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December 14, 2008

Ecuador President Announces that Ecuador will not Pay Foreign Debt Interest

President Rafael Correa said during a conference in Guayaquil Friday that he will not pay interest on the nation’s foreign debt and that he is prepared to accept any consequences reported CNN.

Correa said that he considers the debt to be illegitimate and that the international lenders are monsters. He also said that he believes some of Ecuador’s 10 billion debt was contracted illegally by the previous administration wrote the BBC.

The president said that he is studying how to challenge the debt and wants to look over the way the terms of the debt were set. He also said that he plans to set forth a restructure plan. (CNN)

Ecuador has already spent $7 billion to pay debt from the 1980s which was originally $4 billion. This is the first debt default by a country in Latin America since 2001. (BBC)

December 8, 2008

Cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe

The Zimbabwe government has declared a national emergency following the outbreak of Cholera in its country which has thus far killed more than 600 people reported CNN.

The U.N children’s fund in Zimbabwe is preparing to deal with possibly 60,000 cholera cases in the coming weeks reported the BBC. The Unicef chief has said that the death toll could raise to 2,700 and that the current death toll is probably much higher than 600 since people in rural regions just bury their dead.

The UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown has since called the crisis in Zimbabwe an international emergency and has called on the global community to confront the president of that nation. The Prime Minister is calling the outbreak of cholera an international crisis because the disease can cross boarders. (CNN)

Cholera is a water-borne disease and it has increased in 9 of the 10 provinces in Zimbabwe. The U.N is blaming poor water and sanitation supply, a collapsed health system and limited government capacity to respond to the crisis. (CNN)

Many who have contracted cholera have left to nearby countries to seek medical help, however this runs the risk of further spreading the outbreak. The disease has already spread to South Africa, Mozambique, Zambia, and Botswana. (BBC)

December 1, 2008

Pirates reach Deal

Somali pirates reached a deal Sunday with the Ukrainian ship that they seized more than two months ago reported BBC.
An official from the Kenya Seafarers Association told press Sunday that they Ship MV Faina that was loaded with arms traveling from Ukraine has reached a deal with the pirates that took over the ship on September 25th reported CNN.

The ship had been headed Kenya and was filled with Soviet-era tanks, artillery shells, grenade launchers, and small arms. It has been confirmed that Kenya bought these supplies from the Ukraine government. (CNN)

After the MV Faina was hijacked the U.S Navy sent military ships to monitor it for fear that the supplies could end up in the hands of terrorists. (CNN)

The ransom for the MV Faina was originally set at $35 million, but it has been lowered $20 million wrote CNN.

There has been a lot of pirate activity off the coast of Africa lately which has raised international cause for concern.

November 17, 2008

Iran tests missile, not far from Israel

Wednesday the country of Iran said it successfully test-fired a new type of long range surface-to-surface missile, the Sajjil which can easily reach Israel and hit southeastern Europe with better precision than earlier models reported Yahoo News.

The Sajjil is a solid fuel high speed missile with a range of 1,200 miles the Defense Minister said. Solid fuel missiles are more accurate than liquid fuel missiles. During an Iran state television broadcast that showed the launch, the Defense Minister said that the new missile has “an extraordinary high capability?, but he did not give any other details and he did not say whether or not it was capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. (Yahoo News)

The United States restated its objection to the tests performed in Iran, stating that the tests violated Iran’s obligations under UN Security Council resolutions reported CNN.

November 10, 2008

School Collapse in Haiti kills 50

Friday a school collapsed in a suburb of Port-au-Prince, Haiti and killed at least 50 people and there is still an unknown number trapped underneath the rubble reported the BBC.

Hundreds of volunteers have been working to free people from the wreckage of the college La Promesse Evangelique. The school is located in a very poor part of town and has made it nearly impossible to get to reported CNN.

There is said to have been 200-700 people inside the building at the time of the collapse. The school teaches students as young as kindergarteners all the way up to 20-year-olds. (CNN)
The upper floor of the school was under construction at the time of the collapse, but there has been no official comment as to the cause. The buildings first floor was believed to have collapsed and to have then dragged down the rest of the building while the children were inside. Residents believe that the school was poorly built after it had partially collapsed several years ago. (BBC)

The Haitian Red Cross was at the scene and the Dominican Republic offered rescue support by donating helicopters. Rescuers planned to work all through the night, even though the collapse happened at 10am. (CNN)

The collapse is under investigation. (CNN)

November 3, 2008

Police teargas Kurd protestors in Turkey

Sunday Police used tear gas and water cannon to disperse thousands of Kurdish protesters demonstrating in Istanbul, Turkey against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, reported CNN.

