Month in review
Off target: Pakistani helicopter gunships on October 30 destroy a madrassa the military says is fronting as an al-Qaeda training camp, killing 80 people. Islamic leaders in Pakistan blame the United States for the air strike and call for countrywide demonstrations to condemn the attack that flattened the school and ripped apart those inside. Furious villagers and religious leaders say the pre-dawn missile barrage killed innocent students and teachers with no confirmed ties with al-Qaeda.
The Malawian child at the centre of a controversial adoption bid by pop star Madonna reaches the UK on October 16. One-year-old David Banda flew into the country despite efforts by Malawian charities to stop the adoption. They claim the proposed adoption is unlawful because the singer and her husband have not lived in Malawi. A Malawian court grants Madonna and her husband temporary custody of the boy.
Starbucks, the icon of US coffee culture, is accused by the Ethiopian government and British aid agency Oxfam of stopping the African country from trademarking its coffee, denying farmers potential income of about £50 million a year. Oxfam said the US coffee shop prevented Ethiopia from securing trademark protection for two of its best-known beans: Sidamo and Harar. "Securing the trademark for its Sidamo, Harar, and Yirgacheffe coffee beans could have allowed the country to increase its negotiation leverage through control of the names and ultimately (derive) a greater share of the retail price in the global market," Ethiopia's Foreign Ministry says in a statement. Starbucks, the coffee giant with a yearly turnover of $7.8 billion, denies the accusation.
35-year-old Indian-born novelist Kiran Desai becomes the youngest ever woman recipient of the prestigious Booker prize in fiction. Her mother Anita Desai has been short-listed for the prize three times since 1980 but has never won. This year, however, daughter Kiran wins the acclaimed literary prize worth £50,000 for The Inheritance of Loss, a novel set in the north-eastern Himalayas, at the foot of Mount Kanchenjunga, in an isolated and crumbling house, centring on the lives of an embittered old judge and his orphaned granddaughter amidst an Indian-Nepalese insurgency. "We are delighted to announce that the winner of the Man Booker Prize for 2006 is Kiran Desai's The Inheritance of Loss, a magnificent novel of humane breadth and wisdom, comic tenderness and powerful political acuteness. The winner was chosen, after a long, passionate, and generous debate, from a shortlist of five other strong and original voices," declares Hermione Lee, chair of the Booker judges, on October 10.
Re-elected: With a 20 million vote margin over the opposition candidate, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is re-elected to serve the Latin American country for another four years. Lula, a former shoeshine boy and union leader, became Brazil's first working-class president in 2002. His re-election on October 29 re-confirms Latin America's continent-wide shift to the left.
Nuclear Happy: Kim Jong Il and his deputies have reason to smile on October 9, as North Korea's official news agency reports a successful underground nuclear test by the country. This places North Korea as the 8th member of the nuclear club, other members: US, UK, Russia, China, France, India, and Pakistan. On October 14, the UN Security Council votes unanimously to impose a wide set of sanctions on North Korea as punishment. North Korea -- often referred as an "outpost of tyranny" by US President George W Bush -- outright rejects the resolution and walks out of the Security Council chamber.