Recently in International News Category

Palin part of humanitarian effort in Haiti

Sarah Palin arrived Saturday in Haiti, which has recently been struck by a cholera epidemic and violence in Port-au-Prince stemming from a controversial presidential election, as part of a humanitarian group hosted by Samaritan's Purse, the Guardian reported.

"They are so full of joy. We are so fortunate in America and we are responsible for helping those less fortunate," said former Alaska Gov. Palin, who was the Republican vice-presidential candidate in the 2008 election .

More than 2,000 people have died of cholera in Haiti, while about 100,000 have been sickened, CNN reported. Haiti is still recovering from an earthquake in January which killed nearly 220,000 people.

Franklin Graham, son of well-known evangelist Billy Graham, is heading the delegation which will visit a cholera clinic with gifts for children under Operation Christmas Child, the Guardian reported.

"I believe Gov. Palin will be a great encouragement to the people of Haiti and to the organizations, both government and private, working so hard to provide desperately needed relief," Graham said.

Palin has yet to comment on the trip and her itinerary has not been released, the Guardian reported. Many believe she is considering running for president in 2012.

Mark Madoff, son of shamed financier Bernard Madoff, found dead

The eldest son of financier Bernard Madoff, was found hanging from a ceiling pipe in his apartment Saturday, two years after his father was arrested in a multi-billion dollar fraud that caused "unrelenting pressure" for his entire family, the Associated Press reported.

Mark Madoff, 46, hanged himself by a dog leash in his SoHo loft apartment, law enforcement officials said. His 2-year-old son was sleeping in a nearby bedroom, the Huffington Post reported.

Martin Flumenbaum, Mark Madoff's lawyer, said he took his own life Saturday, the AP reported. A medical examiner will determine the cause of death.

Mark Madoff was found after his wife Stephanie received a concerning email Saturday morning, saying that someone should check on their son, said law enforcement officials. She sent her father to the home where he found the body, the Huffington Post reported. The 2-year-old was unharmed.

"This is a terrible and unnecessary tragedy,'' Flumenbaum said in a written statement. "Mark was an innocent victim of his father's monstrous crime who succumbed to two years of unrelenting pressure from false accusations and innuendo."

Bernard Madoff, 72, cheated thousands of investors out of their life savings, a scheme that lasted for decades, the AP reported. With a sum of around $20 billion swindled, it became the biggest investment fraud in U.S. history.

Bernard Madoff was arrested on Dec. 11, 2008 and was sentenced to a 150 years in a North Carolina prison.

The entire Madoff family was shamed by the scandal and some sued, for most of Bernard Madoff's sons were involved with the company.

In February, Mark Madoff's wife requested to change her last name and the last names of their two children, saying her family had gotten threats, the AP reported.

Volcano erupts in Ecuador, residents evacuate

Ash and lava spewed from Ecuador's Tungurahua volcano Saturday, causing people in villages below to be evacuated.

Tungurahu, which means "throat of fire" in Quechua, is about 85 miles southeast of Quito, the country's capital, and has been in an active state since 1999, BBC reported. Experts say seismic activity has been rapidly increasing since Saturday morning.

Authorities have put the area around the volcano under red alert, which was later turned to orange as activity slowed, CNN reported.

Hot gas and rock was seen flowing from the western side of the volcano at mid-morning Saturday, BBC reported. Ash has been falling on the villages of Pondoa and Patate.

The number of explosions has gone up, according to Scientists with the Ecuadorean Institute for Geophysics. The ash cloud has gone 1.2 miles in the air, BBC reported.

The last major eruption occurred in 1999, when 15, 000 Banos residents had to evacuate and could not return to their homes for a year, BBC reported.

Pope Benedict says condoms acceptable in some circumstances

Pope Benedict XVI suggested that condoms can be justified when used to prevent the spread of HIV or AIDS, the first time the Vatican has made an exception in their strict policy condemning condom use, the New York Times reported.

