Earthquake strikes Japan: A 6.8-magnitude earthquake struck northern Japan last Tuesday. No structural damages or injuries were reported. Japan commemorated the one-year anniversary of the 2011 earthquake that devastated the island nation on March 11.
Children die on trip: Twenty-eight people died during a ski trip to Switzerland last week. The accident occurred when passengers were returning from the ski trip in Western Switzerland to Belgium when the bus struck a wall in a tunnel. Of those dead, 22 were children and six were adults. The remaining 24 passengers, who were children, were also injured.
Hunt for a killer: French police are on high alert after several murders by an unidentified gunman ridding a scooter. A gunman targeted the Jewish school Ozar Hatorah in Toulouse where he killed a teacher and three children in front of the school. A teenager also resulted injured because of the incident. Authorities are investigating if the gunman is associated with the murder of three soldiers last week.
In Latin America
Pope visits Mexico: Pope Benedict XVI will visit Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico over the weekend and then travel to Cuba marking the first Spanish-speaking Latin American tour for the pope. The Knights Templar cartel announced in several banners hung across Guanajuato that it would not engage in violence during the papal visit. Authorities in Cuba reported that several activist supporting the Ladies in White, wives and relatives of imprisoned dissidents, were detained prior to a march, held recurrently on Sundays.
Honduran first lady seeks high office: Former Honduran first lady Xiomara Castro will run for president in next year’s presidential elections. Former president and husband of Xiomara Castor, Manuel Zelaya was ousted from the country in 2009 when he tried to extend his presidential term.
Mexico to protect journalists: Mexico’s senate passed a Constitutional amendment that would protect journalist from all assailments under federal law. The changes still necessitate legislative approval and presidential signature.
Quake hits Mexico: A 7.6-magnitude earthquake struck Mexico on Tuesday. The temblor caused thousands of people to evacuate. Although there were no major injuries, structural damage was reported. The earthquake’s epicenter was near the state of Oaxaca.
In North America
Blagojevich begins sentence: Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich arrived in Colorado to begin his 14-year sentence. Blagojevich was convicted of multiple counts of corruption — accused of trying to sell President Obama’s Senate seat. He is appealing the conviction.
Clooney arrested: Actor and activist George Clooney was arrested at Sudan’s embassy in Washington, D.C. last Friday. Clooney and his father Nick Clooney, who was also arrested, were protesting the current conditions in Sudan. Former Congress members were also some of those arrested.
Sentence in Rutgers case: Dharun Ravi was convicted of hate crimes in the 2010 death of Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi. Ravi posted messages on social media networks for others to see video streaming from his webcam that captured intimate moments between Clementi and another man.
In the Middle East
Attempt against Panetta?: An Afghan man serving as an interpreter reportedly stole an SUV that he used in an attempt to run over members of the U.S. Marines awaiting the arrival of Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in Afghanistan last Thursday. The man later died after he and the vehicle became engulfed in fire from fuel he carried in the vehicle.
Sgt. Bales in U.S., Afghans furious: The U.S. soldier accused of killing 16 Afghan officials has been identified as Staff Sgt. Robert Bales. It was announced on Monday that Bales’ trial will be held in the U.S. Afghans are demanding the trial be held in Afghanistan citing important witnesses to the case.
Avalanches in Afghanistan: Afghanistan has faced a terrible winter in 2012, experiencing several avalanches that have killed more than 90 people. Heavy snows have also prevented the passage of rescuers into provinces that have been most affected by several feet of snow.