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Feb. 18, 2007

International News for Feb. 18 - 25

by Hokuma Karimova, Foreign Desk Editor
This is not original reporting. All information has been compiled from the New York Times International News. Silver Chips Online posts this news summary to provide readers with a forum for discussion.

Afghanistan
A suicide bomber disguising himself as a doctor, killed himself and wounded others in Ikea, at the opening of a hospital ward built by American forces in eastern Afghanistan.

Australia
Australian environment minister, Malcolm Turnbull, said that he will work with the states to get rid of incandescent bulbs by 2009 or 2010. If done, Australia will become the first country to phase out incandescent light bulbs in favor of more energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs.

Australia
Australian foreign minister, Alexander Downer, said that the American and Australian governments have reached a deal. The deal states that David Hicks, who has been held at Guant"namo Bay for five years without trial, will return home by the end of the year.

Baghdad
At least 40 people were killed on Feb. 25 after a female suicide bomber wearing a vest packed with explosives and ball bearings blew herself up at a Baghdad university.

Cuba
Saudi's Interior Ministry said that seven Saudi nationals who had been detained at Guant"namo Bay were freed and transferred to Saudi custody. An estimated 60 Saudis held at Guant"namo have been released, while more than 65 still remain imprisoned.

France
Maurice Papon, who sent French Jews to Nazi camps and rose in power in postwar government was buried outside of Paris with the Legion of Honor. Papon was barred from displaying the medal after his 1998 conviction for crimes against humanity.

Guinea
The Eight South African men who attempted to overthrow the dictatorship of Equatorial Guinea in 2004 were found not guilty by a South African court. The court ruled that the men thought their efforts were being endorsed by the government of South Africa.

Guinea
President Lansana Cont"'s request to prolong martial law which was imposed nationwide a few days ago to quell protests, riots and strikes was refused by parliament. The strikes called for Mr. Cont" to step down.

Guatemala
Four police officers were arrested in connection with the killings of three Salvadoran politicians and their drivers outside Guatemala City. Officials believe the killings were politically motivated.

Guatemala
A 330-foot-deep sinkhole killed two teenage siblings after it swallowed about a dozen homes and forced evacuation of nearly 1,000 people in a crowded Guatemala City neighborhood.

India
A train headed to Pakistan in northern India caught fire, killing at least 64 people. Two suitcases filled with flammable material were found at the scene. Sanjaya Baru, the spokesman for India's prime minister suggested that this was an act of terror.

Iraq
Two car bomb explosions in a crowded market that killed 60 people on Feb. 18, came two days after Prime Minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki's speech about the "dazzling success" of the security crackdowns used to cut down attacks.

Japan
A fourth spy satellite was launched into orbit on Feb. 24 by Japan, thus increasing its ability to independently gather intelligence.

Latvia
A catastrophic fire that raced through a home for the disabled in western Alsunga, that left 25 people dead or missing, might have been caused by a faulty electrical wiring. The building housed about 90 people, mostly mentally or physically disabled, when the fire broke out just after midnight.

Maoist
Maoists, who agreed to live at camps across the country monitored by United Nations in part with a peace deal last year, are leaving due to food shortages.

New Zealand
Jim Anderton, New Zealand fisheries minister, said that a fishing boat has caught what could be the world's biggest known colossal squid. The squid is an estimated 990 pounds and 39 feet long and is about the length of a school bus.

Nigeria
Nigeria's president, Olusegun Obasanjo, was told by the Court of Appeal, that he may not unseat vice president, Atiku Abubakar, for his decision to defect from the president's party and become a presidential candidate for another party.

Romania
Orthodox priest, Daniel Petre Corogeanu, was sentenced to 14 years in prison for killing a 23-year-old nun in a crucifixion exorcism ritual in northeastern Tanacu in 2005. The nun, Maricica Irina Cornici, died after being chained to a makeshift cross without food or water for three days as others prayed to chase out evil spirits that were believed to posses her.

Russia
A five-year, $2.9 billion program was approved by the government that aims to decrease mortality from diseases that contribute to Russia's plunging population, including AIDS, cancer, tuberculosis and diabetes.

South Korea
President Roh Moo-hyun announced that he will leave the liberal Uri Party due to his decreasing popularity that is affecting the party. Roh is limited to a one year term by the South Korean Constitution, and hopes that his departure would allow the party to regroup before the presidential election in December.

Thailand
The largest rubber warehouse was set on fire in southern of Yala, destroying as much as 5,000 tons of rubber, which is the cornerstone of the region's economy. The fire is believed to have been started by suspected Muslim insurgents and created $11.8 million in loss.

Thailand
In the largely Muslim southern part of Thailand, 28 bombs exploded killing eight and wounding 50 people. The explosions escalated the violence that has been occurring for the past few months, which include shootings, beheadings and arson attacks.

Uganda
Acting secondary education commissioner, Robinson Nsumba-Lyazij, said the country will now be offering free secondary education which will double the number of children continuing on in school. Last year's $130 yearly tuition is about half of the average $300 annual income for Uganda.

Zimbabwe
The three-week teacher strike ended after President Robert G. Mugabe's government met the strikers' demand for a 400 percent pay increase, by increasing the salaries to more than $100 a month, which is still below the poverty line for a family of five.



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