April 27, 2009

100 Dead Following Tribal Confict in Southern Sudan

The act of ethnic cleansing has caused more than 100 deaths in Southern Sudan this weekend, the violence is said to have been started by deep-rooted tribal differences.

During the fighting, many Lou Nuer tribe were killed, some feel that it may have been in retaliation for an attack in March on a rival ethnic group, the Murle, in which more than 400 died. Officials fear now that back-and-forth violence in Jonglei State could escalate unless there is decisive intervention. Only one company of United Nations peacekeepers is currently on the ground.

“The problem with the war is, it brought in large quantities of weapons, so it is much more lethal,” said David Gressly, the United Nations regional coordinator for southern Sudan said in an interview with the New York TImes.

Initial fighting is said to have began over cattle rustling by the Murle. Left-over weapons from the country's civil war that ended in 2005 have been used to fuel the conflict.

Child abduction has also been a common occurrence in the area during times of upheaval. Child Protection International has taken notice of the situation and are dedicated to implementing child registration in hopes of easing the retrieval of such children.

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April 20, 2009

optimism emerges at summit conference

President Barack Obama shook hands with America's hemispheric neighbors Saturday, at the 5th ever summit conference in Trinidad and Tobago.

Obama proclaimed a new dawn for relations in southern regions, which had been marked by bitter disagreements in recent years with the United States.

"I have a lot to learn and I very much look forward to listening and figuring out how we can work together more effectively," Obama said as reported by MNSBC.

The two-day summit led critics of the Obama administration with doubts.

Senator John Ensign, Republican of Nevada, said in an interview with the New York Times, that it was “irresponsible for the president” to be seen laughing and joking with “one of the most anti-American leaders in the entire world,” referring to Mr. Chávez.

However, many others are hopeful that the summit will be a doorway to such discussions of the US trade embargo and political prisoners.

According to the New York Times, Obama also sought to calibrate his message, saying Sunday that he had “great differences” with Mr. Chávez and insisting that freedom for the Cuban people would remain the guiding principle of his foreign policy.

April 13, 2009

3 Pirates Killed, American Captian Saved

3 pirates were shot by U.S. military forces in order to save an American ship captain who had been hijacked earlier in the week.

53-year-old freighter Capt. Richard Phillips was taken hostage Wednesday by pirates who tried to hijack the U.S.-flagged Maersk Alabama. According to the Star Tribune, Phillips was held on a small lifeboat being dragged by a larger vessel.
“I share the country’s admiration for the bravery of Captain Phillips and his selfless concern for his crew,” Mr. Obama said in a statement. “His courage is a model for all Americans.”
The mission had been personally approved by President Barack Obama who was quoted saying that Phillips was in "imminent danger" of being killed.

The mission was completed with a mere three shots. one each by snipers firing from a distance at dusk, using night-vision scopes, the officials said to the New York Times.

A fourth sniper had surrendered earlier in the day and may face life in U.S. prison.

April 6, 2009

Obama Calls on U.N. to Punish North Korea

President Obama urges the U.N. Sunday to punish North Korea over breaking international rules surrounding the failed launch of a missile.

“This provocation underscores the need for action — not just this afternoon at the U.N. Security Council, but in our determination to prevent the spread of these weapons,” Mr. Obama said as reported by The New York Times. “Rules must be binding. Violations must be punished. Words must mean something.”

A meeting with the Security Council Sunday ended no action being taken.

According to The Star Tribune, North Korea threatened the peace and stability of our global world, Obama said.
Obama's speech in Prague was given in front of over 20,000 in attendance.

U.S. and South Korean officials claim the entire rocket, including whatever payload it carried, ended up in the ocean but many world leaders fear the launch indicates the capacity to fire a long-range missile.

March 27, 2009

Obama plans to increase pressure in Middle East

Obama declared Friday that he plans to send 4,000 more military troops to Afghanistan and increase aid to Pakistan in order to "disrupt, dismantle and defeat" the terrorist al-Qaida network in both countries.

In his announcement, Obama warned that iintelligence estimates that al Qaeda “is actively planning attacks on the U.S. homeland from its safe haven in Pakistan.”

According to The Chicago Tribune, Obama called the situation "increasingly perilous."

Obama's approach replicates that of one taken over two years ago. The 4,000 military troops will be added to the 17,000 he had already sent shortly after taking office.

In a report by The New York Times, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California said the president’s plan “is wisely centered on dismantling al-Qaeda and denying safe havens in both Afghanistan and Pakistan to those who would attack the United States.”

There are currently around 65,000 international troops stationed in Afghanista. Reports led that over half of those may be American.

March 16, 2009

Europe Unsure about Accepting Guantanamo Detainees

European officials that have previously agreed to house detainees from the U.S. detention center in Guantanamo Bay are becoming increasingly uneasy about the security risks that could come from their decisions.

Whether or not the U.S. will share full details regarding each prisoner is at the top of several European countries concerns.

According to The Star Tribune, Obama has suspended military trials for suspected terrorists and announced he will close the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as well as overseas sites where the CIA has held some detainees.

Countries such as Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, Belgium, Switzerland have been main supporters in the Obama Administration's decision to close the camp in Cuba.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton recently told reporters for The New York Times she was “quite encouraged at the positive, receptive responses we’ve been getting” to requests for help in accepting Guantánamo detainees.

Talks between the Obama Administration officials and several European Union delagates are scheduled to meet Monday to begin the transfer of detainees.

