Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Computer Hackers of British University reveal information about global warming

After computer hackers released emails of information about global warming from a climate research center in a British University, some believe that researchers purposely conspired to release false information about humans' effect on the global climate. Skeptics of global warming will be sure to use this information.
By: Natalie Cummins

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Kids smuggle food for cents along war border

Sabar, an eight year old girl, has one of the most dangerous jobs in earth. She takes items back and forth between two of the most dangerous countries in the world, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Her daily rountine involves her smuggling flour from the Pakistan side where she is from because flour is a "hot commodity" since Pakistan put a ban on exporting food to Afghanistan because of the food price spikes. Once over the border, she gathers and carries firewood to take back to Afghanistan. "When we bring the flour the Pakistani police stop us and they hit us, beat us," she said. A couple of days ago she was working the border with her younger sister when a suicide bomber blew himself up, killing several civilians. It was the second of three terror attacks in months at this very border. Work however continues and the sisters keep doing their jobs. They are two of hundreds and hundreds of children doing these jobs. One charitable organization located in Torkham, Afghanistan estimates that about 300 children work the border per day. UNICEF helps support organizations set up to help these kids at the border. The aid workers know they cannot just demand all the children stop working and go to school.

There is also a loan program. Families can take a loan with no interest to start a business. If the family takes the loan they must agree to take their child out of work and put him or her into school full time.

By: Ivana Miljic

Copenhagen climate summit

Hopes were heightened as news came out that over sixty presidents, prime ministers, and other heads of state will be attending the international climate summit in Copenhagen this December. It had been feared that very little would get done, but now it is a definite possibility that some agreement could be reached. 192 countries so far will be represented at the summit - not among those, however, are China, India, and the United States, three of the world's biggest polluters. More controversy emerged as claims of changing data in relation to climate change surfaced. This should be only a minor setback, though, if at all, and should not affect the outcome of the talks next month.

Hannah Zimmerman

21-gun salute heralds new phase in US relations with India

As the White House prepares for a large-scale event - dinner and entertainment for 400 guests - President Barack Obama prepares to speak with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh about the future of US-India relations. The Prime Minister was greeted upon arrival in the US with a 21-gun salute. President Obama must be careful when he talks to the Prime Minister about sensistive topics such as India's long-time enemy Pakistan, the much disputed border between India and China, and the Kashmir territory. The President must also take care in his talks with the Prime Minister not to give China the wrong idea, being that the President just returned from critical talks with China a few days ago. Prime Minister Singh is eager to speak to the President and hopes that he will share former president George Bush's committment to a strong US-India relationship, and hopes that the US will support India's desire to attain a permanent seat in the UN Security Council.

By: Kimberly Severns

Turtles Are Casualties of Warming in Costa Rica

In Playa Grande, Costa Rica, several tourist spots famous for viewing sea turtles have been closed down or abandoned or washed away by rising tides, because of global warming. The sea turtles have been devastated by global warming, not only because their food supply is dwindling, but also because the rising temperatures effect the tide and their nesting conditions. The gender of a sea turtle is determined by the temperature of the nest, and due to rising temperatures, the majority of hatching sea turtles are female, or the eggs will not hatch at all.

Various things are being done to try and save the turtle. For instance, at Playa Grande, local children are being payed to relocate sea turtle eggs to hatcheries where the temperature is more likely to generate turtles of both genders. Efforts are also being made to preserve enough of the beach that the turtles will still have somewhere to lay their eggs for a long time in the future, despite the rising sea levels.

Read more here.

Posted by: Jessica Bilstein

Survey of Pakistan’s Young Predicts ‘Disaster’ if Their Needs Aren’t Addressed

A majority of Pakistan's young generation feel abandoned by their government and are torn between their heritage of Islamic law and the hope democracy carries. Reporters believe a divided country will emerge if these needs are explored. With an exploding population and fighting insurgency in the western mountains, Pakistan could see a rapid economic and social change or fight this issue for decades to come. Many reasons why these young people are not satisfied with their government is because they don't feel as if they have means for success with a poor education system and lack of jobs. A third of Pakistanis interviewed were mostly concerned with the inflation rate rises so fast, which last year sent 7 percent back into poverty. Many have distrust in governmental organizations, but feel tied to their religion over anything else.

By Paul Yuccas

Peru gang accused of killing to sell human fat

Three members of a Peruvian gang have confessed to killing five people and subsequently draining the fat from the corpses to sell for cosmetics on the black market. At a news conference on Thursday Col. Jorge Mejia announced that two suspects were arrested carrying bottles of liquid fat. The suspects told police that it was worth $16,000 a litre. The fat was allegedly sold to intermediaries in Lima, Peru's capital. The police suspect it was then sold to cosmetic companies in Europe but this has not been confirmed.

By Anna Mandrell

Car Bomb Explodes in Northern Ireland

On Saturday, dissident Republicans in Northern Ireland were blamed for driving a car through a barrier outside Belfast's police headquarters. The 400 lb. bomb was partially exploded, but the officer who is believed to be the target was unharmed. In a related incident, four men were arrested following a gun attack on police officers in Garrison, County Fermanagh. Though Northern Ireland has made much progress in terms of country unity and decreasing violence, the Independent Monitoring Commission reported dissident Republican threat in Northern Ireland to be at its highest level in six years.

By: Megan Shoemate


Israel planes launch air strikes on Gaza Strip

Several Palestinians have been injured after Israeli aircraft carried out airstrikes against targets in the Gaza Strip, officials say.

Israel's military said the attacks targeted two weapons-making factories and a smuggling tunnel.

The strikes were in retaliation for a rocket fired into southern Israel from the Hamas-controlled enclave, it added.

The attacks came a day after Hamas and other Gaza-based militants said they were going to stop firing rockets.

Fathi Hammad, who acts as Hamas interior minister, said the ceasefire aimed to prevent retaliatory attacks by Israel and build stability.

But he said rockets would continue to be fired from the Gaza Strip in the event of any Israeli incursions.

Israel's military said Sunday's air strikes were in response to a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip on Saturday which caused no damage when it landed near the southern Israeli city of Sderot.

Hamas has observed a ceasefire for months, but other groups have carried out sporadic cross-border attacks.

Israel says rocket-building materials are still being smuggled into Gaza through tunnels dug from the Egyptian border.

Rocket attacks have decreased since Israeli forces launched an offensive against Hamas in the Gaza strip last December and January.

About 1,300 Palestinians and 10 Israeli soldiers were killed in the three weeks of fighting. Three Israeli citizens also died in rocket attacks during the operation.

by: Vesna Tanasic

source: BBC News

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Retired US official and wife admit spying for Cuba

According to the article"Retired US official and wife admit spying for Cuba" from BBC, one couple was arrested by spying for Cuba in June. They admitted that crime. Walter Kendall Myers, the retired officer at US state departement, and his wife had been spying for Cuba for almost 30 years. They were hired by Cuban intelligence agent when they were in South Dakota. They even met Fidel Castro in 1995. They were using shortwave radio to receive message from Cuban government and used shoppong trolleys to give them American secrets.
He is going to spend the rest of his life in prison and his wife is going to spend less than 7 and a half years.

by Yuri Iwasaki

Christian leaders take issue with laws

Christian leaders have started an online declaration made to uphold their beliefs on same-sex marriage. By signing the declaration people are going along with using civil disobedience to "defend their convictions." On September 28, 2009 the Manhattan Declaration went into effect and it defends the fact that marriage should be by a man and woman. Christians believe that their rights and beliefs are being infringed upon and are skeptical of Obama, as he is an abortion rights activist. Others look at this as a shame people don't dedicate more efforts to more pressing issues such as healthcare and homelessness. Recently states have voted and have not been in favor of allowing same sex marriage so who's to say what will happen in the future with such declarations being formed and implemented.

By: Lindsay Weidling

Friday, November 20, 2009

Belgian Prime Minister is First "President of Europe"

European Union leaders chose Belgian Prime Minister Herman Van Rompuy as the first "president of Europe". He will be the face of the 27 European Union nations at overseas summits. The selection of the Belgian Prime Minister is a way to show gratitude to Belgium for the work they have put forth in the creating of the new positions in the EU. Van Rompuy will serve a two and a half year term as president. His goal is to keep communication prevalent. He doesn't want any party to feel like a defeated party. Instead he will work to make sure everyone has something to gain from any decisions.

The way Van Rompuy was selected has come into question. The decision was made behind closed doors with leaders from all of the European Union nations. However, the Lisbon Treaty specifically stated how the president would be chosen. Although the people of the EU didn't have a say in the election, their elected officials are the ones who made the decision.

Catherine Ashton, a trade commissioner and part of the House of Lords, was elected to the position of High Commissioner, which is similar to that of a foreign minister of the EU. However, Ashton will have to be confirmed by the European Parliament.

