Global Roundup: Berlusconi, Dalai Lama, and Sadam Hussein's Toilet

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Global Roundup: Berlusconi, Dalai Lama, and Sadam Hussein's Toilet
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Global Roundup: Berlusconi, Dalai Lama, and Sadam Hussein's Toilet

Berlusconi wins a procedural vote, the Dalai Lama blames China, and Sadam Hussein's prison toilet will be headed to a U.S. museum. Today's Global Roundup: 

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Europe:

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  • Italy: Silvio Berlusconi has won a procedural budget vote, outlets are reporting.  The BBC explains: "The result of the vote: 308 in favour and one abstention. A total of 309 voted meaning that the vote was approved but Berlusconi has lost his majority."  And those numbers are short of the magic 316.  "If he is backed by fewer than 316 deputies — or less than half of the 630-member chamber — it would show the prime minister can no longer count on a majority in the lower house of Parliament, even though the government could still mathematically win the vote," noted the AP. 
  • Italy Part II: The Guardian adds, " Losing his parliamentary majority is a major humiliation to Berlusconi. It is also being described as the 'worst possible' result by analysts." Mr Berlusconi's main coalition partner Umberto Bossi of the Northern League has called on him to step aside, reports the BBC. 
  • Poland: A transsexual woman and a gay man took seats in Polish parliament today, reports the AP. "It is a symbolic moment, but we owe this symbolism not to me but to the people of Poland because they made their choice," Anna Grodzka, who was born a man, told the AP. "They wanted a modern Poland, a Poland open to variety, a Poland where all people would feel good regardless of their differences. I cannot fail them in their expectations."  

Asia: 

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  • China: The Dalai Lama blamed China for the rash of self-immolations in southwestern China.  "Cultural Genocide" said the Tibetan spiritual leader in the AFP report. "Some kind of policy, some kind of cultural genocide is taking place." At least five monks and two nuns have died, cites the AFP.
  • South Korea: "South Korea on Tuesday authorized the World Health Organization to restart distribution of Seoul financed medical aid to North Korea," reports The New York Times. "The decision, the latest sign of easing tensions on the Korean Peninsula, 'was based upon our belief that purely humanitarian support for the young and vulnerable in North Korea should continue,' a senior Unification Ministry official told reporters Tuesday under the condition of anonymity. 
  • Thailand: The flooding rescue and cleanup efforts remain frustrating. "Countrywide, more than 500 people have been killed by the floods since late July. In Bangkok, city leaders are urging people to leave 12 of the city's 50 districts, and several more are under partial evacuation orders," reports the Wall Street Journal. "Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra plans to propose to her Cabinet on Tuesday an initial budget of 100 billion baht, or $3.3 billion, to rebuild roads, homes and hospitals, and intends to travel to the Ayutthaya province ..."

Africa: 

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  • Liberia: The presidential runoff between Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate this year, and opponent Winston Tubman, who called for boycotts in the first round, have begun. "Turnout appeared to be light as the polls opened in a presidential runoff despite calls for a boycott of the vote and clashes during protests the day before that left at least one person dead," reports The New York Times

Middle East: 

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  • Iraq: Sadam Hussein's toilet is coming to the U.S. "The stainless steel commode and a reinforced steel door have been removed from the cell where the dictator spent two years before his 2006 execution, and are destined for a military police museum in the US," reports Reuters. The US military is vacating Hussein's palaces, some of which were converted into military headquarters, and one was turned into Hussein's makeshift jail. "We're not taking anything that the Iraqis had. We are only taking stuff that we put in, we utilised, and when we didn't need it any more, we took it home," said Lieutenant Colonel Jerry Brooks, a US military historian.
  • Syria: The New York Times' Anthony Shahid reports, "Details of the assault continued to emerge on Tuesday as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva said at least 3,500 people had been killed in Syria since the uprising took root in March."  Adding, "Ravina Shamdasani, a spokeswoman for the organization, said the tally was a conservative figure based on 'credible sources on the ground.'"

 

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