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Archive for June 2010

St Petersburg hosts Russian version of Davos economic forum ;

June 17, 2010 - RUSSIA

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev hosts the XIV Petersburg International Economic Forum. France will be feted, and President Nicolas Sarkozy or Prime Minister François Fillon can be expected at the event, the main annual economic summit of Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States. In November Fillon and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin signed a bilateral trade and cultural deal that makes 2010 the Year of Russia in France and the Year of France in Russia. One question is whether Aurora will be the forum’s party ship again.

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Whaling experts prepare data for IWC meeting

June 15, 2010 - MOROCCO

Sub-groups in the 88-nation International Whaling Commission meet in Agadir ahead of the 62nd IWC meeting to pool information about the health and population size of the mammals. The data, which is often dismissed as unreliable by one or another side in whaling disputes, is used to argue the perennial IWC issues: catch quotas, Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling (ISW), bycatch, killing methods and tourist whalewatching. In 2010, the data could be used as evidence in a court case.

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South Korean President made historic visit to Pyongyang 10 years ago

June 14, 2010 - PYONGYANG

Reconciliation hopes soared after the historic meeting between South Korean President Kim Dae-jung and North Korean leader Kim Jong-il in 2000. It was the first summit of leaders of the divided peninsula in 50 years. Kim Jong-il has yet to reciprocate. The day is likely to be marked in Seoul with fresh debate about what has gone wrong. The family reunions, transportation links and joint ventures had stopped even before 26 Mar sinking of a South Korean warship.

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Japan awaiting late return of asteroid sampler Hayabusa ;

June 13, 2010 - AUSTRALIA

Three years late and perhaps empty-handed, Japan’s asteroid sampler spacecraft Hayabusa (MUSES-C), is due to make a parachuted landing in Australia in June. Launched in 2003, it was due back in 2007. A setback in 2005 almost ended the mission, so the return will be cause for celebration. The jubilation will be brief if the hoped-for samples of dust from Asteroid Itokawa are not on board. Scientists believe dust from the tiny, potato-shaped celestial body could help answer questions about the solar system.

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Japan awaiting late return of asteroid sampler Hayabusa ;

June 13, 2010 - AUSTRALIA

Three years late and perhaps empty-handed, Japan’s asteroid sampler spacecraft Hayabusa (MUSES-C), is due to make a parachuted landing in Australia in June. Launched in 2003, it was due back in 2007. A setback in 2005 almost ended the mission, so the return will be cause for celebration. The jubilation will be brief if the hoped-for samples of dust from Asteroid Itokawa are not on board. Scientists believe dust from the tiny, potato-shaped celestial body could help answer questions about the solar system.

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Luminato festival opens — on a more secure footing?

June 11, 2010 - CANADA

The Luminato, the Toronto Festival of Arts and Creativity, presents theatre, dance, classical and contemporary music, film, literature, visual arts, design by local and international artists. The new parity of the Canadian loonie with the United States greenback could be a source of anxiety for the organizers. Parity reduces some costs, but it could reduce the number of patrons from the United States. A 2010 success could make the event a winner when Ottawa hands out stimulus funding.

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NATO defense ministers meet, prepare for reforms and showdown ;

June 10, 2010 - BRUSSELS

At the June ordinary meeting of defense ministers, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen plans to present options for reforming the NATO command structure. He aims to make it leaner, more effective and less costly, and to streamline NATO’s 14 agencies. The meeting offers a last opportunity for the ministers to review the plan for a showdown against Afghanistan’s Taliban in Kandahar, the main battleground in the insurgency.

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Alcoholics Anonymous movement turns 75

June 10, 2010 - NEW YORK

Recovering alcoholic William Griffith Wilson started Alcoholics Anonymous 75 years ago after helping a friend take his last drink. Wilson introduced himself at the first AA meeting with: “My name is Bill W., and I’m an alcoholic.” Seventy-five years on, AA members still identify themselves only by first name and initial. The date invites a look at AA’s history and methods and a roll call of celebrity members. AA, with 2 million members in 122 countries, describes itself as the world’s largest self-help organization.

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FIFA holds 60th Congress

June 10, 2010 - JOHANNESBURG

The 60th Congress of the governing body for world soccer, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association, offers an opportunity to review planning for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, which begins the next day, and look ahead to the 2014 edition of the world’s largest and most important sporting event. Brazil, which has won five World Cups, the most of any nation, won 2014 hosting privileges. The congress is also likely to revisit concerns about FIFA governance and the wellbeing of very young soccer stars.

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Dutch voters go to the polls after government collapse

June 9, 2010 - THE NETHERLANDS

The Labour Party withdrew from Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende’s Christian Democrat-led coalition in February because of disagreements on extending the deployment of the 1,950 Dutch troops deployed in Afghanistan, precipitating the need for a general election. Radio Netherlands describes the poll as a text-book battle between left and right.

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Pope Benedict XVI convenes World Meeting of Priests

June 9, 2010 - VATICAN

Pope Benedict XVI’s special year for priests concludes with the World Meeting of Priests in Jun 2010. Some 5,000 priests from all continents are expected for the three-day meeting, which concludes with a vigil and Mass in St Peter’s Square. The pope’s stated intention is to encourage spiritual perfection in priests. Many have been exposed as grossly imperfect: clergy sex abuse scandals continue to roil the Church, most recently in the the Irish Republic.

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