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Archive for the ‘News – International’ Category

If cartoonist Lars Vilks is famous for anything more than his drawings, it is his ability to make enemies.  Not content to keep a low profile, Vilks recently showed a film at a Swedish University in which Muhammad was not only depicted on screen, but also shown entering a gay bar.  Even while the celluloid rolled, a Muslim protester rushed the stage and assaulted Lars Vilks, punching him in the face and breaking his glasses.  Police detained the assailant and were forced to pepper spray certain protesters as they became increasingly violent.  Vilks, who has booby trapped his own house and sleeps with an axe by his bed, stated that the whole stunt was to prove a point about free speech, and would continue to open his mouth as long as there was some one vying to shut it.  Censorship, however, may have won this round as University officials have expressed that another invitation addressed to Lars Vilks would be “not likely”.

In the recent plane crash that took place in Libya, there was one lone survivor.  Of the 92 passengers and 11 crew members, the only person who survived was an eight year old boy.  The eight year old, who happens to be a Dutch citizen, is sedated and asleep.  The plane crashed when they tried to land at the Tripoli International Airport.  The child, who has been identified as Ruben van Assouw, suffered multiple fractures in his lower body and went under an operation at a hospital in Tripoli.  Nobody has been able to figure out what actually happened when the plane crashed as the black box has not been recovered.  Officials said that there was no indication that a place had landed because everything had fallen apart.  It was as if a big bomb went off at the crash site and in order to figure out what had actually happened, they called air traffic control.  Officials have also said that the rubble of the plane shows what a terrible crash it was, and for the eight year old to be alive is quite the miracle.

Although both parties absolutely refuse to meet in person to discuss their disputes, proximity talks through a third party are acceptable to both Israelis and Palestinians.  This third party is named George Mitchell, and he is the U.S. peace envoy to the Middle East.  Mitchell has already met with the Israeli Premier, and is set to discuss current issues with the president of the Palestinian Authority sometime Wednesday.  While Premier Benjamin Netanyahu is optimistic about this drawn out system of communication, President Mahmoud Abbas fears that Palestinians may have little to gain.  President Abbas’ main concern appears to be that President Obama’s terms for both contacts went too soft on Israel.  Abbas complained that many of the requested guarantees from Israel were not present on the final draft.  However, this is the first step in a marathon of diplomacy.

China has become notorious for its heavy censoring of internet services such as Google, but they aren’t the only ones that are pushing for silence.  While the exact number of requests for user information or limitation is regarded as a state secret by China, the majority of the rest of the world is complaint to have theirs listed–at least for now.  Since its creation, Google has received thousands of such requests, the the U.S. weighing in at 3,580 cease and desist orders.  The United States government has done so on such grounds as declaring some content to be hate speech, impersonation, or alleged defamation.  Google has been more or less cooperative with government censors as 80 percent of the 123 requests from the U.S. from the last half of 2009 were carried out.  However, while not refusing to comply outright, Google has published these numbers to raise awareness that censorship doesn’t only happen in China.

The Red-shirts' Protest in BangkokThe quagmire in Thailand continues as the anti-government “red-shirts” maintains their strong opposition against Abhisit Vejjajiva, the Prime Minister of Thailand. The “red-shirts” claim that Vejjajiva, who is supported by the rich and business leaders, did not win any election to become the Prime Minister of Thailand. They are determined to see him leave office and have a new Prime Minister who will take office after a legitimate election has been held. On Saturday, April 10th, the “red-shirts” protested in the two major rally sites, demanding to oust Vejjajiva. In an attempt to retake the two areas, the government sent out police and other security forces. However, the “red-shirts” did not give in, instead, they decided to be violent. The situation became so out of hand that weapons and grenades were used. 21 people were killed during the clash, 800 were injured. According to the government’s Emergency Center, 195 people are still hospitalized and 14 of them are in intensive care. Vejjajiva expressed his sorrow for the deaths and injured in a speech later that night and promised to further investigate the causes of the deaths.

Ferrari World

Ferrari World is an upcoming theme park in Abu Dhabi designed around the Ferrari brand that will feature roller coasters and other amazing facilities. Although the theme park is still under construction, it already claims itself to be the world’s largest indoor theme park; it has 20 rides and attractions, including the world’s fastest rollercoaster. The theme park is designed for people who fantasize in being on a Ferrari to ultimately experience traveling at speeds over 200 km per hour. Each roller coaster is a replica of a Ferrari model. One of the rides that has already been built features each coaster car to be a replica of a Ferrari F430. The coaster runs on rails that put the experience of the ride on another level, giving people a ride that is similar to being on the actual Ferrari F430 itself. The fastest roller coaster at the park will be a replica of a F1, which will reach the speed of 200 mph. The theme park also features Italian inspired cafes and restaurants and shops that sell exclusive Ferrari souvenirs and items. The theme park, opening later this year, will be under a big roof inspired by the “classic double-curve side profile” of the Ferrari GT.

Tigers

Tigers are on the verge of extinction, just 20 years ago, there were 100000 tigers in Asia, but today there are only 3200 left in the whole world. Another daunting fact is that of the 8 species of tigers, only 5 exist today. If this carries on, tigers will extinct in the next 10 years. The biggest causes of the growing death rate of tigers are poaching and loss of habitat. The biggest problem is that in countries like China, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Thailand, people kill tigers so that they can sell the tigers’ fur and body parts on the black market. Human interference also affects the population of tigers. Deforestation, which takes place everyday, makes it almost impossible for tigers to survive. When forests are being destroyed and human population moves in, tigers get separated from each other. Becoming segregated from their kind, tigers can only breed within a limited group, which over time creates life threatening birth defects. Today, CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) demanded countries to come up with strategies and also work closely with international agencies such as Interpol, to end poaching.


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