Recently in International Category

NATO Calls on North Korea to Cancel Rocket Launch

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According to stories by Reuters and the Associated Foreign Press, NATO called on North Korea to cancel its plan to launch a rocket for the second time in 2012.

NATO said the launch would violate U.N. resolutions and further destabilize relations between North & South Korea.

NATO ambassadors expressed "grave concern at North Korea's declared intent to launch a rocket using ballistic missile technology this month", an alliance statement said.

North Korea's state news agency announced the decision to launch another space satellite on Saturday. It was earlier reported that North Korea told its neighbors it would take a path similar to the plan for the rocket launch that failed in April.

According to the AFP, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pressed NATO officials to make this call out to the North Koreans.

North Korea Plans Second Rocket Launch

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According to stories from Reuters and the Huffington Post, North Korea has planned a second rocket launch for December.

The launch will occur just as South Korea is holding its presidential election, which is sure to create even more diplomatic tensions between the neighboring countries, says Reuters.

In April, North Korea's first attempt to launch a long-range rocket was widely condemned by United Nations officials. This would be North Korea's second launch attempt under leader Kim Jong Un, who took power following his father Kim Jong Il's death nearly a year ago.

Reuters reports that state news agency KCNA said on Saturday that the launch of a rocket carrying a satellite would take place between December 10 and December 22.

Although North Korean officials say the launch is for peaceful purposes, the United States and South Korea fear that the tests are in preparation for eventual nuclear warhead use.

Work Begins to Exhume Yasser Arafat's Body

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According to reports from CNN and The Jewish Telegraphic Agency, workers have begun to remove the marble tombstone on former Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat's grave for exhumation of the body.

The exhumation is going to take about two weeks, with most of the delicate work being done by hand, says CNN.

A French investigative team is scheduled to arrive on Nov. 26 to take samples from his remains, which are buried in Ramallah in the West Bank. A Russian investigative team also will be there on the same day, reportedly at the request of the Palestinian Authority.

In August, French prosecutors opened up an inquiry of murder into the death of Arrafat

Palestinian officials approved the move over the summer, after investigators said they found high levels of a radioactive substance on some of Arafat's personal belongings.

Suha Arafat, the former leader's widow, told CNN that she wanted his body exhumed to find out whether he was poisoned.

Thousands of Syrians flee the Country

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According to stories by The USA Today and Reuters, at least 11,000 Syrians have fled their own country today, pouring into Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon.

Reuters called it "one of the biggest refugee exoduses in the 20-month civil war." The exodus took place after rebel forces seized a Syrian border town. The United Nations warned that million of Syrians still need aid.

The civil war in Syria has killed over 36,000 people since an uprising against President Bashar Assad's regime began in March 2011, said the USA Today.

Panos Moumtzis, the U.N. refugee agency's regional coordinator for the region, described the flood of people as "the highest that we have had in quite some time."

This most recent flood of refugees makes the grand total 120,000 in Turkey alone.

Hunger Strike in Turkey Prisons Enters 52nd Day

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According to Reuters and CNN, the Turkish government announced Friday that at least 682 inmates across 67 prisons were participating in a hunger strike, but insisted that no protesters are in critical condition.

Reuters reports that Turkey's "main medical association" warned on Thursday that the jailed protesters may begin to die in the next ten days.

CNN also reported information that directly contradicted the announcement given by the country's justice ministry. CNN gave information from Dr. Aytug Atici that the protesters could not stand-up on their own and that they were bleeding nasally and anally.

Atici reportedly met with several prisoners during a tour of detention facilities. He is a medical doctor and lawmaker from the country's secularist party.

The main demand of the protesters is improved prison conditions for PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan, who is imprisoned on an island in the Marmara Sea south of Istanbul.

The Turkish prime minister called the Kurdish political leaders that the demonstrators are protesting for "merchants of death" and accused them of ordering the militants to go on strike while they themselves "feasted on kebabs."

He also called the strike "a show."

Arrests Made in Pakistani Schoolgirl Shooting

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The main suspect in the October 9 shooting of 14-year-old Malala Yousufzai has been identified and a group of men who allegedly facilitated the attack have been arrested, Pakistani police told CNN.

23-year-old Att Ullah, from the northwestern Pakistani Swat district where Malala was shot, was identified as the main suspect. According to CNN, the Swat Valley is heavy with Taliban.

Ullah's fiancee, mother, and brother have also been arrested. It is unclear whether the suspect actually shot Malala or was just the leader behind the attack, said CNN.

It was Malala, as reported by Reuters, that had been campaigning against the Taliban since she was an 11-year-old. She wrote a blog under a pen name for the BBC about living under the rule of the Pakistani Taliban.

Reuters said that the Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, saying her promotion of education for girls was pro-Western and she had opposed them.

Malala had defied threats for years; her father, Ziauddin Yousufzai, told Reuters that letters had been thrown into their house on several occasions.

According to CNN, Malala is receiving treatment at University Hospital in Birmingham, England. According to the hospital's statement in the CNN report, Malala is "communicating very freely."


Turkey Forces Syrian Ammunition-Filled Plane to Land

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Turkey forced a Syrian passenger jet en route from Moscow to Damascus to land late Wednesday because the plane was believed to be holding Russian ammunition and military equipment, according to the Star Tribune via The Associated Press.

The jet was on its way to the Syrian Defense Ministry; the seized jet cargo included missile parts, radio receivers, and other military communications equipment. The equipment is currently being examined by Turkish officals, according to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Syria labeled the incident piracy while the Russians called the search illegal, citing that it endangered the lives of the Russian citizens on board the Airbus A320 that was intercepted over Turkish airspace.

Erdogan referenced the international law that defense industry equipment, ammunition, or weapons cannot be carried on passenger planes. Turkey did not indicate how - or from whom - they had learned of the transport of military equipment via the passenger jet.

The United States said it backed Turkey's decision to intercept the plane, according to State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland. She declined to comment on Turkish reports that the intelligence of the plane's contents came from the United States.

This incident is one of many that have contributed to the plummeting relations between Turkey and Syria, which has expanded into a civil war that "threatens the stability of the Middle East," according to the Associated Press's report.


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