World in brief: Oct. 12, 2010

Peace Prize selection angers China

Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo was likely sitting in his jail cell as he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last Friday for his non-violent struggle promoting human rights in the nation. The decision has drawn very mixed reactions across the globe, including much anger from the country that imprisoned him. The Nobel committee became the target of the Beijing government, who called Xiaobo, an important figure in the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, a criminal and said the award could damage relations with Norway. The prize may also damage relations between China and the U.S. after President Barack Obama praised Xiaobo following the announcement, calling for his immediate release and questioning the nation’s commitment to political reform. Fifty-four-year-old Xiaobo is currently serving an 11-year sentence for “inciting subversion,” after he released a human rights manifesto dubbed Charter 08.

Two calendars, one bear-fighting PM

Few political figures have attained as manly a status comparable to that of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, and for his 58th birthday a few female journalism students only upped this image by posing semi-nude in a calendar for him. Twelve female students from the journalism department at Moscow State University stripped down for the calendar, which featured captions like “You put out the forest fires, but I’m still burning.” The project reportedly pleased Putin, but angered groups within the faculty. In response to the first calendar, a second group of female journalism students released their own calendar, fully clothed with their mouths covered, with captions asking Putin serious questions about issues like terrorism and the unsolved murder of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya. Putin reportedly liked this calendar less.

Pants on the ground, bullet in the bum

A man in Memphis, Tenn. was tired of seeing kids wear their pants so low and decided to take matters into his own hands last week – by shooting an offending teenager in the buttocks. Kenneth Bonds, 45, saw two teenagers walking down his street with pants very low and began to yell at them to pull them up. The 16 and 17-year-old teens didn’t take too kindly to the order, and an argument followed. Bonds proceeded to pull his semi-automatic gun and fire repeatedly at the fleeing teens, catching the older of the two in his rear end. Bonds has been charged with two counts of aggravated assault in the incident, but no word on how bummed out the victim is, or as to whether he’s ready to leave put this behind him.

Students play with Sparrow

Johnny Depp might actually read his fan mail. The 47-year-old film icon visited an elementary school in Greenwich, London last week after a nine-year-old fan wrote him a letter asking him to come help, as the young students were “having a bit of trouble mutinying against the teachers.” Depp, who was filming the next Pirates of the Caribbean film in London, showed up at the school in full jack Sparrow regalia to the delight of the letter-writer Beatrice Delap and her classmates. In a clear break of character, however, Sparrow apparently told Delap not to mutiny, as police were stationed outside.

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