Monday, March 5, 2012

News of the Week

Syria's government reported that nearly 90 percent of voters had approved a draft constitution introducing democratic reforms, including a multiparty system. The referendum was boycotted by opposition groups and condemned by international leaders. "To open polling stations but continue to open fire on the civilians of the country," said British foreign secretary William Hague, "has no credibility in the eyes of the world." 

Activists reported that at least 140 Syrians had been killed in recent days in Homs, where government shelling also killed two Western journalists. In her final dispatch, one of the journalists, Marie Colvin, wrote, "I was met by a welcoming party keen for foreign journalists to reveal the city's plight to the world. So desperate were they that they bundled me into an open truck and drove at speed with the headlights on, everyone standing in the back shouting 'Allahu akbar'--God is the greatest. Inevitably, the Syrian army opened fire."
Sergeant Frank Wuterich, the only U.S. Marine to be found guilty of any charge related to the 2005 killing of 24 Iraqis in Haditha, was honorably discharged.
In Afghanistan, about 40 people were killed, including two American military advisers, amid protests over the burning of Korans by NATO personnel at a Bagram Air Field garbage pit. President Barack Obama apologized to Afghans for the error, prompting Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum to say, "I think it shows weakness."
Mitt Romney praised Michigan's automakers during a campaign stop in the state, saying, "I drive a Mustang and a Chevy pickup truck. Ann drives a couple of Cadillacs, actually. And I used to have a Dodge truck. So, I used to have all three covered.
The German Bundestag voted in favor of a $170 billion bailout for Greece, the largest share of which will be funded by Germany.
The Royal Bank of Scotland announced it would pay out about $630 million in bonuses despite an expected $3.5 billion in losses this year, the fourth in a row it has failed to post a profit.
British Labour MP Eric Joyce was arrested after he became enraged in a House of Commons bar, hit several fellow MPs, and headbutted the MP from Pudsey. "There are too many f*$##@ Tories in here," said Joyce.
Police in the Indian state of Kerala continued their murder investigation into two Italian marines accused of shooting two Indian fisherman from the deck of the oil tanker Enrica Lexie.
More than 1,000 passengers on the Italian cruise ship Costa Allegra were adrift following a fire off the coast of Seychelles;
Italy began selling off a group of Sardinian lighthouses in response to its debt crisis.
The group of scientists at Italy's Gran Sasso National Laboratory acknowledged that readings it reported showing neutrinos to have surpassed the speed of light may have been caused by a faulty connector. "This connector was not perfectly plugged," said Gran Sasso director Lucia Votano. "Okay?"
A Naples, Florida, man was charged with aggravated assault after  brandishing a weapon outside a bank and telling deputies he was the director of the CIA, Elvis Presley's brother, and half orangutan, and that he needed to call the "fusion center" to ask about his monkey blood.
Clouds were found to have been getting lower for the past decade.
Astronomers confirmed the existence of a "waterworld" exoplanet 40 light-years from Earth.
NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope discovered solid buckyballs (buckministerfullerene) in outer space. (buckyballs are basically soccerball shaped)
Whitney Houston was found to have been the subject of 10 percent of all U.S. media coverage during the week after she died.
A Michigan man whose son died in Iraq, angry that Houston's home state of New Jersey was flying its flags at half-staff in her honor, burned a New Jersey state flag on his backyard grill. "It was $12.95," said the man of the flag, "and it was the best money I ever spent."