Tag Archives: European Union

Belgium PM Van Rompuy Elected First EU President

In a signal that members of the European Union wish to keep the new position of President of the EU from being too powerful for now, the low-key Belgium Prime Minister Herman Van Rompuy has been chosen to be the first person to hold the office, Voice of America.

Massive flooding has hit parts of the United Kingdom and Scotland after heavy rains yesterday. Two bridges collapsed and hundreds had to be rescued by helicopter and boat, MS-NBC.

52 students were taken into custody by police yesterday during a protest against tuition increases at the University of California, Davis. Students also protested at the University of California, Los Angeles, CNN.

The FIFA has decided that a rematch between France and Ireland will not be played and France will continue on the the 2010 World Cup. FIFA says that official rules clearly state that the decision of a referee is final and cannot be overturned after a game, CNN.

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Pakistan Militants Carry Out Coordinated Attacks

Pakistan was hard hit by 4 coordinated militant attacks yesterday on the Federal Investigation Agency in Lahore and 3 police training centers, 2 in Lahore and 1 in northwestern Pakistan. 37 people died in the attacks, including military personnel, militants, and civilians. The attacks cast doubt on whether security forces can protect the country from militants, especially since it appears that previously unrelated militant groups are increasingly working together, Washington Post.  More on the attack on Pakistan’s military headquarters on October 12, BBC News.

South Korea and the European Union signed a free trade deal that will end or phrase out more than 96% of tariffs on foreign goods between the two. The agreement is expected to boost the South Korean economy, Yonhap.

Christopher Savoie, an American in the midst of a custody dispute case, was released in Japan without being charged with kidnapping. Savoie, who is a naturalized citizen of Japan, took the children from their mother as she walked them to school in late September. Savoie attempted to enter the American consulate to obtain passports for the children, but was arrested while still on Japanese soil. Savoie’s ex-wife had previously broken a custody agreement by fleeing to Japan from the U.S. with the children in August after the couple divorced, CNN.

A new report by the the Catlin Arctic Survey, based on a expedition led by Pen Hadow, says that the Arctic Ocean could be ice free during the summer in as little as 10 years, BBC News.

Pen Hadow said he was shocked by the image of how “in my lifetime we’re looking at changing how the planet looks from space.”

He also described how polar explorers were having to change their methods from the days when sledges could be pulled by dogs over the ice.

“Dogs can swim but they can’t tow a sledge through water which is what’s needed now.”

“Now we have to wear immersion suits and swim and we need sledges that can float. I can foresee needing sledges that are more like canoes that you also pull over the ice.”

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Euro Dairy Farmers Spray Brussels with Milk in Protest

European dairy farmers staged a protest in Brussels, Belgium against falling milk prices by blockading the European Union headquarters with tractors, milking cows on the streets, and throwing eggs at police. Current prices for dairy products only cover about 75% of the production costs, the farmers said. The European union is currently working to revise its supports for the dairy industry, New York Times.

10 Afghan soldiers and over 100 Taliban militants have died in the past 24 hours in heavy fighting in Helmand province and Nuristan province in Afghanistan, Voice of America. 6 insurgents were also reported dead after Pakistani jets bombed Taliban hideouts in the northwest, AFP. Pakistan is preparing for a new assault against the Taliban in South Waziristan near the Afghan border. About 28,000 Pakistani ground troops are in place for the offensive, New York Times.

A couple in Wisconsin has been convicted of reckless homicide for their refusal to seek medical care for their 11-year old daughter in 2003. The child suffered from undiagnosed diabetes and died in March 2003. Her parents, who believe healing comes from God not medicine, prayed as she died at their home. The two are facing up to 25 years in prison, Associated Press.

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Iceland Submits App. to Join EU

Iceland has officially submitted an application for membership in the European Union. Albania, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Turkey also have applications to the EU in consideration. However, the applications have been held up because France and Germany objected that the EU cannot contain more than 27 states without a treaty amending some of the rules is ratified, Reuters.

Two light rail trains crashed yesterday in San Francisco, injuring dozens, Associated Press.

A helicopter carrying civilians crashed while attempting to take off at the Kandahar Air Base in Afghanistan. 16 people were reportedly killed and at least 5 injured. The helicopter was Russian-made and belongs to a company that is a military contractor, but no details about the identity of the victims has been released. This incident follows a helicopter crash near the Sangin military base in which insurgents are suspected of shooting down the helicopter. 6 Ukrainian crew died as well as 1 Afghan girl who was on the ground,  BBC News.

With the Chinese government cracking down hard on Uighurs, a Muslim ethnic group predominantly living in the Western Chinese province of Xinjiang, Western media  is increasingly connecting Uighurs with terrorism. CNN reports today that Chinese police killed 12 Uighurs who were said to be rioting and “using iron rods, stones and bricks to kill innocent residents.” Compare the CNN article with the article by Chinese state media, Xinhua. In a situation like this, similar to the conflict in Sri Lanka earlier this year, it is extremely difficult to discern what is really going on when most of the information is coming from state media.The last six paragraphs of the CNN article attempt to link the Turkistan Islamic Party, a group that claimed credit for bus bombings in China last summer, with the Uighurs. The organization has released videos condemning actions of the Chinese government, but there is no evidence the the group speaks for the Uighur people. There are about 8 million Uighurs in Xinjiang making up 40% of the province’s total population.

Al Jazeera has a video report with an overview of the situation and interviews and images from Xinjiang.

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17 Bodies Found So Far From Air France Flight 447

Elections for the European Union parliament ended today. Far right parties made gains, including the British National Party, a party that only allows white members, which won one seat in parliament, Times Online. Check out BBC News’ helpful election results here.

A total of 17 bodies have been recovered so far from the Air France Flight 447 crash. The bodies were found about 700 miles off of Brazil’s coast. Authorities say they can still not rule out the possibility that an explosion caused the crash, CNN.

President Omar Bongo of Gabon, 73, has reportedly died after a serving the country since 1967. Bongo was under investigation for corruption charges along with two other African leaders, BBC News. Update: According to BNO, Gabon says reports that President Bongo has died are false.

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Trial of Sole Survivoring Mumbai Attacker Delayed

The trail of the sole survivor of the group of suspects who perpetrated the terrorist attacks in Mumbai last year has been delayed. Ajmal Amir Qasab, a Pakistani national, was set to begin trial today when his appointed lawyer was removed due to conflict of interest because the lawyer also represented a victim of the attacks, CNN.

Elections in India begin tomorrow. Over 700 million people will cast parliamentary ballots at 800,000 polling centers. The elections will take five weeks with ballots cast in a different region every week. In recent years national parties have been declining while local and regional parties have gained, New York Times. BBC News has in depth coverage: battleground map, election in numbers, impact of redistricting.

Pirates again attacked a US ship, the Liberty Sun carrying aid to Africa. The pirates inflicted damage to the ship but were ultimately repelled, Huffington Post.

French fishermen protest EU fishing restrictions by blockading 3 ports on the English Channel, France 24.

This day in history: Today is the 20th anniversary of the Hillsborough football disaster. In 1989, 96 fans were crushed to death at a football match in Liverpool, Sky News.

Shocker: Ohio State University study reveals Facebook use causes academic performance to suffer, OSU Research Page. OSU has recently come under fire for deleting posts on the university’s official Facebook page, Chronicle of Higher Education.

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