By Kelly Martin

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Karzai Sworn In for Second Term as Afghan President

Matt Boguslawski

Hamid Karzai has been sworn into office as the Afghani President for the second time. This comes after another most likely flawed election process where the candidate, Mr. Abdulla withdrew. Although, the reasons are completely unknown his position was that the elections were fixed anyway. Or there was a possible threat made against him. Karzai made promises in his speech that he was to fix his corrupt government as well as making a transparent and accountable government. The future of this unstable nation is still unknown.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Obama admits delay on Guantanamo

During his tour of Asia this week, President Barack Obama admitted that the January 2010 deadline for closing Guantanamo Bay will not be met. The deadline was set only two days after inauguration. Obama "knew this was going to be hard;" officials are still working out plans on what to do with many of the prisoners. It is especially hard to find a solution for those prisoners too dangerous to be held and tried in the United States. For others, investigators have cleared them and they have been released. A new deadline was not set; it is too hard to tell at this point exactly when closing the prison will be plausible.

Hannah Zimmerman

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

At UN food summit, Ban Ki-moon warns of rise in child hunger deaths.

At a recent summit in Rome, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged donors to help the 1 billion people on the planet who do not have enough to eat. He also pointed out that more than 17,000 children die of starvation every day. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization, which organized the summit, hoped that wealthy countries would increase their annual food aid from $7.9 billion to $44 billion. The new summit also makes no mention of the UN's Millennium Development Goal, which is suppose to cut the number of hungry people in half by 2015. The summit is trying to make the world's richest nations to make good on the promises that they have made, but this seems unlikely. This is unlikely because out of the 60 world leaders who are attending, most are from Africa and Latin America. This reason this summit is so important is because of the world's food supply. Aid groups say that it is outrageous that malnutrition still exists when the world produces a surplus of food. For example, cereal crops this year are expected to be the second largest ever. Even with the surplus of food, the number of hungry people rose this year to 1.02 billion people as a result of the global economic crisis, high food and fuel process, drought, and conflict. Mr. Ban also points out that climate change and population increases are exacerbating an already acute global food crisis. This summit won't be able to solve the growing hunger crisis all by itself, but hopefully it can raise awareness so that the international community realizes that this is a world wide problem that it needs to solve.

By: William Miller
Source: Christian Science Monitor

Feds Seize four mosques linked with Iran

Four Mosques were seized by the Federal prosecutors, whose organization, Alavi Foundation, that owns them believes is linked and providing money to the Iranian government. Concern resulting from the Feds is based upon the notion that these mosques are helping Iran bankroll terrorism. Much controversy over whether this infringes upon first amendment right to freedom of religion. No rais were conducted, omly notices of civil complaint were made outside the doors of the Mosque. Such an event is significant do to the tense relations between Iran and the United States currently. The investigation has been going on for nearly two decades.

Greg Voegtle


Monday, November 16, 2009

Iran forms committee to thwart U.S. 'plots'

Iran has formed a special committee specifically designed to stop U.S. "plots" in their country. Although they have not commented on what exactly these plots consit of they already reportedly have $20 million approved for it. The committee leader also did not say how exactly they would combat these alleged plots. It is yet to be seen how this will play out, U.S. officials were not reachable for comment but have previously denied Iran's accusations.

By Kyle Reilly

Italian Models Respond to Advertisement to Find an Interesting Customer

In Rome, 200 models ages 18 to 35 responded to an ad for a Modeling agency to find an almost comical advertiser. The lucky women who were chosen were bused to a villa outside Rome, where they were met by Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi. He was an hour late to the gathering and had one message for the women, convert to Islam.He stood in front of the women, who thought they had been picked to represent one of the top modeling agencies in Europe, only to testify on the need for them to convert to Islam and the role of women in the Muslim world. However, the visit was not a complete waste. The leader of Libya was kind enough to provide them with several "high end" gifts. Their gifts included, a copy of the Koran, the Green Book (his political philosophy book), a free trip to Mecca, and of course a $75 payment for attending.

By: Travis James

Rwanda Massacre Sentence Overturned

Protais Zigiranyirazo, who was responsible for the genocide of 1000 people in the Rwanda crisis in 1994, made an appeal to the U.N. for his twenty year sentence. The court overturned his conviction on Monday on the basis that it violated the system of justice. Many Rwandans are upset at the fact that justice has not been delivered to this man who contributed to the genocide.
By: Natalie Cummins

Countries Agree on New Approach to Fight Hunger

At a food summit in Rome, Italy on Monday, world leaders rallied around a new strategy to fight global hunger and help poor countries feed themselves. Multiple countries pledged to increase aid to agriculture in developing nations in an effort to help the world's hungry become more self-sufficient. The summit hoped to achieve a commitment of $44 billion as well as adopting a vow to eradicate hunger by 2025. None of the countries involved in the food summit, however, fully committed to these goals.
The U.N. Secretary-General tried to rally support by declaring that "the world has more than enough food, yet, today, more than 1 billion people are hungry. This is unacceptable." In another attempt to rally support, Pope Benedict XVI is expected to speak on behalf of the world hunger issue at hand.
The summit's focus, this year, was to promote support from wealthy countries by persuading them to do more than just send food assistance. Rather, wealthy countries need to help provide technology, irrigation systems, fertilizer, and help assist local farmers. A solid agricultural foundation is needed in order for these poor countries to become self-sufficient. "The best way to stop hunger is to help the needy help themselves."


By: Taylar Proctor

Obama and China

Barack Obama, recently traveled to China to address rights. While at first Obama praised China on bringing so many of its people out of poverty, which was a compliment well received, he also stated that the Chinese citizens deserve rights such as, access to the internet and freedom of expression. After this speech, Obama had a Q&A with Chinese students, ranging from subjects about the Nobel Peace Prize to issues about Taiwan.

There was barely any coverage of Obama's visit to China, with only a local station and two websites showing the event. After the Q&A Obama visited Hu Jintao for a dinner, and will visit again on Tuesday to talk about issues in Iran, North Korea, and the climate change.

By: Justas Jaubonis

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Little Gitmo on the Prairie

Guantanamo Bay detainees may be heading to Illinois. The Thompson Correctional Center has the capacity to hold the detainees and this will allow for the close of Guantanamo Bay. Republicans are opposed to having detainees "in their backyards", while democrats back Obama in getting Guantanamo closed. Governor, Pat Quinn thinks this is a good move as it will provide people with jobs and may help boost the economy. Other facilities are being looked at in Montana and Colorado as well. With this delicate issue people don't want the prisoners here yet we want Guantanamo closed, what to do? Bottom line is Guantanamo Bay needs to cease to be open, and by buying the Thompson Center or placing them in another facility I think it is taking a step in the right direction.

By: Lindsay Weidling

Australia 'sorry' for child abuse

According to the article"Australia 'sorry' for child abuse " from BBC, Australian prime minister, Kevin Rudd , apologized for children who were forced to move from UK to Australia and were abused at orphanages at Parliament house in front of thousand of them. the Child Migrants Programme allowed to ship children to Australia, and separate them from parents by letting them know that their parents were dead. They were used as worker at farm and they were abused physically or mentally or sexually. Prime minister said he would promise not to do such behavior to them.

by Yuri Iwasaki

Money Trickles North as Mexicans Help Relatives

Many Mexican immigrants come to the United States in search for better paying jobs in order to support family members back home. Unfortunately, with the current state of our economy, the opposite is happening. Family members in Mexico are found wiring pesos back the “land of opportunity.” Mexico doesn’t have enough strength as an economy to support half of the country let alone kin abroad. Economists predict 735,000 jobs will be lost this year and a potential decline of 7.5 percent as a whole. An estimated 1.8 million families receive economic support from abroad making this resource Mexico’s top source of foreign currency. For these families the support makes up roughly 19 percent of their total income. Both countries are filled with families struggling to support each other, but the only reason families residing in Mexico can survive is inexpensive living.

by Paul Yuccas

Iran's first lady makes rare speech at Rome summit

Iran's First Lady Azam al-Sadat Farahi, wife of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, made a rare and unexpected speech at a Rome forum, the day before the UN summit to fight hunger. The forum was for wives of heads of state and led by Suzanne Mubarak, the wife of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

Farahi spoke from her seat and cited Iran as an example in the fight against hunger, explaining that policies which follow religious teachings guarantee food for all families. She is reported to have gone on to also denounce the plight of hungry children in the Gaza. It is believed that she has never made a speech at a public gathering before.

By Anna Mandrell

New Delhi's 'eunuchs' forge lives in conservative nation

The "third sex," called eunuchs in Indian English and hijras in Urdu and Hindi, live a tough life in India according to an article from CNN.com. Though many of them are called eunuchs, they are usually not eunuchs by definition and are in fact intersexual, meaning that their external and internal sexual organs may not match. The hijras have a long history in Indian culture and used to be considered trusted loyalists by Indian royalty. These days, however, they are more or less cordoned off in their own small communities and treated as outsiders. They make meager livings by begging in the streets, prostituting themselves, and performing blessings and dances at events such as weddings and births. Hijra blessings have long been valued by Indian culture, although today many worry about the hijras bringing curses. This past Friday, the hijras won a small victory when they won a longtime fight to be recognized as "others" on voting forms instead of being forced to mark male or female. They see this as a very small step in the right direction, but a step nonetheless.

