Sunday, October 30, 2011

Libya Turning a New Leaf?

Two chemical weapons facilities have been found in Libya recently by the National Transitional Council (NTC). Mahmoud Jibril, the NTC's prime minister, informed the world on Sunday October 30th of the existence of the sites and also states the the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). Jibril states that they are cooperating fully with OPCW to properly dispose of the weapons. This is a very important action for the NTC because the international community is expecting the stockpiled munitions to make their way into the black markey and chemical weapons would pose a great threat. This is an important action taken after the Israeli government believes they found Surface to Air Missiles in the hands of the Hamaas that allegedly came from Libya. This demonstrates the NTC's committment to truely change their government for the better. Perhaps there is a brighter future instore for Libya.

Chris LeClair

U.S. Seeks Aid From Pakistan in Peace Effort

WASHINGTON — Just a month after accusing Pakistan’s spy agency of secretly supporting the Haqqani terrorist network, which has mounted attacks on Americans, the Obama administration is now relying on the same intelligence service to help organize and kick-start reconciliation talks aimed at ending the war in Afghanistan.

The revamped approach, which Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called “Fight, Talk, Build” during a high-level United States delegation’s visit to Kabul and Islamabad this month, combines continued American air and ground strikes against the Haqqani network and the Taliban with an insistence that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency get them to the negotiating table.

But some elements of the ISI see little advantage in forcing those negotiations, because they see the insurgents as perhaps their best bet for maintaining influence in Afghanistan as the United States reduces its presence there.

The strategy is emerging amid an increase in the pace of attacks against Americans in Kabul, including a suicide attack on Saturday that killed as many as 10 Americans and in which the Haqqanis are suspected . It is the latest effort at brokering a deal with militants before the last of 33,000 American “surge” troops prepare to pull out of Afghanistan by September, and comes as early hopes in the White House about having the outlines of a deal in time for a multinational conference Dec. 5 in Bonn, Germany, have been all but abandoned.

But even inside the Obama administration, the new initiative has been met with deep skepticism, in part because the Pakistani government has developed its own strategy, one at odds with Mrs. Clinton’s on several key points. One senior American official summarized the Pakistani position as “Cease-fire, Talk, Wait for the Americans to Leave.”

By: Joseph McGee

Looted Libyan Missiles End up in Hamas Anti-Aircraft Arsenal

An Israeli newspaper recently reported that high tech Russian missiles have been sold to Hamas and other Palestinian organizations and are now located in the Gaza strip. Smugglers took advantage of the riots in Libya, broke into stockpiles of weapons, and then sold those weapons on the black market to terrorist groups, such as Hamas and an extreme Islamist organization in Somalia. Before the fall of Gadhafi, Hamas did not have such advanced weaponry. Now, they are in possession of higher quality missiles in larger quantities. This is very concerning because the missiles are actually anti-aircraft missiles with lazer targeting technology. Israelis are concerned that these will be used against civilian aircrafts. In conjunction with the commitment to Sharia law in post-Gadhafi Libya, this is yet another unintended consequence of NATO's intervention on behalf of the rebels.

By Rachel Foy

Iraq bomb blasts: Toll in Baghdad rises to 36

Bomb blasts that happened in Baghdad killed at least 38 people, and left 78 injured.
There were eyewitnesses who saw burning cars and dead bodies on the ground.
Officials blame al-Qaeda for violence that occurs in Baghdad recently.
These attacks also raise concern that violence is going to increase
when American military will depart Iraq.

Nazira Bakhriyeva

Ireland Elected New President

The Irish public voted Labour Party candidate Michael D. Higgins as their ninth Irish president. Higgins is from Galway and expecting a coming home ceremony after receiving almost 40% of the votes cast. He hopes to be a president for the people and in order to promote better changes for the country, everyone needs to work together to fix their shared problems. The Ireland term he will serve is seven years long, and he wishes that his presidency will bring involvement, ideas, and transformation.

He received 701,101 votes and his win was apparently evident within an hour of the opening of the voting polls.

by Julian Connell

Trial for Mubarak Put on Hold

The trial for Hosni Mubarak, the former head of Egypt, has been put on hold as both sides debate the merits of the current judge presiding over the case. The prosecution attorneys, who are trying to indict Mubarak on corruption and charges involving the killing of government protesters, got the two month hold for the trial because they believe that Judge Ahmed Refaat is not allowing enough evidence or testimony into the case. The trial will be suspended until December 28th, and if a new judge is deemed necessary by the judicial panel analyzing the situation, then the trial will have to start all over. This is a somewhat unfortunate delay in a trial that hoped to bring justice to the once ruthless leader of Egypt. It also shows the difficulties involved with trials of former or current heads of state, and how slow the process can be to bring them down. Time will tell if Mubarak's crimes, which are well documented, have enough physical evidence attached to them to in fact bring him to justice.

