Recently in International News Category

Boat capsizes off Dominican coast

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by Sarah See

A boat carrying about 100 migrants capsized off the Dominican Republic's coast, authorities said Monday.

Only three bodies have been found near the site, and authorities believe at least 15 people are missing, Civil Defense officials told CNN.

Others survived, but none have spoken publicly for fear of repercussions from law enforcement, officials said.

The boat sank early Sunday when it was going to Puerto Rico, according to GEV.com.

Search teams have been looking for the missing passengers near Nagua, a northern coastal city in the Dominican Republic, Rep. Jose Luis Cosme said.

It is "a scene of anguish," Cosme said, as family members await word about their loved ones.

Rescue workers stopped searching Monday, due to bad weather and rising tides, but helicopters continued searching the waters from the air, according to both news sources.

The Dominican Navy will continue searching for survivors, according to GEV.com.

Forecasters predicted stormy conditions before the boat set sail, according to the news sources.

Boats packed with immigrants have been a common sight in the past near Nagua, about 200 miles from Puerto Rico, according to CNN and GEV.com.

Although illegal, immigrants have been willing to sail in any weather because Puerto Rico is so close, Cosme said.

Swedish journalists accused of terrorism in Ethiopia

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by Sarah See

Two Swedish journalists were charged Wednesday with terrorism in Ethiopia after being accused of aiding a rebel group, according to CNN and the Associated Press.

The prosecution's argument that the two were supporting a terrorist organization was accepted by Judge Shemsu Sirgaga at a trial in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia's capital, according to the Associated Press.

The reporters, Johan Persson and Martin Schibbye, face 15 years in prison if found guilty, according to both news reports.

They were captured in July by Ethiopian troops during a gunfire exchange with a rebel group in Ogaden, an area to which Ethiopian officials deny media access without government minders, according to state media.

Persson and Schibbye were working on a story and embedded in the Ogaden National Liberation Front, which the Ethiopian government classified as a terrorist group in June, according to the news reports.

They were arrested in a prohibited region along Ethiopia's border with Somalia after meeting with ONLF officials in London and Kenya and marching into the country with ONLF gunmen, violating migration laws and Ethiopia's national sovereignty, according to CNN.

Persson and Schibbye face two counts of entering the country illegally and providing assistance to a terrorist organization, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

The journalists, who said they were gathering news at the time of their arrest, pleaded guilty to entering the country illegally through Somalia without accreditation, according to the journalists' group.

Persson and Schibbye are contributors to Kontinent, a Sweden-based agency, according to CNN.

Last rare rhino in Vietnam killed by poacher

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by Sarah See

Vietnam's Javan rhinoceros was declared extinct Tuesday after poachers killed the country's last animal for its horns, the World Wildlife Fund said to CNN.

Vietnam's last known rhino was found dead April 2010 in Cat Tien National Park, shot through the leg with its horn chopped off, the WWF said to the Associated Press.

The country had been struggling to keep the shrinking rhino population alive amid threats to the animal's habitat, such as land conversion, a rising local population, widespread poaching, and a lack of effective park management and patrols, according to the news reports.

The rhino's habitat had been cut in half to about 74,000 acres since 1988, according to the Star Tribune.

Trying to bring the rhinoceros back into Vietnam is "not economically or practically feasible," Dr. Christy Williams, WWF's Asian Elephant and Rhino Program Coordinator, said.

Global demand for rhino horn has increased in recent years, and a small crushed amount can be worth hundreds of dollars on the black market, according to the Star Tribune.

Although there has been no scientific proof, people in certain parts of Asia believe grinding down and dissolving the horns in boiling water can help treat typhoid fever or cancer, the WWF said.

One population of less than 50 animals, the last known living members of the species, exists in Ujung Kulon National Park in Java, Indonesia, according to the conservation group.

Heavy rains in Central America, at least 84 dead

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by Sarah See

Heavy rains causing landslides, floods and bridge collapses have killed at least 84 people across Central America, authorities said Monday.

Tropical Depression 12-E brought a week of torrential rain to El Salvador, the country hit hardest so far with 32 deaths and nine missing, including children, according to CNN.

El Salvador and Nicaragua leaders declared natural disasters and a state of emergency, ordering evacuations, according to CNN.

The death toll is 32 in El Salvador, 31 in Guatemala, 13 in Honduras, and eight in Nicaragua, according to the Star Tribune.

The rains have left thousands to stay in shelters and affected about 250,000 people, at least 110,000 in Guatemala and 13,000 in Honduras, according to the news reports.

Some people were swept away while attempting to cross rivers, and others were killed when the wall of their homes collapsed, El Salvador's civil protection director said.

The rain is expected to continue until at least Wednesday because of two low pressure systems in the area, El Salvador's director of civil protection Jorge Melendez said to CNN.

The number of additional people at risk is 15,000, according to a statement by Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom on his website.

U.N. peacekeepers wounded and killed

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by Sarah See

Three United Nations peacekeepers were killed in an ambush in Sudan, the global body said Tuesday to CNN.

Two soldiers and a police adviser for the joint U.N.-African Union Mission in Darfur died, and six other peacemakers guarding a refugee camp were wounded by attackers, according to CNN and the Associated Press.