By: Kimberly Severns

Pentagon bars release of photos allegedly showing detainee abuse

The Pentagon is holding back the release of photos showing terrorists and others in United States custody being abused. These photos are apart of a year long lawsuit that have pictures dating back to September 11, 2001. The Pentagon was set to release the photos of Iraqi and Afghan prisoners because of stipulations with the Freedom of Information Act. Obama was also set to release the photos until he was strongly urged not to by military leaders. The high courts are debating on whether or not to release the photos because of various appeals that have been made. The photos are a very serious issue because of what they depict and how that makes United States officials look. Some photos may soon be released, but extraordinary lengths have been taken to keep the photos from the public.

By: Joe Longawa

Kosovo Prime Minister Claims Election Victory

The people of Kosovo voted in elections for the first time since their independence from Serbia a year ago. Hashim Thaci, the Prime Minister, has claimed a "convincing" victory, but official election results won't be in for a few hours. It is thought that the voting turnout was approximately 45%, with more Serbs voting than expected. An announcement is expected on Monday to determine if the vote met international standards. If it is considered to be free and fair voting, it may give Kosovo more recognition in the international community. So far 63 of the 192 members of the United Nations recognize Kosovo as an independent country.

By Kelly Martin

No climate-change deal likely by year's end, officials say

Matt Boguslawski

As of now serious climate change accords will not be reached by the end of 2009. With Mr. Obama and the other top world economic powers meeting in Singapore to discuss possible climate change accords the possibility of a compromise does not seem to be in the near. Great anticipation has been set for the Copenhagen talks that are to occur next month, but now they seem to be futile. Although the top economic powers see the talks as a huge step forward. Copenhagen is now being viewed as the first step of two in order to reach the major agreement.

Things to Learn From China

According to the CNN.com article "Five Things the U.S. Can Learn from China", when Obama meets with Hu Jintao to talk about nukes, the environment, and other fun political things he should also ask "What are you guys doing right?" While it seems that China is on the raise, the country is far from perfect, it is still a developing country with many problems. The question though, is how are they still moving forward? This article points to five things: Ambition, Education, Elderly care, Savings, and Thinking Ahead. If Americans were to adapt to these five simple things maybe the U.S. would start moving forward like China. But unless we do something the U.S. could be left behind and loose it's position as the world power.

By Andi Whipkey

Singapore's new Japan Center a new beginning

Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and Singapore President Lee Hsien Loong met Saturday, Nov. 14 in Singapore, for the opening ceremony of the Japan Center for Cultural Exchanges. The creative center opened its doors during the Prime Minister's two day stay in Singapore. Hatoyama's trip to Singapore was due to a summit for the Asia-Pacific Economic Coorperation forum. The center is the first of its kind outside of Japan, providing different aspects of Japanese culture and innovation (fashion, technology, etc.) to one of its neighboring nations in hopes of building a closer community of nations, specifically nations that are member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. For more info on the J.C.C.E in Singapore please check out The Japan Times Online @ http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20091115a5.html

By: Ricky Brown

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Obama seeks revisions to Afghanistan plans

President Obama discussed further plans for Afghanistan with his war council on Wednesday afternoon. He has asked for revisions to options he previously received for sending more troops. The President made it clear to the council that the commitment to Afghanistan is not open-ended. "The President believes that we need to make clear to the Afghan government that our commitment is not open-ended. After years of substantial investmens by the American people, governance in Afghanistan must improve in a reasonable period of time to ensure a successful transition to our Afghan partner" CNN official was told. The reason that the President is pushing for revisions in proposed plns for troop increaes is because he wants to clarity how ans when United States troops would turn over responsibility to the Afghan government.

By: Ivana Miljic

North says: South Korea to pay a "dear price"

By Gina Fazio

New York Times: After the skirmish on Tuesday between North Korea and South Korea between two naval ships harsh words have been exchanged between states with a statement in the government-run North Korean paper saying "We do not want confrontation or tension, but we will never tolerate the aggressors’ brazen violation of our sacred territorial waters....The warmongers who like to play with fire will surely pay a dear price."

On Tuesday, the two ships clashed for two minutes and by the end of the skirmish the North Korean ship was in flames while the South Korean ship had only taken minor damage. This is the most serious naval clash between the two Koreas in seven years. South Korean defense minister, Kim Tae-young fears a retaliation from the North.

However, the United States is still going through with it's plan to have bilateral talks with North Korea. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday that those peace and disarmament talks are an "important step that stands on its own."

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

New jihad code threatens al Qaeda

Leaders of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) have written a new code for jihad. The new code sees the conflict against Moammar Gadhafi regime for nearly 20 years as illegal under Islamic Law. This new code is exactlly what the West as been looking for, a challenge to al Qaedas ideology from within jihadists own ranks. The guidelines it sets down for when only when their country is invaded say that civilians should not be harmed. A direct contrast from al Qaedas current tactics. The new code is already being circulated among respected scholars and is being studied by many western intelligence agencies.

By Kyle Reilly

Eritrea: Africa's version of North Korea?

Usually when we hear the words self reliant economy, closed border, and a leader saying his country doesn't need elections, we think of North Korea. But this is no longer the case because these words can now be applied to Eritrea as well. Eritrea's 'self reliant' economy is faltering and the country is slipping into is deepest political isolation in 16 years. If this wasn't bad enough, Eritrea is also being accused by the US and other nations of funneling arms and money to several rebel groups across the horn of Africa, including Somalia. Eritrea is not only be accused by the US, but the US is also threatening to use sanctions against the country. Eritrea's president Isaias Afwerki, said that these allegations are pure fabrications and the Eritrea is doing great. Even though Afwerki thinks that Eritrea is doing great the fact is that it is not because there are many problems. First, since Afwerki took power he has not held elections, he also has banned opposition groups, and sent people to remote desert prisons without trials. This might seem bad enough, but this is just the tip of the ice berg. Second, after consecutive poor harvest about two-thirds of Eritreans are malnourished. Third, about one-third of the money in Eritrea's economy is money sent home from Eritreans living overseas. The fourth problem is that many Eritreans want out of their country. The UN refugee agency noted that there were 62,700 asylum applications from Eritrea last year, and only Zimbabwe had more. Clearly from this information we can see the Eritrea is Africa's North Korea. Hopefully though Eritrea unlike North Korea can realize that what it is doing is not allowing it to prosper and then take the necessary steps to change its actions.

By: William Miller
Source: Christian Science Monitor

Monday, November 9, 2009

Japan offers aid to Afghanistan

Japan's government has pledged $5billion in aid to Afghanistan over the next five years, which is likely to be used for job training, helping the former Taliban fighters to reintegrate with society, and for agriculture and infrastructure development. Japan's Government wants to end a mission by the Maritime Self Defense Force to supply fuel to assist US-led operations in the country. They are also working on a plan that would offer more civilian aid.

Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama is expected to discuss details of the scheme with US President Barack Obama when he visits Japan on Friday. His Democratic Party of Japan wants a more equal relationship with the United States.

Investments, Dollar Weakens

The economy is on the rise however the dollar is still getting weaker. Although imports of T.V's and French wine are more expensive, American exports like pepsi, catapillar, and Intel are more competitive. While the economy is up 15 percent the dollar is down 16 percent. During the G2o meetings countries supported keeping interest rates low but offered little support for the weakening dollar.

by: Jesse Kugler

Alarm at Zimbabwe's growing child sex abuse

The number of children who are victims of sex crimes has been increasing in Zimbabwe. Dr. Robert-Grey Choto, who counsels children of these crimes, says that at his clinic alone there have been over 70,000 cases in the last 10 years, and 29,000 of those have been in the last 4 years. Despite this huge number of victims, he fears that hundreds of thousands of cases of child sex abuse are going unreported. Victims could fear stigmatization and huge medical costs that don't necessarily exist. Many clinics offer free counseling and treatment to victims of sexual abuse. The father of Lewis, a 12-year-old victim, said that "This is unbearable, all I want is justice for now." Finally more clinics are being opened, which could give children a new life, even if they've contracted HIV. Once the victims have been taken care of, the country can focus more on this much-needed justice.

Hannah Zimmerman

Resignation of President Abbas May be the End of Palestine as We Know It

In a statement to the Palestinian people, President Mahmoud Abbas announced his intentions to resign his office and that many other Palestinian leaders would soon follow suit. If President Abbas follows through on his threat, this may mark the end of the Palestinian State. Though he has yet to provide actual reasons for his possible resignation, many close to the President have speculated as to where his discontent has reached a breaking point. Many believe that the President has completely lost faith in any hopes for creating a true Palestinian state. President Abbas assumed the leadership role of the Palestinian people after the death of Yasir Arafat. He brought a new more political style of government to Palestine. He garnered respect from Ariel Sharon, Ehud Olmert, and the people of Israel by combating the hostility that had divided their respective people for hundreds of years. However, since the revamping of Israel by Benjamin Netanyahu and the resurgence of Hamas' destructive ways, all of the success that President Abbas achieved has slowly been uprooted and destroyed by the agenda of Israel. Therefore, the President is tired of fighting what seems like an eternal losing battle and lacks the very passion needed to raise the Palestinian banner any longer.

