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16 December, 2012


12 people killed, 75 hurt in a series of attacks in Iraq

A string of car bombings against Shiite places of worship and a car bomb at a Kurdish political office, have killed at least 12 people and wounded at least 75. Two car bombs and 7 roadside bombs targeted 2 Shiite places of worship, one in the northern city of Kirkuk and one in the south, killing 8 people and wounding 55. In another incident a car bomb exploded next to the local headquarters of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani’s patriotic Union of Kurdistan party in the town of Jalawla in Diyala province, which killed 2 and wounded 13.


US man with 47 guns arrested after school threat

Police in Indiana seized 47 guns and ammunition from a man who had a day earlier threatened to set his wife on fire when she was asleep and kill as many people as he could at a neighboring elementary school. Many of the guns found in his historic home were collectors’ items, with a total value of over $100,000


Bomb threat in church near site of Connecticut school killings

Worshipers at St Rose of Lima, a Roman Catholic church not far from the Connecticut primary school where, 20 kids and 6 adults were murdered, hurriedly evacuated a church Sunday, after they received a threat that there was a bomb nearby. The church had been hosting mourning masses all day to commemorate the victims of the tragedy. It has now been confirmed by police that it was a false alarm.


Thousands protest projected education and public health cuts in Spain

­Thousands flooded the streets of Madrid Sunday to slam the government’s plans to make cuts to the social budget. "Our education will not pay for your debt," read the banners. The protest was reinforced by doctors and nurses who hit out at the regional authorities’ project to restructure and part-privatize the public health sector. Spain is trying to avoid following Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Cyprus in having to ask for international financial bailouts. The country’s government is arranging to cut social spending, with 7 million euros to be saved annually in the health sector alone.


At least 3 dead, 4 injured in Ukraine apartment blast

­Three people have died and four others have been taken to hospital as a blast rocked an apartment building in the city of Kharkov, eastern Ukraine. The explosion triggered a massive fire which consumed three stories and made a wall on an upper floor collapse. The reasons behind the blast are not yet clear.


Tens of thousands rally in Paris to back same-sex marriages

­Police estimate over 60,000 people have flooded the streets of the French capital to demand the new president live up to his promise on legalizing gay marriage in the country. The rally organizers say over 150,000 participants have turned out. The draft law was approved by a parliamentary working group, back in autumn. Following the go-ahead, France was gripped by opponents of the bill, which would also allow homosexual families to adopt children. The solid opposition stems from fundamentalist Catholics and the right-wing UMP party. Polls indicate that some 60 percent of France's population would back legalizing same-sex marriages.


Switzerland sends Salvation Army to Eurovision

Swiss television viewers decided to put their faith in the Salvation Army, whose guitarist is 94 years old, to win the Eurovision Song Contest in Malmo, Sweden, next year. The Christian missionary group's rock tune was chosen from among five national finalists late Saturday. Political songs are forbidden at the Eurovision gig, and the Swiss media have speculated that the Salvation Army's Christian aims might still fall afoul of the rules. The Eurovision Song Contest is an annual competition held among many of the active member countries of the European Broadcasting Union, watched by more than 100 million people across the world. Switzerland hasn't won the contest since 1988 when Canadian singer Celine Dion represented the country.


Japan’s PM resigns after election loss

­Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said he will resign after the crushing defeat of his Democratic Party (DPJ) at the Japanese election. The DPJ head said he’s decided to leave as he takes this result “with full responsibility.” He also apologized for not having been able to achieve a better election result. Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party, lead by Shinzo Abe, gained a sweeping win in Sunday’s election, forecast to get between 275 to 310 seats in the 480 seat lower house of Parliament.


Pope Benedict expresses grief over Newtown school shooting

"I was deeply saddened by Friday's senseless violence in Newtown, Connecticut," the pontiff told crowds of pilgrims gathered in St Peter's Square in Vatican City. "I assure the families of the victims, especially those who lost a child, of my closeness in prayer. May the God of consolation touch their hearts and ease their pain." Services to mourn the victims have been held at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Newtown. The alleged 20-year-old gunmen Adam Lanza shot more than two dozen people, including 20 children in a school in Newtown, Connecticut early Friday.


Fiji braces for arrival of strongest cyclone in 20 yrs

Fiji is preparing for the arrival of cyclone Evan that is set to bring winds of over 480 kilometers per hour. The powerful tropical storm has already swept across Samoa wreaking havoc in its wake and leaving at least four people dead, eight missing and thousands of people homeless.The storm is expected to strike northern Fiji on Sunday night thus missing the country’s more populous South.


LDP wins Japanese parliamentary elections – exit polls

­Exit polls show that the Japanese Liberal Democratic Party has won the parliamentary elections with a clear majority, Japanese NHK reports. According to the report, the conservative LDP won between 275 and 300 seats in the 480-member lower house of parliament. This puts the LDP back in power after three years in the opposition. The ruling Democratic Party of Japan won less than 100 seats, NHK says.


Botha typhoon death toll tops 1000

­The death toll from typhoon Bopha that battered the Philippines in early December has now risen to over 1000. Some 900 people are still missing, while over a million families remain displaced by the storm. The number of fatalities is likely to increase as rescue efforts continue.


Israel’s FM resigns following indictment for breach of trust

Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has resigned after being indicted for breach of trust in a decade-long financial scandal. The judge dropped the main charges of money laundering and fraud due to a lack of sufficient evidence. The charges pertain to Lieberman’s efforts to promote a diplomat who leaked classified information to him regarding a police investigation into the politician’s activities. Lieberman has said he would work to settle the case before the parliamentary elections in five weeks.


Shots fired at California mall, shooter arrested

­Police have taken a suspect into custody after shots were fired at a Southern California shopping mall, forcing a lockdown of stores, AP reports. There were no immediate reports of anybody being hurt. The shots were fired in the area of a Macy's department store at the Fashion Island mall on Saturday afternoon, according to Newport Beach police Sgt. William Depweg. He said someone was taken into custody and there were no known victims. This comes as the United States remains in mourning after a mass shooting in a Connecticut elementary school that claimed the lives of 26 people, 20 of them children aged six to seven.