Headlines from around the world: 3/25/13

A Congolese warlord, Bosco Ntaganda, also known as “the Terminator,” turned himself in at the US embassy in Kigali. He is being tried at the International Criminal Court and is accused of murder, rape, recruiting child soldiers, ethnic persecution, sexual slavery, and other atrocities. Ntaganda had a 15-year career that spanned a series of rebellions in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo. He was most recently a commander in the M23 rebel movement. His removal from the conflict creates an opportunity to secure a peace agreement to end the year-old rebellion in the region. Wars in Congo have killed about five million people in the past 15 years. Many of the eastern areas are still afflicted by violence from a number of rebel groups despite a decade-long U.N. peacekeeping mission.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Turkish Premier Tayyip Erdogan on Friday to apologize for an Israeli raid that killed nine Turkish activists. The activists were on a boat attempting to go through Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip in 2010 when they were boarded by Israeli marines. Netanyahu admitted “operational mistakes” and apologized to Erdogan. In return Erdogan accepted the apology. President Obama, who took part in the half-hour call, said, “The United States deeply values our close partnerships with both Turkey and Israel, and we attach great importance to the restoration of positive relations between them in order to advance regional peace and security.”

Police fired tear gas in downtown Caracas, Venezuela, on Thursday as anti-government student protesters clashed with supporters of late President Hugo Chavez. Several hundred students were marching to the election board’s headquarters to demand a clean vote when they were blocked by government supporters who threw stones, bottles, and eggs. According to one law student, the protesters were holding a peaceful march to support democracy and untampered elections. Police fired tear gas toward the supporters and formed a blockade between the two sides. This is the first outbreak of violence since an April 14 election following Chavez’s death. Both candidates Nicolas Maduro and Henrique Capriles are trading personal accusations as they attempt to rally support. In two recent polls, Maduro was ahead by 14 percentage points. Maduro is running on a socialist platform and Capriles is running on a centrist platform and wants to use Brazil’s free market economy as a model for Venezuela.

North Dakota lawmakers approved measures that would ban abortion in the state, including a referendum that would let voters declare that life begins at conception. Republican governor Jack Dalrymple, who must sign or veto the bill, has not yet signaled where he stands on the bill. The bill would ban abortions after 20 weeks, except in medical emergencies and requires doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a local hospital. According to a clinic in North Dakota, “Admitting privileges are not easily come by under any circumstances.” Opponents said the measures would force the state to spend millions of dollars on legal challenges after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down many state restrictions on abortion in Roe v. Wade.

French police searched the Paris apartment of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Chief, Christine Lagarde, on Wednesday in an investigation into the misuse of public funds in her previous role as finance minister of France. The investigation is centered on her awarding a 2008 arbitration payment to a businessman supporter of ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy. Lagarde has denied wrongdoing, but investigating magistrates suspect her of complicity in embezzling public funds after she overruled objections from advisers. Current president Francois Hollande was elected last May and vowed to crack down on the relationships between politicians and businessmen that were common under Sarkozy.

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