Friday, April 29, 2011

A pot-pourri of world news for today

Friday April 29, 2011.....making history today:
  • the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton, now known as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, or the Viscount and Countess of Strathearn, seen by some 2 billion people worldwide, including live streaming on Youtube
  • the cover story of Macleans's magazine (in Canada) on how Jack Layton became "the" story of the Canadian election by rocketing from back of the pack to number 2 in the opinion polls
  • the last voyage of the spaceship Endeavor, captained by Mark Kelly, husband of assassination attempt victim Congresswoman, Gabriel Giffords, who attends the launch, making history just by being able to attend (flight postponed until at least Monday, to correct a mechanical failure)
  • the full ceremony of the Royal Wedding completed without a terrorist attack in London
  • the visit of President Obama to Tuscaloosa, Alabama to view the damage left by some 165 tornadoes in less than 2 days
  • reflections on yesterday's announcements of a new National Security team in Washington, including Leon Panetta, moving from Head of the CIA to Secretary of Defence, replacing Robert Gates, General Petraeus from Afghan Commander to Head of the CIA, along with replacements for both Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan
  • Egypt announces plans to open the blockaded border with Gaza and normalize relations with two of Israel and the West’s Islamist foes, Hamas and Iran.  (David Kirkpatrick, New York Times, 28/04/11)
  • The U.S. Federal Trade Commission announces plans to restrict the marketing of products like sugary cereals and fast-food meals to help stem childhood obesity. (William Neuman, New York Times, 29/04/11)
  • The Chinese currency hit a milestone Friday by rising beyond a level closely watched by analysts — the strongest since Beijing began allowing the currency, the renminbi, to rise in 2005 and a sign that the authorities might be using the appreciation as a weapon against inflation.
    The dollar fell below 6.50 renminbi to about 6.491. That marks a 5 percent gain for the renminbi since last June, when it traded around 6.827.  (Bettina Wassener, New York Times, 29/04/11)
  • Refections today on yesterday's announcement by former President, Jimmy Carter, that North Korea wishes to hold talks with South Korea, without pre-conditions. South Korea rejects propsal because North Korea refuses to take responsibility for killing some 50 South Korean sailors and sinking their vessel last year.
  • Conrad Black sold his Palm Beach (Florida) mansion after putting it up for sale several times. Property records show the ocean-front mansion went for $23.1-million (U.S.) on April 28. The house had been listed for sale last year at a $30-million. (Paul Waldie, Globe and Mail, 29/04/11)
  • NATO warships have intercepted several boats laying anti-shipping mines outside the harbor of the Libyan city of Misrata, a senior military officer said Friday. Alliance air strikes, meanwhile, had also destroyed or damaged 600 targets in Libya since NATO's aerial operations were launched a month ago, said British Brig. Rob Weighill, director of NATO operations in this North African country. (Slobodan Lekic, Globe and Mail, 29/04/11)
  • A federal court has given the Obama administration the go-ahead to continue funding embryonic stem cell research. The controversial 2-1 decision Friday is a victory for supporters of federally funded testing for a range of diseases and illnesses. (CNN website, 29/04/11)


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