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22 April, 2012


Egypt cancels gas deal with Israel

­Egypt's national gas company, EGAS, has canceled its natural gas supply deal with Israel because of violations of contractual obligations. The contract, negotiated during the rule of ousted leader Hosni Mubarak, has come under heavy criticism in Egypt. Tel Aviv has already responded to the news, saying relations between the two countries have hit an “unprecedented low.”


South Sudan accuses Sudanese army of cross-border attack

South Sudan says the Sudanese army has launched an attack more than nine km inside South Sudan’s border, the Associated Press reports, citing an official on Sunday. This comes days after the south announced it was withdrawing its troops from a disputed border town. Ground troops from Sudan launched three waves of attacks, said Major General Mac Paul, the Deputy Director of Military Intelligence for South Sudan. He added that Sudanese armed forces "have come deep into the South'' and attacked with artillery and tanks. The attack was described as part of a "continuous provocation from the Sudanese Army,” Paul claimed. Tensions have been rising since South Sudan split from Sudan and became an independent country in July last year, taking with it most of the country's known oil reserves. Recently, the situation has become aggravated by a dispute over how much the landlocked South should pay to export oil via pipelines and other infrastructure in Sudan.


­Kim Jung-un may have spent decade in Switzerland

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, about whom very little is known, may have spent nearly a decade of his life being educated in the top private schools of Switzerland, which is much longer than had previously been thought. Two local newspapers say they have discovered the alias under which he travelled into the country in 1991, and have been able to use old photographs to establish Kim’s identity. He stayed until 2000. Kim Jong-un has led North Korea since the death of his father late last year.


­Pakistan suspends private airline routes

Pakistan has temporarily banned all private air carriers from flying in and out of the country's airports, following a string of emergencies. A plane crash near Islamabad on Friday killed 127, and several more jets have had to make emergency landings since. Private companies are responsible for around a third of Pakistan's civilian air traffic.


French voter turnout surpasses 70 per cent

­Voter turnout at French presidential elections has surpassed 70 per cent by 15:00 GMT, the Interior Ministry said. With only three hours left before the polls close in Paris, the turnout is still lower than the record high 83 per cent France saw during the first round of 2007 elections.


Cargo ship successfully docks with ISS

The Progress M-15M has successfully docked with the International Space Station. The ship is carrying fresh supplies for the ISS crew, as well as fuel and research equipment. The Russian space vessel blasted off from Baikonur Cosmodrome on Friday.


­Israel chief-of-staff: Ready to attack Iran, Gaza, Lebanon

Lieutenant General Benny Gantz says Israel is ready to take out Iran's nuclear development sites, according to an interview with Yediot Aharanot newspaper. Gantz reiterated the Israeli establishment position that Iran is developing nuclear weapons, although Tehran denies this. The chief-of-staff also said Israel is already carrying out more special operations outside its borders, and also has the capacity to take on other enemies in the region.


Murdoch to testify about ties with UK officials

­Rupert Murdoch is returning to the UK for questioning about his ties with top British officials, including David Cameron and Tony Blair. Murdoch and his son James were requested to appear before Lord Justice Brian Leveson this week, on Wednesday and Tuesday respectively. The appearances will mostly be focused on professional and personal ties that connected Murdoch’s notorious News of the World tabloid with senior UK politicians. The 168-year-old tabloid was shut down after it was revealed that its journalists routinely hacked into the voicemails of hundreds of people, including dozens of celebrities. After that, the scandal spread far beyond the tabloid, once investigators discovered more evidence of illegal behavior of Murdoch’s News Corp., including cases of police bribery.


UN sets permanent watch post in Homs

­UN officers have set up a permanent watch post in the Syrian city of Homs after the local population contacted the advance team of UN observers with a request, Itar-Tass news agency reports. One of the leaders of the Free Syrian Army, Lt. Abdul-Razak Tlas, has told the chief of the advance observer team, Colonel Ahmed Himmish, that the rebels respect the decision and will guarantee the safety of the UN personnel. The observer team visited Homs and its suburbs on Sunday. The team also met with the mayor of the city, which is considered to be the heart or the revolt. On Saturday, the UN Security Council unanimously passed a resolution allowing up to 300 UN observers to join the advance team of 30 on the ground in Syria.


­Japanese chemical plant explosion leaves 1 dead

Two huge explosions in a chemical plant in Southwest Japan have killed at least one person, and left 22 injured. The explosions happened after workers tried to shut down part of the plant following a problem in a different sector. More than 400 nearby homes have been damaged, but officials say there has been no toxic leak.


Would-be migrants choose US as top destination – poll

­The US is the preferred destination for the majority people who want to leave their country forever. About 13 per cent of the world’s adults want to emigrate and 23 per cent of them consider America the most attractive place on Earth, a recent Gallup survey suggests. Nearly one in 30 adults worldwide (150 million out of the 640 million surveyed by Gallup) would like permanently to relocate to the United States. Next comes the United Kingdom - the most desired place for living for 7 per cent of potential migrants. That is followed by Canada, France and Saudi Arabia. Australia is in sixth place, after which come Germany, Spain, Italy, and the UAE. Japan, Sweden and South Africa are followed by Russia and Sweden, which shared last place out of 15 with around 6 million people aiming to move there. Around half a million adults 15 or older in 151 countries (that represent more than 97 per cent of the world's adult population) were interviewed in 2009-2011.


Air strike kills 17 militants in Yemen

At least 17 suspected Al-Qaeda fighters have been killed in a Sunday air strike in Yemen, bumping the total number of those killed over the three-day crackdown to 57, the Yemeni Defense Ministry reported. It is not clear whether the attack was carried out by US drones or Yemen’s air force.