International News Briefs

Sinatra not allowed in Church

AUSTRALIA: The Archbishop of Melbourne released a directive recently barring all secular music at funerals, the BBC reported last week. The move comes in response to the growing popularity of pop songs and sports anthems in Catholic funeral services. Some of the most popular song choices were the anthem of the Australia Rules football team, Frank Sinatra’s My Way and What A Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong. The new guidelines affect 200 parishes in and around Melbourne. The Archbishop did suggest that families and friends should remember their loved ones in their preferred manner before or after the Catholic service.

Heading for a meltdown

AUSTRIA: The chief of the International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA) said last week that he regrets the June action by Iran to disallow IAEA inspectors into Iranian facilities, according to Al-Jazeera. Speaking to the IAEA board in Vienna, Yukiya Amano also noted that his organization, the UN’s nuclear watchdog, had received reports from groups inside Iran of a secret underground facility that is nearly completed in the mountains outside Tehran. He urged Iran to comply with UN rules by informing the IAEA of all new facilities prior to construction. Iran denied the claims while the U.S. said it has known about the underground site for years.

Trouble in the Sundarbans

BANGLADESH: In an increasingly common encounter in the southern Bangladesh region known as the Sundarbans, a group of villagers recently killed a tiger that came too close to their homes, the BBC reported. The Royal Bengal tiger was the second to be killed this year out of an estimated remaining population of 440. Bangladesh law protects the highly endangered species of tiger, but attacks against humans have risen sharply in the first six months of 2010. Out of 41 reported incidents so far this year, 28 people have been killed. Experts predict the deadly encounters will increase.

Democracy delayed

GUINEA: The death last week of the president of Guinea’s elections commission will likely mean postponement of the election, initially planned for Sunday, Al-Jazeera reported. Rioting earlier in the week left one person dead and many others injured. The election commission says that technical problems will force the election to be pushed back while Guinea’s prime minister said he would not allow an election that would result in violence. The now-deceased elections chief was sentenced a week prior to his death to one year in prison for vote tampering. Guinea has only known authoritarian rule since gaining independence from France in 1958.

Mexican prisons broken

MEXICO: More than 70 inmates of a prison in northern Mexico escaped last week without violence, Al-Jazeera reported. The incident in question happened in the state of Tamaulipas, which has seen intense drug violence. Some of the prisoners had been convicted of drug trafficking, according to state officials, who were still unsure exactly how many criminals had escaped. The incident is not uncommon in Mexico, where many prison guards and officials are complicit with gangs and drug cartels. Previous prison breaks have also involved coordinated attacks by armed groups from outside the prisons working with guards from within.

Published in Volume 65, Number 4 of The Uniter (September 23, 2010)

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