1 In Norway, Anders Behring Breivik, the man charged with the killing of 77 people in July, made his first public appearance in court this week. As before, Breivik refused to plead guilty. The 32-year-old right-wing extremist has been in custody since his attacks in Oslo and at a youth camp on the island of Utoeya. His trial date has been set for April 16, pending psychiatric tests.
2 In an eff ort to assure the utmost level of security for the 2012 Olympic Games in London, Britain’s Defence Secretary Philip Hammond told Members of Parliament that ground-to-air missiles would be deployed at the Games if deemed necessary. According to the Associated Press, officials dismissed reports from The Guardian that claimed that the United States was so worried about security plans for the event that it would send “up to 1,000 of its own people, including 500 FBI agents.”
3 With unrest still mounting in Syria and dozens of people reportedly arrested, King Abdullah of Jordan has urged President of Syria Bashar al-Assad to step down as leader of the country. King Abdullah became the fi rst leader to openly urge Assad to quit, telling the BBC that if he were in Assad’s position, he would start talks to ensure an orderly transition. He said, “I would step down and make sure whoever comes behind me has the ability to change the status quo that we’re seeing,” and added, “whenever you exert violence on your own people it is never going to end well.”
4 The United States Supreme Court announced that it will hear arguments on the constitutionality of President Barack Obama’s health care reform law, most likely in March 2012. Opposers of the law point to its requirement for all Americans to buy health insurance, citing it as a violation of individual rights. The court will decide if said clause is illegal and whether the entire law should be scrapped or not. The court is expected to rule on the case by June 2012, only five months before the next presidential election.