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Archive for October 2010

Niger votes on new charter as prelude to election

October 31, 2010 - NIGER

The constitutional referendum in uranium-rich but dirt-poor Niger follows a military coup on 18 Feb in which President Mamadou Tandja, who ruled for 10 years and was seeking to extend his term, was deposed. The 130 constitutional amendments include some aimed at reducing presidential powers and ensuring greater transparency in Niger’s business dealings. Another bars junta members from contesting Niger’s January presidential and legislative elections.The charter reinstates the position of a prime minister to run the government, a role abolished by Tandja. Future presidents will be limited to two terms of five years. Members of parliament will also have to be re-elected every five years. Future elections will require candidates to be at least 35-years-old and under 70.

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Catholic clergy abuse victims plan gathering in St. Peter’s Square

October 31, 2010 - VATICAN

Two victims of sexual abuse by priests hope to fill St. Peter’s Square on Oct 31 with some 50,000 other priestly abuse victims. The two men, who met Pope Benedict XVI in 2008, say they hope the event will call attention to the need for support and healing for the victims. Olan Horne and Bernie McDaid of Massachusetts told the Catholic News Service they hope the pope will join the gathering as a way to show his support for the victims.

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City, athletes celebrate 2500 years since classic marathon

October 31, 2010 - ATHENS

The 2010 Athens Classic Marathon commemorates the 2500th anniversary of Phiedippides’ 40 km (25 mile) run from the battle field of Marathon to Athens to announce the defeat of an invading Persian force. Historians differ on the month of the feat that gave rise to the long-distance foot race called the marathon, but they agree on the year — 490 BC. After running the whole distance,Phiedippides collapsed and died from exhaustion.

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Controversial footballer Diego Maradona turns 50

October 30, 2010 - BUENOS AIRES

Diego Maradona won’t be short of birthday parties when he turns 50 in October, but he will be out of a job. The future of the footballer best remembered as the midfielder for Argentina in four World Cups — and hero of its 1986 World Cup win — hinged on how well the national team performed in the FIFA World Cup in South Africa in June. The team failed to secure the trophy for Argentina, and Maradona was replaced by Sergio Batista.

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European Union leaders convene

October 28, 2010 - BRUSSELS

When the leaders of the 27 European Union countries meet in October, the austerity debate is likely to be the sharpest. The bloc has agreed that spending cuts represent the path to economic recovery, but member countries risk social unrest and deep unpopularity with austerity measures. The summit is likely to try to put heart into leaders who cavil at wielding the knife. France can expect a scold for its expulsions of Roma migrants. The summit, the first of Belgium’s 6-month rotating presidency of the bloc, meets under the chairmanship of EU President Herman Van Rompuy.

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ASEAN president Vietnam hosts 17th summit

October 28, 2010 - HA NOI

A priority at the 17th summit of The Association of Southeast Asian Nations will be preparing for the November summit in Seoul of the G20, the grouping of the world’s largest economies. According to the Jakarta Post, ASEAN’s concerns about the global financial crisis will be a key issue on the agenda at the G20, with the regional bloc seen as promising recovery pool for the world economy. ASEAN has a combined GDP of US$1.5 trillion, according to the newspaper.

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Gulf state opens Ferrari theme park

October 27, 2010 - ABU DHABI

A big draw at the Ferrari World Abu Dhabi theme park, which opens on Yas Island in the second half of 2010, is the opportunity to drive a simulated Ferrari F430 Spider in a simulated high-speed race around the United Arab Emirates. The cars could pass as the real thing if they had an engine. The park’s promoters claim the roller coaster, with top speeds of 125 to 150 mph, is the fastest in the world. They describe the attraction as the first Ferrari park in the world and the largest attraction of its kind.

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IMF-World Bank hold annual meeting

October 25, 2010 - WASHINGTON DC

World economic and financial leaders at the World Bank-International Monetary Fund meeting in October will continue seeking ways to create a more stable international money systems. A follow-up can be expected on the Bank’s recent decision to support a US $5.1 billion increase in operating capital, the first general capital increase in more than 20 years, and to give the developing economies among the 186 nations that own the Bank a greater say in running WB antipoverty programs.

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Terracotta warrior tomb researchers, pain scientists among Asturias Award laureates

October 22, 2010 - SPAIN

Prince Filipe of Asturias presents eight 2010 Asturias awards at a ceremony in Oviedo. The laureates include the Chinese archeological team at the Museum of Terracotta Warriors and Horses in Xi’an; a French-Lebanese author honored for portraying Mediterranean culture as a symbolic space of coexistence and tolerance; three scientists – two Americans and an Israeli – for pioneering pain research; an American sculptor; two noted European thinkers; and organ transplant specialists.

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Court hears case against federal health-care overhaul plan

October 18, 2010 - UNITED STATES

In August a federal judge in Richmond, Virginia, refused to throw out a lawsuit filed by the state’s attorney general challenging the constitutionality of President Barak Obama’s planned overhaul of the nation’s health care system. An 18 Oct federal court hearing in the same city will decide whether the national health care law complies with requirements of the Constitution or exceeds the powers granted to Congress.

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Munich’s Oktoberfest celebrates 200th birthday

October 18, 2010 - GERMANY

The 200th anniversary of the world’s biggest public festival can be counted on to draw many more visitors than the usual 6 million or so and raise the level of terror threats. The first will please Bavaria’s brewers. The second poses security worries for the authorities. Police received terror threats in 2009 ahead of the country’s election. Landmarks that included the Oktoberfest appeared on a Taliban video. Police cancelled flights over the festival as a precaution.

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