Recently in International News Category

Egyptian Muslims Protest Christian Governor

Thousands of protesters gathered in the southern Egyptian city of Qena Friday to demonstrate against the appointment of a Coptic Christian governor in the province of the same name.

Gov. Emad Mikhael had been appointed by Prime Minister Essam Sharaf on Thursday, being the only Christian of the 18 governors. Protesters, many of which were Muslim, demonstrated in hopes of forcing Mikhael's resignation.

"A non-Muslim should not rule over Muslims," Mohammed Hamza, 29, said to Bloomberg. "This guy could be shot at if he shows up here."

Tensions also arose from Mikhael's previous association with ousted President Hosni Mubarak, in which he served as a member of the criminal investigations department.

Demonstrators were also opposed to the appointment since the last province's governor was Christian, and considering a "complete failure" according to the Associated Press.

Christians and Muslims in Egypt typically live peacefully; about 10 percent of the country's population is estimated to be Christian.

Fox News reports the Egyptian government would allow the protests to continue, but would intervene if "acts of lawlessness" occurred.

President Dissolves Burkina Faso's Government

Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaore dissolved his government on Friday after an apparent mutiny by soldiers in the capital the day before.

Compaore made the announcement over national radio, stating that "[t]he secretary generals of ministerial departments will ensure the execution of current business."

Gun shot were fired outside the presidential palace in Ouagadougou on Thursday night by members of the presidential guard who were upset with benefits they were yet to receive. Firing could still be heard into Friday throughout the city.

The BBC reports three other military barracks have joined in the unrest. The soldiers are protesting for more housing and food subsidies.

This is the latest in a series of demonstrations in Burkina Faso. According to The Guardian, citizens marched to show opposition to rising food prices on April 8.

Soldiers began looting shops and commandeering cars throughout Friday. One source said as many as 40 cars had been stolen.

"The government reassures the population that measures are being taken at this moment to resolve this situation, and expresses its regret and solidarity for all the people who have suffered inconveniences in this event," Compaore said in a statement.

Reuters reported members of the presidential guard had received housing and food allowances.

North Africa Immigrants Causing Complications in Europe

Thousands of immigrants from Tunisia and Libya are encountering difficulties in route to Europe and once they arrive as well.

Italy has been a primarily target for refugees and the nation faces this issue as Tunisians and Libyans look to enter those countries after the uncertainty and instability of their own.

Tunisia underwent a revolution in January that saw its former president, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, be overthrown. Libya is currently in the midst of a civil war against Colonel Muammar Ghaddafi, in which international powers such as the United States and France are involved.

The BBC reports over 20,000 north African refugees, including Egyptians as well, have landed on the Italian island of Lampedusa in recent weeks. Malta has also seen a large influx of refugees since the revolutions began.

"From the date of January 14 (when Ben Ali left), nothing has changed. All of us here, we are not asking for anything, we only ask for a possibility to find work in Europe," said a migrant on Lampedusa to CNN.com.

Officials are concerned by this massive influx as close quarters have caused unsanitary conditions. Almost 2,000 have been transferred to a temporary refugee camp on the Italian mainland for the time being.

Another concern has been the lives lost of these refugees in route to Italy.

A boat carrying somewhere between 200 to 300 men, women and children capsized off the coast of Lampedusa. Reports vary, but the New York Times said Cmdr. Valerio Alessandro, a spokesman for the Italian port authorities, said it is believed that approximately 300 people were on the boat and 250 are still missing.

Spanish PM Won't Seek Re-election

Spain's prime minister announced Saturday that he will not seek re-election in 2012 for a third term.

Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, the Spanish Prime Minister, told Socialist Party leaders at a meeting after uncertainty about his future prospects.

Zapatero, and his party has a whole, are facing all-time lows in popularity due to the country's poor economy. The Socialist Party currently stands 15 percentage points behind the Popular Party in the polls, according to BBC News.

Local elections will be held next month. All Spanish cities and 13 of its 17 regional parliaments will be on May 22, and Zapatero's decision in unexpected to influence voters.

He was elected in 2004 following terrorist attacks on the Madrid commuter train system. Spain's economy was among the best in Europe at the time.

Currently, Spain's unemployment is nearly 20 percent, according to CNN.com.

The New York Times reports the Socialist Party's chances of winning in the upcoming elections will depend on the economy's performance and view it as likely the Popular Party will win in 2012.

Hundreds of Thousands Protest in London Against Cuts

At least 250,000 demonstrators marched in central London Saturday in opposition to the nation's serious cuts to its budgets.

Britain's austerity plan would mean cuts of about 80 billion pounds, or $130 billion, in public spending to cope with a large deficit. The plan also included the loss of nearly 500,000 public sector jobs.

The total number of protesters has varied according to sources.

The Associated Press, along with others, reported that 250,000 were present while The Guardian reported as many as 400,000.

The Guardian also reported that this is the biggest protest in the country since the beginning of the Iraq war.

Demontrators marched up Oxford Street, one of the city's most busiest, in a peaceful manner. BBC reported there were very limited acts of violence and damages given the crowd's size.

