April 26, 2009

US Journalist Goes on Hunger Strike

An American journalist imprisoned in Iran for allegedly spying is on her fifth day of a hunger strike on Saturday, according to the Star Tribune.
The journalist's father said the woman will not stop her strike until she is freed.
Roxana Saberi, who is a citizen of both Iran and the U.S. turned 32 on Sunday, was sentenced last week to eight years in prison after a one-day closed trial. She began her strike to protest her imprisonment, her father said.
The Tribune article reports this is a great cause of tension between Iran and the U.S. at a time when President Obama wants to discuss engagement.
Saberi's father also told the BBC that he was very worried about his daughter, and that while he tried to explain how dangerous that was, she wouldn't allow him to protest her decision.
Saberi's sentence will go in front of an appeals court, and could be commuted, according to the BBC.

April 19, 2009

Horse is Hero in Hungary

A race-horse has turned into a national hero for crisis-stricken Hungary, according to the New York Times.
Overdose extended his winning streak to 12-0 on Sunday, his jockey wearing the colors of the Hungarian flag.
All of this comes among the resignation of Hungary's Prime Minister and the nosedive of the Hungarian currency.
The New York Times compared the horse to Seabiscuit, a symbol of hope for Americans during the Great Depression.
Talk has changed from bailouts and politics to the horse and his jockey, Christophe Soumillon, a flashy Belgian rider who is married to a former Miss France.
No one expected anything from the horse, who was bought for just $3,500 at auction after the owner raised his hand "just for fun."
Since the horse's winning streak, the owner has been offered $6.5 million, but refuses to sell.
Overdose was called "the most famous person in Hungary...even though he is a horse."

April 12, 2009

Captain Safe From Pirates

Navy snipers shot down three Somali pirates and rescued a captured American captain in a surprise assault Sunday, the Star Tribune reported. The killings ended a five-day standoff between the pirates and the U.S. military.
Capt. Richard Phillips was taken hostage Wednesday by pirates who tried to hijack the Maersk Alabama.
The assault was ok'ed by President Obama, and relieved fears the standoff could last for months. It also showed the strength of the U.S. military, who had been previously helpless to end the situation.
Negotiations between the pirates and the military had become heated, and Phillips was in "imminent danger of being killed" according the Tribune.
A fourth pirate had surrendered earlier and now faces life in U.S. prison.

April 5, 2009

UN Unable to Come to Agreement on North Korea

According to the LA Times, the U.N. Security Council failed Sunday to agree to a response to North Korea's long-range missile launch.
The council met to consider an official condemnation of launch, but no immediate action was agreed on by the end of the meeting, according to the Times.
The U.S. and its allies fear North Korea may be testing its ability to launch nuclear weapons with the launch which sent a missile over Japan on Sunday morning, according to the Times.

March 29, 2009

Mexico Faces Paradox

A New York Times article on Sunday outlined a crucial paradox for Mexico in their wars against drug cartels. Mainly, the people they need to rely on to stop the cartels, such as police and other law officers, have often been the very people that have allowed the drug cartels to flourish.
The cartels, which according to the reports bring in billions more dollars than the Mexican government, uses thier profits to buy off countless officers in customs, courtrooms, and most notably, police officers.
The corruption in police forces have caused entire cities to disband police and start completely from scratch, according to the report.
Notable corrupt officers according to the report are the country's top prosecutor, the director of Interpol, and even a person inside the U.S. Embassy.
In related news, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday the United States is warning truckers and businesses operating near or on the U.S./Mexico border to heighten security standards in light of the recent violence over the drug cartels.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security warned truckers they could be exposed to the violence.
According to the Journal, the barron's wars over turf have extended across the border into states such as Arizona.

March 16, 2009

Roadside Bomb Kills 4

According to the Associated Press, a roadside bomb killed four U.S. troops Sunday in Afganistan. The Taliban has claimed responsibility, and has been threatening to increase attacks on forces as the U.S. seeks to increase its presence in the region, according to the News Service. In other bomb and suicide attacks, other troops and civilians were killed or injured in other areas of the country.

March 8, 2009

North Korea Puts Troops on Combat Alert

Bloomberg reported Sunday that before a U.S.-South Korean drills, North Korea put their troops on combat alert.
North Korea threatened retaliation if their territory was entered, Bloomberg said. North Korea will also cut off military communications with South Korea.
Tensions have risen in the region over the past few weeks as North Korea is believed to be preparing to test a ballistic missle, Bloomberg said. North Korea, however, says they are only planning to launch a peaceful satelite.
Reuters also reported the story, citing the drills as annual.
Reuters also added North Korea has said any shooting down of its missiles, such as the ballistic missiles they make be testing, an act of war.

March 1, 2009

Iran Nuclear Power

The Guardian reported on Sunday U.S. fears Iran now has the capability to build a nuclear bomb.
The paper reports that U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staffs said Iran now has enough fissile material for one nuclear bomb, and said the possibility would be "very very bad."
The Guardian reports it was the first public assesment by the U.S. government on the subject, and comes after a report done by the International Atomic Energy Agency that said Iran has made significant strides on enriching uranium.
The Guardian reports Iran says it will not build a bomb, but is instead hoping to create nuclear power plants.
The Los Angeles Times also reported on the story .
The Times said that while military officers believe Iran can make a bomb, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates does not.
Gates said that diplomatic solutions to Iran having nuclear power remain available.

February 15, 2009

Clinton's First Trip

Hilary Clinton's first trip as Secretary of State was to Asia, as the Voice of America News reported Sunday.
VOA reports Clinton left Sunday for a week-long visit to Japan, Indonesia, South Korea and China.
In Japan, Clinton will sign an agreement to ease tension over American troop presence by removing over 8,000 American troops, said VOA.
BBC also reported on the story, and said this trip is the first time an American Secretary of State has made an initial trip to Asia since then 1960s.
The BBC reports that Clinton said she wishes to broaden and deepen American ties with Asia.
Clinton called America both a trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific power.

February 5, 2009

Iran Denies Visa

Iran denied a visa for the U.S. Women's badmitton team it had invited to play in Iran this weekend, the Washington Post reported.
The Foreign Ministry spokesman said during a weekly news conference that the U.S. team would not be playing in the event, the Post said.
The head of the Iranian Badmitton Federation that invited the U.S. team asked for forgiveness and said it had done all the neccessary follow-ups on the visas.
The Obama administration said it was "mystified" by the refusal, and also said they had hoped to reciprocate the invitation by having the Iranian team come to the U.S. to play this summer.
The badmitton event would have been the first cultural exchange with Iran under the new administration, the Post reported.
The U.S.A. Today's coverage included State Department spokesman Robert Wood saying he was disappointed by Iran's actions.
He said the team had supplied all the required paperwork.
U.S.A. Today also reported that the 12-person team is currently headed home from Dubai.

February 1, 2009

Iraq Votes

In what was called "the most important election to take place since the fall" of Saddam Hussein by a top Iraqi election offical, about half of Iraqi registered voters turned out, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Even still, Iraqi officials told the Times that they were satisified with the result.
According to the Times, just over half of Iraq's 15 million voters actually voted in this weekend's elections, with turnout as low as 40 percent in one province.
The Times reports that "campaign fever" had gripped the nation over the past few weeks, but that confusion over new voter registration practices may have prevented some voters from casting thier ballots.
The Associated Press also reported on the story, and said the election could show trouble for the biggest Shiite party in Iraq.
AP reported the results could show voters have punished religious-leaning parties that have been blamed for spurring violence, and could reward secular parties said to have helped peace.
Official results, however, are days away, according to AP.