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March 13, 2007

International News for March 5 - 11

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
After a suicide car bombing in eastern Afghanistan, American troops opened fire on a highway filled with civilian cars and bystanders, leaving 16 dead and 24 wounded. After the shooting hundreds of protesters blocked the main road from Jalalabad to the Pakistan border and threw rocks at police.

Australia
About 20 people were injured while at least two were killed, after a powerful cyclone hit north-west Australia. The cyclone had winds of up to 170 mph, damaging homes and disrupting power in the remote town of Port Hedland.

Chechnya
The pro-Kremlin region of Chechnya hailed a Russian passenger jet that made the first regularly scheduled landing in six years at the Grozny airport as a further sign of victory over the remaining separatists. The jet landed exactly two years after Russia killed Aslan Maskhadov, the separatist president who became a rebel commander and a year after reconstruction to restore the city.

China
China unveiled a landmark law that increases the protection of private property rights. This is the first piece of legislation to cover an individual's right to own assets in the Communist country.

DR Congo
The Democratic Republic of Congo authorities say they have dismantled an international network that was going to illegally use DR Congo's uranium mines. DR Congo's top nuclear official, Fortunat Lumu, and a colleague were questioned in connection with the case.

Ecuador
A referendum on the drafting of a new constitution planned for April 15 is creating political tension. The opposition-controlled Congress said that it plans to impeach four members of the seven-seat electoral tribunal that approved the referendum.

France
French President Jacques Chirac confirmed in a TV address that he will no not seek a third term in office in April's election. Mr. Chirac, who is 74, has been president since 1995.

France
In the past ten years more than 1,000 journalists have been killed while reporting the news, as homicide became an increasingly popular tool for silencing journalists. The victims were more likely to be shot and killed while investigating local issues than when reporting from the battlefield, according to Brussels-based International News Safety Institute survey. The three deadliest countries for journalists in the last decade were Iraq, Russia and Colombia.

Georgia
Georgia said that it will double the number of its troops serving along side the US-led forces in Iraq increasing the number from 850 to 2,000.

Iraq
About 40 people died after two bombs exploded in Baghdad, Iraq's capital. One attack took place in the Karrada district where a car bomb exploded near a truck carrying Shia pilgrims, killing 30. A second attack caused by a suicide bomber on a minibus in eastern Baghdad killed 10 people.

Iran
Police in Tehran, Iran's capital, prevented protesters from taking part in a rally outside the parliament in celebration of International Women's Day. The action follows the arrest of leading women's rights activists who took part in protests outside a courthouse.

Italy
About 50,000 protesters streamed into a piazza in central Rome to show support for government proposal to grant right to gay couples. The bill was approved by Italy's cabinet last week but faces tough time as it prepares to go through parliament.

Japan
Japan's Empress Michiko is being treated for intestinal bleeding and other ailments that were apparently brought on by stress. She will take a break from her duties. The Imperial Household Agency said that the popular wife of Emperor Akihito is also suffering from nosebleeds and mouth ulcers.

Japan-North Korea
The talks between Japan and North Korea, which were aimed to normalize ties between the two, were broken early without an agreement.

Libya
A rare criticism was published by a government newspaper, Al Jamahiriya, which denounced officials who bar Libyan women from traveling abroad alone. The newspaper said that not allowing women to travel by themselves was a stark and crude abuse of basic women rights.

Morocco
Saad Houssaini was arrested by Moroccan police as an alleged member of a terror group known by its French acronym GICM, linked to the Madrid train bombings and suicide blasts in Casablanca in 2003.

Nepal
Nepal's parliament altered the constitution to change the country from a unitary state into a federal one. The amendment was passed by an overwhelming vote of 278 to five. The change came in response to protests from the Madheshi people in southern Nepal who say they are being underrepresented and discriminated against.

Netherlands
An old chestnut tree which comforted Anne Frank while she was in hiding during the Nazi occupation will be cut down. Amsterdam city council said that the tree was attacked by a fungus, but tanks to protesters a cutting of the tree will be replanted.

Portugal
The Portuguese parliament voted overwhelmingly to make abortion legal without restrictions up to the tenth week of pregnancy. The vote came less than a month after a popular referendum failed due to a low turnout, but showed that most voters were in favor of legalizing abortion.

Russia
The mayor of Vladivostok, the largest city in Russia's Far East was ordered to be arrested by local court on suspicion of embezzlement and abuse of office. Vladimir Nikolayev was stripped of his post last week.

Saudi Arabia
Several suspects were arrested in the attack on a group of French citizens last week that killed four people in Saudi Arabia. Security officials declined to label the attack as an act of Islamist terrorism.

Somalia
An attack aimed at newly arrived African Union troops in a restaurant killed at least nine Somalis. A BBC correspondent said that insurgents fired a rocket-propelled a grenade at an AU convoy but missed and hit the restaurant.

South Africa
About 100 patients walked out of a hospital in southeast city of East London when paramedics wearing head-to-toe protective gear brought eight people who were suffering from the virulent strain of tuberculosis known as XDR-TB, which is an extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis that leaves patients virtually untreatable.

Sri Lanka
14 bodies of Tamil Tigers, a formidable fighting force involved in guerrilla attacks against the Sri Lankan armed forces and on political targets, were recovered by soldiers after a battle in the east of the country, said Sri Lanka's defense ministry. The confrontation took place after dark in Batticaloa district.

Thailand
A 57-year-old Swiss man, Oliver Jufer, faces up to 75 years in prison, 15 years for each of five charges, after allegedly defacing portraits of the Thai monarch. King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who has been in power for 60 years, and other members of the royal family are protected by a lese-majeste laws that bar any criticism of them.

Zambia
The government of Zambia said that it plans to demolish illegal housing around the country, but did not say what it plans to do for those whose houses are destroyed.



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