Pirates Capture Danish Yacht

Denmark's Foreign Ministry announced on Monday seven Danish citizens, including a family of five, had their yacht hijacked by Arabian Sea pirates on Thursday.

Two crew members, three teenagers and their parents were aboard the yacht when the pirates boarded.

The New York Daily News reported that the pirates are Somali after uncertainty from various source of their nationality. The seized yacht is currently headed towards Somalia.

One pirate said the hostages would be killed if there was any attempt to rescue them.

"It's almost unbearable to think that there are children involved and I can only sharply denounce the pirates' actions," Danish Foreign Minister Lene Espersen said to BBC.

Denmark is part of the international antipiracy patrols in the Arabian Sea. Denmark has traditionally preferred negotiating with pirates rather than aggressively pressuring them.

The ministry did not provide an explanation as to why they had waited until Monday to make an announcement, although they had informed the captors' families, according to The New York Times.

Turkey, Sarkozy Differ on EU Membership

Turkish leaders are at odds with French President Nicolas Sarkozy about the nation's membership in the European Union following his most recent visit to Ankara on Friday.

Sarkozy visited the Turkish capital as the current president of the G-20, technically not on a state visit as a European leader. Nevertheless, President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan are disappointed with Sarkozy's treatment of their country.

"We would have liked to welcome the President of the French Republic, but on Friday he is not coming as president of the French Republic, but as chairman of the G20," Erdogan told the Agence France-Presse news agency, according to Reuters.

Reuters reports that Turkey would like support from France to improve its candidacy as a member of the EU. French officials told reporters that this was not the point of Sarkozy's visit.

Sarkozy spent six hours in Ankara, meeting separately with Gul and Erdogan.

France, Germany and Austria are all opponents to Turkey's EU membership since its entry talks in 2005, according to Bloomberg. A conflict with Cyprus has hindered the nation's progress.

"I believe it is necessary to have as close relations as possible, without going for full membership of the European Union, which would not actually be beneficial for either Turkey or the European Union," Sarkozy said, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Sarkozy cited French public opinion as another motivating factor for his stance.

Japanese Suspend Whaling

Anti-whaling activists have forced Japanese officials to call back a fleet that annually visits the Antarctic to hunt the sea mammal.

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has repeatedly taken actions to prevent Japanese ships for this yearly hunt. Government officials were concerned about the safety of their crew and recalled the expedition.

The attacks have not caused any injuries or major damage to the vessels, said Tatsuya Nakaoku, a fisheries agency official, according to the AP. The protesters did get a rope entangled in the propeller on a harpoon vessel, causing it to slow down, he said.

Japan has been permitted to hunt whales by the International Whaling Commission since 1986, under the stipulations that it is for scientific research.

Activists, such as Sea Shepherd, feel it is a cover since all unused meat is allowed to be sold commercially in Japan.

The four vessel fleet of 180 people was aiming to catch close to 850 minke whales this season, reported Reuters.

The Christian Science Monitor reports that the fleet had caught between 30 and 100 whales thus far before suspending the hunt.

Anti-Government Protest in Algeria Muffled

Algerian authorities have put down actions by anti-government demonstrators both on the streets and the web.

Similar to events in the region, such as Tunisia and Egypt, Algeria has also experienced rallies against a leader who has been in power for over a decade. President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has been in power since 1999.

According to the New York Times, witnesses saw thousands of police officers with clubs prevented protesters from marching in the May 1 Square in the capital of Algiers. Several arrests were made.

An additional measure has been taken by Bouteflika's government to control the uprising by shutting down the Internet, according to the International Business Times. Online communuication and social media were major tools in the the Tunisian and Egyptian protests.

Varying reports have come out about the number of participants in the demonstration, said the New York Times. Some sources, including rally organizers, said there were thousands while others have said as low as a few dozen.

Unrest has been a common sense of atmosphere in the country for years, yet the large amount of police suggest the government is much more cautious in light of recent events.

"I am sorry to say the government has deployed a huge force to prevent a peaceful march. This is not good for Algeria's image," said Mostafa Boshashi, head of the Algerian League for Human Rights.

Serbia Latest Country to Face Protests

Over 50,000 protesters rallied outside of the Serbian parliament building in Belgrade on Saturday in support of early elections.

Leaders of the Serbian Progressive Party organized the protests to oust the current party in power, the Democratic Party. The next set of elections is set to be in mid-2012.

In a Bloomberg report, Tomislav Nikolic, head of the Serbian Progressive Party, blamed the Democratic Party for "ruining the country."

Demontrators from across the country participated in the protests, riding in on buses to take part, according to BBC News.

Serbia has become the last country to see large examples of opposition towards the current government, following several Arab and Middle Eastern nations, such as Tunisia and Egypt.

Part of the reasoning behind the urgency of the demands comes from the fact that Serbia hopes to become a candidate to join the European Union, Bloomberg reports. An estimated $3 billion of foreign investment is expected next year.

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