the Context

AfghanistanAfghan and NATO-led troops kill 15 Taliban militants in the southern Kandahar province during a joint operation.

Fighting erupts between ethnic rebel groups and Burmese government forces in the east of the country; thousands of people flee into Thailand.

Thousands flee across the Burmese border to escape clashes between troops and ethnic Karen rebels, a day after the first election in 20 years.

An armed group kidnaps at least two Americans, two Frenchmen and a Canadian from an Transocean oil rig in the Okoro Oilfield off the coast of Niger Delta, Nigeria, injuring two others.

Bomb attacks in the Iraqi cities of Karbala, Najaf and Basra kill at least nineteen people and injure scores more.

Bomb attacks on Shia targets in Karbala, Najaf and Basra in Iraq leave at least 19 people dead and many injured.

American talk show host Conan O'Brien returns to television on TBS ten months after his high-profile exit from "The Tonight Show".

The Foreign Minister of Israel, Avigdor Lieberman, denounces the left-wing performers who refuse to perform in a theatre in a Jewish settlement on the West Bank as an "extremist group trying to wage cultural terrorism".

French novelist Michel Houellebecq wins the Prix Goncourt for his book "La Carte et le Territoire" ("The Map and the Territory").

Michel Houellebecq, France's best-known novelist, has finally won the country's most prestigious literary award after a series of high profile snubs for previous works.

Global Green Growth conference ends in Copenhagen.

Qantas Flight 32: Qantas announces that it has found "slight anomalies" in the engines of its Airbus 380 aircraft and is keeping it grounded for the time being.

Australian airline Qantas says it is keeping its Airbus A380s grounded for further checks after finding "anomalies" with three engines.

Express delivery company DHL promises better screening of customers and parcels before they are sent to airports after recent parcel bombs sent from Yemen and Greece.

A government conservation campaign, and possible hoarding by state oil companies, causes a severe shortage on diesel fuel in the People's Republic of China, disrupting industry and commerce.

At least 120 people are tested for cholera in the capital of Haiti, Port-au-Prince.

An explosion due to mishandling of explosives kills two in a Copiapo, Chile copper mine. (Wikinews)

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle calls on Hamas to free captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit and urges Israel to end its embargo of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, but does not meet with the Gaza leadership because of group's refusal to renounce violence and recognize Israel.

The annual meeting of the Kimberley Process closes in Jerusalem without finding a solution to the issue of "blood diamond" exports from the Marange diamond fields of Zimbabwe.

Last week’s four-day annual plenary meeting of the diamond-regulating Kimberley Process (KP)failed to find a solution to the ongoing issue of diamond exports from the Marange region.

President of the United States Barack Obama backs a permanent seat for India on the UN Security Council.

The Obama administration bans cargo shipments from Somalia in the wake of the Yemen bomb attacks.

Israel has revealed plans to build nearly 1,300 housing units for Jewish settlers in east Jerusalem.

Israel reveals plans to build nearly 1,300 housing units for Jewish settlers in occupied East Jerusalem.

The United States offers to drop Sudan from its list of "state sponsors of terrorism", ending its isolation, if two scheduled referendums take place with respected results.

Libyan authorities arrest 10 reporters apparently for criticizing Libya's leadership.

Unidentified attackers armed with knives kill 12 people in Kushchyovskaya, Krasnodar krai, Russia.

U.S. militant Lori Berenson is released from prison in Peru after serving more than a decade for collaborating with the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement.

Human rights organizations say the Palestinian Authority is depriving Palestinians in Gaza affiliated with Hamas of passports; Hamas has retaliated by depriving Gazans belonging to Fatah of their passports.

Human rights organizations say the PA is punishing Gaza Palestinians affiliated with Hamas by depriving them of travel documents.

Parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan were held in accordance with international standards.

Two people are killed and several injured after a protest camp in Western Sahara is broken up by Morocco, hours before talks on the disputed territory begin.

At least five people are killed and dozens injured as Moroccan forces break up a protest camp in the disputed Western Sahara territory.

An ECOWAS regional court in West Africa orders authorities in Niger to release deposed President Mamadou Tandja who was detained in a coup in February.

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard announces a referendum to decide whether indigenous Australians should be recognised in the Constitution.

The reptile scientist, Ngo Van Tri of the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology, discovers a species of self-cloning lizard later known as "Leiolepis ngovantrii" when he came across tanks full of them at small restaurants in rural villages in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province. Ngo Van Tri becomes intrigued when he notices that all of the lizards appeared to be female.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao unveils pictures of the moon's Sinus Iridum, or Bay of Rainbows, taken during China's Chang`e-2 lunar probe mission.