Recently in International News Category

Hosni Mubarak and his regime detained for investigation

by Maddy Hughes
CAIRO--Egypt's former president Hosni Mubarak is under investigation for allegations of corruption, abuse of power, and misuse of public funds.

Egypt's prosecutor general announced Mubarak's detention on Facebook early Wednesday, according to Huffington Post and The Guardian. This announcement came shortly after Mubarak was hospitalized for a heart attack he had during questioning Tuesday night--he is expected to stay there until the end of his questioning.

The general also ordered a detention of both of Mubarak's sons, Gamal and Alaa, under the same charges for those 15 days their father would be held in the hospital. They were taken to Tora prison, south of Cairo, which is known for having held Mubarak's political prisoners for years.

Gamal Mubarak was a top official in the ruling party and was expected to take the place of the 82-year-old president before he was ousted on Feb. 11.

Most members of Mubarak's regime are currently being questioned as well.

Sources say that Mubarak will be moved from his current hospital, which is Sharm el-Sheikh, to a military hospital in Cairo, although he may have to be questioned outside of the capital for security reasons.

The prosecuter general announced the news on a Facebook page whose purpose was to honor the families of those killed in the protests, estimated to be around 800. The people of Egypt have been demanding investigations into corruption within the regime ever since their 18 days of protests leading to Feb. 11.

Women in Egypt beaten by army officers

by Maddy Hughes
Women's Views on News and the New York Times both recently reported about the assaults on 19 women by the military in Egypt.

Since Hosni Mubarak stepped down from his position as president, the military has reportedly stepped in as the force to maintain order in the country, even above the police force. From the start, protesters for the most part regarded the army as an ally in their political revolution. But the military seems to dislike the chaos so much that some members have taken to torturing protesters.

On March 9 the army evacuated more than 190 people centered in Tahrir Square, also known as the central location of the revolution, "Liberation Square." Nineteen of these were women taken to an Egyptian museum, tied to a fence surrounding it and beaten or electrocuted.

One of these women, Salwa al-Housini Gouda, told the story from that day. She was taken along with the 18 other women afterward to a military prison, where they were all tested for virginity on a bed in a hallway.

The army denied the account to be true but some of the other women as well as human rights groups confirmed that it had happened. Ragia Omran, a Cairo human rights lawyer, said that their actions were technically sexual assaults, but the military is considered above the law, keeping them safe from punishment.

This event is an example of the hardships involved with a revolution--chaos is not enough to ensure the progress of a nation.

Earthquake in Japan causes shift in earth's axis

by Maddy Hughes
The earthquake that brought on a tsunami in Japan Friday left significant changes beyond just the damage it did to Japan, NASA discovered and made public for many news sources to report. USA Today and Yahoo News both told of the record-breaking earthquake's effects on the planet.

It turns out that in its wake, the 8.9-magnitude earthquake moved the location of Japan 13 feet closer to the U.S., according to geophysicist Ross Stein at the United States Geological Survey. It also shifted the balance of the planet, making the earth spin slightly faster, and therefore shortening the day by 1.6 microseconds.

As the pacific tectonic plate slid beneath the North American plate, the eastern coast of Japan sunk and was consumed by the tsumani, which sent waves traveling at 500 mph.

Richard Gross from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory said that these changes are no cause for concern, as shifts in the earth's axis are not unusual and happen because of changes in other forces like atmospheric winds and ocean currents.

But this natural disaster has definitely been a cause for deep concern in Japan, where it has killed nearly 10,000, and in Hawaii, Maui, Oahu, and Kauai, all of which were affected by the tsunami.

by Maddy Hughes
Both President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have publicly announced their support of the protesting opposition to Libya's leader Muammar el-Qaddafi, The New York Times and BBC News reported.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates told reporters on Thursday that Obama is receiving "the broadest possible decision space" for a plan of action, and stressed the point that a decision has not yet been reached. One option Obama said the U.S. would consider is to enforce a "no-flight zone" over Libya, which would mean wiping out their air forces.

