February 5th, 2008 12:18 EST
World Chronicle: February 5
AFRICA: Comoros Fears Another Coup
MORONI, Comoros. The Union of the Comoros, an archipelago located east of Africa, faces another political crisis as the central government teeters on the verge of collapse. Anjouan, one of the three islands which constitute the country, demands independence, threatening it will not refrain from using force to achieve its goal. A military solution has also been anticipated by the central authorities. President Ahmed Abdallah Mohamed Sambi warned on Friday that the union would not accept foreign mediators, seeing as neither the African Union nor the United Nations had been successful before.
The crisis has been simmering since July 2007, when Anjouan held general elections despite the objections from the central government. Two army soldiers were killed and several wounded in violent clashes preceding the ballot, which former police officer Mohamed Barac won by a landslide.
The Union of the Comoros gained independence in 1975 and has experienced over 20 military coups ever since. Inhabited by around 840 thousand people, the former French colony has one of the most sophisticated political systems in the world, crafted to save the country's unity. Each island has its own president and government with strong prerogatives in domestic affairs while the central authorities conduct foreign policy.
AMERICAS: And the Winner Is...
WASHINGTON, DC. Tuesday may decide who will sit in the White House next year. As 24 states and territories cast their votes in primaries and caucuses, candidates from both parties are not slowing down. Republican front-runners, John McCain and Mitt Romney, keep accusing each other of being too weak on immigration or too liberal on economy. The fighting fever reached such heights that it did not even spare Bob Dole – a WWII veteran and unsuccessful presidential candidate in 1996 – who recently wrote a letter of support for McCain. Disappointed with the Washington establishment's leaning towards McCain, Romney told his supporters that Dole was “probably the last person I would have wanted to have write a letter for me.” The third contender, Mike Huckabee, seems to accept his defeat.
Democrats are no less gentle. The double-digit advantage that Hillary Clinton exercised over Barack Obama several months ago has disappeared with the two contenders enjoying the same support in the latest opinion polls. The black senator of Illinois has youth and Hollywood on his side, but the former first lady can boast experience and international acclaim.
ASIA: Deadly Dumplings Scare Japanese
TOKYO, Japan. Even murderous Godzilla could not scare Japan more than certain Chinese noodles. A panic swept through the country when it turned out that popular dumplings could have been intentionally poisoned. A police investigation launched in December, when the first consumers reported nausea after eating China-made food, revealed that dangerous pesticide was present on the outside of the dumplings rather than in the filling as it had been previously suspected. The discovery may mean that someone deliberately covered the food with a poisonous substance.
The health minister told the Associated Press that he believed it was a criminal act. “Judging from the circumstantial evidence, we'd have to think that it's highly likely to be a crime.” The minister also added that he hoped China, where the poisoned dumplings were produced, would help the Japanese police solve the case.
The recent food scandal is another in China's long record of quality problems. Last August a similar panic reached the United States when it turned out that Chinese toys contained lead in dangerous quantities.
EUROPE: Russia Threatens Poland
WARSAW, Poland. Russian nuclear missiles may be targeting Poland, warned the chairman of foreign affairs in the Russian parliament. Konstantin Kosachov said on Monday he had no doubts that the U.S. anti-missile shield, which Washington plans to build in Poland and the Czech Republic, would aim not at Iran but at Russia and as such could become a potential target. Earlier this week, the Russian representative to NATO said that Poland should not repeat its mistake from the past when its policies caused the country to lose one third of its population. The slightly veiled speech referred to World War II, when Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union partitioned Poland between each other and exterminated several million Polish nationals.
Russian warnings come days before Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk will hold talks with President Vladimir Putin. In the first such meeting in over eight years, the two politicians are expected to discuss the installation of the American anti-missile shield and Moscow's plans to put a gas pipe at the bottom of the Baltic Sea.
MIDDLE EAST: Isreali Politician Urges to Kill Hamas Leaders
JERUSALEM, Israel. A new law allowing Israeli forces to kill Hamas leaders must immediately be introduced, urges a top Israeli politician of the ruling party. It is a response to a Monday suicide attack in Dimona, south of Jerusalem, which killed one Israeli woman. Tzachi Hanegbi, who presides over the parliamentary commission of foreign affairs and defense, said in a radio interview that “the Israeli government should also change its policy and we should no longer allow Hamas's leadership to enjoy immunity.”