International / National / News / April 1, 2010

News Briefs: March 25-31

WASHINGTON – President Obama’s proposal to open large areas of American coastlines to oil and natural gas drilling drew criticism from Republicans and environmentalists on Wednesday. Those opposed to Obama’s plan fear that the arrangement will endanger coastal tourism and wildlife and cause little to no improvement in the country’s economic situation. Obama asserted that, if instituted, this plan would be a step away from dependence on fossil fuels and foreign oils. (

PLOVDIV CITY, Bulgaria – Councilman Dimitar Kerin was voted off a committee assignment by his fellow council members on Sunday for using his council-provided laptop to play the popular Facebook game Farmville. Plovdiv City is the second largest city in Bulgaria. (

SAUDI ARABIA – A Lebanese man, Ali Hussain Sibat faces beheading after being convicted of ‘sorcery.’ Sibat was arrested, tried and sentenced by Saudi authorities during a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia. Sibat is the former host of a popular call-in show that aired on a Beirut-based satellite TV channel. On the show, Sibat would predict the future and give out advice to his audience. He is expected to lodge another appeal against the ruling. (

SAN BRUNO, California – On Wednesday, YouTube launched its new, streamlined interface. The design is meant to be “more subdued, stripped down and simple than before,” according to Google representatives. The new interface also aims to keep people on the site longer by making it easier to find related videos. (

HONG KONG, China – Due to security compromises, Google China redirected its users to Google Hong Kong on Thursday, March 22. Google has struggled to bring uncensored content to its patrons living in mainland China against the will of the Chinese government. (

MOSCOW, Russia – At least 38 people were killed and 64 injured in a terrorist attack on Monday. Two bombings occurred during the morning rush hour. It is not yet known whether the bombers were waiting on the platforms of Lubyanka and Park Kultury stations or if they were passengers aboard the metro trains. (

SACRAMENTO, California – Jaime Escalante, the public-school teacher upon whose life the 1988 film Stand and Deliver was based, died of cancer on Wednesday. He was 79. Escalante’s story is said to have inspired American teachers and drastically raised the achievement level of disadvantaged children in inner-city schools. (

URUMAMBA VALLEY, Peru – Famed archaeological site Machu Picchu is set to reopen after closing its doors to visitors for two months following heavy rains and landslides. Ninety-percent of Peru’s tourist revenue comes from the Cuzco region, where Machu Picchu’s two-month closure meant the loss of around 60,000 tourists. (

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