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Published:January 9th, 2008 15:13 EST

World Chronicle: January 9

By Krzys Wasilewski


KIGALI, Rwanda. One of the 93 Rwandans accused of taking part in the 1994 genocide was arrested today in the French city of Toulouse. The suspect, Marcel Bivugabagabo, was number 13 on the Rwandan government’s most wanted list. According to the Rwandan authorities, apart from Bivugabagabo, there are six other suspects currently living in France.

Last year, the French police managed to find and arrest three Rwandans sought by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. It is approximated that as many as 800,000 people, most of them Tutsi, were killed in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. Although most of the crimes were committed by mobs armed with machetes, the Rwandan army is also held responsible for the ethnic cleansing. Bivugabagabo, who was a military commander in western Rwanda in 1994, faces the death penalty.

HARARE, Zimbabwe. As a rigged presidential election sparked violent protests in Kenya, other autocratic African regimes fear the same in their own states.One of them is Zimbabwe, where joint presidential and parliamentary elections are scheduled for March. Although this southern African country enjoys far less freedoms than Kenya, the governmental authorities do not want to risk any upheaval.

“Those who think they can learn from and emulate the chaos happening elsewhere be warned; we are vigilant,” the Agence France Press quoted the chief of police on Wednesday. It is doubtful that Zimbabwe awaits the same disturbances which followed the rigged presidential election in Kenya. Ruled for decades by dictatorial president Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe epitomizes Africa's problems with corruption and human rights abuses. What is more, the country's opposition is split and there is no visible leader, unlike in Kenya, who could lead disappointed people against the rotten government.


MANCHESTER, New Hampshire.Hardly any fiction political book or movie could give people so many emotions as the 2008 U.S. presidential election. Against all the opinion polls and press estimations, Hillary Rodham Clinton won the New Hampshire primaries. With a two-percent lead over her main rival, Barack Obama, the New York senator made a come back worth a Hollywood blockbusters.

John Edwards came in third, just as he did in Iowa. John McCain was the victor of the Republican primary, repeating his success from 2000. The former Vietnam hero and current senator won the hearts of minds by his free market ideas and experience in foreign policy. Considering Rudy Giuliani could garner only nine percent of the vote – one percent more than the controversial politician from Texas, Ron Paul – McCain appears to be the Republican presidential candidate acceptable for independents. Behind McCain were Mitt Romney, with 32 percent, and Mike Huckabee – number one in Iowa who, this time, was supported by only 11 percent of the voters.


TOKYO, Japan. Japan still remains undecided as to whether it should reassume its naval mission. Although Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda asked the parliamentary opposition to give the green light for the mission, he was unable to win support in Japan's higher house of parliament, where opposition parties enjoy the majority. It is expected, however, that Fukuda will achieve his goal as the governing party controls the more powerful lower chamber. Japan's naval mission was an important part of the War on Terror led by Washington since the September 11 attacks. Japanese battleships provided fuel and food supplies to American forces operating in the Pacific Ocean. Tokyo canceled the mission after the voices from the opposition stated that it was against the country's constitution.

Accused of being too pro-American, Fukuda said in a televised debate: “As a matter of principle, it is an international peace-building activity that is not defined as an exertion of military force.”


PRISTINE, Kosovo. Former rebel Hashim Thaci was elected on Wednesday to be Kosovo's prime minister. With the support of all the main parties, Thaci received 85 votes in the 100-seat Parliament. In his first speech as prime minister, he said today that his government “will make our dream and our right come true soon ... Kosovo will be independent.” The country's all main parties opt for Kosovo's independence. Although the United States and the European Union give the Serbian province tacit support, the creating of a new state in Europe is fiercely opposed by Serbia and its main ally, Russia. The latter fears that the Balkan precedence could incite Russia's own provinces to rebel against Moscow.


JERUSALEM, Israel.Wednesday was the first day of U.S. President George W. Bush's visit to the Middle East. Hastened by the near end of his second term, Bush hopes his first trip to Israel and Palestine will move them forward in the peace process, securing his administration a positive legacy.

Although the American president said today that he was “under no illusions,” he expected a working peace accord could be reached by the end of 2008. President Bush used his first day in Israel to voice his concerns about Iran's policies. At a press conference, he criticized the Sunday incident in the Hormuz Strait, where Iranian units harassed American battleships. According to the Bush, Iran remained a “threat to world peace,” and “all options are on the table to secure our assets.”