Headlines from around the world: 2/11/13

United Nations refugee agency officials are confirming that over 5000 people are leaving Syria every day now, which is a massive increase over the numbers from December. Some 260,000 already reside in Lebanon. The total number of people who have fled Syria has now topped 780,000, with many more to come as a result of the fighting in and around Damascus.

British food supplier Findus has been selling frozen horse meat labelled as beef. Several food suppliers have done it over the past few months, but none to the extent of selling something entirely made of horse meat. The British public has raised a strong outcry against the action, due to deep cultural inhibitions against eating horse.

After many weeks of difficult negotiation, the European Union has finally agreed to a new budget for the next seven years. The EU countries have vast differences to overcome in reaching any agreement as to a budget, and in light of the significant economic peril that faces Spain, Greece, and Italy, countries such as Germany had considerable motivation to reach a consensus.

High-ranking officials in the Obama administration are standing before a Senate committee to explain how the Central Intelligence Agency uses drones in targeted strikes against terrorist groups and known militants. The committee seeks to determine the legality of the way these drones are used, and the secrecy in which they operate.

Deep divisions in opinion over how to approach the Syrian rebel situation is making decision making difficult for the Obama administration. Senate Armed Services Committee members are not approving military action on the behalf of the Syrian rebels. Senator John McCain has repeatedly advised sending military support to groups of rebels who have been carefully screened by U.S. military officials.
The U.S. Postal Service posted a $1.3 billion loss for the first quarter of the 2013 fiscal year, a drop from the $3.1 billion loss over the same quarter of last year. Postal service authorities hoped that the holiday season would curb the losses that they have been facing, but rising fuel cost and lower overall mail volume due to the faltering economy has forestalled their progress.

Tunisian opposition leader Chokri Belaid was murdered by an unknown gunman last week, resulting in widespread protests and demonstrations. Opposition party members claimed that the Islamist party ordered the killing, an allegation the Islamists denied.

A recent study that shows only 18 percent of Zimbabwe children passed the nation’s standardized test. President Robert Mugabe blames the deplorable passing rate on the years of turmoil and financial problems that resulted from the political tension of the last decade.



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