Protesters Sentenced To Death
A military court sentenced four Shi'ite men to death for allegedly killing two police officers during protests against the country's ruling monarchy. According to human-rights activists, the men, who pleaded not guilty, were denied legal counsel and may have been subjected to torture. The trial was the first legal action brought against the roughly 500 demonstrators swept up by the state's security forces. With the aid of troops from Saudi Arabia, the regime has violently clamped down on dissent; at least 30 people have been killed in recent weeks. Bahrain's Shi'ite majority has long complained of marginalization at the hands of the Sunni dynasty in power. Countering state propaganda, activists say the uprisings have little to do with sectarian divisions and far more with popular demands for political reform. But this latest sentence and the state's continued heavy-handedness may deepen hostilities between the kingdom's Sunnis and Shi'ites.
Bomb Blast Rocks Marrakech
An explosion at a café in Marrakech, one of Morocco's biggest tourist draws, killed at least 16 people, including 10 foreigners. Officials suspect that the attack, in popular Djemaa el Fna Square, was carried out by a suicide bomber, possibly with links to al-Qaeda's North African branch. The bombing comes amid weeks of protests by Moroccans seeking greater democratic reforms from King Mohammed. With authorities already distracted by demonstrations across the country, Islamic militants may have sensed an opportunity to strike. If confirmed as the work of terrorists, this would be the fourth such attack since 2003, when 45 people were killed in a series of blasts in Casablanca. Protesters worry that the monarchy will respond by clamping down on dissent.
World by the Numbers
[The following text appears within a map. Please see hardcopy or PDF for actual map.]
Number of people expected to attend the April 29 launch of space shuttle Endeavour; it was postponed
Estimated carbon footprint, in tons, of the royal wedding--more than 12 times what Buckingham Palace generates every year
Number of sailors still held hostage by Somali pirates
Approximate number of members of the ruling Baath party who resigned as security forces cracked down on protests
10 THE NETHERLANDS
Length, in years, of a contract offered to a 1-year-old toddler by a Dutch soccer team after a video of the child kicking balls went viral on YouTube
Harvard Man To Succeed Dalai Lama
Lobsang Sangay, a 43-year-old legal scholar who studied at Harvard, was elected Prime Minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile by fellow Tibetans living in India and elsewhere in the exile diaspora. The election comes after the aging Dalai Lama's announcement in March that he would relinquish his political duties. Despite decades of trying, the Dalai Lama failed to soften China's hard-line posture on Tibet, leaving Sangay the task of carving out a new path for the Tibetan cause. Chinese officials denounced the election, calling Sangay's government "illegal."