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Global News Briefs: Around The World, Issue 19


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USA, WISCONSIN- U.S Kitten Killers Rejoice

Residents of Wisconsin voted to legalize the hunting of feral (i.e., homeless) cats. By feral they mean any cat or kitten not wearing a collar that does not seem to show “friendly” behaviour. Wisconsin is estimated to have two million wild cats. A large group of hunters want to change the law so that anyone with a small game hunting license can shoot the cats. It’s hard to imagine what sick joy these people get as they pull the trigger to shoot a cat. Shooting wild cats has been legal for decades in other states such as Minnesota and South Dakota. The cat is America’s favorite pet, with an estimated population of 74 million.

USD, VIRGINIA – Spam this, Jeremy!

30 year-old Jeremy Jaynes, considered one of the top ten spammers in the world, has been convicted under new anti-spam laws. A jury recommended he serve nine years in prison. He plans to appeal the sentence. Prosecutors said his spam business sent out 10 million e-mails every day and his operation made US$750,000 a month. It is estimated that of the 31 billion e-mails sent daily, 40% or 12.4 billion e-mails are actually spam. The two biggest generators of spam are the U.S. and China.

PARAGUAY – Indian Tribe Facing Extinction

The government of Paraguay has refused pleas by conservationist groups to protect a forest area where a virtually isolated native tribe lives. Many fear this will likely lead to the end of the tribe, the Ayoreo, nomadic hunter-gatherers. Their forest lands are being cut down and converted into cattle ranches. Over the last few decades many Ayoreo have been hunted out of the forest by American Christian missionaries trying to convert them to Christianity. Many of the converted died at the mission camp from diseases to which they had no immunity. The Ayoreo word for white people translates to “people who do strange things.”

ROME – One Pope Leads To Another

Roman Catholic tradition holds that the apostle St. Peter made his way to Rome and became the first “Bishop of Rome”, the formal title of the Pope (which simply means “father”), thus beginning 2000 years of popes and the Roman Catholic Church. Today, the Pope is the spiritual leader of the world’s 1.1 billion Catholics. Polish-born John Paul II was the second longest serving Pope (26 years) ever, out of an estimated 261 Popes. He also was the most-traveled, visiting 125 countries during his 104 trips outside of Italy. The new Pope will enjoy the strong growth of Catholics in Third World countries, but faces plummeting church attendance in Europe and North America.

ANGOLA – Deadly Virus Outbreak in Africa

Already burdened with AIDS, the country of Angola struggles to contain the worst outbreak of Marburg fever the world has ever seen with hundreds dead. Highly lethal, with no vaccine or treatment, the disease is killing nearly everyone who gets it. The virus causes severe flu-like symptoms, internal organs deteriorate and profuse bleeding occurs inside and out. Biohazard-suit-wearing medical teams from the World Health Organization, including many Canadian doctors, are trying to quarantine and treat the victims. Some of the medical teams have been attacked by local residents who accuse them of causing the outbreak.

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – Camel Jockey Slaves

Racing camels is a traditional sport in the Arabian Gulf region. A winning camel needs a light rider aboard to steer it. For hundreds of years, young boys from India were bought from slave traders to ride the rich Arab families’ camels. According to human rights groups, up to 40,000 South Asian boys are still enslaved where some are as young as four, and underfed to keep their weight down. Finally giving in to international pressure, the United Arab Emirates, a small Gulf nation, has agreed to ban child jockeys under the age of 16 and replace them with robots which will be controlled remotely by the camel’s trainer.

SOUTH KOREA – Testing Robot Soldiers

The South Korean Defence Ministry is planning to use rifle-wielding robots to help patrol its landminestrewn 250km border with North Korea. The world’s most heavily fortified border, it is already patrolled by one million North Korean soldiers on one side and 600,000 South Koreans troops and 37,000 U.S. troops on the other. The two Koreas fought a bloody war in 1950-53 and have never signed a formal peace treaty. The robots will have sensor-activated alarm systems and TV cameras on board. The project is being tested this year and if successful will likely lead to troop reductions on the front line.

INDONESIA – Enough already!

December brought Indonesia one of the largest earthquakes on record, 9.3 on the Richter scale, causing a tsunami in which over 300,000 lives were lost in the region. March brought another massive 8.7 earthquake which killed hundreds more. April saw a 6.7, a 6.4 and a 6.3: all considered major earthquakes plus dozens of smaller ones. Scientists warn of the possibility of at least another huge quake in the coming months. If that wasn’t bad enough, all this quaking has woken up some of Indonesia’s 130 active volcanoes. Over 25,000 people fled one volcano that started spewing hot ash, and a day later a second volcano came to life threatening to erupt.


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