Monday, March 28, 2011

Since the recent withdrawal of Muammar el-Qaddafi's troops from Ajdabiya, Libya, families of missing Libyan men have started to search for their lost loved ones. The Human Rights Watch reports that there have been more than 70 disappearances, and the The Red Crescent, the Muslim counterpart of the Red Cross, maintains that there are more than 255 disappearance cases, the majority of which occurred during the peak of the fighting.

Relatives of the alleged abductees believe that Qaddafi's forces are to blame; many of the missing men were last seen in custody of Qaddafi's troops, and in about a dozen cases, troops answered the men's cellphones and indicated that the men had been abducted. Based on past actions of Qaddafi loyalists, families fear their loved ones are being severely abused, or worse, dead.

Among the missing are four doctors, one of which is an Libyan-American neurosurgeon, a student of economics, a salesman, and many others.

The original NYT article incorporates several examples of missing individuals, but one of the most gripping was the story of Dr. Ali al-Barg, who served as the director of an emergency ward. When Dr. Barg heard the news that troops had reached Benghazi, Libya, he quickly traveled in an ambulance with a nurse and a driver to search for and aid any injured or dead. However, the next day, a witness reported that the ambulance was shot up, the nurse was dead, and Dr. Barg was arrested, beaten, and bound. Twelve others were bound with him. As the government troops began to take them away, one man shouted his name, hoping that someone would search for him.

-Gracie Hollister

Sunday, March 13, 2011

New Jewish Settlements in West bank Causes More Friction With Palestine

Israel is set to start construction on one hundred homes in settlements already occupied in the West Bank. After peace efforts were stalled last year over the Israeli settlement building, it seems the Israeli Prime minister already knows the position Palestine will take. However, looking at the events leading up to this announcement on construction, the palestinian militants murder of the Fogel family, who are already living in an Israeli settlement in a in which five members of the family were stabbed to death in their sleep, this event did not go unnoticed by the Prime Minister of Israel and many think this pushed the construction of settlement homes to being again. the Palestinians have refused to speak with Israel until construction is frozen. There seems to be no forward movement to peacemaking between the two countries after several years of religious territory disputes. The United States had intervened last year trying to mediate talks, put after the attack on an Israeli family and reconvening of construction these two leaders are back to square one.

To read more:

-Kathleen Fultz

Japan quake: Worst crisis since WWII

Prime Minister Naoto Kan has said Japan is experiencing its greatest hardships since World War II as it tackles the aftermath of an earthquake, tsunami and a growing nuclear crisis. He said the situation at the quake-hit Fukushima nuclear plant remained grave, a day after an explosion at a reactor. Japanese broadcaster NHK says the total number of confirmed deaths caused by the disaster now stands at 1,596. But police warn that the death toll in Miyagi region alone could top 10,000. The authorities are stepping up relief efforts as the scale of the tragedy becomes clearer. Huge numbers of survivors are gathered in emergency shelters, and many people are without fresh running water, heat and power.

Jamie Alt

Court bars Costa Rica, Nicaragua from Disputed Area

A unanimous court agreement has been reached that Costa Rica and Nicaragua both must refrain from sending or maintaining civilians, security forces, or police in a disputed border area, the International Court of Justice ordered Tuesday. Since last year, the two countries have had tensions flaring over Calero Island, a piece of land on the Atlantic coast. Costa Rica filed a lawsuit in November in the court to end a situation that "threatens imminent and irreparable harm" to their country. The lawsuit also asked for the construction of a canal on Costa Rican soil to be stopped. It could potentially be several years before a final verdict is put into place, as the court's order was a provisional measure while the case if before the judges. Justices also decided that Costa Rica could send personnel to the area to protect the environment, but to do so in a case that won't make matters worse and escalate tensions further. Although the court decided on this agreement, both countries still must inform the court of their compliance with the order.

-Kristine Zizis

U.S. troops, USS Ronald Reagan arrive in Japan

The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan arrived off the coast of Japan Sunday to support Japanese forces in disaster relief operations, the U.S. Department of Defense said in a statement.

More U.S. aid -- in the form of equipment, staffers and search-and-rescue teams -- was expected to arrive Sunday to address the widespread devastation caused by the 8.9-magnitude earthquake and resulting tsunami.

Near Honshu, Japan, the USS Ronald Reagan will support the Japan Self-Defense Force by providing refueling operations for Japanese helicopters and transporting the island country's troops to disaster areas, according to the Pentagon statement.
Accompanying the Reagan are the guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville and the
destroyer USS Preble.

