Wednesday, November 24, 2010

North Korea Relies Upon China, but China is at a Crossroads

China is at a crossroads with its relationship to North Korea.

It's one time ally, North Korea has become more of a thorn in China's side recently and China doesn't know what to do about it. China has begun to act like North Korea's harried parent, unsure what to do about its problematic child.

North Korea's decision to shell South Korea has been condemned by China, as was North Korea's decision to be uranium enrichment, and it's later test of a nuclear war head. But China's condemnation doesn't seem to deter North Korea anymore.

This is a serious blow to China's growing stranglehold of influence and control on the Asian continent, especially when its a fellow Communist ally giving so much trouble. Yet North Korea represents China's past, a much more stringent adherence to communism than China's recent history of economic free trade with the U.S., and China doesnt want to endanger either.

China is the primary source of aid to Korea, as it sends in food to prop up the dictatorial government, but receives very little in tangible returns. However, if it didn't send in aid, there would be the very real possibility of North Korea's government failing, opening the door for South Korea (and backing them the U.S.) to reunite, and would lead to South Korea/the U.S. right on China's doorstep.

So China will continue with its confusing parenting style, at once rewarding Korea and then punishing it in the same breath with sanctions, until one or the other folds.

By Margaret Nunne

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Ireland requests billions in euro loans from EU

Ireland has requested "billions" of dollars in loans from both the IMF and the European Union.  Ireland has significantly struggled economically ever since the stock market crisis in 2008.  The Irish government had continually put off formal loan requests from the IMF and European Union despite their faltering economic status.  According to the article, it is highly likely that Ireland's request for funds will be met by the international community.  Interestingly enough, both the UK and Sweden have considered offering loans to Ireland on their own behalf.  With the Euro now being the most commonly accepted form of currency in Europe, it is critical for member countries of the European Union to keep all Euro representative countries afloat economically. 

By: Cameron Adams

Japanese tanker blast in Gulf was militant attack

According to the US Department of Transport a Japanese oil tanker that was damaged in July near the Strait of Hormuz was attacked by an al-Qaeda linked group that could carry out similar attacks in the future.  A group called Abdullah Azzam Brigades said that the tanker was attacked by one of their suicide bombers.  The US Department of Transportation's Maritime Administration has confirmed that the claim is valid.  The advisory issued by the Department of Transportation said for ships to exercise "increased vigilance and caution" especially at night.

DJ Willey

Report: North Korea claims it is enriching uranium at new plant

A U.S. Department team arrived in North Korea of report from a U.S. scientist group that reported North Korea of having a high Uranium facility. The facility is believed to have 2,000 centrifuges and believed to be a factor for nuclear power, however, North Korea said its not for Military power. Although, Stanford scientist Siegfried Hecker states that the high uranium levels could easily be converted to make a HEU bomb fuel. Not to mention, the adding of this facility violates the UN Security Council resolutions on North Korean's nuclear power program. A resolution to this problem was not given in the sense that North Korea is stating it's not a threat to the world, however, the world feels threatened and will go about this problem with extreme caution.

Danny Hayes

Gunmen kill young Iraqi journalist in front of family

Sunday, Gunmen shot and killed an Iraqi journalist in front of his family, in the northern city of Mosul. The man's name was Mazin al-Baghdadi, who worked for the Mousiliyya TV as a reporter and anchor. At around 6 p.m., the gunmen showed up to his household and claimed that they were intelligence officers, according to Mazin's father. Al-Baghdadi exited the house in attempts to talk to the men and they shot him. The family was looking on the scene when the shooting occured. More than 230 journalists and media related workers have been killed in Iraq since the U.S. led invasion in 2003. Other violence in Iraq includes six people being injured in bomb attacks around the countries capital

The rest of the article can be found here:

-Courtney Ecton

Suspicious bag delays Germany-bound flight

Amid heightened concerns about terrorist attacks in Germany, a bag was found on a flight from Namibia to Munich. This bag wasn't harmful and did not contain explosives; it could be a lookalike to test airport security. It was labeled a "Wile E. Coyote bomb" because it looks like your typical bomb, with a ticker, fuse and batteries. Experts have not looked at the bag yet, but it appears to be just as test as there were no luggage tags for it to be put on a plane. The scare made security check the passengers on the plane, and no owner for the bag stepped forward. Results are yet to be determined.

Amanda Marolf

Al Qaeda Bombs Kevin Kittilsen

In a magazine that came out recently, Al Qaeda gives claims to how much they spend on the bombs that were aboard a UPS flight. Surprisingly these bombs cost Al Qaeda all of $4,200. They explained how they discussed these bombs to look like printer toner cartridges so that there would be no suspicion. They also were careful on the materials they used so that the bombs would not be found. I think it is very scary how easily Al Qaeda can create something like this. I also think of how close the bombs came to not being found.

Trial for U.S. hikers detained in Iran set for February

The ongoing saga continues for two hikers that were captured and charged with espionage on the Iran Iraq border a few months ago. There court date was recently postponed until February 6th. The initial date was set for November 6th. Their attorney, Masoud Shafii, said that he was told the court date was cancelled the first time because the two hikers, Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer, did not show up to court. This absolutely made no sense to him because the two men that were taken into custody were and are in the governments custody, therefore it is the governments job to bring them to court. Shafii believes that the two men did nothing wrong and it is terrible that they should have to stay in jail for one more day than need be. Instead of it being one day it is now 3 more months than need be. There were 3 hikers at the start of this global issue but the last hiker Sarah Shourd was released on humanitarian grounds. I think this is really weird. The only reason that the government would postpone the court date would be to either torture the two men and keep them in prison longer than they already should have been.

By Nick Santos

U.S Russia Talks

Today president Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev have commenced talks to lesson the amount of warheads each can hold to 1,550. This is pivotal in the sense that America is taking the first step in bettering our relations with the Russians. Also it would allow the U.S. to transport non military items through russia so it can stockpile them for the war in Afganastain. With this idea in the center stage it is now up to the Senate and House to decide if it will pass or not. Obama is urging that both houses pass the legislation so that peaceful treaties can commence.
By: Dan Vogrin

In Rare Cases, Pope Justifies Use of Condoms

Pope Benedict XVI made a statement that was considered an exception to a policy that the catholic church has long stood by. The Pope said that the use of contraceptives was beneficial in the prevention of the spread of aids. The Pope was very careful in his statement, being sure to not condone or lead people to believe that the catholic church is in any sense changing their stance on condom use. This action seems to be somewhat shocking as the Catholic church has had such strong feelings for such a long time in opposition to contraceptives. Some are tying in these events to previous instances of Benedict being criticized for stating that only abstinence and fidelity have proven to be effective steps towards AIDS prevention. There are plans to put the interviews into a book and excerpts are set to be released online in the near future.

Andrew Gates

Ireland Will Use Bailout

Irelands financial minster Brian Leninan announced that Ireland will be applying for the International Monetary Fund bailout package. It is a multibillion euro package. Lenihan resorted to this after the Irish bond investors turned him down month after month. The European Union supports this move and believes that this is crucial to attaining stability in the EU. This is an issue because there is word that it will spread to Portugal and even Spain. To fix the problem and stop the debt from spreading to other countries, Ireland will only rely on help from the EU.
Heidi Goetsch

Welfare funding runs out in Iraq

Iraq has run out of money to pay for widows' benefits, farm crops and other programs for the poor, the parliament leader told lawmakers, who have collected nearly $180,000 so far this year in one of the world's most oil-rich nations. Parliament has demanded to know what happened to the estimated $1 billion allocated for welfare funding. The cause of the shortfall is unclear. Parliament has promised to push for answers from the Iraqi government as to where the money went. The Finance Ministry recently alerted them to the cash drain, and it appears lawmakers are taking up cases close to constituents' hearts in an effort to take notice away from their lavish paychecks which could be part of where the money went.

For more, go to:

By: Sam Nielsen

Salvatore Giunta Awarded Medal of Honor

Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Obama on Tuesday for his actions in Afghanistan. In 2007 while caught in an ambush, Giunta pulled away soldiers from Taliban insurgents. Giunta is the first living recipient of the Medal of Honor, the highest award, since the Vietnam War. Giunta accredits his Medal winning to all those he fought with in the past, especially those whom gave their life to serve the nation.

Amy Pacheco

World leaders seek to save the tiger

The tiger, and endangered species continues to inch closer to extinction due to poachers limiting their range. 13 states were part of an international summit in Russia to discuss how to double the tiger population by 2022, the next year of the tiger. The main problems against saving the species is the trade of tiger parts, such as bone and paws, that are used for traditional medicines in China. This supplies the market, and to further complicate matters, the tigers are processed in a different country, and are from tigers in a third. The trade is international, and therefore so must be the response and conservation initiatives.