By: Travis James

Vatican Says Rules on Anglican Priests Don’t Signify Change

   The Vatican has released a statement saying that it's new rules regarding the conversion of Anglicans, including married Anglican priest, does not "signify any change" in its rules for priest celibacy. This announcement has put a damper on many optimistic views that the Roman Catholic Church may soon normalize the acceptance of married Catholic priest. 
   Pope Benedict XVI released the announcement 3 weeks ago that Anglican priest could convert to Catholicism while maintaining certain parts of Anglican ritual (ie - marriage). On Monday, the Vatican released rules regarding this new change, stating that the Anglican conversions to Catholicism would be conducted on a case-by-case basis only.
   The Vatican has responded to questions by stating that this rule "change" has come about in response to the request by large numbers of Anglican priest. Criticism of the Vatican's decision has quickly come under fire. Seeing as how the Roman Catholic Church still strictly forbids the ordaining of gays and women as clergy members. How many Anglicans will take the Vatican up on this offer is still unknown.


By: Taylar Proctor

Merkel thanks Gorbachev on Berlin Wall anniversary

Chancellor Angela Merkel and former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev celebrated the 20th anniversary of the destruction of the Berlin Wall. Together they shared an umbrella and recalled the horrors and joys of the past. Memorials were held for the 136 people that didn't make it across the border that faithful day. The leaders of all 27 European Union countries were in attendance. Also all travel restrictions from East to West Berlin were lifted- facing huge crowds and lacking instructions from above, border guards opened the gates after the sudden presentation of this information by spokesman Guenter Schabowski at the presentation. November 9th is undoubtedly a day that will go down in history for Germany.

By Carla Lutz

Dalai Lama's Visit

The Dalai Lama has recently visited a town in Arunachal Pradesh, holding a gathering that numbered in the tens of thousands of people. China has never been friendly with the Dalai Lama ever since his exile in 1959. They claim that this and other events like it are anti-China.

China and India, at the moment, have a very strong trade relationship, although there are many arguements and fights over the lands that border both countries. Arunachal Pradesh is one of those areas, and before, India would not have allowed the Dalai Lama to hold such an event in a country that was being contested between China. India's allowing of the Dalai Lama doing such a thing shows the current tension that is building up between the two major powers.

By: Justas Jakubonis

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Swiss Muslims open mosque doors

A movement by the right-wing Swiss People's Party (SVP) to ban the construction of minarets in Switzerland has spurred Swiss Muslims to open the doors of their mosques to the public, according to an article from BBC News. Minarets are tall spires that are often a staple of mosque architecture, however the SVP believes them to be symbols of political power. While it is believed that the ban will be rejected by Swiss voters, Swiss Muslims feel that this incident calls for some dialogue between Muslims and non-Muslims. In order to promote better relations, mosques all across Switzerland hosted an open-house, opening their doors fully to the public. The ban will be officially voted on in three weeks.

By: Kimberly Severns

Abortion now the Focus of Health Care Reform

Indecision about the new health care bill is now centered on abortion. After hours of heated debate with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a supporter of women’s rights, it came down to restricting abortion rights in order to get the bill passed. Despite this, it is not the final battle, it is hoped among defenders of abortions rights that once the bill passes, it can be amended once it reaches the senate. Although abortion presents a major moral issue, it also presents a potentially more dangerous issue with regards to the restriction of women’s rights.


By: Allison Zamora

Chinese activist risks jail with letter to Obama

Yang Zili, a recently paroled Chinese activist, is risking jail time by composing an open letter to President Obama asking for his assistance in freeing two of Yang's friends who were jailed with him, citing their being ill as reason for release. Yang was one of four men who were jailed for forming the "New Youth Study Group", an informal group that met to discuss democratic reform privately.

Yang was released, along with one of the other four, on parole after serving 8 years of his 10 year sentence, but the terms of his parole ban him from political activity. Nevertheless, he is asking for President Obama's assistance because, according to Yang, his friends are ill, one suffering from mental problems and the other has been sick since an appendectomy that did not correctly.

He emailed his letter to the US Embassy and gave a copy to the Associated Press. In it he asks Obama to persuade President Hu Jintao to give the two men amnesty or medical parole.

By Anna Mandrell

Hugo Chavez Prepares Venezuela For War?

President Hugo Chavez has "urged his armed forces to be prepared for possible war with Colombia." There is growing diplomatic friction and border tensions between Colombia and Venezuela. Sources say that normally, a declaration such as this by the president would not 'cause alarm', but diplomatic conditions are such that there is a genuine concern that violence will spark. Colombian president Alvaro Uribe said he would "seek help from the UN Security Council and also the Organization of American States". Chavez has already ordered 15,000 troops to the border, saying that he is combating paramilitary groups. He believes his tactics will prevent war from actually breaking out.

By: Grace Heimerl
Source: BBC

Flooding in El Salvador Causes Widescale Damage

According to the El Salvadorian government, at least 124 people have been killed by flooding and landslides following days of heavy rain. San Vince, one of the largest and most important urban centers in the nation has been completely cut off by landslides and collapsed bridges. President Mauricio Funes declared a national state of emergency and described the damage as "incalculable." The rains also triggered massive rock slides from the Chichontepec volcano that buried a number of houses in the town of Verapaz, also in San Vicente province, officials said. Large parts of El Salvador are without electricity or clean water and remain cut off from government aid. This is easily the largest crises the Funes government has yet to face, according to the BBC.

By: Megan Shoemate


Scores Die in El Salvador Floods

Massive flooding and landslides from heavy rains have killed at least 124 people in El Salvador. El Salvador's president Mauricio Funes has declared a national emergency. San Salvador and San Vincente were the hardest hit areas along with La Libertad, La Paz, and Cuscatlan. At least 60 people are still missing and 7,000 more are in shelters. At this point the rains haven't stopped, which is leading to more damage and wreckage. There are large parts of El Salvador that don't have electricity or water. There is no way for the government to reach these people to help due to the flooding and landslides. Hurricane Ida which recently passed into the Gulf of Mexico is said to have contributed to the heavy rains, but is not the main source. A separate low pressure system in the area is said to be the cause.

By Kelly Martin

Hurricane Ida moves into U.S. Gulf Coast

On Sunday it was reported that Hurricane Ida had moved into the Gulf Coast. The storm has become a category 2 hurricane which is worse then when it went through Nicaragua last week. Reports have shown that within the next 36 hours this storm may possibly reach U.S. soil. Do to the storm the governor of Louisiana has declared a state of emerceny. Winds have said to reached 105 miles per hour with even higher gusts. On a favorable point, the storm is supposed to decrease as the week goes on. By tuesday it is predicted that the storm will lose its tropical characteristics. This is good for the southern states in the gulf coast area. Unfortunately this storm is still predicted to bring considerable amounts of rain to the gulf coast area.

By: Joe Longawa

Obama, Netanyahu to meet Monday, White House says

President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be meeting this Monday after a particularly rough patch in the U.S. efforts to brook peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis. Netanyahu has been resistant to the Obama administration's effort to talk about ceasing Israeli settling in the West Bank. On the other side of the coin, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton set off many Palestinians when she put off Netanyahu's resistance as merely "unprecedented". Both parties are being difficult, but there is at least promise on the Israeli side to slow down the construction.

Nick Cramer


Japanese protest agiasnt US base

According to the article "Japanese protest against US base" from BBC, there were huge protest against current US base in Okinawa. Around 21,000 people including mayor of Ginowan ,Yoichi Iha , joined this protest claiming to Japanese new prime minister, Yukio Hatoyoma. to talk to U.S. president who is coming to Japan this week about relocation of base . In 2006, Japan and the U.S. made agreement about relocation of the Futenma base to reclaimed ground since the current base is located in urban area in Okinawa causing lots of issue like noise , crime and pollution. New administration is more favorable to move all of the bases to out of Japan than last administration.

by Yuri Iwasaki

China Pledges $10 Billion to Africa

China has taken a new step in building a relationship with African countries. China's has pledged to grant African countries $10 billion in low-interest development loans over the next three years, which usually comes with the agreement that African nations will spend the money on Chinese goods and services. Also they plan on forgiving the debt on certain previous interest-free loans granted to less-developed African countries, along with a $1 billion dollar loan program for small and medium-sized businesses. China also plans on addressing the climate change issues by building 100 clean-energy projects across the continent. China's motive can be found in a strengthening of trade with arguably the most resource rich continents in the world and creates a flow of money back into their economy from these loans. Both nations will benefit from this pledge and China has made won this relationship over Western lenders because they don't demand an improvement of governance.

