May 6, 2007

David Suzuki, Canada's Al Gore

For the last three decades David Suzuki has raised awareness for environmental issues in Canada. He has done so much to bring global warming to the top of the country's list of concerns that he is referred to as the Canadian Al Gore.

In 2004 Suzuki was named one of the "Greatest Canadians" for being a champion for the environment. He was 5th on the list, and the highest living member of the list.

Suzuki has a genetics degree from the University of British Columbia, where he first worked on a college television program talking about the preservation. He continued to work in television and hosted a weekly CBC show, "The Nature of Things," in 1979.

Aside from raising awareness through television, Suzuki has set up dozens of other environmental programs in both Canada and the U.S. 1990 he and his wife started the David Suzuki Foundation, a nonprofit organization that is now pulling in $6 million per year.

Check out the Star Tribune's recent story about Suzuki.

April 29, 2007

Protest in Turkey

More than 100,000 gathered to protest in Istambul Sunday. The demonstration consisted of secular Turks protesting the pro-Islamic government.

This was the second large demonstration in two weeks against the government. Some 300,000 secular Turks staged a protest in Anakara, Turkey to protect Turkey's secular state.

These protests are further evidence of the deepening rift between secular Turks and Islamic supporters.

Check out AP coverage of this story in the Star Tribune and at ABC News.

April 22, 2007

Iranian Dam Could Damage Ancient Ruins

On Thursday an inauguration ceremony for a controversial dam in Iran went ahead to the dismay of archaeologists and historians.

The utilization of the dam was delayed for months by appeals from the United Nations' Educational, Scientific, Cultural Organization. The organization wanted time to excavate ancient Persian ruins that are going to be submerged by the reservoir created by the dam. Among the sites that could be damaged or even destroyed are what is believed to be the Royal Passage of the Achaemenids, the Persian dynasty that ruled in the sixth century B.C. and an Achaemenid village and cemetery dating back 7000 years.

Humidity from the reservoir could also damage the ancient city of Persepolis which is a historical site visited by millions of people every year.

The dam was built to provide irrigation to farms in the area.

Check out coverage of this story in USA Today, the Star Tribune, and Sci-Tech Today, all of which used AP coverage.

April 16, 2007

Terrorist group's claim to have killed kidnapped journalist have not been confirmed.

A Palestinian group claims to have killed BBC journalist Alan Johnston, but so far the claims have not been supported.

Previously unknown group "the brigade of Tawhid and Jihad" contacted news organizations claiming to have killed Johnston a month ago, but reports cannot be confirmed.

So far it is not clear if there is any connection between the group making the claims and Al-Qaida, which was known as Tawhid and Jihad before the name was changed.

Since his kidnapping on March 12, Palestinian journalists have protested for Johnston's release.

March 26, 2007

Detainee Denies Knowledge of Attack on US Embassy

The man charged with delivering the explosives for the attack on a Tanzanian U.S. Embassy denies he had any knowledge of his role in the bombing.

Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani apologized to the families of those injured or killed in the attack and also to the U.S. government in a hearing in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where he is being detained. He admitted to his involvement, but said he was ignorant of the plan to attack.

According to the Pentagon's transcripts of the hearing, Ghailani said he was told the explosives were soap and after he delivered them to the bombing site, that they were explosives for mining diamonds in Somalia.

Ghailani participated in one of two simultaneous attacks on U.S. foreign embassies in Dar de Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya in August of 1998. More than 200 people were killed in the attacks. Eleven of those deaths were a result of the explosion in Tanzania.

Check out AP coverage in the Star Tribune and the coverage.

March 11, 2007

8,200 Troops Requested to be Sent to Iraq and Afghanistan

President Bush ordered 4,700 more troops to be sent to Iraq and adding 3,500 more to forces in Afghanistan. These troops are on top of the 21,500 troop increase ordered in January.

These additional forces would be split between combat and support units in Iraq.

The troops sent to Afghanistan would bring U.S. forces there to an all-time high. The new forces would be used to accelerate training of local military units.

Bush requested $3.2 billion in emergency funding to pay for the additional troops. Bush asked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, DFL- California, to shift funds from "lower priority" programs. The request also asks for $500 million to send combat troops, linguists, and military trainers to Afghanistan.

This troop surge is raising suspicion that larger and longer lasting military action is ahead. Democrats in Congress are trying to reverse Iraq military action. A spending plan is in the works that aims to have Iraqi government meet certain benchmarks to keep U.S. troops in Iraq. Troop withdrawals, regardless of the local governments ability to meet such standards, would begin March 1, 2008 and those U.S. forces remaining would be out of combat by August 1, 2008. Bush's aides said the president would veto such a plan.