Story of Israeli Troops Using Boy as a Human Shield Continued

On October 3rd I posted a blog about two Israeli soldiers using a boy from Gaza as a human shield during a three week conflict with Hamas which rules Gaza. Their case was the first of its kind to go to court in Israel where the use of civilians as human shields is banned. Since then the trial has ended and the soldiers have received their sentences. The two soldiers do not face any prison time, instead they have been demoted and face two years of probation. The boy who they used as a shield during the conflict was forced to open bags that were thought to contain bombs. The bags ended up being harmless but the boy was so frightened for his life that he wet himself. His mother was outraged that the two soldiers did not get a heavier sentence. It is hard to say how the trial would have played out if the bags had indeed been booby trapped.

by Haley Kirk

China orders more inflation fighting measures

China has started the process of increasing social services. On a local level, fuel and power is to be secured so that subsidies can be provided. They were also ordered to prepare for a slow rise in pensions, minimum wage, and unemployment.

This comes a day after announcing that more land would be freed for food production, and that enforcement would increase against hoarding food stores to sell when the prices rise.

These measures come amidst worries of food shortages this coming winter, due to a poor growing season, early frost, and natural disasters. Food prices are already inflated over 60% compared to last year.

Ireland going for international bailout

Ireland has been denying the need for a bailout for weeks but Sunday it became the second European country to ask for a multibillion euro emergency loan. The request for the loan from the EU and the IMF is considered a humiliating turnaround for the Irish government since it had been denying the need or that the negotiations were even taking place. The acceptance also dashed hopes that the mere existence of the emergency funds would quell concern over several nations' massive debts. Ireland's deficit is currently 19 billion euros, but the Finance Minister Lenihan says the money will only be used to help pay Ireland's bills and provide a contngency fund to back up banks. Although the cabinet has already signed the application for the loan, the negotiation of the details of the loan have not yet been discussed.

For more on the story, see the article here:

By: Sam Nielsen

Saturday, November 20, 2010

First Cholera Case Leads to Fear in Dominican Republic

Cholera has now killed over 1,100 people and hospitalized 18,000 in Haiti, but now there is fear that the disease may be spreading to the neighboring Dominican Republic. Dominican officials reported Tuesday that the first case of the disease had hit in the country. The victim is a 32 year old Haitian man who had visited family in his homeland before coming back to his home in the Dominican Republic. This has stricken the country's people with fear, and the government has already issued a maximum health alert. The Dominican Republic appears to be taking a strong approach to control, so there is hope that this will be a non-issue for the country. More on the story here.

-Trevor Magnotti

NATO invites Russia to join Europe missile shield

Russia was receptive but noncommittal to accept an invitation from NATO to join a missile shield protecting Europe from against an Iranian attack. Medvedev agreed to involve technicians in development plans but if Russia is not treated as an equal partner in the U.S.-led effort they might not join if it becomes operational. Medvedev says there must be a full-fledged exchange of information or Russia will not participate. Obama received support from NATO yesterday but severla key issues were left unanswered. No one knows if it will work or if Europe can afford it. Howver, these issues were put aside in celebration of the agreement as a boost in NATO solidarity.

For more information, see the article:

By: Sam Nielsen

Friday, November 19, 2010

Twitter User in China Sentanced

Cheng Jianping, a Chinese citizen, was recently sentenced to one year in a Chinese labor camp as a result of tweeting. She tweeted mocking Chinese protesters who smashed Japanese products during a demonstration and tweeted about her support for Nobel Peace Prize Winner Liu Xiaobo. Eleven days after the tweet, her fiance, Hua Chunhui, was arrested by the police in their wedding day; her arrest followed later that day. Hua was released five days later, while she was not. Cheng said her posts were satirical and are no reason to be in jail. Her family and lawyer are fighting to get Cheng medical parole and out of the labor camp due to high blood pressure issues.

By: Alyssa Rabulinski

NATO agrees to missile defense system

President Obama announced on Friday that NATO will develop a missile defense system to safeguard most of Europe and the United States.The system would be "strong enough to cover all of the NATO European territory and populations, as well as the United States," Obama told reporters in Lisbon, Portugal. This strategic concept reconfirms the commitment by NATO members to defend one another against attack, there are also plans to have Afghan forces transition, between 2011 and 2014, and Russia's relationship with NATO and the U.S. is also on the agenda.

By:Alicia Panczyk

N. Korea Seen Working on New Reactor

"New satellite images of a North Korean nuclear site and a recent visit to the North by two American experts suggest that Pyongyang has started work on a new reactor." What does this mean exactly? In-fact, "Light-water reactors are typically used to generate electricity for civilian purposes and are considered relatively safe in terms of proliferation risks." Experts at the institute that issued this statement estimated that a new reactor that would need the ability to generate about 30 megawatts would actually need several tons of low enriched uranium to even start this reactor, and another ton of uranium every year as “reloads.” Is this another blown up thing in the media or is this a reason for great concern in world politics? "These values could vary depending on the design of the reactor and whether it will be optimized for electricity production or weapon-grade plutonium production for weapons,” the security institute he wrote in a report. Personally, whenever another county does anything that threatens the lives of other individuals unjustly, sanctions must be issued.

By: Chase Pavlick

Gas delays search for 27 miners in New Zealand

A powerful gas explosion occurred at one of New Zealand's largest coal mines, and Friday night, rescue crews waited impatiently to begin their search for twenty-seven miners still within. Fears that pockets of methane gas were still present and could ignite delayed the rescue crews. It could be days before specialists can begin the rescue. An electricity failure may have caused the gas to build up, and the failure has made it difficult to pump fresh air into the mine shaft. Teams were preparing for a rescue on Saturday but it was unclear whether it would happen. The condition of the miners is unknown but it is hoped that they are still alive if trapped like the Chilean miners. There are emergency tunnels in the mines but it is unclear whether the miners could access them.

For the full article go to:

By: Sam Nielsen

NATO Summit in Portugal

Leaders of NATO are meeting today in Portugal with the goal of discussing pulling out troops from Afghanistan by as late as 2014 and possibly earlier. The United States is taking the meeting in Lisbon very serious by sending not only Secretary of State Hilary Clinton but President Barak Obama as well. Key topics being discussed will be about the transfer of power back to the Afghan people. This has been a major struggle for America when dealing with Iraq and the problems seemed to have crept into Afghanistan as well. The United States is expected to face tough questions from its European allies in the EU. Other issues expected to be disscussed during the meeting include Turkey and Iran. Finally NATO is expected to issue a new mission statement designed to warn EU nations against defense spending in this time of economic crisis. This article was found on
Tom Kuebel

Election Hope in Haiti

The presidential election in Haiti will be November 28th and there are 19 candidates on the ballot. Politics in Haiti are often corrupt and cause violence. "Campaigning consists of televised debates that most Haitians don't watch because they don't have TV sets or electricity." Haiti needs a good leader, especially right now as the nation has faced a major earthquake and currently a Cholera epidemic. The Obama administration, international donors, and U.N. special envoy Bill Clinton will all be working with the Haitian government to spend $9 billion dollars to help rebuild Haiti. According to the U.S. ambassador who has sat down with the top contenders he has "not met anybody we can't work with." As a usual election in Haiti none of the candidates is seen as U.S. favorite, but none are opposition politician running against the U.S. However many complain about the arrogance of charities and NGOs that "form a kind of parallel state" in Haiti. Violence has mostly been directed at U.N. peacekeepers and "by Haiti standards, it has been quite peaceful." In Haiti choosing a candidate revolves around personalities rather than parties. The question most voters are facing is whether or not they want to vote to continue in the path of the current president by selecting his hand picked successor, or voting for one of the other 18 candidates promising change. Candidates are running on many different platforms. One promises to welcome back exiled president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, another to create jobs and another to build roads. According to candidate Michel Martelly, "If the revolution doesn't happen by peaceful means, it will happen eventually, by other means."

Submitted by: Erin Burneson

Thursday, November 18, 2010

US Navy Assists Shipwrecked Iranians

full story

The US Navy destroyer Oscar Austin helped 2 Iranians who were left afloat in the Persian Gulf. A merchant vessel spotted the 2 sailors about 1,000 miles outside of Iranian controlled waters and launched a flare. The Oscar Austin responded to the signal. The Oscar Austin also towed the sailors closer to the destroyer so that they could provide food and water to the sailors. The sailors said that their ship had sunk the night before and that part of their crew was missing. The Iranian Coast Guard came to retrieve the sailors and thanked the US Navy for its efforts.

