Recently in International Category

27 killed in pipeline explosion in Mexico

SAN MARTIN TEXMELUCAN, Mexico -- Atleast 27 people were killed on Sunday after a pipeline exploded in central Mexico as theives were trying to steal oil. "Authorities said 12 of the dead were children and estimated that the explosion and resulting spill affected a three-mile (five-kilometer) radius, injuring at least 52 people and scorching more than 115 homes," MSNBC said. "The head of Pemex, Juan Jose Suarez, said the section of pipeline near where the blast occurred had been illegally tapped 60 times. He said there have been 550 cases of illegal tapping nationwide," the LA times said.

TEHRAN, Iran -- Iran announced on Sunday that it has produced its first batch of locally mined uranium, claiming self-sufficiency of the entire nuclear fuel cycle. "The step displays Iran's determination to master nuclear technology without outside help, including by enriching its own uranium, just a day before world powers meet Iranian officials in Geneva in another attempt to persuade them to freeze that work," the Star Tribune said. "Western officials downplayed the announcement, saying it had been expected and that Iran did not have enough ore to maintain the large-scale enrichment program that Tehran says it is building as a source of fuel for an envisaged network of nuclear reactors," ABC News said.

Ireland requests billions in loans from EU

Ireland requests billions of dollars in financial assistance loans from the European Union on Sunday. "EU European Union officials, who had been pushing Ireland to accept help, quickly agreed to the request, committing a staggering amount of funds to an ailing member for the second time in six months," the NY times said. "'Ministers concur with the (European) Commission and the European Central Bank that providing assistance to Ireland is warranted to safeguard financial ability in the EU and in the euro area,' the EU statement said," CNN said.

Mexico hotel explosion kills 7

PLAYA DE CARMEN, Mexico -- Seven people, including five Canadian tourists, were killed Sunday by a powerful explosion at a large resort hotel south of Cancun, authorities said. "Twelve other people, including two Canadians and Two Americans, were injured in the blast at the sprawling 676-room Grand Riviera Princess hotel In Playa del Carmen, on Mexico's Carribbean coast, said Francisco Alor, attorney general of Quintana Roo State, where the resort is located," the NY TImes said. "The blast occurred on the ground floor of one of a dozen or so buildings that make up the sprawling hotel, and left a crater a yard (meter) deep," MSNBC said.

Somali Pirates free British couple after 388 days

NAIROBI, Kenya -- A British couple who had been captured by Somali pirates, and held in captivity for 388 days, were released on Sunday after a ransom was paid. 'The couple, Paul and Rachel Chandler, were hijacked in October 2009 while sailing in a small yacht in the Indian Ocean in what they had described to friends as "the trip of a lifetim,"' the NY Times said. "The Chandlers were welcomed by the Somali community close to where they had been held, and later met with the Somali prime minister in Mogadishu," the Star Tribune said. The couple was then flown by a private jet to Nairobi's military airport, where they were taken away in a British Embassy vehicle.

Afghan women seek fiery death

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The number of Afghan women who are committing suicide by setting themselves on fire to escape their difficult lives has been increasing. Non-governmental organizations "say women forced into marriage or suffering chronic abuse are killing themselves out of desperation," the BBC said. "'If you run away from home, you may be raped or put in jail and then sent home and then what will happen to you?' asked Rachel Reid, a researcher for Human Rights Watch who tracks violence against women," the New York Times said.

Brazil elects first women president

SAO PAULO, Brazil -- Dilma Rousseff was elected as the nation's first female president on Sunday. "Rousseff, 62, defeated José Serra, the former governor of São Paulo, with 56 percent of the vote to 44 percent, official numbers showed," the NY Times said. ". Rousseff will provide a role model that will empower women in Brazil and help bring more females to senior executive positions, said Maria Eugenia Lopez, who runs Banco Santander Brasil SA's private banking unit," Bloomberg news said.

Terrorist explosives discovered on cargo plane bound for the US

WASHINGTON-- Authorites from three continents stopped multiple terrorist attacks aimed at the United States from Yemen on Friday. Two explosive packages aimed at Chicago-area and packed abroad cargo jets were seized. "President Barack Obama called the coordinated attacks a "credible terrorist threat," and U.S. officials said they were increasingly confident that al-Qaida's Yemen branch, the group responsible for the failed Detroit airliner bombing last Christmas, was responsible," The LA Times said. "One of the packages was found aboard a cargo plane in Dubai, the other in England. Preliminary tests indicated the packages contained the powerful industrial explosive PETN, the same chemical used in the Christmas attack, U.S. officials said. The tests had not been confirmed," the Star Tribune said.

Hurrican Richard hit Belize

Hurricane Richard hit Belize's Caribbean coast late Sunday, an estimated 10,000 people have taken refuge. "The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said Richard's top winds were 90 mph (150 kph) -- making it a Category 1 hurricane -- when it made landfall about 20 miles (35 kms) south-southwest of Belize City, whose neighborhoods are full of wooden, tin-roof homes that are very vulnerable to winds," said the Star Tribune. "A hurricane warning remains in effect for Belize, while a hurricane watch and tropical storm warnings are still in effect for the east coast of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula from Punta Gruesa to Chetumal" said the Chicago Tribune.

Freed miners return for Mass

Approximately a dozen of the 33 freed Chilean miners returned to the mouth of the mine on Sunday to offer thanks during a private Mass. "For many of the miners, it was the first time back since their dramatic Wednesday rescue that was watched by the world," CNN said. "Chile freed the last of 33 miners from imprisonment nearly half a mile underground late Wednesday," the LA TImes said. The 33 men have made a pact not to publicly talk about their underground ordeal.

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