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Archive for February 2010

Haiti planned Feb 28 election, but poll now doubtful

February 28, 2010 - HAITI

A 7.0 earthquake on Jan 12 near the capital, Port-au-Prince, puts Haiti’s National Assembly election in doubt for Feb 28 and even for 2010. The disaster comes at a particularly unfortunate time, leaving the poorest country in the western hemisphere to cope with devastation just as it was beginning to recognize stirrings of hope: commercial activity was stirring again for the first time in years, a result of a decrease in political upheaval and criminal activity.

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Anniversary of execution of two Boer War soldiers could see pardons

February 27, 2010 - AUSTRALIA

Australian soldiers Lieutenants Harry Harbord Breaker Morant, Peter Handcock and George Ramsdale Witton were convicted of murdering Boer War prisoners in South Africa over a century ago. Morant and Handcock, the only Australians executed for war crimes, died by firing squad on 27 Feb 1902. The execution was deemed political, and has been the subject of books and an award-winning Australian film. There is a push to see the three pardoned, and it could happen by the February anniversary.

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Ethiopia hosts 14th Ordinary African Union summit

February 25, 2010 - ADDIS ABABA

When the leaders of African Union countries gather in Addis Ababa, football could be the hottest topic. A good deal of Africa’s prestige is riding on the success of the soccer 2010 FIFA World Cup, hosted by member country South Africa, and the leaders will be eager to hear that country’s report on the preparations. Concerns about Niger, Guinea and Sudan could displace the official summit theme: Information and Communication Technologies in Africa.

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Multi-billion dollar deal for Native Americans faces deadline

February 20, 2010 - WASHINGTON DC

A settlement of one of the largest class-action lawsuit ever filed against the United States government would compensate some 300,000 Native Americans for billions of dollars in royalties owed to them over the last century for oil, mineral and grazing rights on tribal lands. But time is running out. The settlement of the 13-year suit will have to be renegotiated if Congress does not approve it by the end of February, according to Legal Times.

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Protesters plan blockade of British nuclear bomb factory

February 15, 2010 - ENGLAND

War Resisters International, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and affiliates plan to blockade Britain’s Atomic Weapons Establishment at Aldermaston to protest what they regard as the country’s illegal development of nuclear weapons. A proposal for a long-term storage facility at Aldermaston for enriched uranium — plus the approach of the pivotal Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference in May — are likely to swell the numbers and increase the disruption and the arrests.

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Chinese Year of the Tiger begins

February 14, 2010 - WORLD

The Year of the Tiger begins 14 Feb 2010 and ends 1 Feb 2011. The birth sign for power and luck, it falls every 12th year of the Chinese calendar. China is more fortunate than its tigers — the last sighting was 25 years ago — and these striped cats are unlucky everywhere. They are protected but still hunted, and their habitat is disappearing. The tigers’ year promises to heat up fundraising and political efforts to save them from extinction. It also puts the luck of famous and infamous Tigers under the spotlight.

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Rio holds its annual Carnival in triumphant but anxious mood

February 12, 2010 - DE JANEIRO

Rio’s raucous Carnival kicks off in a celebratory — but anxious — mood. The city won the honor of hosting the 2016 Olympic Games, but drug-gang violence is sharing Page One headlines along with the triumph. Carnival 2010 will be seen as a test of the city’s ability to keep visitors safe during 2014 World Cup and the Olympics. The 2009 Carnival champion, Salgueiro Samba School, will be defending its title at what is described as the world’s biggest street party. Carnival draws some 700,000 visitors.

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European Union leaders meet for special economy summit ;

February 11, 2010 - BRUSSELS

European Union President Herman Van Rompuy chairs a special EU economic summit that will look for ways to bring the bloc back from the brink. As the EU’s 10-year economic strategy expires in 2010, the leaders also need to discuss a replacement. Spain, EU rotating president from Jan 1 to Jun 30, wants to see new banking and other rules in place to prevent another economic meltdown. The challenge is finding ways to stimulate growth without exacerbating unemployment or undermining the bloc’s social security system.

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Berlinale celebrates 60th anniversary

February 11, 2010 - BERLIN

Setting the dates for the Berlin International Film Festival 60th anniversary edition was complicated by the need to avoid an overlap with the popular Rotterdam and Sundance film festivals and the Academy Awards. The chosen slot avoids a clash that would have meant a shared spotlight for the Berlinale in its landmark year. Setting the dates for the Berlin International Film Festival 60th anniversary edition was complicated by the need to avoid an overlap with the popular Rotterdam and Sundance film festivals and the Academy Awards. The chosen slot avoids a clash that would have meant a shared spotlight for the Berlinale in its landmark year. The festival will screen a political thriller Ghostwriter from veteran director Roman Polanski, who is under house arrest.There are signs the global economic downturn is chilling movie output, which could mean fewer countries competing for the festival’s Golden and Silver Bears.

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First Boy Scouts Of America Day marks centenary

February 8, 2010 - UNITED STATES

The United States Senate has designated 8 Feb 2010 as Boy Scouts of America Day, marking the 100th anniversary of the movement. Some 110 million American boys have taken the scouting oath. The centenary invites a review of the country’s notables among that 110 million and a look at the BSA’s exclusionary policies and robust legal efforts to protect its interests.

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America’s Cup sailing showdown might begin

February 8, 2010 - SPAIN

The best-of-three showdown for the America’s Cup between Switzerland’s Alinghi, the two-time defending champion, and its bitter American rival, BMW Oracle Racing, is due to start on 8 Feb off Valencia but could be delayed by the contestants’ legal fight. This contest for yachting’s most prestigious trophy started in the courts.

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NASA plans Endeavour shuttle launch despite setback

February 7, 2010 - UNITED STATES

NASA wants to send Endeavour with the Italian-built Tranquility module from Cape Kennedy, Florida, to the International Space Station on Feb 7, but is facing issues with the ammonia lines and connectors that route cooling to and from the module. Attached to the left side of the central Unity module, Tranquility will house life support and exercise gear now housed in other modules. With the shuttles nearing their 2010 retirement, NASA is particularly eager to avoid launch delays.

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