--Ray Treonis

Suspious Luggage Found, but Held no Explosives

A suspious bag was found in an airport in Namibia, but it was annouced that there were no explosives inside. The bag was found with other luggage that was being loaded onto a flight that was heading to Germany, but never made it on the plane. It didn't have a luggage tag, so it is unclear as to where it was supposed to be going. The bag held an electronic clock with wires attached to it, which could have been used in a bomb. When it was discovered to have no explosives in it, everyone was asked to get off the plane and claim their luggage, but no one claimed that bag. The flight then went on, and landed safely in Germany. This comes after Germany raised its threat level, due to "concrete evidence" of a possible attack planned for later this month and threats from islamits groups persistant attempts at an attack.

By: Kathleen Tite

Spain Upset Over Migrant Bombing Game

According to this article, Spain's main opposition party is being hounded over a video game they produced which invites users to bomb illegal immigrants. The video game, Rescue, was posted on the conservative Popular Party's website and is being used as part of the party's campaign for regional elections.  "In the game, Alicia Sanchez-Camacho - the president of the PP branch in Catalonia - is depicted riding a white seagull called Pepe. She is dubbed Alicia Croft, in a reference to Lara Croft, the heroine of the popular video game Tomb Raider. Points are awarded to players when they direct the bird to bomb aircraft containing illegal immigrants or symbols of Catalan nationalism." Hours after the game was posted online, The Popular Party took it down saying that the game manufacturers made a mistake; instead of bombing migrants, organized crime groups were supposed to be the targets. 

By: Jaime Hacker

Guinea Declares State of Emergency

According to this article, Guinean authorities have declared a state of emergency due to the violence after a disputed presidential election. Reports say that three people were killed in the last conflict between security forces and opposition supporters. The winning candidate, Alpha Conde, wants to initiate reconciliation but the candidate that lost alleges electoral fraud. The state of emergency is said to stay in effect until the election results are confirmed. Seven people total have died since the results were first released. Rival parties and different ethnic groups have been involved with the fighting.

By: Jaime Hacker

Irish Officials May Seek Financial Help

Irish officials for the first time that they may need some financial help to stimulate their failing economy. Banks have began to fail, and Irish businesses are no longer prospering. Irish officials have been reluctant to ask for any financial help, as they do not want to deal with agreements that may be attached to the loans. Some economists have argued over the amount of euros that need to be distributed throughout Ireland. The U.S. treasury has stated that Ireland seems to be moving closer to some sort of resolution. The issue is that nobody is really sure what Irish officials are planning to do. Other European countries such as Germany have reached out to Ireland, and allowed them to apply for for financial aid. The European bank has also stepped up a provision of funds to the Irish central bank, for a distribution of money throughout Ireland's institutions. Most economists seem to believe that Ireland and the rest of Europe for that matter will rebound economically but there is no specific time table.

Tim McEniff

Resignation calls after Japan justice minister's gaffe

At a private gathering in his home constituency in Hiroshima Prefecture Japan's justice minister, Minoru Yanagida, has allegedly claimed that his job is easy and that he has no idea how he got it. Yanagida told supporters that he only needs to remember two phrases in parliament: "I won't comment on individual cases" and "I'm acting in accordance with the law and the evidence." He said that he uses the no comment phrase whenever "I [he] don't understand." Japan's prime minister Naoto Kan has given Yanagida a stern warning for his gaffe. However, opposition forces who claim that the gaffe makes light of parlimantery affairs are calling for Yanagida to quit over his remarks. This is just another in a series of headaches for Japan's prime minister, as his government's popularity has fallen under criticism of his handling of Japan's territorial rows with China and Russia.

Story at:
By:Szymon Kesek

China sentences woman to labor camp for twitter post

Eleven days after a Chinese woman retweeted a twitter post that mocked Chinese protesters who smashed Japanese products and suggested that they also smash the Japanese Pavillion at the Shanghi World Expo, she and her fiance were taken away by the Police. Hua Chunhui was arrested at his job but was released 5 days later. His fiance, the one responsible for the twitter post, was arrested that same day except she still has not been released and Hua has not seen her since then. The arrest was made eleven days after October 17. 46 year old Chen Jianping was sentenced to one year in Henan Province Labor Camp for "disturbing social stability." It was reported the she also supported Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Liu Xiaobo on Twitter. Her lawyers are in the process of appealing her case believing no one should be put in jail for their sarcastic words.

Find this article at
Posted by vanity sotelo

North Korea Low on Food Again

The United Nations is pushing for food aid to North Korea after a new report released by the World Food Program, and the Food and Agriculture Organization said North Korea would have yet another food shortage in staple crops this year. The main crops that are needed are rice, grain, and soybeans in quantities of more than a half million tons. Even with 2010 yeilding a 3% higher harvest than last year, despite a poor growing season, the country is still not able to feed its people.

Humanitarian and food crisis are nothing new for North Korea. The governemnt food distribution provides only half of the necessary daily calories which leaves the people to find their own food by means of small garden plots and trading on the black market. Officials estimate the North Korea's food aid program is underifnanced by 80% and almost 50% of the children in the country are malnourished.

North Korea has been looking to South Korea for aid by requesting talks to re-open cross border tours to the jointly operated Mount Kumgang resort in the North which is referred to as Diamond Mountain. These tours brought large amounts of revenue to the North, but the tours were stopped after a North Korean guard recently killed a South Korean women for wandering into a restricted zone. South Korea has denied the requests for talks. They also denied giving shipments of 500,000 tons of rice and 300,000 tons of fertilizer in return for restarting family reunions of those seperated by the Korean war.

International sanctions, a lack of foreign currency and credit has also made it difficult for North Korea to find food. Although, there has been some aid given from South Korea as part of an $8.5 million aid package that was agreed upon earlier, officials worry that the food will simply go to the military and the political elite. North Korea's food crisis is an ongoing problem and chances for improvement do not seem likely any time soon.

For more information read the article on the New York Times at

By: Colin Zimmerman

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Motorcyclists make hasty exodus on yellow bus

The Christian Motorcyclists Association, a US based organisation that is exactly what the title implies, were attacked by angry Haitians while attempting to flee Cap-Haitien. The 11 missionaries had been in Haiti to distribute motorcycles to pastors, which clearly will not happen now. The missionaries decided to flee after UN staff were attacked by Haitians angry about the cholera epidemic. In a scene resembling one of the Mad Max movies, the bus had stopped because of a blockade the protesters had constructed. The driver attempted to reverse the bus, but more protesters (actually, at this point, I will refer to them as rioters) had moved two destroyed cars in the path of the bus. Rocks were hurrled at the bus, which smashed the windscreen and damaged part of the oil-system. The bus was incapacitated, and the rioters dragged an employee of the bus company out and promtly beat him. The bus had just enough power left in its engine for the driver to move it to the front gate of a UN peacekeeping base, where the engine seized. Chillean peacekeepers ushered the missionaries to safety. When asked what the CMA had planned to do the next day, one missionary replied, "Pray a lot."

-Caleb B. Ray

EU finance ministers discuss Irish debt crisis

Finance and economic ministers are meeting in Brussels Wednesday to discuss Ireland's economic woes within the European Union. Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen has committed to reduce the country's debt by the end of 2014. However, the country is dealing with debt that will total 98.5 percent of its entire economy this year.

The Irish government claims it does not need aid at the present time because there are enough funds to tide the country over until the middle of 2011. Also, the interest rate on the debt rose yesterday. Other governments in the EU struggling with debt have cut corners by cutting spending and raising taxes. Although this can help cede the debt for a limited amount of time, it makes it harder for nations to repay their debts and grow economically.

Since 2008, Ireland has slashed $20 billion off the budget and plan to slash an additional $20 billion over the next few years. At this time, they are resisting assistance in the form of a bailout because it could mean possible dispute for the national elections next year.

--Emily Goodfellow.

"Be Alert, not Scared" Germany Steps Up Security on News of Planned Terrorist Attack

German Interior Minister, Thomas de Maziere, announced to the people that Germany will be stepping up its security measures in light of confirming that terrorists plan to attack in late November. A core part of the statement was that, "there is reason to be alert, not to be hysteric" and that people should not change their daily lives. De Maziere was criticized for his statement against 'alarmism' in the United States, Europe, and Japan as a result of threats. Germany has since lifted the grounding of Yemeni cargo planes after the threat earlier this month. They have received threats from Yemen and bombs from Greece.

By: Rebecca M. Samson

Who is to blame for Haiti?