David Johnson

U.S. Planning Troop Buildup in Gulf After Exit From Iraq

American troops were supposed to be out of Iraq by the end of this year. However, alarming concerns are rising, that withdrawing from the region could propel more instability and problems. Even though the troops are scheduled to leave Iraq, they will be re-positioned in the Gulf area (Kuwait), specifically, to monitor Iranian activity. Obama's plans to allocate 20,000 troops in Iraq past 2011 failed and consequently, Pentagon now is drawing up an alternative plan. The Pentagon is also rearranging troops to cut the defense budget, which hopefully, will lower or help decrease our deficit. As the year ends, things are getting intense regarding this matter.

Pooja Sahai

Alleged Spy Returns to Israel from Egypt

An American-Israeli citizen, Ilan Grapel, was released and sent back to Israel following an Israeli prisoner exchange with Egypt. Ilan Grapel was a former soldier who was accused of being a spy in July, as Egypt placed him under arrest. The Israeli government brought him back via plane, where he landed at Tel Aviv and will eventually go to New York. The Egyptians released were in prison due to drug and other criminal offenses. The Egyptian-Israeli relations are still slowing rebuilding,and this is a potential first step in the right direction for both sides.

by Brandon Bard

Bosnia U.S. Embassy Attacker Says He Acted Alone-Lawyer

The gunman said he acted alone in the shooting on the US embassy in the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo. The gunman open fired with an assault rifle. He was 23 years of age, Mevlid Jasarvic was the gunman. His lawyer Senad Dupovac said he acted alone but was very concerned about the health of the 23 year old. "He is confused and I do not think he is aware of his actions and I believe that he would need psychiatric expertise" (McDonald). The police and government are looking into a suspicion of terrorism. The police believe more are involved in the attack. The police arrested 17 people in which they felt have direct relations to the the attack. One police officer was wounded, he was hit by several bullets. The police are very interested in the attack and who was involved. The police believe a much bigger group of terrorist are be hind the attack and will be going into further investigation.

By; Joe Ruffolo

Terror Explosions In Nairobi

October 24th, Nairobi, Kenya explosions kill 1 person and injure 8 others. It looked just like any other afternoon in Nairobi when a bomb was set off at a crowded bus station.

Reports say that the U.S. embassy warned of a imminent terroist attack just two days before. It was not said who was suspected of carrying out the attack. Due to this possible threat, it urged U.S. citizens to defer visiting the country. It also had limited official government visits. It was thought that the bombings would go off where tourists were more likely to congregate.
An earlier bombing also occurred earlier that day just two blocks at a night club. There were 12 injured at this explosion but no deaths.
Kenya sent troops into Somalia to pursue Al-shabaab, an Islamic group considered to be a terrorist group. Beliefs are that the tourist and aid worker abductions have been carried out by this group. Al-shabaab has threatened Kenya with physical force if it does not leave Somalia.
However, there is no concrete information at this moment.

Sergio Vargas

New Rules For Brit Royals: Girls Get Equal Shot at Crown

For centuries, the British monarchy has always put the son as the first heir to the thrown, overriding any older sisters that came before him. On Friday, the Commonwealth agreed to change this rule: royal sisters now have an equal chance at entering the throne as their brothers do. Rebecca Feddor. As the article points out, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge's "hypothetical daughter" now has the opportunity to make British history as the " first princess to beat out any younger brothers and accede to the throne."

Although this change in rules is for the monarchy, which is a position of honor, not one of power, it is still an important move. It proves that the monarchy is liberalizing and moving towards representing the modern world, and abandoning its former outdated and sexist rules. It serves as a strong symbol for women's rights in Great Britian.

Taliban suicide bomb kills at least 17 in Kabul

A Taliban suicide car bombing in the Afghan capital, Kabul, killed 17 people yesterday, a least 12 of them Americans, in the deadliest attack on coalition forces since August. The attack happended at 11:30 local time. In a text message, Zabihullah Mujahed, a spokesman for the Taliban, said they wre responsible of the attack.

By: Matthew Sahd

Issues against Joining WTO for Russia solved soon

After 18 years negotiations, Russia commented that she can solve issues soon, which have been obstacles to join the World Trade Organization. It is estimated that annual GDP of Russia will go up by 11 percent in a long run. Although some Russian experts are opposing as gains in a short term is thought to be as 3.3 percent and small industries may face difficulty to compete world market, a national research group in Russia presume that it is necessary to join the organization in the condition of economic crisis.

