November 29th, 2007 13:59 EST
News Summary: November 29
HARARE, Zimbabwe- A European Union-Africa summit, which is to be held in Portugal, in December, is under question with Great Britain warning it will not participate in the initiative. Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced that he would not attend the summit unless the European Union withdrew its invitation for Zimbabwe's president, Robert Mugabe. The two countries have been at odds with each other since Mugabe snatched power in the 1980s and began to severely criticize the former metropolis for Zimbabwe's falling economy and human rights standards.
Meanwhile, the Senegalese president, Abdoulaye Wade, has been probing whether there is a chance that the British may send their representatives to the summit. In the Zimbabwean capital, Harare, he called on Gordon Brown to reverse his decision since Great Britain's boycott would stalemate crucial talks for the entire continent of Africa. In response, President Mugabe slashed the Senegalese initiative, saying that, “Zimbabwe will not brook such interferences...unhelpful parallel initiatives.”
WASHINGTON, DC, US- Nothing makes politics more interesting than quarrels among the candidates of the same party. The eight GOP contenders who took part in the CNN/YouTube debate in St. Petersburg, Florida on Wednesday, must have known this simple truth since they mainly targeted one another rather than focusing on Democratic presidential hopefuls, as it could have been expected. With topics varying from immigration to abortion to homosexual relationships to religion and the war in Iraq-- to name only the few-- the eight candidates had a great deal of room for maneuver. Asked about his policy on immigration while being a mayor of New York, Rudy Guliani, who leads in most national polls, said that “New York City was not a sanctuary city.” Confronted with the same question, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee said that although he was against illegal immigration, he thought children of illegal aliens should receive some help from the government. “In all due respect, we are a better country than to punish children for what their parents did. We're a better country than that.”
John McCain, who for a very long time was the Republicans' favorite, said that the US should continue to fight Islamic terrorism because the enemy would not refrain from attacking America on its own soil. “If you read Zarqawi, if you read bin Laden, if you read Zawahiri, read what they say. They want to follow us home. They want Iraq to be a base for al-Qaida to launch attacks against the United States.”
With state primaries starting the second week of January, the candidates are already straining to establish themselves as experienced statesmen who remain solid in their opinions. After numerous squabbles in the Democratic Party between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, also the Republicans have taken on each other. During the CNN debate it was a Romney-Giuliani duel which gained attention; however, it is expected that further in the race, other candidates will try to use the similar tactic.
SEOUL, South Korea- By the end of the year, North Korea will completely close its nuclear reactors and provide the United States with all the necessary details concerning the program, US special envoy, Christopher Hill said today. This announcement was made in Seoul, where Hill will hold talks with representatives of regional powers before leaving for North Korea on Monday. The Associated Press quotes him as saying that the Pyongyang regime has “begun to put together their list, I think it's pretty close to being ready.”
Earlier this year, the North Koreans agreed to disband their nuclear program that the Bush Administration perceived as the first step to producing nuclear warheads. In response, Washington promised to send 1 million tons of oil and remove North Korea from the list of terrorist states. It will enable the communist regime to trade with all countries freely.
North Korea has been in the state of war with its southern neighbor since 1950. In 1953 a cease fire was signed; however, no peace accord has been reached since then with each country claiming to be the only representative of the Korean people.
KIEV, Ukraine- The three-month political crisis in Ukraine came to an end today with pro-Western parties finally forming a ruling coalition. President Yushchenko's Our Ukraine-People's Self-Defense Bloc and his close friend-turned-sworn enemy Yulia Tymoshenko's party, which won the early September parliamentary election, put their personal ambitions aside and, with a slim majority in the parliament, can govern. Roman Zvarych, who is an interim house speaker, told Agence France-Press that the president and Tymoshenko “just held a joint meeting during which they decided to create a coalition.”
Yushchenko and Tymoshenko were the leaders of the Orange Revolution which toppled the Moscow-backed government in 2005 and gave Ukraine the first truly democratic elections. The former was elected president and nominated the latter as prime minister. Soon after, however, the two politicians began to accuse each other of autocracy and Tymoshenko had to resign. She was succeeded by Victor Yanukovich-- supported by Russia and big business--- who reversed the democratic course and exercised less pro-Western policy.
BAGHDAD, Iraq- The northern province of Hawija may soon be free of Al-Quaida fighters with the American forces winning support of 6,000 Sunni Arab residents. In a rare example of cooperation between the coalition forces and the Iraqi people, security checkpoints in the province will be guarded by volunteers who, for less than $300 a month, will join the already deployed Iraqi soldiers and policemen. The US military perceives Hawija as a crucial part of Iraq, which leads to the oil-rich northern regions. “Hawija is the gateway through which all our communities-- Kurdish, Turkomen and Arab alike-- can become unsafe,” said an Iraqi official quoted by the Associated Press. In the past several month, Al-Queda has launched numerous attacks- the most recent one was carried out yesterday by a female suicide bomber and wounded seven U.S. soldiers and five Iraqis.
The figures provided by the Associated Press indicate that the number of American casualties in Iraq has dropped significantly. Whereas in June, there were 101 U.S. soldiers killed, in November this number fell to 35.