3,000 people protested in Yuksekova, a town close to the Iraqi border. Tear gas was used to disperse protest in Istanbul and 27 people were arrested BBC reported.

Unrest broke out after rumors spread that the leader of the rebel group AII, Abdullah Ocalar, was mistreated in prison. The PKK has been fighting for the separation in Southeast Turkey for over two decades and has increased attacks on Turkey, while the Turkish government has intensified their campaign against PKK in recent weeks. (BBC)

Erdogan had visited Southeast Turkey where lots of Kurds reside to gather support for his party the AKP, the current ruling party, for upcoming elections. Erdogan called for unity and pledged funding to develop the impoverished region. (CNN)

Police teargas Kurd protestors in Turkey

Sunday Police used tear gas and water cannon to disperse thousands of Kurdish protesters demonstrating in Istanbul, Turkey against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, reported CNN.

3,000 people protested in Yuksekova, a town close to the Iraqi border. Tear gas was used to disperse protest in Istanbul and 27 people were arrested BBC reported.

Unrest broke out after rumors spread that the leader of the rebel group AII, Abdullah Ocalar, was mistreated in prison. The PKK has been fighting for the separation in Southeast Turkey for over two decades and has increased attacks on Turkey, while the Turkish government has intensified their campaign against PKK in recent weeks. (BBC)

Erdogan had visited Southeast Turkey where lots of Kurds reside to gather support for his party the AKP, the current ruling party, for upcoming elections. Erdogan called for unity and pledged funding to develop the impoverished region. (CNN)

Police teargas Kurd protestors in Turkey

Sunday Police used tear gas and water cannon to disperse thousands of Kurdish protesters demonstrating in Istanbul, Turkey against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, reported CNN.

3,000 people protested in Yuksekova, a town close to the Iraqi border. Tear gas was used to disperse protest in Istanbul and 27 people were arrested BBC reported.

Unrest broke out after rumors spread that the leader of the rebel group AII, Abdullah Ocalar, was mistreated in prison. The PKK has been fighting for the separation in Southeast Turkey for over two decades and has increased attacks on Turkey, while the Turkish government has intensified their campaign against PKK in recent weeks. (BBC)

Erdogan had visited Southeast Turkey where lots of Kurds reside to gather support for his party the AKP, the current ruling party, for upcoming elections. Erdogan called for unity and pledged funding to develop the impoverished region. (CNN)

October 26, 2008

Tzipi Livni has asked for early elections

In Jerusalem Kadima Party leader Tzipi Livni said Sunday that she has asked Israeli President Shimon Peres to hold early general elections after she failed to build a coalition government reported CNN.

The likelihood of holding early elections became apparent on Friday when the ultra-Orthodox party and other minority parties rejected a bid to join a coalition headed by Livni, who would have become Prime Minister. If passed election would be held in mid February. (CNN)

President Peres has three days to consult and if his consultations fail, any other Israeli MP can attempt to form a governing coalition in the next three weeks, however it is unlikely reported BBC.

Livni spokesman said Livni had to choose between “blackmail? and elections and that Livni opted not to give into “unreasonable? demands. (CNN)

These recent developments may hurt Bush’s desire for Israel and Palestine to reach a peace agreement by the time he leaves office in January. (CNN)

October 18, 2008

Spanish Judge to Question Mechanics possibly involved in Plane Crash

The judge investigating the Spanair plane crash that killed 154 people in Madrid last August will question three mechanics on suspicion of manslaughter reported CNN.

Two of the mechanics checked the Spanair plane before take off on the day of the crash and the other mechanic is Spanair’s head of maintenance at Madrid’s Barajas Airport reported BBC.

All three are under “official investigation? and have been called to appear before the judge trying the case on November 12th. (CNN)

The crash happened on August 20th right after Spanair flight 5022 took off from Madrid to the Canary Islands. The plane only rose a little and then crashed next to the runway and exploded. Only 18 people survived. (BBC)

Investigators said the plane’s wing flaps had been set incorrectly. They also said that the two mechanics working on the plane had deactivated a faulty temperature gauge, but did not spot a problem with the aircraft’s take-off warning system. (BBC)

However, the report prepared by investigators did not say that these problems were the reason for the crash. (CNN)

October 13, 2008

Joerg Haider of Austria Dies

Saturday Joerg Haider of Austria died in a car accident reported the BBC.