The UNAMID peacekeepers and security unit were patrolling near the Zam Zam displaced persons camp in North Darfur when they were attacked around 10:15 p.m. Monday, according to a statement from the joint force.

The attack was carried out by unidentified armed men, and one assailant was killed, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in the statement.

The cause of the attack was unclear, according to CNN.

Ibrahim Gambari, head official of the mission, said Sudan's government should investigate.

"An attack on international peacekeepers is a war crime and we will ensure that justice will be served," Gambari said.

The Darfur peacekeeping mission is the world's largest with 20,000 authorized troops and one of the most dangerous operation areas for U.N. personnel with 33 peacekeepers killed since it began in 2008, according to CNN.

At least 300,000 people have been killed and 2.7 million others have been displaced from their homes by the war in Darfur, according to the U.N.

Missing American woman found dead in Italy

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by Sarah See

A missing Ohio woman was found dead Wednesday in Tuscany after a possible hit-and-run accident, Italian police said to the Associated Press.

Allison Owens, 23, was found in a canal beside a heavily trafficked road in San Giovanni Valdarno three days after she was reported missing, Carabinieri Col. Antonio Frassinetto said.

It is believed she was using an iPod when she was jogging and did not hear a car approach, but police did not rule out other possible causes of death, Frassinetto said.

Tests were ordered to determine the cause of death, investigators said.

Owens was last seen alive Sunday afternoon, and more than 100 police dogs searched for her after friends reported her missing, according to the Associated Press.

Owen's mother, Cindy Owens, was in shock and arrived Wednesday in Italy, meeting with investigators to confirm the details of her daughter's death, Stacy Lilly, a close friend of the family, said to msnbc.com.

Owens was a student at Village Academy in Powell, outside of Columbus, Ohio, and was a guide for a tour company in Europe, according to the news reports.

Plane crash in Indonesia, all 18 people aboard dead

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by Sarah See

All 18 people aboard a crashed airplane died in the jungle-covered mountains of western Indonesia, an air transportation official said Friday.

There were four children, 10 passengers and four crew members dead on the 1989 Spanish-designed CASA C-212 aircraft that crashed Thursday morning in the North Sumatra mountains, Henry Bakti, Indonesia's director general for air transportation, said to CNN.

Contact with the plane was lost on the radar, shortly after it took off from the Medan Polonia Airport in North Sumatra to the Kutacane district in Aceh province and sent out a distress signal, according to the Associated Press.

The plane was found during an aerial search in the Leuser mountains and appeared to be largely intact, Bakti said to reporters.

The cause of the crash was unclear, and the accident was being investigated, Indonesia's transportation safety commission said.

Food and medicine was dropped to the crash site after one of the plane's doors was spotted open, but rugged, forested terrain and bad weather--tornado-like winds and heavy fog--prevented 13 rescuers from reaching the site by foot Saturday, according to the Associated Press.

The bodies were found in their seats with their seat belts on, Sunarbowo Sandi, head of the local search-and-rescue team, said.

Nusantara Buana Air owned the plane, according to CNN.

Flooding and landslides kill 14 in China

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by Sarah See

At least 14 people died Sept. 17 after heavy rains triggered a massive landslide and flooding in China, according to a state-run media report Monday.

The 100,000 cubic meters of rock and mud slid down a mountain in the afternoon in a suburb of Xi'an, the capital of Shaanxi Province, CNN reported.

Additional landslides buried people, homes, roads and workshops, and floods submerged homes and cars, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

Ten bodies were retrieved Sunday afternoon from the rubble in Sichuan province by rescuers, and 11 people were injured in the flooding, Xi'an vice mayor Zhu Zhisheng told Xinhua.

The floods left more than 80 people dead or missing, forced more than 1 million people to evacuate, caused nearly $3 million in damages and submerged 29,000 houses throughout Henan, Shaanxi and Sichuan provinces, the Ministry of Civil Affairs said in a report released by the Associated Press.

The heavy rains and landslides Sunday morning hampered the rescue efforts of more than 700 police, firefighters and locals, Xinhua said.

The torrential rains were forecasted to continue in the region for another three days, according to China's meteorological agency and the National Meteorological Center.

Heavy rains affect millions, killing hundreds in Pakistan

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by Sarah See

More than 200 people were killed, and at least 5.5 million people were affected since August by heavy monsoon rains and floods in Sindh province, southeastern Pakistan, according to reports on Tuesday.

Authorities said 200,000 people were homeless, and 4.2 million acres of agricultural land were flooded, the Star Tribune reported.

At least 1.19 million homes and an estimated 80 percent of cash crops were damaged, authorities told CNN.

Kristen Elsby, spokeswoman for UNICEF, also told CNN 2.7 million children were affected, and half of the 300,000 people in camps were children.

The U.N., the U.S., Iran, Japan and China gave aid, specifically food, tents, clean water, money, and other goods and supplies.

However, continuous heavy rains hampered relief operations, and weather forecasts predicted more rain, with no chance of floodwaters receding anytime soon, according to CNN reports from the National Disaster Management Authority.

Thousands of people were stranded or displaced, and the floods made it impossible for residents to bury their loved ones, army soldier Mohammed Hameed said in the Star Tribune's report.

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