1 | Geneva Safety First Accidental injury kills more than 2,000 children worldwide each day, according to the World Report on Child Injury Prevention, released by the World Health Organization and UNICEF on Dec. 9. While around 95% of these fatal accidents occur in developing countries, unintentional injuries account for 40% of child deaths in the developed world as well. The report suggests that the number of deaths could be cut in half if proven prevention methods such as helmet and seat-belt laws were more widely adopted.
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Global Child-Injury Deaths by Cause
Other unintentional 31.1%
Road-traffic injuries 22.3%
Self-inflicted injuries 4.4%
Fire-related injuries 9.1%
(SOURCES: WHO (2008), GLOBAL BURDEN OF DISEASE: 2004 UPDATE)
2 | Washington Blackwater Guards Charged In the latest blow to Blackwater Worldwide, the largest security contractor in Iraq, five employees were indicted on voluntary-manslaughter and other charges in the deaths of 17 Iraqi civilians at a busy Baghdad intersection. The Justice Department unsealed a statement given by a sixth guard recounting the 2007 incident in which dozens of people were shot. In the account, Jeremy Ridgeway describes how he and five other men opened fire on cars and even a girls' school, claiming it was done without provocation.
3 | Washington Report Calls Out FCC Chair Over Bad Manners What started as a bipartisan investigation of Federal Communications Commission head Kevin Martin ended with a scathing report from House Democrats that stopped short of accusing the Republican chairman of illegal acts. The House Energy and Commerce Committee report, which GOP members declined to endorse, blasted Martin's "heavy-handed, opaque and noncollegial management style" and accused him of manipulating or withholding from the public data on the cable-TV industry, among other charges. Martin is expected to step down when the next Administration takes office.
4 | Amsterdam Less Sleaze, More Culture Citing its brothels and marijuana cafés as havens for crime, city officials in the Dutch capital have unveiled a $50 million plan to replace half of them with restaurants, galleries and hotels. Officials hope to broaden the city's appeal and make tourists feel less embarrassed about visiting.
5 | Chicago No News Is Bad News The Tribune Co., which owns the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, and the Chicago Cubs, among other properties, filed for bankruptcy on Dec. 8, less than a year after billionaire Samuel Zell took the media conglomerate private. Zell's purchase left the company with $13.4 billion in debt, which it was unable to overcome because of the economic crisis and the dire state of the newspaper industry.
APRIL 2, 2007 Tribune Co. accepts Zell's $8.2 billion purchase offer. Zell himself puts up only $315 million and borrows the rest against the employee pension plan
DEC. 20, 2007 Sale is finalized, tripling the company's debt. Zell names himself chairman and CEO
JANUARY 2007 TO SEPTEMBER 2008 Company eliminates over 1,000 jobs and sells various assets to alleviate debt
SEPT. 16, 2008 Los Angeles Times reporters sue Zell, accusing him of fiscal recklessness