The pope, 83, made the statement in an interview with German journalist Peter Seewald, part of a series to combat criticism of his tumultuous papacy. The interview will be published in question and answer format in a book to be released Tuesday, the BBC reported.

"The media coverage completely ignored the rest of the trip to Africa on account of a single statement. Someone had asked me why the Catholic Church adopts an unrealistic and ineffective position on Aids," the pope said in an excerpt from the interview. "At that point, I really felt that I was being provoked, because the Church does more than anyone else. And I stand by that claim."

The book has given the pope his own voice and acknowledges the challenges the pope has faced the past five years in his papacy. He has had to deal with several crises including the sexual abuse of minors by priests and overall problems with communications, the New York Times reported.

British couple freed by Somali Pirates

Paul and Rachel Chandler of Kent, England, retired early, sold their home and bought a 38-foot yacht to sail the world. Little did they know their trip would be cut short by pirates.

A British couple has been released after being taken by Somali Pirates and held captive for more than a year, the Guardian reported.

Paul and Rachel Chandler, 61 and 56, were freed after a ransom was paid to have them released, the Guardian reported. They arrived in Kenya Sunday and said that they were "rather skinny and boney" but otherwise fine.

The couple was taken after armed pirates boarded their yacht off the Seychelles, 800 miles east of the African coast. They were told two days ago that they were going to be released, Chandler said.

"We were told on Friday and in a way which gave us some confidence to believe it," he said, according to the Telegraph. "We'd been told we were going to be released in 10 days almost every 10 days for nine months."

For a year and three weeks, the couple was moved around several makeshift camps in Somalia, fed canned spaghetti and goat meat and constantly monitored by armed men, the Telegraph reported. The couple said that they were often "caged like animals" and were scared they would be "killed and abandoned here in the desert".

The couple will fly to Nairobi and undergo medical checks, after a brief meeting with Sheikh Sharif, Somalia's president, in Mogadishu, the Telegraph reported.

President Obama pushed a plan in a speech Saturday in Mumbai that will establish more trade agreements in India and produce more American jobs.

"As we look to India today, the United States sees an opportunity to sell our exports in one of the fastest-growing markets in the world," Obama said at a summit of executives from the U.S. and India. "For America, this is a jobs strategy."

Obama is looking to increase trade between India and U.S. businesses that will ideally translate into more jobs, National Public Radio reported. New trade deals could support nearly 54,000 jobs in the U.S., White House officials said.

Atindra Sen, the head of a Mumbai business group, said that although trade has increased, few U.S. jobs have been created by trade between the two countries, NPR reported.

"Even with the 200 percent increase in Indian imports from the U.S., it's not going to create that many jobs in the U.S.," he said. "I think that this talk of jobs is more for the domestic audience than it is for a real issue between India and the U.S."

Obama is working to reassure a frustrated electorate that has seen many U.S. jobs outsourced to cities in India, CNN reported.

"In 2010, trade between our countries is not just a one-way street of American jobs and companies moving to India," Obama said. "It is a dynamic, two-way relationship that is creating jobs, growth, and higher living standards in both our countries."

14 killed during a shooting at a soccer field in Honduras

Gunmen killed 14 people at a soccer field in northern Honduras, police said.

Ten people were killed at the scene and four more died while being transported to a hospital, a police spokesman said, CNN reported.

Gunmen in two vehicles stopped by the field and started shooting at people getting ready for a soccer game in San Pedro Sula. Authorities are not sure what instigated the gunfire, but the city, 100 miles north of the capital Tegucigalpa, houses competing drug gangs, the New York Times reported.

This area of Honduras has seen a lot of drug-related violence in recent years and has a prominent cocaine industry, SoccerLens reported.

"We're investigating to see what sort of organization could be behind this," Juan Lopez, a police spokesman in San Pedro Sula said, CNN reported. "The most likely (scenario) is that the attack was directed at one or some of the men on the field and that the others were caught in the crossfire."

