Global news bulletin 23/04/2012

Posted: April 23, 2012 in News bulletin

-Both Francois Hollande and President Nicolas Sarkozy have addressed supporters the morning after first-round results in France’s presidential election were released. The two men face a run-off poll on May 6. Polls late on Sunday saw Hollande beating Sarkozy in the second round by a margin of 54-46 per cent.

-Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and his cabinet have offered their resignation to Queen Beatrix after the collapse of a parliamentary partnership with a far-right party, which refused to accept austerity demands to bring the budget deficit in line with EU rules.

-Spain’s central bank has said it believes the country’s economy contracted by 0.4 percent in the first quarter of this year compared to the previous quarter, a clear official confirmation of the scale of recession.

-An Icelandic court has ruled that former Prime Minister Geir Haarde was guilty of one charge related to negligence in connection with the country’s financial meltdown in 2008 but gave him no punishment.

Anders Behring Breivik called the police to surrender, but then decided to carry on killing “till I die” when they failed to return his call, he has told his trial in Oslo. He said his plan was to kill as many people as possible.

-Over a year after the nuclear accident triggered by a massive earthquake and tsunami contaminated large swathes of land in northeastern Japan, the future of the largely agricultural area and those who have been evacuated from it remain uncertain. The residents will not be able to return for at least five years.

-US President Barack Obama has announced fresh sanctions against Iran, Syria and those who help them use technology to perpetrate human rights abuses. He announced the new sanctions against “digital guns for hire” in a speech at the US Holocaust Museum.

-European Union foreign ministers agreed to suspend most sanctions on Myanmar in response to political reforms there, but continued to press for vigilance over the pace of change in the former military state even while opening the door to a potential investment surge.

Bahrain‘s highest appeals court has postponed for a week the verdict of 21 pro-democracy activists convicted last year of plotting to overthrow the government without offering any reason for the delay.

-Private guards at the Olympic park have been filmed forcibly attempting to stop the media taking pictures and footage of the complex in east London, raising new concerns about potentially aggressive and over-intrusive security during the Games.

-Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson broke down in tears today while testifying at the trial of the man accused of killing her mother, brother and 7-year-old nephew in a jealous rage four years ago.

Sources: BBC, CNN, Al Jazeera, Reuters, euronews, NYT, WSJ

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