Sunday, October 31, 2010

Dilma Rousseff: From fugitive guerrilla to Brazil's new president

With the Brazilian election results in it has been confirmed that Dilma Rousseff will be the next President of Brazil.  Rousseff, a former fugitive was forced at a young age to join a Brazilian left-winged Brazilian resistance force and was punished for her actions.  According to personal accounts from Rousseff, she was tortured on many occasions carried out at the time by the right winged Brazilian government.  She claims however that she never actively carried out attacks on government officials.  According to the article, Dilma Rousseff has been branded as a "subversive Joan of Arc."  It should be interesting to see how Rousseff's Presidency turns out.

By: Cameron Adams

Terrorists Strike Again

Two powerful bombs were shipped inside cargo packages from Yemen by Al Queda to the United States. American officials believe that they are planning an attack on American soil. The top leadership of Al Qaeda including the one that was american bourn, Anwar al-Awlaki, were believed to be behind the attacks. Two women were arrested in connection with the plot. The bombs were consealed in a printer cartrige to avoid being discovered by scanners. Officials believe that it was done by professionals due to the fact that it was undetectable. Another bomb was also sent to Britan. The targets were unknown but the investigation continues.
Heidi Goetsch

Small island creates tension between Japan and Russia

Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan expressed deep regret when Russian President Dmitry Medvedev landed on an island north of Japan, claimed by both Tokyo and Moscow on Monday. "Japan's stance is that those four northern islands are part of our country's territory, so the president's visit is very regrettable," said Kan. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov argues that the island is part of Russia. "The territory of the Russian Federation is the territory of the Russian Federation." The island is 10 miles from Japan's northernmost island, Hokkiado, and south of the Kamchatka Pennisula. The island natives rely on fishing for economic support. Japan, being a large fish consuming country, would gain a valuable resource if the island is returned. Russia has had control of the islands since the end of World War II. The island also has oil resources nearby with possible gold and silver deposits as well. In September, Medvedev announced that he would visit the island. Japan protested; Kan said he did not believe the visit would actually happen. The issue has prevented the two countries from signing a peace treaty to end lingering hostilities from World War II.

written by Amy Mori

Thailand floods kill 70

70 people are known dead after a devastating flood hit Thailand this Saturday. Massive amounts of water and mud struck many small villages 186 miles north of Bangkok, startling many villagers in the middle of the night. Though floods are common this time of year, deforestation of the area accelerated the effects, making them extremely deadly. The water surged through 7 different villages in the middle of the night, killing many women and children. This unusually wet weather is suspected to be an effect of hurricane Usagi. The Thai government has said that they are now planning to build new villages out of the way of the river.

by Veronica Walker

32 injured in apparent suicide bombing in Turkey

On Sunday an apparent suicide bombing took place in Taksim Square in Turkey, injuring 32 people and putting 5 in serious condition. Taksim Square is a major transportation center for the city and is mostly patrolled by police officers. So unfortunately, 15 of the 17 civilians were police officers. The reason for the attack was not apparent but as an act against society. The attack happened when a middle aged male tried stealing a police bus and in the process he detonated a bomb. Luckily, the second bomb that was found on his body didn't detonate which limited the tragedy. Also, the attack took place during National Day, which is a parade of independence for the Turkish Republic. All in all, there wasn't much more said about the attack and the Turkish society is somewhat in disbelief from this crisis.

Danny Hayes

Iraqi forces storm church to end standoff; 37 killed

Sunday, Iraqi security forces stormed a Catholic church where a gunman suspected to have ties to al Qaeda were holding worshippers hostage. A total of thirty seven people were killed in the attack, including both hostages, kidnappers, and security officials. At least seven of the victims were hostages and another fifty seven were wounded. Eight suspects total were arrested. The Islamic state of Iraq later claimed responsibility for the attack through a statement posted on a radical Islamic website. The U.S. military spokesperson said that at one point 120 people were being held hostage. Two guards were killed and four others were wounded in the earlier attack on the stock market. The attackers also remotely detonated two car bombs outside the stock exchange.

-Courtney Ecton

Child Soldiers....NO GOOD!

This article was about the law that was past 2 years ago that forbid countries from recruiting children into their military. The article states that Obama is giving the countries more time to conform to the new policy, however, activists for childrens rights feel that the countries have already had two years to change their ways and that no more time should be given. I think that children in the military is a terrible thing. Many of the countries who are doing this have more than enough able bodied adults who can work in the military and defend their country.

Posted by: Jeff Waszak

China’s Fast Rise Leads Neighbors to Join Forces

With China's ever increasing economy as well as economic and military power, many of its neighbors are seeking to renegotiate or even form alliances with the nation. This is also considered by some to be a good opportunity for the United States to reestablish itself and further heighten its relations in Asia. President Obama has a visit planned for Asia very soon. The President's trip will consist of the skirting nations to the growing China as well as negotiations with the leader of India in reference to the possible sale of jet fighters. Many of China's neighbors believe that china will in fact replace the United States as the superpower, however many of these concerned countries are worried about how quickly this transition is occurring. It also seems to be a cause of concern about China's continuing over aggressive actions in trading relations. Relations between China and the United States are constantly becoming more hostile. How to deal with China has posed a problem to numerous other nations such as India and Korea. This possible shift in global power may throw the global economic system of balance and this situation must be dealt with extreme care.

Andrew Gates

Brazil Elects First Female President

Brazil now has a new president, Dilma Rousseff has won the election according to the country's Supreme Electoral Tribunal Minister. This makes her the first woman to hold the office in Brazil. Rousseff has served as the chief of staff of President Luiz Inacio, and previously as enegergy mister. She has aided in turning Brazil into one of the world's leading energy giants. TSE officials said taht all regions, regardless of how remote they are, will have the option to vote provided to them. Voting machines were delivered by boats and helicopters for the election. At 62 years old, she will have many issues to resolve - the value of Brazil's currency has been referred to as "the most overvalued currency on Earth," while murder rates have decreased in recent years, thousands are still committed every year, and the growing cocaine problem is not going away. But Brazil is still an emerging power and simply needs to increase funding in education.

Submitted by Laura Lubuguin

World's fastest supercomputer belongs to China

China has now surpassed the United States for the fastest supercomputer in the world. A supercomputer is basically a bunch of computers strung together that are used for calculating and processing huge amounts of data at a time. The supercomputer, the Tianhe-1A, was unveiled at an annual technological meeting in Beijing, China. The Tianhe-1A system cost $88 million and with all the computers strung together it weighed an astounding 155 tons. The previous speed record holder was called the Cray XT5 Jaguar and it was located in a lab in Tennessee. A supercomputer's speed is recorded by how much data they can compute at once. The Tianhe-1A computed 2.507 petaflops and the U.S supercomputer calculated 1.75 petaflops.

One of Saudi Arabia's most wanted believed linked to bomb plot

In recent news on attempted terrorism, a man named Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri is suspected to be behind two packages with explosives that were destined to Chicago. The explosives that were in the packages are called PETN, only 6 grams of these explosives are enough to blow a hole in the fuselage of an aircraft. They were discovered by the United Arab Emirates and British authorities. Al-Asiri is one of the most wanted men in Saudi Arabia, He is known to be an expert in the fields of explosives and Poison. His brother Abdullah committed suicide when he attempted to assassinate Saudi Prince Muhammed Bin Naif, a top security official. He failed in the attempt. The authorities believe that he has been hiding in Yemen for the past three years. I think that this is a huge threat to the U.S. especially in the fact that Al-Asiri is still out there and still has the potential to organize and plan things such as this.

By Nick Santos

7 hostages killed in Iraqi church

7 hostages were killed, 20 were wounded and 8 gunmen were apprehended after Iraqi security forces stormed a Catholic church in Baghdad in an attempt to free worshipers being held hostage by the gunmen. Roughly 50 worshipers were in the church at the time of the crisis, but 13 managed to escape the church while the gunmen attempted to take control. Initially, the gunmen attacked the Baghdad stock market with car bombs killing two security guards, the church appeared to be a backup plan. The hostage takers wanted to negotiate the release of fellow combatants from jail in return for the hostages. Iraqi forces stormed the church and then a bomb went off killing 7 of the hostages. Ultimately, all 8 gunmen surrendered. The US provided armed remote aerial drones in case the gunmen tried to escape. They also provided overhead surveillance to monitor the situation.

