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Monday, December 22, 2014

World briefs

Australia
New satellite data provided by French officials on Sunday could have helped discover debris from Flight 370, the Malaysia Airlines jet that went missing midflight, according to the Associated Press. The data, which consists of “radar echoes,” identified debris that might have belonged to the flight. The images were taken in the southern part of the Indian Ocean, where the plane is suspected to have disappeared. The Boeing 777-200, which was carrying 239 passengers, vanished on March 8. Malaysian authorities do not have any prevailing theories about what happened to the aircraft, according to the article.

France
The National Front, a conservative French political party, scored gains in first-round town hall elections Sunday, according to Reuters. French voters aimed to punish President Francois Hollande for his failure to reduce unemployment. Hollande’s Socialists earned 43 percent of the vote, while opposition conservatives pulled in 48 percent. Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault spoke in opposition to the party, which has had problems with racism in the past, though the party’s image has been softened by FN leader Marine Le Pen, according to the article. Second-round elections will take place next Sunday.

Netherlands
While nuclear terrorism is officially the main topic of this year’s Nuclear Security Summit, talks of Ukraine will likely dominate the discussion, according to the Associated Press. The two-day nuclear terrorism summit, which is part of a series of discussions initiated by President Obama in 2009, will take place Monday in the Hague, according to the article. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is expected to speak with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. Despite the tensions formed by Russia’s annexation of Crimea, experts say the diplomats should still focus on international nuclear threats, according to the article.

Spain
Adolfo Suarez, Spain’s first democratically elected prime minister, died Sunday afternoon in Madrid’s Cemtro Clinic, according to the Associated Press. Suarez suffered from Alzheimer’s disease for a decade before his death. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy declared three days of national mourning and King Juan Carlos expressed gratitude and sadness after Suarez’s death. In 1976, Carlos chose Suarez toward a democratic parliamentary monarchy after the death of right-wing ruler Gen. Francisco Franco, according to the article. Suarez was 81 years old.

Turkey
Turkish armed forces shot down a Syrian plane that crossed into the country’s airspace Sunday, according to Reuters. Syria condemned the shooting, calling the act “blatant aggression.” The jet was pursuing Syrian rebels, who have been battling the nation’s forces for control of a border crossing. The Turkish general staff said its control centers detected two Syrian planes and warned them four times after they came close to the Turkish border. The pilot was able to eject before the plane crashed, according to the article.

Venezuela
Venezuela’s Attorney General Luisa Ortega Diaz said Sunday that police have been using excessive force during weeks of protests in Venezuela, according to the Agence France-Presse. Officials are investigating 60 complaints against police, including three murder allegations. Ortega said 15 officials have been detained, and the instances of abuse were isolated. The student-led protests in Venezuela started Feb. 4 in response to violent crime, inflation and shortages in basic goods. So far, at least 31 people have been killed and hundreds wounded in the protests.