An Italian cruise ship carrying armed Israeli security guards successfully averted a hijacking attempt by Somali pirates late Saturday, according to multiple reports. The MSC Melody, which was carrying more than 1,500 people, opened fire on the speed boat when the six men armed with Kalashnikov rifles tried to put a ladder on the bow.
A deadly strain of swine flu is sweeping across Mexico and has already spread to bordering states in America, as well. Mexican health officials are sounding the alarm as the spread of the disease is described by the head of the World Health Organization (WHO), a United Nations agency, as approaching “pandemic levels.” More than 68 people have died in this outbreak of swine flu and at least a thousand more are suffering from the concomitant illnesses.
With returns still coming in two days after the April 22 parliamentary elections in South Africa, the African National Congress (ANC) has won an apparent overwhelming victory. With 14.5 million ballots having been counted, the ANC party led by Jacob Zuma was leading with about 66 percent of the vote. Winning a two-thirds majority of seats in the parliament would allow the ANC to enact major legislation unchallenged, or to change the country's constitution.
The UN's Durban Review Conference on racism got off to a rocky start in Geneva on April 20, as about 40 delegates from 30 countries walked out during a speech delivered by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Even before the Ahmadinejad talk, the conference was sparsely attended owing to a boycott by eight Western nations (including the United States) that anticipated that the event would become a forum for anti-Israeli rhetoric.
Though the United States was still the focus of plenty of the usual criticism, observers noted that it was toned down at this year's meeting of the Summit of the Americas. Reporters commented that Barack Obama was the “star” of the gathering. The three-day summit began Friday, April 17 in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.