--Ray Treonis

Germany and partners stop freight from Yemen

Germany, France, Great Britain, and the United States have all stopped inbound packages from Yemen in light of packages containing explosives discovered en route to synagogues in Chicago on Friday. German officials are inspecting all parcels from Yemen that arrive despite the blockage and others currently held in storage. On Sunday, Yemeni authorities released a university student suspected of involvement in the mailing of the packages. German Interior Minister De Maiziere canceled his trip to Tel Aviv, Israel to discuss business prospects because he is needed in Germany until the end of the bomb threat. Officials in Berlin were tipped off between late Thursday and early Friday by a friendly intelligence agency, suspected to be Saudi Arabia, and they then tipped off Great Britain with the parcel's numbers. Though the plane took off too soon in Germany to intercept the parcel, British officials were able to identify them with the specific information given to them by the Germans. Though Germany was not the intended target, German officials are taking national and international security very seriously and even launching an investigation of gaps within air security.

Rebecca M. Samson

Turkey Lifts Ban on YouTube

After a two year ban Turkey has finally allowed its users to access YouTube again. The ban was put into place after offensive videos had been posted. Greek users had posted videos calling Ataturk and Turks "homosexuals." In Turkey insulting Mustafa Kemal Ataturk or "Turkishness" is illegal. In 2007 Turkey's parliament put a law into place that allowed the court to ban any website suspected of a crime. In June the law had been used to ban more than 5,000 websites making Turkey's internet censorship one of the heaviest in the world.

submitted by Haley Kirk

80 Bodies Found at Afghan Base

Eighty bodies were found at a base early Sunday in southeastern Afghanistan after insurgents attacked NATO and Afghan military forces on Saturday morning. The province governor, Muhibullah Samim, said the among the bodies found were people from Afghanistan and Chechnya. Those who were killed were said to be insurgents who were armed with rocket-propelled grenades, small arms, and mortars. None of the dead were from NATO, the Afghan military, or civilians. Only a few people from the mentioned groups were injured. United States intelligence in this area knew insurgent groups were planning an attack in this area. With the recent spike in terrorist related activities, the world is paying close attention to terrorist groups.

By: Alyssa Rabulinski

Suicide bomber wounds 32 in Istanbul

Khaleej Times

In Istanbul, the capitol of Turkey, a bomb was detonated in Taksim Square, the main square of the city, on Sunday. There is speculation as to if there were two suicide bombers or just one. The bomber approached an area where police buses were parked before detonating the bomb. The buses were parked near a monument of the founder of Turkey, a monument that also honors the country's independence. This location led to 15 out of the 32 injured to be police. Increased police presence in Taksim is common during and around national holidays, the most recent being Republic Day, which was celebrated on Friday.

Witnesses took video footage shortly after the attack of the injured, showing both civilians and police. It is a civilian account that two men approached the police that has brought about consideration that there may have been two bombers instead of merely one. Policing units such as Forensics and Bomb Disposal have been working on the closed off site, collecting fragments and looking into the possibility of two bombs. The one casualty appears to be the bomber.

So far, no group has claimed responsibility. Turkey is a relatively European country and is not a likely place to spawn Islamic militancy. In the past Turkey has been targeted by Al Qaeda,
Kurdish separatist militants, and militants from Turkey's far-left. Turkish police have made many arrests of suspected Al Qaeda militants working in Afghanistan. A Kurdish militant group, Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), announced a ceasefire last month. The leftist militant organization, Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C), had 16 members arrested but there has been no confirmation if it was in connection to this bombing.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Japan Chinese Tensions Still Linger

The island of Senkaku has become a hot topic in the non violent standoff between governments. In this fight, chinese officials argue that the island is theres and is not included in any treaties giving it to japan. These harsh claims come after the japanese officials detained a chinese ship crew, they released the crew but kept the captain in custody. This hurting relations between the two just sets the stage for future stubborn relations. The US has stated that they will do whatever it takes to solve this ongoing dispute for the sake of the world, but more importantly the United Nations. Since the detaining of the chinese crew all talks have stopped that include this island. It can be seen, and is for the most part as a scary grudge that could possibly affect the world as we know it around us.

By: Dan Vogrin

Legally Married Man Facing Deportation

Henry Velandia, a Venezuelan resident, may be deported since the federal government does not recognize his same-sex marriage to his U.S. citizen partner. While his marriage is legal in Connecticut where he got married, the federal government does not recognize his marriage and his husband cannot sponsor for residency such as a heterosexual couple can. He entered the country legally but was denied green card reapplication. The couple is lobbying for a repeal of Defense of Marriage Act and hoping other couples will band together against DOMA.

Amy Pacheco

Friday, October 29, 2010

US Funding Child Soldiers?

In a brief memo sent out Monday, Barack Obama decided to exempt Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, and Yemen from the Child Soldiers Prevention Act of 2008 (which prevents funding for foreign governments if they recruit child soldiers.) Obama justified his decision by stating that Yemen is a "key partner" for fighting against the al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. By enforcing the prevention act Obama says that it "would seriously jeopardise the Yemeni government's capability to conduct special operations and counter terrorism missions, and create a dangerous level of instability in the country and the region." While in Yemen there have been reports of the government recruiting kids as young as 14, the memo attempts to further justify Obama's decision by stating what US financial assistance gone towards (planes, helicopters, equipment and weapons to fight the al-Queda.) Obama is facing a lot of harsh criticism for his decision.

Submitted By: Erin Burneson

Globalization: Free flowing ideas?

In an article by the BBC, the co-founder of Wikimedia (those in charge of Wikipedia) has announced that the company's first non-US office will be built. The location chosen is India, but Europe and Africa were also considered. There was a concern for the lack of technology in Africa and the advanced nature of European technology, and India seemed like a nice compromise. While Wikipedia has 91,000 contributors posting in 270+ languages, this will be the first actual office outside of the United States. I felt this continued to show the power and influence of globalization, particularly with technology and ideas. Barry Newstead, the chief global development officer at Wikimedia, expressed his wish to expand "free knowledge in India" and "support Indians to realise the vision of a world in which every person can freely share in the sum of knowledge."

Posted by: Zach Porlier

Suicide Bombing in Iraq

A suicide bomber hit a crowded cafe on Friday night in Iraq that killed 21 people, and wounded 30 (many seriously). This was the deadliest attack in over a month. It happened in Balad Ruz, which is an Eastern town in the Diyala Province. The bomber had a belt of explosives, and he hit the cafe at its busiest time. One victim was a member of a local governing council. Although it is not determined who is responsible for the bombing, it is being said that this attack seems similar to ones that were tied to al Qaeda group in Mesopotamia. The area in which this attack occurred is largely populated by a sect of Kurds who are Shiite Muslims, when most Kurds are Sunni Muslims. This attack is illuminating fears that insurgents are using the political deadlock in Iraq to start "new rounds of bloodletting" an to undermine people's faith in the government.

By: Kathleen Tite

Somali Islamists Kill Two Girls Branded Spies

“This execution is yet another human rights abuse committed by the criminals,” the Somali government said. “This act of killing innocent children does not have Islamic and humanitarian justifications.” A fireing squad lined up in the center of a town named Beledweyne, near Etheopia. The women where said to have been Ethopian spies that had ties to the invasion in of Somolia 2006. The community members Beledwayne were very scared when this occured becuase the men came in trucks with speaks anounncing then execution and that they must attend. The two girls were ages 14 and 18, also the community argued that the girls were innocent and meerly just caught in the crossfire of a war. This is a scary example of how much power these groups have on certain areas in the world and how they use the element of fear to rule.

By: Chase Pavlick

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Eleven die in two Mexico attacks

BBC News is reporting on an increase in violence within Mexico, specifically within the past week. Over 50 people have been murdered this past week alone, raising the total to 7,000 for the year 2010. These murders make it the bloodiest year since President Felipe Calderon has been in office. However, it is unknown whether all of these murders are drug and gang related. The shooting in the capital has raised alarm for Mexican residents about a drug war that seems to not be as heavily reported. Attorney general Miguel Angel Mancera has said, "We would like to reassure the population that we are going to find those responsible." Overall, the Mexican drug war has been a topic of conversation in the news since 2006 when the Juarez and Sinaloa cartels erupted into a turf war.

--Emily Goodfellow.

