Russia passes new anti-gay law
St. Petersburg legislatures approved a law Feb. 29 that prohibits homosexual propaganda.
Gay rights groups have expressed the fear that they will not be able to pursue their agendas as they have been allowed to in the past. This is the beginning of a crackdown on homosexual propaganda across Russia, and other cities are looking to adopt the same policy. This law is said to be a reaction to the increasingly vocal efforts of gay rights groups.
North Korea agrees to halt testing of nuclear weapons in exchange for aid
The United States and North Korea came to an agreement Feb. 29 that said North Korea would halt their nuclear activities. This agreement came two months after the death of Kim Jong-il, who ruled North Korea aggressively for years.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said this was a “modest first step” even though “the world is transforming around us.” North Korea has been testing missiles and other nuclear weapons since 2006, but in exchange of them stopping all activities, the United States will give them 240,000 metric tons of food aid.
Arsonists burn Nigerian schools
Over the last week, arsonists burned down seven schools in Nigeria. No casualties have been reported, but thousands of children are now left without schools in the middle of the term.
Officials are blaming Boko Haram, an Islamic sect modeled after the Taliban. Boko Haram is trying to instigate a low-level uprising against the government.
Abandoned village up for auction
The auction date has been set for May 21 to sell an abandoned French village called Courbefy. When the previous owners of the hamlet stopped paying their mortgages, the village was handed over to the Credit Agricole bank earlier this month.
The asking price for Courbefy is 330,000 euros or $440,000. The bank has received more than 100 calls from interested buyers as far away as China and the United States. The village once contained a luxury hotel and restaurant, but now the buildings are rundown and decrepit.
Date set for Egyptian election
The first Egyptian election since Hosni Mubarak’s ousting has been set to occur May 23-24, and the new elected president will be announced June 21.
A 21-day election campaign period will begin April 30, and if no candidate wins 50 percent of the vote, the top two candidates will face each other in a runoff.
Mubarak was forced to leave office a year ago due to an 18-day protest that attracted hundreds of thousands of people to the streets. The military accepted control of the country until a new president was elected, but some fear their reign will turn into a military dictatorship.
American soldiers responsible for Koran burning in Afghanistan
A pile of Qurans was burned in Afghanistan last week, and it was discovered that five American soldiers participated in the event.
The burning of the Qurans started a week of protests that led to 30 Afghan deaths and six fatal attacks on American soliders. U.S. officials claim the burning of the books was accidental and the names of the soldiers will not be released.