Historic apology offered
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard delivered a historic national apology in Parliament on Thursday to the thousands of unwed mothers who were forced by government policies to give up their babies for adoption over several decades. More than 800 people, many of them in tears, heard the apology in the Great Hall of Parliament House and responded with a standing ovation. “Today this Parliament on behalf of the Australian people takes responsibility and apologizes for the policies and practices that forced the separation of mothers from their babies, which created a lifelong legacy of pain and suffering,” Gillard told the audience. She committed $5 million to support services for affected families and to help biological families reunite.
President maps his exit
Sudan’s president said he intends to step down in 2015 after more than 20 years in power. In an interview published Wednesday, Omar al-Bashir said the people of Sudan need “fresh blood and a new impetus to continue their march.” Al-Bashir seized power in a 1989 coup that toppled an elected government. He was last elected in 2010, a year before Sudan’s southern region became independent. The International Criminal Court has charged al-Bashir with genocide and other crimes during the deadly conflict in Sudan’s western Darfur region. Despite an international warrant for his arrest, he has traveled to several friendly nations since he was indicted in open defiance of the court.
Bailout strategy redrawn
Searching for a way out of a crippling financial crisis, officials in Cyprus on Wednesday pursued a new bailout strategy that could include a loan from Russia in exchange for natural gas leases and selling off assets from its most troubled banks. Cyprus needs to come up with $7.5 billion on its own in order to secure rescue loans from international creditors. But the country’s first plan to seize up to 10 percent of people’s bank accounts failed miserably. Now officials are trying to limit the amount of money they need to take from customer’s deposits.
Compiled from wire reports.