Natsumi Tsuchiya

Blogger Detained by Egyptian Military

Egyptian blogger Alaa Abd El Fattah has been detained by the Egyptian military for fifteen days after refusing to be interrogated in court today. The arrest of Alaa Abd El Fattah and another blogger are in relation to the October 9th deaths of 25 protestors. These activists were protesting what they believe to be attacks on the Christian church in southern Egypt. If charged for inciting violence these men will faces trials in military court. Since the fall of Mubarak in February over 12,000 civilians have been tried in the military court. Amnesty International has spoken out over the fairness of such trials, since military courts often deprive defendants of a fair trial. This also raises questions of the scope of the military's power in Egypt. This regime previously arrested Alaa Abd El Fattah in 2006 and are continuing the tactics promoted by Mubarak five years ago. As Egypt continues to change, will this army council promote moves towards democracy or will civilians still be at the liberty of an army?

Posted by: Kendall Bilbro

Russia and the WTO

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev met with the Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey to talk about Russia joining the World Trade Organization. Russia applied to join the WTO 18 years ago. Russia is the only major economy that is not apart of the WTO. In order Russia to be accepted all parties have to agree. The country of Georgia is the only one that has vetoed Russia's entrance. Some small issues still need to be talked about between countries.

Blake Sabatke

Russia joining World Trade Organization in near future

Arkady V. Dvorkovich, the advisor of Russian President, announced that it will be soon for Russia to join WTO "World Trade Organization," since issues that have been preventing Russia from being a part of the organization, are to be resolved in near future. Dvorkovich commented that he has been meeting with President of Russia, Dmitri A. Medvedev, and President of Switzerland. He also commented that the President of Switzerland Micheline Calmy-Rey has been mediator for Russia, as she has been persistently talking with Georgia, another member country of WTO, which has been disagreeing with the fact that Russia to join the organization.
He also reported that negotiators of Swiss will soon be flying to Georgia to discuss major issues which has been preventing Russia from joining the organization.
Last Thursday, they announced that Georgia accepted Russia as member WTO in near future, yet with a few proposes expecting Russia to agree on, such as trade-monitoring missions on its trade border of Russia. Reacting to such requirement Mr. Dvorkovich strongly commented that “we cannot meet them, and we will never meet them.”
Officials of Georgia announced that President of Switzerland, Micheline Calmy-Rey, will be meeting President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili on Monday.
Leader of a research group in Russia, Institute of National Strategy, commented on Russia joining WTO as “neither a necessity, nor some sensible benefit,” for the fact that it would avoid Russia from having a ability to use Protectionist policy to support other industry.

Naoko Takada

Students Stage Anti-Government Protest in East Sudan

Students in eastern Sudan held anti-government rallies protesting against poverty and rising food prices. They were chanting "people are hungry," and "people want the overthrow of the government," one witness said. Hundreds of students took to the streets in Kassala late Sunday night. It is said that another protest was held with students two weeks ago as well where students initially demanded better study conditions. Since then anger has risen due to high inflation and lack of economic development. However, last week Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir visited the city to announce new governmental projects in the region. Sudan has been struggling since its civil war with South Sudan that took must of the oil production away which has since driven up inflation. Analysts claim little has been done to diversify Sudan's economy due to US trade embargo, lack of planning, and corruption.

Kourtney Macaluso

American citizen carries out suicide bombing

An American citizen of Somali descent, Cabdi Salaam al-Muhajir and his partner, Aden al-Ansari, carried out a suicide bombing in Somalia this weekend. A website that has close ties to the Al-Shabaab Islamist movement posted an audio interview in whichal-Muhajir spoke perfect American-accented English. He urged his "fellow brothers and sisters" to join the movement and commit "jihad" anywhere in America, Canada, Europe, any placewhere "kufar" (a derogatory term for non-Muslims) can be found. Al-Shabaab is a well-known name in Africa and is closely linked to the Al-Queda. The United States do consider the former to be a terrorist organization. A somali diplomat to the United Nations was able to get a hold of the individual who recorded the audio interview and identified the speaker as Abdisalam Ali, from Minneapolis. CNN's Mohamed Amiin Adow and Chris Welch explained that the disrepancy of namescould be due to the fact that "Cabdi Salaam al-Muhajir" is a "nom de guerre", meaning war names, essentially, a pseodonym.

