Recently in International News Category

Obama fails to call Armenian massacre a genocide

By Sam Preston

President Obama still avoids using the term genocide to describe the Ottoman mass slaughter of Armenians nearly a century ago, according to both the New York Times and the Washington Post.

The president addressed the situation Saturday, as it marks the 95th anniversary since the near 1.5 million Armenians were massacred or marched to their death in the final days of the Ottoman Empire, according to the Times.

During the 2008 presidential elections, President Obama had no issues labeling the event as a genocide, the Post said, as he was trying to gain the votes from some of the 1.5 million Armenian-Americans.

In his statement commemorating the victims of the killings, the president wanted to avoid alienating Turkey, a NATO ally, which adamantly rejects the genocide label, the Times said.

However, Mr. Obama did hint to Armenians in his statement that he still felt the same way. "I have consistently stated my own view of what occurred in 1915, and my view of that history has not changed," he said, according to both the Times and the Post.

Fewer women dying in childbirth, study says

By Sam Preston

The number of women who die each year from childbirth is rapidly decreasing, according to both the New York Times and the Washington Post.

The findings were published in the European medical journal the Lancet, both the Times and the Post said, and showed that the women who die as a result of childbirth has fallen by 40 percent.

In 2008, the number of women who died from pregnancy and childbirth was 526,300, the Times said, a lot more than the 342,900 who died this year.

However, the rate of women dying differs greatly by country, by a factor of about 400, the Post said. While there has been a great reduction in the populous countries of India, China, Brazil and Egypt, countries like Afghanistan are still facing great numbers.

Maternal morality says a lot about a nation, the Post said, gauging things such as a nation's health, wealth and women's status. And while that does vary hugely by nation, this study proves that maternal morality can be solved, the Times said.

Poland mourns Lech Kaczynski, father of a new nationalism

By Sam Preston

Poland's capital was filled with mourning citizens Sunday, the second day in a row following the death of President Lech Kaczynski, according to both the New York Times and the Washington Post.

The president as well as dozens of Poland's top politicians and policy makers were killed Friday in a plane crash, both the Times and the Post said. They were on their way to the Russian village of Katyn, but crashed above the village of Smolensk located in western Russia.

Kaczynski and his delegation were making the trip in order to commemorate a tragedy that took place in Katyn during World War II, when more than 20,000 Polish officers and intellectuals were massacred by Russian forces, the Post said.

Citizens of the country gathered in the streets leading from the airport to the city center, where they watched the body of who many called a 'national hero' being returned to the presidential palace, the Post said.

The crash has left a lot of questions surrounding Polish politics, the Times said, throwing the presidential elections into disarry. An entire delegation of senior government officials died in the crash, but the cause is under investigastion, the Post said.

By Sam Preston

The pressure on Iran this past week has been increasing to put a stop to it's nuclear program, according to both the New York Times and the Washington Post.

There was a meeting outside of Ottawa recently with the Group of Eight countries, where they all discussed the growing alarm about the situation in Iran, the Post said.

In this meeting, the foreign representatives concluded that they are willing to have discussions on possible cooperation, but if that does not go as they want it to, there will be sanctions imposed, the Post said.

President Obama said that he would like to see action taken within the next couple of weeks, instead of waiting months, according to the Post.

Even China seems to be leaning towards supporting the sanctions of the Security Council of the U.N., the Times said, which would help to intensify the pressure.

For Years, Deaf Boys Tried to Tell of Priest's Abuse

By Sam Preston

A priest from the Milwaukee area has recently been recognized as molesting over 200 deaf boys, according to both the New York Times and the Pioneer Press.

The man in question, Rev. Lawrence C. Murphy, died in 1998 as a priest, the Times said. It is now believed that he molested the boys during his time at the school for the deaf, from 1950-1974, all of whom reported the incidents while they were in school.

The authorities found out this week that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, received letters in 1996 about what was happening to the deaf community, the Times said. The Vatican sat on the case, the equivocated after Murphy died.

The discovery of the Vatican sitting on this case has shaken citizens of Italy, where it was also reported that 67 deaf men and women reported incidents of priest molestation, the Press said.

The two cases threaten to tarnish the papcy itself, as the office charged with disciplining clergy was long led by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, the Press said. However, the Vatican defended Benedict on Thursday.

Uproar in India Over Female Lawmaker Quota

By Sam Preston

India's upper house of Parliament passed a bill Tuesday, which would reserve one-third of the seats in India's national and state legislatures for women, both the New York Times and Washington Post said.

Advocates for the bill hope to see it passed in order to help balance gender equality, both the Times and the Post said. Throughout Indian history, women have trailed men in life expectancy, literacy and legal rights, the Post said.

