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Published:January 10th, 2008 15:40 EST
World Chronicle: January 10, 2008

World Chronicle: January 10, 2008

By Krzys Wasilewski

AFRICA

KHARTOUM, Sudan. China defends its policy in Sudan as the international community accuses Beijing of cooperating with the controversial government in Khartoum. News agencies report that a Chinese special envoy to the volatile region said on Thursday that at the core of Sudan`s problems lay poverty and lack of development. On his website, the envoy posted an article in which he defended Beijing " the biggest investor in this former French colony. People shouldn`t just pay attention to the political process and peacekeeping, but also the development and reconstruction of the area, " read the online article published on www.china.com.cn.  

The government in Khartoum is accused by the United States and European Union of carrying out ethnic cleansing in the Darfur province as well as accumulating all the oil windfalls in the Arab dominated capital. With Americans and Europeans refraining from trading with Sudan, China has become the country`s leading foreign investor.

NAIROBI, Kenya. President Mwai Kibaki, who claims to have won the December presidential election, swore in a new cabinet of 17 ministers. Despite controversies that have grown around Kibaki " according to international observers, the president`s camp rigged the election " he appointed politicians from his own party, putting an end to the idea of a government of national unity. Quoted by the Agence France Press, the U.S. State Department spokesperson, commented on Kibaki`s decision saying that overall, it would have been better if he had not done this. "

Meanwhile, the opposition " led by former presidential candidate Raila Odinga " continues talks with foreign mediators. A group of high-profile politicians, with the head of the African Union in the forefront, have arrived in Nairobi to end the month-long political crisis. Since Mwai Kibaki was announced the victor of the presidential election on December 30, 2007, some 600 people have been killed and hundreds of thousands displaced.

AMERICAS

HAVANA, Cuba. Philip Agee, a former CIA agent who later disclosed the names of American spies operating in Latin America, died on Monday. For someone accused by Washington of treason, Agee led quite a normal retired life, helping American citizens visit Cuba despite the travel embargo imposed on the island. Having properties in Germany and Spain, Agee remained faithful to Cuba for all his life, calling Havana his first home. Throughout the years, he was acquainted with prominent communist apparatchiks, who in response granted him with the title of a friend of the Cuban revolution. "

Back in Washington, Agee was regarded as a traitor, who sold out his friends for money. In 1975, he released a book titled Inside the Company: CIA Diary, " which contained names of several undercover CIA agents fighting communist rebels in Greece, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil. The Associated Press reminds the words of the then Vice President George H. Bush, who in 1989 said about Agee: Those who go around publicizing the names of CIA people abroad are despicable. "

ASIA

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan. Over 24 people were killed and 70 injured in a suicide bombing which took place on Thursday in eastern Pakistan. According to news agencies, an unknown man approached police officers gathered in front of a local court and blew himself up. The explosion was so powerful that some buildings located as far as 100 yards from the court were damaged. Among the casualties were 21 police officers and three civilians, but this number may still rise as some of the injured were in critical condition.

It was the first such violent attack since the murder of the former prime minister and opposition leader, Benazir Bhutto, on December 27, 2007. The assassination sparked Pakistan`s authorities to postpone parliamentary elections despite calls from opposition parties to run them as planned. As Pakistan is in possession of a number of nuclear warheads, the international community will closely observe the political outcome of the current crisis.

EUROPE

MOSCOW, Russia. It seems that Russia cuts off the remaining ties with Western Europe. Under President Vladimir Putin`s watch, Moscow has positioned itself in opposition to the United States and European Union, openly flirting with the states regarded by Washington as rogue. " With today`s nomination of radical nationalist Dmitry Rogozin as Russia`s ambassador to NATO, Moscow signals it is not going to veer off from this course. In general, Rogozin opposes everything the EU and NATO support: the creation of independent Kosovo, the expansion of NATO, and the deployment of anti-missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic.

This may mean for the West a period of tense relations with Russia. Quoted by the Associated Press, NATO officials, however, tried to play down Rogozin`s nomination, saying that they are looking forward to working with him. "

MIDDLE EAST

RAMALLAH, West Bank. A peace deal may be struck before the end of George W. Bush`s second term, said the American president on Thursday. Visiting the Palestinian territory for the first time in his career, Bush seemed confident that although both Israel and Palestine should prepare themselves for painful political concessions, " peace in the Middle East could be reached. Quoted by the Associated Press, he said that he was committed to doing all I can to achieve it. "

Although the American president was satisfied with the meeting with his Palestinian counterpart, Mahmoud Abbas, he fell short of announcing any details of his plan. Instead, Bush admitted that Palestinians deserved a real country, not a Swiss cheese state, " read by many as an indirect call on Israel to end its occupation of some Palestinian territories. Similarly with Jerusalem " the cities about which both Israelis and Palestinians have deeply felt political and religious concerns " " Bush only urged his partners to accelerate the mutual dialog.

Experts underline that Bush did not meet with leaders of the Hamas militia " currently the leading political force in the Palestinian territory. Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip and openly opposes President Abba`s Fatah movement, refuses to recognize Israel and urges its supporters to destroy the Jewish state.