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Published:Tuesday | March 9, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Still no school for many after quake


Chile's earthquake-delayed school year began Monday, but education officials said it may take until April 1 before all students are back in classrooms.

About half of the schools in the disaster zone have some damage from the 8.8-magnitude earthquake and tsunami, and others are being used as staging areas for relief. While the education ministry hasn't tallied the total repair cost, it is likely to use up a large part of the $1.2 billion that Chile estimates it will need for restoring infrastructure.

Real Hurt Lockers in Iraq


American bomb-disposal experts in Iraq say few people, even in armed forces, knew what they did. But not anymore.

Now, the United States (US) military's explosive experts are basking in their job's newfound fame after the Iraq war drama
The Hurt Locker
took home the best picture prize at Sunday's Academy Awards in Hollywood.

But the soldiers still have to explain they are not all like the film's arrogant, adrenaline-junkie hero.

Set in the summer of 2004, the movie tells the fictional story of an elite US Army bomb squad that has 38 days to go before their members can leave Baghdad. Under enormous pressure, since one false move can kill them and everyone around them, they are itching to get the job done and head home.

UN highlights drug problem for the poor


While celebrities earn notoriety from publicly going into rehab, millions of impoverished drug addicts are being ostracised, do not have access to doctors, and are often imprisoned, a senior United Nations (UN) official said yesterday.

Antonio Maria Costa, executive director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, also said the developing world, already struggling to deal with health, education and unemployment problems, lacks the treatment facilities and law enforcement to control narcotics.

"Poor addicts, and there are millions of them, have been pushed to the margins of society, deprived of medical attention, often exposed to conditions, including imprisonment, that exacerbate their illness," Costa said, according to a copy of a speech he delivered at a Vienna meeting of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs.

African charged with supporting terrorism


An African man provided money and was trained with weapons and explosives in a bid to help a terrorist organisation seeking to destabilise Somalia and attack United States interests, prosecutors announced yesterday.

Mohamed Ibrahim Ahmed was held without bail after a brief appearance before a federal magistrate judge in Manhattan. He was to enter a plea at a second court appearance scheduled for Tuesday.

His lawyer, Sabrina Shroff, said he will plead not guilty.

Ahmed, a citizen of Eritrea, in northeast Africa, was brought to the United States on Saturday to face an indictment accusing him of going to Somalia last year to help al-Shabaab, a group designated by the US government as a terrorist organisation.