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Archive for April 2010

Iran hosts international conference on nuclear disarmament ;

April 17, 2010 - TEHRAN

Iran’s nuclear disarmament conference, Nuclear Energy For All, Nuclear Weapons For No-one, is expected to draw the countries that have resisted calls for sanctions against Tehran because of its atomic ambitions. These include China. Foreign ministers, representatives and nuclear experts from some 60 countries are expected for the event at which Iran plans to promote its message that it aims for nuclear energy for peaceful purposes as the right of all nations.

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Pope Benedict XVI visits for St. Paul shipwreck anniversary ;

April 17, 2010 - MALTA

St. Paul is believed to have been shipwrecked on the Mediterranean island of Malta in 60 AD, and to have used his time there to convert the Roman population to Christianity. Though the event is celebrated on Feb 10 each year, Pope Benedict XVI’s anticipated visit to the predominantly Catholic country for the 1950th shipwreck anniversary is being arranged for April. The Vatican has not announced the date, leaving the question of whether the pope will be celebrating his 83 birthday in Malta or in his own country.

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Embattled Pope Benedict XVI turns 83

April 16, 2010 - VATICAN

Pope Benedict XVI will celebrate his 83rd birthday with his brother in the papal apartments amid concerns that stress from the priests’ sex abuse crisis could tell on his health: he is criticized for mishandling the scandal. Papal doctors have told the pontiff to slow down, and his Malta visit on Apr 17 will be the first of the short-haul trips they have authorised. Last Christmas the Vatican moved the time of his Mass from midnight to 10 pm for the first time, saying it would tire him less.

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Dust storm 75 years ago invites look at farm program cutback

April 14, 2010 - UNITED STATES

On 14 Apr 1935, Black Sunday, a storm in the heartland turned day into night. Farmers were already into their fifth year of drought and storms that blew topsoil off barren fields, a catastrophe that created the Dust Bowl and an exodus famously chronicled in John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath. Eventually it afflicted the whole country. The 75th anniversary invites rescreenings of the dramatic 1930s news pictures and a look at eco-friendly farming and cutbacks in a program aimed at preventing another Dust Bowl.

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Russians, Poles remember Katyn massacre of 1940

April 13, 2010 - RUSSIA

In 1940 Soviet secret police shot to death 22,000 Polish army officers, policemen and civilians taken prisoner from 1939-40. For the 70th anniversary, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has invited Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk to a memorial ceremony at the victims’ grave sites at Katyn in western Russian. The invitation is seen as a gesture that could improve bilateral relations, long soured by the killings and over security and energy disputes.

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NASA celebrates 40th anniversary of Apollo 13

April 13, 2010 - UNITED STATES

NASA’s third lunar landing mission, Apollo 13, in 1970, was aborted after an explosion in the spacecraft some 200,000 miles from Earth. On Apr 9 this year, crew members on the mission NASA describes as a successful failure because it ended safely will re-live the harrowing return for a paying audience at Kennedy Space Center. Apollo 13, the movie starring Tom Hanks, is certain to be dusted off for the anniversary, which promises to boost the orbit of a current New Zealand stage play about the near disaster.

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Justice, policing revert to local control after devolution deal

April 12, 2010 - BELFAST

The last key element of the Northern Ireland peace process was agreed on Feb 5 after a long period of political paralysis, and justice and police powers will be restored to Belfast from Apr 12. The two largest parties — the Protestant-supported Democratic Unionist Party and the mainly Catholic-supported Sinn Fein party — had been locked in a struggle over the issue of police powers and a process to bring them under local control after long-time British control. A cross-community vote is set for Mar 9.

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South Africans expected to hand in firearms

April 11, 2010 - SOUTH AFRICA

The South African parliament has passed a firearms amnesty bill that allows authorities to destroy as many illegal weapons as possible by 11 Apr 2010. The amnesty period begins on Jan 11. South Africans must hand in the weapons regardless of whether they are licensed. The new law is aimed at reducing violent crime in the country by reducing the number of firearms in circulation. President Jacob Zuma said at a rally in October that there are too many guns in South Africa.

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2nd Islamic Countries Solidarity Games called off

April 9, 2010 - IRAN

The Islamic Solidarity Games, the Olympics of the Muslim world, which were to be held in Tehran, Mashhad and Isfahan in April, has been called off by Arab states because Tehran would not remove “Persian Gulf” from the medals and promotional materials for the event. The spat exposes the historical enmity between Arab countries and Iran, formerly Persia.

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Sri Lankans elect legislators

April 8, 2010 - SRI LANKA

Sri Lanka is expected to deploy some 78,000 security personnel to maintain law and order during the Apr 8 parliamentary elections. Some 7,620 candidates from 36 political parties and 306 independent groups are contesting the poll. The arrest of ex-army chief Gen Sarath Fonseka boosts the chances of President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Sri Lanka Freedom Party of doing well and creating another governing alliance in the unicameral 225-seat parliament.

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Vietnam hosts 16th ASEAN summit

April 8, 2010 - HA NOI

Vietnam, Association of Southeast Asian Nations president for 2010, hosts the 16th and 17th summits of the organization. The 2010 theme is: Towards the ASEAN Community: from vision to action. Vietnam, which is not a party to the ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreement, which came into effect on 1 Jan 2010, might find the need to be mediator as well as host. The FTA was not welcomed everywhere in the bloc.

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Right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party marks 30th anniversary

April 6, 2010 - NEW DELHI

The Hindu right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party, India’s main opposition party, marks 30 years with plans for introspection. New party president Nitin Gadkari aims to analyze the two successive defeats of the BJP, which takes credit for the nuclear tests in 1998, for starting the Indo-United States nuclear talks and for diffusing the tensions of the Kargil War against Pakistan in 1999. The BJP dilemma is whether to pursue the cultural nationalism (Hindutuva) agenda or to move to the center to widen its political base.

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