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World in Brief: 10/9/2014

CUBA: Professor Keith Ellis of the University of Toronto was awarded the Friendship Medal by Cuba’s Council of State this week. 

The ceremony was held at the Institute of Friendship with the Peoples in Havana. 

Institute vice-president Fernando Gonzalez presented Prof Ellis with the medal and thanked the Jamaican researcher for his participation in the 10th International Colloquium of Solidarity with the Five and against Terrorism. 


HAITI: Twenty-three people died and 32 were injured in a bus accident west of the capital Port-au-Prince, authorities have said.

The Civil Protection Agency said the bus went down a ravine after the driver apparently lost control late on Tuesday in the coastal town of Petit Goave.

It was en-route to the western coastal city of Jeremie.

The injured were taken to a hospital by ambulance and helicopter.


NORTHERN IRELAND: The British government said on Tuesday that confidential letters sent to Irish Republican Army fugitives as part of the peace process were no longer valid and would not protect recipients from arrest for outstanding crimes.

Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers made the announcement two months after a judge-led inquiry declared that the letters had been issued in error to 187 IRA veterans mostly between 2007 and 2010.


FRANCE: A Paris court has thrown out a case against nine female activists who bared their breasts in a rowdy protest inside Notre Dame Cathedral, ruling that there was insufficient evidence of  material damage.

Prosecutors had sought thousands in fines against the activists from feminist group Femen who pounded a huge bell in the cathedral in February last year in anger at the Roman Catholic Church’s opposition to gay marriage.


JAPAN: The nuclear watchdog gave the green light for two reactors to restart yesterday, a year after the nation shut down its last unit — but the operator must still persuade local communities they are safe.

After considering around 17,000 public comments, the Nuclear Regulatory Authority said the two units met required standards.

But any restart is dependent on gaining the consent of communities living near the plant in Kagoshima prefecture.


UNITED STATES: Elected leaders in Ferguson, Missouri, where an unarmed black man was shot dead by a white police officer, were greeted at a Tuesday community meeting with anger and warnings of voter retribution. 

“You’ve lost your authority to govern this community,” said St Louis activist John Chasnoff. “You’re going to have to step aside peacefully if this community is going to heal.”


INDIA: Flood waters started receding in Indian Kashmir yesterday, giving rescue teams a chance to reach tens of thousands stranded by the heaviest rainfall in 50 years.

Floods and landslides triggered by days of rain have killed at least 450 people and cut off over a million others.

“Now our teams will be able to enter some of the villages that are totally submerged. Our boats are ready,” said a police official.


FIJI: The military jumped the gun yesterday by announcing that 45 UN peacekeepers being held by Syrian insurgents would be freed soon.

Brigadier General Mosese Tikoitoga said three senior Fijian military officers would arrive in the Golan Heights to receive the men.

But within hours, Fijian military officials phoned local news outlets asking them to retract the earlier stories.

A UN spokesman said it had “nothing new to report on the situation concerning the detained Fijian peacekeepers.”


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