By...:: Lauren Marie De Guzman

9 Americans among Kabul suicide blact victims

According to CNN, nine americans, including four U.S. troops were killed in a suicide bombing in Afghanistan's capital on Saturday October 29, 2011. The bombing occurred when a car filled with explosives hit a armored bus in a NATO convoy. A NATO official described the bus as a heavily armored Rhino. Among the victims were two British civilian workers, four Afgans (including two students), and Canadian Master Cpl. Byron Greff. 16 foreigners in total were killed in the bombing. In a national security Saturday, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said "Afghan people are grieving by the NATO loss of lives and share the pain and sorrow with the families and friends of the troops killed".

Meghan Kats

Britian Threatens to Withold Aid to Anti-Gay Nations

At a Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth, Australia, British Prime Minister David Cameron said states receiving aid from the UK should "adhere to proper human rights". 41 of the 54 Commonwealth States, almost exclusively former British colonies, have laws banning homosexuality.

Uganda, Nigeria, and Ghana all have recently passed or are debating legislation banning gay marriage. Sri Lanka is coming under scrutiny for violation of human rights during the Tamil Tiger civil war. All these Commonwealth countries receive aid from Great Britain. The Commonwealth of Nations is a intergovernmental organization made up of the former British Empire.

England has already withheld 19 million pounds from the government of Malawi for poor progress on human rights and free press.

A Ugandan journalist, Charles Odongpho, thinks that the threat, while well intentioned, is a bit off target. Corruption, poverty, violence, and starvation are all more important issues to the people of the countries that would be affected by the withdrawal of UK aid, and less aid would leave these countries in a worse position to fix the more serious problems of food scarcity and political corruption.

I agree with Mr. Odongpho; I think Cameron is getting ahead of himself. Ultimately the goal is to create equality between all individuals, but a far more pressing matter is ensuring those individuals have access to food, water, medicine, and education. Tolerance and respect of human rights at home seem to grow organically out of education and provision of basic needs.

By Bob Hartzer

New Israeli Strikes Gaza after Truce

Israel broke its ceasefire with Palestine, and one Palestinian person was killed and another was injured. Apparently the pair were preparing to fire a rocket. Egypt sought to broker a truce attacks killed nine Palestinian militants in Gaza. The bomber killed was named by witnesses as Ahmed Jarghun. He and his partner were apart of Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP). The ceasefire was to begin at 1:00 GMT but 12 rockets were fired into Israel over night
Israeli schools 25 ft from Gaza have been closed, though the school year is to start this coming Sunday. However, after the ceasefire, senior Islamic Jihad said that he and his group are willing to ommit as long as Israel commits.

By Carmen Brodnax

British Succession Rules Change After Centuries

Centuries-old British succession rules have finally been changed. The old rules, dating from the 1600’s, mandated that royals were only to marry non-Catholics, and that only male heirs could have precedence to the throne. The original rules stemmed from when Henry VIII broke with Rome in the 16th century; the royals wanted to keep a Protestant monarchy by banning any marriage with a Roman Catholic. Current Prime Minister David Cameron proposed the changes to the rules of succession because they were “outdated,” and the 16 countries over which the British monarchy presides approved the proposed changes.

Marion Gibney

Suicide bombing hits Turkish town

According to BBC News, two people have been killed in an explosion in South East Turkey. The suicide bomber is said to be a female and this took place in Bingol according to the interior minister. At least ten people have been injured and it is still under investigation if the two killed included the suicide bomber. The interior minister Idris Naem Sahin stated that the blast took place near the government’s AK party's office. He also stated that he did not believe that the office was the terrorists target. No one has take responsibility for the attack as yet but the conflict with the Kurdish rebels have been going on and around tens of thousands of people have been killed since 1984.
By Ramla Sheriff

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Crescent Moon, Waning West

The Arab world is in much better shape than it was less than a year ago. Although the economies of the countries affected by the democratic upheavals have suffered in the short run, they are finally free from the constraints of dictatorial rule, and may prosper in the long run.

Democratic institutions and processes are finally beginning to emerge in the countries affected by the upheavals. Tunisia has already held an open and orderly presidential election, and Egypt and Libya are planning for theirs to take place within a year.

The rise of Islamist parties in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya should not necessarily be a cause for alarm in the West; a more open and tolerant brand of political Islam seems to be emerging, especially now that the Islamist parties have to compete for voters who admire the Islamists’ aversion to corruption, but dislike their conservative attitudes.

The strength of the Arab revolutions comes from the fact that they have been almost entirely home grown. Although the Libyan revolutionaries depended upon NATO’s support, the Libyan revolution was still initiated by the Libyans themselves. Libya’s democratic upheaval can be contrasted with the slow and painful construction of Iraq’s democratic system, which was initiated by the United States.

