Tuesday May 7th
Ohio Women Rescued After Decade in Captivity
Three women who disappeared as teenagers nearly a decade ago were discovered alive in a house in Cleveland, Ohio. The home's owner and his two brothers were arrested, police said on Tuesday. Officials were alerted to their whereabouts thanks to a 911 emergency call from one of the women, Amanda Berry. She escaped from the house with help from a neighbor who heard her screams. The house where they were held is close to where they were last seen, and police officials believe they have been trapped in the house the entire time they were missing.
Worcester Bishop Arraigned on DUI
Worcester Bishop Robert McManus entered a plea of not guilty in District Court in South Kingstown on Tuesday. McManus was involved in a hit and run on Saturday night on Boston Neck Road. The man driving the car that was hit followed McManus to his house in Narragansett and called the authorities. The police report indicated he was slurring his words and unsteady on his feet, all signs indicating intoxication.
Monday May 6th
Neo-Nazi on Trial in Germany
A member of a Neo-Nazi cell went on trial today in Munich, in connection with a series of racially motivated murders. Beate Zschaepe (no, I don't know how to pronounce it either) is officially charged with being part of the National Socialist Underground (NSU for short), which has killed ten people, mostly of Turkish descent. The defendant denies the charges. Four males are also on trial, facing lesser charges of having help the NSU. The case sparked controversy in Germany, as officials originally blamed the Turkish mafia for the crimes. The head of Germany's domestic intelligence agency was eventually forced to resign from the scandal. It also emerged that intelligence files on some right-wing extremists were destroyed after the cell's activities came to light.
World's First Working Gun Made With 3D Printer
The world's first gun made with 3D printer technology has been successfully fired in the United States. The controversial group which manufactured the weapon, Defense Distributed, plan to make the blueprints available online. The group spent a year trying to make a working firearm and face criticism from antigun advocates. Law enforcement agencies around the globe have said they are monitoring developments, and an official from Europol stated that at present, criminals are more likely to pursue traditional routes of obtaining firearms. As time went on, the official said, and the technology becomes more cost-effective, greater risks may emerge.
Sunday May 5th
Israel Attacks Syria
Israeli jets bombed Damascus for hours on Sunday in an attempt to strike Iranian missiles bound for Lebanon's Hezbollah. It is Israel's third such raid this year and the second within 48 hours. Israel declined to confirm the strike and denied any accusation of taking sides in Syria's civil war. Syrian state television claimed the bombing was around a military research facility at Jamraya and that there were "many civilian casualties and widespread damage."
Southern California Wildfire Eases
A wildfire in southern California has been contained thanks to cool air blowing in from the Pacific. Hot dry winds have been replaced with much damper air, reducing fire activity. Called the Springs Fire, thousands have firefighters have been battling it in the Santa Monica Mountains, just north west of Los Angeles. The fire has damaged 15 properties, but thousands more remain at risk.
Friday May 3rd
Dozens Killed in Syrian Village
More than 40 people have been killed by government forces in a village in north-western Syria. An online video shows seven people in pools of blood, but state media made no mention of any such incident. The main opposition group to the government, the National Coalition, accused Syria's government of a large scale massacre.
US Job Creation Strong in April
The employment rate in the US rose higher than expected during the month of April. The latest payroll figures show 165,000 jobs were created last month, while economists were only expecting 145,000. The unemployment rate currently is 7.5%, the lowest in four years. The news of the jobs increase provided a strong boost to the markets, with the Dow Jones jumping over 15,000 for the first time ever. The Department of Labor also revised employment figures for February and March, resulting with higher employment numbers for those two months.
Rhode Island Becomes Tenth State to Legalize Same-sex Marriage
Governor Lincoln Chafee signed two bills yesterday that make same-sex marriage legal in Rhode Island as of August 1st. Chafee signed the bill shortly after the House voted on it, 56-15. Same-sex weddings can occur as soon as August 1st, and couples in civil unions can change their status to married.
Thursday May 2nd
North Korea Jails US Citizen
North Korea says it has sentenced a US citizen to fifteen years' hard labor. Kenneth Bae, was arrested last year after being accused of anti-government crimes. He entered North Korea as a tourist. South Korean activists claim he may have been arrested for taking photos of starving children.