This bill met harsh opposition, however, from parties who feel the bill will not be helpful, both the Times and the Post said. Their arguments include them feeling that lower-class women will not benefit, and that the higher competition for seats will decrease Muslims running for office.

The bill passing in the higher house was the first of four obstacles for this bill, the Times said. From here, it will have to be passed in the lower house, win approval from at least half of India's state legislatures, and then be signed by the president.

India is the world's largest democracy, both the Times and the Post said. And though they are no complete stranger to women in government, they have a lot of work to do if they are serious about female representation.

As Iraq votes, U.S. content to keep its distance

By Sam Preston

Iraquis head to the polls today to partake in the elections of a new Parliament, both the New York Times and the Washington Post said.

Their last elections were in December 2005, the Post said, and took place under U.S. occupation.

At least 38 people were killed today in Baghdad due to the polls, both the Times and the Post said, which was less than 2005, but still marked violence on election days.

President Obama saw this as a milestone for the country of Iraq, the Post said, and was satisfied with the results of the changing role there.

He said that the polls were something of a test of Iraq's stability, according to the Times, and that they will no be negotiating withdrawal of U.S. troops.

By Sam Preston

One of the largest earthquakes ever recorded hit Chile on Saturday morning, both the Star Tribune and Pioneer Press said.

At least 147 are recorded dead in and around the city of Talca, according to Carmen Fernandez, director of the National Emergency Agency, the Star Tribune said.

Due to the 8.8 quake, the city was devastated by toppling homes, collapsing bridges and vehicles plunging into the broken ground at 3:34 a.m., the Star Tribune said.

Scientists in Los Angeles believe the quake can be classified as a "megathrust"-- like the 2004 Indian Ocean temblor that caused an even more devastating tsunami, the Pioneer Press said.

This quake is also responsible for a tsunami that swamped a village on an island off Chile, and is now threatening every nation around the Pacific Ocean-- roughly a quarter of the globe, the Star Tribune said.

The first waves were expected to hit Hawaii at 11 a.m. Saturday, but experts say that they could hit Asian, Australian and New Zealand shores as well as The U.S. west coast and Alaska, the Star Tribune said.

Palestinian president suspends chief of staff

By Sam Preston

According to stories released by both the New York Times and the Washington Post, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas suspended his chief of staff, Rafik al-Husseini, Sunday.

Hasseini's suspension is due to a follow up on sex scandal allegations made by an ex-security officer, the Post said.

The officer, Fahmy Shabaneh, is a former intelligence officer who was then in charge of investigating corruption, the Times said. During his term, a woman approached him about unwanted sexual advances Husseini made when she came to the president's office seeking help.

As a result of the woman's accusations, which took place in 2008, Shabaneh set up a hidden camera to prove to President Abbas that Husseini was abusing his position, the Times said.

Husseini was seen in the video waiting naked in the bed for the woman, as well as bashing other members of the Palestinian government, the Times said.

Husseini released a statement in his defense that the tapes were over a year and a half old, and that they have been dubbed in that time, the Post said.

He also stated that he faced pressure from the Israeli government to create a crisis of confidence in Palestinian leadership, as part of an Israeli plot to discredit the Western-backed government, the Times said.

Shabaneh told channel 10 in Palestine that he wanted to release the information sooner, but complained that nothing had been done as a result, the Post said.

"He has threatened to open up "more dangerous files" if those he has already exposed do not result in resignations or dismissals," the Times said.

If You Haven't Heard Enough About Avatar....

I have seen Avatar and I've heard nearly a lifetime's worth of information about it, but this article I came across in the Times really stood out to me. It's a short article that talks about the impact Avatar has had abroad, with a focus here on China.

According to the article, a mountain in Zhangjiajie City in the Hunan region has recently been re-named after the movie. This peak, found in the Southern Sky Column of the city is now called the Avatar Hallelujah Mountains, and this change is apparently an effort to draw Chinese and other tourists to this area.

It almost seems like this geological change was a direct reaction of the James Cameron film being pulled off the screens of Chinese theaters. This has happened because the film made more than $100 million in ticket sales there, even though the film only started showing ealier this month. And as the governement only allows certain amounts of foreign films in the country, the fact that this one was pulling in so much money started to worry the government.

However, travel companies have already begun offering tours that emphasize the region's resemblance to Pandora, the mountain from the movie. The regional government advertises the site as a way into the movie that the people all love. This just goes to show that American movies have a large impact abroad, as the money from over there has contributed to the movie topping the charts for highest grossing films.

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