October 6, 2010

News Briefs October 7

AFGHANISTAN—A prominent Taliban leader in northern Afghanistan was captured on Tuesday. The man, whose name has not been released, is believed to have been involved in the kidnapping of a New York Times correspondent last year. He has also allegedly terrorized the local population in Afghanistan’s Takhar Province, forcibly collecting taxes and staging attacks on government buildings. (www.nytimes.com)

UNITED STATES—The State Department issued a travel alert for Europe in response to evidence of possible terrorist plots against Britain, France and Germany. Britain has issued a similar warning. Though the government is continuing to track intelligence streams, travelers are encouraged not to cancel their travel plans but to remain cautious and aware. (www.cnn.com)

UNITED STATES—President Barack Obama announced two new competitive grants for community colleges as part of an effort to help community colleges play a more prominent role in preparing graduates for the job market. Obama also launched the “Skills For America’s Future” program, designed to create a partnership between community colleges and at least one growing industry in every state. Obama hopes these programs will help 5 million additional students graduate from community college by 2020. (www.csmonitor.com)

NEW YORK—Faisal Shahzad was convicted this week of an attempted car bomb attack in Times Square last May and sentenced to life in prison. The bomb did not detonate but instead emitted smoke that alerted a nearby street vendor. Shahzad said that the car bomb was just part of what he calls “the answer to the U.S. terrorizing Muslim nations and the Muslim people.” (english.aljazeera.net)

HUNGARY—The Hungarian government declared a state of emergency on Tuesday after a reservoir at an alumina refining plant burst, creating a flood of red sludge that has killed four and injured over 120 people. People who came into contact with the sludge were burned through their clothes. The spill threatens to pollute the Danube River and damage hundreds of acres of land used for agriculture. Efforts to clean up the sludge are still underway. (www.nytimes.com)

UNITED STATES—David Fincher’s blockbuster film “The Social Network” has received overwhelmingly positive reviews, maintaining a rating of 97 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and grossing over $22 million so far. The film follows the life of Mark Zuckerberg, who became the youngest billionaire in history after creating the extremely popular social networking site Facebook as an undergraduate at Harvard. (www.rottentomatoes.com)

NEWARK, N.J.—Rutgers University freshman Tyler Clementi committed suicide after a video of him having sex with another man was posted on the Internet. Two other freshmen, who secretly taped the sexual encounter, are being charged with an invasion of privacy and face at least five years in prison. Being charged with a hate crime would increase their sentences to ten years. (www.boston.com)

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Supreme Court opened its new term on Monday. Prominent cases on the court’s docket include anti-gay protests by members of the Westboro Baptist Church at military funerals and a ban in California on the sale of violent video games to children. The court will also hear a case on an Arizona law that penalizes businesses that hire illegal immigrants. The highly contentious Arizona immigration law is still working its way through federal channels. (www.washingtonpost.com)

Anna Meier

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