The UN has urged President Obama to investigate reported human rights violations in Iraq involving U.S. military forces , after documents about the war were released by Wikileaks and made available to some news sources, the Guardian reported.

Manfred Nowak, the UN's chief investigator on torture, cited possible violations of the UN Convention Against Torture and said that Obama had a clear obligation to investigate them, according to the Guardian.

After the Guardian analyzed the leaked war logs, the biggest leak in U.S. military history, over 15,000 unreported civilian casualties were found that British forces may have been involved in.

Phil Shiner, a human rights specialist at Public Interest Lawyers in the UK, advised Nowak and urged a public inquiry into allegations that British troops were responsible for civilian casualties, the Guardian reported.

According to the New York Times, the 400,000 documents were made available to them in addition to The Guardian, Le Monde and Der Spiegel. Wikileaks has not given the source of the documents.

Pfc. Bradley Manning, an American Army intelligence analyst, has been arrested and accused of being a source of classified material, The New York Times reported.

Wikileaks has faced strong backlash for their decision to keep the names of some informants in documents that were released, putting lives in danger, the New York Times reported.

"We deplore WikiLeaks for inducing individuals to break the law, leak classified documents and then cavalierly share that secret information with the world, including our enemies," Geoff Morrell, the Defense Department press secretary said.

"By disclosing such sensitive information, WikiLeaks continues to put at risk the lives of our troops, their coalition partners and those Iraqis and Afghans working with us."

Multiculturalism has "failed" in Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel said while addressing young members of the Christian Democratic Party at a conference Saturday.

Merkel said at the conference in Potsdam, Eastern Germany, that to think Germans and immigrant workers could "live happily side by side" is an illusion and the idea that a multicultural society can coexist has "failed. Utterly failed," the Associated Press reported.

She said that immigrants are welcome, but should learn the language and assimilate to German cultural norms, CNN reported.

These ideas have become more prominent throughout Europe as it faces an economic slump and concerns about domestic terrorism. Germany is suffering a labor shortage, lacking 400,000 workers according to the chamber of industry and commerce, The Guardian reported.

While some immigrant workers are able to fill the gap, Merkel said in her speech that unemployed Germans should be considered first "until we have done all we can to help our own people to become qualified and give them a chance," The Guardian reported.

Klaus Seehofer, the Bavarian state premier of the Christian Social Union, said "multiculturalism is dead." Seehofer said last week that Germany's immigration policies should be revised and that immigration from Turkey and Arab countries should end, The Guardian reported.

"Germany needs more qualified immigration to maintain its economic advantage and deal with the demographic developments," Volker Beck, a lawmaker with the Greens party said Sunday according to the AP.

Some have said Merkel's comment is not beneficial for the atmosphere in Germany, the AP reported.

Rescuers in Chile successfully drilled through more than 2000 feet of rock early Saturday morning to the workshop chamber where 33 miners have been trapped since August 5.

According to The New York Times, steel pipes will be put in to reinforce the edges of the hole where the miners will be pulled to the surface after being underground for 66 days.

The miners are expected to be rescued from the mine by Wednesday at the earliest, Mining Minister Laurence Golborne said Sunday, CNN reported.

"They continue to have an admirable attitude," Health Minister Jaime Manalich said. He said that the miners seem to be in very good health and maintained high morale despite their circumstances, CNN reported.

After the pipes are installed, miners will be taken out one at a time in a capsule that is about 21 inches wide, The New York Times reported.

Once the miners emerge they will receive two hours of health checks at a field hospital constructed near the mine and will then receive treatment in a Copiapo hospital, CNN reported. Miners who are well enough will be able to reunite with their families before being flown by helicopter to the hospital.

According to the New York Times, Chilean officials have kept the enclosed miners informed and involved in the rescue process. They have sent provisions down through a small bore hole that was drilled 17 days after the mine caved in.

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