The prospects for Western influence in the Middle East depend upon whether the West can form healthy relationships with the new Arab democracies. Unlike in the past, this influence will largely take the form of education, investment, and advice.

Andrew Elam

Kabul suicide bomber kills 13 US soldiers

The U.S. forces in Afghanistan have suffered Saturday the deadliest attack in months. A car filled with explosives collided with an armoured bus shuttling troops between NATO bases in Kabul.

The ISAF did not confirm nationalities but confirmed that 13 troops were killed on the attack, and one was seriously wounded. However, Afghan and western officials informed later than all the soldiers that were killed were Americans. Also, four Afghan civilians were killed and 8 were bounded in the attack which the Taliban claimed responsibility for.

The Taliban said that they filled the car with 700kg of explosives. An eye-witness said that he saw the vehicle driving at high speed, in an apparent attempt to catch up with the bus. The explosion was sufficient to rip the heavily armoured bus apart and throw it several meters.

Paula Elum

Friday, October 28, 2011

"Kill Team" Leader on Trial for Afghan Deaths

Calvin Gibbs is being tried in Washington state for what have been called "some of the most serious allegations of atrocities committed by US soldiers in Afghanistan." Gibbs has been accused of leading a "kill team" including four other U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan between January and March of 2010. The men allegedly murdered Afghan civilians with the intent of keeping their remains as "trophies," and in March 2011, pictures were published of the men posing with bodies of citizens they had killed. Gibbs was also found in possession of bones and teeth taken from the bodies.
Three of the men have plead guilty in order to receive reduced sentences, but Gibbs' lawyer, Phillip Stackhouse, claims that Gibbs was not responsible for the murders, defending his client on the basis that the evidence is unreliable. In addition to the murders, there was also alleged marijuana use within the unit. Stackhouse has asserted that the court should not trust testimony from "these dope-smoking soldiers in a combat zone. Who are you going to believe, where does the credibility lay?" Gibbs has also been accused of beating a soldier who reported the drug use to his superiors. The trial proceedings begin today and are expected to last about a week, with around 30 witnesses testifying.

Maci Mitchell

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Mudslides and Flooding Ravage Areas of Scenic Beauty in Italy

People are still searching for survivors after the downpour on Wednesday which resulted in flooding and mudslides which left at least six dead with hundreds more homeless. Many roads and highways were closed down, bridges were swept away, tree trunks were ripped out of the ground blocking roads, trucks and cars were overturned ; simply devastating. The Italian army was sent to assist civilians. The President said that the cause of this disaster was climate change. However, other people are also blaming unregulated construction and the governments cutback on environmental protection agencies. The President also announced that future construction in cities affected by this disaster would be blocked in the future to secure that there is no more damage done to these cities.
Alison Ortscheid

SEVEN Billion

In the coming days, the UN has announced the world population will reach 7 billion. This isn't exactly shocking news, but when I read it for the first time it's an idea that is truly baffling. The population of our world has been growing exponentially. This has brought about many concerns of overpopulation and resource depletion, and also allowed for booming economies and opportunities to exploit the dense population in ways that aren't feasible in a smaller population. "Among the steps the report focuses on are empowering young people with economic opportunities; planning for the growth of cities; developing programs to share and sustain the Earth's resources; and improving education, including sexual education," from the CNN article. Breaching new population extremes, we as a society must take steps to prepare ourselves to be able to live and function healthfully and properly in a crowded world. What happens when the number reaches 8, 9, 10, or 15 billion? Certainly we will have to take steps for the human race to be able to survive, let alone thrive, in a CRAMMED with people.

Ryan Borchardt

Man Arrested in Toddler Hit-and-Run Case

One of the two drivers who ran down two year-old Wang Yue and left her to die in a Foshan alley has been apprehended, a happening which must simultaneously be celebrated as a success for the Chinese government and rued as a pathetic reminder of how rife apathy has become in all corners of the world. After being struck down twice, the toddler lay dying on the roadside as more than a dozen potential Samaritans passed by- a middle-aged garbage collector known as "Granny Chen", now laying low in order to avoid publicity, has been praised by the grieving mother of "Yue Yue" as "representing the best of human nature" for stepping up to help the little girl. One Jun Hu is now under arrest for his alleged involvement.