Serbia ups reward for Mladic

The Serbian government has offered 10 million Euros for the capture of war crime suspect Ratko Mladic. Mladic is accused of leading genocide forces in Yugoslavia from 1992-1995, and has been on the run since the end of the Bosnian civil war. The government has also reportedly upped the reward for former Croatian Serb leader Goran Hadzic from 250,000 Euros to 1 million. Both are believed to be hiding in Serbia. These two leaders are two of those responsible for the genocide in the region during the mid-to-late 1990s, and the Serbian government has been on the chase of them since 1995. More on the story here.

-Trevor Magnotti

Somali Islamists Kill Two Girls Branded Spies

The Shabab, Somalia's most powerful Islamist insurgents, killed two teenage girls on Wednesday. The two girls, one 18, the other 14, were shot in the center of the town Beledweyne, near the border of Ethiopia. The Shabab drove into town in large trucks ordering the residents to watch the execution take place. They were also told to turn off their cell phones and were warned not to take pictures. The two girls were killed at the regional headquarters at the center of the town. The Shabab official in town, Sheik Yusuf Ali Ugas, told local journalists, "the two girls were found guilty of spying for the Ethiopian government." Ethiopia invaded Somalia in 2006 in efforts to end an Islamist movement that had taken control of most of the country, including the capital of Mogadishu. Ethiopian soldiers remained in Somalia for the next three years before withdrawing. Mr. Ugas said the teenagers were not the only ones in Shabab custody. He also sent a warning to Ethiopia saying that the Shabab knew all the informants serving for the Ethiopian government. The Somali government stated, "This act of killing innocent children does not have Islamic and humanitarian justifications." The Shabab have been held responsible for many human rights violations in the areas they control. For example, in 2008 they stoned to death a rape victim in the port town of Kismayo.

Submitted by Emily Collins

French Unions Stage Last Ditch Strikes Kevin Kittilsen

The French people are engaging in a last ditch strikes against the new pension reform bill. This bill, if put in place, will raise the retirement age from 60 to 62. It has been estimated that over half a million people were on the streets to protest on Thursday. The lower house of the parliament has already approved the bill. This strike was held because they still have the ability to send the bill down to constitutional council if voted on by 60 legislators. French air traffic controllers are expecting roughly half of flights coming in will be cancelled on Thursday.

Kevin Kittilsen

World Bank turns nature into numbers

Nations might finally understand the value of preserving versus exploiting its natural resources in this new 5 year study. The World Bank is set to turn nature into numbers by incorporating the value of ecosystems into countries' national accounts. "Colombia and India will be the first countries to take part in the scheme which aims to identify their most important ecosystems before quantifying their worth."The U.N.'s third Global Biodiversity Outlook published in May warned that the world's ecosystems were at risk of "rapid degradation and collapse.""there is an alarming loss of habitat and the degradation of ecosystems in the world, we have to properly value natural capital," said Warren Evans, the World Bank's Director of Environment. Countries need to have a full economic picture of what their assets are worth, this being their natural resources so they can see the value of preserving them. After the convention in Japan, they hope to launch a 10 year plan to stop the alarming rate of biodiversity loss.

By Alicia Panczyk

European Union's Budget and Debt Problems

The EU is preparing to meet for a summit to discuss the budget for the coming years, and to possibly revise the Lisbon Treaty. The MEP (Members of the European Parliment) voted for a 5.9% raise in the budget which the UK and other countries are pushing to reject. The UK prime minister David Cameron is calling for a budget freeze, however it is more likely that the EU will settle on a 2.9% increase. There is also the issue of a new Franco-German resoluton referred to as the Deauville Deal. This deal is pushing for a proposal to tempoaily strip repeat overspenders of voting rights in the EU until they change their ways. The country that this treaty is focusing on in the present situation is Greece. The deal also proposes the creation of a permanent financial resuce fund and other sanctions on countries which go over the maximum debt level allowed under the EU's stability and growth pact (60% 0f the GDP). Germany, France, and Finalnd are the only countries so far to back the removal of voting rights for certain countries, and the UK said: "A mechanism to ensure stability in the eurozone is desirable - and the sanctions would not apply to the UK." However, the UK has not come out in direct support of the removal of voting rights. If there were to be a removal of voting rights that would mean that the Lisbon Treaty would need to be revised. However, a revision to the Lisbon Treaty would create major disruptions and political problems in many EU states, and the European Commission President said that the removal of voting rights would never be accepted by all 27 EU states. This will stand to be a great test for a treaty that has only been effective since December of 2009 (less than a year), and whether it will be able to hold the European community together is yet to be seen.

For more information see the article on BBC at

By: Colin Zimmerman

Russia brokers Nagorno-Karabakh prisoner-swap deal

Armenia and Azerbaijan have agreed to swap prisoners captured during the fighting in the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. The conflict between the two ex-Soviet nations started some 20 years ago when, during the decline of the Soviet Union, ethnic Armenians took control of Nagorno-Karabakh and the land corridor linking it to Armenia. Despite a ceasefire signed in 1994, skirmishes have continued since. The swap was agreed to at a meeting hosted by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in the city of Astrakhan. Medvedev said that "Russia will continue its efforts [towards brokering peace]. I believe a result is reachable. It inspires a somewhat moderate optimism, but the bulk of work is still ahead." The number of prisoners reportedly held by each side is small but according to Kremlin "it is not the quantity that matters," rather it is important that progress is being made.
By Szymon Kesek

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

France Threatened by Alleged Tape by Bin Laden

France received a tape from an individual claiming to be Bin Laden. The speaker is threatening the French to remove their troops from Afghanistan and to stop oppressing the muslim people, which the speaker was referring to a case where French Legislatures jailed Muslim women for wearing burqas in public. France has not yet responded but are taking this tape to extreme measures. They do not want to portray themselves as weak and vulnerable to any sort of terrorist attack. It is also not certain if the speaker in the tape is the real Osama Bin Laden since there have been numerous tapes in the past where people posed and said that they were Bin Laden but obviosuly were not. At this time, France is extremely worried, they have evacuated the Eiffel Tower twice, and they have been looking into past threats and the killings of French soldiers by al Qaeda groups in Africa.  

Gorbachev Says Putin Obstructs Democracy

“I am afraid that they have been saddled with this idea that this unmanageable country needs authoritarianism,” Mr. Gorbachev, the said, referring to Mr. Putin and his close ally, President Dmitri A. Medvedev. “They think they cannot do without it.” Mikhail S. Gorbachev, former leader of Russia, beleieved thay he was bringing Russia towards a fundamental democracy, which entails, "election, accountability and turnover," he argued. he campared the rule in Russia under Putin as to be, "A bad copy of Soviet Russia." Mikhail once supported Putin and his policies, but now he believs that Putin has doomed his once thought of a Democracy in Russia.

By: Chase Pavlick

Philanthropist under threat from Rwanda

Paul Rusesabagina, the real life hero the inspired Hotel Rwanda, is facing the threat of criminal charges by the Rwandan government. It is alleged that Mr. Rusesabagina and his foundation have funneled money to "terrorist" and opposition groups in Rwanda. Rusesabagina arrived at his home to find it had been ransacked, and numerous documents had been taken. He and his foundation have been critical of Rwandan president Paul Kagame and his vise-like grip on the politics of Rwanda. What Mr. Rusesasbagina wants most for Rwanda is peace and reconciliation in the wake of the 1994 genocide. As such, the current regime has not been forthcoming with the truth, and Rusesasbagina added, "anyone who opposes Kagame inside or outside the country is treated with this kind of harassment." Although formal charges have yet to be filed, Rwandan prosecutor Martin Ngoga appears eager to do so.

-Caleb B. Ray

Bin Laden Warning France after Kidnapping

According to this article, Osama Bin Laden has exposed his ties to the kidnapping of five French people in Niger in response to France's treatment of its Muslim population. Bin Laden sent an audio recording of himself saying that the abduction was the result of "France's injustice to Muslims." Also, in his message he urges France to remove their troops from Afghanistan. This act is in response to France banning the public display of religious items, including the wearing of the hijab.
The French citizens where captured last month in Niger at a uranium mine by al-Qaeda militants. They are believed to be alive still and being held in Mali. To protect the security of France, Bin Laden is urging them to exit the war in which former president George W. Bush created.