The United States is part of a growing international effort offering relief to Japan, whose government said it had received interest from 49 countries and the European Union.
In addressing a potential crisis, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission sent two experts in boiling-water nuclear reactors to Japan as crews there flooded the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant with sea water in hopes of preventing a meltdown of its core Saturday.

A concrete building surrounding the reactor experienced an explosion caused by a failed pump system Saturday, but the reactor wasn't damaged, Japanese officials said.
"We have some of the most expert people in this field in the world working for the NRC and we stand ready to assist in any way possible," NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko said in a statement.

In Shiroishi, a town near the area hardest hit by the quake, two SH-60 helicopters from U.S. Naval Air Facility Atsugi delivered 1,500 pounds of rice and bread donated by people in Ebina, southeast of Tokyo, the U.S. 7th Fleet said in a statement Saturday. The fleet is headquartered in Yokosuka, just outside Tokyo.

Two destroyers, the USS McCampbell and USS Curtis Wilbur, were off Japan's Boso Peninsula, which shelters Tokyo Bay, and were preparing to assist Japanese authorities with at-sea rescue and recovery operations, the 7th Fleet said.

An additional destroyer, the USS Mustin, will depart Yokosuka on Sunday. Eight other U.S. ships were en route to Japan from various locations, set to arrive Sunday or later in the week, according to the 7th Fleet. One, the USS Tortuga, departed Japan on Saturday night to pick up two helicopters in South Korea and would return in about two days.
Three ships composing the USS Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group also are among the eight ships, the military said.

Meanwhile, the III Marine Expeditionary Force, based on the island of Okinawa, south of Japan, said it was "prepositioning forces and supplies in support of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations."

The force was sending staffers, a cargo aircraft and transport helicopters to the mainland, it said in a written statement. Additional aircraft and supplies will be sent in the next few days.
The military assistance operation is known as Operation Tomodachi, or "friendship," the statement said. The name was chosen by the Japanese.

U.S. Forces Japan, based at Yokota Air Base near Tokyo, is the lead military command for coordinating humanitarian assistance, the military said. Shortly after the quake struck, the air base was designated as an alternate airfield for flights that could not land at Tokyo's Narita Airport, and it received a handful of commercial flights.

A total of 570 passengers and 29 crew members were taken to the Taiyo Community Center, where they received food, water, lodging and bedding overnight, the air base said in a statement. The base itself converted a facility into a shelter for another 600 people.

"We have units from all of our services, with a multitude of capabilities, from medical to communications to civil engineering, poised and ready to support where needed," John Roos, U.S. ambassador to Japan, told reporters Saturday. "The bottom line: Our military is working closely with their Japanese counterparts to support where requested and needed."

The U.S. Agency for International Development said it was deploying two urban search-and-rescue teams, one from Fairfax County, Virginia, and the second from Los Angeles County. The Virginia team departed Washington on Saturday and was stopping in Los Angeles to pick up the second team.

Both teams -- composed of 150 people and 12 canines trained to find survivors -- are set to arrive Monday morning in Misawa, Japan, where they will "immediately begin the search for live victims" alongside Japanese and other international teams, USAID said.

William B. Robinson

Aristide to end exile and return to Haiti before vote, lawyer says

Former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide has been in exile for 7 years from his home country. He plans to head back to Haiti from South Africa, but his return will be just before the presidential elections. He fears that the new administration may reject his Visa, and he has stated that he has no interest to run for president. He states that he wants to get his medical school up and running to help Haiti recover from the devastating 2010 earthquake. Aristide was removed from his office in 2004 by bloody revolts from street gangs and soldiers, which is why his return could cause potential revolts or conflicts. What is certain is that he plans to return prior to the next presidential elections that begin on March 20th.

- Peter Zafiropoulos

Kenya To Challenge ICC Case Over Post-Poll Violence

Six high-profile Kenyan politicians are being summoned to appear next month in a hearing presented to the International Criminal Court. They are being accused of murder, deportations, and persecutions by the ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo. During the violence in Kenya, some 1,200 people died and more than 500,000 fled their homes. In the peace deal that followed the violence in 2008 it was agreed people accused of war crimes would face justice in Kenya or the ICC in The Hague. It appears local tribunals have been blocked by the Kenyan government and in a released statement, the Kenyan government is also challenging the ICC's jurisdiction. Last month, the African Union endorsed Kenya's request to delay the ICC trial.

