Chatter: Obama goes West (Bank)




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Go West Bank, young man. President Barack Obama is in Ramallah today for talks with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, 24 hours after getting up close and allied with Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel.

His welcome in the West Bank wasn't quite as warm: police had to clear protesters from the presidential compound, where Palestinians accused him of failing to keep early promises to promote a two-state solution. Obama will spend just a few hours in the West Bank before returning to Israel without, it seems fair to predict, having done much more.

D-Day for Cyprus. Or should that be B-Day? For Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades is due to present a plan B for funding the island's bailout, after parliament resoundingly rejected the terms of the EU's offer.

The president's alternative is thought to propose nationalizing pension funds, securing some unspecified help from Russia, and taxing bank deposits – though only ones of €100,000 or more. Lawmakers are expected to vote on the plan this afternoon. They'd better: the European Central Bank says it will cut off emergency funding to floundering Cypriot banks unless a deal is in place by Monday.


It came from China. Investigators in South Korea have traced yesterday's cyber attack to a Chinese IP address, a detail which Beijing says means nothing and which the more skeptical say strengthens their suspicions that North Korea was involved.

South Korea stresses it's still investigating, and meantime will keep "all kinds of possibilities open." Proving anything for sure is expected to take weeks or even months – and with tensions as they are, a lot else could happen before then.

Sorry seems to be the hardest word, for world leaders especially. Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard nonetheless managed to get it out, issuing Australia's first formal apology for the thousands of forced adoptions it mandated between the 1950s and 1970s.

The government policy saw as many as 250,000 babies taken from their unwilling, unmarried, mostly teenage mothers and given to childless married couples. Gillard called the practice "shameful" and said it had created "a lifelong legacy of pain and suffering." And since actions speak louder than words, she pledged A$5 million to help support those affected – some of which will go toward helping biological families reunite.

So you think you've got a tough job? If you work in the US, you can at least be fairly certain that the walls won't cave in; that the air your breathing won't cause your lungs to seize up; that your clients won't open fire to pilfer the contents of your wallet. But those are comforts that many of the world's 3 billion workers lack.

From cleaning up Fukushima to mining a man-eating mountain, from hazardous scrap ships in Pakistan to jewelry literally to die for in India, GlobalPost explores the world's most dangerous jobs.


Cheat me once... cheat me a thousand times. In the northern Indian state of Bihar, some 1,600 students were disqualified from their national school exams for using "unfair means." What's worse, 100 of their parents were also reprimanded for helping them to cheat.

One shameless dad described sending a younger sibling to pass a textbook to his son through a classroom window. Is it still cheating if everyone and their brother's doing it? Er, yes.