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First ever Unemployment Olympics held: Upbeat mood in bleak job market, contestants make most of free time granted

Howard Henson, an unemployed financial IT recruiter, tosses a phone during the Unemployment Olympics in New York, Tuesday, March 31, 2009

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Jobless compete at unemployment Olympics

The increasing ranks of the unemployed today aren't just sitting around the house feeling sorry for themselves. A group of the recently job-deprived gathered in New York City's East Village on Tuesday, March 31 2009, for an event described as the Unemployment Olympics.

job-deprived gathered in New York City's East Village Tuesday for an event described as the Unemployment Olympics

Rather than an expensive stadium and firework display, the inaugural jobless games took place in an appropriately low-budget concrete playground decorated with hand-painted cardboard signs. Events included "Pin the Blame on the Boss," a dash to the "unemployment office" and a content in which participants tossed an office phone at targets. A planned competition to see who could throw a fax machine the farthest was sadly canceled at the last minute due to safety concerns.  read more »

After 6 years' US-led invasion of Iraq, all 4100 British troops'll be out of violence-wracked Iraq by end of July

British military band performs during handover ceremony of Basra's international airport from British forces to U.S. forces

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A British military band performs during the handover ceremony of Basra's international airport from British forces to the U.S. forces, 420 km (260 miles) southeast of Baghdad March 31, 2009. People in the Iraqi city of Basra fear the U.S. troops taking over from departing British forces, whose relatively light touch contrasts with the U.S. military's fearsome, and sometimes trigger-happy, reputation.

anti-war demonstrators on Hollywood Boulevard carry model coffins to mark the 6th anniversary of the Iraq War

HOLLYWOOD - MARCH 21: Anti-war demonstrators carry model coffins in a protest march on Hollywood Boulevard to mark the sixth anniversary of the Iraq war ground invasion on March 21, 2009 in Hollywood, California. An estimated 91,000 Iraqi civilians have died since the invasion. The US has lost more than 4,200 military service members. While violence is reportedly at its lowest point since the US invasion, suicide bombers still terrorize the people of some regions of Iraq. President Barack Obama has ordered US combat troops home by September of 2010 and all US forces out by 2012.  read more »

Earth Hour: time zone by time zone, ~4000 cities & towns in 88 countries dim nonessential lights from 8:30-9:30pm

Malaysia's landmark, the Petronas Twin Towers along with other buildings before and after the lights were switched off to mark Earth Hour in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 28 March 2009

Window to the World, calling for Wind of Wisdom,
as common sense is a gift to each soul,
as common environment is the inseparable planet,
as common desire is to live in a better world.

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Earth Hour 2009 has garnered support from global corporations, nonprofit groups, schools, scientists and celebrities — including Oscar-winning actress Cate Blanchett and retired Cape Town Archbishop Desmond Tutu. From an Antarctic research base to the Great Pyramids of Egypt and beyond, the world switched off the lights on Saturday for Earth Hour, dimming skyscrapers, city streets and some of the world's most recognizable monuments for 60 minutes to highlight the threat of climate change. Time zone by time zone, nearly 4,000 cities and towns in 88 countries joined the event sponsored by the World Wildlife Fund to dim nonessential lights from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

night view of the site of the ancient Giza Pyramids before and after switching off the lights for the Earth Hour, in Cairo, Egypt Saturday March 28, 2009  read more »

Africa: a charismatic disc jockey, 34-year-old fresh-faced entrepreneur is sworn in as Africa's youngest president

Madagascar's army-backed Andry Rajoelina is installed as the country's new president in Antananarivo March 21, 2009

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In the ousting of Madagascar's twice-elected president, behind the boyish good looks lies a ruthless ambition that has surprised many. His supporters have taken to blaring out Malagasy pop music to get crowds in the mood. This may even be the first African coup with its own soundtrack.

Images of the man this week have appeared incongruous: a sharp suit and baby face amid the sharpshooters in army fatigues, an unlikely alliance between the soldiers who have seen it all before and the 34-year-old who has got it all to come.

He is the disc jockey politician, a charismatic, fresh-faced entrepreneur who swapped the turntables and nightclubs of Antananarivo for a movement that this week has culminated in the ousting of Madagascar's twice-elected president. So when Andry Rajoelina, 34, is inaugurated as Africa's youngest president today, expect a carnival of sound. His supporters have taken to blaring out Malagasy pop music to get crowds in the mood. This may even be the first African coup with its own soundtrack.

Madagascar President, Andry Rajoelina (C) addresses supporters after he was formally installed as leader of the Indian Ocean island during a ceremony in Antananarivo, Madagascar, 21 March 2009  read more »

Financial crisis deprives livelihood. Poverty sparks fury. Iceland, France, Russia, Greece..protests across Europe

a man kneels in front of police officers during clashes with demonstrators in Paris

Protests across Europe: Bosnia, Britain, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Montenegro, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Ukraine...

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(Reuters) - French unions staged a nationwide day of action on Thursday to denounce the government's economic policies and call for more measures to help consumers.

The global financial crisis has sparked protests in many parts of Europe this year:

Chartres, France: Farmers block the entrance to the city during a nationwide strike

BOSNIA -- Bosnia's Muslim-Croat parliament canceled a session on February 26 rather than confront protesters complaining about plans to cut benefits to narrow a big budget gap.

BRITAIN -- British workers held a series of protests at power plants against the use of foreign contractors on critical energy sites. They voted to end strikes on February 5 after French oil group Total agreed to hire more British workers at its Lindsey oil refinery.

riot police arrest a farmer after he attempted to back his tractor into a group of police at the main port of Piraeus  read more »

Government of Canada marks International Polar Day on March 18, 2009 with "Oceans and Marine Life" event

sea ice properties were examined in 200 m transects, both at the surface and from the air

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OTTAWA, ONTARIO - "Oceans and Marine Life Polar Day", an International Polar Year (IPY) webcast event, took place on March 18, 2009, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., at the theatre of the Museum of Civilization in Gatineau, Quebec. "Our Government has made a tremendous contribution to Arctic research during International Polar Year. Polar Days are a great opportunity to share the initial findings of this research with the public," said the Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development. To learn more about "Oceans and Marine Life Polar Day" events in Canada and around the world, as well as other national and international initiatives related to International Polar Year, we invite you to visit www.ipy.gc.ca.  read more »

Vatican's rare step: Pope Benedict XVI admits errors, takes frank look at controversy over Holocaust-denying bishop

Pope Benedict XVI waves to faithful during the weekly general audience in St. Peter's square at the Vatican, March 11, 2009. Pope Benedict XVI has acknowledged Vatican mistakes in the handling of the controversy over a Holocaust-denying bishop and says he's saddened by attacks against him by even members of his own flock

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Pope Benedict XVI has made an unusual public acknowledgment of Vatican mistakes and turmoil in his church over an outreach to ultraconservatives that led to his lifting the excommunication of a Holocaust-denying bishop. In an attempt to end one of the most serious crises of his papacy, he said in a letter released Thursday that the Vatican must make greater use of the Internet to prevent other controversies.

The Vatican took the rare step of releasing the German-born pope's personal account of the incident addressed to Catholic bishops around the world. Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said the letter — released in six languages — was "really unusual and deserving of maximum attention."  read more »

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