151,000 estimated dead in Iraq

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Australia: Our croc-loving pals are always busying themselves with important decisions, like choosing the Word of the Year 2007.

Australia’s Macquarie Dictionary is holding an online vote to decide on the best out of a list of 85 words. Some options include words Gazette readers may be very familiar with, such as floordrobe â€" the use of a bedroom floor as substitute for a wardrobe â€" and tanorexia: an obsession with tanning.

Other words have a more global focus. “Globesity” is the worldwide problem of rising obesity and Chindia describes the combined economic and strategic importance of China and India.

Pakistan: At least 22 people were killed and 60 injured by a suicide bomber in the city of Lahore.

The attack targeted a group of police officers standing outside the High Court building in preparation for a protest by lawyers against the rule of President Pervez Musharraf.

The blast was just one more act of violence during a particularly tense period for Pakistan surrounding the parliamentary elections.

Police reported that the suicide bomber arrived on a motorbike and blew himself up when police approached.

Middle East: US President George Bush is pushing for a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians. Bush will be meeting with leaders of both groups in his first trip to Israel and the West Bank since 2001 to push for an agreement.

According to Bush, Israel should not undermine the process of creating effective Palestinian security forces. He also offered his advice to Palestine, urging it to decide between a state or the status quo.

Iraq: A study produced by both the World Health Organization and Iraq’s Ministry of Health declares 151,000 Iraqis have died as a result of the war-related violence following the US invasion in 2003.

Officials emphasized the figure was merely an estimate, although it is the best they have so far.

The tally includes people who died directly because of the war, such as people killed in armed conflict or car bombings and land mines. The war has also caused instability resulting in collateral damage, such as the inability to deliver medical care. Deaths associated indirectly with the violence were not reflected in the figure.

Kenya: Peace talks between President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga have come to a halt over the signing of a document outlining how the two parties will deal with the election, which has caused so much violence.

The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) opposition party said Kibaki refused to sign the document, but the President’s office is arguing ODM is refusing to hold face-to-face talks without the presence of international mediators.

Ghanaian President John Kufuour was leading the peace talks and said both sides have now agreed to work under a panel that may be led by ex-UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.

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