Monday, June 7, 2010

Proof of Life Videos Released from Columbian Rebels

Proof of live videos were played on Colombian televisions, showing five hostages being held by Marxist guerillas. The Revolutionary Armed forces of Columbia aka the FARC released the videos two weeks before the election for President in Columbia. In the video, Colombians are asked to chose carefully a President who will help them them to be released. The FARC has been at war with the government for many years, and has taken many hostages throughout this time. The current captives have been hostages for many years, some as long as 11 or 12 years, from various attacks. Although, the FARC did not mention when these hostages would be released, they said that the last two released hostages, would be the last ones set free "unconditionally." The rebels have sought negotiations with the government, but they are refusing to talk to them.

Submitted by: Kathleen Tite

Kim Jong Il clearing the path for succession?

On Monday, Kim Jong Il attended an extroadinary session of parliament where some key government posts changed hands. Many analysts see this as a move to clear the way for one of his sons. Kim's brother-in-law, Jang Son Thaek, was promoted to second-in-command. Jang is believed to be a supporter of Kim's third son, Kim Jong Un. Analyst believe that Jang will use his influence to bring the third son to power when his father dies. This assembly was definitely meant to be a statement, because the parliament had already met in April and had no reason to meet at this time. There is also a new premier, Choe Yong Rim. He takes the position of the last premier who was blamed for the fall of North Korea's currency last November.

Submitted by: Madelyn Higdon

Yemeni Authorities hold 12 Americans suspected of terrorism

As part of an anti-terrorist sweep, Yemeni authorities has taken a dozen Americans into custody. According to NPR, part of the operation was done at the request of U.S. authorities. There were a number of foreigners in Yemen who claimed to be studying Arabic but were actually trying to Al-Qaida in Yemen. The exact number of people caught up in the sweep is unclear, but it is known that at least 12 Americans were taken. U.S. officials worry that Yemen may become the next stage for significant Terrorist activity. The group of Al-Qaida in Yemen has been gaining strength steadily since 2006. It is said that several of the detainees had links to the Nigerian man who attempted to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner in December. The man was apparently trained by Al-Qaida in Yemen.

Submitted by:
Madelyn Higdon

ASEAN vs. Junta government vs. nuclear weapons?

The security forum of the 10-member ASEAN (Association for Southeast Asian Nations) community is going to have the Vietnamese Defense minister, General Phung Quang Thanh as its chair. The main idea of this forum was proposed at the Shangri La Dialogue security conference last weekend in Singapore. The conference was positive about the new forum that it would be able to soothe down the competing territorial claims and other local affairs in Southeast Asia. The deputation from Russia and India is anticipated for the meeting that’s going to be held in Hanoi in October. The hot issue was that Burma’s deputy defense minister, Aye Myint, was due to attend the summit but pulled out at the last minute, likely in relation to the exposé. The country’s leaders have repeatedly denied they are developing nuclear weaponry, although several army defectors have in recent years talked of nuclear programs in the pariah state. North Korea and the Burmese junta’s suspected allies for nuclear weapons stayed out of the ASEAN’s event. Despite the poor state of Burma’s economy, huge sales of gas and hydropower electricity to neighboring countries, particularly China and Thailand, are believed to have financed the wider project, which includes the development of a network of underground military bunkers across Burma. However Burmese Prime Minister Thein Sein who attended the World Economic Forum in Ho Chi Minh on June 6th and 7th told the audience that Burma has been participating earnestly in all regional organizations do.


Submitted by David Gum Awng

Men Arrested For Conspiring to Attack

Two men were arrested in the JFK airport in New York for conspiring an act of international terrorism.Mohamed Mahmood Alessa, 20 and Carlos Eduardo Almonte,24, were planning to join a jihadist group in Somalia and attack American troops overseas. They will be tried in New Jersey today. The two men have been under suspicion since 2006. The government of Somalia is welcoming in these arrests in order to diminish the power of extremist groups.