The decision to be made is compromised by the part of the U.S. in two other wars, and the unwillingness of European allies to join the U.S. in placing a no-flight-zone to prevent opposition of the rebels from shooting them.

Obama maintained that the best-case scenario would be for the rebels in Libya to overcome the situation on their own such as was done by similar rebels in Egypt. However, the opposition in Libya is less relenting than it was in Egypt, with Qaddafi's supporters still trying to gain hold of rebel-controlled cities.

Hillary Clinton was more open to the possibility of imposing a no-flight-zone. She appeared at Capitol Hill Tuesday advising Congress not to cut funding for help to crises abroad, one day after the U.S. started to organize warship and aircraft near Libya.

Although unclear what U.S. action would be most helpful to the situation, Gates announced that 400 Marines were deployed to assist refugees from Libya. Meanwhile, Obama and his administration are applying pressure on Col. Qaddafi to step down from power and leave the country.

In Libya, protests give way to violence from opposition

by Maddy Hughes
LIBYA--Voice of America and The New York Times reported on the potential for violence against those trying to oust Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi (who Voice of America calls Moammar Gadhaf).

It turns out that there are supporters of the leader who are willing to be equipped in order to stamp out the large efforts to bring Qaddafi down from power.

But these efforts from Qaddafi to mobilize residents fighting for his cause are proving to be futile. Last Thursday in the city of Zawiyah when his forces tried to launch an assault in order to regain control, members of Qaddafi's army joined the group of rebels, just as 2,000 police officers had done the week before.

The rebels showed their determination to oust their leader Sunday when they brought out tanks, Kalashnikovs, and anti-aircraft guns. They also threatened to make profits off the country's oil supply, 80 percent of which is now in their possession.

The opposition is beginning to gain momentum for their cause, with support from around the world (Hilary Clinton, the United Nations, and Italy's foreign minister who cut a nonaggression treaty with Libya because it's no longer considered a state).

The difference between the movement in Libya and the insurrections going on in the rest of the Arab world is the violence that the rebel forces are apparently ready to use if they can't have their wishes granted through peaceful protest. This trend also carries over to the side of leader Qaddafi, who apparently has no problem ordering his army to kill the opposition.

Anti-government protests in Libya

by Maddy Hughes
LIBYA--Protests against the government in the Libyan capital Tripoli and other areas beginning Feb. 14 have resulted in the deaths of 200.

According to The New York Times, the State Department released a statement saying that it was "gravely concerned" about the use of lethal force on demonstrators.

Days before, President Obama condemned the government in Bahrain for withdrawing security forces from protesters in the main square of Manama, the capital of Bahrain.

State Department spokesman Philip J. Crowley said that officials in Libya had vowed to respect the rights of peaceful protest in their country.

The situations in Libya and Bahrain have been preceded by those in Iran and Egypt, and American ambassador to the United Nations Susan E. Rice said that the U.S. has criticized violence in all those places, but they are not "pushing people out or dictating that they stay."

According to The Washington Post, other countries like Singapore and England with trade relations to Libya have responded to the unrest by raising oil prices, in fear that the protests could interfere with the distribution of oil.

by Maddy Hughes
ISLAMABAD--A court issued former president Pervez Musharraf with an order of arrest Saturday for suspected involvement in the murder of 2007 prime minister Benazir Bhutto, The Huffington Post and USA Today have both reported.

This is not the first of public legal issues for the president, who was forced out of his presidency in 2008 for having reached his position through a military coup in 1999.

The case is an obstacle for Musharraf, as he was planning a comeback in the Pakistan government from abroad. He has defended himself by saying that the allegations are false and simply a part of an attempt by political rivals, who now run the government, to keep him out of power.

He also used the governmental role of Bhuttan's bereaved husband to source the accusations.

Bhuttan's assassination came after her campaign in elections that Musharraf only permitted after the public, both in Pakistan and abroad, pressured him to do so for months. She died from a gun and suicide bomb attack, which Musharraf attributed to the Taliban in Pakistan.

The Taliban denied the truth of Musharraf's statement, and it has since been said by critics, including the U.N. (though they are not involved in the search for the person responsible for the killing) that his government did not do enough to ensure Bhutto's safety. This opposition will cause for a difficult attempt at a comeback for Musharraf, who fled to Great Britain in 2008 after threats of impeachment by Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party.

Gay rights activist murdered in Uganda

by Maddy Hughes
NAIROBI, Kenya-- Ugandan gay rights activist David Kato was murdered Jan. 26 in what is suspected to be a hate crime brought on by his actions to banish homophobia, which is very prevalent in Uganda.

Witnesses said they saw the man responsible fleeing the scene, but he has not yet been detained. Kato was beaten to death with a hammer.

The background of the incident, as reported by The New York Times and The Guardian, is that Kato had recently won a court case that resulted in an injunction on the Ugandan newspaper Rolling Stone, which had placed a picture of Kato on the cover of one of their issues from late 2011, with a headline that read "Hang Them." This was just one of many issues published by the paper, whose pages identified gay people in Uganda in order to stir the public and eventually have them murdered.

In the months following the court ruling, which was made on Jan. 3, Kato told his friend and fellow gay rights activist Julia Pepe Onziema that he had been harassed and threatened.

The Human Rights Watch in Uganda said that it was too early to know the reason for the murder, but highlighted the danger of living in Uganda for gays and lesbians. This danger has arised since U.S. evangelicals and politicians visited Uganda in 2009 and reportedly held talks outlining ways to turn gays straight.

Shortly after those workshops, a bill was proposed by the Ugandan government that would have ordered life imprisonment of all publicly gay individuals. After a few European countries who provide their government with monetary aid threatened to pull their assistance, however, president Yoweri Museveni said they would forget the bill, although since that claim they have not dropped the legislation.

Linked to the news about Kato's murder is the story of a lesbian from Uganda who was discovered in Britain and ordered to be deported when she said that if she returned home, she would be tortured or killed. She told The Guardian, "Most of my friends have disappeared."

Australia hit by cyclone

by Maddy Hughes
A cyclone hit the coast of northeastern Australia in Queensland state late Wednesday and early Thursday, inflicting serious damage in an area that was just recovering from the effects of severe floods last month.

Towns hit hardest were Mission Beach, Tully, and Cardwell, all of which are popular tourist towns. No deaths have been reported as of yet, but the damage was extensive, ruining 90% of the buildings in Tully, both The Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal reported.

The storm, known as Cyclone Yasi, was named a Category 5 by the Bureau of Meteorology but later downgraded to a Category 2. Still, it was described as one of the biggest storms to hit Australia in a century.

Officials began to advise Queenland residents to flee the area on Monday and Tuesday, and managed to evacuate 30,000 people from Cairns, a town that was narrowly missed by the worst of the storm. The electricity in the town's largest evacuation center, housing 10,000 people overnight, was knocked out by the storm.

Australia, a continent that has endured similar hardships brought by Cyclone Tracy and Cyclone Larry, faces challenges to the previously strong sugar and banana industry.

Riots against president in Egypt

by Maddy Hughes

Protests broke out in cities all over Egypt on Tuesday, a day that marks some of the most alarming public sentiment in the nation's history.
The protesters gathered in efforts to bring an end to the 30-year reign of president Hosni Mubarak, who represents a government that the thousands of demonstrators said is unjust and oppressive.
While the riot police used such tools as tear gas, batons, rubber bullets and water cannons to stanch the uprising, the people consistently fought back. This resistance resulted in the deaths of two protesters and one officer thus far.
The movement is believed to have been inspired by recent similar revolts in Tunisia, both The New York Times and The Guardian have reported.
As the people who convened were mobilized by internet platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, the government has responded by limiting access to both tools.
The police force managed to drive away protesters after midnight on Wednesday, through heavy use of tear gas and the sound of firearms. However, the protesters remained vigilant. Hiding in the outskirts of Tahrir Square, they planned to keep fighting once the severe retaliation of the police force ended.

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