James Feinerman of CNN Washington reported that the influx of migrants from the Chinese countryside has engendered indifference in the urban population, in that most Chinese would (perhaps justifiably) prefer to keep to their own business and avoid confrontation. The institution of Good Samaritan Laws in China have been off to a rocky start since a past case, where an elderly woman sued a young man who helped her after she fell out of a bus.
Certainties of the case include that a young girl is dead from carelessness, and that one man remains to be apprehended. Uncertainties include if the child's family will be allowed or be able to have another child to replace their beloved daughter, the punishment that will be deemed suitable for Mr. Jun, and the implications for the spread of apathy in this emerging nation.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

"Muammar Gaddafi Buried in Desert at Dawn"

Muammar Gaddafi's body has officially been buried in a disclosed desert location. The ceremony is said to have happened at dawn this morning. Contrary to what Gaddafi's family wanted, a burial outside the former leader's hometown of Sirte, the National Trasitional Council preferred there be a secret burial. The ceremony was followed fatwa, or religious rulings when handling the burial. In this case, "the body should not be buried in Muslim cemeteries and should not be buried in a known place to avoic any sedition."Libya's Minister for Information Mahmoud Shammam said the NTC was following a fatwa, or religious ruling. "It says that his body should not be buried in Muslim cemeteries and should not be buried in a known place to avoid any sedition." The burial comes days after the body had been on display at a meat packing company for all people to day. Witnesses said that the body could no longer be preserved and needed to be buried accordingly.

Kate Crawford

Sunday, October 23, 2011

U.S. to Sustain Military Power in the Pacific, Panetta Says

BALI, Indonesia — Defense SecretaryLeon E. Panetta said on Sunday that despite hundreds of billions of dollars in expected cuts to the Pentagon budget, the United States would remain a Pacific power even as China expanded its military presence in the region.

Mr. Panetta, who is on his first trip to Asia as defense secretary, made the comments at a meeting of Southeast Asian nations on this Indonesian resort island. He sought to reassure Pacific nations that are concerned about China’s assertiveness that the United States, as he put it, would be “a force for peace and prosperity” here.

He acknowledged that nations in the region were worried about the impact of at least $450 billionin Pentagon budget cuts over the next decade and whether the United States could afford to maintain a strong military presence in the Pacific.

“There’s no question that those concerns have been expressed,” Mr. Panetta told reporters before meeting with the defense ministers of the 10 countries that make up theAssociation of Southeast Asian Nations. But, Mr. Panetta said, “I’ve made clear that even with the budget constraints that we are facing in the United States,” there is “no question that in discussions within the Pentagon, and discussions in the White House, that the Pacific will be a priority for the United States of America.”

By: Joseph McGee

Search for Survivors after Turkish Earthquake

Turkish rescue teams are now searching for survivors after a devastating earthquake hit the town of Ercis. Tens of thousands have been left homeless, and now have to contend with freezing temperatures. The country lies on fault lines, which makes it susceptible to earthquakes, such as the major earthquakes in 1999. It is believed that upwards of two hundred people were killed, and roughly a thousand buildings have been destroyed in this recent quake. Turkey continues to send assistance to the regions affected by the devastating earthquake.

by Brandon Bard

Key European Leaders Discuss Debt Crisis

It is now believed that Greece may need a much bigger bailout than previously thought. It is possible that they may need up to 50% more in bailout money. Greece is not the only discussion at this meeting. Italy is being asked to not spend as much because they have the second largest debt in the EU and are estimated at spending more %120 of their GDP. This is all troubling for contries such as Great Britain because it is believed that the decisions of the EU will impact non-EU countries as well.,,15481371,00.html

Matthew Draper

Start of Neo-police change in Veracruz, Mexico

Last month in Veracruz, Mexico 67 bodies were found dumped in a ditch and in one instance, 35 corpses were found in two trucks left on the main road during rush hour. The levels of violence keep rising and the country continues to fall into the hands of extortionists, kidnappers, and the drug dealers. In the future, president Calderon will be known as the one who did not put up with the drug cartel's reign. Unfortunately, the process will be long and harsh. The night will always look darkest before sunrise. In order to do this though, the country needs to be unified through an idea, the idea of a correct and peaceful society.
In Veracruz, Mexico 1,000 police men have been fired. They have been given reliability tests and have failed. In order to keep the citizens safe, the cops needs to be just. As the tests proceed, up to 5,500 police men may be fired. However, 400 have already been hired and another 900 are in the application process. It is true that the process to hire enforcement needs to be more rigorous and meticulous.
However, in true these "reliability" tests are unreliable. The same men who give these tests may be the ones who are corrupt. The most important part to a government is the ability to keep order and a chain of command. Thus, outside influences such as the cartels cannot be allowed to meddle in the processes the Mexican does. This will allow them to create a much more organized front on the drug war.