By: Jaime Hacker

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Russia sending troops to Afganistan

Yesterday, Russia agreed to send troops into Afghanistan to assist NATO troops. Wait, what? In a historically co-operative agreement, Russia has agreed to assist NATO troops in order to cut off the flow of illegal drugs into Russian territories. Russia has long been frustrated with the U.S. and NATO's failure to fully stop Afghan subsistence farmers from growing poppy to make opium, as well as stopping the illicit drug trade that flows through central Asia. In return, Russia expects cooperation with NATO, already getting the scrapped missile defense shield from the Obama administration, as well as helicopters to aid in the Afghan effort. Russia would also like Nato to accept a "fait accompli" over the occupation of Southern Ossetia.

William Ragan

Cholera Outbreak

With another devastating number of deaths due to a cholera outbreak something needs to be done. Four of every five cases involves women or children. This is devastating but because people cross borders so frequently, it is hard to keep the disease under control and isolated. The latest death toll in Nigeria was 1, 555, the largest outbreak in recent years. A main problem is the people of Nigeria and many other surrounding countries do not have access to safe water, which is a way in which cholera spreads. With cholera killing roughly 12,000 people per year, there has to be a way to end this high number of deaths. Looking at bettering these people's resources would be a sufficient start.

By: Lindsay Weidling

Clean Up Trash or Face Fines

The EU is telling Italy to clean up its 2400 tons of trash in its streets. Residence there have been trashing the town of Terzigno to protest the smelly local dump and the plans to create a new dump in Vesuvio National Park. Cars have been set on fire and firecrackers set on police. Naples and surrounding towns always suffer from garbage crisis due to poor management and infiltration from the local mob. There still are no definite plans of solving the problem of overwhelming trash, except to create more heaps. Government blames the current mafia for the problem. The EU is claiming Italy failed to set up proper disposal infrastructure to control the garbage. Guido Bertolaso, "the disaster chief", chided the EU for their criticism.

Amanda Marolf

Tea Party Vow to Deter Voter Fraud Is Called Scare Tactic

Members of the Tea Party are accusing citizens of casting fraudulent votes around the country. These accusations have been going on for years now, and even though most have been proved false the accusations still occur. The goal for some Tea Party members is to now question voter registration applications, and then question individual voters who they believe may be ineligible. The group is also pushing to set up "surveillance squads " and other measures to ensure the eligibility of voters. This idea by the the Tea Party is extremely controversial and in many ways counter productive. Voting numbers are declining and the last thing voters want to have when they go vote is someone who is interrogating them about their voter eligibility. It also should be mentioned that voter fraud is not a overly large problem in the more modern day United States. For the "swing states" it is imperative that the votes are collected and counted correctly, but questioning the eligibility of voters should not be the main priority. The United States needs to find a way in which to get more Americans to cast their vote, and the Tea Party is trying to find ways to decrease the amount of people voting.

Tim McEniff

Iran injects fuel into first nuclear reactor

After more than 30 years in the making Iran is planning on injecting nuclear material into its nuclear power plants reactor.  The reactor built by Russia in a deal made back in the 70s included the power plant nuclear material and disposal of the use nuclear material by Russia.  This shows that if Iran were planning on making a nuclear warhead that they could get uranium around sanctions.  I found it interesting that they agreed to let UN in to investigate the power plant to ensure that they are doing everything right and making it look like they are working with the international community.  They are still planning on building more nuclear plants in the future and a nuclear storage facility.  However according to the article they are still not able to enrich uranium enough to be weapons grade the most they have it enriched is 30% weapons grade is 90%.
Ed Barry

Indonesian volcano erupts, injuring up to 20 people

Mount Merapi, the most active volcano in Indonesia erupted Tuesday injuring several people. According to Subandriyo, the areas chief vulcanologist, the volcano started to erupt just before dusk Tuesday; it had rumbling and groaning for hours. The exploding ash caused a lot of commotion because even those who can't see the mountain have large amounts of ash falling around them. The last blast from Mount Merapi occured in 1994 and was caused by the lava dome collapsing. 70 people were killed in that eruption. This eruption just adds to the damage in Indonesia. Officials are already dealing with damage from a 7.7-magnitude earthquake that caused a tsunami off western Indonesia, leaving scores of villagers dead or missing.

Posted by Christine Steinbeiss

International face of Saddam regime to hang

Saddam Hussein's foreign minister Tariq Aziz was sentenced to death by hanging Tuesday for persecuting members of Shiite religious parties under the former regime. Aziz took part in a campaign during Saddam's leadership that hunted and executed members of the Shiite Dawa Party. In 1992 he had been sentenced to 15 years in prison for his role in the execution of 42 merchants found guilty of profiteering. Although Aziz is already facing a prison sentence, he has not yet appealed the hanging and no one is sure if he will. There is no date as to when he will be put to death, but the Assosiated Press predicted the 74 year-old man will die in prison due to his old age and lengthy prison sentences.

Posted by Christine Steinbeiss

Monday, October 25, 2010

US Swimmer Dies in UAE Swimming Race

Fran Crippen, 26, is a United States swim star that won bronze in the 2009 FINA World Championships and gold in the 2007 Pan American Games in a ten kilometer swim race. The swimmer died Saturday during the Marathon Swimming World Cup. The official word on the death is drowning. Doctors are divided on the cause of the death citing either fatigue from the race or a heart attack to cause the drowning. The drowning has caused outrage at event organizers from fans and family members about the safety of the race. The water and air temperatures were all above normal for the event and all participants should have been closely monitored. A fellow swimmer commented that he could not remember seeing boats or other safety personal monitoring athletes as the race went on. Race organizers objected and said that they maintained supervision on the athletes. The International Swimming Federation is under fire for the event, but has stated that it has ran fourteen events and never had such a problem. All of the fighting aside, the article speaks to the mourning family and necessity for sports safety at all levels.
By: Kyle Coia

Women For Sale Store Highlights sex trafficking in Israel

CNN's Shira Medding reports in "Women for sale store highlights sex trafficking in Israel" reports the shocking window display in a the busy Tel Aviv mall that are causing many people to turn heads. That indeed was the intention. Women are being displayed in the front of the store window wearing tagsd that detail their age, weight, and height, as well as thier country of origin. Organizers of the event want to bring awareness to women trafficking. Along the way they hope to collect enought signatures to convince the Israeli justice ministry to support its claims of men going to prostitutes. The legistation is modeled after the one in Sweden which has greatly reduce the incidents of sex trafficking. The organization hopes to put an end to "modern slavery" which have left over 10,000 women in the past decade locked, beaten, raped, and starved.
posted by Vanity Sotelo

South Korea Sends Food Aid to North Korea

According to the New York Times, South Korea has sent its first food shipment as a part of humanitarian aid in more than three years. Five Thousand tons of rice left the port of Gusan while three million cups of instant noodles left the port of Incheon, both shipments are headed to Dandong China, for trucking into North Korea. Irony cannot be overstated as South Korea shares a border with North Korea, but neither side will overstep the 38th parallel, and so the Chinese as intermediaries are incredibly important to lessen the perceived disgrace of asking for help from the South Koreans for the North. The Red Cross is handling the mess of logistics in shipping the food, which is part of an $8.5 million aid package agreed upon last month. The agreement also was an effort to continue the reunion of families separated by the Korean War, which are said to begin Saturday. Deliveries of cement and medicine are scheduled for December. According to analysts, the situation is bleak in the North, with three in five children being malnourished and a quarter of the population needing food assistance. On top of August floods, the ability of North Korea to feed itself is severely diminished. However, not all see the aid relief as a perfect solution, as many aid workers feel that the food would only be used to reinforce party lines as it is distributed to the elite in Pyongyang. Hopefully, despite the fears of all involved, this is the beginning of a less sheltered North Korea for the future.

By Margaret Nunne

Cholera Outbreak in Haiti

An outbreak of Cholera is spreading rapidly through the earthquake ridden country of Haiti. The disease, it is believed started in the northwest of the country and is slowly making its way down south to the capital in Port-au-Prince. The disease affects the digestive system and is known for making people very dehydrated. Poor living space and unsanitary conditions are expected to help spread the disease and are also one of the potential reasons as to why the disease has sprung up again 50 years after its last outbreak. This is a devastating development in Haiti where people are already living in tent communities outside the capital. Many medical organizations are trying to help contain the outbreak as they have asked for more and more help including buckets of Clorox bleach.
Tom Kuebel

Karzai receiving cash from Iran

Afghan President, Ahmed Karzai has acknowledged that Iran is channeling in money to aid his regime. The story was first reported by the New York Times but had yet to be confirmed by Afghan officials.

