Weekly World News Brief

Friday, March 2, 2007

Cheney shaken but not stirred - While visiting Afghanistan on Tuesday, US Vice-President Dick Cheney was given a rude awakening when a suicide bomber attacked the Bagran Air Force base where he was spending the night. The Taliban quickly took credit for the attack that killed 23 people at the main gate of the facility. Cheney himself was quickly spirited to a shelter after the explosion by base security and was unharmed. Later that day, Cheney continued his international charm offensive by flying to Kabul to meet with Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Yesterday it was revealed by NATO that they knew in advance of suicide bombers operating in the area, but noted that there was never really a threat to the Vice-President.

Prince Charles angers McDonalds – The heir to throne of England made a powerful enemy in the largest fast food chain on the globe Wednesday after suggesting that the restaurant should be banned. During a visit to the Imperial College London Diabetes Centre in Abu Dhabi, the Prince, while talking to a nutritionist offered, “Have you got anywhere with McDonald's? Have you tried getting it banned? That's the key.” The company responded suggesting that Charles just wasn’t informed enough on their initiatives to introduce healthier food choices. A spokesman for McDonalds’ UK division voiced his belief that Charles was making a jest, while the Prince’s rep said that His Highness was simply pointing out that children need a wide variety of food choices. No comment from either the Burger King or the Dairy Queen.

Police, Protesters and Squatters - Thursday morning Danish police arrested 75 people when violence erupted outside a building in Copenhagen where squatters were being forcibly evicted. Activists gathered and police barricades were put up, shop owners in the area closed their businesses and boarded up their windows in anticipation of violence. Protestors created barricades of their own from garbage containers and threw rocks at riot police while chanting “Stop police brutality.” The four-story building in question had been used by squatters since 1982, but was sold by the city in 1999 to a group called Human A/S, who in turn sold it to the Faderhuset Christian group. The squatters argued that the Copenhagen city council had no right to sell the building while it was being used and a foundation backing the squatters offered to pay as much as $2.1 million US for another building for the Faderhuset. The police action had been in the works for over year and had been stopped twice before by court actions.

Prodi Forever! Maybe. - Last week, The Brief mentioned the plight of Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi, who’s government quite nearly fell apart after his initiative to increase funding for Italy’s Afghan forces and allow the expansion of a US base met with resounding defiance from members of his own government. On Wednesday, Prodi survived a confidence vote in the Italian senate by a vote of 162 to 157. While Prodi publicly considers this a victory, many observers wonder how his government will hold on with the support of slim majority in the Senate and deep divisions in his own coalition.

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