Sri Lanka’s government says that tens of thousands of people who have been held in camps since the end of the conflict with Tamil rebels will be released. Sri Lanka had been fighting the rebels since the mid-1970s and made a final push to stop the hostilities earlier this year. Information from Sri Lanka is very limited so it is unknown how many were killed in the most recent fighting, BBC News. Q & A on the conflict, BBC News.
A gas explosion at a Chinese mine has killed 42 people and trapped over 60 underground. China has the most dangerous mining industry in the world, Reuters.
Russia and Ukraine have agreed to a deal that will keep natural gas flowing through this winter. Due to a pricing dispute last winter, Russia cut off gas which flows through Ukrainian pipelines to Europe, Christian Science Monitor.
Paul and Rachel Chandler, the British couple captured by Somali pirates during a sailing vacation in October, have released a new video saying the pirates are losing patience and will kill them soon if a $7 million ransom is not paid, CNN.
A journalist describes living in Jerusalem’s Old City which is home to Muslim, Christian, and Jewish religious sites, BBC News.
Somali pirates have released a Spanish ship after holding it for 6 weeks. There are 36 crewmembers aboard. The pirates told reporters that they were promised a ransom of $3.5 million but the Spanish government would not confirm that a ransom was paid, BBC News. A report from last May follows the trail of ransoms paid to Somali pirates and finds that only a fraction goes to the pirates themselves, BBC News. Transparency International recently ranked Somalia as the world’s most corrupt country, AFP.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon opened a 3-day summit on Rome on the problem of world hunger. Ban said that 17,000 children die of hunger everyday and more than 1 billion people worldwide are hungry. One success story to come out of the summit is Brazil, which has decreased hunger by 73% in the past 6 years with its “Zero Hunger” program. The program also emphasizes education by giving families food if their children attend school and by feeding children at school, AFP.
New information is out about the motive behind the killing of 4 Iraqi men by 3 U.S. Army sergeants in March 2007. Army interrogation tapes show that the Iraqi men were killed because it was believed that instead of being detained or held in prison, they were would released due to strict Army detention policies. The Iraqis were found in a house with a small weapons cache but there was not enough evidence to hold them in detention for more than a few days. Sgt. 1st Class Joseph Mayo, Sgt. Michael Leahy, and 1st Sgt. John Hatley were convicted of premeditated murder in a military court and are serving their sentences in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, CNN.