Protesters in Haiti are blaming the UN for the cholera outbreak that has devastated their country, killing over a thousand people. Due to the burning tires and the total control taken by said protesters, the UN peacekeepers have been unable to deliver supplies to hospitals, in turn making the cholera death toll continually rise. With presidential elections coming up November 28th, these protests have been rumored to be politically motivated, yet the UN denies such rumors. Either way this devastation will not slow down, especially with flights being suspended delivering supplies. If these protests continue, so will the death, which most recently spread to the Dominican Republic.

By: Lindsay Weidling

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

7 Charged in Kosovo Organ-Trafficking Ring

At least seven people have been charged with participating in an international organ-trafficking network based in Kosovo. The network sold kidneys and other organs from impoverished victims for up to $200,000. The organs were sent as far away as Israel and Canada. Traffickers lured people from slums in Istanbul, Moscow, Moldova and Kazakhstan with promises of up to $20,000 for their organs. Many of these individuals never received a cent, law enforcement officials said. While the ring was first discovered two years ago, the extent of the network and its victims is only now becoming clear. The ringleader, Dr. Lutfi Dervishi, was a highly regarded surgeon and professor at Pristina University Hospital. The clinic where the operations took place was run by his son, Arban. Also charged was Ilir Rrecaj, a senior official in Kosovo's Health Ministry. Those three including two others are accused of crimes including trafficking in humans and body parts, unlawful medical activity, participating in organized crime, and abuse of office. All were released on bail. Warrants were issued for a Turkish doctor and an Israeli financier, and two other doctors, an Israeli and a Turk, were named as co-conspirators.

Submitted by Emily Collins

Prince William Finds a Bride

Prince William and Kate Middleton made it official on Tuesday morning that they plan on getting married amid years of speculation and anticipation. Prince Charles issued the statement this morning saying that the young Prince William has informed the Queen and the father of the bride. Although this doesnt have the political significance of the Irish Bailout or the vote of no confidance by the Italian Government it serves as an example of Britians Royal family in action. The wedding is sure to be highly publicized with the intent of bringing in revenue for the British governement. One interesting note about the wedding is that Prince William proposed with the ring that Prince Charles gave to Princess Diana. Party leaders in the British Parliment gave their opinion in the article as well.
Tom Kuebel

France Accuses Iran of Violence

According to this BBC news article, France has accused Iran of perpetrating violent acts on French diplomats at the French embassy in Tehran. Officials say that the entrance to the embassy was blocked by unidentified officials on Sunday and arrested guests of the embassy. The arrest took place as many guests gathered at the embassy to partake in a celebration of traditional Persian music. 130 guests were invited to the party and about two-thirds were blocked from entry. France and Iran have been at ends after France took a hard stance on Iran's nuclear program and the news came hours after Iran charged two Germans with spying after they interviewed the son of the woman sentenced to stoning within Iran. Tensions seem to be very high and things are uneasy right now between the Western world and Iran.
By: Kyle Coia

Guinea's Run-off Elections End With Opposition Victory

The results have been tallied, and opposition leader Alpha Conde has been declared the victor. When news of the opposition victory sparked ethnic violence in Guinea's capital, as Peuls began to sack the homes of Malinke residents. Members of the former ruling party have cried fowl at the results, accusing the opposition of voter fraud. CENI, the nation's independent electoral commission, has stated that there are no cases of voter fraud, despite the 28 allegations filled by the losing contender Diallo. This election ends a 54 year history of dictatorship for the African nation.

Submitted by William Ragan

Monday, November 15, 2010

Money for Torture

An article from the BBC announced that around a dozen British citizens or residents who have been detained at Guantanamo Bay will be compensated. Why? For the supposed torture of the detainees at the prison. But, according to the report, some of these men were even tortured prior to being sent to Guantanamo Bay. This case will be settled out of the court system, as it is thought that the government wishes to avoid an expensive trial that may cause questioning of the country's secret service forces. The prime minister had announced earlier this year that he no longer wished the integrity of Britain's secret service to be overshadowed by these torture allegations. July of this year saw the release of some 500,000 documents relating to the incident, yet the amount of the settlement is currently in confidentiality.

Posted by: Zach Porlier

Chinese mine in Afghanistan threatens ancient find

Archeologists are excavating a 2,600-year-old Buddhist monastery in Mes Aynak, south of Kabul, Afghanistan. The Chinese have interest in this monastery because a Chinese company is looking to develop the world's second-biggest unexploited copper mine, which is under the monastery. The mine is one of China's investments with $3.5 billion in Afghanistan. It is said to be one of the largest foreign investment in Afghanistan thus far. The mine holds close to 6 million tons of copper which could possibly help boost the Afghan economy. It would also develop many jobs in the country.

Posted by Christine Steinbeiss

Drug smugglers buy cargo jets

The lack of radar across the Atlantic Ocean is allowing drug smugglers to sell cocaine all around the world. Federal investigators have learned that drug smugglers are now buy old jets, filling them with cocaine and sending the planes to Europe, where a growing coke habit is emerging. Three gangs, if not more, have a deal with west Africa. The cocaine is flown to west African, then off to Europe. The lack of radar across oceans makes it very easy for smugglers to sell coke around the world.

Posted by Christine Steinbeiss

Somali Pirates Release British Couple

At 4am this morning, the British couple, Paul and Rachel Chandler, who were taken as hostages from their private yacht by Somali pirates were finally released after 388 days. They were set free due to a ransom that was finally paid. After their release, they were welcomed by the Somali people and also met and greeted the Prime Minister. The couple realized the sincerity of the Somali people and claimed that they are not bad indivividuals and that people place labels on the community, but rather it is the pirates who should be the ones labeled with the bad image. Piracy has long been a problem on the coast of Somalia and there has been numerous instances where ships and crew members are held hostage until a payment is made. The couple is lucky to be alive and have their freedom. As of currently, they are getting medical check-ups in Nairobi and flying back home to see their long-missed families in Britain.

Man boards plane in disguise

A young Asian man recently boarded an international Canada Air flight disguised as an elderly white man. Flight attendants were alerted by a passenger who noticed the unnatural plastic-like appearance of the man's skin and the disproportionate comparison to the skin on his hands. At one point in the flight the elderly-looking man had gone to the plane's lavatory and returned as a young Asian man without the disguise. The attendants were not able to pursue the man during the flight on the grounds that he had done nothing wrong. It is unknown what type of identification the man used to pass through airport security in Hong Kong, and what his motives were in elaborately disguising himself. Upon landing he was questioned by Canada Border Services Agency officials. Both the agency and the airline are conducting investigations.

Meghan Steinbeiss

Irish in crisis talks with EU nations, refuse aid

Debt-burden Ireland is in talks with other European Union countries about how to handle its financial troubles. Ireland denies the need for a bailout from the EU rescue fund to calm market turmoil. Greece, a nation that already received funds from the EU, had to raise its deficit figures again. The main focus was to quell market fears of an eventual Irish default. Ireland insists it needs no help because they have enough cash to avoid borrowing until mid-2011. Ireland believes it is the European Central Banks concern to boost the liquidity of the troubled Irish banks not the EU. Markets, however, reacted in a way that could lead to bankruptcy not only of Ireland but of other struggling EU nations.

For more on this story, see the article here:

By: Sam Nielsen

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Referendum in Sudan

Southern Sudan's independence referendum has been held up by international donors who have not transferred their money to the organizing body. Al Jazeera's Haru Mutasa described the what she believed to be the feelings of the international community as follows: "A lot of people in the international community feel that perhaps Sudan is not ready to hold this referendum. Some feel it's been too rushed. They feel a lot of things on the ground aren't actually prepared. There are still issues that people are bickering over. There's issues of border demarcation, issues of citizenship, issues of how to share the oil wealth. And of course the threat of violence that people are afraid could happen if the process isn't handled properly." Registration to vote starts Monday. Clashes are still happening between the north and south in the Sudan region. The head of the joint UN-African Union Mission, Ibrahim Gambari said that his organization as well as the United Nations Mission in Sudan already have contingency plans in case of further clashes before the election in January. The US development agency is budgeted to give $50m to aid in the referendum, but according to the minister for international development, only Sudanese government should pay to the commission. International partners are more focused on giving finished goods and services.

Submitted By: Erin Burneson

Graphic Movie Sparks Outrage

German filmmaker Uwe Boll gained notoriety with the release trailer of his new movie titled Auschwitz. The trailer features Boll dressed as an SS guard standing outside a gas chamber door while prisoners inside pound the door; later in the trailer medics pull teeth from prisoners and place bodies inside the ovens for cremation. The disturbing trailer has sparked outrage among the movie critic community, many of whom pledge to boycott the movie when released next year. Critics claim he is exploiting the horrors of the Holocaust for his financial gain while Boll claims to use the subject to educate those whom believe the Holocaust to be a myth.

