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Published:November 15th, 2007 14:20 EST
World News for November 15 2007: President Musharraf has Achieved the Unexpected

World News for November 15 2007: President Musharraf has Achieved the Unexpected

By Krzys Wasilewski

AFRICA

KHARTOUM, Sudan- The United Nations warns that unless more countries contribute troops to the multi-national force, which is to be deployed to Darfur early next year, it may fail in bringing peace to the war-shattered region. According to Agence France-Presse, a U.N. official responsible for peacekeeping missions said, If that force was to know humiliation in the early stages of its deployment, then it would be very hard to recover from such a humiliation. "

Although a number of countries have pledged to send large military contingents, now only half of the 26,000-strong force is ready, with many UN members reneging on their promises. The opposition comes also from the Sudanese authorities who have been blocking the participation of non-African soldiers in the mission. According to UN representatives, without Scandinavian, Nepalese and Thai units, the peacekeeping force may not be able to live up to high expectations.

Fights between the predominantly black population of the southern region of Darfur and Arab militias, supported by the central government continue. Started in the 1990s, the conflict has claimed over 200,000 lives and forced around 2.2 million people to flee their homes and move to refugee camps scattered across Sudan and neighboring countries.

AMERICAS

SANTIAGO, Chile- A 7.7 magnitude earthquake which devastated villages near the Andes foothills yesterday left two people dead and more than 150 injured.

According to Associated Press estimates, over 4,000 houses could have been affected by the quake, forcing 150,000 people to a life in schools and tents.

There is much fear and despair, and that is normal, " the AP quotes Chile`s president, who visited the region today. Together with her four ministers, the president talked to the villagers and promised to send all the necessary aid to the demolished villages.

Among the affected cities were the port city of Tocopilla and Maria Elena. In the latter, the quake severely damaged more than 70 percent of all households, leaving residents without running water and electricity.

ASIA

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan- The emergency rule imposed by President Musharraf almost two weeks ago has achieved one unexpected goal: it has united the up-till-now divided opposition.

The former prime minister and now the main rival of Musharraf, Benazir Bhutto, called on the other parties to form a government that would oversee the January parliamentary election.

I am talking to the other opposition parties to find out whether they are in a position to come together, " the Associated Press quotes Bhutto. The former prime minister is also said to have phoned her predecessor and political opponent from the 1990s, Nawaz Sharif. The two were supposed to discuss the current situation in Pakistan; however, it is very improbable that Bhutto could work in concert with Sharif. Sharif was ousted from his office in 1999 by a military coupe led by the incumbent president.

The emergency rule, which was introduced on November 3, has suspended the constitution and put the next year`s parliamentary elections in doubt. Although President Musharraf announced last Sunday that the elections would take place as planned " by January 9 " hundreds of people are still in prison, including Bhutto who has been under house arrest since last Friday.

EUROPE

WARSAW, Poland- The military court decided to arrest six Polish soldiers who had served in Afghanistan earlier this year. Although the court did not say whether the soldiers were responsible for the death of several Afghan civilians last August, he thought it necessary to keep the accused in custody until the end of the trial.

Last August, the six Polish soldiers were on patrol when they were attacked by Taliban rebels. Panic-stricken and confused, they began to shoot at random, using grenades and machine guns. Even after the rebels fled, the Poles continued firing, smashing down the nearby village. Among the casualties were women and children. This is the first time in the history of the Polish army when its soldiers have been charged with committing military crimes.

MIDDLE EAST

DAMASCUS, Syria- Soon the United States may be home for the largest diaspora of Iraqis as more and more of them apply for permanent residence in America.

In an interview given to the Associated Press, a U.N. official responsible for refugees in Damascus, said that more than half of 6,700 Iraqis who applied for resettlement this year, wanted to live in the United States. The U.S. State Department refused to comment on the issue.

There are approximately 1.5 million Iraqis in Syria, most of them refugees. Although they share the same religion and language as Syrians, the government in Damascus has been trying to relocate them to other countries. Such large numbers of newcomes strain the national budget and cause problems for education and health care services.

So far, a number of European countries such as the Netherlands, Sweden and Norway have received several hundred Iraqis, some of whom have been working for those countries` military units in Iraq.