Wednesday May 1st
Barack Obama Renews Vow to Close Guantanamo Bay
President Barack Obama pledged yesterday to make a renewed push to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, amid the growing prisoner hunger strike there. Obama stated that the detention center was "contrary to who we are" as a people and harmful to American interested. He cited recent convictions of terrorist suspects, defending the merits of the civilian justice system. Congress blocked previous efforts to lose the prison, but Obama has said he will offer renewed discussions with the lawmakers.
Bolivia Expels USAID
Bolivian President Evo Morales has said he will expel the US Agency for International Development (USAID). He accused the agency seeking to undermine his own government. USAID had been working in Bolivia for nearly five decades, with most of the funding going to counter-narcotics and military.
Tuesday April 30th
New Dutch King Sworn-In
Willem-Alexander has been sworn in as the new king of the Netherlands following abdication of Queen Beatrix. He became the country's first king since 1890 when his 75-year old mother signed the abdication deed last week, after thirty three years on the throne. Beatrix was following a recent Dutch monarchy tradition of handing over power to a new generation. The monarchy's role in Dutch government is entirely ceremonial, and the new king was reported to have said he was not sure if he wanted to be referred to as 'your Majesty.'
Damascus Hit by Explosion
At least thirteen people have been killed and even more injured by an explosion in Syria's capital of Damascus. A bomb is believed to have been detonated in a square in the district of Marjeh. Civilians and security personnel are counted among those dead. Sporadic gunfire was reported after the blast.
Monday April 29th
Afghan President Kazai Admits To Taking US Money
The Afghan President has admitted his office took secret payments from the US, but claimed they were small and used legitimately. Hamid Kazai was responding to a New York Times article that alleged the CIA sent suitcases packed with cash to the President's office on a regular basis. It said that millions of dollars were sent in secret, in much higher amounts than previously thought. President Kazai claimed the money was used in projects such as helping the sick.
Private Space Shuttle Undergoes Tests
The spaceplane being developed by Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic has made it's first powered flight. The vehicle was dropped from a carrier aircraft high above the Mojave Desert, and it ignited its engines to go supersonic for a few seconds. Branson's intention for developing the craft is to take fare-paying customers on short pleasure rides above the Earth's atmosphere. Virgin Galactic has already taken hundreds of deposits for such rides. The craft, known as SpaceShipTwo, has been in the air on more than 20 occasions, but this was the first time it's hybrid motor had been used. The motor burns a combination of solid rubber compound and liquid nitrous oxide.
Sunday April 28th
New Italian Government Sworn In
A new Italian government has been sworn in at the presidential palace in Rome. Enrico Letta, the Democratic Party Deputy Leader, becomes Prime Minister at the head of a coalition government that includes Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom party. The swearing-in signals the end of two months of political deadlock. Correspondents say that the coalition government between Italy's current left-wing and right-wing parties is unprecedented and will probably prove to be an uneasy alliance.
Mississippi Man Charged With Sending Ricin
A man has been arrested in Mississippi, and charged in connection with the letters containing ricin to President Obama, a senator, and a judge. Everett Dutschke was detained at home on Saturday and handed over to US Marshals. He has been charged with possessing a biological agent with intent to use as a weapon. If charged, he faces a lifetime in jail and a 250,000 dollar fine.
Thursday April 25th
Gas Barge Explosion in Alabama
Fires sparked by explosions engulfed two gasoline barges on the Mobile River in Alabama. Three workers were injured and they remain in critical condition as of this morning. Officials were forced to evacuate nearby shipyards and one nearby cruise vessel. Firefighters are keeping a distance from the barges, which are carrying raw gasoline.
Rhode Island Senate Passes Gay Marriage
In a historic 26 to 12 vote, the Rhode Island Senate has passed a bill that would allow same-sex couples to marry as soon as August 1st. The bill is the latest in a long-line of same-sex bills, stretching back to 1996. Now the bill goes back to the House, which passed an earlier version of the bill this year. The House could vote on it as early as next week. If passed and signed, Rhode Island would be the tenth state, and the sixth and last in New England to legalize same-sex marriage.