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HeadlinesMay 31, 2011

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Germany Announces Plans to Close Nuclear Plants amid Massive Protests

May 31, 2011

Germany has announced plans to close its 17 nuclear power plants by 2022. Chancellor Angela Merkel described the move as a revolution in energy supply.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel: “Step by step, we will abandon nuclear energy by the end of 2022. This path is a big challenge for Germany, but it also means huge opportunities for future generations. We believe that our country can become a front runner for the creation of renewable energy, and as the first large industrial nation, we can create such a change toward highly efficient and renewable energies, with all its opportunities for export, developments and technology which create jobs.”

The safety of Germany’s nuclear plants has come under increased scrutiny in the wake of Japan’s ongoing nuclear crisis. Angela Merkel announced the nuclear phase-out two days after an estimated 100,000 anti-nuclear protesters gathered in 20 German cities.

Afghanistan Warns NATO to End Attacks on Homes Following Spike in Civilian Deaths

May 31, 2011

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has warned NATO forces to stop attacking Afghan homes after 12 children and two women were killed in a NATO air strike in Nawzad Province on Sunday. Karzai said the Afghan people can no longer accept the air strikes and house raids.

Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai: “We must clearly demonstrate our understanding that Afghanistan is an ally, not an occupied country, and our treatment with NATO is from the point of view of an ally. If it turns to the other, to the behavior of an occupation, then of course the Afghan people know how to deal with that.”

Ousted President Manuel Zelaya Returns to Honduras

May 31, 2011

Ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya has returned home after 23 months in exile. In June 2009, he was deposed in the first military coup d’état in Central America in a quarter century.

Yemen Security Forces Kill 50 Demonstrators at Peaceful Sit-In

May 31, 2011

The United Nations is reporting more than 50 demonstrators have been killed in the southern Yemeni city of Taiz since Sunday, when government forces violently attacked a peaceful sit-in protest. Troops also stormed a field hospital and detained 37 of the wounded receiving treatment. Meanwhile, Yemeni warplanes have launched air strikes in the coastal city of Zinjibar, which was recently seized by Islamic militants. Opposition leaders have accused President Ali Abdullah Saleh of deliberately allowing Zinjibar to fall to militants to try to show how chaotic Yemen would be without him.

NATO Bombing of Libya Continues Following Peace Talks

May 31, 2011

NATO warplanes have resumed bombing the Libyan capital of Tripoli just hours after South African President Jacob Zuma said Col. Muammar Gaddafi would agree to a ceasefire but would not step down.

Western Special Forces Reportedly on the Ground in Libya

May 31, 2011

Al Jazeera has aired footage of armed Westerners on the front line with Libyan rebels near the city of Misurata. The Guardian newspaper reports the video is the first apparent confirmation that foreign special ground forces are playing an active role in the Libyan conflict. The Western troop presence may be in defiance of the U.N. security resolution approved in March that specifically excludes “a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory.” In related news, eight senior Libyan military officers appeared in Rome Monday to announce that they had defected from Col. Muammar Gaddafi’s forces.

Egyptian Blogger Appears Before Military Prosecutors

May 31, 2011

The prominent Egyptian blogger and activist Hossam el-Hamalawy has been ordered to appear before Egyptian military prosecutors today for criticizing the human rights record of the Armed Forces Supreme Council. A host of a popular TV show has also been summoned for questioning. On Friday, tens of thousands of protesters rallied in Cairo’s Tahrir Square for what was billed as the “Second Day of Rage.”

Egypt Opens Rafah Border Crossing with Gaza

May 31, 2011

Egypt has reopened the Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip, partially ending Israel’s siege on Gaza. Most of Gaza’s 1.5 million residents have been barred from going abroad since the imposition of the blockade in 2007. Meanwhile, rallies are being held in Turkey today marking a year since Israeli troops killed nine Turkish activists aboard a flotilla carrying aid to Gaza.

Missing Journalist Reportedly Held by Pakistan Intelligence Agency

May 31, 2011

A prominent Pakistani journalist has vanished just days after he wrote an article alleging links between Pakistani navy officials and al-Qaeda. Syed Saleem Shahzad, the Pakistan bureau chief for Asia Times Online, disappeared on Sunday. There have been reports he may be in custody of the ISI, Pakistan’s intelligence agency.

Oxfam: Global Food Prices to Double by 2030

May 31, 2011

A new report from Oxfam warns global food prices will more than double by 2030 as the planet enters an era of so-called “permanent food crisis.” The world’s poorest communities are expected to be hit the hardest with international prices for staple foods such as corn rising by as much as 180 percent.

Report: Death Toll from Haiti Earthquake Far Lower than Originally Projected

May 31, 2011

In news from Haiti, a controversial report commissioned by the U.S. government has concluded that the death toll from last year’s earthquake may be far lower than originally projected. The Haitian government says 316,000 people died in the quake. But a new draft study by the U.S. Agency for International Development estimates the death toll was between 46,000 and 85,000. USAID has yet to publish the study or share its findings with Haitian officials.

Poet and Musician Gil Scott-Heron Dies at 62

May 31, 2011

The legendary poet and musician Gil Scott-Heron has died at the age of 62. Best known for his piece “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” Scott-Heron was considered by many to be the father of hip-hop. Chuck D of Public Enemy said last year, “You can go into Ginsberg and the Beat poets and Dylan, but Gil Scott-Heron is the manifestation of the modern word. He and the Last Poets set the stage for everyone else.”

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