Global Roundup

Aziz faces execution

Saddam Hussein’s former top lieutenant, Tariq Aziz, will be executed next year after American forces leave the country. Aziz was captured shortly after the invasion in 2003 and was last year sentenced to death for eliminating religious groups.

Socrates dies

Food poisoning killed one of the world’s most decorated football players last weekend. Former Brazilian captain, known simply as Socrates, was admitted to hospital on Friday and died of septic shock on Sunday morning. He was 57.

WWII bomb scare

More the 45,000 residents of the German city of Koblenz were forced to flee the city last Sunday while authorities defused a WWII bomb located at the bottom of the nearby river. Workers deactivated an “air mine” and a high-density explosive bomb.

Poll floors Putin

The ruling United Russia has a slimmer majority after parliamentary elections this week, widely seen as a blow former president Vladimir Putin, who wants to return to the job. It could lose up to 60 seats in the Duma, of the current 300 it holds.

Beijing blanketed

Flights were cancelled and roads closed across Beijing on Monday when a thick hazed blanketed the Chinese capital. Blamed on pollution and condensation, a cold front was expected to blow the fog east throughout Tuesday.

Africa’s richest

Nigerian magnate Aliko Dangote has been named Africa’s richest man by Forbes magazine. Dangote has made an estimated $10.1 billion from his construction company. South African diamond mining heir Nicky Oppenheimer came second.

Corrupt countries

New Zealand has been named the least corrupt country on earth. Prepared by German organisation, Transparency International, Somalia and North Korea tied for last, ranked 182. It looked at public sector accountability.

US leave Pakistan

The United States has agreed to vacate an air base in Pakistan as fallout continues from a NATO air raid that killed 24 soldiers last month. Used as a base for unmanned drone activities in the region, Pakistan asked the US to leave.

Assange saga

Julian Assange’s legal fight to prevent extradition to Sweden on sex assault charges continues. The British High Court granted him leave to appeal to the Supreme Court on Monday. He has been under house arrest in London for almost a year.

Taliban could return

Afghan president Hamid Karzai has admitted the Taliban may make a comeback and take control of the country again. He made the comment at a meeting in Germany where here asked for the continued presence of NATO forces.

Italy tightens belt

Italy’s new prime minister, Mario Monti, has found a way of raising $41 billion with a suite of new taxes and spending cuts. He said the “mean sacrifices” were necessary to return market confidence and balance in the government’s finances.

Renewed EU

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicholas Sarkozy will present a revised treaty to European Union leaders today (Thursday 8/12). The pair said the new pact was required to ensure fiscal responsibility in the bloc.

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