This news blog is an educational exercise involving students at the University of Minnesota. It is not intended to be a source of news.

Recently in International News Coverage Category

Syrian government forces have used chemical weapons in the country's civil war causing people to foam at the mouth, Israeli military top analyst said on Tuesday.

If this claim is confirmed, it would mean Syria's President Bashar Assad crossed what the State Department has described as a red line that would trigger some form of U.S. response, NBC News said. President Obama warned Assad that using chemical weapons would be a "tragic mistake" that would have "consequences," NBC News reported.

Brigadier-General Itai Brun told the Institute of National Security in Tel Aviv that photographs of the victims foaming at the mouth and with contracted pupils were signs that a deadly gas had been used, NBC News said.

"According to our professional assessment, the regime has used deadly chemical weapons against armed rebels on a number of occasions in the past few months," Brun said, NBC News reported.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urged NATO to prepare for the possible use of chemical weapons by Syria and said contingency plans should be put into place to guard against Syria's threat of a chemical weapons strike, CBS News said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, sarin, a nerve agent, and the suspected chemical used by Syria, causes symptoms including loss of consciousness, convulsions, paralysis, and respiratory failure that can be fatal, NBC News reported.

Nicolas Maduro, Hugo Chavez's handpicked successor, won in a narrow victory in Sunday's special presidential election, but his opponent slammed the results as illegitimate and demanded a recount, electoral officials announced.

Maduro secured 50.7 percent of the votes in the poll while the opponent, Henrique Capriles, won 49.1 percent, CNN reported. The stunningly close victory kept Maduro about 300,000 votes ahead of Capriles, NPR said.

Despite the victory, Capriles said, "We will not recognize any results until each vote of the Venezuelan people has been counted," CNN reported. But the council's top official, Tibisay Lucena, called the results "irreversible," CNN said.

Maduro's victory came after a campaign in which the winner promised to carry on Chavez's self-proclaimed socialist revolution while the challenger's main message was that Chavez's regime put Venezuela on the road to ruin, NPR said.

According to NPR, Venezuelans are afflicted by chronic power outages, crumbling infrastructure, unfinished public works projects, double-digit inflation, food and medicine shortages, and rampant crime that Capriles said worsened after Chavez's death March 5.

Maduro has been Venezuela's interim leader since Chavez's death. After he registered to run for presidency last month, he told supporters, "I am not Chavez, but I am his son," CNN said.

China's bird flu death toll rises to 5

| No Comments

Two more people in China have died from the H7N9 bird flu virus, raising the country's death toll to five, the government and state media reported Thursday.

H7N9, a strain of avian flu, was not known to infect humans before China's recent cases, which the country began reporting on Sunday, CNN said. Fourteen human cases of H7N9 have now all been reported in eastern China, CNN reported.

One of Wednesday's deaths was that of a middle-aged man who transported poultry for a living, Huffington Post said. The other has not been identified, The Huffington Post said.

The 48-year-old man who died on Wednesday in Shanghai is one of several among the 14 infected who is said to have direct contact with a fowl, Huffington Post said.

The Ministry of Agriculture confirmed on Thursday that the virus had been detected in pigeons at a market selling agricultural products in Shanghai, Huffington Post said.

The three previous deaths were two men, aged 27 and 28, who lived in Shanghai, and a 38-year-old man who lived in Zhejiang, CNN reported.

Health officials said it is not known how people are becoming sick with the virus, Huffington Post said. Scientists caution that there are no indications it can be transmitted from one person to another, Huffington Post reported.

Italian Supreme Court ordered a new trial for Amanda Knox and her former Italian boyfriend on Tuesday, overturning their acquittals for the death of her British roommate.

Knox served four years of a 26-year prison sentence before the court overturned her murder conviction, CNN said. The appellate court cited lack of evidence against Knox in the 2007 death of Meredith Kercher in Perugia, CNN said.

Rome's Supreme Court judges also ordered that her former boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, who was acquitted with her, face a new trial over Kercher's death as well, CNN said.

The American woman, a 25-year-old University of Washington student in Seattle, called the decision by the Rome-based Court of Cassation "painful" but said she was confident she would be exonerated, CBS News said.

"No matter what happens, my family and I will face this continuing legal battle as we always have, confident in the truth and with our heads held high in the face of wrongful accusations and unreasonable adversity," Knox told CNN.

A date for a new appeals court trial for Knox and Sollecito, which is planned to be held in Florence, could take months, CBS News said.

NASA confirms Mars could have hosted life

| No Comments

Curiosity, NASA's most powerful rover to land on Mars, discovered conditions that could have supported life once existed on the planet, NASA scientists said Tuesday during a conference.

"We have found a habitable environment that is so benign and supportive of life that probably if this water was around and you had been on the planet, you would have been able to drink it," John P. Grotzinger, the California Institute of Technology geology professor who is the principal investigator for the NASA mission, said to The New York Times.

