Wednesday, 12 September 2012

World News in brief for September 12, 2012

MIDDLE EAST: PRESIDENT Barack Obama has condemned a rocket attack on an American Consulate which left the US Ambassador to Libya dead.

Ambassador Chris Stevens, 52, died alongside three guards, as he went to the Benghazi consulate to try to evacuate staff as the building came under attack by a mob firing machine-guns and rocket-propelled grenades.

MIDDLE EAST: Muslim anger over perceived Western insults to Islam has exploded several times.

The violence, fuelled mostly by religious zealots, reflects the tension between Muslims and the secular West that followed the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

MIDDLE EAST: A film-maker whose movie attacking Islam’s prophet Mohammed sparked assaults on US missions in Egypt and Libya, where an American diplomat was killed, said today he had gone into hiding.

California-based writer and director Sam Bacile remained defiant, saying Islam was a cancer and he intended his film to be a provocative political statement condemning the religion.

EUROPE: Eurozone countries have been asked to hand control of their banks to the EU in an attempt to solve its crippling financial crisis.

In a proposal that represents one the most significant surrenders of national sovereignty since the creation of the euro in 1999, the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, wants to make the European Central Bank the single supervisor for all 6,000 banks in the 17 countries that use the currency.

GREECE: A fresh wave of anti-austerity strikes has hit Greece as its leaders struggled to agree further spending cuts for the coming two years – without which the country will lose its vital rescue loans.

State hospital doctors, teachers and local authority employees walked off the job to protest over planned salary and funding cuts.

AMERICA: Americans marked the anniversary of the September 11 2001 attacks with tearful messages to loved ones and moments of silence, but the smaller ceremonies gave a sense of moving on 11 years after nearly 3,000 people died in the worst terror attack in US history.

Hundreds gathered at the World Trade Centre site in New York, the Pentagon and Shanksville, Pennsylvania, to read the names of the dead.

AMERICA: The White House has denied reports of a rift with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying that he and President Barack Obama reaffirmed the two countries’ commitment to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

Mr Obama and Mr Netanyahu spoke for an hour and the White House said later that the two men agreed to continue “close consultations going forward” regarding Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

PAKISTAN: More than 300 people have died in two factory fires that broke out in Pakistan’s two biggest cities.

Many perished because they were unable to escape buildings that lacked emergency exits and basic safety equipment such as alarms and sprinklers.

NETHERLANDS: Dutch voters are going to the polls to elect a new parliament in a test of whether they have the stomach to continue with stringent austerity measures.

Many Dutch voters have begun questioning their role in the EU since the debt crisis erupted, feeling that their wealthy nation is paying too high a price to help bail out countries like Greece and Portugal.

RUSSIA: Ten people were killed and four injured today in a plane crash in Russia’s far eastern Kamchatka peninsula, officials said.

The Antonov-28 plane crash-landed near the town of Palana in western Kamchatka, 4,200 miles east of Moscow, according to the emergencies ministry.

INDIA: A political cartoonist jailed on sedition charges for drawings that mocked corruption in the Indian government has been released on bail.

Aseem Trivedi walked out of Mumbai’s Arthur Road Jail after the local high court said there was no need for him to be held in prison.

AMERICA: Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg said he had not enjoyed seeing his company’s stock pummelled on Wall Street this summer, but was relishing the opportunity to prove his critics wrong.

“I would rather be in a cycle where people underestimate us because I’d rather be underestimated,” chief executive Mr Zuckerberg said. “I think it gives us the latitude to go out and make some big bets.”

AMERICA: The US tax agency has awarded a former Swiss banker $104 million (£65m) for providing information about overseas tax cheats – the largest amount awarded by the Internal Revenue Service, lawyers for the whistleblower say.

Bradley Birkenfeld is credited with exposing widespread tax evasion at Swiss bank UBS AG.

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