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March 27, 2009

International News for March 14 - 27

by Alisa Lu, Online News Editor
This is not original reporting. All information has been compiled from CNN, BBC and the Wall Street Journal. Silver Chips Online posts this news summary to provide readers with a forum for discussion.

Iran

March 17 - Former left-wing president Mohammed Khatami dropped out of the Iranian presidential race and endorsed fellow reformist candidate and former prime minister Mir-Hossein Moussavi in an attempt to unite the left-wing faction in Iran. Khatami served as president of Iran from 1997-2005 before transferring power to current president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a staunch conservative. Ahmadinejad is widely regarded as the front-runner in the election, backed with support from Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. The election will be held on June 12, 2009.

China

March 18 - The Chinese government blocked Coca-Cola Corporationís attempt to purchase Chinese beverage-maker Huiyuan citing concerns that Coca-Cola would become a monopoly in China. Coca-Cola had offered $2.4 billion to acquire the Chinese juice-maker. If the offer had been accepted, it would have been the largest acquisition of a Chinese company by a foreign firm. Huiyuan has a 42 percent share of the juice market in China and is the biggest juice maker in the country. China passed an anti-monopoly law last year that critics say makes it much more difficult for foreign companies to enter the Chinese market.

Austria

March 19 - Josef Fritzl, accused of keeping his daughter captive in an underground cellar and forcing her to have seven children with him, pleaded guilty to charges of incest, rape, sequestration, committing grievous bodily harm, slavery and murder. Fritzl earlier pleaded not guilty to the charges of slavery and murder on March 16 but changed his plea. Fritzl held his daughter Elizabeth Fritzl and three of their children in his cellar without fresh air, sunlight, hot water and heating for 24 years. He impregnated Elizabeth seven times; one baby died in captivity. Prosecutors charged Fritzl with murder of the death of that baby and allege that he essentially murdered the child by refusing to seek aid for the sick baby. An Austrian court sentenced Fritzl to life in prison.

North Korea

March 19 - Asian media reports that North Korea arrested two American journalists on the border between North Korea and China after the journalists refused to stop filming in the region. Chinese-American Laura Ling and Korean-American Euna Lee, both of whom work for California-based Current TV, were arrested while reporting on North Korean refugees. Their exact locations remain unknown. Political analysts say that the arrests will be used in discussions about North Koreaís planned launching of a long-distance satellite that the United States Government says is a cover for the testing of a long-range missile. North Korea has since fully shut down its border with South Korea, activated its full military and started the process of expelling foreign aid groups from the country.



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