At least seven miners have been killed after an explosion in an underground coal mine in Raleigh County, West Virginia. Another 19 miners are missing. About 200 miners are employed by the mine owned by the Massey Energy company, AP.
At least five U.S. Consulate security guards were killed in Peshawar, Pakistan today after the Taliban implemented suicide bomb attacks. Earlier in the day, a suicide bomber killed 45 people in the Dir region during a political rally, LA Times.
The site Wikileaks, which is dedicated to posting leaked documents online for public viewing, has posted a video on its site of the 2007 killing of 12 civilians in Baghdad by American soldiers. Reuters, the news agency for which two of the dead worked, had previously tried to obtain the video using the Freedom on Information Act, BBC News.
Cities in over 125 countries are officially taking part in the environment-friendly Earth Hour, which encourages everyone to turn off their lights for one hour on Saturday at 8:30 pm local time. Iconic landmarks and sites such as the Eiffel Tower, the Sydney Opera House, the Las Vegas Strip, and the Egyptian pyramids, among others, have agreed to turn off their lights for the initiative. One exception lies in the city of Bangkok, where officials have decided not to partake due to fear of violence from anti-government protesters, AFP.
Officials say they have found the decapitated head and body of Heriberto Cerda, the police chief of Agualeguas, Mexico. His brother, Jesus Cerda, was found dead in a truck nearby, but police have not reported his cause of death. The town’s deputy police chief and Cerda’s bodyguard were also murdered by gunmen hours before the discovery of the bodies belonging to the Cerda brothers. The crimes are believed to be related to drug and gang violence, which has killed 18,000 people in the country since 2006, AP.
The bloc of former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi has been declared the winner of the Iraqi parliamentary elections that took place two weeks ago, but it remains to be seen if Allawi will become the next prime minister. He has vowed to help bring peace to the Arab and Muslim world by accepting his former political rivals into the new government and promoting governmental secularism, AP.
The sinking of a South Korean naval ship may have been due to a mine explosion, new reports suggest. Of the 104 sailors onboard the ship, 58 have been rescued thus far, and officials say there is little reason to suspect North Korea was involved, Xinhau.
DNA tests confirm the existence of an ancient human ancestor that lived in Central Asia between 48,000 and 30,000 years ago. The DNA came from a fragment of a finger bone found in a Siberian cave in 2008 among ornaments. The bone is said to belong to “X-Woman,” and researches believe Homo sapiens, Neanderthals and the species of X-woman may have all interacted in southern Siberia, BBC News.
New reports say Vatican officials, including Pope Benedict XVI before he was awarded the papacy, did not defrock a priest accused of sexual molesting 200 deaf boys despite numerous warnings. Documents suggest warnings were ignored because the Church was more concerned with protecting itself from further scandal. American Rev. Lawrence C. Murphy is the accused, who worked at a school for deaf children from 1950 to 1974, NY Times.
Five Iraqi soldiers have been shot and killed by gunmen at a security checkpoint in Baghdad. Security officials arrested 17 people after closing off the area after the attack, BBC News.
The U.S. and Russia have reached a nuclear arms deal, cited as the most extensive deal between the two countries in two decades. Official details of the treaty have not been revealed, but it is known that both sides have vowed to reduce their stores of long-range mission nuclear weapons, Washington Post.
The central Iraqi city of Baquba has been hit by three suicide attacks, killing at least 31. The bombings come just days before Sunday’s parliamentary elections. Iraqi police and military are on high alert before the elections and plan operations to prevent more attacks, BBC News.
The death toll from the 8.8-magnitude earthquake that rocked Chile on Saturday has reached almost 800, but officials say most of the deaths may have been caused by a tsunami. Many of the dead lived in coastal villages that were swept away by a tsunami that occurred as a result of the powerful earthquake, NPR.
Police have arrested three Spaniards believed of infecting 13 million computers with “the world’s biggest network of virus-infected computers.” The program allowed the suspects to steal personal and financial data from computers in over 190 countries, CNN.
The Greek government has approved more tax increases in the country, as well as pay cuts for government employees. The measures are expected to generate the financially strapped country $6.54 billion this year, NY Times.
Direct talks between India and Pakistan concluded successfully today. Little concrete was accomplished but channels of communication were reopened after a year of silence following the 2008 Mumbai hotel terror attack. India believe Pakistan was involved in the bombing, Al Jazeera.
Iraq will rehire 20,000 army officers who served under Saddam Hussein. The officers were removed after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. The move was later criticized for helping to fuel the insurgency. With elections coming up soon in Iraq, some have said that Iraq’s Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki reinstated the officers in an effort to gain their votes, New York Times.
A trainer at a Seaworld theme park in the United States died after being attacked by a killer whale, BBC News. The killer whale had previously killed another trainer. Killer whales, who can weigh up to 22,000 pounds and usually live in packs of 50, can respond erratically to being in captivity. Some have called for the release of killer whales but killer whales born in captivity may still be dangerous in open waters, CNN.
Mongolia has suspended the death penalty and is moving toward a permanent ban, Al Jazeera.
An election commission overseeing Iraq’s national elections on March 7 has barred 500 candidates from the elections. Most had ties to Saddam Hussein’s Baath party, BBC News.
U.S. President Barack Obama announced yesterday that he will seek additional taxes on banks which received federal bailout money and have since recovered, CNN.
Google’s created a public spreadsheet for reports from Haiti, Haiti Situation Tracking Form. Powerful photos of the earthquake aftermath in Haiti, The Big Picture.
A suicide bomber detonated a truck full of explosives near Lakki Marwat city in northwestern Pakistan yesterday, killing at least 88 people. Villagers had gathered to watch a volleyball tournament. Residents of the town had formed a militia to repel the Taliban, Al Jazeera. Militants have been increasing attacks of large crowds of civilians in areas where civilians have formed militias to fight Taliban violence and control. Possible scenarios for combating this tactic, Reuters.
A Somali man has been charged in the attempted murder of a controversial Danish cartoonist whose drawings of the Prophet Mohammed sparked outrage from some Muslim communities, BBC News.
The government of Iraq plans to sue 5 Blackwater security guards who were cleared of manslaughter charges after a U.S. court dismissed the case on Friday. The guards were charged with killing 17 in a shootout in 2007, CNN. Eyewitness accounts of the event from 2007, New York Times.
Afghanistan’s parliament has rejected 2 of President Hamid Karzai’s proposed ministers, including a powerful warlord Karzai had picked to be Energy Minister, New York Times.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claims that new documents showing that Iran plans to develop and test a trigger for a nuclear device were forged by the United States, BBC News.
Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, a reformist cleric has died in Iran. Reformers are taking to the streets to honor Montazeri and to protest the current government, Globe and Mail.
The commander of 22,000 U.S. soldiers in northern Iraq has instituted a new rule that would bring any soldier under his command who becomes pregnant or any soldier who impregnates another under court martial. Maj. Gen. Anthony Cucolo says he needs all his troops available for duty, CNN.
New legislation in Mexico City, once signed by the city’s mayor, will make gay marriage legal. The legislation redefines marriage as a union between two individuals, Al Jazeera.