News in brief

Paris, France 

On Oct. 22, an article in Le Monde, a French daily, accused the U.S. National Security Agency of spying on French diplomats in Washington and at the U.N. Le Monde claims that the U.S. implanted spyware after hacking foreign networks with the help of Genie: the NSA’s mass surveillance program. In another recent issue, Le Monde also alleged that the NSA “spied on 70.3 million phone calls in France between Dec. 10, 2012, and Jan. 8, 2013,” the BBC reports.

Sparks, Nevada, USA 

Early afternoon on Oct. 22, a 12-year-old boy shot and killed a math teacher at Sparks Middle School before taking his own life. While it remains to be seen whether or not the boy had premeditated targets, authorities told CNN that the teacher who was killed bought time for students to flee after the boy opened fire and injured two classmates. Sparks Deputy Police Chief Tom Miller revealed that the boy used a Ruger 9mm semiautomatic handgun,

which allegedly belonged to his parents.

New South Wales, Australia

While an array of wildfires ravage forests in Australia’s most inhabited state, firefighters have reason to believe that the worst has passed. Over 200 homes were destroyed by fires as of Oct. 21, but according to New South Wales Premier Barry O’Farrell, firefighters have saved thousands others with a clever tactic: back-burning. In the vicinity of Sydney’s metropolitan area, firefighters back-burned two fires, strategically joining them to prevent a merger with a third, larger one.

Odisha State, India

On Oct. 11, Cyclone Phailin rolled in with gusts of up to 190 mph and wrecked the eastern coast of India. Residents of Odisha feared a repeat of 1999, when a cyclone of Phailin’s caliber took more than 10,000 lives. When the storm receded and 21 deaths were recorded, residents credited the government for an evacuation of over 900,000 from the low-lying region to shelters in schools and government offices.