- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 12, 2009

BRAZIL

Blackout fuels Olympic worries

RIO DE JANEIRO | Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva fended off criticism of his nation’s shaky power grid Wednesday as officials investigated a blackout that plunged as many as 60 million people into darkness, prompting concerns about the country’s preparedness to host the 2016 Olympic Games.

Power went out for more than two hours in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and other major cities after transmission problems knocked one of the world’s biggest hydroelectric dams off-line. Airport operations were hindered and subways ground to a halt.

A group of muggers took advantage of the darkness to rob people en masse near Rio’s Maracana stadium, which will host the Olympics’ opening and closing ceremonies. All of neighboring Paraguay also went dark, but for less than a half-hour.

UNITED NATIONS

Report: Hunger hits 200 million children

ROME | Nearly 200 million children in poor countries have stunted growth because of insufficient nutrition, according to a new report published by UNICEF on Wednesday before a three-day international summit on the problem of world hunger.

The head of a U.N. food agency called on the world to join him in a day of fasting ahead of the summit to highlight the plight of 1 billion hungry people.

The U.N. Children’s Fund’s report said more than 90 percent of the affected children live in Africa and Asia. South Asia is a particular hot spot for the problem, with just Afghanistan, Nepal, India, Bangladesh and Pakistan accounting for 83 million hungry children under 5.

IRAN

Oxford criticized for honoring protester

TEHRAN | Iran has protested to an Oxford University college over a scholarship in memory of the slain Iranian student who became an icon of mass street protests sparked by the disputed June election.

In Tehran, a small group of hard-line women demonstrated Wednesday against the scholarship in front of the Brit-ish Embassy. They chanted “Death to Britain,” the semi- official Fars news agency said.

Oxford’s Queen’s College established the Neda Agha Soltan Graduate Scholarship in Philosophy earlier this year, named for the 27-year-old student fatally shot June 20 on the sidelines of a Tehran demonstration. Her dying moments were caught on a video viewed by millions on the Internet, and she became a potent symbol of the opposition’s struggle.

GERMANY

Man guilty of killing woman in court

DRESDEN | A Russian-born German man was found guilty Wednesday of murder and sentenced to life in prison for fatally stabbing a pregnant Egyptian woman in court, an attack that triggered outrage in the Muslim world.

The Dresden state court said in its ruling that because of the particularly brutal nature of the crime defendant Alexander Wiens, 28, would not be eligible for early release.

Marwa al-Sherbini, 31, a pharmacist, was stabbed at least 16 times by Wiens on July 1 in the Dresden courtroom where she was to testify against him. She had filed a complaint against him in 2008, accusing him of insulting her with racial slurs.

Her husband, a scientist conducting research in Dresden, was stabbed and suffered serious injuries when he intervened to protect her. The couple’s 3-year-old son was in the courtroom and witnessed the attack.

AZERBAIJAN

Opposition bloggers sentenced to jail

BAKU | A court in Azerbaijan sentenced two bloggers to prison Wednesday for a fight in a restaurant, but the defendants say the charges were a pretext to punish them for political dissent.

The U.S. swiftly condemned the court decision, calling it “a step backwards for Azerbaijan’s progress towards democratic reform.”

Emin Abdullayev and Adnan Hadzhizade were convicted of hooliganism for a fight authorities say they started in a restaurant in Baku, the capital, in July. A court sentenced Abdullayev on Wednesday to two years and Hadzhizade to 2 1/2 years.

Abdullayev runs an Internet TV program under the name of Milli. Hadzhizade is a video blogger and opposition group member.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide