A group reportedly trying to help orphaned Haitian children was arrested on charges of child trafficking. 10 Americans were arrested for attempting to take 33 children across Haiti’s border. The children had no documentation, ABC.
U.S. President Barack Obama gave his first State of the Union address on Wednesday night in front of both houses of Congress. He called for Congress to work together to pass meaningful legislation. He also pledged to create more jobs. Full text of the address, New York Times.
Reclusive novelist J.D. Salinger died this week. Salinger wrote the groundbreaking novel “The Catcher in the Rye” about the disaffected teenager Holden Caulfield, New York Times.
American historian Howard Zinn also died this week. Zinn wrote the alternative history textbook, “A People’s History of the United States” which looked at American history through the lens of disenfranchised groups who fought to be included in American democracy, New York Times.
Countries at the climate conference in Copenhagen welcomed the U.S.’s long-awaited official proclamation concerning the danger of greenhouse gas emissions. This could possibly mean that the Environmental Protection Agency will be able to cut emissions without needing the approval of Congress, which has blocked the measure before, BBC News.
A deadly bomb blast at a middle school in Baghdad, Iraq has killed at least eight people, the majority of which were children. The attack happened in a Shia neighborhood in Sadr City. At least 40 others were wounded, BBC News.
Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic is unveiling the “SpaceShipTwo” in the Mojave Desert tonight, a craft that already has 300 people on the waitlist. The craft reaches an altitude of 62 miles and gives passengers a view of the Earth’s curvature, where they can even float in the craft for a few minutes, Wired News.
Today, December 7th, is the 68th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The Washington Post has a photo gallery here.
President Obama met with Senate Democrats today as the chamber debated healthcare reform in a rare Sunday session. Obama’s spokesman said the President thanked the Democrats for their support and encouraged them to “continue forward on this historic opportunity.” The Senate is expected to heavily debate funds for abortion this week, CNN.
Over 20 mothers who were protesting the deaths of their children during post-election violence were arrested in Iran yesterday at an opposition rally. The mothers were taking part in the anti-government protest in Leleh Park in central Tehran. The government asked foreign news services to not cover the protest and affected internet service to hinder use, New York Times.
The University of Alabama and University of Texas at Austin will play for the college football national title on January 7, 2010 in Pasadena, California. Alabama will be trying for their 13th title and Texas for their fifth, ESPN.
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American Amanda Knox, 22, has been found guilty for the murder of her British roommate Meredith Kercher by an Italian jury. The case has garnered worldwide attention, in part due to Knox’s optimism that she would be acquitted of all charges. Her former boyfriend was also found guilty and Knox has been sentenced to 26 years in prison, CNN.
A fire at a Russian club has killed over 100 people. The fire occurred in the city of Perm and is believed to have by caused by fireworks, which were set off inside the club, BBC News.
Two Rwandan peacekeepers have been killed in Darfur by Sudan rebels. The peacekeepers were a part of the group Unamid, which have seen 19 of their workers killed in the area in the last two years, BBC News.
The opening matches and groups were set for the 2010 World Cup earlier today. Group G is largely considered the “Group of Death,” with Brazil, Portugal, and Ivory Coast all in the group. The U.S. and England will play a heavily anticipated match on June 12, CDB.
Guinea’s military leader, Capt. Moussa Dadis Camara, was shot and wounded by one of his aids today. Aboubacar “Toumba” Diakite is believed to be responsible for the attack and is said to have been arrested. Officials say Camara is doing well, BBC News.
The death toll from this morning’s bomb attack in Somalia has risen to at least 19. Four government ministers were killed in the suicide attack, which has been condemned worldwide. Government officials say they believe Islamist militants al-Shabab are responsible, BBC News.
Jewish organizations are siding with the Muslim world over the outrage caused by the Swiss ban on constructing minarets (architecture commonly seen on mosques). The ban was passed after 57 percent of the Swiss population voted in favor, but the country is receiving worldwide heat and many are saying the ban is discriminatory. Italy is also considering introducing a ban on minarets, Jerusalem Post.
The U.S. Senate has passed an amendment to the health care bill that expands women’s access to things such as mammograms, which are preventive services, CNN.
In a live address at West Point, President Obama outlined his plan for U.S. troops in Afghanistan, adding 30,000 troops and looking to pull all from the country by the end of 2011. He also seeks to pull all combat brigades from Iraq next year. President Obama’s full remarks can be found here.
Today, December 1st, is World Aids Day. In honor, South Africa has pledged to treat all babies under the age of one who are HIV-positive. In the country, 59,000 babies are born infected every year, but the government has in the past avoided treating them because drugs are too costly, BBC News.
The CEO of General Motors, Frederick “Fritz” Henderson, stepped down today from his post after eight months on the job. The company plans to start an international search for the open presidential and CEO positions, NPR.
U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has condemned Switzerland for banning minarets, the tall spires with conical crowns commonly found on Islamic mosques. 57.5 percent of the Swiss population approved the ban on constructing new minarets, but Pillay is worried the ban will cause deep division in the country, Voice of America.
New artifacts have been found in Europe that suggest a civilization flourished in the area before the peaks of the Greek and Egyptian eras. Archaeologists have found evidence of farming practices and sizable towns in the Lower Danube Valley and the Balkan foothills, dating back to around 5000 B.C. The civilization is believed to have lasted about 1,500 years, New York Times.
Hezbollah’s chief Hassan Nasrallah blamed terrorism on the U.S. in an address made today. Hezbollah is centered in Lebanon and has been named as a terrorist group by the U.S. and Israel, CNN.
General Electric has reportedly agreed to buy Vivendi’s 20 percent stake in NBC Universal for around $5.8 billion. If completed, the movie and tv company will be sold to Comcast, New York Times.
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The U.S. and the United Nations have spoken out against Israel’s plan to construct some 900 houses in occupied East Jerusalem. The houses will be built against Palestinian wishes and the U.S. is afraid the plans will hurt peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine. Israel insists East Jerusalem is their territory, but Palestine wishes the area be the capital city of their future state, Voice of America.
Five people have been sentenced to death in Iran after being arrested during post-election protests. The total may include three people who were sentenced to death in October, but it is not clear. 81 of 86 arrested since the June election have received jail sentences ranging from six months to 15 years. Iranian TV reports stated those given the death penalty were convicted for being members of “terrorist and opposition groups,” BBC News.
Two Rwandan Hutu leaders have been arrested in Germany on suspicion of committing crimes against humanity in Congo. The two are suspected members of the FDLR, a group made up of Rwandan refugees who fled to Congo after the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, in which a half million Tutsis were killed, New York Times.
More charges have been filed against six men of the same family in Missouri. Police say at least one of the men forced a child to kill a kidnapped man and held another child, who became pregnant, captive in a basement. The eldest charged, 77-year-old Burrell Mohler Sr., allegedly buried the infant in a box in the basement. The six men were arrested last week and charged with sexually abusing multiple family members, CNN.
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