BBC News - 09 March 2011

Dennie Whitlow

Bank of Japan to Pump Cash Into Banks

On Sunday Japanese officials stated that they will backstop the financial system once the markets reopen after Friday’s devastating events. The Bank of Japan also stated that it will monitor these markets and the operation of backs in order to “respond and act as necessary.” Masaaki Shirakawa, head of the Japanese Central Bank, also mentioned that the Bank was ready to contribute “liquidity” to markets tomorrow morning. The goal of these actions is to guarantee that banks have enough available cash to satisfy worried investors, as well as customers withdrawing money.
Moreover, according to the Japanese Minister of Financial Services, Shozaburo Jimi, officials will also monitor the markets in order to prevent transactions by individuals who may attempt to take advantage of the situation. Therefore, naked short selling will be banned by the ministry.
The earthquake hit the nation just before the Japanese trading markets closed on Friday, causing the Nikkei 225 stock index to drop by 100 points. By the end of the day the stock had dropped by 1.7%. When trading markets open on Monday it is predicted that stocks will continue to fall.

By Aleksandra Ruseva

As death toll rises, aid groups and countries offer help to Japan

The recent earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan has led many countries and the European Union and the International Atomic Energy Agency to join together to help aid Japan's recovery efforts. Currently, the death toll is 985 but around 707 people still remain missing. The number of deaths is still expected to rise dramatically as rescuers start to delve into the hardest hit areas and recover more damage along with more bodies. The Japanese foreign ministry office has said that 69 world governments have offered aid to the country. The relief comes quickly as many pictures and videos of the devastation are being shown globally on news stations. Teams have already been sent from numerous organizations to start the relief efforts in Tokyo and Sendai. This development of relief helps to further the United States' efforts to help, with warships being sent with supplies, search and rescue teams, and nuclear scientists to help solve the nuclear power plant dangers. The USS Ronald Reagan began delivering aid as of today to the devastated areas. Many more food rations are scheduled to be delievered into the devastated areas today. Secretary of Defense, Roberts Gates said that another US ship, the Essex will be sent to aid in relief. Also, he added that no US ships or people were hurt during the earthquake and tsunami. The US, UK, and China have all sent search and rescue teams to help find trapped survivors and they are all scheduled to arrive within the next few days. South Korea has also committed to sending people and canines to help find survivors in trapped structures.


By: Brianne Thomas

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Japan Hit by 8.9 Earthquake

Japan was hit by an earthquake with a magnitude of 8.9 on Friday March 11,2011. The earthquake caused a tsunami to occur and that hit Japan and other islands in the Pacific including Hawaii. The official death toll is 686 as of now ,but many more people are missing 9,500 in one city alone so the death toll is expected to rise. There is damage to a nuclear plant in Japan and there is a fear that a meltdown may be occurring at the Fukushima Daichii nuclear facility. The meltdown could bring up a big problem in the rescue efforts ,and so far the rescue efforts have been successful according to Japan's Prime Minister over 3,000 people have been rescued from the destruction of the earthquake.

Brian Campbell

Friday, March 11, 2011

Dalai Lama ready to give up political power

The 14th Dalai Lama, the current spiritual and political leader of Tibet, has announced plans to retire, after serving as Dalai Lama since 1950.  His retirement is motivated by two main factors.  First, as a supporter of democracy, he feels that Tibetans should freely elect their leader; because he was never elected to the position, he feels he should step down.  The second reason is his age, as he claims he has the human right to retire and that at 75 he will sooner or late have to leave.  The effect of his retirement on Tibet is huge as he has led the region for over 60 years in an effort to gain autonomy from China.  A failed uprising in 1959 led to his exile from China and the establishment of his new headquarters in northern India.  Due to the tensions between China and Tibet, the Chinese government spoke out about the news of the Dalai Lama's retirement, calling him a "religious crook".  They claim that he is deceiving the international community and that they will not recognize any newly-elected Tibetan leader as legitimate.

Mark Zajac

Goodluck Jonathan has rocky start to re-election campaign

Goodluck Jonathan is currently the only sitting leader of a democratic state seeking to be returned as president, while he has never won an election in his own right.

Jonathan, 53, comes from a remarkably different background than most Nigerian politicians. In 1999 the environmentalist, lecturer in zoology and specialist in tropical fish was picked out of political obscurity to be the deputy governor of Bayelsa state, in Nigeria’s oil-rich southern Niger Delta region.

When his boss was impeached over a number of corruption charges in 2005, he became governor by default.

In an effort to win over the north, Jonathan arrived in his convoy, only to have stones thrown at it.

“Jonathan is not as good at imposing his will on politics as his predecessor Olusegun Obasanjo,” said Bashir Sa’ad Abudullahi, editor of the BBC’s Hausa service. “If there was a squabble between people in the party before, president Obasanjo would sit them down and say ‘this is what I want, do it or leave the party.’ Jonathan wants to please everyone. That makes him not as strong.”

Hopefully Goodluck Jonathan can round out his qualities and make him the favorite to be re-elected.

