Headlines from around the world: 11/4/13

Shortly after releasing 26 Palestinian convicts, Israeli officials declared plans to build a new settlement in the East Jerusalem sector. Plans include building over 1500 housing units, fully furnished with public works and relaxing garden areas. This expansion could house thousands of displaced people in the region. Palestinian authorities responded with outrage at the news.

New York City councilmen have agreed to raise the legal age for buying cigarettes from 18 to 21. New York mayor Michael Bloomberg declared his full support behind the bill. Officials stated that the new bill will save many lives, especially those of younger potential smokers. The bill includes standard tobacco products as well as electronic vapor cigarettes.

92 bodies were found in the Sahara. Nigerian authorities claim that the migrants’ vehicles broke down in the desert shortly after their departure. While some returned to get spare parts, a large portion of their group attempted the journey on foot. The migrants are thought to have died of thirst shortly after their vehicles broke down. Rescue workers totaled the death count to 52 children and 33 women and 7 men. The bodies were found less than 5 km from the next well.

In the midst of bloody civil war, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has suddenly become cooperative in the effort to reduce its nuclear arsenal. Russian-United States inspectors announced that Syria has so far met all of the disarmament deadlines set, a surprise to those in the global community. Pres. al-Assad wishes to convey to the world that they are a key international player, and not a terrorist organization.

Scientists believe that our fear and fascinations with snakes resides in the pulvinar region of the brain. Neurons in this part of the brain activated in primates when shown pictures of snakes, whereas other familiar images didn’t stir up the neurons. In a similar study, scientists noticed that people, children and adults alike, could recognize snakes faster than most objects. These results remained similar whether or not the participants actually have seen or live near snakes. Scientists believe that the same neuron cluster is at work here.

A mysterious graffitist has been vandalizing local street art. The unknown figure creates a lipstick like effect around portraits, similar to the art style that would be used by DC comicbook figure the Joker. Comments to “smile” and laughing have been written around most of the works as well. No evidence to the identity of the vandal has been found. Local officials claim he moves too quickly, as if he knows where and when new works are being put up.


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