By. Paul Yuccas

Iraq Passes Crucial Election Law

A law for a critical national election was passed by Iraqi lawmakers, and it's about time. A law for the election was, originally, to be passed by October 15th but lawmakers missed the self-imposed deadline and had since been struggling to come to an agreement. But the law was passed on Sunday, and the election is scheduled to be held on January 16th, although it may be delayed in order to make the necessary preparations. The law still has to be approved by Iraq's Presidency council.

The passing of the law and the election date will influence the schedule for pulling American troops out of Iraq due to concerns for the nations "political stability", but at the moment, all American troops are scheduled to be out of the country by the end of 2011.

Read more here.

Posted by: Jessica Bilstein

Army Chief of Staff Concerned for Muslim Troops

Matt Boguslawski

In the wake of one of the most tragic events of US history, with the murder of 12 soldiers and one civilian and the wounding of dozens of others at Fort Hood, General George Casey Jr. the Army chief of staff worries of possible backlash against Muslim soldiers. There is large speculation that the terrible actions of Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan were religiously motivated. This has caused worry to the General as he has spoken about in several interviews. He makes a specific point in pointing out the necesity of having a such a ethnically and religiously diverse military and Army.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Fort Hood: "one of the worst mass shootings ever to take place on an American military base."

Thursday, according to CNN, there was a mass shooting at the Fort Hood military base in Fort Hood, Texas. There are 13 people dead and 38 wounded including the shooter, identified as Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, a licensed Army psychiatrist. There is no known motive for the shooting and the Hasan's family, friends, and coworkers say there was no signs of Hasan committing such a violent act. By order of President Obama all flags at the white house and other Federal buildings be flown half staff until Veterans Day in honor of those who were killed and their families. There will be further investigations into the massacre and President Obama has promised that his administration will keep the public informed.

By: Andi Whipkey

Obama pleads for Universal Health Care

By Gina Fazio

BBC News: Today the Health Care bill is being heard in the House of Representatives. The New York Times reported that President Obama has secured 205 votes and was negotiating another 13 last night and into the morning via meetings and phone calls. There is confidence in the Democratic Party that the bill will be passed despite total Republican opposition of the bill. House speak Nanci Pelosi went as far as to say that "We will pass health care reform".

If both legislative bodies pass a form of the bill, there will be reconciliation and then the bill will go to President Obama to be approved as a law.

To view a simplified version of the bill, or the whole thing go here.

Palestinian Head Authority Not Running For Re-election

Palestinian head authority, Mahmoud Abbas, has announced that he will not be running for re-election in January of 2010...and middle-eastern leaders are extremely dissappointed. However, most believe his decision to be an incentive for Washington to step in and support Palestine. Israel is particularly upset because the leaders saw Abbas as "a partner for peace." No doubt that the U.S.'s response to Abbas' announcement will have an effect on the re-election in January.
By: Natalie Cummins

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Swedish EU Presidency - Croatia and Slovenia agreed – EU closer to enlargement

Slovenia, a member of the European Union, and Croatia have been disputing a 20 square kilometre bay for about 5 years now after Slovenia became a member of the EU. Croatia has also applied for the membership but Slovenia chose to veto the appliation which all EU countries have the right to do if they oppose a country's entry into the union. This has been stopping Croatia from being able to join the EU for about a year now and the border issue needed to be resolved between the two countries before Croatia could join the EU. In September 2009, Slovenia PM Borut Pahor announced that the block on Croatia's access has been lifted which was the last inorder to have Croatia join the EU. Both Pahor and Croatian PM Jadranka Kosor signed an agreement with the Swedish PM Fredrik Reinfeldt to reslove the boder issue. This is proof of political courage and leadership on both of the Prime Ministers parts said Reinfeld in Stolkholm on Wednesday. “Today we have not just turned a page, we have opened a whole new book. Prime Minister Pahor and I have developed a close and trusting relationship of a kind that I wish all prime ministers. Now I hope that we will also receive the support of our respective parliaments and that today’s agreement can give new hope to our neighbours in South Eastern Europe”, said Croatian Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor. “This is not only a historic day for Croatia, Slovenia and the EU, but for the entire international community. Today we have shown that we solve problems, we do not create them. I hope that this can inspire others to follow our example”, said Slovenian Prime Minister Borut Pahor.

By: Ivana Miljic

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Israelis 'seize Iran arms ship'

The ship that was intercepted by Israelis carried hundreds of tonnes of Iranian weapons intended for Hezbollah in Lebanon as the Israeli military has said. The Antiguan-flagged vessel, Francop, was boarded 160km off the Israeli coast and was towed to the port of Ashdod.Benjamin Netanyahu claims the arms were inteded to strike Israeli cities. The vessel was intercepted "near Cyprus" but no further details on the exact place was given. Apparently the ship's crew was not thought to have been aware of the smuggling operation, and no force was needed to search the ship.

A spokesperson for the military said there were "dozens of shipping containers, carrying numerous weapons, disguised as civilian cargo among hundreds of other containers on board". The spokesperson also added: "The weapons originate from Iran and were intended to reach the Hezbollah terror organization for use against the state of Israel and its citizens."

The ship was operated by a Cyprus-based shipping company United Feeder Services and the cargo was picked up in Egypt and was scheduled to dock in Lebanon. While Israeli searched the ship, they found an Iranian document.

Iran and Syria have both rejected Israel's allegations, and Hezbollah has not made comments on the incident yet.

By: Vesna Tanasic

Source: BBC World News

Japan's Plan to lend Afghanistan a Hand

Japan is trying to create a Civilian aid, five-year service plan, that will replace the Maritime Self-Defense Force's Antiterrorism Refueling Mission in the Indian Ocean. The estimated $4 billion plan is supposed to help fund vocational training for former Taliban members, development of farmland in war-ravaged areas of the country, and a project to construct a new city north of Kabul. The Japanese government is said to want to have a formal decision on the plan ready before U.S. Presidnt Obama's visit in Tokyo next week. If the plan/package is greenlit, during Obama's visit, Prime Minister Hatoyama Yukio would then present Japan's goal of actively supporting Afghanistan. Other plans of support include possible aid for the Afghanistan military. However, many fear that Japan's position in helping Afghanistan is limited due to potential backfire from the U.S. and Europe. This is a problem because, the possibility of the package being viewed as checkbook diplomacy would leave Japan out of favor with two of it's more powerful allies. How this turns out, guess we won't know until later next week after President Obama's trip to Tokyo. For more information on Japan's plan to aid Afghanistan please check out Japan Times Online Article @ http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20091104a1.html
By: Ricky Brown

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Europe-unlikely to send troops

The issue of sending more troops to Afghanistan is not supported by European allies, for their public opinion polls show that they are more in favor of getting out of Afghanistan. Back at home, many are pushing Obama to make a quicker decision to send more troops, but the white house claims he is still trying to develop a long term strategy. The article suggests that Obama also wants to ensure that Karzai's regaining of the presidency in Afghanistan will prompt him to clean up corruption with in his government. Obama will hold an 8th meeting with his Afghanistan security team, probably to go over additional implications of what his plans may be.

Greg Voegtle

Publish Post

Study shows millions would like to switch countries

An estimated 700 million people worldwide have said they would like to take permanent residence in a country other than their own, according to a poll released Tuesday. The poll reached 135 countries and ran between 2007 to this year. Nearly 260,000 people, ages 15 and up, were surveyed.

The most likely to wish for a permanent change were residents of sub-Saharan African countries with 38% of the adult population voicing their desire to relocate.

The most popular destination for those polled was the United States with around 165 million people choosing it. Tying for second were Canada, England, and France with each being the preferred home of approximately 45 million.

Asians were the least likely to emigrate, with only 10% voicing a desire to move.

By Anna Mandrell

Angela Merkel Inspires and Sets the Record Straight in Congressional Address

Commemorating the 20th Anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany addressed the entire United States Congress and spoke privately with President Obama to speak of the past and what must be done to preserve the future. This address marked the first time a German head of state has spoken to the United States Congress since Konrad Adenauer in 1957. A child of Communist East Germany, the leader of a now united Germany cited that growing up under the oppression of the Soviets made her believe that not in "her wildest dreams" would she be able to address the U.S. Congress. However her trip to the United States was not simply to harken back to the days of old, but to ensure that we solve the very real problems of today. The Chancellor, used Iran as a prime example. Chancellor Merkel declared that the international community should adapt a "zero tolerance policy for any nation who intends to threaten our security." With that staement, the entire audience erupted into a standing ovation. Chancellor Merkel also addressed Global climate change, a very important issue to her and the European community. She urged the U.S. to take a definite stance and begin to work on possible solutions. Without a doubt her visit was a huge success, especially considering she recieved six standing ovations from Congress.