Submitted By: Nora Beswick

10 Nato Troops Killed In Afghanistan

In possibly the deadliest day in months, ten NATO troops were killed by a makeshift bomb blast in Afghanistan. This comes just as the last 35,000 American troops arrive as ordered by the President. Five of the ten troops killed were American. The US has nearly 100,000 troops in Afghanistan and the rise of casualties is causing support for the campaign to drop.

by Jenae Harner

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Kenya Maize Harvested Contaimination by toxins

The Kenyan government announced that 2.3million bags of maize was contaminated with high levels of lethal aflatoxins which has already killed one child. The government decided to buy the contaminated corn and destroy it. One farmer told BBC that they are buying it for much less then it is worth. BBC's Anne Waithera said that because it was a heavy rainfall last year, farmers had more maize then they expected and did have the room to properly store it which caused the contaimination.

Nelson Mandela will attend the world cup or will he?

Makhenkesi Stofile said that Nelson Mandela requested tickets for the opening and closing of the world cup. But Nelson's family denies that he will be attending the event that starts next week. His grandson Mandla Mandela has stated that his grandfather who will be 92 next month is too old and frail to watch it.

Jessica Branch

The Real Problem With Japan's Government

The government in Japan has been facing criticism because of the frequent change in Prime Ministers. With the economy slowing, people say that it is hard to have trust in anyone, especially with the high turnover rate of the Prime Ministers. The young people in the country have little interest in political affairs because of this. Some have said that they have lost hope in the people who are supposed to bring about change. Such a situation does not bode well for the nation.

Submitted by: Mallory Neumann

A Sri Lankan re-education for Tamil child soldiers

Interesting read after A Long Way Gone. This article discusses rehabilitation efforts of a Hindu College. Students take classes and play games like cricket but also are working on something more. The school help the teenage former soldiers cope with their banked up aggression and work on inter-personal issues. It tells personal stories and paints a picture of the school.

Submitted by: Inge Moran

Australian government orders investigation of Google

The Australian government has ordered police to investigate Google for a possible breach of privacy. The alleged breach happened during the course of Google cars taking pictures in Australia for their Street View service. Australia's attorney general said that he asked police to pursue this investigation of breaches in telecommunications privacy laws after receiving reports that Google had gathered personal data from some unencrypted wi-fi services. Google has admitted to doing this, but said that it was an error, and the company has apologized. They have agreed to cooperate with the police investigation.
The government accuses Google of committing probably "the single biggest breach in the history of privacy." Google has implied that Australian government is "pursuing a corporate vendetta," and had previously strongly criticized Australia's plan for an internet filter that would block illegal material, saying it would both filter legitimate content and slow down internet speeds.

Submitted by Katie Kregor

BP Cap

The oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico has been a very environmentally threatening situation. As of Saturday, June 5, 2010, BP had put into place a cap which would surface the oil, making it easier to contain and clean up. When the process had first began BP had said that results will improve over the course of the next few days. As of now, we can see some improvement; the capping mechanism is collecting a little over half of the 12,000-19,000 barrels leaking out each day. BP has said they are now surfacing 10,000 barrels a day. This is a great improvement from where we were a week ago with this situation, however the effects remain catastrophic. BP has claimed that they will be continuing to resolve this problem, and they guarantee the restoration of the Gulf as it was before the event. I am personally curious as to how quickly they plan to restore this devastated area.
Posted by: Shane Dare

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Dead: Respected Rights Activist in Congo

Wednesday, the human rights leader of Voix des Sans Voix (Voice of the Voiceless), Floribert Chebeya Bahizire, was found dead in his car in Congo. He appeared to have been strangled after meeting with John Numbi, inspector general of the National Police. Many rights groups within Congo believe that Numbi is the one responsible and plan to talk about it in court. State security services was ordered to investigate Chebaya’s death. Sadly, Chebaya’s family and U.N. representatives were originally denied access to the body but then allowed limited access leading to speculation that someone is trying to cover up the truth about Chebaya’s death.

Submitted by: Rachael Petro

Defense Spending Increased in Pakistan

Pakistan has decided to increase its defense spending by 17% which will be about 5 billion more a year because security is its top priority. Over 3,400 lives have been taken in Pakistan in the past three years and the deaths are linked to Taliban militants. Over 90 people were killed last week alone in Pakistan. The increase in defense spending will be used to combat militants.

