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Around The World London Queen overspends

London
Queen overspends: The queen’s cash reserves have shrunk to $1.7 million, and the royals face serious financial trouble, according to a parliamentary inquiry. In 2012, Parliament took oversight of the royal finances, and a report this week shows that the queen has overspent. The royals took in $51 million last year but spent $55 million, forcing them to dip into their cash reserves. Meanwhile, the castles and palaces of the vast royal estate need more than $80 million worth of repairs. One bit of crumbling masonry almost struck Princess Anne in a Buckingham Palace courtyard. “The household needs to get better at planning and managing its budgets for the longer term,” said Margaret Hodge, chairwoman of the oversight committee, which recommends renting out Buckingham Palace for conferences.

Antúnez, Mexico
Citizen police: Mexico has ended its standoff with armed vigilantes in the state of Michoacán by legalizing the militia groups. The groups formed to fight the Knights Templar, a drug cartel that has terrorized the state for years, extorting money from businesses and hanging women and children. The Mexican government sent troops to the state two weeks ago after heavy fighting between the vigilantes and the cartel, but the vigilante leaders said they wouldn’t disarm until the cartel bosses were arrested. Now, one boss is in custody, and the government has agreed to transform the militias into an official, government-backed Rural Defense Corps. “They needed to do something to save face,” analyst Alejandro Hope told The Wall Street Journal.


Charlotte Amalie, U.S. Virgin Islands
Vomit ship: A Royal Caribbean cruise ship had to head home to New Jersey early after more than 650 people experienced vomiting and diarrhea in an apparent norovirus outbreak. Passengers said the Explorer of the Seas reeked of vomit and disinfectant. “I started with upset stomach and vomiting, and that lasted all night and into the morning,” passenger Joseph Angelillo told CNN. “I’ve been sick and quarantined,” tweeted passenger Arnee Dodd. “Everything I touch goes in a biohazard bag.” The highly contagious norovirus can spread quickly in a confined environment. Royal Caribbean is giving passengers a refund of half their fare and a coupon for half off their next cruise.

Lima, Peru
A line in the sea: The maritime border between Peru and Chile is now settled. In a ruling this week, the International Court of Justice drew a line that gives Peru most of the Pacific Ocean area it requested while leaving to Chile some lucrative coastal fishing grounds, where anchovies are plentiful. “Peru is pleased with the outcome,” said President Ollanta Humala, adding that he would “take the required actions and measures immediately for its prompt implementation.” Chilean President-elect Michelle Bachelet called it a “painful loss” and said she planned to “implement the ruling gradually.”

Warsaw
Anti-semitism without Jews: Anti-Semitism is raging among Poles, most of whom have never met a Jewish person. According to the latest Warsaw University study, nearly two thirds of Poles believe a Jewish cabal controls the international media, while 13 percent believe in the “blood libel”—the myth that Jews use the blood of Christian infants for religious rituals. The provinces of Lublin and Lodz, where large Jewish communities once existed and where the ruins of many synagogues still stand, were the most anti-Semitic. Before the Holocaust there were 3.2 million Jews in Poland; today there are about 10,000.

São Paulo
‘no Cup’: A protest against Brazil’s hosting of the upcoming World Cup soccer tournament turned violent this week when anarchists attacked police. The protest began peacefully, with 1,000 demonstrators chanting, “If we have no rights, there will be no Cup,” but after anarchists attacked a police car and smashed bank windows, police fired tear gas and rubber bullets into the crowd. Over 100 people were arrested. The Anonymous Rio protest group said the march was just the first act in its “Operation Stop the World Cup” campaign. Brazilians are angry that the government is spending more than $10 billion to host the event while citizens lack health care and education.

Cairo
Press muzzled: Egyptian authorities have charged 20 Al Jazeera reporters with conspiring with the Muslim Brotherhood and broadcasting falsified footage of unrest “that raises alarms about the state’s collapse.” It’s the latest example of the militarybacked government’s crushing of dissent since it ousted President Mohammed Morsi last summer and declared the Brotherhood a terrorist group. Simply running an interview with a Brotherhood member may now be a crime. Al Jazeera, a Qatar-based satellite network, is one of the only independent Arabic-language news sources available in Egypt, and the only broadcaster that has been critical of the government’s brutal killings of at least 1,000 Islamists. Authorities said the 20—all Egyptians except for two British, one Australian, and one Dutch citizen—had manipulated TV footage to make it look like Egypt was in crisis.

Bangui, Central African
Christian vs. Muslim: Just a week after being elected by a transitional assembly, Central African Republic’s interim president, Catherine Samba-Panza, is calling for U.N. troops to stabilize her country. One quarter of the country’s 4 million people have been displaced by fighting since the mostly Muslim Seleka rebel group last year took over much of the majority Christian country, and now Christian militias are launching revenge attacks on Muslims. “The situation is very, very dire, and the country is huge,” said Gérard Araud, French ambassador to the U.N. “At least 10,000 soldiers are necessary.” Some 6,600 French and African troops are already there.

Sochi, Russia
Toilets as a symbol: A photo of two toilets sharing a stall at the Olympic Park in Sochi has gone viral in Russian social media, a symbol of the waste and corruption in the Olympic effort. A BBC reporter found it odd that an extra toilet was built into the stall, out of reach of the toilet paper. The photo he posted online was reblogged all over the Russian Internet and even featured on Russian TV. “This is what $50bn gets you,” said a typical tweet. Another joked that one toilet is for the athlete, the other for his KGB bodyguard. One popular version photoshopped above the toilets a poster of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev, who have alternated in the top two leading roles since 2008. “It’s the tandem toilet!” said one tweet.

Kabul
All a U.s. plot? Afghan President Hamid Karzai thinks the U.S. is behind insurgent attacks on his government, and therefore refuses to authorize a security pact to keep U.S. troops in the country past the end of this year. A Karzai aide told The Washington Post that the Afghan leader believes dozens of attacks blamed on the Taliban were actually planned by the U.S. to weaken his government and divert attention from civilian casualties caused by U.S. strikes. U.S. Ambassador James Cunningham said the reported suspicion was “a deeply conspiratorial view that’s divorced from reality.” He said, “It flies in the face of logic and morality to think that we would aid the enemy we’re trying to defeat.”


Jerusalem
P.M.’s son dates gentile: Orthodox leaders in Israel are calling on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to break up a relationship between his son Yair, 23, and a non-Jewish Norwegian woman. Norwegian media said Netanyahu spoke proudly of his son’s relationship when he met Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg last week at the World Economic Forum. But back home, the news was poorly received. “I know friends of mine who invest tens of millions and more, hundreds of millions, to fight assimilation in the world,” said Arieh Deri, leader of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party. “If, God forbid, it’s true, woe to us.” Netanyahu’s brotherin-law Hagai Ben-Artzi, told the press that the prime minister’s tolerance amounted to “spitting on the graves” of his grandparents.

Melbourne
Hottest summer ever: Australians are suffering through their worst summer since records began being kept more than 100 years ago. The temperature was over 104 degrees in Victoria for nearly a week, while Melbourne’s downtown temperature soared to 109 degrees one day. Paramedics said they were fielding calls about cardiac arrests every six minutes. Two weeks ago, the Australian Open had to be halted until evenings, as players vomited and hallucinated and spectators claimed their plastic water bottles were melting. “Those conditions would lead to fires being quite uncontrollable if a fire started,” said Country Fire Authority spokesman Steven Walls.

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