Amy Pacheco

Radical cleric arrested in Lebanon after shootout, government says

Bakri Mohammed, a radical Islamic who is facing a life sentence for aiding an al Qaeda affiliate. The arrest was made after a shootout occurred in the northern city of Tripoli. Bakri was arrested under charges of being in a group that committed crimes against the state such as; membership of an armed group, and having weapons and explosives. Bakri also stated that he never aided al Qaeda even though evidence is anonymous. He was also believed to be involved in the bombing in London just a few years back and he is considered a dangerous threat to the world.

Danny Hayes

Airbus prepares safety warnings

this article is about how the French company airbus is investigating and incident that occurred a few days ago when a BMI flight went off course by 20 miles when a crucial flight control computer shut down and the pilots lost control of the airplane. the crew said that the planes left wing dropped suddenly without any input by the crew. airbus had issued a warning to all pilots that fly the airbus A321 to be warned about this occurrence. airbus is trying to find out what is causing these problems, they did state that these situations are hard to recreate and they are not sure how to fix the problems. for years analysts have been worried about airbus's electrical systems.

Obama calls latest Israeli plan promising

President Obama has an optimistic outlook on the settlement freeze on the West Bank, and encourages Israel and Palestine to move toward peace, giving them 3 months to define state borders. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that he supports the plan and will try to gain approve from his Cabinet. This article actually covers more of Obama's current world and US political concerns: a more bipartisan tone towards the US, US-Russian nuclear arms treaty, and taxes.

Amanda Marolf

Iran developing long-range radar, upgraded missile defense

Iran is developing and improving technology in order to increase the range and numbers of its systems in order to boost its defense. Beginning this Tuesday, Iranian forces will begin a now annual drill and practice on fake missiles and aircraft. They will spend 5 days practicing with these targets in order to analyze the effectiveness of this new radar technology. New long range missile defense systems have also been implemented and can now fire on a target as far as 3,000 km away: this is a huge increase from the previous systems that could only fire 400 km away. There will be more improvements over time.

Operation Global Shield

The trade of ammonium nitrate is now being regulated in a worldwide effort known as Operation Global Shield in an attempt to reduce the number of fatalities caused by roadside bombings. Ammonium Nitrate is a common ingredient in many fertilizers but it is also a common ingredient in many bombs. In Afghanistan these type of bombings are the number one killer of US troops. Despite efforts to stop the flow of ammonium nitrate into Afghanistan hundreds of tons of the chemical make it into the country from Pakistan. It is hard to know whether the police have actually been fooled and are unknowingly passing it into the country, or if they are being payed off by those trying to smuggle it in. Many officials want to put detection devices at the borders but even so, smugglers are becoming more and more sophisticated every day.

submitted by Haley Kirk

Iran Develops Long Range Radar

Iran military sources have confirmed that iran has been developing and are close to upgrading there radar sytem and missle defences. Their will be a 5 day period where iran will test its new technolgy to showcase it to their citizens, and the world. This leaves people on edge because now they can moniter any aircraft flying in their boarders. Whereas before the development of the technology iran could only moniter a range of 400 hundred miles. This leaves country's that believe iran is stockpilling their military resources wonder!

By:Dan Vogrin

Hotel Explosion Kills 7 in Mexico

5 Canadian tourists and 2 hotel staff are dead after an explosion in a luxury hotel near Cancun, Mexico. The explosion is said to have been caused by a build up of natural gas, perhaps swamp gas, and not of malicious intent. Several Americans were also injured in the explosion. A state prosecutor for Mexico is currently looking into whether or not the hotel was properly built for swamp conditions. Though the exact cause of the gas leak is unknown, swampy areas tend to have a lot of decaying matter which can create large gas bubbles that can unexpectedly rise to the surface.

--Ray Treonis

Interests in Mongolia and Mongolia's Role in Eurasia

Mongolia has several promising aspects to it. It happens to be rich in rare earth resources, which China recently embargoed. Therefore the United States and Japan are looking to invest in Mongolia. Mongolia is also a democracy since it peacefully split from Russia 20 years ago. It sent troops to Iraq, when NATO states have not acted quickly or not acted at all. Due to its location between Russia and China, Mongolia has credibility in demanding transparency from the Chinese in military matters, which western states do not. In addition, Mongolia is emerging as an alternative to China for foreign investment.

By Rebecca M. Samson

Kiwi Crisis

The article was about the crops in New Zealand. Kiwi is a major driver of the economy there, and they have found a disease in the fruit. The industry, which is worth more than 1 billion dollars is in trouble. This can have an effect on the entire world because if the cost of this crop goes up, it may inflate other fruits in the global market. I never thought kiwi could be in trouble!

Posted By: Jeff Waszak

Cholera death toll rise in Haiti Kevin Kittilsen

The death toll in Haiti due to Cholera is on a steady rise. So far the death toll has reached over 900 people according to the Haitian Ministry of Health, and is still climbing. There have been around 15,000 hospitalizations due to this bacterial infection. One major impact that this will take is on the Squalid Camps that were set up from the deadly earth quake that occurred 10 months ago. There is beginning to be a spread of this infection through these camps at a rapid pace. We will see how this plays out, depending on how well they are able to get this under control.

Pirates Free Kidnapped Couple

After spending a year in the possession of Somali pirates, a British couple was finally released from captivity. The couple was captured after sailing a small yacht in the Indian Ocean. The process of freeing the couple became a complicated one due to the fact that the couple was not wealthy. Apparently the only seemingly valuable asset they owned was their sailboat, which was captured and abandoned during the capture. Like most cases involving Somali pirates, the conflict was resolved after paying the ransom. The ransoms have been on a steady incline throughout the years. The prime minister stated that he along with the Somali government did all in its power to strive towards an earlier release, however attempts were unsuccessful due to the lack of control that the government has over the pirates.

Andrew Gates

French rail company apologizes for role in WWII Jewish deportations

The French state rail company, SNCF, has publicly apologized for its involvement in transporting Jews to Nazi camps in World War II. Previously, the company had asserted that its workers were forced to aid in this deportation from France to Germany. The tone of SNCF has since changed and now reflects sorrow and regret for this happening. This change was unprecedented, but not entirely unexpected. The company has been criticized in the past by the US for not publicly addressing the issue. Now that it is seeking to obtain contracts for high-speech rails in California and Florida, SNCF is complying with the demands of the US to bring light to past wartime issues.

Meghan Steinbeiss

Saturday, November 13, 2010

French cabinet resigns ahead of Sarkozy reshuffle

On Saturday, President Sarkozy's office said he had accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Francois Fillon and his other ministers. This move allows Sarkozy to appoint new ministers without first having to dismiss those still in office. The decision comes in the wake of recent political unrest in France and is aimed at increasing Sarkozy's popularity ahead of his bid for re-election in 2012 . Many of the removed ministers had close ties with the controversial reforms to the countries pension system which caused heavy protests throughout France. Protests that saw Sarkozy's popularity plummet. Even so, Government sources say that Fillon is likely to be reappointed Prime Minister.

Story at
By Szymon Kesek

Burmese Dissident Is Freed At Last

Myanmar’s pro-democracy leader and Noble Peace Prize winner Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was finally freed from house arrest on Saturday after 7 1/2 years. The release was just five days after an election that recast the structure of military rule in Myanmar, an election which she questions their legitmacy and plans to challenge because of the accustations of fraud from almost all opposition parties. The government made no statement about her release but the barricades around her home were removed and she will address the public on Sunday. Her lawyer has stated she can go anywhere she likes "but in practice, there were quite a lot of restrictions on her.” And the United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, said he expected “no further restrictions will be placed on her.” We shall see how this all plays out. She has not stated what her plans are yet but it has been mentioned that she will engage in political activities again, a powerful woman entering the battleground again has a long journey ahead of her.

By: Alicia Panczyk

Friday, November 12, 2010

Burma generals 'sign Aung San Suu Kyi release order'

Today, BBC News reported that Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been under house arrest in Burma, was not released earlier today. She was expected to be released today as the end of an extension on her sentence that was added after an American swam a large lake near her house in an effort to rescue her.
Spectators were told to return on Saturday. The postponement of Ms Suu Kyi's release has come under questioning. A main point raised is that of the elections on Sunday, the first in 20 years after the elected party was not allowed to assume the role.

Authorities look to the upcoming election as a step from military rule to democracy, but some Western governments and human rights groups have denounced the idea of the elections being free or fair.