Submitted by: Sherry Klinger

Gaza Aid Ship Arrives in Israeli Port

Israeli soldiers boarded the Rachel Corrie without resistance and it has now arrived in the Israeli port of Ashdod. After interviewing those on board, Israel plans on transferring the aid to the Gaza Strip by land. The ship had previously ignored requests from the Israeli military to change it's course. Israel has blockaded Gaza since 2007 and bans construction materials from entering Gaza due to the possibility their uses could go towards military purposes. Protests over Israel's actions against aid shipments have been held in several cities including Dublin, London, Istanbul, Paris, and Cairo.

By: Shauntal J Van Dreel

Jailed American attempted sucide according to Rawanda

Rwandan officials stated that jail American lawyer Peter Erlinder. He was arrested on spreading genocide ideology. He went Rwanda in May to support a opposition candidate. HE is quoted saying the Tutsi rebels are the cause of the genocide, not the Hutu death squads that were supported by the government. The Rwanda government has strict laws regarding the countries genocide in 1994 when hundred of thousand Tutsi rebels were mascaraed. Every one who knows Erlinder believe the governments statement that they found him overdosed on his medicine before he was going to be interrogated. They say he knew the severity of his sentence that can be punished by 25 years but now may face more because attempting suicide is a crime in Rwanda.

By: Zach Mowen

Friday, June 4, 2010

Obama: Too soon to be optimistic about new spill efforts

On his third visit to the site of the Gulf Coast oil spill, President Obama noted that some progress has been made in the effort to stem the flow of crude oil, but that it is much too early to be optimistic that the plan will succeed. He also questioned why BP, who is being held responsible, is still spending millions of dollars on advertising to better their public image while the crisis is still going on. The article has some interesting diagrams regarding the newest development in the struggle towards stopping the leak.

By: Anna Moric

South Korea formally asks U.N. Security Council for action over ship

Amid the growing tension between North and South Korea over the sinking of South Korean warship, the South Korea has submitted formal letter to the U.N Security Council to take action against North Korea. The letter was sent to the U.N Council President in Mexico from where it will be circulated to other council members. The President said once it is reviewed by all council members, it will respond to the letter. After investigation, South Korea accused North Korea of sinking the ship and the South Korean President Lee Myung-bak promised to take resolute action. But, the North denied any involvement in the sinking of the ship and said that South is fabricating the findings. The North also warned of potential war if South takes any action. Meanwhile, the U.S said it will back South Korea should anything happen on the Korean Peninsula as per the agreement between the two countries. Read more at

Submitted By: Namgyel Dorji

Thursday, June 3, 2010

North Korean envoy warns war could erupt soon

A North Korean envoy said war could erupt because of tension over the sinking of a South Korean warship.  "The present situation of the Korean peninsula is so grave that a war may break out any moment," North Korea's deputy ambassador, Ri Jang Gon, told the United Nations-sponsored Conference on Disarmament.  Ri also repeated that North Korea had nothing to do with the sinking.  Ri also accused South Korea of trying to ignite a a campaign against the DPRK.  South Korean ambassador Im Han-taek voiced his regret at Ri's remarks, adding: "We believe it is only for propaganda purposes."

Submitted by Derald Willey

Japan's Cabinet Resigns

Enroute to vote in a successor for Prime Minister in Japan, the entire government cabinet has resigned just two days after Prime minister Yukio Hatoyama. The Democratic Party in Japan will meet Monday morning to pick a new party chief, which will then become the country's new Prime Minister. There is two leading candidates that are expected to fulfill the role of Prime minister, Naoto Kan or Shiniji Tarutoko.

