The party of France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy is likely to be defeated in regional elections, according to new exit polls. Sarkozy’s center-right UMP party is reportedly losing to the Socialists, a result aided by low turnout. This is the last nationwide vote before the 2012 presidential and parliamentary elections, BBC News.
An American consulate worker and her husband have been killed by suspected drug traffickers in Cuidad Juárez, Mexico. Another worker’s husband was also killed, and two children were wounded. The White House has responded to the killings, expressing outrage and vowing to work with Mexican officials to find the killers, NY Times.
Soccer legend David Beckham is expected to miss this summer’s World Cup, which was likely to be his last, after he tore his Achilles tendon in an Inter Milan match today, Sky News. In college basketball news, today the 64 teams who will take part in March Madness, the annual championship tournament, were chosen. Brackets can be found here.
Two French hostages taken in the Central African Republic in November have been freed. Both were working for French aid group Triangle Generation Humanitaire. They were released in the Darfur region and are on their way to the Sudanese capital city Khartoum, BBC News.
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.
Iran has accused Pakistani agents of aiding a suicide attack in Sistan-Baluchistan that killed at least 35 people. The attackers targeted a group of Revolutionary Guards and at least six officers were killed, BBC News.
Colorado officials have confirmed that they believe the story of a six-year-old being trapped in a runaway balloon was indeed a hoax. The boy was found safe in his home hours after a desperate search and rescue operation was launched. Authorities say they realized the story was false while watching the boy’s family on Larry King Live, where the boy said “You guys said we did this for the show.” Sheriff Jim Alderden of Larimer County called the story a “publicity stunt,” CNN.
Two aid workers from the Irish agency Goal have been freed after being kidnapped in Darfur over 100 days ago. The conflict in Darfur began in 2003 and has claimed more than 300,000 lives, Reuters.
NASA says it has discovered a stripe of hydrogen that surrounds our solar system. Much about the ring is a mystery, such as why it’s there and what it does, NPR.
Hot Topic: How easy is it to target the Taliban?
The raging wildfire in California doubled in size today and has charred 105,000 acres. Firefighters are currently attempting to protect Mount Wilson from the fire, a historic area that houses world-famous telescopes and transmission equipment, Reuters.
Two members of the UN/African Union (Unamid) peacekeeping force have been kidnapped in Darfur. The man and woman were abducted in the town of Zalingei and their nationalities are not yet known, BBC News.
An eighth victim has died in Brunswick, Georgia after a mass murder at a mobile home on Saturday. A ninth person is in critical condition and police say they have no suspects, AJC.
Disney has announced they are buying comic book giant Marvel for about $4 billion in cash and stock, AP.
A California woman who was kidnapped in 1991 when she was 11 has been found alive. Jaycee Lee Dugard was abducted 18 years ago at a bus stop, and police say she lived with her abductors, Phillip and Nancy Garrido, this whole time. Phillip Garrido is a convicted sex offender and was imprisoned for rape. Police say Garrido fathered two children with Jaycee, with the first being born when she was only 14. Garrido also apparently kept Jaycee and her children hidden in tents in his backyard, Reuters.
The UN’s military commander in Darfur says the war in the region is over. Gen. Martin Agwai insists the violence between the government and rebel groups is over and the remaining violence and crime is due to “banditry, localized issues, people trying to resolve issues over water and land at a local level. But real war as such, I think we are over that.” Gen Agwai believes the current problems in the country are political, and many in the country are agreeing with him, BBC News.
Richard Holbrooke, the U.S.’ envoy to Afghanistan, and current President Hamid Karzai reportedly had an “explosive” meeting on August 21 in which Holbrooke questioned the president about election fraud in last Thursday’s elections. Holbrooke raised the possibility of a second round run-off to legitimize the results, after which Karzai become angry and ended the meeting early, BBC News.
Japan’s unemployment rate rose to 5.7 percent last month, which is a record for the country, Bloomberg.
U.S. Army statistics show that the suicide rate among soldiers is rising at a record pace. 17 soldiers were either confirmed or believed to have committed suicide in the month of May. So far this year, there are 82 suspected/confirmed cases, which will most certainly pass last year’s 133 deaths, the most ever, CNN.
Sudan is allowing four aid agencies back into the country after ousting them from Darfur in March. Care International, Save the Children, Mercy Corps, and Padco will be allowed back in to help, as long as they slightly change their names and use different logos. The move is seen as a good sign for improving relations between aid agencies and the Sudanese government, BBC News.
Football club Real Madrid has paid a record-breaking 80M pounds to Manchester United in a transfer fee for star Cristiano Ronaldo. The fee is by far the highest in history. Man U. accepted the bid, allowing Real to begin talks with Ronaldo about a trade, BBC Sport.
American officials are reporting that they now have evidence that some al-Qaeda fighters are moving into Yemen and Somalia. Reports say leaders are among militants who have moved, and that they are in close contact with al-Qaeda members in Pakistan. The precense of the group especially in Somalia is troubling, as an Islamic militant group, the Shabab, are already threatening to topple the government, New York Times.
The flight director of the space shuttle Atlantis has stated that there was some minor damage sustained to the craft after take-off yesterday. Four tiles have dings in them and tile experts will inspect the damage, but there seems to be little cause for concern. The crew will service the Hubble Space Telescope for the last time, CNN. Also, you can follow astronaut Mike Massimino on Twitter as he tweets from space.
In an exclusive interview with BBC News, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir says all claims that the military has targeted civilians are false. The International Criminal Court has charged al-Bashir with war crimes, but the president said only rebels were targeted in Darfur, rebels who used civilians as human shields, and he would never send armed forces after civilians, BBC News.
Afghan officials are paying victims of last week’s U.S. air strike. The families of civilians killed will be given about $2000 for each person killed and $1000 for those injured. The air strike killed 140 civilians and 25 Taliban rebels, NPR.
Millions of people are going to the polls in India in the fifth and final day of voting. The process began a month ago and authorities have worked dilligetly to make sure more terrorist attacks like the November 2008 Mumbai attacks don’t occur again, Sky News.
An American tourist’s death at a Thai resort is raising lots of questions. Jill St. Onge, 27, from Seattle was on vacation on Phi Phi island with her fiancee when she began vomiting in her room and eventually passed away less than a day after becoming sick. A 22-year-old Norwegian tourist died last month at the same resort, CNN.
Jacob Zuma has been officially sworn in as South Africa’s new president. President Zuma, who is immensely popular in the country, has vowed reconciliation in the African state and to improve his people’s lives, BBC News.
A UN peacekeeper was shot and killed in southern Darfur during a carjacking. The officer was killed while parking his car in front of his home. The man’s name and nationality have not yet been released, Sky News.
Roxana Saberi, the American journalist jailed in Iran for spying, has had her court date moved up in the Middle Eastern country. An appeals court will hear her case after she was sentenced to eight years of prison. The appeal was supposed to be heard Tuesday, but will now be heard this Sunday, giving her lawyers less time to review the case. Officials said that the original date of the case was a mistake, CNN.