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.

  • Iraq breaks months-long jihadist siege
    Iraq breaks months-long jihadist siege

    Iraqi forces, aided by US air strikes, have broken through to the jihadist-besieged Shiite town of Amerli where thousands have been trapped for over two months with dwindling food and water supplies. It is the biggest offensive success for the Iraqi government since militants led by the Sunni jihadist group Islamic State (IS) overran large areas of five provinces in June, sweeping security forces aside. The breakthrough came on Sunday as the United States carried out limited strikes in the area, the first time it has expanded its more than three-week air campaign against militants outside of Iraq's north.

  • The Ridiculous—and Sexist—Reason This Little Boy Was Sent Home From School

    The Seminole Independent School District said that it was only following procedure, noting that proper documentation of religious or spiritual beliefs was required for exceptions. After F.J. Young Elementary turned Malachi away, his mother contacted the Navajo Nation. In Oklahoma, a school superintendent recently came under fire for asking female high school students to bend over to check the length of their shorts.

  • Ebola hits fifth W. African state as Senegal confirms first case
    Ebola hits fifth W. African state as Senegal confirms first case

    The Ebola epidemic that has killed more than 1,500 people across West Africa spread to a fifth country in the region on Friday with the first confirmed case of the deadly virus in Senegal. The case marks the first time a new country has been hit by the outbreak since July and comes a day after the World Health Organization warned the number of infections was increasing rapidly. On Friday, scientists writing in the journal Nature said 18 lab monkeys given high doses of the Ebola virus fully recovered after being given the prototype drug ZMapp, which reversed bleeding in the animals. ZMapp has been given to a handful of frontline health workers who have contracted Ebola, two of whom have recovered, and two of whom have died.

  • Israel plans to expropriate 400 hectares of West Bank, army says
    Israel plans to expropriate 400 hectares of West Bank, army says

    Israel announced Sunday it will expropriate 400 hectares (988 acres) of Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank, angering the Palestinians and alarming Israeli peace campaigners. Israel has named three Palestinians from the southern West Bank city of Hebron as being behind the murders.

  • Islamist militia now guards US Embassy in Libya
    Islamist militia now guards US Embassy in Libya

    TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) — An Islamist-allied militia group says it has "secured" a U.S. Embassy compound in Libya's capital, more than a month after American personnel evacuated from the country over ongoing fighting.

  • Russia's Putin seeks 'statehood' talks on east Ukraine
    Russia's Putin seeks 'statehood' talks on east Ukraine

    Moscow and Kiev representatives will meet in Minsk Monday after Russian President Vladimir Putin raised the stakes in the Ukraine conflict by calling for statehood to be discussed for the restive east of the former Soviet state. Putin's remarks on Sunday came just hours after the European Union gave Moscow -- which the bloc accuses of direct involvement in the Ukraine insurgency -- a week to change course or face new sanctions. "We need to immediately begin substantive talks... on questions of the political organisation of society and statehood in southeastern Ukraine," the Russian leader was quoted by Russian news agencies as saying. Moscow has previously only called for "federalisation" that would grant greater rights to the eastern regions of Ukraine, where predominantly Russian-speakers live.

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