This Week in the World: November 28th 2013

Men arrested for giving free hugs

Two men have been arrested in Saudi Arabia for offering free hugs to people in the country’s capital, Riyadh. The free hugs movement aims to brighten people’s days by offering hugs to strangers, and has been practiced in many countries around the world. The Saudi religious police arrested two men for “indulging in exotic practices” and “offending public order,” after one of the men posted a video of himself offering free hugs on YouTube, saying that he wanted to bring the free hugs movement in his home country. The video has received at least 1.5 million views on YouTube. After they were detained, the two men were required to sign a pledge that they would not offer free hugs again.

Latvia supermarket roof collapses, 54 dead

On Nov. 22, a supermarket roof collapsed in Latvia in the middle of the afternoon while the store was filled with shoppers. About an hour later, when rescue workers had arrived and were starting their search for survivors, a second piece of the roof caved in, killing three firefighters. The Associated Press reported that fifty-four people have been pronounced dead, along with over forty injured. Seven people are still missing. Investigators are looking into why the rooftop collapsed so quickly, before the company has time to cover anything up. Searches have been suspended since a third piece of the roof collapsed, although no one was injured or killed in the third collapse.

Deal reached in Geneva about Iran nuclear programme

A deal has been reached between Iran and six world powers regarding Tehran’s nuclear programme after five days of negotiation in Geneva. Negotiators from the United Kingdom, the United States, Russia, China, France, and Germany, were attempting to convince Iran to stop enriching uranium. Iran was willing to do this in return for relaxed sanctions. Although no details have been released as of press time, it has been announced that they have reached an agreement. This deal is considered the most significant agreement between Iran and world powers for over a decade. The talks were scheduled to finish on Nov. 22, but concluded a day late.

Haitians protest for President to resign

Protestors in Port-au-Prince, Haiti have been clashing with police, with police firing tear gas to try and disperse stone-throwing protestors. Protests have been occurring regularly over the past months, requesting the resignation of President Michel Martelly. Martelly took office two years ago, promising to rebuild Haiti after a devastating earthquake in 2010, but since has been accused of wasting public money on luxury vehicles and international trips. He has denied these accusations, and thousands of people have taken to demonstrating on the streets. Haiti has remained one of the poorest countries in the western hemisphere, and many are saying that the protests will not stop until Martelly resigns.

“Alphabet Killer” sentenced to death in California

Joseph Naso, 79, has been convicted of four murders in the 1970s and 1990s; murders of women whose names and surnames bore matching initials. Roxene Roggasch, Carmen Colon, Pamela Parsons, and Tracy Tafoya were all prostitutes, and were strangled to death several decades ago and dumped in rural areas. Naso was prosecuted in 2009, after police found evidence leading back to these murders in a routine firearms search of Naso’s home. Naso has been sentenced to death, and remains a suspect in at least two other killings in California. Analysts have said, however, that it is unlikely that Naso will actually be executed. Hundreds of prisoners are on death row, but executions have been on hold in California since 2006.

LRA leader Joseph Kony is said to be seriously ill

Many reports of the Lord’s Resistance Army and its infamous leader, Joseph Kony, have said recently that Kony is seriously ill and on the run along the borders of Sudan and the Central African Republic.  The nature of his illness is unknown, and figures from the Central African Republic government who have been in contact with Kony are encouraging him to surrender to the UN. The LRA, led by Kony, has been accused by the UN of cutting off lips and tongues of innocent civilians, and kidnapping thousands of children and forcing them to become soldiers or sex slaves. African Union Ambassador Fransisco Madeira told reporters that the LRA has been suffering from mass defections, in part due to the 3,000 strong African Union task force tracking the rebel group. Madeira said that it is rumoured Kony is planning to tell his troops to surrender, and then vanishing, as he does not want to give himself up to the ICC.

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