Karzai insists that the money was not a gift to a single official but “transparent” aid to his office. The news is interesting, given that Iran is sort of a pariah state that is believed to fund terrorist organizations. Iran also faces intense pressure from the west to abandon its nuclear “energy” project.


Iran bans the teaching of certain courses

Universities in Iran have now been banned from the teaching of certain disciplines. The disciplines taught must be compatible with the Islamic faith. Those that are considered too Western will be modified or cut completely from school curricula. These include disciplines in the social science field such as law, women studies, human rights, management, sociology, psychology, and political science. The intent of the ban is to prevent younger generations from being influenced by such Western culture and ultimately changing the Islamic state. Nearly 2 million of Iran's 3.5 million students in universities are now studying these disciplines.

Meghan Steinbeiss

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Court Approves Beating of Women and Children

In the United Arab Emirates, a man is permitted to physically discipline his wife and child as long as no physical marks are left. The courts ruled that men have the right to beat their wives and children after a particular case in which a man slapped his wife and also slapped and kicked his daughter (23 yrs of age). However there are limitations - if a man abuses his right to "discipline," he will face consequences. Arguments have been made, however, that this holds no connection to the treatment of women according to the law of Islam, because according to Islamic law it is "absolutely unlawful" to abuse a woman.

This was a very interesting article, clearly exemplifying how various cultures view human rights and dignity, and how laws are based on those beliefs. If a case like this was presented in U.S. Court, there would be a very outcome.

Submitted By: Laura Lubuguin

Death toll rises in Mexican border city shooting

The death toll from the recent shooting in Juarez, Mexico has risen to 14 people.  The shooting took place at an apparent party Friday when gunmen stormed the house and began opening fire.  It's being reported that 14 others were also injured during the incident.  The victims of the shooting ranged from ages 7-30.  During a press conference deputy interior minister Juan Marcos Gutierrez stated "We are here to address this deplorable and condemnable acts, and to ensure full support to local authorities investigating these unfortunate events."

By: Cameron Adams 

Problems in Parliament

Iraq's highest court forced parliament to resume its sessions. Apologies were made but experts say that this might lead to another conflict. Parliament was out of session because they were trying to negotiate an agreement on the governments top posts. The political leaders of Iraq have been deploying troops to settle disagreements. Furthermore activists had a celebration for the steps taken towards strengthening their political system. This crisis over forming a government has led to multiple problems for iraq.
Heidi Goetsch

Security forces say they thwarted a bomb attack in southern Yemen

The Yemeni security forces intercepted a planned bomb attack on a soccer stadium in the city of Aden. General Abdullah caught a suspected member of a separtists movement placing a bag with over 1,800 grams of dynamite within range of the stadium. With the Gulf Cup Soccer tournament starting November 22, this has caused a lot of controversy between the president of the football association and the teams that will be competing in this tournament. The Yemeni government is obviously doing everything they can to show that they can restore order because this tournament will be an uplift to the unstable country. However, al Qaeda has established itself in the Arabian Peninsula and is causing much concern considering some of the Yemeni security workers are thought to be involved.

Danny Hayes

Americans To Be Put On Trial In Iran

Iran has released a statement that the two american hikers who were taken into custody by Iranian officials will begin trial soon. The details were short and simple, it is to begin in a months time, and that it will most likely be closed to the media. Several reports have hinted that the spot that the citizens had been hiking at was not in fact over the Iranian border. This is why such criticism of the Iranian idea that these americans were spys has sparked. Hillary Clinton has come out and said that it was an accident and if they are not to be let go it will look terrible on the state of Iran. She urged that it was only a misunderstanding and to show some sympathy for these innocent hikers.

By: Dan Vogrin

Africans fight against health concerns

As Africa becomes more reliant on technology, people are getting less excercise thus leading to a nationwide weight gain. In the past, bikes and walking were the most common forms of transportation whereas nowadays Africans are adopting Western customs along with the health issues that come with, such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Changing everyday habits are causing people to lose excercise they once got without knowing it. In a continent where AIDS and malaria are still causes for concern, problems linked to urbanization are added to the mix.
Fast food is seen as a status symbol in Africa. Ida Mulenga, a Johannesburg veterinarian says, "if you're eating McDonald's in your house, it means you've got money in your house." Another factor is time. Many families are too busy with their lives to find the time to excercise. Kenyan cardiologist Elijah Ogola said, "Generally our lives are so crowded that if you can afford to excercise you do not have the time to." While industrialization can be a good thing, Africa must be aware of the negative side effects as well.

written by Amy Mori

Typhoon Megi triggers deadly Taiwan landslides

Typhoon Megi has stranded nearly 400 drivers in Taiwan and has killed over 30 people in total. Megi dropped 45 inches of rain in northern Taiwan over a 48 hour period. Rescue teams are searching and trying to help evacuate drivers caught in the multiple landslides to hit the island. The storm is currently on path to hit China's southern province of Fuijan, where they have already evacuated over 100,000 people. This storm has wreaked havoc in the Phillipines as well and has caused major property damage.

Stampede at soccer game kills 7 in Kenya

this article is about a soccer riot in Kenya that killed seven spectators at the game. the stampede began during a heavy rain fans that did not have tickets to the game found a weakened gate and proceeded to rush the gate and break it down. fans with tickets at the same gate were trample and injured when the rush of people over took them, the numbers of injured and dead are not certain yet, the league authorities are speaking with emergency and hospital official now.a spectator that was aware of the occurring stampede ran onto the field and told them to stop the game because people were being injured. the game was between the leopards and Gor Mahia. there are 12 different teams in the league.

Protests over Italian landfill continue

Protesters hurled rocks, firecrackers and Molotov cocktails at police over a controversial construction of a new landfill and an existing one near Naples. The protesters said the landfill poses an environmental and health hazard. The chief of Italy's civil protection agency, was named by the government to deal with the issue. He told reporters that the government would put the second landfill on hold and the current landfill will be analyzed for any dangers to people or natural resources. But protesters were wary of the government's word, and continued their demonstration. Some 500 protesters were blocking the road that leads to the landfill. The prime minister has stated that the current landfill poses no risk to the resisdents but the people are skeptical,"We are going to continue these battles and I believe that we'll obtain what we want."

By Alicia Panczyk

U.S. sway dwindles in Iraq

Iraq is no longer following the US in decision making and government guidance anymore. Instead, they are looking to Iran. This causes doubt as to what will happen after all the involvement of the US with Iraq, including 4400 soldiers. The weak voice of the US is giving Iraq more influence over its region. The less troops there are, the less power the US has, and the number of troops has plummeted. So now Iraq is blowing off US warnings to not rush into any government set up that might cater to Iran. However, they cannot ignore the US completely because of the military aid that we are supplying.

Amanda Marolf

U.S Air Marshals Flee Brazil

Two U.S air marshals recently arrested the wife of a prominent Brazilian judge on drug charges. These two air marshals were then arrested on trumped charges and had their passports taken by the Brazilian government. The air marshal's have since fled Brazil with alternate documents. While there are obvious issues with this fiasco, this could put a damper on relations between the U.S and Brazil with international flights. The U.S has not returned calls from the Brazil Embassy wanting the contact information on the air marshal's due to their missing their court date. Not only are the relations strained in this area, our decent relationship with Brazil on a whole could be damaged from this incident.

By: Alyssa Rabulinski

Group: Investigate reports of torture in Iraq WikiLeaks documents

After reading the information posted on the Wikileaks website, The Human Rights Watch has been urging the U.S. government to investigate the reports of detainee torture that were part of the leaked Iraq documents. According to the leaked documents, Iraqi security forces tortured the detainees that were sent there by the United States. The Human Rights Watch have accused the U.S. of knowing that the detainees would be abused if left with the Iraqi security military, yet still carrying out with the transfers anyway. The leaks also write that the U.S. has failed to investigate all of the reports of abuse of the detainees by the Iraqi military. The U.S. have commented that they have done no wrong and that there have been no war crimes committed.

By Veronica Walker

WikiLeaks Founder on the Run, Trailed by Notoriety

Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, is on the run and has be not only abandoned by his own government, but by his colleagues as well. Wikileaks is a website established to stockpile government secrets and then release them global with the press of a button. The most recent release was a cache of over 391,000 documents on the War in Iraq. Assange, failed to remove the names of the Afghan intelligence sources for NATO troops, which were on top of most of the documents. Assange is a renowned computer hacker who escaped going to jail on 25 charges of computer hacking back in 1995. His actions are being reviewed in accordance with the 1917 espionage act. Following review the United States and it's allies will make a decision. For now the 39-year old Australian will continue to live and flee in a state of paranoia, dyeing his hair, sleeping in random places, and watching his every step.