March 8, 2009

World Bank Predicts '09 Economic Crisis

The World Bank has released a report that predicts the international economy will shrink for the first time since WWII.

Global trade has been predicted to shrink to it's lowest point in 80 years due to junk morgages that began in the United States.

The bank did not provide a specific estimate but in an interview with The New York Times, the World Bank. said its economists would be publishing one in the next several weeks.

The report also announced a meeting Sunday for 20 of the world's most industrialized nations.

According to The Star Tribune, a group of 129 countries face a shortfall of $270 to $700 billion this year, the World Bank says.

The economic crisis has affected many different countries in varying levels of severity.

February 25, 2009

9 Killed in Turkish Plane Crash Near Amsterdam

A Turkish Airlines jet crashed Wednesday near Amsterdam's Schiphol International Airport killing at least 9 passengers and injuring dozens.

In an interview with The New York Times, Michel Bezuijen, the acting mayor of nearby Haarlemmermeer said there was no immediate word on the cause of the accident. The weather was reported to have been calm with light drizzle.

Amsterdam airport authorities said the plan left Istanbul with 128 passengers and seven crew members. Four were reported to have been American.

According the The Star Tribune, a spokesman for investigators said two pilots and an apprentice pilot were among the dead and confirmed that the plane's flight data recorders had been found and were to be analyzed by experts.

Witnesses and authorities reported that no fire had started following the crash and many feel fewer casualties were a result.

February 22, 2009

11 Killed During Insurgent Attack

According to The Star Tribune, an insurgent attack Saturday on a mosque in Mogadishu, Somalia has left 11 dead and 15 others injured.

The attack occurred at an African Union Peacekeeping base and also a marketplace in the area. Witnesses told The Star Tribune that the al-Shabab insurgent group fired mortars onto the base.

In an interview, Sheik Muktar Robow, a spokesman for the al-Shabab insurgent group, insisted that "Our fighters have carried out two suicide attacks on the infidels in Mogadishu, inflicting heavy losses."

As reported by CNN, many of the dead were preparing for daily prayer when the attacks began.

Conflicts such as this are not uncommon in the area since Somalia's last stable government in 1991.

February 15, 2009

Ecstacy Addictions Affect Upper-Class Teenagers in Brazil

Money, girls and all-night parties were just some of the factors that led 21-year-old Sander Mecca to the life ecstasy use.

According to The New York Times, Mecca was arrested at the age of 21 for dealing drugs and spent 2 years in lock down.

Mecca was reported to have taken up to six pills in the span of 12 hours during his years of use.

Stories like Mecca are becoming more and more common reports The Huffington Post

Many pills have been arriving in South America from abroad. Just last year, police reportedly seized 211,000 pills.

Prison sentences are no longer being given for drug use and treatment sentences are opening the doors for corrupt officers to accept thousands of dollars worth of bribes.

The extreme party atmosphere is also suspected to keep drug usage on the rise.

February 11, 2009

Iranian President Opens Dialogue with Obama Administration

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told crowds Tuesday that he was ready to open dialogue with the Obama administration while celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Iranian revolution.

According to The New York Times, the talks are to be based “on mutual respect and in a fair atmosphere.?

The peaceful comments were coupled with a verbal attack on Former President Bush. Ahmadinehad said that he and his supporters should be “tried and punished? for their actions in the Middle East. T

“My expectation is, in the coming months, we will be looking for openings that can be created where we can start sitting across the table, face to face; of diplomatic overtures that will allow us to move our policy in a new direction," President Obama said in a news conference.

As reported by The Star Tribune, Ahmadinejad also publically announced that Iran “is a superpower? and should be treated as one. He based his comments on the recent launch of its first locally made satellite into space.

February 4, 2009

Iran Launches First Domestically Made Satillite

Iran has launched it's first domestically created satellite Tuesday, worrying the U.S and other world powers.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahamdinejad said the launching celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution marking the country's independence from the Shah.

According the The New York Times, Ahamdinejad stressed that it was Iranian experts who had built the satellite and the rocket. “With God’s help and the desire for justice and peace,? he said, “the official presence of the Islamic republic was registered in space.?

The link between satellites and nuclear weapons has made the U.S. uncomfortable.

State Department spokesman Robert A. Wood told The Chicago Tribune, "Iran's ongoing efforts to develop its missile delivery capabilities remain a matter of deep concern," State Department spokesman Robert A. Wood told The New York Times. "Iran's development of a space-launch vehicle capable of putting a satellite into orbit establishes the technical basis from which Iran could develop long-range ballistic missile systems."

In contrast, Charles D. Ferguson, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations told The New York Times, “It’s a way for the Iranian people to stand proud,? he said, “but to do it in a way that is still within a civilian program.?

January 27, 2009

Britian Angered by Gaza Aid Appeal

According to The Star Tribune, recent fighting and Israeli destruction in Gaza, two major British broadcasters have refused to air a charity appeal for Gazans which has created an uproar from British lawmakers and protesters.

Both the British Broadcasting Corp. and the Sky News empire have refused to air an emotional video asking for charitable donations for Gazans in need. The companies hold that they must protect their journalistic impartiality.

As reported by The New York Times, BBC officials have received nearly 11,000 complaints in the past three years following heated debates among editors and reporters.

It has been reported that Sky News had given into pressure from the Israeli government. Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor responds, "this is an internal British matter," he said.

Several other British broadcasters such as, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 did air the Gaza appeal Monday evening.