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Published:November 5th, 2007 13:50 EST
Breaking News from Around The World November 5, 2007

Breaking News from Around The World November 5, 2007

By Krzys Wasilewski

AFRICA

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia. Over 600 governmental soldiers could have been killed since September, the Agence France-Presse reports. On Sunday, rebels informed news agencies that from October 26 to November 1, they had managed to assassinate as many as 270 troops. The Ogaden National Liberation Front, which took responsibility for the attacks, warned that it would continue its fight for independence of the western province of Ogaden. The government in Addis Ababa rejected these figures. Due to media blockade imposed by Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, it is hard to confirm the news.

The increasing restive national government has expelled Doctors without Borders and the International Committee for the Red Cross from Odagen, saying both organizations were not sticking to purely relief actions.

The Ogaden region, inhabited by Somali tribes, has been trying to win independence from Ethiopia since 1984. 

AMERICAS

GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala. South America has voted left again, this time the Guatemalan people choosing a poverty crusader over an anti-crime former intelligence director. Alvaro Colom, the candidate of the center-left National Unity of Hope Party, scored 53 percent of the vote, leaving his main rival, the conservative Otto Perez Molina, with 47 percent. Almost half of the six million allowed to vote visited voting booths on Sunday. Colom – a vice finance minister turned businessman – pledged to create millions of new jobs and tame poverty in the country where most people have to live for around $2. On the other hand, crime was Perez's main agenda; the former intelligence director planned to introduce the death penalty and stricter laws.

It's been only 11 years since the end of a 36-year-long civil war. In the conflict where the United States played an active role, over 200,000 people were killed and thousands more disappeared. Guatemala is also one of the most dangerous countries in Latin America when it comes to crime and drug trafficking. It is reported that in the country of 12 million people, every year the police report 6,000 cases of homicide.

ASIA

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan. On the third day of the emergency rule, the police dispersed around one hundred lawyers, gathered at a national court. Witnesses say that batons and tear gas were widely used. The police brigades are reported to have moved in on the court the moment the lawyers tried to get onto the streets to stage a protest against President Pervez Musharraf. Despite not being able to manifest their discontent, the lawyers said they had reached their goal by gaining world media attention. They also pledged not to appear in front of new judges, appointed by the president after he fired those who had opposed the emergency rule. 

News agencies inform that around 700 political activists were arrested last night.

President Musharraf introduced the emergency rule on Saturday to “save Pakistan, to put it back on the right track.” According to the president, it was the only way to stop pro-Taliban extremists who were endangering the country's security. On Sunday, Pakistani prime minister said that the elections scheduled for January 2008 might be postponed up to a year.

The United States has voiced its concerns about the situation for its crucial ally. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that she expected Pakistan to return to the democratic course; however, when asked whether the U.S. would stop financing Pakistan she added bluntly that Washington could not “ignore or set aside our concerns about terrorism.” Since 2001, the U.S. has contributed $11 billion to Pakistan.

EUROPE

BERLIN, Germany. Although Chancellor Angela Merkel is breaking all popularity records in Europe, her political base at home is withering. Two years after Merkel's conservative CDU/CSU and the socialist SPD parties formed the “grand coalition,” Germans are far from content with their economical and political situation. Not only has unemployment been falling slower than Merkel promised in 2005, but also more and more people have decided to emigrate to Great Britain and the United States to seek their futures. It’s no surprise that her socialist coalition partner (SPD) has turned left and begun to accuse the chancellor of not caring about ordinary citizens. The problem of social exclusion is especially potent in former East Germany, where unemployment reaches 20 percent and entire towns disappear when Germans move westward. At a meeting with SPD leaders last weekend, Merkel demanded that they stop attacking their own government since both parties are falling behind considerably in opinion polls. The meeting ended unresolved; another round of talks was scheduled for next week.

The 2005 parliamentary election was implacable. SPD, which had been ruling with the Green Party for eight years, won only two seats less than their conservative rival, CDU/CSU. Since neither party was able to form a coalition with smaller parties, they decided to govern together. Although unemployment began to decrease and the country's industry accelerated, many ordinary Germans have not noticed the positive change they were promised before the election.

WARSAW, Poland. It was a once-in-a-lifetime picture for camera operators from around the world: President Lech Kaczynski dismissing his twin brother, Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski from his post. The latter acknowledged the results of the latest parliamentary election where his conservative party had lost to its main rival – the liberal Civic Platform. Nevertheless, the president congratulated the outgoing prime minister for bringing Poland back on the right track, stimulating economy and restoring pride to Poles.

The new government is expected to be formed late this week. Donald Tusk, the leader of the victorious party, is scheduled to meet with Lech Kaczynski on Tuesday. According to the Polish constitution, the president appoints the prime minister from the largest party in parliament.

MIDDLE EAST

JERUSALEM, ISRAEL. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Monday that all sides involved in the peace process in the Middle East were determined to sign a final accord before the end of the presidency of George W. Bush. WE Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice who met with Abbas today supported his words. At a press conference held after the talks, Rice said that she was “quite confident that the will is there on both sides that people want to end this conflict.”

The central issues of a peace agreement are setting the borders of the Palestinian state and making a decision on Jerusalem. Palestinians want the city divided between the two countries whereas Israel hopes to keep its historical capital within its borders.

President George W. Bush has been calling for an independent Palestinian state since his first term.

 

 

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