In the News

Why should you, as a study abroad student, read international news? Because the rest of the world reads the news, has opinions, and are excited to share them with you when you visit their countries. Therefore, you need to have a little idea of the world about you, especially the country you are visiting. Skim through the stories below and make sure to read about your future destination!

January News 2009

THAILAND: Thailand is Accused of Rejecting Migrants
The New York Times, by Seth Mydans, January 17, 2008

In the past month, the Thai authorities have detained as many as 1,000 boat people from Bangladesh and Myanmar and sent them back out to sea in boats without engines, human rights groups say. At least 300 people are reported to be missing at sea. The migrants are members of the ethnic Rohingya minority, mostly stateless people who live in a cycle of poverty, repression, escape, capture and exploitation.

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CHINA: Finding Treasures in a City's Disappearing Past
The New York Times, by Andrew Jacobs, January 18, 2009

The destruction of this 800-year-old city usually proceeds as follows: the Chinese character for “demolish” mysteriously appears on the front of an old building, the residents wage a fruitless battle to save their homes, and quicker than you can say “Celebrate the New Beijing,” a wrecking crew arrives, often accompanied by the police, to pulverize the brick-and-timber structure.

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ISRAEL: Israel Hopes to Finish Troop Withdrawal Pull-Out by Tuesday
The New York Times, by Ethan Bronner, January 19, 2009

Israel accelerated its troop withdrawal from Gaza on Monday with the aim of finishing by the inauguration of Barack Obama as Hamas reasserted control over the rubble-filled streets, and tens of thousands of Palestinians sought to cope with destroyed homes and traumatized lives. Decomposing bodies continued to be uncovered in the worst-hit areas, with the death toll for the 22-day war that ended on Sunday passing 1,300, according to health officials here, as the fragile cease-fire between Israel and Hamas held. Uniformed policemen took up positions directing traffic and a few bulldozers began the enormous task of clearing the ruins. Garbage was everywhere, devastation rampant.

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AUSTRALIA: Australian Jailed for Insulting Thai King
The New York Times, by Seth Mydans and Mark McDonald, January 19, 2009

An Australian writer was sentenced Monday to three years in prison for insulting the Thai monarchy in a self-published novel. The writer, Harry Nicolaides, 41, originally received a six-year sentence, which the court said it reduced because he had pleaded guilty. The book, “Verisimilitude,” was published in 2005 and reportedly sold fewer than a dozen copies. The case was brought under the country’s strict lèse-majesté laws, which call for a jail term of up to 15 years for anyone who “defames, insults or threatens the king, the queen, the heir to the throne or the Regent.”

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December News


ITALY: Mafia Suspect Found Hanged In Prison
The New York Times, by Elisabetta Povoledo, December 17, 2008

A suspect arrested in a series of high-profile raids on leading Mafia families was found hanged in Palermo’s Pagliarelli prison hours after his arrest. Officials on Wednesday identified the hanged suspect as Gaetano Lo Presti, 52. Prosecutors had accused Mr. Lo Presti of controlling the Mafia families in a Palermo neighborhood and a spokesman said he was “very important.” The raids in Palermo on Tuesday were staged in an attempt to stop the city’s crime bosses from reorganizing after several years in which they appeared to lack leadership. Armed with nearly 100 arrest warrants, more than 1,200 military police officers fanned out through the city and surrounding areas, arresting 89 members of several Mafia families - called the Perseus operation. The crackdown was the most important anti-Mafia operation since 2006, when several top bosses were arrested in Sicily over a period of several months. Italy still needs to do more to shut down businesses operated by the Mafia and to cut the criminals’ ties with politicians who protect them.

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FRANCE: Explosives Found At Paris Department Store
The New York Times, by Katrin Bennhold and Basil Katz, December 17, 2008

A package of dynamite planted in a luxury Paris department store was found and removed by the police on Tuesday, rattling the nerves of Parisians at the height of the Christmas shopping season. A previously unknown group calling itself the Afghan Revolutionary Front said in a warning mailed to Agence France-Presse that it had planted the explosives in the store. It demanded the withdrawal of French troops from Afghanistan and warned that it would strike again if President Nicolas Sarkozy did not bring the troops home by the end of February.

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GREECE: Youth Riots in Greece Enter a Second Day
The New York Times, by Anthee Carassava, December 8, 2008
The worst riot Greece has seen in years continues as youths display their anger over the killing of a 15-year old boy, shot by a police officer. The police are extremely unpopular with youths, especially in Exarchia, as they represent the government, which has been involved in several corrupt scandals. The riot has caused major damage to buildings, cars and businesses nationwide, as the riot has become an organized effort among Greek youths.

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ENGLAND: Danish Navy Rescues Suspected Pirates
The New York Times, by Alan Cowell, December 5, 2005
A Danish warship on patrol to control piracy in the Gulf of Aden rescued seven presumed Somali pirates adrift with a broken motor on their speedboat. Rocket-propelled grenades and AK-47 assault rifles were found in the boat, but the pirates were not charged for any crimes. Instead they were given food, clothes, blankets, and then returned to the Yemen Coast Guard.

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ISRAEL: Israeli Troops Evict Settlers in the West Bank
The New York Times, by Ethan Bronner, December 5, 2005
The Israeli government and its people began a violent clash November 4, 2008, as troops evicted 200 hundred Israeli settlers from what is now called The House of Peace, in Hebron of the West Bank. The building is on the road to the Cave of Patriarchs, an area much disputed between Palestinians and Israelis. This comes during a difficult time when the Israeli government wants to ease the construction of the Palestinian state in the West Bank. Settlers refused to leave and even began to deface Palestinian buildings and destroy olive groves.

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November News


MEXICO: Mexico Tries to Curb Plane Crash Rumors
New York Times, by Elisabeth Malkin, November 5, 2008

Juan Camilo Mouriño was the interior minister and top security official for Mexico. José Luis Santiago Vasconcelos was the director of the Mexican organized crime unit, who had overseen the extradition of drug lords to the U.S. On the evening of November 4th, Mouriño and Vasconcelos were on a government plane with nine other people, when it suddenly spun out of control, close to landing, and crashed in Mexico City. There were no survivors. The Mexican government has spent great effort to stop speculation that the plane was sabotaged. Uncharacteristically, the government has released all facts and knowledge they have ascertained to the public, to endorse their statement that the crash was an accident. Many are doubtful during a time when the drug cartel has assassinated police chiefs, mayors, and soldiers.

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RUSSIA: Russia Warns of Missile Deployment
New York Times, by Ellen Barry and Sophia Kishkovsky, November 5, 2008

President of Russia, Dimitri Medvedev, greeted the news of President-elect Obama, with hard words. The U.S. government has planned implementation of missiles in Eastern Europe, counter to Russia's wishes. Medvedev promised if Obama continued with these plans he would place a short-missile system in Russia's Western border. Though Medvedev has showed promise of being the first ideal president of Russia, he has taken great efforts to hide Russia's problems and place blame on Western activities, especially the U.S.

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October News


INDIA: India Launches Unmanned Orbiter to Moon
New York Times, by Somini Sengupta, October 21, 2008

India launched its first unmanned spacecraft, on October 21st, to orbit the moon, as part of an effort to assert its power in space. The excitement of this event has induced rumors of a space race with China, who had their first moon mission one year ago. Critics find this a great technological feat for India, while others condemned it as a “waste of resources.”

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