International news, 30 April – 6 May 2007

Friday /

  • Sudan’s famous goat wife has died after presumably swallowing a plastic bag. The story of the man who was forced to marry a goat after he was caught having sex with her became one of the BBC’s most widely circulated stories on the Internet in early 2007.
  • The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, meeting in Bangkok, has come up with a final report and recommendations after five days of tough haggling that says nations can do much to halt global warming, but greenhouse gas emissions must start declining by 2015 to make a difference. China led efforts to highlight the role of industrialized nations in creating the global warming crisis. AFP, Washington Post
  • Former mayor of New York John Giuliani broke rank with other Republican candidates for the US presidency in the first debate with the 10 candidates when he said he supports the Supreme Court’s ruling that permits abortions. CNN
  • Financial news service Reuters said its shares jumped 20% on news of an offer to buy it by an “unidentified suitor.” 

Thursday /

  • The BBC’s David Shukman pays a visit to the shining example of solar power south of Sevile, Spain that is Europe’s first commercial power venture using a solar tower surrounded by mirrors. The 660 mirrors below the 40-storey tower generate 11 MW (megawatts) of electricity and should eventually be able to supply the electricity needs of the city of 600,000.
  • There is “open revolt” on the web, reports the New York Times, after lawyers letters followed publication of a secret code used by film companies to protect high-definition movies. The number is becoming the Internet’s hottest celebrity and “its relentless spread has already become a lesson in mob power on the Internet and the futility of censorship in the digital world.”
  • Paul Wolfowitz, head of the World Bank, will most likely have to wait until next week to hear the recommendations of the seven-person panel invetigating the pay raise given to his companion, reports Bloomberg.
  • An international conference to find ways to bring peace and economic recovery to Iraq that is taking place Thursday in Sharm-el-Sheik, Egypt has shifted its attention to possible meetings between the United States and Iran and Syria. Reuters
  • France’s candidates for the presidency squared off in debates Wednesday evening in front of 20 million television viewers and both claimed to have won but analysts say it was a draw. AFP, BBC

Wednesday /

  • The oldest family business in the world is a Japanese hotel, Hoshi Ryokan, created in 718 in Komatsu. This year it celebrates its 1,289th birthday. Le Temps, Fre
  • African Union peacekeepers have begun to patrol the streets of Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital, for the first time since their arrival in March. They are to replace Ethiopian troops called in by the government, which Saturday declared it had won the months-long battle against “Islamist fighters and clan coalitions.” In a sad footnote to the article, the BBC notes that “Somalia has not had an effective national government for 16 years.”
  • A “fight that has been brewing for three months” between the US Congress and President George W Bush has moved into a new phase following the six-minute speech in which the president announced he was vetoing a congressional bill to tie funding for the war in Iraq to a troop withdrawal. Democrats in Congress do not have enough votes to override the veto, but Bush’s use of the veto is likely to step up the rate of bargaining between Congress and the president. CNN, Huffington Post, New York Times and Washington Post
  • High prices for gold, an uncertain property market and a facelift for the pawnshop industry in Britain is breathing new life into the ages-old debt solution of pawning possessions. Reuters

Tuesday /

  • Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert vows to stay in office despite a damning report on the Lebanon war from the commission Olmert established to look into the way the war was handled. “The committee found that Ehud Olmert’s decision to go to war was taken ‘rashly’ and ‘hastily’ with ‘no comprehensive plan’,” writes the BBC.
  • Five Britons have been given life sentences for “al-Queda-inspired” planned bomb attacks across Britain, in a trial that involved the longest jury deliveration in British history. The five have been linked to the suicide bomber who killed 52 people in London 7 July 2005. Reuters

Monday /

  • Pilot Miles Hilton-Barber, who is blind, has landed in Sydney after flying from London. His 21,000 km flight in a microlight aircraft to raise money to fight blindness in developing countries comes after 25 years of blindness. He has a sighted co-pilot but uses speech output from navigation instruments to steer his course. Times of India
  • More than 100 US troops have died in Iraq in April, making it one of the “deadliest” months for the American military since the Iraq war began. Reuters Meanwhile, in Washington, DC, six former CIA officials wrote to former CIA head George Tenet to say his new book, “At the Center of the Storm” is an admission of “failed leadership” and that he should have resigned rather than help build up the war in Iraq. CNN
  • One person was killed, 99 injured and 300 arrested in Estonia’s worst riot since the country separated from the Soviet Union in 1991. An initially peaceful

protest over the moving of remains of Soviet soldiers and memorial to them turned violent. Russian lawmakers are calling for ties with Estonia to be broken. The Moscow Times

  • A BBC programme to be aired Monday evening on the mysterious murder of Pakistan’s cricket coach Bob Woolmer says he was poisoned before being strangled. CNN
  • A gunman two people and injured at least two others before he was killed by police in a shootout at a mall on the south side of Kansas City, Missouri, USA. Police say he appears to have planned to go on a shooting spree at the mall. CNN
  • A highway overpass leading to San Francisco’s Bay Bridge collapsed Sunday after a fuel truck crashed and sent flames shooting nearly 70 metres into the air. The road normally carries 500,000 commuters a day. Reuters
  • More than a million people crowded into Istanbul’s Caglayan square Sunday to show their support for secular democracy and to protest the possible election of Abdullah Gul as president. AFP