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Archive for October 2011

European Central Bank chief’s term ends

October 31, 2011 - GERMANY

The term of European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet ends on 31 Oct, and his successor, Italian banker Mario Draghi, starts work the next day. Trichet, credited with steering the ECB through the financial crisis and then Europe’s sovereign debt crisis, says key qualifications for the job are readiness to act in exceptional circumstances and a long-term view. His replacement will be expected to steer Europe out of its economic doldrums.

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Report on Bahrain’s February protests due

October 30, 2011 - MANAMA

Bahrain erupted with Shiite Muslim-led pro-democracy demonstrations in February and March. After the unrest was put down by the nation’s Sunni Muslim rulers, with the help of Saudi Arabia, King Hamad al-Khalifa established the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) to investigate the protests and their consequences. The report of the largely compromised investigation, initiated on 29 Jun, is due on Oct 30. Some 70 per cent of the Bahrain’s 1 million people are Shiite Muslims.

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Prospero launched, Black Arrow died 40 years ago

October 28, 2011 - UNITED KINGDOM

The last flight of the British satellite carrier rocket, Black Arrow, happened on 28 Oct 1971 from the Woomera Rocket Range in Australia. Black Arrow placed the British Prospero satellite into orbit for its final flight. The 40th anniversary will be marked with an attempt to contact the satellite. The anniversary could also energize Britain’s attempt to get back into the space race. The Skylon reusable space plane is being developed to send ships into Space in one leap, not in stages, as now. The Oct 1971 launch of Black Arrow, Britain’s only indigenous launch vehicle, was permitted following the cancellation of the Black Arrow project in Jul 1971. Developed during the 1960s, Black Arrow was used for four launches between 1969 and 1971.

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Bolshoi Theater opens 235th season after years of renovations

October 28, 2011 - MOSCOW

The famed Bolshoi Theater reopens on Oct 28 with a glittering ceremony led by President Dmitry Medvedev . The opening follows six years of reconstruction delays and scandals. The exterior of the building remains nearly the same, but the interior is bigger. Most operations have been computerized. Soviet emblems have been replaced with the emblems of Russia. The theater was built in 1825. It was closed for the reconstruction project on 2 Jul 2005 and was due to reopen in 2008. According to RiaNovosti, the project has been marred by repeated delays and a misspending scandal. In Sep 2009, Russian prosecutors opened a probe into the suspected embezzlement of millions of dollars during the reconstruction. The Moscow government set an Oct 2 deadline. Some experts doubted it would be met, and they were right. The opening date has been changed to Oct 28.

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Perth hosts Commonwealth heads of government meeting

October 28, 2011 - AUSTRALIA

The heads of government of the 54-member Commonwealth of Nations meet in the western city of Perth. Commonwealth heads of government meet every two years. The body’s present concerns include climate change and the global recession, both of which affect Commonwealth members disproportionately. The relevance of the organization is also at issue. The description of the alliance as an irrelevant relic of Britain’s imperial era surfaces periodically.The world’s largest and smallest, richest and poorest countries make up the Commonwealth and are home to two billion citizens of all faiths and ethnicities. Many Commonwealth members are island states threatened by rising sea levels, yet the Commonwealth failed to prevail on their behalf at the global summit on climate change in Copenhagen on 7 Dec 2009.

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UN releases 2011 world population report

October 26, 2011 - UNITED NATIONS

The theme of the 2011 edition of the United Nations world population report is “The World at Seven Billion and threats to the world’s supplies of food and water are looming.” The United Nations Population Fund sees the potential for conflicts in the shortages. UNFPA projections suggest the planet is filling fast, and the agency argues the need for curbing population growth. The 2011 figures won’t go unchallenged by religious and social conservatives, who mistrust the figures and reject the need for curbs. The 2010 report put the current world population at close to 7 billion and projected it would reach 10.1 billion

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100th Anniversary of Orville Wright world record

October 24, 2011 - UNITED STATES

Orville Wright soared through the air for 9 minutes and 45 seconds in October 1911 — a record that was to remain unbeaten for a decade afterward. One century later, historians and flight enthusiasts will gather in North Carolina in an attempt to recreate the feat. The Soaring Society of America, the United States Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association and the Vinatage Sailplane Association are to join forces on the weekend of Oct 21-24 on the sand dunes of Kill Devil Hills to celebrate both the Wright brothers’ achievement and fly historical and modern gliders. Three replica Wright 1911 gliders are expected to take part in the celebration.A historical symposium, organized by the National Air and Space Museum, hopes to inform the tens of thousands of expected visitors about the earliest glider pioneers from Cayley, Lilienthal, Chanute, Pilchre, the Wrights all the way up to modern

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EU leaders meet for first summit of Polish presidency

October 23, 2011 - BRUSSELS

The summit of leaders of the 27-member European Union is likely to be dominated by the eurozone crisis. Other challenges include difficult negotiations over the block’s long-term budget, due to start and be decided during the Polish presidency. Poland’s new assertiveness in the bloc could prove inconvenient when the debate turns to the budget, subsidies and environmental issues. Net contributors to the budget such as Germany and Britain want to save money with cuts.

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Senegal hosts meeting of internet watchdog

October 23, 2011 - DAKAR

ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, meets in Dakar to review plans for an upcoming project and to review the success of another. The delegates from member countries are also likely to hear more about the impending collaboration of ICANN and Interpol, the global police force, which held talks recently for the first time. The two organizations are aiming to develop a work-sharing plan for internet governance that will address cyber crime stemming from the high-tech and financial sectors.

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Tunisians vote for assembly to draw up constitution

October 23, 2011 - TUNIS

Tunisia’s interim government set a July date, subsequently reset, for a poll to select the individuals who will be responsible for drawing up a constitution, one of the first demands of activists who launched the so-called Jasmine Revolution. Zine el Abidine Ben Ali was ousted as president in January after weeks demonstrations that sparked similar uprisings against other long-standing Arab regimes. The country is struggling to stabilize. following the ouster.

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South America’s No. 2 economy holds pivotal presidential election

October 23, 2011 - ARGENTINA

The death in October of Nestor Kirchner, the former president of Argentina and husband of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, brought an early spotlight on the Oct 2011 presidential poll. It was anticipated that the late president would stand in the election. His wife is standing, and is widely expected to win a second term after she received nearly 51 per cent of the vote in a recent national primary election. She is Argentina’s first elected female president, and the second female president in Argentina’s history — Isabel Martinez de Peron served from 1974-1976. A Justicialist, she notes that her government is doing more than any other in Latin America to improve the buying power of her citizens. Inflation is reported to be creeping up and eroding the country’s otherwise sizzling economic performance.

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Franz Liszt born 200 years ago

October 22, 2011 - HUNGARY

Hungary and much of the world will commemorate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Franz Liszt on Oct 22. He performed throughout Europe, so Liszt concerts can be expected in many of the continent’s capitals, particularly in Hungary, his birthplace, and Germany where he lived and worked. A Mercurian crater and a small planet between Mars and Jupiter, Liszt 3910, were named after the pianist, a handsome man who had the frenzied fan base of a rock star.

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