International / National / News / January 28, 2010

News Briefs: Jan. 20-27

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka – After a violent election campaign, incumbent president Mahinda Rajapaksa has been re-elected with nearly 60 percent of votes. His opponent, General Sarath Fonseka, is in disbelief. He says he will go to all the legal means to try to nullify the election but said he would leave the country for a while if he felt his safety depended on it. This is Sri Lanka’s first presidential election since government forces put down a 26-year insurgency by Tamil Tiger rebels. (Source:

STANFORD, California – Scientists at Stanford University have succeeded in creating brain nerve cells directly out of skin cells taken from the tails of adult mice. Almost twenty percent of the cells tested were transformed into neural cells in less than one week. This study may allow researchers to avoid controversial embryonic stem cell research. (Source:

CHAPEL HILL, North Carolina – John Edwards and his wife, Elizabeth, were found to be legally separated this Wednesday. According to the North Carolina senator and 2008 presidential candidate’s former aide, Edwards and his campaign videographer, Rielle Hunter, were romantically involved for years. Edwards’ wife has been fighting cancer since 2007. Hunter claims that Edwards fathered her child, but neither party has consented to a DNA test. Recently, reports of an Edwards/Hunter sex-tape have surfaced. (Source:

LOS ANGELES, California – Actress and model Tyra Banks has announced her latest modeling competition. The competition will include only 13-19 year old women who are considered “plus size.” Contestants must have a dress size of 12-20 and stand between 5’9” and 6’1” tall. Banks has hosted multiple seasons of the hit show America’s Next Top Model as well as a daytime talk show on CBS. With this new project, she hopes to change a young audience’s perception the term “plus-sized.” (Source:

GALESBURG, Illinois – The Illinois Historic Preservation Agency says the Knox County Courthouse is architecturally sound. The pros and cons of staying in the old building as opposed to building a new facility entirely has been debated by the County Board. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. (Source:

BEIJING, China – Stiff fines will be charged to farms and restaurants in China for serving dog and cat meat. Many such establishments will be forced to close their doors. The debate over eating dogs and cats has sparked fierce disagreements between the affluent, pet-owning middle classes and sticklers for traditional values. Dog meat is a traditional winter dish and practitioners of Chinese medicine extol its health benefits. Cat meat is less widely eaten, largely due to a superstition that holds the cat will return by night to seek vengeance. (Source:

HONDURAS – Former president of Honduras Manuel Zelaya has been overthrown by the people of Honduras and gone to the Dominican Republic for exile. The new president of Honduras is Porfirio Lobo, who will have the task of bringing unity once again between Honduras and other Latin American countries. (Source:

LEBANON – An Ethiopian Airlines plane with 90 people aboard crashed off the coast of Lebanon shortly after takeoff early Monday. Searching rescue crews recovered 34 bodies from the Mediterranean Sea, and no survivors were expected to be found. The cause was not immediately known, but authorities speculated the crash of the Boeing 737 may have been linked to stormy weather. Among the passengers en route to Addis Ababa were the wife of the French ambassador to Lebanon. (Source:

LOS ANGELES, California – James Cameron’s film Avatar is officially the biggest international release of all time, trumping Cameron’s former top hit Titanic. The international portion stands at $1.288 billion, eclipsing the $1.242 billion haul of Titanic. (Source:

TONOPAH, Nevada – Brothel owner Bobbi Davis got the go-ahead Tuesday to hire the nation’s first legal male prostitute. The Shady Lady Ranch, a small outpost near Death Valley, about 150 miles northwest of Las Vegas, offers as many as five women, relies heavily on travelers and has gotten some requests for gigolos. The decision to allow 25 year old “Markus” to work as a gigolo came after much debate. (Source:

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – A shortage of forklifts and a broken down airplane hinder the transportation of food and supplies to victims of this months earthquake. It has taken aid workers days to get food off of some vessels as the forklifts available often do not match the aircrafts they must serve. (Source:

Sarah Colangelo

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