Headlines from around the world: 3-19-12

North Korea said it will launch a long-range rocket to mark the one hundred year anniversary of the birth of their founder, Kim Il Sung, one month from now. This announcement was condemned by the US and others as being in breach of a UN resolution. According to Japan and South Korea, the launch is a threat to regional security. Japan, South Korea, and the US urged North Korea to reconsider.

A man was buried and killed at a warehouse in eastern Colorado under several tons of pinto beans. Raymond Segura Jr., a 56 year old man, was working at the Kelley Bean Company in Brush, Colorado, when a 20 foot pile of pinto beans fell and buried him alive. The cause of the accident and how Raymond became trapped is under investigation by local authorities.

Two French soldiers were killed and one critically injured on Thursday as a gunman on a motorbike fired at them near an ATM in southern France. The killing is the second time a soldier has been shot in the week. The previous shooting left another soldier dead and there is an ongoing investigation to see if the two shootings are linked. The two paratroopers, in their 20s, died on the spot as they were trying to withdraw cash near a military base housing France’s 17th parachute regiment.

George Clooney, famous actor and political activist, was arrested at the Sudanese Embassy in Washington for protesting the Sudanese hunger crisis, accusing the country’s president of blocking food and aid from reaching its people. The entire group was arrested including Clooney’s father, Nick, Martin Luther King III, NAACP president Ben Jealous, representative Jim McGovern, and representative Jim Moran. Clooney said, the Sudanese government must “stop randomly killing its own innocent men, women and children. Stop raping them, and stop starving them.”

The US, EU, and Japan asked the World Trade Organization (WTO) to settle a dispute with China over its restrictions on exports such as rare earth metals. China produces 97% of the world’s rare earth metals and its policies have caused prices for rare earth metals in China to be half the world price. An official said, “These restrictions benefit Chinese industry, therefore they are against WTO rules.” This announcement comes on an election year as Obama attempts to toughen his stance on China’s rule-breaking policies.

The Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, has asked for US and other foreign troops to leave villages and move to larger bases instead. He asked US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to remove troops as “Afghan security forces currently have the ability to secure villages around the country.” Karzai has said that both sides need to work on handing over all security responsibilities by 2013 instead of 2014. Shortly after Karzai’s announcement the Afghan Taliban said it is suspending peace talks with the US because the US has been “shaky, erratic, and vague” in its statements.

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