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U.S. Gives In on Settlements

After months of negotiations over the renewal of an Israeli settlement freeze, U.S. officials said they had given up on persuading Israel to halt construction in the West Bank. While the U.S. offered defense and diplomatic incentives in exchange for a construction halt, the right-wing Israeli Cabinet never approved the deal. The Palestinians refuse to resume direct talks without a moratorium.

7 | London


Hours after his London arrest, supporters of Julian Assange and his controversial antisecrecy website WikiLeaks began targeting companies that had stopped serving the group. "Hacktivists" from around the globe, who claimed they were striking back against governments trying to muzzle WikiLeaks, managed, among other successes, to shut down the website of Mastercard, which had earlier prevented credit-card donations from reaching WikiLeaks.

8 | Shanghai

In School, China on the Rise

An international assessment of students showed that as China's economic power has risen, so has its educational prowess. The survey, which rated the aptitude of 15-year-olds in 65 countries, shows teens in Shanghai far outscoring international peers in reading, math and science. However, officials acknowledged Shanghai is a magnet for China's best students and does not represent the entire nation. For its part, the U.S. lags behind countries like Finland and South Korea.

U.S. students trail those evaluated in Shanghai

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



U.S. 500





9 | Ivory Coast


Former Prime Minister Alassane Ouattara was declared the winner of Ivory Coast's presidential election, with 54% of the vote, but the country's Constitutional Council nullified the results and instead awarded the presidency to incumbent Laurent Gbagbo. Both politicians took oaths of office and named their Cabinets. The election was intended to unify Ivory Coast, which has endured more than a decade of political unrest.

10 | Santiago

Prison Fire

Attention turned to Chile's overcrowded prison system when a fire broke out in the San Miguel prison, killing more than 80 inmates. The Chilean Health Minister said it was likely the nation's worst prison disaster. Some 1,900 inmates had been jailed in a facility built to accommodate about 1,000. On the day of the fire, President Sebastián Piñera--who presided over the dramatic rescue of 33 trapped miners in October--said the current "penitentiary system isn't worthy" of Chile and spoke of reforming the nation's "inhumane" jails.

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