International News Briefs

Tension over contested territory

JAPAN: A chain of pacific islands is at the centre of growing tensions between Japan and Russia, Al-Jazeera reported. Japan called back its ambassador to Russia last week to protest a visit by Russian president Dmitry Medvedev to the Kuril Islands. The resource-rich islands have been contested by the two countries since the end of the Second World War, preventing the signing of a formal peace treaty. Russia said that Japan’s reactions are “unacceptable,” while Japan said it was simply trying to make its position clear. Medvedev is scheduled to meet with Japan’s Prime Minister Naoto Kan this week.

Iraqi government shuts down TV station

IRAQ: The Baghdad studio for a satellite television channel based out of Egypt has been shut down by the Iraqi government after two employees were charged with working with terrorists, according to the New York Times. The Iraqi government said the Baghdadiya station was shut down for publicly broadcasting the demands of hostage-takers, which it said was a breach of protocol according to state rules. However, some are saying the government would have taken any opportunity to close the Baghdadiya station because it would often broadcast citizens’ harsh opinions of the government. The arrested employees have been released.

Lions kill showering man

ZIMBABWE: A man was killed by lions last week while showering in his camp during a safari fishing trip in the Mana Pools area of Zimbabwe, the BBC reported. Officials are blaming the attack, along with a series of attacks on local villagers, on animals traumatized by poachers. Wild animals have been upset by an increased amount of snaring and shooting. The increase in these illegal activities has been connected with the poor economic conditions in Zimbabwe, with many hungry people turning to endangered animals for food. The fishing camp in the latest attack was not protected by security fences.

‘F’ for success

ALASKA: Sections of an oil pipeline operated by British oil company BP in Alaska have received an “F” rating, the CBC reported. A spokesman for BP said that the rating shows that the company’s monitoring system is succeeding and denied allegations from news sources that the pipeline faces imminent failure. More than 150 different locations on BP’s pipeline system received the “F” rating, which will qualify them for a prompt inspection potentially leading to immediate repair. BP previously paid $20 million in 2006 for a pair of spills from the same Alaskan pipelines that had not been properly inspected.

World’s oldest person dies

SAINT-BARTHELEMY: Eugenie Blanchard, the oldest person in the world, died last week in the French West Indies, CNN reported. Born in 1896 on the island of Saint Barthelemy in the Caribbean, Blanchard was 114 when she passed away on Nov. 4. She had been living in a care home for the last 30 years but, despite being blind and unable to speak, was not on any medication when she died. Blanchard became a nun in 1920 when she left her home island for the Dutch island of Curacao. She was called Douchy by her friends, a Dutch creole word meaning “sweets.”

Published in Volume 65, Number 11 of The Uniter (November 11, 2010)

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