February 7th, 2008 12:45 EST
World Chronicle: February 7
CAIRO, Egypt. A thick blanket of fog, which enveloped the surroundings of Cairo early Thursday morning, was responsible for a multiple pile-up that killed over 29 people and injured dozens more. Among the casualties, reports the Agence France-Presse, were children who traveled in minibuses – one of the most popular means of transport in Egypt. The figures provided by the same news agency say that every year road accidents claim 6,000 lives.
N'DJAMENA, Chad. In an emotional speech, Chad's President Idriss Deby called on the European Union on Thursday to resume its peacekeeping mission. Last week EU members decided to postpone the deployment of troops as the fighting between governmental forces and rebels reached the Chadian capital, N'Djamena. Although the EU mission is to protect refugees from neighboring Sudan, Deby hopes that the presence of international soldiers will prevent his opponents from further attacks.
HAVANA, Cuba. Travel restrictions, hotels just for foreigners, and homosexual marriages have dominated the first days of the “national debate,” initiated by Raul Castro's demand that his fellow citizens finally speak their minds. Castro, who assumed power after his older brother Fidel fell seriously ill in 2006, tries to portray himself as a liberal ready for changes. It appears that most Cubans would like to be able to travel more freely and visit some of Havana's top hotels – ones that, until now, now have been restricted to foreign tourists only. One governmental official also admitted he supported homosexual marriages and would work on corresponding amendments to the law.
KABUL, Afghanistan. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made an unannounced visit to Afghanistan on Thursday. She met with her British counterpart, David Miliband, and attended a meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai; the NATO peacekeeping mission was the main topic. Rice and Miliband expressed their dismay at recent news that some countries plan to withdraw their troops from Afghanistan. The American chief of diplomacy called the potential collapse of the NATO mission “catastrophic for the world.”
ATHENS, Greece. Metropolitan Bishop Ieronymos was elected the new leader of the Greek Orthodox Church. Even though he was the only official candidate, it took two rounds for 74 senior bishops to garner the requested 45 votes. Regarded as reformer, Ieronymos, 70, lacks the popularity and acclaim of his predecessor, Archbishop Christodoulos.
LONDON, England. The BBC once told a touching story of one Joanne Raine who tattooed her boyfriend's name on her stomach. To make the effect even more staggering, she ordered the name to be written in Chinese. The entire episode, which took place in 2004 and cost around $120, would have probably been forgotten by now if the vain 19-year-old had not shown it to one of her friends who apparently spoke the oriental language. It turned out that the sophisticated work did not bear the name of her ex boyfriend (they had parted in the meantime), but carried the word “supermarket.” Joanne appeals now to all the people of goodwill for money as she cannot afford the removal of the problematic tattoo.
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip. Twenty-four people, including two civilians, have been killed since Monday in what appears to be a renewal of Israeli-Palestinian violence. The Associated Press reports on Thursday that the morning Israeli offensive into the northern Gaza Strip resulted in the death of six Hamas militants and one teacher who lost his life when an Israeli missile mistakenly struck a school. Apart from him, there were no other casualties among the faculty and students.
WASHINGTON, DC. It was a turbulent 48 hours for southern states as a violent tornado ripped through buildings and anything – big or small – that stood on its way. The list of the most affected states begins with Tennessee, where 31 people are reported dead and dozens injured. Thirteen people were killed in Arkansas, seven in Kentucky and four in Alabama. Destroyed houses, schools, barns, and vehicles amount to hundreds of millions of dollars. The White House informed on Thursday that President Bush would visit Tennessee on Friday.
WASHINGTON, DC. Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney has suspended his campaign. He is the first candidate to drop out of the race after Super Tuesday, which was overwhelmingly won by Senator John McCain. At a press conference, Romney said he had made this decision to save his party and help install a Republican in the White House. Apart from John McCain, who leads the Republican contest with 707 delegates, Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul are still campaigning.