By: Travis James

Pakistan's military claims Taliban stronghold

The Pakistan military announced Tuesday that it has taken control have a Taliban stronghold during the ground offensive of South Waziristan. The area, known as Sararogha is currently being cleared of ammunitions and weapons. The military has also reported that 21 militants and one Pakistan soilder died during the raid. This report comes only a day after the military reported that it had complete control of another Taliban stronghold known as Kaniguram. The Talbian militants have retaliated by commiting multiple suicide bombing throughout Pakistan since the beginning of the offensives.

By Kyle Reilly

Why African Countries Are Boycotting Climate Change Talks

New talks about how to cut back on global carbon emissions to ease the affect of climate change have broken down once again because many African nations are arguing that rich countries are not doing their fair share to cut emissions. These African nations point to the Kyoto Protocol, which is not being strongly followed, and say that countries like Japan Germany, and Great Britain should have to cut their emissions by 40% instead of the 15% in the protocol. It would appear that these African nations do have a point because richer nations appear to be using delaying tactics rather than saying how they can truly cut their emissions. These African nations are pushing for the industrial world to cut its emissions now because these countries realize that Africa has the most to loose from global climate change. Africa is vulnerable to climate change because it contains vast arid areas, and also it poor population relies on subsistence farming, which could be disturbed greatly by climate change. Africa has already experienced some of the world's highest warming trends which has caused large numbers of people to have to move to try and find new lands so that the can farm. These warming trends have also caused conflicts in Africa as well. The conflict in Darfur revolves around nomads and farmers fighting over dwindling water supplies. These African nations do realize that addressing climate change requires that both developed and developing nations do their parts to cut emissions by not producing energy from dirty fuels, but instead using clean fuel sources like wind and solar. However, with this in mind the African nations do have a point that richer nations have been producing greenhouse gases for decades when the developing world was not. African nations also have a good point that richer nations have the resources to make this change less harmful to their economies, while many African nations do not. This is why many African nations believe that richer nations must bear a greater burden for switching to cleaner forms of energy. Hopefully these African nations and the developed world can put their differences aside, so that they can cut carbon emissions for the betterment of the entire world.

By: William Miller
Source: Christian Science Monitor

Monday, November 2, 2009


Leaders of African States have imposed a barrage of new sanctions on the military rulers in Guinea due to the massacre on many supporters of the opposition. The head of states that are part of the African Union Peace and Security Council decided that it was necessary to take such actions such as denying visas, travel restrictions, and the freezing of assets. A list of of those that are going to targeted by the sanctions will be sent to the Arab League, Organisation of Islamic Conference and a group of French-speaking nations in order to give the issue a global perspective. The EU has also placed an arms embargo on members of the junta.

By: Aminat T. Odunewu

In North Korea, the military now issues economic orders

The leader of North Korea, Kim Jong II is increasingly dedicating a slice of Chinese mineral revenue to fund his nuclear program which the Obama administration does not approve of. Lim Eul-chul of the Institute for Far Eastern Studies in Seoul said, "The military is by far the largest, most capable and most efficient organization in North Korea, and Kim Jong Il is making maximum use of it." This is reflected in the military's involvement in all aspects of North Korean life, even taking the people's harvest to feed the army. North Korea has 1.19 million troops on active duty and many of them are invested in the mines in North Korea. Mineral exports to China have soared, rising from $15 million in 2003 to $291 million last year. North Korea's nuclear power puts them in a position of power on the international stage, and now they are involved in the economy too.

By Carla Lutz

Harsh Words for Pakistan & Clinton

Hillary Clinton uses harsh language towards Pakistan in regards to their efforts (or lack of) in getting rid of Al Qaeda members, and they retaliate with some harsh concerns of their own. When asked about the drone attacks, she neither acknowledged nor apologized for the U.S. continuing to use air strikes to target certain members of Al Qaeda, that have also resulted in civilian casualties. Questions arose as to whether the U.S. considers these to be acts of terrorism as well. Clinton responding with “There is a war going on.”


By Allison Zamora

War forces Iraqi mom into prostitution

In a place full of war and violence some people are forced to be in unimaginable circumstances in order to survive. "Wedad", an alias for a woman selling herself in Iraq, is one of those people. After losing her husband in the war, she has no other alternatives and has been forced into prostitution. In order to raise her three young daughters with no father and no real job prostitution has become Wedad's only option. There are organizations in order to help women like Wedad but quite frankly it is not enough. This article stems from alot of the problems we see nowadays with the sex trade and globalization. Also, with jobs being outsourced we may begin to face more and more of these problems.

By: Lindsay Weidling

Iran urged over enrichment plan

Iran has missed response deadlines and "has raised 'technical and economical considerations'" with the IAEA this week while Britian, France, and Russia pressure Iran to give a response to the draft deal proposed last month. This deal would allow Iran to keep what enriched uranium it needs for medical and technological purposes, while sending most abroad for further enrichment and research. The United States is on board as well. Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the UN nuclear watchdog, urges Iran to respond and says that the biggest issue with this deal is the lack of confidence between Iran and the West. He says this can be achieved through dialogue, but he warns Iran that the deal is a "'fleeting opportunity to reverse course from confrontation to co-operation'" and that action must be made shortly. However, he says, we must have a "'willingness to take risks for peace.'" And we can only hope for a peaceful agreement to be reached soon, while this deal is still on the table.

Hannah Zimmerman

Karzai Gets New Term as Afghan Runoff Is Scrapped

Monday, Afghan officials canceled plans for a runoff presidential vote, declaring President Hamid Karzai the winner after the withdrawal on Sunday of his last remaining challenger, Abdullah Abdullah. The withdrawal of Abdullah ended controversies surrounding the corruption and voting irregularities of the election. President Karzai demanded that the runoff take place, only then did Abdullah announce he was dropping out of the race. Reasons behind the drop-out of Mr. Abdullah are unclear. Many officials, however, believe that it spared Afghanistan the high costs and security risk of a new round of voting. Officials from the United States and United Nations welcomed the presidential decision and congratulated Mr. Karzai on another term.


By: Taylar Proctor

Boat Capsizes Off Cocos Islands

According to Australian officials, about 12 people are missing after a boat believed to be carrying 40 people sank off the Cocos Islands in the Indian Ocean. 27 people have been rescued and one confirmed dead. The ship sank after sending out a distress signal and eventually being reached by a Taiwanese fishing ship. It remains unclear where the ship was heading or if it was carrying asylum seekers. Officials said the rescued people could be taken to Australia's immigration detention center on Christmas Island. Dozens of boats carrying asylum seekers (mostly from Afghanistan and Sri Lanka) have been captured en route to Australia, sparking a powerful and fierce political and public debate over how the government should deal with the people.


By: Megan Shoemate

Sunday, November 1, 2009

North Korea ready to talk "Nuclear"

By Gina Fazio

North Korea's Foreign Minster said recently according to BBC News that North Korea would be willing to re-enter the long since thought dead six party peace talks. However, he stated that first there should be more talks with solely the United States and North Korea to discuss a "rational solution". He calls upon the US to make the next move in bringing about these talks.

Only a month ago leader Kim Jong-il had called these talks long since dead. Also, North Korea has recently stated that it would "go its own way" if the US refused dialogue.

The ball is in the United State's foreign policy court.

A Tweet Read Across Britain Unleashes a Cascade of Vitriol on a User

A recent outbreak of insulting Twitter remarks (Tweets) in Britain reminds the world how the networking system that is Twitter encourages adults to act like gossipy high-school kids. A Twitter user called brumplum said something mildly insulting about British actor Stephen Fry, and as a result, Stephen Fry (who is known for struggling with depression) considered quitting Twitter. This lead to an outbreak of insults and attacks towards brumplum by friends and fans of Mr. Fry. He was even called a "moron" by British comedian Alan Davies. The story went so far as BBC and The Sunday Times. A very large number of Tweeters got involved in the dispute.

Eventually, brumplum and Mr. Fry apologized to each other and so the debate ended. However, this is just one of the many times that Twitter has been used as a forum for a mob of people to gang up on a fellow Tweeter who has said something they don't agree with. This particular incident has gained brumplum a lot of Twitter followers and overnight fame, and is just a testament to how quickly information spreads across Twitter (and the internet in general).

Read more here.

Posted by: Jessica Bilstein

China and Australia 'mend ties'

According to the article" China and Australia 'mend ties" from BBC, Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang visited Australia to fix recent tension between these countries. Because of the arrest of Australian mining executive in China and Uighur activist leader's visit in Australia, their relationship have not been well recently. Since China needs Australian resources such as coal and liquid gas to maintain their continuous economic growth, and on the other hand, Australia also needs China to import the resources to maintain their stable economy. Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said that they were already on their way back to good relationship.

by Yuri Iwasaki

Six Guantanamo Prisoners Transferred, and more to be transferred soon

After President Obama pledged to close Guantanamo Bay high security prison by January 22, 2010, the U.S. is in the process of transferring inmates to other countries. However, it is becoming more difficult due to political obstacles the U.S. is facing. Nevertheless, 6 inmates have been transferred to Palau--they are Chinese Uighurs. Four others have been transferred to Bermuda. Some delay is occurring in the process though because they are having trouble finding countries for the inmates.
By: Natalie Cummins

Six Afghans arrested for attack on U.N. staff

This week there was yet another attack on U.N. employees in Afghanistan. The bombings killed 5 and wounded several. 6 Afghans were arrested following the bombings, including a religious teacher at a local mosque. The attacks were in protest to the runoff election taking place in early november. Some of the bombers have yet to be identified, but there has been a promise by the Afghans to reveal any information once discovered.