Good luck Goodluck Jonathan.,1

Brandon VanLoon

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

U.S. Removes Diplomat Over Comments Angering Japan

An American diplomat in Japan has been removed from his post in Japan. The diplomat, Kevin K. Maher, told students at an American university that Okinawans are "masters of manipulation and distortion". Officials are unsure why this news has taken so long to come out, as this event occurred in December. This comes at a troublesome time, as the Japanese government has been trying to persuade Okinawans to allow the relocation of Marine Corps Air Station Futenma as part of an agreement to reduce to amount of troops stationed in Okinawa. Okinawans have been upset over the large military presence, which is about half of the 50,000 American troops stationed in Japan. The United States ambassador to Japan was sent to Okinawa to apologize for Maher's comments.

By: Kaitlyn Gordon

Cross-border trucking pact between US and Mexico

US President Barack Obama and Mexican President Felipe Calderon have announced a new trucking pact that will be signed by both parties in June. The pack is said to increase Mexican trucking business throughout the United States. Since there are various tariffs at the border, Mexico is said to decrease or cancel these taxes if the US complies with the rules and regulates of the agreement. In addition, the agreement states that there will be no limit of how many truck companies can cross the border. The agreement is said to pass three phases until the trucks are permitted to drive across the borders. First and foremost, an application and inspection of all trucks crossing the border, it concludes with an authorization for business. Then, a three month period of through inspecting of all trucks. Lastly, the companies which have passed the first two phases are granted permission for 18 months of operation. This article is really interesting because it connects to what we have been doing in our classroom simulations. There have been a lot of agreements and alliances signed over the course of the simulation and also some countries have imposed tariffs for crossing the border. It is fascinating to see this play out in our make believe continent. In addition, I think this agreement will be beneficial to both the American and Mexican economy.

By: Jasmina Vukovic

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Guatemala first lady seeks presidency

Sandra Torres de Colom has announced her candidacy for the upcoming presidential election in Guatemala. Torres is the wife of the current President Alvaro Colom. Her plan to succeed her husband has already been deemed unconstitutional by a law prohibiting any close relatives of the governing party from serving subsequently after the current president leave office. Torres denies the legality of the ban and insists that she possess the right to run for office as any other Guatemalan is able to. She will serve as the first female president in Guatemala if she is elected.
Meghan Steinbeiss

Yemen Appeals for Aid

In Sana, Yemen protests are all over the place. They want the leadership in Yemen to fall and it is spreading to more of the country. The foreign minister appealed to countries in the Gulf for $6 billion dollars for aid for the economy in Yemen. Abu Bakr Al Qirbi, foreign minister, says it is threatening their stable economy. Also, Saudi Arabia is asked as well for help because they are friends of Yemen government. President Saleh is said to be open to political communication of reform. But when asked to step down from office before elections, Mr. Saleh obviously turned down the plan. Protestors claim they wont stop fighting until he leaves office in Yemen. Since they wont stop, now it is spreading across the country to new areas.

Jessica Connor

Malta stalls EU sanctions on Libya

Reports being reported on Tuesday are saying that the EU has stalled it's talks of sanctions on Libya because of Malta's close ties with investments in Libya's banking organizations. The cheif baking organization being discussed to freeze is the Libyan Investment Authority which has large ties to various nations along the Meditteranean Sea, ecspecially Malta and Italy. The primary concern for Malta is they don't want the sanctions against Libya to hurt them as well. The United States has already put sanctions on the LIA. Libya's central bank also has large investments across the world. The big decision for the EU will come between Do whats Right for Libya? or Do whats right for themselves?.
More Information at
By: Zach Howell

Monday, March 7, 2011

The U.S. Thinking of send Military into Libya

Military options have been set on the table as Obama tries to decide a way to respond to the violence in Libya. The Gaddafi loyalists have continued to use forceful tactics to stop rebel up raising. Gaddafi will not leave power and his forces continue to attack rebel towns. It has been left up to the international community to aid the rebels movement and allow them to protest their government. Although the UN has not reached an agreement on setting a no-fly zone over Libya, I think the United States has the ability to act alone and should in the interest of spreading democracy and protecting human rights as the violence increases. Obama says in the article, “We send a very clear message to the Libyan people that we will stand with them in the face of unwarranted violence and the continuing suppression of democratic ideals that we have seen there”. As Libyans continue to flee the country and migrate elsewhere (UN reports 200,000 people have fled), this has become a global issue which countries can not respect Libya sovereignty and look the other way. It will be interesting if the International community will be able to act together or if it is going to be left up to one country to pick up the pieces.