Sergio Vargas

US Taking a Liberal Stance on Pakistan

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made an announcement to Pakistani officials in Islamabad that the US is going to "be talking...and be building, and...we are not going to stop." This is in response to the Haqqani network, a Taliban affiliate that operates in Afghanistan and Pakistan. It is important to note that the US considers this network "to be the single greatest enemy in Afghanistan."

These actions by the US government show that although we are pulling out of Iraq, we still have a very liberal interest in the international system. By ridding the Middle East of the Haqqani network, the US is hoping to push forward a strategic relationship with Pakistan. Becca Feddor. It is important to the United States to have strong relations in the Middle East, because many of these countries are unstable, and if war breaks out in one and spreads to other states, it creates a much less stable environment to depend on oil from. While the US does have the interest of creating peace and assisting in rebuilding these countries, it is important to notice the self-interest that is involved in these decisions, which is what makes it a liberal decision on the government's part.

Karzai: Afghans Will Back Pakistan If U.S. Attacks

In a recent interview with a Pakistani news station, Afghanistan's president Hamid Karzai said that Afghanistan would back Pakistan in a war with the United States. This statement comes just after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited both states, and told Pakistan that it needed to crack down on the terrorism committed in this area. If a war were to escalate in Pakistan, Karzai claims that Afghan troops would mobilize and assist Pakistan. Afghanistan's army is being primarily trained and funded by the United States. There is an element of hypocrity in these statements, especially given that the former president of Afghanistan had just been assassinated by a suicide bomber attack planned in Pakistan. The likelihood of a US-Pakistan war is less of a serious threat, and Karzai seems more to be "playing the game" and lining up an ally. However, just this week Hillary Clinton flew to Pakistan to deliver her message that if Pakistanis are unwilling to step up and fight against al Qaida and the Taliban, then the United States would "show" Pakistan how to fight terrorism.

by Rachel Foy

Egypt and Israel to Exchange Prisoners

Egypt and Israel are on the verge of putting the detained alleged spy held in Cairo to Israel in exchange for 28 Egyptian prisoners. The Egyptian prisoners also include 3 children. Iian Gaspel is a suspect for being an Israeli spy, but details of the trade remain unclear. The meeting of taking these swapping plans occurred on Thursday, by way of the foreign ministry.

Gaspel has been under Egyptian custody since June 12. Israel has strongly denied that he is an undercover intelligence spy. Gaspel is from New York, but moved and became a citizen in Israel and became a part of the military.

by Julian Connell

German Satelite Crashes Down

On Saturday evening, sometime between 9:45 and 10:15 P.M., a German research satelite was supposed to have crashed down somewhere near Southeast Asia. Early reports had the satelite possibly falling on land, however no report has been filed yet about such a matter. This is leading officials to believe that the satelite crashed somewhere in the Indian Ocean, east of Sri Lanka. The satelite was launched in Florida in 1990, and was retired in 1999. Of the original satelite, only about thirty pieces were supposed to break through the atmosphere, weighing a combined 1.87 tons. This is the second satelite to have come down to Earth in the past month. Earlier a U.S. satelite crashed down somewhere in the Pacific Ocean, leaving a five hundred mile wide area of debris.

By: Tyler Lundquist

ETA declares an end to all armed activity

In a video statement to the BBC, Basque separatist group ETA has declared an absolute end to its armed campaign and policy of violence. After being founded as a political group-turned-separatist paramilitary, the ETA fought a long armed campaign against the governments of Spain and France in the name of Basque independence. They are responsible for the deaths of 832 people over their 52 year history, including major politicians and many of the Basque people they swear to defend the interests of.
And thus, the book closes on the history of one of the world's most ignored armed conflicts. In a period dominated by the exploits of the Provisional IRA, US-USSR relations, and then trouble in the Balkans and the Arab world, very few (if any) people in America and much of the world have even heard of the ETA or the trouble they have caused. Such illustrates the localization of the Basque conflict; it is viewed as a footnote even in the politics of most of Europe, as something that is only the problem of pieces of Spain and France.

285 Girls Change Their Names in India

Similarly to China, India is another country where parents would prefer to have a son rather than a daughter. This trend has lead to many Indian girls being named “Nakusa” or Nakushi,” which means “unwanted” Hindi. Parents in India typically prefer sons to daughters because of the high price that comes along with girls. Parents who have daughters must provide a dowry for their future husbands, and these dowries often cost the parents everything they’ve earned. Sons are preferred because they do not need to offer dowries for marriage; they receive them for their finacées.