Nick Cramer

Palestinians blast Clinton for Israepraise

Palestinian leaders were not very happy with Hillary Clinton's praise for Israel on Sunday. They disagreed with her views on Israels position on settlements. All of the problems stem from Israel doing construction on occupied Palestinian land. The Palestinians are afraid that if the construction is not stopped so they can fight this then eventually they will have no land to fight for. The Palestinians are worried that Israel is going to take all of their land from them. Clinton said she would like the see both sides try to begin negotiations as soon as possible so that they can try to figure this sooner rather than later.

By: Joe Longawa

Karzai Rival Steps Aside but Challenges Electoral Fraud

Abdullah Abdullah announced today that he was dropping out of the November 7 elections because of his belief in a still corrupt Afghan government. He felt that this election would be no different from the August, and would be a waste. However, he did urge his supporters to keep peaceful actions and to refrain from protesting. From the Obama Administration they feel as if this resolve will have little affect on American policy and this gives President Obama room to think about his actions of bringing in more troops, which will be announced in roughly 3 weeks. Although Karzai has been criticized for being stagnant in the struggle against the Taliban, government officials say they will support him. Abdullah denounced joining Karzai's government but intends to stay in Afghan politics. Karzai still plans on going through with the election, but many western officials disagree with this action.

by Paul Yuccas

Mexico extradites record number to U.S.

Matthew Boguslawski

Over the weekend Mexico had extradited another 11 fugitives over the weekend. This is among the constant rise in extaditions of Mexicans from the USA. In 2009 alone over 100 extaditions have been already made compared to the 95 of last year. This rise is in the new President of Mexico's plan to increase extraditions of those facing charges in the US, especially those pertaining to the major drug cartels. Those people are then facing more harsh punishments.

Chinese Manufacturing Growth

The purchasing managers index in China has rose from 54.3 to 55.2 in September. Any figure above a 50 indicates growth. This demonstrates Chinese growth economically, after having faced six months of recession prior to the eight month growth streak they are currently enjoying. The Chinese government has aided in this growth by instating stimulus packages, which include providing infrastructure projects that create new jobs. However, economists believe that even without state aid, China will 'enjoy robust growth'. External demands, such as private investment, consumer spending, and export demands should also aid in growth in the coming months, and that the state should be able to start cutting back on aid in early 2010.

Source: BBC

By: Grace Heimerl

US 'to quiz Sri Lanka army chief'

Sri Lankan General Sarath Fonseka is to be questioned by the United States Department of Homeland Security while he is in the United States this week. He is here visiting his daughters in Oklahoma, but was asked to be interviewed due to alleged human rights abuses during the civil war in Sri Lanka. The United States State Department submitted a report to congress last month claiming these human rights issues, such as indiscriminate bombardment and using heavy weaponry in areas where civilians are present. The Tamil Tigers, the Sri Lankan government's opposition in the war, allegedly abused  many human rights as well during the war. The Sri Lankan government objects to the interview, but it is scheduled for Wednesday nevertheless.

Hannah Zimmerman

Karzai Rival Said to Be Planning to Quit Runoff

The election deadlock in Afghanistan is now in its 9th week and Abdullah Abdullah the rival to now President Hamid Karzai plans on annoucning his withdraw from the November 7th runoff election today. This has the potential to really damage the Afghan government's credibility and will highlight the state's fragility as well as show the growing and deep division among the Afghan people. This poses a huge problem for Western and especially American diplomants because the Afghan people would be stuck with a leader who has lost the support of the population and whose government for the large part is corrupt. Mr. Abdullah is commited to leaving the runoff but it still trying to decide whether to publicy denouce Mr. Karzai who was accused of stealing the election back in August or to step down during the conference scheduled for this morning. If he does choose to step down, what would happen to the runoff election? Afghan officals say that it will simply be cancelled and violence from the Taliban would appear.

By: Ivana Miljic

Saturday, October 31, 2009

H1N1 Vaccine

5 major drug companies in the U.S are increasing their output of the H1N1 vaccine. 26 million vaccines were sent out and an expected 10 million more this week. The latest count shows 114 children have been killed by the virus. Officials stated that the U.S. has first priority, then they will donate H1N1 vaccine to other foriegn nations.

Jesse Kugler

Zelaya Could Be Returned to Presidency in Honduras

An agreement was reached late Thursday between President Jose Manuel Zelaya and Roberto Micheletti, who is the ruling president at the moment. The agreement would form a reconciliation government. Both the nation's congress and their supreme court would have to approve Zelaya returning to power. The new reconciliation government would only last until a new president is elected into power in November and takes office in January. Zelaya isn't guaranteed to be put back into power according to the pact, but analysts believe that congress will sign the agreement. The United States has played a large role in coming to this agreement. Other countries and leaders have tried to negotiate between the two sides before and failed. The United States is the first to get the Zelaya and Micheletti to come to any agreement. Extra pressure has been put on the Honduran government since a military-backed coup removed Zelaya from office four months ago. Economic sanctions were placed on the country by the United States and other countries. Honduras is beginning to feel the effects in their economy. Large numbers of Hondurans have crossed into Mexico to look for jobs. Beyond the economic motivations for an agreement, there was also a political side. It is important that the elections held on November 29 are seen as legitimate by the Honduran people. Under Micheletti's rule, the election would be considered illegitimate by not only the Hondurans, but also the United States and other nations. Most analysts believe the reason Zelaya accepted the agreement was because he had no other choice. He was running out of time, money, and people to support him. The pact does not give anyone amnesty for the actions taken against Zelaya. It is likely he will try to prosecute Micheletti, although analysts say it is not in his best interest to file any charges. Within the pact two commissions are formed. One is a truth commission to investigate how Zelaya was removed from power. The other is a verification commission to make sure that the agreement is followed. Finally the pact asks for a plea to the international community to remove the sanctions placed against Honduras. The most important thing is that the agreement allows for the election of a new president to be legitimate. Hopefully it will help Honduras to move on and start over.

By Kelly Martin

Friday, October 30, 2009

Re-arming in Côte d'Ivoire

The UN has released a report accusing both rebel groups in the north of Côte d'Ivoire as well as the government in the south of re-arming. This new threat occurs just one month before the election. Neighboring Burkina Faso has been accused of funneling weapons to both sides of the conflict, and supported the rebel groups in the 2002 civil war, yet has also been a staunch supporter of the UN backed peace agreement between the Ivoirian rebels and the government.

By Caleb B. Ray

Source: BBC NEWS

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Canadian Coyotes Kill

According to CNN, on Tuesday afternoon a 19-year old Canadian singer, Taylor Mitchell, was attacked by coyotes at the Skyline Trail in Cape Breton Highlands National Park in Canada. This comes as a shock considering she was attacked on a well traveled path and coyotes are shy by nature. This is the first outright attack from coyotes ever in the park history.
What makes this event so strange is the strange behavior of the coyotes. There are more and more animal attacks on humans each year and it is speculated that global warming is behind it. It can also be argued that the reason animals, like the coyotes that attacked Taylor Mitchell, are acting out violently is do to their shrinking habitats. Not only due animals get territorial but with people get closer to animals, the animals are getting used to humans and are no longer afraid to approach. Normally this wouldn't be a bad thing until some ignorant person decides the animals need food and feeds them, which in turn causes the animals to see humans as a food source.
Attacks, like the one on Taylor Mitchell, will only get worse and more frequent unless something is done.

By: Andi Whipkey

Helping Iran "Save Face"-

Iran, as in many times in the past, has been very uncooperative in the past in regards to its nuclear program. Recently however, we have seen an increase in the cooperation in the Iranian leadership.
The IAEA has not specified what Iran's exact position was in the negotiation, however, the proposal does touch on Iran's handling of Uranium. The proposal suggests that medical treatment and research could be assisted in Iran by using low enriched uranium.

In the words of Ahmadinejad, the "west" is finally starting to cooperate with Iran, thus allowing the proposal to be a "victory" for them.

What is likely occuring is that during negotiations, Iranian ooffcials have been addament in maintaining a strong face, and western negotiators have allowed Iran to frame potential outcomes as "victories" for Iran, rather than forcing them to admitt they are "conceeding" to the west. This allows Iran to save face, and not appear as if it is in a weak bargaining position.