U.S. and South Korea Fail to Agree on Trade

"President Obama and President Lee Myung-bak of South Korea failed to reach an agreement Thursday on a long-awaited free-trade agreement, saying they had decided instead to give their negotiators more time to work out differences, which revolved around Korean imports of American autos and beef." President Obama is on a tour through the area covering four different nations in just ten days. This free-trade agreement was based on President Obama's goal of job growth and doubling exports over the next five years. His stop in South korea did not go as plaaned, however, the president did seem enthusiastic that the problem will be resolved very soon. This agreement was assumed to be solved Tuseday evening due to the personel/private meetings held between President Obama and President Lee Myung-bak lasting over two hours.

By: Chase Pavlick

Who Outed The Russian Spies? Their Boss

"Col Shcherbakov had a senior role in Russia's foreign intelligence agency, [Russian business daily] Kommersant says; his job: to plant moles in the United States, secret agents deep under cover." His first name, as well as his (now likely altered) appearance, remain state secrets. His motives are clearer: Col Shcherbakov defected to the United States just days before Presidents Dimitry Medvedev and Barack Obama met in June, on the even of the first official US meeting between the two heads of state.

Col Shcherbakov even "visited one of the arrested spies, Mikhail Vasenkov, in prison to try to convince him to confess." When the spy, alias Juan Lazaro, insisted to US authorities that he wasn't Russian, Col Shcherbakov "then presented Mr Vasenkov's dossier to US officials."

Col Shcherbakov's daughter already resides in the United States, where she attended an unnamed university.

Jacob Nelson

Christian woman sentenced to death in Pakistan

A Pakistani court sentenced a Christian mother of five to death for blasphemy. Asia Bibi was sentenced to death in Punjab on Monday under the controversial law that outlaws blasphemy, and while no one has actually been executed under the law yet, rights activists are speaking out against it. The woman was asked to fetch water while working out in the fields, but Muslim women laborers objected because Asia was a non-Muslim and should not touch the water bowl. The women accused her of making derogatory remarks about Mohammed a few days later. Asia has been sentenced to hang but the death sentence must be upheld by the Lahore high court before it could be carried out. Human rights activists want the controversial law repealed because they claim it is exploited for personal enmity and encourages Islamist extremism, and targets the non-Muslim minority in Pakistan.

For more information, find the full article here:

By: Sam Nielsen

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Currencies set to dominate G20 summit agenda

BBC News is reporting on how the world's leading economies have begun a summit in South Korea, with currency policies set to dominate the agenda. The summit, commonly known as the G20, is composed of 19 world economies plus the European Union. It was formed in 1999 and has taken the lead in global economic forums since the financial crisis of 2008. However, at this years meeting there is fear that a disagreement will occur between the US and China over currency wars and trade imbalances. President Obama particularly wants to discuss how to balance a sustainable growth in economics internationally. According to reports, President Obama will also hold individual talks with his two biggest economic policy critics: Chinese President Hu Jintao and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Also, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner says the United States will never manipulate the dollar to gain an advantage or grow the economy.

--Emily Goodfellow.

U.S. to use more drones to hunt Al-Qaeda in Yemen

The Obama administration plans to use more predator drone attacks in their hunt for al Qaeda members in Yemen. The U.S. had stopped air attacks on the region in the last few months, as they lack sufficient intelligence as to the whereabouts of the members. Officials have declined specifics of the attack plans, except that they will be carried out by the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command. U.S. officials have praised the cooperation that has occurred between the U.S. and Yemeni government. More on the story here.

-Trevor Magnotti

Assertive Chinese Held in Mental Wards

Since we were recently talking about human rights in class I came across this article about a Chinese man who was put in a mental ward by his local government for repeated land disputes that he had with them.  However this has been a growing problem for the Chinese.  Now that police have less power to put people in jail for speaking against the government they are being forced into mental institutions by getting forged documents.  At times being in mental institutions in China are worse than jail.  Not that I have any idea what jail is like in China but it would definitely be worse than being in an American jail.  The one man in particular that the article talks about the in humane treatments that he went through from being forced drugs to multiple shock treatments.  To me it seemed more experimental than anything.  He is not the only one there is a record of over 200 others who have went through the same thing.  Unfortunately there is not really anything that we can do other than try to put some political pressure on China to stop this kind of treatment but that has been pretty unsuccessful in the past.  Only time will tell what will happen with the multiple human rights violations throughout the world.
Ed Barry

Fast-acting African Polio kills 97-spurring vaccination drive

Since the first confirmation of the virus on November 4 in the Republic of Congo atleast 226 people have been diagnosed with acute flaccid paralysis- a condition often associated with polio- and 97 have been killed from this outbreak. In three West African nations, World health agencies have planned to launch a massive polio vaccination. Of those 226 people, 97 have died as of Tuesday and four of the confirmed cases has been diagnosed as polio, with the number expected to rise rapidly. Starting Friday in the Port City of Niore and the Koilou region in the Republic of Congo, a polio immunization campaign attempts to target 3 million children and adults. The age range for thos affected have mostly been between 15 and 29 years of age. UNICEF said that suspicious cases began to come up in October. Scientists have linked the resurgence of the disease in the Republic of Congo to a virus circling in nearby Angola. Polio is a highly infectious disease that targets the nervous system, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. Most of the cases where people were affected show hardly any symptoms, if at all, and 4 to 8 percent show minor ones. Only in 1% of the cases do we see permanent paralyzation due to the disease.

Posted by Courtney Ecton

Yemen Bomb Could Have Gone Off at East Coast

A bomb from Yemen that was removed from a plane in Britain on October 29 was said to have possibly exploded around dawn over the American east coast. This was the same bomb that was en route to Chicago from Yemen. If the device had not been removed from cargo, the bomb would have went off at 5:30 am eastern time right over the eastern coast. American officials suspect the Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is behind the bombs. It seems as if the plot was to attack the United States by exploiting vulnerabilities in the international air cargo system. After Saudi Arabia tipped off Western intelligence to the possibility of bombs on cargo aircraft, British authorities found one on a U.P.S. 747 at an air-cargo hub in East Midlands. British officials said sniffer dogs and explosives-detection equipment missed the package. The explosive material used was an odorless, colorless plastic that is difficult to detect. American officials said that both bombs contained circuit boards from cellphones, but the phone parts appeared to be used as timers, because the SIM cards used to receive calls were missing. A plot to bomb seven trans-Atlantic airliners over the Atlantic in 2006 was uncovered as a result of intercepted telephone calls and e-mails between Qaeda plotters in Pakistan and Britain.

Submitted by Emily Collins

Suicide Attack Plan Foiled in Paris

Interior Minister of France, Brice Hortefeux, told the press on Wednesday that French officials arrested five terror suspects in a plot including a suicide attack. Of the five men, one was "prepared to die." The five were arrested Monday; all five are French nationals but their origin is from Algeria. Algeria is the site of a terrorist cell that has been causing quite the stirrup in Europe these past few months. France has arrested 87 people suspected in terror plots so far this year, 27 of which are still being detained. France remains at its second highest terror alert level, including the Eiffel Tower being evacuated twice recently due to bomb threats. The amount of terror-linked activity in France is troubling the world, and those who are planning on traveling should be extra cautious.

By: Alyssa Rabulinski

Top Russian spy defects

Russian newspaper Kommersant identified Colonel Shcherbakov as the man responsible for revealing the Russian spy ring in the US.  The defect makes Shcherbakov one of the most senior turncoats since the Soviet Union fell.  Gennady Gudkov, deputy chairman of the Russian parliament's security committee, confirmed Kommersant's story by saying that it was a major failure for Russian intelligence and a success for the US.  Kommersant also quoted a Kremlin official as saying a Russian hit squad was probably already planning to kill him and "We know who he is and where he is. Do not doubt that a Mercader has been sent after him already."

DJ Willey

Brazil to Congressional Clown: Prove You Can Read and Write

Congressman-elect Francisco Silva aka Grumpy the Clown thought he had the last laugh in October's elections, in which turnout was high for an up-ballot vote on the successor to popular outgoing President Lula da Silva. Grumpy received 1.3 million votes, "nearly twice as many as the next-highest-vote-getter" in the election.

Unfortunately for Fancisco, his jealous fellow legislators have raised the specter of literacy, questioning why the handwriting on his electoral application is dissimilar to the handwriting on a document that explicitly declares that he can read and write, a Constitutional requirement (10 percent of Brazilians are illiterate, according to the article).

