amnesty law meant to reduce overcrowding in Italy's jail system, according to the Telegraph.

His trial involved executives from his Mediaset television group and the head of a Swiss bank, and concerned the purchase of TV rights for films that were then resold within the group at inflated prices. The scene allowed those involved to avoid a major tax bill.

Berlusconi is likely to appeal, calling the sentence "unacceptable" and even calling himself a victim of "judicial harassment."

The 76-year-old Berlusconi resigned as prime minister in November amid the country's massive debt crisis.

He also faces trial on charges that he hired an underage prostitute and tried to "pull strings to get her out of jail" when she was accused of theft.

Gaddafi Killed Following Capture in Sirte

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Moammar Gadhafi, Libya's longtime dictator, was killed Thursday as revolutionaries captured his hometown of Sirte, according to NBC.

Gadhafi, 69, spent 42 years as Libya's dictator before rebel fighters overthrew his regime several months ago. Gadhafi is the first leader to be killed in the Middle Eastern Arab Spring uprisings.

Broadcasters released graphic images of Gadhafi wounded but alive, with later video showing the leader's lifeless body, the Huffington Post reported.

It is believed that Gadhafi had been hiding out with heavily armed supporters in a few buildings held by regime loyalists in Sirte, battling the revolutionary fighters.

Gadhafi's death ends the regime, though the turmoil may not be over. Signs of infighting have already appeared, and the former rebels who now rule are disorganized.

President Obama told the Libyan people in a press conference: "You have won your revolution.

Bullied Canadian Teen Commits Suicide

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A Vancouver-area teen who posted her heart-wrenching tale of bullying on YouTube last month was found dead Wednesday evening in Coquitlam, Canada, according to the Huffington Post. She is believed to have committed suicide.

Amanda Todd, 15, was subjected to intense bullying both on and off the web in the last several years. According to her video, in the 7th grade she would go on webcam with her friends to meet new people, and at one point, a stranger persuaded her to flash the camera.

A year later, a man messaged her on Facebook, threatening to send around the topless picture of her. Soon, her naked picture was made public.

After that, anxiety, depression, and panic disorder set in, as did the abuse of alcohol and drugs. Throughout the next several years, Todd faced severe bullying that led her to transfer schools twice. She began cutting, tried anti-depressants, and attempted suicide by drinking bleach.

At the time the video was posted, Todd was still dealing with cyberbullying, even though she had transferred schools yet again.

The premier of British Columbia, Christy Clark, posted a YouTube video addressing the situation, according to CNN. "No one deserves to be bullied. No one earns it. No one asks for it. It is not a rite of passage. Bullying has to stop. Every child has to feel safe at school."

YouTube Video Shows Missing American Journalist

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A video clip posted on YouTube appears to show an American freelance journalist who has been missing for weeks, CNN reported Tuesday.

Austin Tice, a 31-year-old former Marine and journalist who had been reporting on the Syrian civil war for The Washington Post and McClatchy Newspapers, appears in the video, blindfolded and in distress. Both news organizations identified Tice in the video, as did Tice's family.

It is unclear where and when the video was shot. Men armed with machine guns are shown in the video talking loudly as they lead the man believed to be Tice up a hill. The captive man then tries to say a prayer in Arabic before saying, "Oh Jesus, oh Jesus," in English.

The U.S. State Department confirmed that U.S. officials have seen the video, but said they are unable to verify whether the video actually depicts Tice.

THe video does not have the customary appearance of jihadist videos, leading some to raise concerns that the video was staged, according to the Associated Press. Previous reports have indicated that Tice may be in government custody.

Syrian Authorities Displace Thousands

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Thousands have been displaced and their homes demolished in the Syrian city of Hama, according to UPI.

Syrian security forces have been going door to door asking people to leave their homes in the Mesha Alarbaeen neighborhood of Hama.

The neighborhood is considered the "main gathering place" for opponents of President Assad's government, a resident told CNN. Hama is a stronghold of anti-government activists.

One resident said she's been living on the street with her children for several days since her husband was detained and her home destroyed. Others have gone to neighboring areas in the province.

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