December 6th, 2007 14:23 EST
World Chronicle: December 6
LUANDA, Angola- According to Doctors Without Borders, an international humanitarian group, Angolan soldiers systematically rape Congolese women who, desperate to find shelter, enter the Angolan territory. As the Associated Press reports, the organization claims that its clinics received as many as 200 rape victims in only a two-week period in October. How many women did not seek treatment remains unknown; however, it is thought that this number may reach even 1,000.
Doctors Without Borders says that rapes have been a wide-spread practice among Angolan soldiers. Women who are caught by military patrols are taken to a prison where they await deportation. As days and weeks pass until they are finally transported to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), they are raped by guarding soldiers-- often in front of their children and relatives. While various rebel groups turn the DRC into a war laboratory, thousands of civilians cross the Angolan border, seeking refuge. Some figures suggest that there can be more than 400,000 Congolese living in oil-rich Angola.
PYONGYANG, North Korea- December is the month when people around the world send the largest number of letters, but the one sent by U.S. President George W. Bush to North Korea's mercurial leader Kim Jong-il comes as a surprise. Although the letter was delivered by U.S. special envoy Christopher Hill on Tuesday, during his three-day-long visit to Pyongyang, the North Korean regime made it public only today. Neither Washington nor Pyongyang revealed what President Bush had to say to Kim Jong-il, but the letter is believed to contain words about the recognition of North Korea and the establishment of diplomatic relations, if the communists dissolve their nuclear program.
North Korea promised to disband its nuclear installations and reveal all the details about its nuclear program by the end of the year. However, as Christopher Hill told the Associated Press, there had been some disagreement as to what Pyongyang should include in its final report.
The agreement between North Korea, the United States and four regional powers was reached in February and closed a difficult period during which the Pyongyang regime had been constantly threatening its neighbors with producing nuclear warheads.
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina- In a televised interview, the outgoing Argentinean president, Nestor Kirchner, promised he would not try to influence his wife, who won the October presidential election and is about to assume office. “It would be very bad for me to interfere in the job of the next government no matter what issue arises,” the Associated Press quotes him as saying to a journalist who conducted the interview.
Cristina Fernandez, who is often compared to Hillary Clinton, won by a landslide in the presidential election, as the opposition had been in shambles and unable to choose one candidate. Although Fernandez has served as a senator and has broad experience in international politics, many experts dubbed her as her husband's alter ego. Since the Argentinean constitution bars Kirchner from running for the third term, Fernandez's candidature was perceived as a move to extend the rules of Kirchner and his cabal.
BERLIN, Germany- Usually, detailed blueprints of a place where stock piles of millions of euros are would be worth a considerable sum of money; but, one hairdresser from Berlin got it for free. The documents revealing all the secrets of the German central bank's new safe lay in the barber's trash. Quoted by the Agence France-Presse, Germany's top tabloid wrote Thursday that for hours anyone could learn about “floor thickness, movement detector placements, doors, passageways and barred gates,” data that should never leave the bank's walls.
The lost safe plans is another scandal concerning missed data that has recently been discovered in Europe. In November, the British government admitted it had lost hard disks containing names and addresses of millions of citizens who were receiving social services.
MOSCOW, Russia- As the Russian news agency, Interfax, reports, President Vladimir Putin will not assume his parliamentary seat, which he won in the December 2 parliamentary election, until his second and last presidential term ends. Although Putin led the list of his United Russia party-- which garnered more than 60 percent of the vote-- it is still unknown what the outgoing president plans for his political future as the constitution sets the limit of two consecutive terms. Since the United Russia holds enough seats in the Russian parliament to amend the constitution, Putin may remain in the Kremlin even after 2008. Other alternatives speak of his becoming the prime minister, speaker of the house or the secretary of the Security Council.
RAMALLAH, West Bank- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas rejected Thursday the establishment of a provisional Palestinian state. Abbas argued that only the creation of a fully independent and sovereign country could guarantee permanent peace in the region as many Palestinians worry that provisional borders, favoring Israel, could become lasting. Referring to last week's Annapolis peace conference, the president said that although “there was talk about a state with provisional borders,” his government expressed a fundamental disagreement.
The Road Map-- an agenda designed by the Bush Administration in 2003-- sets three stages, the culmination of which is the making of an independent Palestinian state. Pushed strongly by Washington in 2003, it had been deadlocked until late 2007, when President Bush orchestrated the Annapolis peace conference and both Israeli and Palestinian authorities pledged to end the conflict until the end of his second term.