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Archive for April 2011

NATO foreign ministers meet

April 14, 2011 - BERLIN

When NATO foreign ministers meet in April, Libya is certain to hijack a conversation that would otherwise have been about NATO expansion. NATO has taken command of enforcing the no-fly zone over Libya, an aid to rebel forces opposed to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafy. The conversation has already started about coordinating the transition into the future, humanitarian aid and a political solution, and these aspects are likely to occupy the ministers. The first NATO sorties to maintain the no-fly zone over Libya flew on Apr 27. NATO leaders continued diplomatic and military moves to take control of the international mission from the United States into Apr 28.

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Artillery fire begins commemorations for 150th Civil War anniversary

April 12, 2011 - UNITED STATES

Artillery fire in the hilly Gettysburg area of Pennsylvania on Apr 12 opens years of battle re-enactments, exhibitions and other events marking the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. The four-year conflict between the United States federal government and 11 Southern states that fought to secede from the Union killed at least 618,000 troops and civilians. The causes, meaning and legacy of the war remain divisive issues. The Tea Party movement is likely to see a message in the anniversary.One of the largest commemorations takes place 21-24 Jul in Manassas, Virginia, where the war’s first major land battle took place. A historical re-enactment there is expected to draw as many as 15,000 participants.

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Artillery fire begins commemorations for 150th Civil War anniversary

April 12, 2011 - UNITED STATES

Artillery fire in the hilly Gettysburg area of Pennsylvania on Apr 12 opens years of battle re-enactments, exhibitions and other events marking the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. The four-year conflict between the United States federal government and 11 Southern states that fought to secede from the Union killed at least 618,000 troops and civilians. The causes, meaning and legacy of the war remain divisive issues. The Tea Party movement is likely to see a message in the anniversary.One of the largest commemorations takes place 21-24 Jul in Manassas, Virginia, where the war’s first major land battle took place. A historical re-enactment there is expected to draw as many as 15,000 participants.

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Yuri Gagarin first human in Space 50 years ago

April 12, 2011 - WORLD

Russia celebrates the anniversary of the first human spaceflight on 12 Apr 1961 by Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin as Cosmonautics Day. The Russian Space Agency has invited heads of 49 space agencies and astronauts who took part in space expeditions on Soviet and Russian spacecraft to attend the 50th anniversary celebration in Moscow on Apr 12. Around the world, it is celebrated as Yuri’s Night and celebrated with parties. NASA hosts one of the biggest Yuri’s Night parties. In 2011, Apr 12 corresponds with another milestone, the 30th anniversary of the first NASA shuttle flight.

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Actress Meryl Streep among Kennedy Center honorees

April 12, 2011 - NEW YORK

The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, which celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2011, honors five artists for their contribution to society at its 34th awards ceremony on Dec 4. President Barak Obama will present the awards to actress Meryl Street, singer/songwriter Neil Diamond, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, singer Barbara Cook and saxophonist/composer Sonny Rollins. The presentations are made at a state dinner. The ceremony will be broadcast on 27 Dec.

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Veil ban goes into effect

April 11, 2011 - FRANCE

The niqab – the full-face Muslim veil – will be outlawed almost everywhere outside a woman’s own home from Apr 11. So as not to be seen as stigmatizing Muslim women, the law bans any face covering. Officially called the bill against covering one’s face in public places, it bans balaclavas, hoodies or masks as well as the Muslim veil. It is presented as issue of public order and gender equality, not secularism, but is widely viewed as related to the country’s 2012 elections.

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NASA launched first shuttle 30 years ago

April 11, 2011 - UNITED STATES

On 12 Apr 1981, NASA astronauts John Young and Robert Crippen launched the space shuttle program by piloting Columbia to Space and returning two days later. The 30th anniversary was meant to be a post-retirement party for the shuttles, but the shuttle schedule is behind schedule. The anniversary could prompt second thoughts abour retiring the NASA shuttles. The United States could cavil at losing both its ability to fly people into Space and such a conspicuous symbol of prowess. NASA plans to announce retirement homes for Discovery, Atlantis and Endeavour on the 30th anniversary of the first launch.

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Air crash killed Polish president, 95 others, one year ago

April 10, 2011 - RUSSIA

An air crash in Smolensk, western Russia, on 10 Apr 2010 killed President Lech Kaczynski and 95 other Poles as they landed for a ceremony commemorating the Katyn Forrest massacre of Polish prisoners during WWII. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will meet his Polish counterpart, Bronislaw Komorowski, in Smolensk on Apr 11, to commemorate the deaths.

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Presidential and legislative election planned

April 10, 2011 - PERU

The economy is growing swiftly, but President Alan Garcia’s political heirs — Lima Mayor Luis Castaneda and conservative Congresswoman Keiko Fujimori — seem unable to capitalize on the strong economic picture. They trail former president Alejandro Toledo in the polls, and could tie for second place. Keiko Fujimori is the daughter of jailed former president Alberto Fujimori. García can’t run for a consecutive term.

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Italian prime minister on trial in sex case

April 6, 2011 - ROME

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi stands trial Apr 6 on charges of paying for sex with an underage prostitute and abuse of office. Italian law says it is illegal to pay for sex with a woman under the age of 18 and if the prime minister is convicted, he could face three years in prison and up to 12 years for abuse of power. It is not his first time in court: by his own reckoning he has weathered 105 judicial probes and trials and 2500 court hearings, but all were business-related cases. The Italian investigators and prosecutors allege he paid for sex with a 17-year-old Moroccan girl, known as Ruby Rubacuori (the Heart Stealer) and that he used his influence to get her out of police custody after she was arrested after allegedly stealing €3000 (US $4100).

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Continent marks first African Cultural Renaissance Day

April 3, 2011 - AFRICA

The 13th Ordinary AU summit in 2010 declared Apr 3 each year as African Cultural Renaissance Day. The declaration breathes life into the Charter for African Cultural Renaissance, launched in 2006. The African Union has been at pains to create a single voice for the continent in the spheres of politics and trade. The declaration extends the goal into the cultural sphere. Apr 3 isn’t shaping up as an annual party for the continent: education and language could be the main themes. Africa is a festival continent. Colorful and vibrant musical, religious

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Africa’s most populous nation sets new voting dates

April 2, 2011 - NIGERIA

The election set for January has been moved from January to April. Shortly after the January dates were announced, Nigeria’s Electoral Commission asked for an extension to April because voter lists wouldn’t be ready. The appeal succeeded. The presidential election vote is now 9 Apr. National Assembly, Governorship, and State Assemblies elections are now between 2 and 16 Apr. President Goodluck Jonathan used Facebook to announce his candidacy for the job he now holds.Pre-electiopn violence is escalating, and the vote itself is expected to be just as contentious as previous Nigerian polls. Jonathan’s candidacy is controversial because of a pact in the long-ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) that power rotates between north and south.

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