The girls who carry these names are more prone to self-esteem problems, among other things, because of the significance of their names. Their whole lives, these girls have had to deal with the negative connotations of their names, and now they have had the chance to change them, legally. More than 250 Indian girls legally changed their names from “unwanted” to another name of their choice, therefore shedding their old names and the negativity that accompanied them.

Marion Gibney

Tunisia Casts Historic Vote

Today millions of Tunisians cast votes for an assembly to draft a new Constitution. This comes after 10 months of street protests since the sudden uprising that forced their former president, Zine el Abidine Ben Ali to flee the country. This is the first time in history many Tunisians feel that there will be an honest count of their ballots and either way the vote go it will positively change Tunisia. The biggest concern for most people was cleaning up corruption and creating more jobs. This is also the first time in history their country might lead the Arab world in a direction of democracy, and will hopefully impact places such as Syria, Libya, and Egypt. There is speculation that with these new changes the govervment will tackel issues such as social justice, freedom, and unemployment.

Kourtney Macaluso

Imminent Terror Threat in Kenya

The United States Embassy in Kenya is reporting that imminent terror attacks could be carried out in Kenya, and that tourists, governemnt officials, and other travelers should avoid the East African country. Though it was not indicated who would be behind the potential attacks, the terrorist organization Al-Shabaab, who has significant ties with Al-Qaeda, is the likely suspect. Not only has Al-Shabaab been linked to various civilian kidnappings and murders in Kenya, it is also fighting to impose sharia law in Somalia, a country that Kenya recently announced it will be sending troops into, in order to target Al-Shabaab members. It should be quite apparent that Al-Shabaab would not respond well to this Kenyan threat, and the response could be disastorous if the terrorist attacks are actually carried out. Peace is far from being acheived in this region where terrorism is rampant, governments are often corrupt, and atrocities are at times allowed to happen, and until international pressure and involvement increases, the violence will continue.

David Johnson

The euro crisis: Death of a summit

The summit that met on Oct. 20 to resolve the financial crisis in Europe failed to solve the major issues and left some big blanks in their draft. The European finance ministers that met were held in hopes for resolving not just the European crisis but the global financial crisis. The voids that were left on the 20th were planned on being filled on the summits to be held the following two days. However, they didn't happen. Also disagreements towards the solvency of the plan between Germany and France arises that puts things to even a bigger halt. How to approach Greece's crisis is just not being tended to and because of so many differing opinions, nothing is really happening. The Summit has planned to meet again on the 26th and hopefully France and Germany can reach a consensus and draw a plan that may better and lift Europe out of the crisis they are facing.

Pooja Sahai

Massive Earthquake hit Turkey

On Sunday, a magnitude 7.2 earthquake hit eastern city at Turkey, Ankara, causing more than 85 deaths and collapses of buildings and houses.
The biggest shock occurred in Ercis, an eastern city which is closed to Iranian border. Zulfikar Arapoglu, Mayor of Erics asked for urgent assistance to rebuild town and help people. Scientists of US reported more than 100 aftershocks around Turkey, including a one with magnitude 5.9. More than 150 prisoners escaped as the walls of prison collapsed in a city Van, yet most of them returned after a while.
At a few cities in Armenia and Iran also was hit by the quake, causing a few cracks in some buildings and people panic and rush out of town to the streets, yet so far no major damages or injures are reported.
Israeli President Shimon Peres offered any possible aid and assistance to Turkey, over a phone call to Turkish President Abdullah Gul, with a following statement. "Israel shares in your sorrow. Israel is ready to render any assistance that may be required anywhere in Turkey, at any time."
Greece also took a quick action toward this tragedy by sending a special earthquake rescue team to Turkey.

Naoko Takada

Syria's Software Scandel

Syria is using computer software made by a company in California to censor the internet and keep a watch on citizens. Syria does not want its citizens protesting against President Bashar al-Assad, which many have been doing via the internet for almost eight months now. The company in California that produces the software is called Blue Coat Systems. The U.S. State Department is said to be taking the use of the software by Syrian government very seriously. The U.S. has sanctions that restrict U.S. companies from trading with Syria, but there are exceptions for some software. If this software is not apart of exceptions it would be violating these sanctions. The spokesman for Blue Coat said, "Blue Coat does not sell to Syria." It is very likely that Syria obtained the software off of the grey market illegally. The use of the software by the Syrian government was discovered by swedish hackers, Telecomix. The group discovered that the government was using the software to prohibit citizens from going onto certain websites and social media.

Blake Sabatke