World in brief: March 16, 2011

JERUSALEM, Israel
The Israeli military has deemed the murder of a family a terror attack, after two parents and three children were found dead in their Itamar home. Although no suspects have been found, authorities believe multiple persons are responsible as both guns and knives were used as murder weapons. The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insisted Palestinian authorities assist in finding the perpetrators.

TOKYO, Japan
Northeastern Japan was struck by one of the most powerful earthquakes on record, and then fell victim to the tsunami that followed. 1,300-miles of coastline was slammed by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake, 30-foot tsunami and hours of aftershock above a 6.0 in magnitude. Disaster death toll rests 3,000 confirmed fatalities. Thousands are still missing however and many fear that close to 10,000 have been killed. Rehabilitation will be difficult as a majority of the country suffered major damage while Japan’s national debt remains almost 200 per cent of its GDP. As a subsequent result of the earthquake, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant sustained a great deal of structural damage. This has led to three explosions that have caused a radiation leak. Recent reports have indicated that a meltdown may be imminent at Fukushima’s reactor.

HAVANA, Cuba
Alberto Granado Jiménez, who accompanied Che Guevara during his 1951 motorcycle expedition, died of natural causes on Mar. 5 at the age of 88. The pair met in Hernando, Argentina, where a common interest in exploration led them on the eight-month journey through South America, exposing them to the reality of poverty. Inspired, Guevara left to join Fidel Castro in Cuba in 1959, later joined by Jiménez in 1961 to found a medical institution. Despite Jiménez’s rejection of Guevara’s guerilla warfare reform tactics, the men remained friends until death.

WASHINGTON D.C., USA
The infamous space shuttle Discovery, is retiring after completing its 39th mission, logging 240 million kilometers and 365 days of space travel. Discovery’s crew commemorates a successful 27-year career whose milestones include the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope. A bittersweet goodbye was said as NASA’s oldest and most capable space vehicle is laid to rest in a museum. Its retirement leaves only two final flights before the U.S. shuttle program comes to a close.

ILLINOIS, United States of America
Illinois has become the sixteenth state to abolish the death penalty, with the law fully taking effect this coming July. After two months of consultation with victims’ families, convicted criminals and religious leaders, Democratic Governor Pat Quinn signed the bill, claiming to have followed his conscience. Quinn, along with his successors, point out flaws in the criminal justice system, which could lead to unlawful convictions if the death penalty continues to be implemented.

LONDON, England
A group of squatters, calling themselves “Topple the Tyrants,” have taken over a suburban home with firm belief it belongs to Gaddafi family. The government froze the Gaddafi family’s assets last week, which the group claims to be their reason for squatting. They have demanded the property and its assets, an estimated worth of 1 billion pounds, are returned to the Libyan people. Although the group asserts no signs of moving, there has yet to be any violence, leaving the police force to monitor the situation and treat it as a civil matter for the time being.

-Compiled by Leeza Pece

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