Andrew Gates

China challenges strength of US Navy and allies

full story here

United States Admiral Robert Willard, stated on a trip to Japan that China is ready to begin implementing a long range anti-ship cruise missile into its arsenal. This missile differs from US Naval weapons currently in use because it can travel 1,000 miles to a target while US cruise missiles used for the same purpose have a range of 600 miles. The Chinese cruise missile can also travel a speeds that far exceed US missiles. The missile is believed to be a counter measure to aircraft carriers. The US Navy is currently planning to add 3 more carriers to its fleet in the next 10 years. While the United States maintains a much larger and generally more technologically advanced navy than China, this missile increases the range China could theoretically attack a US fleet or other ships inside or outside Chinese waters.

This development complicates the US commitment to defend Taiwan from a Chinese attack. If the US backs off in the Pacific this could only encourage more weapons development from China. It might also encourage US allies in the region like Australia, Japan, and Korea to try to fill the military gap the US would leave behind. Japan already announced this summer definite plans to expand its submarine fleet. Given the US's history with China and China's military recklessness demonstrated in the Hainan Island Incident in 2001, the training exercise incident in 2007, and the satellite incident in 2007, there's no reason why the US should consider stepping down in the Pacific and letting our allies down. In fact, a re-armament of Japan sounds like an appropriate measure at this point, and a reward for their loyalty thus far. Its understandable why China wants to grow powerful, but the US shouldn't back down from a nation that believes, "China is a big country and other countries are just small countries, and that's just a fact."

--Ray Treonis

Mexico 'war next door' linked directly to U.S.

This article is about how all the violence and the drug war in Mexico is directly related to what is going on in the United States. The problem that is taking place is drug trafficking from Mexico into the U.S. In the last four years alone, ever since the U.S. and Mexican border patrol have made this a bigger issue than ever, it is reported that 30,000 deaths have come from the drug war. They compare the Drug Cartels to Al Qaeda, Anthony Colson said that he thinks that the cartel makes Al Qaeda look tame because of the things that they do to harmless innocent people. A big problem that is starting to happen is the Cartel taking out entire towns and cities that are in the way of their smuggling route. Recently reports of mass murders at house parties along the Mexican border have been found. In a one recent one 13 were killed and all were between the ages of 16 and 25. The drug war in Mexico is only being fueled by the drug users in the U.S. because if there was no demand, then there would be no violence. I think that this is a huge problem but as long as their are people willing to buy illegal drugs, this issue will never be solved.

By Nick Santos

French Senate Passes Retirement Age Increase

According to this article, Friday October 22, the French Senate passed a pension reform bill that has caused huge protests around France for the past few weeks. The retirement age will now increase for the age 60 to 62 and could become a law as early as next week. Though hundreds of thousands of French citizens have protested this reform as a violation of their rights,  President Nicolas Sarkozy said it's a necessary measure in order to reduce the deficit. The age increase was approved by Senators 177 votes to 153 after the government used a special tactic known as a guillotine, which cuts short the debate on the bill. The unions protesting claim that the retirement age at 60 is a hard-earned right and say the reform is unfair to workers. Despite the senate approval of the bill, unions still plan to carry protests regarding the soon to be law October 28 and November 6.

By: Jaime Hacker


This article was about the idea of recycling and the amount of waste that we put into the environment. New York City is creating a new policy about recycling. I think that we need to recycle and preserve the minimal resources that we have left. We are already pinching oil and coal...if we can minimize our other disposable resources, that will help.

David Thompson, Barbados Prime Minister, Dies at 48

The Prime minister of Barbados, David Thompson, died of pancreatic cancer in his private residence. Mr. Thompson was the youngest ever elected prime minister of the Caribbean nation, had been ill since March and traveled to New York several times for treatment. Thompson did not like to discuss his illness until last month when his doctor announced of his pancreatic cancer and that he was undergoing treatment. Mr. Thompson's attorney general and deputy, Freundal Stuart, was sworn in on Saturday as the new prime minister by the governor of Barbados. Denzil Douglas, the prime minister of St. Kits and Nevis, said " a loss to not only the people of Barbados, but also the people of the Caribbean". The next elections are scheduled for 2012 on the island.

-Courtney Ecton

Cholera Outbreak in Haiti

Even though Haiti was hit by their horrible earthquake back in January, they continue to feel the effects of the natural disaster. 1.5 million people were displaced by the earthquake in January are now residing in tent encampments. These encampments often have poor sanitation and contaminate water supplies. Cholera, which is a bacteria carried in human feces, has been able to flourish in this environment. The outbreak of the disease has already resulted in a death toll of over 200. Health officials are trying to contain the disease as much as possible, however containment is probably the most difficult task at hand. After the disaster many residents were forced out of the capital, Port-au-Prince, and now they often travel back and forth between villages to visit relatives. This increased traveling and increased contact between people has many officials worried that the cholera outbreak will spread widely very quickly.

submitted by Haley Kirk

65 years and still going strong!

October 24th, 1945, the United Nation Charter entered into force. 65 years later, the UN is still going strong, bringing peace, diplomacy, and cooperation to our world. Happy 65th birthday, United Nations!

-Caleb B. Ray

Saturday, October 23, 2010

US Hikers in Iran Starting Trial

Two hikers from the US that have been held in Iran for more than a year will stand trial before an the Iranian Revolution court on November 6th. In July 2009, three hikers were arrested for, according to Iran, crossing into their country. They were on the unmarked border between Iraq's Kurdistan region and Iran. One hiker was released on humanitarian grounds, but the other two remain in an Iran prison on the charges of spying and entering the country illegally. WikiLeaks leaked a classified document that shows that Iran may have crossed into Iraq to arrest the hikers. According to their lawyer, it is suspected that the trial will be closed to the press, but contends that they are innocent and have done nothing wrong. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton saying that she hopes that they will be released on humanitarian grounds, instead of being put on trial, because she believes they have no reason to be put on trial.

By: Kathleen Tite

American Al-Qaida Begs for More US Attacks

On a video posted to a militant al-Qaida website, American-born Adam Gadahn begs Muslims in Detroit, London, and Paris to carry out terrorist attacks as duty. He claims in his video Muslims have a duty to protect Islam and carry out a jihad against Jewish and Western ideas. Gadahn grew up in California before converting and moving to Pakistan to attend a military training camp. Dawud Walid of the Council of American-Islamic Relations in the Michigan chapter called Gadahn video to be a bluff for attention and describes the Detroit area as a place where Gadahn's pleas will be greatly ignored.

Cholera Outbreak in Haiti

A Cholera outbreak that has been called the largest health crisis since the earthquake last January, has already claimed the lives of nearly 200 Haitians. Authorities say that nearly 2,000 people are sick. The first two Cholera cases were found in Arcahaie, a town which is a right outside of Port-au-Prince (the capital city) which received thousands of refugees after the earthquake last year. Health officials are worried that the disease will spread into the quake-devastated capital where thousands of people are living in unsanitary conditions if refugee camps. Aid groups and the government has been passing out relief supplies including 10,000 boxes of water purification. "It (cholera) is concentrated in Artibonite and we are trying to keep it that way." Cholera was not present in Haiti before the earthquake, but experts had warned that disease was likely to occur in the regions where it is difficult to get clean water. The number of cholera cases are expected to grow because the Haitian people do not have any immunity to the disease. "We have all the things in place for something we know will get bigger," said Jon Andrus the deputy directer of Pan American Health Organization's Regional Office for the Americas.

Submitted By: Erin Burneson

Friday, October 22, 2010

Indonesia Torture

In an article by the BBC, reports indicate that Indonesia has acknowledged the torture of Papua villagers by members of the Indonesian military. Footage seen on the website of the Asian Human Rights Commission shows Indonesian men, in military uniforms, engaging in tortuous acts against the Papua. These acts include beatings and repeated questioning with a knife held to their faces. The Minister for Security in Indonesia has reported that what they did was wrong, and that the soldiers shall be punished, though an investigation is scheduled for more information. There are reports saying that the soldiers thought the men were armed and part of a violent group, and that they were only acting accordingly, but some human rights group believe the villagers to only be farmers. This comes at a time when the US has renewed it's ties with the Indonesian military, and against the historical denial of Indonesian torture and cruelty to the Papua villagers.