To read more:

-Kathleen Fultz

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Witness: Joy as opposition beats back Gadhafi forces in Misrata

(CNN) -- Standing outside a courthouse Sunday that the Libyan opposition is using for a base of operations in the town of Misrata, a witness described a sense of jubilation against a backdrop of blood stains and rocket fragments.

"I'm standing in the middle of a ... battlefield," the witness told CNN by phone from Misrata after a fierce fight between rebels and Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's forces.
People were holding their hands up, singing, chanting and cheering, he said. "Everyone is hugging everyone."

CNN is not identifying witnesses and sources for safety reasons.

Videos posted on YouTube and thought to be out of Misrata showed damage to buildings and several shots of people celebrating around the opposition flag -- once being raised on a pole, and another time being waved by a man atop a charred vehicle that had a dead body inside.

A doctor at Central Misrata Hospital said 42 people were killed in the fighting -- 17 from the opposition and 25 from the pro-Gadhafi forces. Among the dead was a 3-year-old child, killed from direct fire, the doctor said. At least 85 people were wounded, the doctor said.
The fighting continued on the city's outskirts Sunday evening.
Thousands trying to leave Libya Opposition at work in Benghazi The young and inexperienced go to war

The witness described the opposition's victory in central Misrata even as people some 200 kilometers (125 miles) west, at a pro-Gadhafi demonstration in Tripoli, insisted the government had taken back the coastal central Libyan city.

After reports of the opposition successfully holding onto Misrata, east of Tripoli, Libyan state TV showed a graphic stating that "strict orders have been issued to the armed forces not to enter cities taken by terrorist gangs."

On Sunday morning, pro-Gadhafi militias converged on Misrata from three different points, trying to retake control of the city, the witness said. He saw four tanks, though other witnesses told him there were a total of six. Using heavy artillery, the ground forces and tanks headed for the courthouse operations base.

Tanks fired rockets at the building, and black smoke could be seen rising from it, he said.
The opposition couldn't match the government's weaponry, but rebels took to the streets using what weapons they had, such as machine guns. And some simply picked up whatever they could find, with some resorting to sticks, he said.
Speaking to CNN during the battle, he said, "People are willing to die for the cause," describing them as "fearless" and "amazing."

Later, after the forces had been repelled from the city center, the witness said, "I can't believe it.
"The will and the determination and dedication that people are showing here on the ground, it just makes you speechless," he said.
Describing the scene, he said, "We're talking about a rocket on the ground. We're talking about blood everywhere."

CNN could not confirm witness reports for many areas in Libya, including Misrata.
Valerie Amos, the United Nations' Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, said Sunday that there was "urgent" need for humanitarian aid in Misrata because "people are dying and need help immediately." The world body has gotten reports that Libyan Red Crescent ambulances dispatched from Tripoli have been trying to get into Misrata to transport out dead and injured people.

"I call on the authorities to provide access without delay to allow aid workers to help save lives," Amos said in a statement.

William B. Robinson

6 killed in Russian plane crash

Six people died in a plane crash in western Russia on Saturday, an emergency official said.The victims were all crew members on an Antonov An-148 plane belonging to an aircraft factory, Emergency Situations Ministry spokeswoman Elena Smirnykh said.The crash, which occurred in the Belgorod region, did not involve any casualties or damage on the ground.The state-run RIA Novosti news agency reported that the plane was being tested prior to delivery to Myanmar, which had ordered two An-148 aircraft last year for government use.At least two of the victims were from Myanmar, the news agency said.The An-148 can seat up to 100 passengers, according to RIA Novosti.

Kazuya Usui

2011 Census starts in UK

First stop for the 2011 Census is the UK- This 2011 Census will be the largest ever carried-out and may be the very last one. Due to the labor involved to distribute these expansive forms these forms can now be done online for the first time. This year for the first time the public will be asked about their jobs, health, and ethnic background. There is also a question about religion that will be optional. Answers would be used to plan public services in the future. Critics thou are preparing to send a report out to end this large-exercise. Posted by. Ana Rivera

Witness: Joy as opposition beats back Gadhafi forces in Misrata

The fighting in Libya continues between Ghadhafi forces and the rebels at the city of Misrata. 42 people have died from the fighting that broke out here. The rebels that oppose Ghadhafi succeeded in taking over Misrata, which is east of Tripoli. Ghadhafi forces are using tanks and other military equipment to attack the opposition. The opposition is grabbing whatever they can get from machine guns to sticks, and are willing to die for this cause. Humanitarian aid is being requested in Misrata, and ambulances are trying to enter the area to take away the injured. The opposition forces to Ghadhafi are slowly moving closer and closer to Tripoli, and much more violence is expected to come.

