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Archive for August 2010

Gulf Coast states mark 5th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina

August 29, 2010 - UNITED STATES

On the fourth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, President Barak Obama acknowledged that recovery has been slow. He vowed to see that turf wars and red tape didn’t hamper recovery, and the 5th anniversary of the storm offers a measuring stick. New Orleans appears to be returning to its old self, but throughout the region, boarded-up houses, overgrown vacant lots, homelessness and a lack of essential infrastructure tell a story of continuing impediments to recovery.Hurricane Katrina became one of the deadliest hurricanes in United States history when it overwhelmed the New Orleans’ levees, putting some 80 per cent of the city under water. It lashed the Gulf Coast, destroying some 200,000 Gulf Coast homes, killing approximately 1800 residents and displacing nearly one million. Disputes over who will pick up the tab for individual recovery projects cause many of the delays.

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Mother Teresa’s Centenary observed amid contention

August 26, 2010 - INDIA

The centenary on Aug 26 of the birth of Nobel Prize winner Mother Teresa could intensify the contention about her remains and debate about her legacy. Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha wants the body repatriated to Albania, but India insists the nun is an Indian citizen resting in her own country. Macedonia could also lay claim to the remains as the nun was born to Albanian parents in Skopje. Then part of the Ottoman Empire, the city is now the capital of Macedonia.

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Country marks 150th anniversary of tragic south-to-north expedition

August 21, 2010 - AUSTRALIA

Robert O’Hara Burke, William Wills and party set out from Melbourne on 21 Aug 1860, sponsored by the state of Victoria, to be the first to cross Australia from south to north. The neighboring state of South Australia sponsored a 2000 pound prize for the feat, and also sponsored their rival, John McDouall Stuart. Burke and Wills were first to the Indian Ocean, but didn’t live to claim the prize. Australian actor Jack Thompson will be part of an expedition, leaving Aug 20, that retraces the route.

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Sweden celebrates 200th anniversary of House of Bernadotte

August 21, 2010 - SWEDEN

On 21 Aug 1810, Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte, a celebrated marshal of France under Napoleon, was elected crown prince of Sweden. Regarded as a traitor by France, he took the name Charles XIV, King of Sweden and Norway, on 5 Feb 1818. The dynasty he founded still reigns in Sweden. All Sweden will celebrate the bicentenary of the election. A Norwegian source says Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia are likely to attend the main celebration on Aug 21 in Örebro, where the election took place.

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Canada’s oldest English colony celebrates 400th birthday

August 17, 2010 - CANADA

Canada’s oldest English colony turns 400 on Aug 17, and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is likely to join descendants of the colonists and Aboriginal leaders in the town for the party. Called Cupids 400, it celebrates the establishment of the Newfoundland fishing community in 1610 by British colonists. The celebration will include a genealogy program that will help local families trace their family roots and hold 2010 family reunions.

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Iran, Iraq signed peace agreement 20 years ago

August 16, 2010 - IRAQ

Twenty years ago on 16 Aug, Iran and Iraq concluded a peace agreement after an 8-year war. The date invites a look at the war and at a recent challenge to 20 years of Iran-Iraq peace. The start date of the war is a point of contention, but most accounts of the conflict blame it on a dispute over control of the Shatt-al-Arab waterway in southeast Iraq. Ambiguity in sections of the borders in maps drawn by World War I conquerers left the door open to the dispute, and to a recent spat over a oilfield.

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Allies in Pacific theater of WWII mark VJ Day

August 15, 2010 - PACIFIC REGION

Aug 15, Victory over Japan Day, also known as Victory in the Pacific Day, is the 65th anniversary of Japan’s acceptance of the demands of Allied forces for an unconditional surrender. Though the surrender ended WWII, VJ/VP Day evokes touchy issues and the observance has lost ground to other national salutes to war veterans.

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Asian city-state hosts first Youth Olympics

August 14, 2010 - SINGAPORE

Singapore hosts the inaugural Youth Olympic Games. The brainchild of International Olympics Committee chief Jacques Rogge, the Games will see 3500 athletes, aged 14 to 18, competing in 26 sports. These include traditional sports such as athletics and swimming, and also some innovative events such as beach-wrestling and BMX bike riding. Put off by rules that limit the number of competitors for each sport, some countries have decided not to sent young athletes to YOG 2010.

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Florence Nightingale death centenary commemorated

August 13, 2010 - UNITED KINGDOM

Iconic nurse Florence Nightingale died on 13 Aug 2010, and organizations and places linked to her life and legacy plan centenary events throughout 2010. A high point is a service in Westminster Abbey on 12 May, International Nurses Day, which is also Nightingale’s birthday. Nightingale, in charge of nursing British and allied soldiers in Turkey during the Crimean War, spent many hours in the wards. From her night rounds she became known as The Lady with the Lamp.

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Rwandans vote for president

August 9, 2010 - RWANDA

President Paul Kagame is widely expected to win a second seven-year term on Aug 9. He is credited with establishing stability, rebuilding the small central African nation after the 1994 genocide and for an economic growth rate that makes the landlocked central African nation the envy of the continent. Alleged moves by his ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front to shut down dissent and potential rivals, who include opposition leader Victoire Ingabire, could taint his win and revive Hutu-Tutsi tensions.

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President-elect Juan Manuel Santos inaugurated

August 7, 2010 - BOGOTA

Colombian President-elect Juan Manuel Santos takes over from President Álvaro Uribe on Aug 7. In a sign he intends to mend fences with neighbors, he has invited Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez to the inauguration. Ecuador President Rafael Correa is also expected. A former minister of defence, Santos shares some credit with his predecessor for reducing Colombia’s Marxist and rightwing violence. Santos says he plans to capitalize on improved security by addressing problems such as poverty. Quito broke ties with Bogota following the raid that killed a top commander of the leftist guerrilla group, the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC). Caracas froze diplomatic ties with Bogota in 2009 after Colombia signed a military agreement that allows United States troops access to seven Colombian military bases

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Hiroshima, Nagasaki mark 65th nuclear attack anniversaries

August 6, 2010 - JAPAN

The United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima on 6 Aug 1945, and a plutonium bomb on Nagasaki on Aug 9. Japan surrendered on 15 Aug, ending WWII. Political upheaval in Japan makes it difficult to predict whether the government will concentrate on the future and not on the attacks, thus resetting the tone in the 65-year-old debate about whether the nuclear attacks were a war crime or a defensive necessity. The shape of the debate could influence whether the United States is represented for the first time at the Hiroshima ceremony.

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