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9 December, 2012


Plane carrying Mexican-American singer found with no survivors – officials

The wreckage of plane believed to be carrying Mexican-American singer Jenni Rivera has been found with no survivors on board, officials reported Sunday. Seven other people are believed to have been onboard when aviation authorities lost contact with the craft about 10 minutes after its takeoff in Monterey. The 43-year-old Riviera, born and raised in California, was known for her interpretations of Mexican music known as nortena and banda.


US service member killed in otherwise successful Afghan hostage rescue operation

­One US special forces soldier was killed during the rescue of an American citizen who was being held hostage by the Taliban in Afghanistan.  Dilip Joseph of Colorado Springs, Colorado was rescued on Sunday, five days after his abduction. President Obama and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta both praised the fallen soldier and the US troops’ “extraordinary courage, skill and patriotism.”


Nigerian finance minister's mother abducted

­The mother of the Nigerian finance minister has been kidnapped from her home in the Delta, police report. Law enforcement are intensifying their search, saying "no stone would be left unturned" to secure her rescue. The abduction follows numerous threats in the past.


Obama meets House speaker to discuss fiscal cliff

­As the fiscal cliff negotiations intensify in Washington, President Barack Obama has held discussions with House Speaker John Boehner. The details of the conversation have not been released, but press attaches from both parties emphasized that the lines of communication remain open. The Democrats are trying to push higher tax rates on the rich, while the Republicans want to see an overhaul to government "entitlement" programs such as Social Security and Medicare in 2013.


China bus crash leaves eleven dead, 23 injured

­At least  eleven people were killed when a bus traveling in China's Henan province collided with a car and crashed into a pond, officials reported. Twenty-three others have been rushed to hospital and are in stable condition.


Three dead in Indian reservation shooting in California

­Three people have been shot dead and another wounded at a Tule Indian reservation in California. The suspect was wounded himself in an exchange of gunfire with the police. The detained suspect, Hector Celaya also wounded his two young daughters, who were with him in the vehicle when he was apprehended.


Pirate Bay co-founder removed from solitary confinement

­Pirate Bay co-founder Gottfrid Svartholm is has been transferred to a new prison from solitary confinement after three months. He is to be released in five months if no new charges are brought against him, his mother said. The authorities are looking for a prison where Gottfrid will serve the rest of his sentence. Svartholm was arrested in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh in August 2011. He is suspected of involvement in several hacking and fraud cases, but he has not been charged in relation to any of those claims.


US drone strike in Pakistan kills senior al-Qaeda leader

An American drone strike has killed a senior al-Qaeda leader in Pakistan's tribal region near the Afghan border, Pakistani intelligence officials said. Sheik Khalid bin Abdel Rehman al-Hussainan, also known as Abu Zaid al-Kuwaiti, was reportedly killed when missiles leveled a house on Thursday near the town of Mir Ali in the North Waziristan tribal area, which has become the main hub for al-Qaeda and Taliban militants in Pakistan. Al-Kuwaiti's wife and daughter were wounded in the Thursday attack, according to the intelligence officials. His wife reportedly died a day later at a hospital in Miran Shah.


Ghana police teargas protesters – reports

­Security forces in Ghana have reportedly fired tear gas to disperse opposition supporters gathered near an election commission office, as in some areas voting in presidential and parliamentary polls continued for the second day on Sunday. Counting is already underway, and if no candidate wins an outright majority, a second round will likely be held on December 28.


EU leaders met with protests as they arrive to accept Peace Prize in Norway

European Union leaders have arrived in Norway to accept the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize. The leaders were met with protests as they arrived in Oslo. The prize is considered controversial in Norway – a country which has twice rejected EU membership. Critics argue that the EU should not receive the prize, due to the effects of the Eurozone debt crisis. The award will be handed over during a ceremony at Oslo City Hall on Monday.


Arab League approves $100-million monthly aid package for Palestinian Authority

The foreign ministers of the Arab League have agreed to provide 'safety net' payments to the Palestinian Authority totaling about $100 million dollars every month. The measure comes after Israel withdrew a similar sum it directs to the Palestinian Authority from collected taxes and payment, in response to the Palestinian application for observer status in the United Nations. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said the territory will come close to collapse without the money, as state employees have already endured wage delays.