NASA scientists found that several billion years ago, Mars was a place for tiny microbes to live, with plenty of water and minerals that could have served as food, The News York Times reported.

The discovery was made based on the chemical analysis of powder that the rover recovered after drilling a hole in a rock, CNN reported.

The powder from the drilling had chemicals including sulfur, nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and carbon, CNN reported. All of which are ingredients for life.

This was the first time a robot from Earth had drilled on another planet, CNN said.

Hugo Chavez, Venezuelan leader, dies

| No Comments

Hugo Chavez, president of Venezuela for the last 14 years, died Tuesday following a treatment for cancer he had been battling for nearly two years, the country's vice president Nicolas Maduro announced.

A presidential election is set up to replace Chavez, who had won his fourth presidential term in 2012 but was never sworn due to his illness, CBS News said.

Under the constitution, Diosdado Cabello, the head of Congress, would assume the interim presidency, Fox News said.

Chavez's death ended a months-long period of speculation surrounding the president's health, CBS News said.

The announcement by Maduro came just hours after the government had expelled two U.S. diplomats from the country, Fox News said.

Maduro said "we have no doubt" that Chavez's cancer was induced by foul play by "the historical enemies of our homeland," Fox News reported.

A socialist leader, some opponents accused Chavez of becoming a dictator and following his mentor, Fidel Castro, CBS News said.

Deadliest hot air balloon crash kills 19 tourists in Egypt

| No Comments

A hot air balloon flying over Luxor, Egypt crashed and exploded Tuesday afternoon killing at least 19 foreign tourists, said health and security officials.

The balloon, carrying at least 20 people, was flying over the ancient city of Luxor when it caught fire, which triggered an explosion in its gas canister, and fell at least 1,000 feet from the sky, Fox News reported.

It then crashed outside a village west of Luxor, 320 miles of south Cairo, in a sugar cane field, Fox News said.

Casualties included tourists from France, Great Britain, Belgium, Hungary, Japan and Hong-Kong, Luxor Governor Ezzat Saad said to Fox News.

The crash is the world's deadliest hot air balloon accident in at least 20 years, CNN said.

Egypt's civil aviation minister, Wael el-Maadawi, has suspended all hot air balloon flights and leads the investigation for the crash, Fox News said

3 British men convicted in terrorist bomb plot

| No Comments

Three British Muslims were convicted Thursday of plotting terrorist attacks that intended to explode knapsack bombs in crowded areas of Birmingham, England's second-largest city, authorities said.

A London jury found Irfan Khalid, 27; Irfan Naseer, 31; and Ashik Ali, 27, guilty of being central figures in the plot to set off bombs that would be bigger than the 2005 London transit bombings, CBS said.

The ringleaders of an Al Qaeda-inspired plot to cause carnage on a mass scale pleaded not guilty to charges, CBS and Fox News said.

Their plot was unraveled because of mishaps with money and logistics, and ended in 2011 because of a police counterterrorism swoop, CBS said.

The three men were senior members of a terror cell inspired by anti-Western sermons of U.S.-born Muslim cleric Anwar al Awlaki, who was killed in Yemen September 2011, CBS reported.

Several other suspects pleaded guilty to offenses related to the attack, CBS said.

The resignation of Pope Benedict XVI shocked Roman Catholics and people around the world Monday.

Becoming the first pontiff to step down in nearly 600 years, the 85-year-old said he no longer had the strength to carry out his papal duties, Fox News said.

"After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry," the pope said according to a statement released by the Vatican, Fox News reported.

Pope Benedict XVI, a spiritual leader of over 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, will renounce his position at 8 p.m. on February 28, CNN said.

The Vatican plans to have a conclave to elect a new pope by mid-March before Easter, CNN reported. However, Benedict will not be a part of choosing his successor.

An alleged attack in an Acapulco resort on Monday raises questions for the tourism world after masked gunmen raped six Spanish women and tied up six men.

The hooded gunmen burst into a beach bungalow and attacked the group of Spanish tourists during their vacation, CNN said. Local authorities said Wednesday they believe the victims bought drugs from one or more of the suspects days before the alleged attack.

The brutal attack is a reminder of the significant security problems and rising violence and homicide numbers of Acapulco, CNN reported. Last year, Guerrero state had more than 1,600 gun murders, according to a federal government tally released last month.

As Mexico prepares for its annual spring break, tourists can hardly ignore the attack.

"We are really sorry about what happened with the Spanish tourists because ... it is something that affects Mexico's image," said Juan Carlos Gonzalez, tourism secretary of Quintana Roo, which hosted about 17 million tourists last year, NBC News said.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of recent entries in the International News Coverage category.

Analysis is the previous category.

Local News Coverage is the next category.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.