By Shawn Lawton

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Oil from Gulf of Mexico spill 'nears Florida beaches'

A sheen of oil from the Gulf of Mexico spill is nearing the white sand beaches of north-west Florida. The slick is only 9 miles from the coast of Florida, and it is expected to reach there by as early as Friday. Each attempt by BP to contain the spill is either too time consuming or a complete failure. Now they are attempting to contain the spill from the well by cutting off the fractured pipe and sealing it with a cap. There are constant efforts to protect the beaches and wildlife, but none of them appear to be very effective at the moment. Florida Governor Charlie Crist is most concerned with getting rid of the oil close to home, then worrying about the big picture. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has highly criticized the Obama Administration and BP for not responding to this disaster in a more timely fashion. At the same time, he told got the White House to approve the construction of 5 sand barriers., which BP is expected to pay for. This whole ordeal has been financially devastating to BP. They have spent $990m on clean-up costs so far. Despite all of BP's efforts, there is growing frustration that all their efforts have come to naught, and things can, and probably will, get worse for them in the near future. President Obama has said that the leak "may prove to be a result of human error, or of corporations taking dangerous shortcuts to compromise safety." A "top kill" procedure, which had been considered the best hope for plugging the leak, failed over the weekend. Workers were not able to pump enough mud to stop the oil. All that remains now is the long term plan of drilling the 2 relief wells, but that is not expected to be done until sometime in August.

Submitted by: Nate Heberlein

UN official criticises US over drone attacks

The use of targeted killings with weapons like drone aircraft poses a growing challenge to the international rule of law. The UN sees the US's use of drone attacks as damaging the rules laid out to protect the right of life. President Obama is increasingly using the drones to take out military leaders in the Middle East. The UN is particularly criticizing the drones for being the cause of death of hundreds of civilians. The UN suggests that the drone killings carry a significant risk of becoming war crimes. They are worried that since the "pilots" of the drones are thousands of miles away from the battlefield, they are developing a "PlayStation mentality." If these soldiers are killing people in different countries without even leaving the barracks back home, then they are simply viewing each kill as a target instead of an actual human being. If the UN had it their way they would only use targeted killing in "special circumstances," and not as often as Obama is ordering them. The UN expresses concern that the US has put forward what they describe as "a novel theory that there is a law of 9/11", enabling it to legally use force in the territory of other states as part of its inherent right to self-defence. This interpretation of the right to self-defence, he says, would "cause chaos" if invoked by other nations. Basically, they want the rules of conflict to be updated to encompass weapons that may strike a long way away from any traditional definition of the battlefield. If this were to happen it would drastically hinder counter-terrorist operations.

Submitted by: Nate Heberlein

12 People Killled in Shooting Spree in England

12 people were killed, and 25 injured in an shooting spree in Northern England on Wednesday. The shooter is believed to be a taxi driver, went through three small towns in the English county of Cumbria. The Cumbria police found the body of the believed gun man, named Derrick Bird. A gun was also found with the body. It is believed that Bird killed himself. Police are investigating 30 crimes scenes related to the shooting, in order to determine a motive. Shots were first fired in the morning on Wednesday in Whitehaven, and continued in the towns of Seascale and Egremont, then police found the body of the shooter. A massive search for the shooter continued until a covered body was found in a wooded area, which is believed to be the shooter. Bird has been going through some tough times recently, like divorce, his children moving out, and the ailing health of his mother. When one of his friends spoke to him the night before. Bird explained that he would not see him again. A police hot line has been set up, for people who are concerned about loved ones to receive information.

Submitted by: Kathleen Tite

Australia heads to court over whaling dispute with Japan

On Tuesday, officials reported that Australia was going to draw the attention an international court to Japan's unethical whaling practices. As of right now, the overall international laws of whaling are still being disputed. But there are current laws in place, which state minimal whaling can take place for research purposes, which Australian officials believe Japan to be exploiting. However, the Japanese still believe it to be justified, "Japanese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hidenobu Sobashima said Tuesday that Japan's whaling, which has killed up to 1,000 whales in Antarctic waters annually, is authorized." Many believe the meat of these whales end up at fisheries, and in markets and restaurants for consumption. The Japanese believe that it is unfair to hinder practices that are deemed as a part of their cultural experience, and just because others do not agree or are not accustomed to these practices, does not mean they should hinder others' opportunities to do so. The Japanese also wanted to make it known that they believe in conservation as well, and do not plan on abusing their position in the case of an endangered species. At the conclusion of the article, it was stated that although there are minor disputes of environmental practices, Australia and Japan remain as close allies and trading partners.

