International News Briefs

U.S. marines face discipline for urination video

UNITED STATES: Two United States marines face court martial for their role in a video of troops urinating on Taliban corpses that surfaced online earlier this year, the BBC reports. Video of the two marines, who were not named, was posted online in January. The Marine Corps says it will provide details of disciplinary actions against the two at a later date. Three other marines were disciplined in August for their role in the clip. The incident is believed to have taken place in July 2011, during a counter-insurgency operation in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province. Two staff sergeants, Joseph Chamblin and Edward Deptola, also face discipline for “being derelict in their duties” in supervising the junior marines.

No more Google for Iran

IRAN: Iran has restricted access to Google and its popular email service Gmail, Al Jazeera reports. The news broke via mobile phone text message after a government minister announced on state television that the sites would be blocked “within a few hours.” Ali Hakim-Javadi, Iran’s deputy communications and technology minister, said the move is the first phase of connecting Iranians through a national Intranet network. Government agencies and offices have been connected to the national information network in recent weeks, with access rolling out to civilians in coming weeks, he said. Iran previously blocked access to Google and Gmail in February ahead of the country’s parliamentary elections in March. YouTube has been censored since mid-2009, and Facebook and Twitter are also regularly blocked.

SARS-like virus causes global alert

SAUDI ARABIA: The World Health Organization has issued a global alert after discovering a new SARS-like virus in the Middle East, the Mail & Guardian reports. The agency issued the alert following the infection of a 49-year-old Qatari man who had recently travelled to Saudi Arabia before being struck by a coronavirus, which comes from the same family as SARS. A man with an almost identical virus has already died in the country. However, there is no immediate cause for concern, according to Britain’s Health Protection Agency. Health authorities are watching out for any signs of the virus spreading. SARS emerged in 2002 and killed 800 people.

Hitch-flying pilot busted

ITALY: Police in Italy have arrested a man for allegedly using fake ID and a disguise to hitch a free flight inside the cockpit of a commercial flight from Munich to Turin in April, Al Jazeera reports. The man was arrested at Caselle airport in Turin on suspicion he used the ruse to convince crew he was a pilot to get the ride. The 32-year-old unemployed man, who wasn’t named, passed himself off as “Andrea Sirlo,” a Lufthansa pilot. The man did not touch the controls while in the cockpit during the flight, authorities said. The ruse extended as far as Facebook, where the man created a fake profile with fake flight attendant friends. Authorities had been following the man for months and recently found him in the bar of the Caselle airport dressed in a generic pilot’s uniform.

Published in Volume 67, Number 4 of The Uniter (September 26, 2012)

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