Posted by: Zach Porlier

New Reports of Civilian Deaths in Iraq

WikiLeaks released a report today disclosing many facts about the Iraq war that have been unknown to the public thus far. One of the most shocking statistics is the number of civilians that have been killed in the conflict. Some estimates put the number as high as 100,000 civilians, although the numbers are not very reliable due to the difficulty that the U.S. military has had in recording the deaths, as well as some being counted twice. Some of the worst times in the Iraq War have been December 2006 in which approximatley 3,800 civilians were killed, August 14th 2007 where truck bombs killed more than 500 people, and August 31st 2005 where more than 950 people were killed by a stampede on a bridge. The report also mentions incidents where civilians were killed by helicoptors even after they surrendered, and even one incident where an American sniper killed an Iraqi wearing a tracksuit who turned out to be the platoon's interpreter. Mistakes have been made at checkpoints where situations caused from a sun glare, misinterpreted hand signals, and a lack of interpreters have caused soliders to fire upon civilians. With 10 civilians being killed for every 1 soldier in modern warfare today, the future looks grim unless major changes are to be made to the way in which the world approaches war.

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

By: Colin Zimmerman

U.S. Offers Pakistan Army $2 Billion Aid Package

"The new aid package, totaling $2 billion, is meant to replace one that expired Oct. 1. It would complement $7.5 billion in aid that the United States has already pledged to Pakistan for civilian projects, some have which have been directed toward helping the nation recover from the damaging floods." Over then NEXT 5 YEARS the Obama administration is planned to give aid to the Pakistan military for what is believed to be around $2 billion dollars in aid. This is the same Pakistan military that killed civilian lives in order to remove the Taliban. Hillary Rodham Clinton the Secretary of State for the U.S addressed this in Washington with the Pakistani foreign minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, beside him. This concluded a seris of meeting between the two nations that has been going on for the past few days. Clinton did not talk about the situations that have caused unarmed people as well as civilians to lose their lives. The officials who described the decision said it, "would affect the Pakistani Army and special operations troops supported by the United States that have conducted offensives against Taliban fighters in the Swat Valley and South Waziristan in the past year."

By:Chase Pavlick

Israel to UNRWA: No Schools in Proximity to Hamas Military Installation

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) recently failed to secure permission to construct several schools for children in the Gaza Strip. Such requests are usually approved by the Israeli Defense Ministry. However, in this case, Israeli objected to the placement of the schools:

"Since Israel eased the blockade on the Gaza Strip in July, the office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories has approved 70 international projects – including the renovation of a sewage treatment plant, the construction of 151 housing units and eight new schools.

But when the Defense Ministry received the UNRWA request for the new schools and checked their planned location, defense officials said they were alarmed to discover that the UN had planned to build the schools adjacent to a Hamas military installation."

Image credit:

Jacob Nelson

Tibetans Protest China's Plan To Curb Language

Tibetan students have been protesting in western China because of ideas that China wants to get rid of the Tibetan language in local schools. The protests have largley been peaceful, and mainly are college students or the Tibetan youth. Tibetan students have criticized the Chinese government for being to strict with their control over the practice of Buddhism, and not allowing pictures of the Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama. The protests have been rising up in cities and towns all over western China. The protesters have adopted a slogan stating, "Equality of ethnicities, freedom of language." These words strike at the heart of the Chinese government. Another case of China having to much control over their citizens freedoms, and portraying ethnocentrism. The Tibetan people have every right to want to keep their language in local schools, and should be applauded for going about their protest in a peaceful way. Hopefully the Chinese government will be able to understand the Tibetans view, and keep their language from possibly going extinct.

Tim McEniff

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Zambia charges Chinese in mine murders

Zambian officials have charged two Chinese managers with the attempted murders of 11 of their employees at a coal mine in the southern part of the country. The men, Xiao Li Shan and Wu Jiu Hua, are charged with allegedly shooting and wounding 11 workers in a work dispute last week at their mine in Sinazongwe. The mine has now seen at least 33 injuries to workers stemming from management disputes since early June. China has heavy influence in the Zambian mining industry, but its companies hae routinely fallen under criticism for their treatment of employees. More on the story here.

-Trevor Magnotti

Britain Plans Deepest Cuts to Spending in 60 Years

Britain's government has outlined a spending plan for the next four years in their Spending Review because the country's finances are in a poor state . It includes extensive spending cuts, reducing government cost by 19%, cutting welfare, and raising the retirement age to 66 by 2020. The total is about £83 billion pounds, however the exact figures will not be available for a few weeks. Benefits for the elderly, including free eye tests, prescription drugs and bus passes, will remain despite the cuts and so will health and education funding. 490,000 public sector jobs will be cut over the four years and will save £6 billion pounds. Police spending will be cut 4% but spending on intelligence and security will be strengthened with the upcoming 2012 Olympics in London. Overall, the cuts will help to trim the country's debt by 2014.

--Emily Goodfellow.

Canadian Colonel is Given 2 Life Jail Terms

Canadian Colonel, David Russell Williams, pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder on Monday. He was condemned to a sentence of life in prison without any chance of parole for 25 years. On Thursday, the four-day court hearing came to a close after also committing 84 other sexually related crimes while he was serving as commander of Canada's largest air force base. Justice Robert F. Scott sentenced Williams to two life sentences in the murders of two women, two 10-year sentences for sexual assaults and one-year sentences for each of the 82 break-ins he committed to steal underwear from women and girls for his own pleasure. Along with all the charges he faced, he was also fined 8,800 Canadian dollars. The Canadian military said it would strip him of rank and all honors. Canadian civilians were filled with horror, rage and were even calling for the death penalty, which was abolished in Canada in 1976. One woman protested at the courthouse with a handwritten sign demanding execution. The sentenced Colonel commented on the public reaction saying it was "understandable hatred." He also added, "I've committed despicable crimes."

Submitted by Emily Collins

Severe quake relatively benign

The United States Geological Service has reported a major earthquake in Mexico on October 21, 2010. The epicenter of the quake was between southern Baja California and the Mexican state of Sinaloa, and occurred at a depth of more than six miles below the surface of the earth. The only damage that the quake has done seems to be limited to peace of mind, rather than physical damage. What is more shocking about the apparent lack of destruction was the strength of the quake: 6.9 on the Richter Scale (to put this into perspective, the Loma Prieta earthquake was 7.1)! Schools in the area were let out early.

-Caleb B. Ray

China 'trying to block publication of UN Darfur report'

A yet to be released UN Darfur report claims that Chinese bullets have been used against Darfur peacekeepers. The report is currently being discussed by a UN committee which monitors sanctions against Sudan. The Chinese are trying to stop the release of the report on the grounds that it is vaguely worded and full of flaws. A Chinese diplomat, Zhao Baogang, said that the report "lacks confirmed facts" and that "no evidence is given" for its actuality. China, which has strong ties with Sudan, has the right to sell munitions to Khartoum as long as they are not being used in Darfur. An estimated number of about 300,000 people have died and 2.6 million have been displaced since the rebels took up arms in Darfur in 2003.
By Szymon Kesek

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Uganda Against Homosexuals

A Ugandan newspaper published a list of the "top" gay and lesbian individuals along with their picture next to their name in hope that they will get the death penalty. Homosexuality is not accepted in the country of Uganda because it is claimed that it goes against their religion, victorian morality, and colonial laws. The punishment for being a homosexual is either 14 years to life in jail or the death penalty. There were numerous outbursts internationally because it was impossible to understand how a country could kill its citizens over their sexual affiliation. A Ugandan magazine also showed pictures and names of gay individuals along with a yellow banner that said "Hang Them." People who are homosexual and are living in Uganda are fearing for their lives and many have had to relocate and find new jobs. Even the Ugandan minister, Nsaba Buturo, is against homosexuality and is hopeful that the anti-gay measures will get passed.  

Iran says higher-enriched uranium stockpile rising

A senior official has said that Iran has increased its stockpile or 20% enriched uranium.  EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton suggested that talks between Iran and six powers could resume in Vienna in mid-November.  Iran said that they wanted to know the nature of the talks before they could start.  Iran announced it was refining uranium to 20% in February, up from 3.5% before.  Western critics say that Iran doesn't have the means to convert 20% uranium into fuel rods and that they are most likely heading toward 90% enrichment for bombs.  It says that the process is needed to power a medical research reactor and said it was willing to suspend high-level enrichment if it is guaranteed a supply of fuel for the medical reactor.