Pelosi said a presidential veto would suggest to Iraqi leaders the U.S. is not serious about leaving and giving them responsibility for their own country.

Check out the Pioneer Press coverage of this story.

March 5, 2007

Police Break Up Pro-Democracy Rally in Russia

Activists' protest in St. Petersburg, Russia were split up by police on Saturday. Many demonstrators were clubbed by police, detained and taken into buses.

Liberals and members of Pro-democracy groups met at what was called the March of Those Who Disagree in Russia's second largest city to protest Russia's stance on democracy. Demonstrators pointed to President Vladimir Putin's government and accused them of stifling freedom of speech and doing away with democratic practices.

Riot police tried to stop the march by beating dozens of protesters, but thousands broke free and moved to the center of the city. There they rallied for about 40 minutes until police moved in again, this time detaining people and throwing them into buses.

An officer was attacked by several activists, and 20 to 30 of the protesters were detained.

Check out more from the AP's coverage of this story.

February 25, 2007

Garbage Surveillance in Britian

Microchips placed in trash cans have British citizens accusing the government of invasion of privacy.

Citizens tolerate video surveillance in public spaces such as buses, phone booths, and streets, but many feel the monitoring of their trash has gone too far.

Officials said the chips are in place only to monitor how much trash is being collected and help increase national recycling rates. The technology in place now cannot actually determine the contents of a can. However, many people are concerned that the monitoring will eventually lead to weighing their waste and making them pay by how much they throw away.

Some citizens have taken their disapproval into their own hands. A 72-year-old man ripped the chip from his garbage can and then went on national TV to show how he did it.

Check out more on this story in the Star Tribune.

February 19, 2007

Bomb Kills 63 in Baghdad

Car bombs killed 63 people in Baghdad shortly after an American security patrol.

The blasts took place in the mostly Shiite neighborhood of New Baghdad. A series of three bombs were detonated in an open-air market. The first two simultaneous blasts killed 62 people and the third killed one. The explosions left 131 more injured.

The car bombs ended a calm in Baghdad attributed to news Baghdad security plans that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had called "a dazzling success," two days earlier.

Other damages included the partial collapse of a two-story building and dozens of cars going up in flames.

Read more in the Pioneer Press and the New York Times.

February 11, 2007

Iranian Arms Factories Linked to Iraqi Shiites

United States military officials have found evidence that Iran supplied deadly weapons to Shiite extremist groups in Iraq. The weapons include explosively formed penetrators, or E.F.P.s, which have been said to have killed over 170 Americans in the last three years.

The E.F.P.s are canisters that explode and spew balls of molten copper, capable of cutting through armor. Military officials laid out canisters with serial numbers, evidence linking the weapons to Iranian suppliers. The U.S. also asserted, without providing direct evidence, that Iran is authorizing smuggling these weapons into Iraq.

The anonymous nature of these claims has raised questions of the Bush administration's motives behind accusing Iran. Intelligence officials are expected to present more evidence supporting the claims, and closely review any evidence finally presented.

Read more in The New York Times.

February 4, 2007

Police Kill Three Protesters in Nepal

Police opened fire on protesters in two Nepalese towns on Sunday, killing at least three people and injuring more.

Demonstrators have been staging protests to get more representation in Nepal's national legislature and greater representation for the country's south. The group leading the demonstrations is the Madhesi People's Rights Forum (MPRF). The MPRF said protesters were unarmed and the demonstrations were peaceful until police arrived. The United Nations' human rights office in Nepal has asked police and demonstrator violence be avoided.

Protests have been continuing since Jan. 19 and the death toll of protesters and police men is at least 19.

Check out the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's coverage of this international news.

January 28, 2007

Human Trafficking in Italy Exposed

Over 2,000 people throughout Italy were accused of human trafficking after investigations uncovered adults and children who were being forced into prostitution and working in sweatshops.

Most of the people being forced into these trafficking rings, and controlling them are foreigners from Eastern Europe, including Albania, Romania and elsewhere.

Those involved were accused of exploiting prostitution and favoring illegal immigration. Of the 2,000 plus accused, 784 have been detained and 1,311 were released pending legal proceedings. Police said young girls were being forced to work as prostitutes and many more adults and children were working in mainly textile sweatshops.

The widespread investigation led to arrests throughout the country. A total of 15 houses for prostitution, four nightclubs, and three sweatshops were seized.

Lead analysis: The New York Times and both carried this Associated Press story, but CNN's coverage included more quotes and gave the story more of a human interest appeal. Both stories began with basically the same lead, playing off of the more than 2,000 that were accused and telling the reader exactly what happened.