- Peter Zafiropoulos

Iraq blast kills 6 in oil rich Basra

A road side bomb attack in Basra, Iraq killed 6 and injured 12 yesterday March 5th, 2011. The controversy is that the U.S Army successively let the bus carrying the bomb go through after a detailed search early Saturday morning. As of now there are 50,000 U.S soldiers in Iraq at the moment and are said to leave at the end of 2011. The U.S soldiers are playing a non-combat role but are still under attack everyday. This raises the question should the United States remove all 50,000 soldiers when their is still warfare going on in Iraq. The Iraqi military is not near capable of controlling the entire country. Signs show that there still will be fighting and it wont stop for a long time.

-John McWard

New German Minister Stirs Up Muslims

The newly appointed interior minister of German, Hans-Peter Friedrich, has caused some upset in the Germany's Muslim community with his recent comments on the religion's place in history. In his first news conference at his new title Friedrich said "Islam in Germany is not something substantiated by history at any point" he also went on to say that Islam didn't have a major role in German culture. These comments prompted the bishop of Berlin, Markus Dröge, to voice his distaste at the comments and actions of both Friedrich and other politicians. Dröge said that the German culture was one that was "open and based on dialogue and human rights" and that he didn't agree with politicians singling out Muslims in discussions of how to integrate Germany's communities.
Bishop Dröge wasn't the only one who was unsettled by Friedrich's comments. Lamya Kaddor, the chairwoman of the Liberal-Islamic Union is Germany said that Friedrich's comments were a "slap in the face of Muslims". She also said his statements were "politically and historically wrong" and also called them "dangerous". All of this comes on the heels of Germany's recent focus on how to handle their four million Muslim residents into society and the questioning of a radical Muslim connection to the recent shooting at the Frankfurt airport.

by Spencer Darrow

Libya crisis sends U.S. gas prices up 33 cents in two weeks

U.S. gasoline prices increased nearly 33 cents in two weeks, the second-biggest two-week jump in the history of the gasoline market, according to a new survey of filling stations.
The jump was the biggest since a 38-cent hike between August and September 2005. At the time, the price increase was driven by damage caused by Hurricane Katrina.
While Libya is not among the top suppliers of U.S. oil, and only 3% of Libyan oil exports head to the United States, global economics link the events there to the pumps at home.
Libya produces a light, high-gravity crude oil that is most in demand by less complex refineries around the world, Lundberg said. As this oil becomes unavailable, it forces buyers of crude to substitute crude with similar properties from other oil producers, thereby increasing demand and starting a chain reaction that raises prices of crude and gasoline in the United States.

Average per-gallon prices in other cities:
-Charleston, South Carolina: $3.32
-Houston: $3.36
-Atlanta: $3.43
-Boston: $3.48
-Las Vegas: $3.51
-Seattle: $3.60
-Chicago: $3.75

By Annie Hung

'Slumdog' child star loses home in Mumbai fire

"Slumdog Millionaire" child star Rubina Ali says her home was gutted by a fire that tore through her Mumbai slum. She have lost all her awards and memories. Right now they are living in a temporary shelter. They are planning to move to a new home by next month.

Read more:

Yasmeen kiswani

Egyptian protesters clash with troops over Mubarak documents

Protesters and troops continue to clash over the government as the new government were supposedly destroying documents relating to the former president, Hosni Mubarak's, exit from Egypt. Gunshots were heard, people were badly beaten, and some were killed as well. The military council responded by saying that it was the citizen's duty to return any documents that they find. "Anyone caught acquiring or sharing those documents faced interrogation". It will be interesting to see how the people react to these new developments.

Jim Michalik

Japan Foreign Minister Resigns

Seiji Maehara Japan's Foreign Minister resigned Sunday. He is resigning because of his involvement in a political scandal. The scandal was taken money from a South Korean ,and in Japan it is illegal for a public official to take money from a foreigner.Maehara was only the foreign minister of Japan for 6 months before he resigned today.

Brian Campbell

U.S. planes ferry more people fleeing Libya out of Tunisia

On Sunday, four more U.S. military flights were headed to Cairo from Tunisia evacuating Egyptians fleeing the Libyan conflict. According to CNN, the first of the C-130 cargo planes landed in Cairo at about 3 p.m. Sunday, carrying 82 passengers,which was reported by the U.S. embassy in Cairo. Two more planes were en route with 90 and 72 passengers, respectively. The fourth plane was yet to depart from Tunisia. There are a few thousand Egyptians left in Tunisia awaiting evacuation after more than 40,000 were taken home, said Firas Kayal, a spokesman for the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. The U.S. State Department said Saturday it would donate $3 million to the International Organization for Migration as part of a partnership to help thousands of Egyptians and other nationals from Africa, South Asia and Southeast Asia get home. However, people from other countries, including Egyptians and Bangladeshis, have been left to fend for themselves.

