Internationals

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Tue
26
Feb
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19 Killed Over Luxor In When Balloon Explodes

Luxor Balloon

In an unusual accident 19 people were killed when a hot air balloon exploded over Egypt.  21 people were in the balloon when it fell about one thousand feet to the ground. 

It’s common for tourists to take balloon rides over scenic Egypt, overlooking the Nile, the ancient temples of Karnak and Hatshepsut over the city of Luxor. 

Officials said, “We are still looking for the other missing bodies,”

There was 13 Asian tourists, two from Britain and two from France.  An Egyptian pilot and another Egyptian were also aboard the balloon at the time of failure.  

Mon
25
Feb
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Castro Promises Final Term At Inauguration Procedings

Raul Castro

Raul Castro was ratified as president by the Cuban parliament adding another five years to his civil service.  He took office in 2006 responding to former president Fidel Castro’s illness. 

81 year old Raul Castro, announced to the country’s parliament that he will leave office in 2018 and will not serve an additional term.  Castro Says, “I wish to clarify that in my case, irrespective of when a constitution reform on term limits takes place, this will be my last period.” 

The parliament also elected Miguel Diaz-Canel a 52 year old Cuban politician as Cuba’s first vice-president.  Raul Castro praised Diaz-Canel as the person best suited to ensure “continuity” and “stability” in case of “any contingency” on the island owing to “the loss of the highest leadership.”

Sun
24
Feb
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Iran's Weekend Military Tests Featured Suicide Drones

Iran Suicide Drones

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.  is testing various types of UAV’s, but strikingly the testing of what's being called suicide drones.  

According to published reports, IRGC started a 3-day drill code name “The Great Prophet 8” in east Iran on Saturday.  

An Iranian official said, “For the first time, our special modern warfare task forces are conducting specialized operations,”  he added “the reconnaissance as well as suicide drones, which are capable of attacking the enemies, have been used and their operational capabilities came under assessment.”

Sat
23
Feb
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Pistorius Free On Bail

Oscar Pistorius

The Chief Magistrate announced South African Olympic Sprinter Oscar Pistorius could be released on bail.  For Pistorius’ family and supporters, it was a celebratory action.  ,

The bail hearing in the infamous murder case started on Tuesday. 

Fri
22
Feb
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Ruling On Bail Hearing Expected Friday Afternoon

Oscar Pistorius

The South African magistrate presiding over the Oscar Pistorius bail hearing said he will rule on Friday.  Pisotrious, the double amputee track star and Olympian is accused of murdering his girlfriend on Valentines night. 

The ruling is expected to come on Friday afternoon after the lunch break.  Magistrate Desmond Nair listened to final arguments from the defense and prosecution on Thursday.

The prosecution is against bail for the world renowned sprinter believing his wealth and influence makes him a flight risk.  The state is alleging Pistorious committed premeditated murder of aspiring actress and model Reeva Steenkamp.  

Thu
21
Feb
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Final Day of Oscar "Blade Runner" Pistorius' Bond Hearing: Lead Detective Removed

Oscar Pistorius

Thursday is the final day of the “Blade Runner” Oscar Pistorius’ bond hearing, he is accused of killing his girlfriend by shooting her through the bathroom door of his home on 14 February. 

The lead investigator has been removed from the case the defense discredited lead detective Hilton Botha, who was the first police official to arrive at Pistorius’ home on 14 February to find model and aspiring actress Reeva Steenkamp dead on the floor fully clothed and wrapped in towels. 

Police Brigadier Neville Malila said that detective Hilton Botha is scheduled to appear in court in May over shots he and two other police officers fired while trying to stop a minivan. 

The state is requesting no bond for Pistorius citing he is a flight risk.  The prosecution brought new evidence aimed at contradicting and affidavit from Pistorius, that gives his take on what happened when his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp was shot and killed. 

Wed
20
Feb
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Emili Sande' Wins Brit Award

Sande'

Singer Emeli Sande won the night's first prize, for best British female. "This feels amazing," she said. "I'm so happy to win this award." Sande is also favorite to win best British album.

Emeli Sandé was born in Sunderland to a Zambian father and English mother on 10 March 1987. 

Sandé said she wanted her music to be remembered as that of Nina Simone, one of her favorite artists. She went on to say, Nina Simone achieved this for herself and writing her own songs is the best way possible. She also said; "These days nothing lasts, music is like fast food, you're in then you're out.

Sande’ is not widely known in the U.S. but she should be.

Tue
19
Feb
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Russia Rejects Request

Syria

Russia has rejected the call by UN investigators for Syrian leaders identified as suspected war criminals to face the international criminal court.

Deputy foreign minister Gennady Gatilov told a news conference that this was "not the path we should follow ... at this stage it would be untimely and unconstructive".

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