International / National / News / October 20, 2010

News Briefs: Oct. 15-20

TIJUANA, Mexico — Eleven people were arrested on Tuesday as police and soldiers seized 105 tons of marijuana that were reportedly headed to the U.S. Reported to be the largest seizure of marijuana in Mexico’s history, the marijuana was said to be valued at more than $340 million. With the drug war in Mexico putting more and more pressure on President Felipe Calderon to prove progress is being made, the bust was a plus for Calderon. (

UNITED STATES — With the congressional elections two weeks away, Republican candidates are in the lead over Democrats. According to a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, Republicans lead with 50% of the vote, Democrats following with 43% among likely voters. (The Wall Street Journal)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Shots were fired at the Pentagon on Tuesday shortly before 5 a.m. Pentagon officers reported hearing five to seven shots, though only fragments of two bullets were found. The shooting has been called a “random event,” but investigation is under way to see if it is related to another shooting at the National Museum of the Marine Corps on Monday. (The Wall Street Journal)

PARIS, France — Millions of people took to the streets last week to protest proposed reforms of the French pension system. The reforms would raise the minimum age for full and partial pensions by two years. As a result of the protests, gas stations across the country have run dry and fires have been started in several French cities. Still, President Nicolas Sarkozy has vowed to “guarantee order.” (

GALESBURG — Volunteers, joined by nine National Guard soldiers, cleaned up Lake Storey’s shoreline on Saturday. The cleanup was part of the Guard’s “Guard the Environment” program, which aims to get soldiers more involved with the community. By the end of the cleanup, between 75 and 100 bags of trash had been collected. (

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Despite a ruling by a federal court judge last week that the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy is unconstitutional, the Obama administration has issued an emergency request to bar openly gay soldiers from serving. The administration, which ultimately favors the judge’s ruling, said that abruptly ending the policy could cause more harm than good. In the meantime, if the judge’s ruling is overturned and Congress takes no action, the policy will remain in place. (

KABUL, Afghanistan — Election officials in Afghanistan threw out 1.3 million fraudulent votes from last month’s parliamentary elections. Overall, 224 candidates were accused of electoral fraud. Still, the election commission declared the elections a success, as 4.3 million valid ballots were obtained even amidst the growing Taliban insurgency. The election commission also said that the number of fraudulent votes caught indicated that better mechanisms were in place to ensure electoral legitimacy. (

Annie Zak

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