2012 YEAR IN REVIEW

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  • Israel claims West Bank land for possible settlement use, draws U.S. rebuke
    Israel claims West Bank land for possible settlement use, draws U.S. rebuke

    By Jeffrey Heller JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel announced on Sunday a land appropriation in the occupied West Bank that an anti-settlement group termed the biggest in 30 years, drawing Palestinian condemnation and a U.S. Some 400 hectares (988 acres) in the Etzion Jewish settlement bloc near Bethlehem were declared "state land, on the instructions of the political echelon" by the military-run Civil Administration. "We urge the government of Israel to reverse this decision,” a State Department official said in Washington, calling the move "counterproductive" to efforts to achieve a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians. Israel Radio said the step was taken in response to the kidnapping and killing of three Jewish teens by Hamas militants in the area in June.

  • Fukushima fallout: Resentment grows in nearby Japanese city
    Fukushima fallout: Resentment grows in nearby Japanese city

    By Mari Saito and Antoni Slodkowski IWAKI Japan (Reuters) - Like many of her neighbours, Satomi Inokoshi worries that her gritty hometown is being spoiled by the newcomers and the money that have rolled into Iwaki since the Fukushima nuclear disaster almost three and a half years ago. Property prices in Iwaki, about 60 km (36 miles) south of the wrecked nuclear plant, have jumped as evacuees forced from homes in more heavily contaminated areas snatch up apartments and land. "The situation around Iwaki is unsettled and unruly," said Ryosuke Takaki, a professor of sociology at Iwaki Meisei University, who has studied the town's developing divide. "There are many people who have evacuated to Iwaki, and there are all kinds of incidents caused by friction." HOSTS WEARY, GUESTS FRIGHTENED Residents across Fukushima prefecture hailed the first wave of workers who arrived to contain the nuclear disaster in 2011 as heroes. Cities like Iwaki also welcomed evacuees from towns closer to the meltdowns and explosions.

  • N. Korea slams UK TV show on its nukes as 'hideous farce'
    N. Korea slams UK TV show on its nukes as 'hideous farce'

    North Korea Sunday slammed a new British TV drama series revolving around its nuclear weapons programme, urging the British government to scrap the "slanderous farce" if it wants to maintain diplomatic ties. "Opposite Number" -- a series commissioned by Channel 4 -- features a British nuclear scientist captured in the North during a covert mission and forced to help weaponise its nuclear technology. The 10-part series will take viewers inside the "closed worlds of North Korea" with "opposing CIA and MI6 agents secretly deployed on the ground in Pyongyang, as the clock ticks on a global-scale nuclear crisis", Channel 4 said on its website. The TV show is "nothing but a slanderous farce" to insult and distort the North's nuclear capability, said the country's top military body, the National Defence Commission (NDC).

  • DAY CARE OPERATOR NEEDS A TIMEOUT FOR HER MOUTH

    DEAR ABBY: My neighbor has a registered day care business, and every day I hear her screaming at young children and infants. They are all 4-year-olds and younger. We live in a rural area outside a small town. She uses profanity and says mean things to them. It makes me want to cry when I think of how scared those kids must be. Who do I contact with this information? I could record her with my phone if evidence was needed to shut down her business. This woman has a really bad anger management problem. She also knows I can hear her because we have spoken about how our voices travel. ...

  • Poland on edge 75 years after Hitler and Stalin carved it up
    Poland on edge 75 years after Hitler and Stalin carved it up

    Poland marks the 75th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II Monday with one eye on Russia, which invaded it during the war and is now throwing its weight around in neighbouring Ukraine. From the very first German shells fired at a Polish fort in Gdansk in the early hours of September 1, 1939, to the final days in 1945, Poland suffered some of the worst horrors of the war, chief among them the extermination of most of its Jewish population by the Nazis. Memories of the era have been bubbling to the surface since Russia seized Ukraine's Crimea peninsula in March, and a fierce conflict began in the country's east. "To use military force against one's neighbours, to annex their territory, to prevent them from freely choosing their place in the world -- this provides a worrying reminder of the dark chapters of Europe's 20th-century history," Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski said in a newspaper opinion piece ahead of the anniversary.

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  • Hong Kong activists in fightback after China vote decision
    Hong Kong activists in fightback after China vote decision

    Hong Kong activists launched their fightback Monday against Beijing's landmark decision to limit voting reforms, heckling a senior Chinese official in angry scenes after hopes for full democracy were crushed. Li Fei, a member of the top committee of China's rubber-stamp parliament, was forced to speak over the cries of pro-democracy lawmakers and protesters during a meeting with local officials in the semi-autonomous Chinese city. Brief scuffles erupted outside the venue as police used pepper spray to stop protesters from storming the hall, where Li told delegates that China will not tolerate a local leader who is disloyal to the mainland. "Anyone who does not love the country, love Hong Kong or is confrontational towards the central government shall not be the chief executive," he said.

  • In Bosnia's schools, three different people learn three different histories

    When Daniel Eror studied World War II in high school, his textbook included one sentence noting that the Croatian fascist Ustase regime ran a concentration camp during the war.  Two decades after Bosnia's brutal civil war ended, reconciliation is still a dream, one the education system is pushing further away from reality. Bosnia's civil war ended with the Dayton Accords in 1995, which divided Bosnia into two largely autonomous entities, the mostly Serb Republika Srpska, and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is populated mostly by Bosniak Muslims and Croats. Education policy has been in the hands of local governments since and consequently there are 13 ministries of education in Bosnia.

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