The World

10 ESSENTIAL STORIES

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1 | Haiti

A Brutal Dictator Returns

Former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier unexpectedly returned to Port-au-Prince after almost 25 years in exile. But he was soon detained and formally charged with corruption and embezzlement stemming from his 15-year reign of terror that ended after a popular uprising in 1986. Duvalier is accused of ordering the kidnapping and murder of thousands of political opponents during his time in power. Yet the former strongman retains some support, and his visit coincided with an ongoing dispute over the results of the recent presidential election, prompting suspicion about his motives. Haiti is still trying to recover from last year's devastating earthquake.

2 | Nigeria

Shoot-to-Kill Orders Issued

The army gave its soldiers permission to shoot to kill after a Christian mob attacked Muslims who were preparing to register voters for April's presidential election. Residents of the city of Jos were warned that the army would fire on anyone engaging in violence or attempting to destroy a church or mosque. The area, on the fault line between Hausa Muslims and Berom Christians, has been a flash point of violence for years. A series of bombings and killings since late last year has left at least 100 dead. Nigeria, Africa's most populous country, has suffered additional setbacks in registering some 70 million people for April's election.

3 | London

New Cache of Swiss WikiLeaks

Rudolf Elmer, a former Swiss-bank executive turned whistle-blower, gave WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange two computer disks that he said contain details of more than 2,000 individuals and companies (including some 40 politicians and other "pillars of society") that evaded income taxes through offshore banking. On Jan. 19, Swiss police arrested Elmer, who for eight years ran Caribbean operations for Julius Baer, one of Switzerland's top private banks, on charges of breaching bank secrecy laws.

4 | Lebanon

Hariri Inquiry Deepens Crisis

Heads of state from Turkey, Syria and Qatar met in an attempt to defuse growing tensions in Lebanon after the radical Shi'ite party Hizballah scuttled the nation's coalition government. Hizballah members are likely to be named as suspects by a U.N. tribunal investigating the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri. The prosecutor in the case issued a sealed indictment Jan. 17 to a judge. But it may take as long as eight weeks until the names of the accused are revealed, which would occur only if the case went to trial.

5 | Washington

Health Care Returns To Congress

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