International / National / News / February 16, 2011

News Briefs: Feb. 17

WASHINGTON — An Iraqi defector, Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi, recently retracted his claim that Iraq possessed biological weapons. Janabi claimed to have told the lie in hopes of removing Saddam Hussein from power and that he was proud of having done so. Although information discrediting his claim had already been found, Janabi had maintained the truth of his allegations up until this point. Janobi’s evidence, along with that of other Iraqi defectors, was a major piece of evidence supporting the Bush administration’s invasion of Iraq. (

MEXICO CITY — Two law enforcement officials were shot in Mexico this past Tuesday, one of them fatally. Although the reason for the roadside attack remains unclear, the incident is thought to be related to the ongoing drug war. American forces in Mexico have rarely been targets of violent attacks, which is thought to be due at least in part to an aggressive response to the murder of a Drug Enforcement Agency officer in 1985. The Mexican government offered their condolences on the incident and promised to seek those responsible. (

MANAMA, BAHRAIN — Protests demanding increased human rights have broken out in Manama, the capital of Bahrain. The deaths of two demonstrators triggered an official response from the king but protestors refused to disperse. Police are thought to be using tear gas and bird shot against the crowd; at least 25 people have been injured thus far. In response to the protests, al-Wefaq, the government’s main opposition group, suspended their involvement in parliament and described it as the first step in reform and opening dialogue. (

ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN — An American official accused of killing two Pakistanis is being held in prison in Pakistan. The official, Raymond A. Davis, claimed he shot two motorcyclists after they attempted to rob him. Senator John Kerry promised that the United States would conduct an official investigation into the incident once the official was returned. President Obama has stressed the need for Pakistan to uphold diplomatic immunity, which the Pakistani government is currently refusing to grant. The incident has further strained relations between the United States and Pakistan. (

MADISON, WI — Schools were shut down in Madison on Wednesday after too many teachers called in sick in order to protest a new bill by state Governor Scott Walker that would cause unions to lose most of their rights. Teachers are only some of the thousands of people surrounding the capital in protest of the bill. Among other things, the bill would now require public workers to pay out of pocket for 12 percent of their healthcare costs and half of their pension costs. The governor is arguing for the bill in an effort to balance the budget. (

GALESBURG, Ill. ­— According to Galesburg officials, the official cost of the blizzard that took place two weeks ago was $342,322. The costs come mainly from equipment and paying workers overtime and the money will be taken from the city’s general fund. Smaller towns in the surrounding areas were reporting costs that ranged up to $10,000. The city is hoping to have some of their expenses reimbursed by FEMA. (

UNITED STATES — ­A new supercomputer named Watson, built by IBM, is facing off against the two human Jeopardy champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter. Despite Jeopardy including clues such as puns that computers have traditionally been unable to decipher, Watson finished the first round with $25,000 more than its nearest competitor, despite getting the final question wrong. (

Katy Sutcliffe

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