News in Brief

The Hague, Netherlands The Group of 8 (G8), an assembly of the world’s eight leading industrialized nations, is now the G7. On March 24, U.S. government officials told CNN that President Barack Obama and other world leaders have suspended Russia’s G8 membership in response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s annexation of Crimea. During a news conference at The Hague, Netherlands, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov downplayed the eviction, insisting that “the G8 is an informal organization” and “being kicked out of G8 would be no big deal,” according to CNN.

 Cairo, Egypt On March 24, the Upper Egypt court convicted and sentenced to death 529 alleged members of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood. The charges? Murdering a police commander. According to The Wall Street Journal, the sentence is likely to be appealed but serves as evidence of the military-backed regime’s determination to crush the once-powerful organization. “(The mass death sentence) is a grotesque example of the shortcomings and the selective nature of Egypt’s justice system,” Amnesty International said in a news report.

Southern Indian Ocean After an 18-day investigation that commenced on March 8, satellite experts led by the U.K.’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch confirmed that the Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 is submerged in the middle of the Indian Ocean, west of Perth, Australia. According to New York Daily News, on March 24, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced that none of the 239 people on board survived the incident. A day later, citing “delays and deception,” victims’ families along with their supporters stormed the Malaysian Embassy in Beijing, China, and shouted, “Tell the truth! Return our relatives!” New York Daily News reports.

Havana, Cuba Headquartered in the nation’s capital, the   state-run daily newspaper, Granma, reported that the Cuban government will give pay raises to over 440,000 medical workers, the Associated Press reports. Beneficiaries of the pay hikes include health care professionals: multi-specialty physicians will receive a salary raise to $67 per month, up from $26, and beginning nurses will be paid $25 per month, up from $13. According to Granma, “the elimination of 109,000 jobs considered to be redundant by the government in the past four years makes the (planned pay raises) possible.”