GREG Voegtle


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Russia warned about HIV epidemic

Russia has been urged by Robin Gorna, head of the International AIDS Society, that it needs to crack down on preventing the spread of HIV. According to a BBC News article, Russia has more than 2 million intravenous drug users and that at least 1 million Russians are now infected with HIV. However, Russia isn't doing as much as it could to prevent this epidemic. International experts have been urging Russia to authorize the use of methadone as an alternative to injecting heroin. Methadone is a synthetic opioid taken orally and so promoting its use instead would cut down on needle use, however Russia insists that it will not legalize the substance. Russia also refuses to fund needle exchange programs that would cut down on the number of infected needles. On top of everything, Russia is now a middle-income country and is declining financial aid from abroad.

By: Kimberly Severns

Venezuela finds 11th body in massacre

The body of the last of 11 men captured and killed by mysterious culprits in Venezuela was found Wednesday. An article from the Chicago Tribune states that most of the men captured were Colombians living on the Venezuelan side of the border. A twelfth man was also captured, however he managed to escape by pretending to be dead, and is now recovering in a hospital in the Venezuelan capital. He claims that the men who captured him and the others were "leftist guerrillas" who thought that he and the others were paramilitaries. Theories of who the killers are range from drug traffickers to paramilitaries to members of Colombian guerrilla groups, and Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez has hinted that the killers might be Colombian spies. In any case, this incident has served to worsen relations between the two countries that have been deteriorating for the past two years over things like Colombia's decision to allow the U.S. to relocate its anti-drug efforts to Colombia. Chavez feels that this is going to facilitate an invasion of Venezuela.

By: Kimberly Severns

U.S. set to pay Taliban members to switch sides

"You can rent an Afghan but you can't buy him." This old saying implies just that. So with Obama signing a $680 billion defense appropriations bill to aid with military operations in assistance with the Taliban, we are attempting to purchase an Afghan. This is a temporary fix and does not seem to be a realistic way to diminish the ongoing problem. While it is beneficial because it separates the Taliban members from their leaders, which weakens the group, it will only last us so long. However, this short term plan is the only plan implemented that shows some effects. There is no simple long term plan which will eliminate the hatred and violence, hence there being no world peace. Plus with this program we are putting trust into an untrustworthy group so it really is a short term plan and cannot be trusted to alleviate all Taliban problems for the U.S. but it is a start.

By: Lindsay Weidling

Global Warming Opens New Artic Shipping Lane

For years mariners have wished that they could find a shipping lane that was a short cut between Europe and Asia across the Arctic Ocean. Well their wishes have just come true! In late September two German freighters where able to make the passage from Vladivostok, in the east, to Rotterdam, in the west, along the once impassable Arctic route. This trip was not only a success because it was the first successful trip along the Northeastern Passage, but also because it created other benefits too. The journey through the new route saved 10 days and $300,000 per ship. If this new route becomes viable then it means that ships will not have to take the 11,000 nautical mile voyage through the Indian Ocean, the Suez Canal, and the Mediterranean Sea. This decreased traffic could have negative impacts on countries along this route, such as Egypt, who gets a lot of money from the Suez Canal. Even though this new passage would hurt some countries, it would help others as well. Russia has the most to gain from the opening of this new route. If this new route does open Russia will see a huge economic opportunity when nit comes to northern development in Russia. Another benefit that Russia and other countries that surround the Arctic ocean will receive comes in the form of new natural resources. A US Geological Survey estimates that 25% of the world's untapped oil and 30% of untapped natural gas lie under the arctic ocean. These countries will be able to get to these natural resources and this new shipping route because the Arctic ocean's ice cape is receding at alarming rates. This year saw the third lowest amount of Arctic sea ice on record, after the record was set in 2007. This shows that polar ice caps are melting at unprecedented rates, and because of this new economic opportunities are opening up. However, not everyone is saying that this is such a great thing. Many people around the world think that the melting of polar ice caps is a bad thing no matter what economic opportunities open up. Russia feels pretty confident that the newly discovered Northeast Passage is much more preferable than Northwest passage. Russia says that there are two things that make the Northeast passage better. First, the Northwest passage runs through a maze of islands north of Canada, while the North east passage is clear water the entire time. Another drawback of the Northwest Passage is also in disputed territory because many areas that the passage goes through are being claimed by both Canada and the US. On the other hand the Northeast Passage is in undisputed Russian territory, which makes it a more secure and stable route. This new discovering is really exciting, but the new route has yet to be thoroughly tested to see if it is viable. This means that this issues of a northern passage from Europe to Asia still might just be a dream for mariners all around the world.

By:William Miller
Source: Christian Science Monitor

U.S. Drone Attacks

The UN has warned the U.S. that it may be violating international law by using unmanned drones to attack suspected terrorists in Pakistan Afghanistan. They state that the U.S. violates international law by using these drones to commit arbitrary executions, and they demand the U.S. to explain the reason why they should be allowed to continue. In defense, the U.S. has stated that such laws do not go into effect while there is an armed conflict happening.

The UN is just being wary that the U.S. is not carrying out executions that it otherwise couldn't without a war.

Since August of last year over 600 people have been killed by the drone attacks and in recent months.

Monday, October 26, 2009

German Limits on War Facing Afghan Reality

Rising Taliban insurgency in northern Afghanistan has forced German troops to become engaged. The German Army is involved in bloody ground combat for the first time since WWII. Concerns are rising over whether Americans will soon be fighting one war while their allies are fighting another. The issue at hand is now exactly how long will German troops remain in the area. After WWII, Germany agreed to avoid any type of military power usage except in the case of self-defense. Their are now oppositions to German troops in Afghanistan. German politicians are closed-lipped about the entire situation. They are portraying the situation as a peacekeeping and reconstruction effort. "The Germans may not have gone to war, but now the war has come to them."


By: Taylar Proctor

Israel rules out questioning troops about Gaza offensive

The Israeli government has ruled out the possiblity that they would establish an indendent investigative body for interviewing Israeli military personnel about alleged war crimes. The prime minister shared that he has confidence in the Israeli government to carry out its own investigation. The U.N. report calls for both the Israelis and Hamas to independently investigate the alleged war crimes. The U.N. Human Rights Council approved a resolution supporting it, however Israel has rejected the resolution.

By Kyle Reilly

Castro's Sister collaborated with the C.I.A.

In an interview with Univision-Noticias on Sunday, Juanita Castro came clear that she had worked with the C.I.A., the arch enemy of Fidel Castro for three years. Initially, Ms. Castro supportred the new regime her brothers Raul and Fidel put in place after the overthrow of Fulgencio Batista. All of this came to a sudden halt when they started to move the nation in the direction of Communism and ignore human rights. She actually helped harbor those being persecuted by her brothers by hiding them in her Havana home. The C.I.A. heard word of her disdain for the regime and approached her about working for them, and she provided them with valuable information for three years until she was exiled to Miami in 1964. She has not spoken to Raul or Fidel in nearly forty years and does not intend to anytime soon. She will soon be releasing a tell all about the relationship and dealings of her and her brothers.

By: Travis James

Source: New York Times

Karadzic boycotts own trial.

Gina Fazio

BBC News reports that Radovan Karadzic today did not show up for his trial with the International Criminal Tribunal for war crimes related to the Bosnian war in the 1990s.

Currently he is defending himself against 11 charges including genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. However the judge said that if Mr. Karadzic continues this "obstructive behavior" council will be forced upon him to proceed with the trial. Karadzic has refused to appear in court because he wants the trial to be delayed for a longer period of time.

The trial is said to include 1.2 million pages of evidence against Mr. Karadzic, numerous crime scenes and hundreds of witnesses. Mr Karadzic does not believe he has had enough time to prepare a proper defense against such resources. Though in all truth, is a defense even if postponed really possible against such insumountable evidence of the crimes?

If convicted Karadzic faces lifetime inprisonment.

Baghdad Bomb Fatalities Pass 150!

The moment a bomb hit Baghdad - Iraqi officials have raised their death toll to 155 and approximately another 500 people were wounded from the Sunday's suicide terrorism, who loaded two vehicles between a busy junction and two ministries. Army spokesman Maj Gen Qassim Atta said the lorry was loaded with a tonne of explosives and the car was carrying 700kg (1,500lb) of explosive material.American troops have been called for help on the investigation along with the Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki. Iraqi Prime Minister blames this incident on Al-Qaeda and supporters of it's former president Saddam Hussein. Overall, violence has dropped dramatically in Iraq compared to a year ago, although sporadic attacks still continue in several parts of the country. "These bombings serve no purpose other than the murder of innocent men, women and children, and they only reveal the hateful and destructive agenda of those who would deny the Iraqi people the future that they deserve." President Barack Obama

Suicide bombing facts:

Aug 2007: More than 500 killed in attacks on villages near Sinjar
Jul 2007: 150 killed in truck bombing in Tuz Khurmato
Apr 2007: 191 killed in car bombings in Baghdad
Mar 2007: 152 killed in truck bombing in Tal Afar
Feb 2007: 135 killed in truck bombing in Baghdad
Nov 2006: 202 killed in multiple blasts in Baghdad
Mar 2004: 171 killed in bombings in Baghdad and Karbala

By Vesna Tanasic
Article Source: BBCNews
Picture Source: CBSNews