Frankfurt airport cancels 150 flights after heavy snow

Frankfurt, Germany’s biggest airport, has cancelled 150 incoming and outgoing intercontinental, domestic and European flights on Sunday due to snowfall. Authorities have also warned they expect more cancellations to be caused by bad weather conditions. Berlin was hit with snow on Sunday, but its airport saw no cancellations and only minor flight delays of up to 20 minutes when landing strips needed to be cleared.


Mandela 'looks well' in hospital – South African president

­South African President Jacob Zuma has visited the hospital where former leader Nelson Mandela has stayed since Saturday, when he was submitted to the facility for tests. Zuma said that Mandela 'looks well,' in the first news South Africans have received on his present condition. The former South African president is set to be released on Monday. Mandela has not made any public appearances for several years due to poor health.
Michael Saba


Protests reignite in Sudan following student deaths

­Protests have again erupted in the Sudanese capital Khartoum after four student protesters were found dead. Activists alleged that supporters of the ruling National Congress Party killed the students. Sudan has witnessed mounting tensions over a rise in food prices and tuition fees.


Romania to elect new parliament amid political rivalries

Romanians are voting in parliamentary elections on Sunday, with polls suggesting that the center-left coalition of Prime Minister Victor Ponta will likely remain in power. This outcome could spark political unrest by triggering renewed tensions with President Traian Basescu, who said he may not appoint Ponta to head of government even if his party wins a majority. The two have been enemies since Ponta’s coalition tried to impeach the president in July. Romania is currently negotiating a loan agreement with the International Monetary Fund, and political rivalries could destabilize its markets and threaten the deal.


Car bomb injures several in Damascus, Syria

A car bomb attack in Damascus, Syria, has injured several people, local media said. An explosive device attached to a car was reportedly detonated, injuring a driver and several others in Damascus’ rural al-Fahama district. Witnesses described seeing ambulances and fire trucks rushing to the scene.


Bahraini opposition welcomes call for dialogue

­Bahraini opposition forces have welcomed calls for talks by ruler Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa on Friday. The country has witnessed an ongoing Shia Muslim-led popular uprising for nearly two years, during which 80 people have died, according to the International Federation for Human Rights.


Syrian rebels elect new military leadership

­Rebels in Syria have elected new military leaders, including a 30-member council and a chief of staff. This leadership will now coordinate with the rebels' political leadership coalition elected last month in Qatar. The move comes after the Syrian Foreign Ministry issued a warning to the UN Security Council and UN chief Ban Ki-moon stating that the rebels might use chemical weapons, and have reportedly seized a chlorine-processing plant east of Aleppo.


Washington state to hold its first same-sex weddings

­Washington will hold its first same-sex marriages on Sunday after the US state passed a new law permitting gay and lesbian unions, which went into effect Thursday at midnight. Many couples lined up to receive their licenses immediately that night, but the state of Washington requires a three-day waiting period before the wedding ceremonies can take place.


Hugo Chavez says cancer is back

­Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is to undergo another surgery in Cuba as his cancer troubles continue. The president annouced that test results revealed the return of some cancerous cells. He will arrive in Cuba on Sunday for the removal of malignant tissue for the third time in the last 18 months. Chavez indicated that his successor would be Vice President Nicolas Maduro, if his health were to worsen. “We should guarantee the advance of the Bolivarian Revolution,” Chavez said in a televised address.


Bradley Manning wins Guardian's 2012 Person of the Year vote

­The 24-year-old Nobel nominee and former US Army intelligence analyst has been nominated by The Guardian's editors and readers to compete with this year's other headline-makers, such as Russian punk band Pussy Riot and Italian particle physicist Fabiola Gianotti. With an overwhelming majority of 70 per cent, Manning, incarcerated over claims that he supplied classified documents to WikiLeaks, has secured the vote. Malala Yousafzai, a girl shot by the Taliban, came in second with 22 per cent.


’Ninety per cent of Indians are idiots’ – India’s Press Council chairperson

­At least 90 per cent of Indians are “idiots” who can easily be tricked into fighting among themselves without realizing that some “agent provocateur is behind” their problems, claimed Markandey Katju, the Press Council of India (PCI) chairperson. “I say ninety per cent of Indians are idiots,” he said at a seminar in Delhi, as cited by Press Trust of India. “You people don't have brains in your heads... It is so easy to take you for a ride.” He explained that a communal riot could be incited in Delhi pretty easily and all somebody has to do is make a mischievous gesture of disrespect to a place of worship. Katju added that he was saying these harsh things to help Indians, whom he loves.