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Published:December 11th, 2007 17:04 EST
World Chronicle: December 11

World Chronicle: December 11

By Krzys Wasilewski

AFRICA

ALGIERS, Algeria. Forty five people were killed and over 40 wounded in two subsequent bomb explosions in the country's capital, Algiers. News agencies report that the first bomb, which was detonated near the Constitutional Court, killed 30 passers-by; the other exploded in the neighborhood of a United Nations mission and claimed 15 lives. According to the Algiers Network 3 radio, the two explosions occurred within 10 minutes.

Although suspects have not been named yet, it is believed that behind the attacks stood the local cell of Al Queda. The autocratic but secular government has refused to allow Islamic parties – widely popular in Algeria – to participate in the country's political life and has orchestrated several military offensives against Al Queda and its supporters.

KHARTOUM, Sudan. An oil plant, owned by a Chinese company, has been seized by a rebel group operated in the war-shattered province of Darfur. As the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) told Agence France-Presse Tuesday: “We attacked the oilfield of Rahaw this morning at 6:00 am (0300 GMT) and took control of the facility.” The rebels said that the attack should give foreign investors an example as none of them can feel secure in Darfur. The JEM chose a Chinese platform because Beijing provides the central government with weapons and equipment, later used against the people of Darfur.

The conflict between Darfur and the Arab-dominated central government broke out in 2001. According to various sources, around 200,000 people have died and as many as one million have fled their homes and sought refuge in camps in Sudan and neighboring countries.

AMERICAS

WASHINGTON, DC, US. The Bush Administration still perceives Iran as a serious threat to world peace. Quoted by the Associated Press, President Bush said Tuesday that: “Iran is dangerous.” During a meeting with his Italian counterpart, Giorgio Napolitano, Bush also told reporters that he believed “Iran had a secret military weapons program, and Iran must explain to the world why they had a program.”

President Bush's words come amidst the controversy spurred by a CIA report which stated that Iran had abandoned its nuclear program in 2003. However, the document said that Tehran might be able acquire a nuclear bomb within from 3 to 8 years.

ASIA

PYONGYANG, North Korea. Although diplomatic relations between North Korea and the United States could hardly be better, the North Korean people still perceive America as their homeland's greatest enemy. As Reuters writes Tuesday, the regime-controlled media lambasted Washington for sending new military equipment to South Korea, with which Pyongyang has been in the state of war since 1950.

It remains an open secret that in the tightly-controlled country, the communist regime teaches its 23 million subject about the treachery of the United States that can only be stopped by their beloved leader Kim Yong-il. As Reporters Without Borders, an international organization monitoring media around the world, stated last year “North Koreans still live under the yoke of propaganda devoted entirely to the personality cult of Kim Yong-il.”

EUROPE

LONDON, England. When Jimmy Page began to play the first notes of “Stairway to Heaven,” 20,000 people, some of them in their 50s and 60s, went literally crazy. Accompanied by shouts and screams, the voice of Robert Plant sounded more powerful than ever. Plant was 59, Page, 63; the rest of the band were no younger. But for the audience, they were still mere boys whom they remembered from their youth. Millions of people from all continents had had to wait 27 years for that night: Led Zeppelin – the rock mega group which reigned over the music world in the 1960s and 1970s – suspended their activity in 1980. Thus one cannot be surprised that among the 20,000 fans who watched Led Zeppelin's Monday performance in London, were those who willingly bought tickets for as much as $40,000.

Although it's been decades since Led Zeppelin recorded a new album, it is still widely admired by people around the world, regardless their age. Together with Rolling Stones, Black Sabbath, and Pink Floyd, they create a specific league of rock bands which earn dozens of millions of dollars every year, touring and releasing remastered albums.

MOSCOW, Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin should become the country's next prime minister when his second term expires in March, Dmitri Medvedev said Tuesday. Medvedev, who holds the post of the first deputy prime minister, was named by Putin as the man whom he would like to see as his successor. Concerning the present support that the incumbent president enjoys among the Russian people, his opinion will surely have the crucial impact on outcome of the March presidential election. Medvedev's Tuesday announcement is perceived as a payback for Putin's blessing.

Although the Russian constitution names the president as the most powerful political figure, Vladimir Putin may run the country from the back seat.

MIDDLE EAST

TEL AVIV, Israel. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Tuesday that his government still perceived Iran as a dangerous country, capable of destabilizing the entire region. Although, as a last week's CIA report showed, Tehran halted its nuclear program in 2003; it still poses a serious threat to the very existence of Israel. Olmert is quoted by the Associated Press as saying today: “Iran was and remains dangerous, and we must continue international pressure with full force to dissuade Iran from nuclear tendencies.”

The Israeli prime minister voiced his concern shortly after U.S. President Bush told reporters in Washington that he still views Iran as a troublesome country. It may mean that both the United States and Israel will continue to work in concert to press their foreign partners to impose sanctions on Iran.