Jacob Nelson

The IAEA is America's patsy, says Ahmadinejad

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have certainly not been good bedfellows, and Ahmadinejad's latest claim further expands the rift between Iran and the rest of the world in regards to its nuclear program. Ahmadinejad has claimed that the IAEA will run to the US with the full details of its nuclear program, and would worsen tensions between the agency and Iran. Although the Iranian program is officially for peaceful uses such as power, the firebrand rhetoric of Ahmadinejad has indeed raised concern in the West as to the true usage of the nuclear program. IAEA chief Yukiya Amano addressed the UN earlier this week, stating that "Iran has not provided the necessary cooperation to permit the agency to confirm that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities." The IAEA is demanding inspections to go beyond sites that have been officially declared in an effort to discover any development that may lead to nuclear weapons. Ahmadinejad said "Iran's right to nuclear capabilities was non-negotiable," which is a major concern for the IAEA, Israel, and the International Community as a whole.

-Caleb B. Ray

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Egypt's Farmers Desperate for Clean Water

In Fayoum, Egypt, water is becoming increasingly scarce. Egypt falls below the UN's water poverty line of 1,000 cubic meters of water per person per year. It is now less than 800 cubic meters per person per year. It's population of 80million and "sprawling urbanization" are finally taking its toll. One of Fayoum's oasis which use to be considered a plentiful and reliable source of water is being swallowed by the surrounding desert. Farmers affected by the lack of clean water and any water for that matter can barely afford to provide for thier family let alone make a profit. Many have already given up on the land and the government. Those farmer's who are opting to stay are demanding serious efforts to fix the issue. There are huge concerns with farmers resorting to thier only option of irrigating thier crops with unsanitary sewage water. Many have joined the water-user association which placed many famers in classes where they learn how to efficiently convserve as much water as possible. This is part of the governments attempt to tackle the problem by modernizing irrigation and teaching farmers proper water conservation.
Posted by Vanity Sotelo

Find this article by Shahira Amin on

British Students Protest Over Less Aid

A group of student protesters broke into the Conservative Party's headquarters early Wednesday and smashed glass, climbed onto the roof, and started a bonfire in front of the building in protest of the government's decision to slash nearly 81 billion pounds marked for social aid. This means a rise in the cost of university. The violence broke out during a relatively peaceful march protesting the increase that will allow schools to triple the cost of university in Britain. Riot police and demonstrators scuffled to control the situation, and at least eight people, including officers, were hurt. The four year plan is being enacted by the government to tackle a record budget deficit. This is the first protest in Britain that is comparable to those that have plagued France and Greece over changes to the social sector. Parliament is examining, and will vote on, proposals that will lift the maximum tuition to 9,000 pounds a year. More than just university students, the cuts will also likely affect half a million public sector workers to the loss of their jobs. The National Union of Students, also the organizers of the event, condemned the troublemakers and said that the intention was a peaceful march.

By Margaret Nunne

3 Dead in Attacks against Christians in Iraq

According to this article, at least three people were killed and 25 wounded after attacks Wednesday morning after attacks on Christians in Iraq. Roadside bombs are mortar fire targeted Christian homes, which were the result of the attacks.
A group called the Islamic State of Iraq claimed responsibility for an attack last month in a cathedral that left 70 people dead and 75 wounded. This group consists of several Sunni extremists and has ties to al Qaeda. Worshippers were about to begin services during this past attack when gunmen entered, took 120 people hostage. Most of the hostages were killed and at least two gunmen were wearing explosive vests which they detonated when seconds before authorities were going to raid the church.
Al Qaeda in Iraq later announced that all Christians in the Middle East are now considered legitimate targets.

By: Jaime Hacker

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

UK Prime Minister Pushes Chinese Democracy

In an article by the BBC, David Cameron, the Prime Minister of the UK, is expected to address the benefits of democracy to the Chinese, and how it could lead to "stability and prosperity." While he is on a trade trip to China, he is pressured to address human rights issues within the country, and wishes to do so in a frank manner, not overly critical. He acknowledges that Democratic nations are not perfect, but they provide great benefits to the public and to the government. He hopes that in the wake of an increasingly free economic system of China, a freer and more democratic political system may result. He believes that an system in which the government and leaders must listen to the public and criticisms therein is one that results in "robust policies" and increased confidence from the governed. While in preliminary talks, Cameron mentioned human rights, but sidestepped some of the major issues facing China today, emphasizing the economic role of the meetings over the human rights. These specific issues will be addressed as the meetings continue.

Posted by: Zach Porlier

Afghanistan Girl School Destroyed

On monday night, an Afghanistan girl school was burned down to the ground and about 850 Quran books were torched as well. There were no reported injuries or death, but it was reported that the groundskeeper was tied up during the act but then was freed. It is not the first time that a school has been attacked or Muslim holy books have been set ablazed. Taliban militants have done so before, however this time, it seemed more like a failed robery than a terrorist attack. It is estimated that about 2 million girls attend schools in Afghanistan and there has been many controversial occurences aimed towards these young girls and also teachers that have happened in the past few years, such as poinsoning. In 2008, there has been a total of "670 education-related attacks, including murder and arson."

Cholera Outbreak Hits Port-au-Prince

In the earthquake and hurricane damaged country of Haiti a cholera outbreak has made it into the capital city of Port-au-Prince. The disease has been lingering in the countryside for quite some time, and has now been confirmed by health officials to be in the capital city. This is especially a concern because of the overcrowded, unsanitary earthquake camps that still are home nearly 1.3 million people. The disease itself is fairly easy to treat with rehydration and antibiotics, however it also kills quickly. With the limited number of resources for treating the disease in Haiti officials are fearing for the worst, saying the outbreak could affect 2.5 to 3 million people. This recent outbreak is attributed to the foothold that the disease now has in the countries river system. One possible reason for this is the recent hurricane that hit the country last week causing widespread flooding and leaving another 6,610 people homeless. 583 people have died so far from the disease with another 9,000 being treated for symptoms. Humanitarian groups are acting quickly in order to get clean water and other supplies into the city of Port-au-Prince and specifically the earthqauke vicitims camps, however time is not on their side. This is not good news for the poorest country in the western hemisphere and unfortunatley many of the predications only see the situation becoming worse.

For more information read the articles on BBC and the New York Times at and

By: Colin Zimmerman

U.S. troops could stay longer in Iraq

The United States has offered to stay longer in Iraq, if they are asked. In order to extend the U.S. present in Iraq the Iraqi government would have to ask, but with the government still struggling it may not be such an easy order. Currently the U.S. has to leave by the end of 2011, the extension would add on a enough time to get Iraq fully stabilized. The U.S. worries that once they leave a political outbreak will again occur between the Sunnis and Shiites while trying to reform the Iraqi government.

Posted by Christine Steinbeiss

Indonesian minister says he shook first lady's hand — by accident

Information Minister Tifatul Sembirin says he accidentally shook First Lady Michelle Obama's hand during the Obama's visit to Indonesia. Muslim religion restricts contact with women, making the accidental handshake a big deal. Sembiring also avoids eye contact with women who are not related to him. A youtube video shows Sebiring reaching to grasp Michelle's hand, but he later replied saying that he could not prevent the handshake because the First Ladies hand was to far forward. The Obama's were in Indonesia on part of a 10 day tour of Asia.

Posted by Christine Steinbeiss

Israeli PM: Iran the world's biggest threat

Recently while speaking at the Jewish Federations of North America's annual gathering, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Iran "the biggest threat to his country and the world."  During the speech Prime Minister Netanyahu also commended President Obama for supporting increased sanctions on Iran.  During the speech 5 protesters had to be forcefully removed.  "The first requirement of any living organism, of the people of any collective body, is to identify danger in time," Netanyahu said. "The greatest danger facing Israel and the world is the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran."

By: Cameron Adams

Monday, November 8, 2010

US Makes Offer to Sudan

The US has offered to speed up the time in which Sudan will be taken off the list of state sponsors of terrorism if the government agrees to a 2005 peace referendum. The proposal states that Sudan will be dropped from the list in mid- 2011 if they recognize the results of the upcoming succession referendum of the southern part of Sudan from the Northern part, along with the acceptance of the peace agreement. Sudan was put on this list in 1993, and has been trying for years to be taken off. The proposal says nothing about the warrant for arrest for the President of Sudan for war crimes, or the current crisis in Darfur. The referendum comes from a 2005 peace agreement, that will allow the already autonomous southern Sudan to succeed, even though that region has a majority of Sudan's oil. The succession reform is considered to be a "make or break" issue for peace, because if the north doesn't respect the results of the referendum and accept the peace agreement, it is likely that war will break out between the north and the south. Once peace is established, the US is prepared to step in and help the situation in Darfur, and to maintain peace and security.

