The World

10 ESSENTIAL STORIES

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PETA is not going to be happy with this one. In a major free-speech ruling, the Supreme Court struck down a 1999 federal law that made it a crime to sell videos or photos of animals being tortured or killed. Writing for the 8-1 majority--which overturned the conviction of a Virginia man who sold dogfighting videos--Chief Justice John Roberts called the scope of the law "alarming." Interpreted narrowly, he argued, it could be taken as a ban on hunting videos. Rejecting the government's argument that footage of such dubious value and high social cost did not merit protection, the court found that the free-speech right is content neutral. Justice Samuel Alito, the lone dissenter, said the majority opinion was grounded in "fanciful hypotheticals."

6 | China

A TIME TO MOURN

A week after a 6.9-magnitude earthquake struck Qinghai province, killing more than 2,000 people, injuring more than 12,000 others and leaving tens of thousands homeless, China observed a national day of mourning. On April 21, flags flew at half-staff, entertainment activities (including online games) were shut down, and citizens across the country bowed their heads. While state television aired footage of President Hu Jintao and other leaders observing the solemn day, Tibetan Buddhist monks--who have played a significant role in relief efforts--were not shown.

7 | Iraq

Al-Qaeda Falters

U.S. and Iraqi forces killed two top al-Qaeda operatives in northern Iraq. Abu Omar al-Baghdadi and Abu al-Masri were among the most-wanted terrorists in the country, according to Iraqi PM Nouri al-Maliki. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden hailed the operation as a "potentially devastating blow" to al-Qaeda in Iraq.

8 | Argentina

Ex-Dictator Sentenced

"Justice was delivered late, but it was delivered," remarked an Argentine after a tribunal handed down a 25-year prison sentence for Reynaldo Bignone on April 20. The 82-year-old, the last of several dictators who ruled Argentina between 1976 and 1983, was convicted along with six others of the kidnapping and torture of 56 people at Campo de Mayo, one of the nation's largest former detention camps.

9 | Cyprus

Election Casts More Doubt

Turkish Cypriots elected Dervis Eroglu President on April 18. While Eroglu has long supported Turkish Cypriot independence (the Mediterranean island has been split between ethnic Turks and Greeks since 1974), he says the U.N. negotiations on reunification that began between his predecessor and the internationally recognized President of Cyprus will continue. Turkey's potential admission to the E.U. is largely dependent on a resolution between the island's two sectors.

10 | Venezuela

A Lucrative Partnership

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