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Published:October 25th, 2007 15:08 EST
Breaking News From Around the World

Breaking News From Around the World

By Krzys Wasilewski

EUROPE

LONDON, Great Britain. It seems that Great Britain has joined a growing number of U.S. partners fed up with the turmoil in Afghanistan. With 7,000 troops, Great Britain, apart from the United States, has the biggest military presence in this war-shattered country. It could change after the speech given by Air Chief Marshall Jock Stirrup, the Chief of Defense Staff, who signaled that the key to turning Afghanistan into a democratic country lies in politics and economy, not in the number of soldiers. Many experts have received the speech as a sign that the British army may be looking for a way to get out of Afghanistan.

SOFIA, Bulgaria. Local elections in Bulgaria, which are to be held on Sunday, prove that technology can foster corruption. In the first local elections since the country joined the European Union on January 1, 2007, Bulgarian authorities today have informed that voters will not be allowed to bring with them any cameras or cell phones. This surprising move is the official response to numerous allegations that some local politicians have been buying votes and – as proof – demanding their supporters to take a picture of their ballot. The price of a single vote remains unknown; nevertheless, it would be a substantial amount for many people in the country, considering Bulgaria has the lowest national income in the entire European Union. The scandal indicates that, despite promises, the Bulgarian government is loosing the war with widespread corruption. European Union authorities have not commented on the situation.

AMERICAS

MEXICO CITY, Mexico. The Associated Press informs that at least 18 people were killed in an oil platform accident when a fierce storm hit the Gulf of Mexico. According to witnesses, the waves reached up to 25 feet, destroying a drilling rig in seconds and throwing dozens of oil workers into the rough sea. Rescue teams have managed to save 61 injured; seven people are still missing. Despite the previous alarming reports about the amount of oil spilt into the sea, subsequent estimations turned out to be more optimistic. Representatives of Pemex, Mexico's oil monopoly and the operator of the platform said it might take up to five days to fix the rig and restore the platform to its former condition. American drivers, however, can sleep peacefully as the accident should not impact the already high oil prices in the United States.

WASHINGTON, USA. If we are to believe a recent congressional report, the United States is not prepared for a dirty bomb scenario. As terrorists may not be able to obtain a fully operated nuclear bomb, they can easily buy radioactive waste and detonate it in one of America's major cities. The country lacks laboratories that could test people potentially exposed to radiation, should the scenario come true. Rep. Brad Miller, D-N.C., chairman of the subcommittee which produced the report, told the Associated Press that “learning how poorly prepared we are for a dirty bomb, a radiological attack,” he didn't think governmental authorities had done enough to arrange contingencies to prevent probable terrorist attacks. The report cites a case of a former KGB spy, Alexander Litvinienko, poisoned with radioactive substance in one of London's hotels. Litvinienko died in a matter of several days – but not before threatening 160 American guests of the same hotel with radiation.

AFRICA

DARFUR, Sudan. Only yesterday, the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) generated media interest by declining to participate in a peace conference held this weekend, and today, the rebel group has appeared in world news reports again. As the Associated Press informs, the JEM rebels stormed into a neighboring province and kidnapped two foreign oil workers. The abductees are said to be a Canadian and an Iraqi. In an ultimatum sent to Sudanese media, the rebels gave foreign corporations one week to pull out from Sudan; otherwise, the workers would be killed.

TRIPOLI, Libya. As the eyes of world media are focused on the Sunday peace conference on Darfur to be held in Tripoli, the small Libyan town of Sirte witnessed Chadian rebel forces sign a peace accord that can end an over 30-year civil war in the North African country. Among the observers were the Sudanese president, Omar al-Bashir and Libyan government officials. Chad's president, Idriss Deby, and four insurgent groups promised to work together towards the restoration of democracy and development to the country, where the majority of people live for less than one dollar. The United Nations consider Chad the fifth poorest country in the world. The country won independence from France in 1960, but only five years later, it plunged into a civil war between the one party government and various Muslim groups. The war intensified when in Chad geologists discovered vast resources of oil in the late 1990s.

ASIA

BEIJING, China. Hopes were high, but the reality was again disappointing. After hours of intensive talks between Chinese officials and a United Nations envoy, no agreement has been reached as to what to do with the present situation in Myanmar. While Beijing has criticized the Myanmar government for brutal quenching of democratic protests two weeks ago, it rejected any sanctions proposed by the U.N. and Western powers. China has been another Asian country where Ibrahim Gambari, the U.N. special envoy, has been trying to orchestrate a compromise, which could bring Myanmar on the democratic path. By refusing to influence its client state, China has once again proved that in the world of diplomacy human rights and democracy are less important than national interest.

 

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