BY Delaina Flagg-Trotter

China security tight after new protest calls

China has mounted a huge security operation in the capital in response to renewed online calls for protests. Anonymous postings had urged people to stroll silently in areas of major cities, as a way of calling for change. The massive police deployments are being seen as a sign of the Communist Party's nervousness at the civil unrest and revolutions across the Arab world. This was the third week of calls for protests and the anonymous posts urged people to take a walk through Xidan, a busy shopping area. Data signals on mobile phones were blocked and everywhere were huge numbers of plain clothes security men; wearing ear pieces, watching everything.

Jamie Alt

Witnesses: Security forces kill 2 in Yemen protests

According to witnesses in Harf Sofyan, Yemen, on Friday morning security forces opened fire on anti-government protesters, injuring nine and killing two others. The shooting began in an attempt to disperse the crowd. Moreover, three army planes were forced to fly over and attack the protesters, in order to produce a similar effect.

Mohammed Abdulsalam, a spokesperson for the protestors, stated that the majority of the crowd was composed of Houthi rebels, who have waged a separatist revolt since 2004 over which religious sect will command the region. Most members of this group are Shiite Muslims and follow slain Shiite cleric Hussein al-Houthi, while the majority of Yemenis are Sunnis.

Also in Sana'a anti-governament demonstrators held a sit-in demonstration in front of Sana'a University, calling for President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down from office. The demonstrators were composed of students, women, tribesmen and members of the opposition in Aden Province. Moreover, similar protests are also occuring in the provinces of Mareb, Jawf, and Taiz.

By Aleksandra Ruseva

Gaddafi Loyalists Attack Libya Rebels

Libyan troops in support of Gaddafi attacked three rebel towns Sunday. These counter-attacks indicate the possibility of Libya having a Civil War unlike the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt. Zawiyah and Misrata were attacked by Gaddafi’s troops. The forces of Gaddafi made many victories, however many of the towns still are in the hands of rebels. The Gaddafi loyalists celebrated the news of their victories because government forces have seized control “over all areas to Benghazi and are in the process of taking control of Benghazi”(Spokesman Mussa Ibrahim).

Rebels in Benghazi captured some members of the British Special Forces. It was unclear to the rebels as to whether or not those they captured were their enemies. British Defense Secretary, Liam Fox said there’s a small British diplomatic team in Benghazi. Rebels are suspicious about the mission because they came in helicopters to the official delegation.

Currently, Western leaders along with the International Criminal Court are investigating Gaddafi and his followers for allegedly targeting civilians by his security forces.

This revolt resulted in a blockage of about 60% of Libya’s 1.6 million barrels a day of oil output. This is hurting the economy of Libya and raising prices of oil abroad.;_ylt=AtGjhVJifZ7HjUsBVq7aECdvaA8F;_ylu=X3oDMTJpb25zdDJ1BGFzc2V0A25tLzIwMTEwMzA2L3VzX2xpYnlhX3Byb3Rlc3RzBGNwb3MDMQRwb3MDMgRzZWMDeW5fdG9wX3N0b3J5BHNsawNnYWRkYWZpbGF1bmM-

Taryn Vaughan

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Torture Allegations in Zimbabwe

Yet another African country is surrounded with strife. Most recently in Zimbabwe, 46 political and civil society activists were arrested and charged with treason. The Movement for Democratic Change members that were arrested had initially gathered peacefully to discuss recent events in Egypt. Prosecutor Edmore Nyazamba said the purpose of the activists' meeting was to watch the footage of the protests in Tunisia and Egypt and to organize, strategize, and impolement the removal of a constitutional government of Zimbabwe by unconstitutional ways, the Tunisian-Egytian way. The arrests may be an indication that authorities are worried that the changes sweeping across north Africa may inspire Zimbabweans to rise up.
The United States expressed concerned with this situation when reports were released that the activists arrested were tortured while in custody. At least 12 of the activists were beaten with broomsticks on their buttocks and the soles of their feet, defense attorney Alec Muchadehama stated. All 46 defendants were charged with treason, a charge that carries a death sentence in Zimbabwe.

-Kristine Zizis

American aid worker's trial begins in Cuba

Alan Gross, an American government contractor went on trial in Cuba this past Friday. The case stems from the ongoing conflicts between the two countries. Cuba claims that Gross, an agent for the International Development Agency imported illegal satellite equipment to connect people to the interent. If found guilty, Gross faces up to 20 years in a Cuban prison. The U.S. claims that he was trying to help the Jewish community within Cuba communicate more effectively.

