In honor of the 39 victims of yesterday’s suicide bombings at two metro stations in Moscow, Russians observed a day of mourning today, Voice of America. The attacks were carried out by two female suicide bombers who had lost family in Russia’s war in the troubled North Caucasus region, Reuters. Russia’s state television channels have been criticized for failing to report on yesterday’s bombings until hours after they had occurred, New York Times.
The parliament of Serbia narrowly passed a resolution apologizing for the massacre of 8,000 Bosnian Muslims in 1995 during the Bosnian War. The statement stopped short of calling the action genocide, BBC News.
In a major accomplishment for the CERN supercollider, scientists recreated events that occurred shorting after the big bang that created the universe, Financial Times.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed an historic health care reform bill last night. The bill must also be approved by the U.S. Senate, where it is expected to pass, before it can be signed into law by President Barack Obama, BBC News. Political implications of the health care reform bill, Reuters. Factbox on immediate and long terms changes that will be implemented if the bill is passed through reconciliation and signed by President Obama, Reuters.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has refused to address the controversy over the building of new settlements in Jerusalem. Netanyahu will meet with U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington, D.C. this week, Christian Science Monitor.
After a small eruption over the weekend, Iceland is preparing for larger volcanic eruptions, Times Online.
Democrats appear to have pushed through a final version of the health care reform bill. Final vote on the bill is expected tonight. The bill will impose new limits on health insurance companies, including ending the practice of denying coverage based on pre-exisiting conditions. It will also require individuals to buy health insurance or face a penalty. Details of the final bill, Reuters. Passage of the bill was boosted by concessions by President Obama and Democrats that ensure health care reform will exclude federal payments for abortions. Text of the President’s statement, CNN. Timeline of the past 100 years of American health care reform, New York Times.
Two weeks after elections in Iraq, the votes are still being counted. Iyad Allawi’s secular coalition narrowly leads over current Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s mainly Shi’ite coalition. Maliki has called for a recount but Iraq’s electoral commission ruled that a recount is not necessary. About 95 percent of the votes have been counted, Reuters.
Two Palestinians were shot by Israeli military in the West Bank today. The military says the men had attempted to stab a soldier, Al Jazeera.
Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon has called for Israeli to end its blockade of the West Bank, BBC News.
The acting president of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, has dissolved Nigeria’s cabinet. President Umaru Yar’Adua has been ill since November and has traveled abroad for treatment. About half of the current cabinet ministers are expected to be asked to return, AFP.
One person, a migrant worker from Thailand, was killed after militants from Gaza fired a rocket into southern Israel, Voice of America.
Officials, including U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, are in Moscow for a summit concerning Israel and the state of conflict in the Middle East as well as talks on nuclear disarmament, The Guardian.
Aid groups may be preventing the formation of a functioning government in Haiti, particularly with their increased resources in the wake of the January 12 earthquake that devastated Haiti’s capital city of Port-au-Prince and killed more than 200,000, CNN.
Red-shirt protesters, supporters of ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, have converged on Thailand’s capital city of Bangkok to call for new elections, BBC News. the protesters, numbering in excess of 100,000, have shut down parts of Bangkok, New York Times.
5 same-sex couples wed in Mexico City. While civil unions are legal in some parts of Latin America, Mexico City is the first in Latin America to explicitly allow same-sex marriage, BBC News.
A U.S. court has ruled that there is no evidence a vaccine containing thimerosal has caused autism in the cases of three families who brought lawsuits, Reuters.
Amnesty International issued a report condemning maternal deaths in the U.S. The rate of death among pregnant women in the U.S. has doubled in the past 20 years. Lack of access to regular care during pregnancy, particularly among minority women and women living in poverty, endangers both the health of the mother and the child, CNN. Full report, Amnesty International.
Pope Benedict XVI has come under fire for his alleged involvement in the cover-up of a sexual abuse case in Germany in 1980 when he was archbishop, BBC News.
35 people have died after coordinated explosions struck the city of Kandahar in Afghanistan, Al Jazeera.
Myanmar announced a new law barring anyone convicted of a crime from running for office. The new law will exclude political activists from participating in the upcoming election and may also force political parties to remove activists from their membership. The law is in large part targeted against Aung San Suu Kyi, the last democratically elected leader of Myanmar (previously Burma) who has been under house arrest or in prison for much of the past 20 years. Myanmar is a tightly controlled society that is run by a military junta. Military leaders are going ahead with elections this year but are working to ensure that only hand-picked candidates can participate, Al Jazeera.
Google has added biking directions and biking maps to 150 U.S. cities in its Google Maps feature, Wired News.
The Large Hadron Collider will be shut down for a year to fix design flaws, BBC News.
The likelihood of a clear winner in the Iraqi election for Prime Minister is decreasing. Votes were cast on Sunday and are still being counted. Current Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki currently has a slight lead. He is working to build a coalition to stay in power, Associated Press.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that the timing of Israel’s announcement that it will continue construction of homes in a disputed area East Jerusalem on the first day of Vice President Joe Biden’s visit was “insulting.” The U.S. supports a two-state solution but Israel and Palestine must be able to engage in talks and negotiations over borders before a Palestinian state can be formed, CNN.
45 people were killed in attacks targeting the military in Lahore, Pakistan, Al Jazeera. More on militants in Pakistan, New York Times.
A 6.9 magnitude earthquake hit Chile today 90 miles south of the capital of Valparaiso as the country’s new president, Sebastion Pinera, was being sworn in. Pinera takes over from Michelle Bachelet, the country’s first female president, who let office with approval ratings topping 80% but was constitutionally barred from running for reelection, BBC News. Background on Pinera and what his presidency means for Chile, New York Times.
Bank of America announced it will eliminate overdraft fees on debit card purchases this summer. The company previously would allow debit transactions to be completed, even if the account was overdrawn and then charge high fees for each overdrawn transaction. Overdraft fees are lucrative for banks. It’s estimated that U.S. banks made $38.5 billion from overdraft fees in 2009. The change is in response to federal legislation tightening restrictions on banks, CNN.
A new 2,200 page report details how the Lehman Brothers financial firm hid its toxic investments until it was forced to declare bankruptcy, New York Times. Factbox: key findings, Reuters.