According to investigators Haider had been going double the speed limit when his Volkswagen sedan was struck stated CNN. Haider was traveling at 142km (88 mph) and the speed limit for that section was 70km (43 mph).
P
rosecutor Gottfried Kranz told reporters that the speed of the car appeared to be the main factor in the deadly crash. (CNN) Kranz would not comment on whether Haider’s body had tested positive for alchol. (BBC)

The accident occurred South of Klagenfurt, the capitol of Carinthia. Haider was the provincial governor of Carinthia. Haider had just left a night club and we supposed to attend his mom’s 90th birthday celebration later that day. (BBC)

“Police said the car veered off the road after Haider overtook another vehicle, then struck a concrete pillar and rolled over. Haider, who was alone in the car, suffered multiple injuries and died while being rushed to a hospital,? stated CNN.

Haider was known as being a far right politician and he was the leader of the Alliance for Austria’s Future, and he was known for his anti-immigration and anti-EU policies. (BBC) Haider was 58-years-old.

October 6, 2008

Palin accuses Obama of Associating with Terrorists

Saturday while campaigning for John McCain- R, Sarah Palin accused Barack Obama- D of associating with terrorists, CNN reported.

The BBC reported that Palin claimed that Obama had been “palling? around with an ex-member of Weather Underground, a group that opposed the Vietnam War during the 1960s.

Weather Underground was blamed for bombings in the US and attacks on the Pentagon and the Capitol. (CNN) CNN also pointed out that Obama and Palin would have been children during that time.

Obama was accused of associating with Bill Ayers a founder of Weather Underground. Obama served on a charity board with Ayers before he ran for senate in 2005. (CNN)

The board worked with a non-profit group to raise funds for a school improvement project. CNN reported that Obama and Ayers met several times from 95-05, but said that during their review, found nothing to suggest anything inappropriate.

Ayers is currently a professor at the University of Illinois.

A Democratic spokesman said, “What’s clear is that John McCain and Sarah Palin would rather spend their time tearing down Barack Obama than laying out a plan to build up our economy.? (BBC).

Palin said, “Obama sees the U.S as being so imperfect and he is palling around with terrorists who would target their own country.? (BBC).

September 29, 2008

$700 Billion bailout by US government

Billionaire Warren Buffett told congressional negotiators Sunday that if they cannot agree on a proposed financial bailout then the nation will face its biggest financial meltdown in American history reported CNN.

Word of Buffett’s comments were received at the same time as house speaker; Nancy Pelosi announced that progress had been made in reaching a deal on the White house’s proposed $700 billion bailout of financial systems.

If this bailout is enacted, it would be the most dramatic and extensive government intervention in the US economy since the great depression. (CNN)

Pelosi, D-CA, said that the message to Wall St. is “the party is over.? reported the BBC. Pelosi also said that the bipartisan deal was not a bailout of Wall street, but designed to ensure pensions, savings and jobs would be safe.

By passing the proposed $700 billion bailout, the US Treasury would be able to spend the money to buy bad debts from failing US banks. The government then in turn would get a stake in the firms and the bailout would be monitored. (BBC)

Democratic leader, Harry Reid said “ Americans had every reason to be concerned and even angry in light of the greed on Wall Street and unenforced regulations.? (BBC)

September 22, 2008

South African President Resigns

The South African President, Thabo Mbeki announced his formal resignation Sunday during a televised address, CNN reported.

Gwede Mantashe, secretary general of the African National Congress announced Saturday that the party had asked him to leave before his time was up. Mantashe said that the ANC asked Mbeki to step down in order to make sure South Africa remained stable and unified.

During his speech Mbeki said the ANC will determine when his resignation will take effect. Mbeki also spoke of his achievements in office.

“I depart this office knowing that many men and women have worked to achieve better lives.? Mbeki said. (CNN)

This move came days after a high court judge suggested that Mbeki interfered in a corruption case against his rival, ANC leader Jacob Zuma, reported the BBC. Mbeki’s resignation clears the way for Zuma, to run for office.

“I have been a loyal member of the ANC for 52 yrs and therefore respect its decisions.? Mbeki said. Mbeki has been president of South Africa for almost 10 years.

http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/africa/09/21/south.africa.mbeki.resigns/index.html
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7627957.stm