Recently in International Category

Everyone from the president to the defense secretary to the general population is condemning the soldiers pictured posing with dead Afghan insurgents, BBC reported.

The soldiers depicted in the 2010 pictures have not yet been identified, but they are from the 82nd Airborne Division, BBC reported.

Military officials asked the New York Times not to publish the 18 photos for fear that it would damage already shaky relations with Afghanistan. The New York Times agreed to an extent, but felt that Americans had a right to know about the incident, so they published the two least offensive photos that still got the point of the matter across.

North Korea is preparing to launch a rocket for testing, going against United Nations sanctions forbidding Pyongyang from utilizing ballistic missile technology, Voice of America reported. The move has been condemned by the United States, South Korea, the European Union, and Japan, Voice of America reported.

Right on the heels of these rocket reports comes news from South Korea that North Korea is also preparing for another clandestine nuclear test, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Satellite images showing new underground tunnel North Korea is digging at one of its nuclear testing sites seem to confirm these allegations, much to the unrest of the international community, the Associated Press reported.

Fierce fighting broke out across the nation of Syria the other day, just three days before a deadline set by the U.N. to ceasefire, BBC reported amidst unconfirmed reports of over 100 deaths.

The U.S. Ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford, told the Washington Post that the United States and the Friends of Syria group were closely monitoring the situation from above to ensure that the required actions take place, but that armored vehicles and artillery units are still within firing range of civilians.

Syria continues to claim that it is merely defending itself against foreign powers such as Saudi Arabia and the U.S., who have thrown their support behind the rebels, Bloomberg Businessweek reported.

In an act that leaves the U.N. half hopeful and half skeptical, Syria has accepted Arab League envoy Kofi Annan's six-point peace plan for ending the year-long conflict, Voice of America News reported.

Opposition members accuse President Bashar Assad of agreeing to the plan to stall for time while his troops prepare for another large-scale attack, Seattle PI reported.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague told MSNBC Assad's decision to accept the plan was only a first step. "We will continue to judge the Syrian regime by its practical actions, not by its often empty words," he told MSNBC.

Violence in Syria has surged in the past 48 hours, particularly in previously untouched, upscale areas such as the al-Mazzeh neighborhood in the capital of Damascus, CNN reported. The neighborhood housed various security buildings embassies, and some of the president's inner circle, CNN reported.

This comes just two days after a large attack in Damascus on Saturday, where two suicide car bombers detonated explosives near two important government buildings, killing 29 civilians and security personnel and wounding 140 others, CapitalFM reported. The Syrian administration calls this yet another example of proof of their claim that the rebels are nothing more than terrorists, while the rebels maintain that they did not orchestrate that attack, rather, that the administration sent the suicide bombers to kill their own supporters and frame the rebels to gather more support, CNN reported.

Even Russia, Assad's longtime ally in the UN, has urged both Assad and the rebels to agree to daily truces, so as to allow international Red Cross workers into the war zones to provide needed aid to civilians, the Montreal Gazette reported.

British UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos became the first senior international figure to visit the Baba Amr district of Homs Wednesday since the government first launched its assault there against opponents of the government, Gulf News reported.

"I was devastated by what I saw in Baba Amr yesterday," Amos told Reuters TV Thursday. "The devastation there is significant, that part of Homs is completely destroyed and I am concerned to know what has happened to the people who live in that part of the city."

Rebel leaders fled Homs over a week ago after nearly a month of shelling from Syrian forces, Reuters reported.

Syria originally refused to grant Amos access to the country, but relented after China and Russia joined the rest of the international community in rebuking them, Gulf News reported. Amos' goal is to secure aid access to the heaviest conflict zones, which have previously been off-limits, Gulf News reported.

Interpol arrested 25 suspected members of Anonymous Wednesday as part of "Operation Unmask", an initiative launched mid-February after Anonymous members claimed credit for denial of service attacks on the Colombian Ministry of Defense and Chile's National Library, the Washington Post reported. The suspects range in age from 17 to 40, the Washington Post reported.

Anonymous, in retaliation, managed to take down Interpol's own website briefly, and though it is now back up, it is "loading slowly", reported the World & Guardian Online.

Cole Stryker, an author who has researched the movement, thinks it unlikely that all -- if any -- of those arrested are actually at the center of the organization. "Anonymous is a handful of geniuses surrounded by a legion of idiots," Stryker told the New York Times. "You have four or five guys who really know what they're doing and are able to pull off some of the more serious hacks, and then thousands of people spreading the word, or turning their computers over to participate in a DDoS attack."

A statement released by the International Atomic Energy Agency early Wednesday said that Iran refused an IAEA request for access to a site where the agency suspects explosives testing related to a nuclear weapon took place, USA Today reported.

For the second time in recent weeks, IAEA inspectors were sent from Iran after talks failed to go through, leaving most of the international community deeply unsettled, the New York Times reported.

IAEA inspectors were most interested in examining the Parchin site, south of Tehran, where it is suspected that explosives related to nuclear weapons may have been tested in recent years, BBC reported.

Iran claims that their nuclear endeavors are peaceful, and strictly limited to providing electrical power, the New York Times reported. In the past, Iran had said the team of inspectors could visit any nuclear-related location, but it now claims that Parchin is a military base and is off limits, the New York Times reported.

U.N. condemns Assad regime

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The UN General Assembly has approved a resolution backing an Arab League plan that calls for Syria's president to step down and strongly condemns the human rights violations committed there, the Irish Examiner reported.

The resolution passed by 137-12 with 17 abstentions, reported the Irish Examiner. Russia, China, and Iran were among those who voted against it, Euronews reported.

Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov told USA Today that Russia voted against the resolution because it was unbalanced, as it looked only at the crimes Assad's regime has committed and not at those committed by the dissenters.

The resolution itself condemns "all violence, irrespective of where it comes from, and calls upon all parties in Syria, including armed groups, to immediately stop all violence or reprisals," USA Today quoted.

Three Indian Politicians from the ruling morally conservative Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), including a women's affairs minister, resigned Wednesday after being caught on tape looking at pornography on a phone while sitting in state assembly, the National Post reports.

The ministers denied they were watching porn, but resigned to save their party from embarrassment, USA Today reported. They said that they were watching a foreign rave party scene sent to them to explain what 'rave party' meant, since it had been mentioned earlier in the assembly, Savadi told USA Today.

Renuka Chowdhary, a member of the Congress Party and former federal minister for women's development, used the incident to showcase an ongoing problem in what she sees as a patriarchal Indian society, where she told The Telegraph that women are largely seen as disposable commodities.

"It is really troubling that the people who are in positions of power and have the responsibility to change things actually have the same mindset and are busy watching porn," she told the CNN-IBN news channel, as quoted in The Telegraph.

One of the politicians, C.C. Patil, has requested that the Speaker of the House conduct an inquiry, and that it would surely find them innocent, reported Reuters.

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