A new U.S. jobs report shows that the country’s economy is gaining, with March adding more jobs than any other month in the last three years. The unemployment rate held steady at 9.7 percent, CNN.
At today’s Good Friday prayers in St. Peter’s Basilica, Rev. Raniero Cantalamessa equated criticism over the Catholic Church’s sex abuse scandals with “collective violence” suffered by the Jews. The comparison drew outrage from Jewish groups and groups representing abuse victims. While the Pope was in attendance, a Vatican spokesman said Cantalamessa’s views do not represent the Church, BBC News.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin will visit Hugo Chavez in Venezuela today. Chavez hopes to expand his influence in the Western world, and billions of dollars of Russian arms sales to Venezuela over the last decade have connected the two countries, NY Times.
Pre-packaged hamburgers produced by Fairbank Farms and sold in states in the northeastern United States are being cited as responsible for the deaths of 2 people and illness in dozens. The meat is suspected of being tainted with a dangerous strain of E. coli bacteria. The beef has been recalled, New York Times. Check the federal food safety information website, foodsafety.gov, for more information about recalled food.
Ex-Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic is calling for more time to prepare for his self-defense in his trial for war crimes at a UN tribunal at the Hague, BBC News. He is accused of committing 11 war crimes, including the genocide of 8,000 Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica in 1995, during the 1992-1995 Bosnian war. After the break-up of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, Serbs, Croats, and Muslims all fought over land. The war ended in 1995 when the country was split up into three mostly autonomous ethnic regions by the Dayton Accords.
Water rationing will begin in Caracus, the capital city of Venezuela, today. Water is in short supply in Venezuela due to drought and poor infrastructure maintenance, CNN International.
Hugo Chavez, president of Venezuela, has announced he is freezing diplomatic ties with Colombia because of verbal aggressions from the country. On Monday the Colombian government claimed anti-tank weapons belonging to Venezuela were now being used by the FARC guerrilla group, CNN.
Judge Sonia Sotomayor was accepted by the Senate Judiciary Committee 13-6, with Sen. Graham being the only Republican to vote yes. The full Senate will vote whether to confirm her next week, Washington Post.
Gunmen in Baghdad today killed eight security guards and stole almost $7m in a bank heist. Police say the robbery was most likely orchestrated by militants who were impacted by the U.S. occupation, AP.
Iran has released 140 protesters who were detained last month during post-election demonstrations. 200 people, who are accused of more serious crimes, remain in custody. Officials have also revised the number of those killed during protests from 20 to 30, BBC News.
A joint statement from the United Nations and the Organization of American States has expressed concern for a Venezuelan news station that criticized President Hugo Chavez. The statement says the government has been intimidating Globovision, which is now the only TV station in the country that openly criticizes Chavez. The government is currently investigating the station for the third time after Globovision reported an earthquake before the government issued an official report. If the investigation finds they broke the law, their license will not be renewed, CNN.
On the other side of the world, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said the damage from fighting in Sri Lanka is “appalling.” The U.N. chief called the displacement camps in the country some of the worst he has ever seen and many civilian deaths have been reported, although the Sri Lankan government disputes these reports, CNN.
Pakistani forces are reported to have entered the Taliban-held city of Mingora in the Swat Valley. Fighting between Pakistani and Taliban forces has been constant in the month of May, with at least 17 Taliban militants being killed in the raid, BBC News.
The DNA of Amanda Knox, an American student accused of murdering her Bristish roommate in Italy in 2007, has been found on the handle of the knife that killed Meredith Kercher, Sky News.
Hundreds of thousands of people are about to become Canadian citizens, and most don’t even know it. Canada passed an amendment to the Citizenship Act that will reinstate citizenship to those who were forced to renounce it when they became citizens of foreign countries. Their children will also be granted Canadian citizenship. United States citizens are believed to be the biggest group who will be granted citizenship, WSJ.
President Obama, in his tour of Latin America, has pledged to offer Cuba “a new beginning.” Relations have been more than strained between the two countries since the ’60s when Fidel Castro assumed power. Cuba has partnered with Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela in recent years to help one another, with Cuba supplying Venezuela with trained doctors, teachers, and medical personnel and Venezuela giving Cuba oil, among other trades, BBC News.
As we reported on our Twitter yesterday, 1500 farmers in India have committed mass suicide in the face of growing debt. Drought contributed to the farmers’ debt and less crops mean more debt for farmers in the region, Belfast Telegraph.
The EPA has officially concluded that greenhouse gases are a health hazard, leading the way for stricter regulations. The agency has the power to regulate car emissions and where we get out power from, thus big environment-friendly changes could finally be coming in the U.S., NPR.