DJ Willey

Seoul Arrests Alleged N. Korean Spy

The spy (Ri Dong-sam, 46) has not been confirmed to be a North Korean spy, but all signs point to them having some involvemenet in this occourence. The man supposed to be a spy posed as a political delegate, "with the intention of assassinating a former member of the ruling North Korean regime," South Korean authorities stated earlier today. Ri Dong has also confirmed the alligations to be a member of Office 35, North Korea.s Primary Intelligence agency. He had been trained 6 years prior to his detainment today.

By: Chase Pavlick

Trade War Looming?

Recently, after a suit filed by United Steelworkers the U.S. had agreed to investigate China's huge subsidies for the clean energy industry. Yesterday, China cut off its supply of rare earth minerals to the U.S. This is the same tactic that China used to solve its South China Sea dispute with Japan. These minerals are critical in the production of nearly any high tech anything now. Furthermore, China announced yesterday that it intended to reduce its rare earth mineral exports by 40%, and another 30% next year. Many panicked companies have announced plans to re-open rare earth mines in California, Australia, and other places. Many believe that this is China's way of getting ahead on the perceived coming "clean energy" revolution.

William Ragan

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

UK slashes armed forces Kevin Kittilsen

The United Kingdom has decided to cut its military manpower significantly. By significantly, they are talking about eliminating 10% of their uniformed men. Approximately 17,000 men will be dropped from their military in the next five years. The government is doing this in order to cut spending and deal with deficits that this country faces. They are trying to recover from a 38-Pound debt accumulated over the past 12 years. Along with the cuts of men, they are also retiring machines and ships. One of the ships being retired is the flagship aircraft carrier HMS Ark royal. This may pose a challenge for the UK in defense. It may also make an impact on efforts in Afghanistan.

Saudi prince found guilty of murdering servant

Saud Abdulaziz bin Nasser al Saud has been found guilty of attacking and murdering his servant, Bandera Abdulaziz. The attack took place last February at a hotel in central London after a Valentine's day excursion. Al Saud had been under the influence of many alcoholic drinks before proceeding to beat and ultimately kill Abdulaziz. The relationship between Al Saud and his servant was previously abusive with many reported beatings and attacks for his own personal gratification. It is speculated that the two may have been sexually involved with one another. The prince originally denied the murder, but did admit to a count of manslaughter. Immediately following Abdulaziz's death, he spent a considerable amount of time conversing with a contact in Saudi Arabia attempting to conceal the murder from the public. He was ultimately found guilty after tapes of the beating surfaced from the hotel. Al Saud will be sentenced later this week, and will likely face a long term in jail. A return to his home country is unlikely, as acts of homosexuality are punished with death.

Meghan Steinbeiss

Turkish leader to boycott meeting if Israeli counterpart attends

CNN's report Turking Leader to Boycott Meeting if Isaeli counterpart Attends, reveals Turkish Prime Minister's, Recep Yayyip Edrogan, feelings toward his Isaeli counterpart. It was reported that Edrogan said that he will not attend a climate change conference later this week if his Israeli counterpart was there. Edrogan's resentment toward Israel grew from the Israeli policy toward Palestinian territory of Gaza and the deadly comando raid on Gaza-bound aid ship in May. Edgrogan said he does not agree with any prime minister who is proud of armed intervention. He feels that Israel should pay for "the audacity that characterizes the policy of his government." Isreal has been called out numerous time since 2009. It has been accused of war crimes by Turkey and is in a position to deliver an apology. Israel's relationship is deteriorating along with the threat of losing its relationship with Greece.
Posted by Vanity Sotelo

French police fire tear gas at stone-throwing high school students

In Paris there was a battle between Police and a couple hundred high school students who were protesting against the increase of the retirement age from 60 to 62. Police fired tear gas on the students who were hurling stones and setting cars on fire during one of several nationwide strikes and protests in France. A school in Le Mans, northwest France, was burned down Tuesday morning, but it was unclear if the apparent arson attack was linked to the protests. This was one of many protests going on around France. Justice Minister Michele Alliot-Marie told a Europe radio station that the increase in protests is not a crisis, but warned future protesters that "the right to demonstrate does not mean the right to smash things up." Last Saturday was the last national day of protest, about a million people took part in a protest.

Posted by Christine Steinbeiss

West get ready, here comes China 2.0

China has had an enormous increase in economic growth. The increase in growth has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty, reshaped the global economy and given China new power on the international level. The growth has however caused a number of problems, including a large wealth gap, environmental problems, widespread corruption, a growing imperative to innovate and pressure for political reforms. A 5- year development plan, set to begin next year, is supposed to make "major breakthroughs in economic restructuring" to "maintain stable and relatively fast economic growth,” according Xinhua, the state-run news agency.  This new phase of China's economic development is called China 2.0. China 2.0 involves several new policies to remake the Chinese economy in hopes that the economy will continue growing.  To address the possibility of instability from the growth, the next five-year plan incorporates reforms to keep the economy moving in the right direction.

Posted by Christine Steinbeiss

A Rise in Violence in Northern Nigeria

The stability of Nigeria's governement is once again being challenged by a new round of assassinations of policemen, politicians, and other prominent as well as non-prominent figures. These killings are being carried out by gunman on motorcycles that are believed to be part of a radical Islamic sect that was thought to have been defeated by the Nigerian military last year. A curfew is in effect again, and there is worry of more broad daylight attacks that occured the last time these radicals attacked. These new attacks come on the heels of a prsion break in Bauchi last month that freed over 700 (many of whom were jailed sect members), the firebombing of a Maiduguri police station last week, and the assinations of many political and religious leaders. Violence isn't necessarily a new trend in Nigeria, but the motorcycle hit-and-run style killing is. Some in Nigeria support the Islamic sect because they see the government as injust. With more than 70% of the people in the northern part of Nigeria living in povery, there is a reason for why people would be angry at the government. They want an even distribution of government funds, and are upset about the cruel and unfair way in which prisoners of the Nigerian police force are treated. However, there is still much fear, with a list of tragets (opponents of the sect) circulating no one knows where or when the next attack will be. The willingness of the sect to attack in broad daylight is another factor frightening many as they go about their every-day business. Whether or not the government will be able to keep stability in the coming weeks, and possisbly fix the corruption that is upsetting so many is something that the world should be keeping their eyes on.

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

By: Colin Zimmerman

Monday, October 18, 2010

Violence Erupts Within Prison in Haiti

According to this article written by Associated Press writer Jonathan M. Katz, three inmates are dead after trying to escape from Haiti's prison which was damaged by the earthquake within Haiti not long ago. 100 United Nations police officers were within the prison at the time of the prison riot. The inmates took seven foreign hostages for a time, but all were released. Some of the hostages sustained minor injuries. It is estimated that an additional seven officers sustained minor injuries from the struggle. Police familiar with the numbers within Haiti's largest prison say that a few inmates did escape. Allegedly this prison holds many well-known and very dangerous gang members that could cause major problems if they escape. The prison is said to be way overcrowded and has seen numerous escape attempts such as this since the earthquake that tore Haiti up went through. Guards were all on closer duty after the riot was quelled, but that really does not seem to mean much if so many prisoners have already escaped. Haiti is still in trouble and hopefully they get their prison institutions back to security before all of these criminals escape to go back and criminalize Haiti and other nations if they can escape the country.
By: Kyle Coia

Osama bin Laden

Osama bin Laden is rumored to be in Pakistan, which is not relatively new information, however it is just now coming to the surface. Why? What will this mean for US and Pakistan relations? Will the US use their ever so accurate drones? This comes to mind because with bin Laden being in a more urban environment the risk for killing more civilians is higher, making his location a wise choice. With the finger pointing right at Pakistan, it will be interesting to see what comes from the US. Pakistan is using bin Laden as a way to control India by having less influence in Afghanistan and heightening their regional security. Another spectacle as to why we are hearing about bin Laden again is because of elections. Also, this plays a part in the war and ou troops being stationed, perhaps his capture would change this. Whatever it may be it will be interesting to see how the US goes about handling this recurring issue.

By: Lindsay Weidling