By: Kathleen Tite

Operation Cross Country V

Within the last past three days the FBI has rescued 69 children and arrested 99 pimps that have been involved with human trafficking. The 99 suspected pimps cover 40 cities across 30 states. According to the FBI the highest group of prostitutes was found in Seattle. Many of the pimps preyed on kids that were young, mostly 12-17, and could be classified as naive or uniformed about child trafficking. Many of the kids operate out of fear of the violence the pimp will conduct. The FBI looks to continue the success of Operation Cross Country V, as human trafficking continues to be a top priority.

Tim McEniff

American Student Ordered to Undergo a Slander Trial

American student Amanda Knox cannot seem to catch a break. She was convicted (along with her boyfriend) to serve a 26 year sentence (25 for the boyfriend) for the killing of her roomate in Italy and has now been ordered to face trial on slander charges. Knox plans to appeal this ruiling, but more charges are never a good thing for an already bogged down student. These new charges come out as a result of accusation of Knox and her parents defaming the Italian police that arrested her. Knox alleges that the Italian police mistreated her when she was brought in to custody. Chris Mellas, Knox's stepfather, says that the trial was biased and hopes to move this trial to Florence in an effort to, in his opinion, receive a fair trial. Mellas claims that his stepdaughter claimed that Italian police hit her in the head, but did not beat her necessarily. The trial is set to begin on May 17, 2011. This is a scary situation for Knox and for Americans in general because the more media attention this gets, the worse Italians think Americans are. If Knox is guilty, she will likely add to her sentence or be required to pay a fine, but I just hope it blows over quick. I remember this when it first hit the news and I suspect it will come back and be an International powder keg between the United States and Europe for a time to come, if it does not end quick.
By: Kyle Coia

Video Surfaces of Oleg Kashin Beating

CCTV footage of the beating of Russian journalist Oleg Kashin has surfaced. Kashin, a writer for Kommersant (a Russian business daily), remains in a medical-induced coma after suffering a savage beating at the hands of still unknown assailants. His iPhone and wallet were left at his side, and his fingers were deliberately broken , leading investigators to believe that Kashin was targeted for his work as a reporter.

For more on the video:

For more on Oleg Kashin:

Jacob Nelson

Myanmar: Post Election Fighting flares up

In Myanmar 10000 refugees have fled to Thailand after disputes and fighting have begun after the military regime opened large overwhelming majorities in the newly established parliment. The constitution of Myanmar sets aside 25% of the house's seats to members of the military. This is only part of the problem as citzens and rebel groups look to liberate the country through violent means and key geographical take overs. Karen Rebel forces took over a police station in Myawaddy as fighting there raged for a day against the military forces. Another spurt of fighting occured in the southern part of the country as well. Being in Asia, Barack Obama commented on the situation saying that countries like the United States and India needed to help these less developed countries to overcome their struggles in a peaceful and constructive manner.
Thomas Kuebel

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Japanese prime minister faces tests at home and abroad

This past weekend the Prime Minister of Japan Naoto Kan conducted his first interview with an international media outlet (CNN).  In the interview several topics were talked about, but far and away the most prevalent topic of discussion was Japan's plan to keep peace with neighboring rival China.  Also in the interview, Prime Minister Kan discussed the recent incident where Chinese fishermen were caught in Japanese waters, though China claims the waters belong to them.  In response to the issue at hand P.M. Kan had this to say; "There is no territorial issue connected to the Sengaku islands. In fact, the Senkaku islands are the inherent territory of Japan. That is recognized in our history and also by international law."  Naoto Kan is the 4th Prime Minister in 5 years in Japan, so it will be interesting to see how the Japanese people react to his administration and policies.

By: Cameron Adams 

Nazi War Criminal Dead in Italy

Michael Seifert, a former SS guard at the Bolzano transit camp, died on Saturday in Italy at the age of 86. Due to his cruelty, Seifert was given the nickname "the Beast of Bolzano." Seifert was serving a life sentence at the Santa Maria Capua Vetere prison in Italy for nine counts of murder charged in 2000. From 1944 to 1945 the Bolzano prison camp served as a transit point for jews and Italian prisoners being shipped north where Seifert stood guard and witnesses recall seeing him laugh while torturing victims. In 2008 Seifert was extradited from Canada to serve his sentence that he was charged with back in 2000. His cause of death will be determined by autopsy. Seifert recognized being a SS guard but denied any wrong doings at the prison.

Amy Pacheco

Obama to launch clean energy initiative in India

Khaleej Times

The US and India will announce a joint effort to form a center for the development of clean energy. The announcement is expected to occur during Obama's visit to India. Both governments and private organizations are anticipated to provide funding for this project.

This comes amidst difficulties surrounding settling on an agreement for the Kyoto Protocol, aimed at reducing pollution internationally. Obama has attempted to push China and India into forms of energy cleaner than the coal most widely used; however, the US congress has been unwilling to impose restrictions on carbon on a nation-wide scale.

Obama at India

President Obama went to India to visit the college students there and received quite a surprise. The students asked him quite controversial questions. Also while there he visited the 2008 memorial f0r the terrorist attack in Mumbai and received a lot of criticism. Although they respected President Obama very much, they had to ask the touchy questions. The article recalls that Obama didnt had to avoid directly answering the questions. However to lighten the mood he actually did some dancing. He joined in with the students that had a routine to present to him. Not only was this trip to show his sympathetic side to college students, but it was also to help economically.
Heidi Goetsch

Elections in Burma

In a recent visit to Burma, Barack Obama was disillusioned by how "long the people of Burma have been denied the right to determine their own destiny". The last election held in Burma was in 1990 and the winning candidate from that election was thrown in jail. After twenty years, this current election seems to be another corrupt race disguised as democracy. The top two parties in the polls are both linked to the current military power and opposing parties have reported being pressured to vote for the pro-military parties. The EU is urging the military to make this election the start of a more inclusive phase. Burma has also been experiencing massive internet failure which many speculate is a tactic to suppress communication during the election time.

submitted by Haley Kirk

Georgia details Nuclear Smuggling

This article is about the problem of nuclear smuggling. Recently in Georgia two Armenians were arrested and on them they found two Marlboro Red cigarette boxes that contained nuclear bomb grade uranium encased in lead. This alone shows how much of a problem this nuclear smuggling could be. Take for example an incredibly wealthy person, say that this incredibly wealthy person was also a very bad person and had very bad intentions, they might be able to get their hands on large amounts of this smuggled uranium. If it ever ends up in the hands of a terrorist group, the world could potentially be doomed. Archil Pavlenishvili said, "The dangerous thing is that there might be more material out there somewhere." Pavlenishvili is the chief of Georgia's nuclear smuggling unit. When thinking about how much more there is of this uranium that most anyone can get their hands on you have to think about what we talked about in class and the illicit global market, "The mere existence of a typical black-market price is a worrisome sign of the supply and demand in the illicit trading of nuclear materials." I think this can be a huge problem and we really need to do something to stop it. If the wrong people get their hands on it, there is a potential that very bad things could happen to the entire world.

By Nick Santos

Mexican gang kills 20

20 people were killed this past weekend due to drug-gang violence in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. The victims were attending a party when they were shot. Five were found dead in a car. The city is known for having a notorious crime rate reputation. 6,500 have been killed since 2008. Some have even been attacked in their own homes. Last month, two men broke into two houses and attacked a 15-year-old boy's party guests. The Zetas drug gang is the group suspected to have committed the crimes. Police found a human head in a gift-wrapped box on the side of a popular cliff known for its beautiful view. A note signed "the last letter Z" was left with the head. Authorities received an e-mail supposedly from the gang claiming that the head's owner was killed for falsely identifying himself with the gang. Officials fear that the leader of the Zetas' enemy gang will be killed within the next week.

written by Amy Mori

3 boys believed abducted by fathers found in the Netherlands

Three children were abducted in southern California by their own fathers. Both fathers were brothers and they abducted their children, Greg, Alexander, and Zaven. Although, the reason for kidnapping wasn't evident the mothers of the three children were devastated and placed a state arrest warrant on the two men. This is where experts believe the two men fled the country with their sons to either Greece or the Netherlands. The FBI soon followed up on the case and contacted the two counties. The men where put on high alert and soon caught by the Netherlands police. The children are being held in Dutch protective services and the two mothers along with the FBI are traveling to Greece to follow up on the charges of the two men. This article is a perfect example of globalization and how the traveling between two countries is not only easier but used as a getaway to criminals.

Danny Hayes