November 13th, 2007 14:27 EST
World Chronicle: November 13
KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo. Around 25,000 people have fled refugee camps as a rebel group attacked nearby military posts. In the country the size of Western Europe, thousands of militiamen from various countries are operating, successfully destabilizing fragile democracy. According to the Reuters agency, the insurgents who attacked the camp belonged to a Tutsi-dominated group. The refuges found their shelter near the town of Goma, at the Rwandan border.
The civil war that had ravaged the Democratic Republic of Congo ended only recently with the first democratically elected president in over 30 years sworn in last year. But even with the central government in effect and United Nations troops scattered across the country, the situation in the DRC remains tense. Various rebel groups, mainly from neighboring Rwanda and Burundi mount violent raids every now and then, forcing the civilian population to the live in refugee camps.
WASHINGTON, D.C., USA. President George W. Bush may be a lame duck but he is not going to lay down his arms. On board Air Force One, the president announced that he had decided to veto health and educational bills, sponsored by the Democrats. Bush said that although being elected as the party which could guarantee fiscal stability, Democratic Party is “acting like a teenager with a new credit card.” The bills were introduced as a landmark in the Democratic agenda and aimed at spreading governmental help to more people. However, according to the president and many Republicans, considering the present state of the country's finances, the bills would only stretch the already overstretched budget.
The Associated Press also reports, that President Bush has signed the new Pentagon budget, which reaches $471 billion, exceeding the previous one by nine percent.
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan. Former prime minister and opposition leader, Benazir Bhutto appealed to President Pervez Musharraf to step down and call for a new presidential election. On Sunday Musharraf confirmed that despite the emergency rule the parliamentary election would take place as planned, that is by January 9. Bhutto has been under house arrest since Friday.
MANILA, Philippines. A member of the Philippine House of Representatives, Wahab Akbar, was killed last night in what appears to have been a bomb attack. Also two bystanders lost their lives. The police released a statement in which it claimed that Akbar had been the target of the assassination. The Associated Press quotes the country's interior minister as saying that the representative had received a number of death threats before and “the indications are that that was the case both in terms of location of the bomb and the manner it was set off.”
Akbar was a member of one of Muslim rebel groups which renounced violence in 1996 in favor of participation in official politics. It is suspected that behind the bombing stood Akbar's former colleagues.
BERLIN, Germany. The German Vice Chancellor, Franz Muentefering, has resigned today, starting new animosities in Chancellor Angela Merkel's ruling coalition Although Germany is renowned for its predilection for stability and order, the country's political scene is everything but. It's been the second year since two main parties – the conservative CDU/CSU and socialist SPD – formed the “grand coalition” to pull Germany out of economical malaise. The government succeeded in decreasing over 10-percent unemployment and accelerating the economy, but the personal squabbles between both parties leaders may erupt the coalition.
Socialist Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the current foreign minister, is supposed to take over Muentefering's job. If the latter was an old party activists without high ambitions, then Steinmeier's expectations border the country's top posts. He has already criticized Merkel for being too tough on Russia and China for their human rights abuses and called the chancellor for more welfare politics. Gaining in popularity at home and abroad, Steinmeier may be Merkel's main rival in the next election.
ANKARA, Turkey. In retaliation for today's killing of four Turkish soldiers, the government in Ankara ordered its air force to bombard several villages in northern Iraq. According to the Turkish military, the villages were desolate and there have been no reports on any deaths. The air strike has been the first such an action since Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with US President George W. Bush in Washington last week.
The relations between Turkey and Kurdish rebels have deteriorated significantly since the start of the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. The main opposition comes from Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which demand independence for 20 million Kurds inhabiting Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria. Last week, Washington called the PKK a terrorist organization and pledged to provide Turkey and Iraq with the appropriate help to fight the rebels. Nevertheless, it is approximated that around 50 Turkish soldiers have been killed in the last three months.