The World

10 ESSENTIAL STORIES

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1 | Northern Ireland

Bloody Sunday Reckoning

Following a 12-year investigation, a 5,000-page report on Northern Ireland's 1972 Bloody Sunday shootings concluded that they were "both unjustified and unjustifiable." British Prime Minister David Cameron offered an apology and declared that each of the 14 protesters killed was unarmed and innocent and that British soldiers had fired on them without warning. The government will decide whether to try any of the soldiers in court.

1998

An inquiry into the shootings is commissioned by Prime Minister Tony Blair. It is initially expected to last only two years

1998

Good Friday Agreement: Irish republicans and unionists, who want to maintain ties with Britain, agree to begin a peace process and form a power-sharing provincial government

2004

The investigation formally closes. Publication of a report is expected the following year, but it is delayed until 2010. The final cost of the probe totals nearly $290 million

2 | Iraq

A New Parliament Met Briefly

Following months of deadlock resulting from inconclusive March elections, a new Iraqi parliament convened for the first time on June 14. The body's 335 members did not elect new leadership, however, because of ongoing negotiations between the country's two largest political blocs, led by former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi and current Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Under Iraq's constitution, the parliament has 30 days to form a coalition government. The session came one day after insurgents attacked the country's central bank, killing at least 20 people.

3 | New York City

North Korea Plays Defense

Following a closed-door meeting with the U.N. Security Council, Sin Son Ho, North Korea's U.N. ambassador, held a rare press conference and rejected Seoul's assertion that his country is responsible for the March sinking of a South Korean ship, calling it "some kind of fiction." North Korea says it has increased its military readiness, and Sin urged U.N. impartiality, warning ominously that censure could provoke "follow-up measures."

4 | Belgium

A Nation at Odds with Itself

In June 13 parliamentary elections, called "an earthquake" by a Brussels think tank, the Socialist Party emerged victorious in Belgium's French-speaking south, while separatist parties captured nearly half the vote in the Dutch-speaking north. Politicians are struggling to form a coalition government in the chronically divided country (similar talks to form a government in 2007 lasted more than six months). The impasse comes at an inopportune moment: Belgium will assume the rotating presidency of the E.U.--which is embroiled in financial turmoil--in less than three weeks.

[The following text appears within a map. Please see hardcopy or PDF for actual map.]

Brussels

BELGIUM

• Dutch-speaking

• French-speaking

• German-speaking

• Capital region--French/Dutch

5 | Washington

Workforce Shortages

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