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What in the World is Going On?

1After having economic sanctions levied against it by members of the Arab League over the weekend, Syria has also been condemned by the United Nations. According a UN report, the nation’s security forces have committed systematic “crimes against humanity” through their method of cracking down on anti-government protesters. An independent panel conducted a study that says civilians — including children — have been murdered, tortured and sexually assaulted. Syria has condemned the Arab League’s imposition of sanctions, which include an asset freeze and an embargo on investments, but the country has not responded to the UN report.

2 An explosion killed three people and wounded 27 at a southern Philippines hotel on Sunday, an official said. Sheila Covarrubias, a spokeswoman for the mayor’s office, said the blast took place at the Atilano Pension House in Zamboanga City. Among the injured were several wedding guests, she said. The cause of the blast was not immediately known, but a bomb squad was sent to the area. However its work was initially hampered by a fire that followed the explosion, Covarrubias said.

3 Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos announced Monday that one of Colombia’s most wanted drug traffickers, Maximiliano Bonilla Orozco, alias “El Valenciano,” has been captured in Venezuelan territory. Santos thanked Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez during his visit to Caracas for the capture of Valenciano, who is allegedly a member of the Los Paisas cartels. The U.S. State Department said Valenciano operated a transnational narcotics organization that distributes cocaine from Colombia through Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico to the United States. The Department offered up to $5 million as a reward for information leading to his arrest or conviction.

4 Vote counting began in the Democratic Republic of Congo Tuesday after over 30 million voters made their way to the polls this week. It was the nation’s second postwar election. After facing many logistical problems, at least four people died after gunmen attacked polling stations in the second city, Lubumbashi, officials say. In the opposition stronghold of West Kasai, polling stations were reportedly set on fire by voters angry at long delays but the capital, Kinshasa was generally peaceful. Some 22,000 UN peacekeepers are stationed around the country and are expected to help prevent any outbreaks of violence. Though the vote count has begun, final results are not expected for several days.

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