Gross was driven to the courthouse which takes place in a converted mansion in Havana. His wife and three government officials were also present for the beginnings of the trial. Gross was held for over a year before charges were officially announced. With family matters of health a huge concern, his wife has appealed for his release on the basis of humanitarian grounds.

Cuban President Raul Castro revealed that this is clear proof of the American enemy within Cuba. The arrest stimulated more tension between the two countries, opposing Obama's efforts to improve the relationship. U.S. officials and the White House have both denounced the charges on Gross.

Cuba is speculated to find Gross guilty, but release him on humanitarian grounds.

By: Brianne Thomas

Friday, March 4, 2011

France's burqa ban in effect next month

In France beginning April 11, the wearing of burqas and niqabs will be banned, resulting in fines of €150 (roughly $200) or community service to any lawbreakers.  This ban also applies to anyone that forces a woman or minor to wear the Islamic face-coverings, which is punishable with €30,000-60,000 ($40,000-80,000) fines or a 1-year prison sentence.  This ban has sparked a debate over religious freedom in France and has caught the attention of Amnesty International, which claims that the ban violates European human rights.  The French government claims that this ban follows the constitution and that the wearing of such face-coverings damages "life in the community", "dignity of the person" and "equality of the sexes."  In a recent poll, 82% of the French population voted in favor of the ban, and similar sentiments are held throughout Western Europe.

Mark Zajac

German Defense Minister Dismissed Due to Plagiarism

German Defense Minster, Karl-Theodor du Guttenburg, resigned on Tuesday after pressure was put on him after he admitted that he plagiarized part of his doctoral dissertation. The minister was facing increasing opposition from academia in Germany. A leading figure in politics, Guttenburg was expected to play a major role in six upcoming regional elections. Guttenburg initially denied the accusations against him, but eventually admitted that he made mistakes when writing the dissertation, and apologized. However, over 20,000 scholars sent an open letter to the Chancellery saying that continued support of Guttenburg would be a "mockery".

Kaitlyn Gordon

North Korea wants all of its citizens returned

North Korea has demanded South Korea to return 31North Koreans who accidentally crossed over when on a fishing trip, despite the south saying that four have them have defected.

After being questioned for almost a month, South Korea has agreed to return the 27 citizens, through a truce city, Panmunjum, which lies in between the countries. Also, The fishing boat will be sent back through the waters it came, reports the red cross.

Currently, there are more than 20 thousand North Korean defectors in South Korea. Since the turn of the century, the number of defectors has risen dramatically, and continues to climb.

Brandon VanLoon

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Ancient Afghan artifacts salvaged from black market

2,000 year old ivory artifacts stolen from Afghanistan's national museum have been returned and are now part of the international world tour. The 20 ivory inlays were stolen during the Afghanistan's Civil war between 1992-1994. However, a philanthropic donor bought the ivories on the black market for the sole purpose of returning them to the national museum. These ivories are very unique and were originally part of an ancient Indian furniture piece. I think that it is fascinating how the black market has such an influence on our global economy.

By: Jasmina Vukovic

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Ivory Coast: UN Experts Attacked in Yamoussoukro

United Nation experts came under fire in the capital city of Yamoussoukro as they were trying to investigate reports of a violation of the arms embargo imposed on the country. UN experts were looking into reports that Belarus had provided supporters of incumbent Laurent Gbagbo with attack helicopters. The UN Sanctions Committee on Ivory Coast has not been able to positively confirm the shipment.

Meanwhile, clashes between Mr. Gbagbo's (incumbent) and Alassane. Ouattara's (president-elect) supporters have prompted the UN to warn the country is at risk of relapsing into civil war. Ivory Coast's former rebels have said they are ready to take military action against Mr. Gbagbo if fighting continues between his supports and and those of his rival, Mr. Ouattara. "Cisee Sindou, spokesman for the former rebel group New Forces, told the BBC World Service that no military operation was imminent. But the group was, he added, prepared to act because of the ongoing "suffering" of people in Ivory Coast." (BBC News)

BBC News
March 1, 2011

-Dennie Whitlow

UK cuts aid to sixteen nations

The UK government has planned to stop oversea aid for sixteen countries including Russian, China, and Vietnam. These countries were deem to have "graduated out of poverty" and are being sufficiently supported by other means. The funding will then be re-directed towards countries deeply in need of development. Officials say this budget shift is a symbol of compassion to help the poorest of the world and will serve as a long-term solution to poverty. Bangladesh, Nigeria, and Pakistan are among the countries that will benefit from increased aid. The UK budget was not affected by the recent cuts.
Meghan Steinbeiss