By: Becca Sage

Giant sinkhle shocks neighborhood in Guatemala City

A massive sinkhole developed and is still getting larger since last weekend in Guatemala City. Officials believe that the sinkhole may have surfaced due to natural disturbances caused my the torturous storm Agatha, which has hit the region hard recently. Luckily, no one has been reported dead, but the whole did engulf a few buildings and an entire intersection during its surfacing. What is odd is that in the article, residents were claiming to report terrain shifts and rumbling since 2005, and the government had never checked up on the issue, until now obviously. A few representatives stated that they were aware of the complaints filed in 2005, and they are looking into as to why the municipal government had not taken any action. As of right now, the government is labeling the culprit as large semi-trucks that frequent the effected intersection.

By: Becca Sage

South Africa plays down World Cup terror threat

I am an avid soccer player and fan, so naturally, I am very excited for this summer's World Cup, being hosted in South Africa. This article I have read details opinions from a South African politician, Nathi Mthethwa, negating the United States' warnings last week to US citizens traveling to the tournament this summer. I remember reading an article last week that detailed those warnings from the US government. They basically stated that Americans should be cautious at all times, and informed them of the fact that they are potential targets for any type of attack. This article however, downplays these warnings. Mthethwa did say that all countries have the right to warn their citizens of whatever they would like, but as of right now South Africa is not knowledgeable of any current threat, they are however, trying to prepare for any situation. There are about thirty-one countries being sent to this month long tournament this summer, I find it hard to believe that there has been not even the slightest bit of an inclination that someone may want to attack, considering many of the participating nations are affiliated with the Western culture, whom the 'war on terror' is presumably pitted against.

By: Becca Sage

No Remarriage for Egyptian Coptics

The Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Church refuses to allow its members to remarry despite the Higher Administrative Court ruling.

"We respect the Egyptian judiciary, but no force on earth can make the Church violate teachings of the holy bible in order to execute a judicial verdict," Father Armia, Pope Shenouda III's secretary, said this week.

Egyptian Copts are not allowed to divorce, unless under extreme circumstances such as adultery, and because of this, many Egyptian Copts are switching to Islam. Just until the divorce is finalized, however, and then go back to being Coptic.

Submitted by Tieren Dokes

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

New Observations After the Israeli-Gaza Aid Conflict

Nine people were reported dead after Israeli troops suddenly attacked ships filled with many activists and tons of aid that were supposed to cross into the Gaza Strip, a region that has been under a blockade for some time now.  In the aftermath of the unfortunate circumstance, many nations, leaders, and international communities have grown concerned about the unrest, but Israel maintains that "its troops acted in self-defence."  New reports, however, have surfaced stating that a batch of 124 passengers and activists that were on board have been discharged by Israel after the incident and were transported to Jordan where they were welcomed by supporters.  Many more are also to be released in the next couple of days.  The majority of the activists came from Muslim countries, and it's been reported that over 670 people were held along with the six ships.  Among the international concerns raised after the event, "US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the situation in Gaza 'unsustainable'."  And the Irish Prime Minister also addressed concerns of safety because there were five Irish citizens and activists on board.

Submitted By: Hanna Khan

Japanese prime minister to resign

Japan's prime minister will resign soon after failing to make good on his promise to kick the United States military out of a base on Okinawa eight months after he took power...this led in part to his image as an indecisive leader.

By: Justin Lynch

Supposed End to Oil Spill in Sight

BP claims that within 24 hours the oil leak can be contained. Using undersea robots to cut off the pipe, they will then seal it with a cap which will stop the leak. This solution comes as a response to President Obama's legal threat towards those responsible for the oil leak and a giant fall in BP company shares due to the failure to fix the leak. However, BP officials remind the public that success is not guaranteed. If this plan does not succeed it could increase the flow of oil into the Gulf as much as twenty percent. President Obama today declared the leak as "the greatest environmental disaster of its kind in our history".

By: Shauntal J Van Dreel