February 20th, 2008 10:22 EST
World Chronicle: February 20
ACCRA, Ghana. The United States is not going to build up its military presence in Africa, U.S. President George W. Bush said on Wednesday in Ghana. After conferring with his Ghanaian counterpart, the president admitted to being aware of China's rising presence on the continent; however, he refrained from openly criticizing Beijing. Instead, Bush said he perceived China as a partner rather than competition.
HAVANA, Cuba. With Fidel Castro gone as the president, Cubans hope their country will now embrace more liberal politics. The European Union has already informed it will work on new relations with Havana, which were frozen for years. The United States, on the other hand, remains more reserved and waits for the first decisions of Cuba's new leadership. Although Raul Castro, who will surely assume the presidency, appears to be more liberal than his older brother Fidel, he is a staunch Communist. Experts from Russia, which was Cuba's main sponsor and protector during the Cold War, say that very little, if anything, will change.
JAKARTA, Indonesia. At least three people were killed by a 7.5-magnitude quake that devastated northern parts of Sumatra Island. The disaster caught many people by surprise in the middle of the night, damaging everything that stood on its way. The province hit by the quake was only kilometers away from the region that suffered a disastrous tsunami in 2004, when over 170,000 people lost their lives.
LONDON, England. Princess Diana died in 1997 but her death still fuels Brits' imagination. On Wednesday the British Intelligence, MI 6, rejected any suggestion of masterminding the car accident in which the princess of Wales and her boyfriend were killed. Sir Richard Dearlove, who at that time headed one of the intelligence's agencies, testified that neither MI 6 nor any other secret service had been involved in the accident – the accusation that was brought by Mohamed Al Fayed, the father of Diana's last boyfriend.
PRISTINA, Kosovo. NATO peacekeepers located in Kosovo had to reinforce their patrols on the border with Serbia as the conflict between the two countries has intensified. Serbs began to protest against the secession of their former province shortly after Kosovo declared independence on Sunday. It is estimated that around 100,000 Serbs live in the predominantly Albanian republic, most of whom would like to see it returned to Serbia. The Associated Press reported on Wednesday that several buildings belonging to the United Nations and local police were damaged by grenades thrown by unidentified people. Meanwhile, the government in Belgrade announced it withdrew its ambassadors from Germany and Austria which recognized Kosovo on Wednesday.
RAMALLAH, West Bank. Palestine should follow Kosovo and unilaterally declare independence if the peace talks with Israel bring no progress, says a Palestinian official. This statement comes one day after a meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Although both sides insist they are willing to continue the peace process as planned during a US-sponsored November conference, an agreement is as far away as always. If Palestine announces its independence without the blessing from the world powers, it will create a serious problem for the entire Middle East.
WASHINGTON, DC. It may well be over for Hillary Clinton as she has to swallow a bitter pill of the 10th consecutive loss in states' primaries. On Tuesday she was defeated both in Wisconsin and Hawaii by a wider margin than previously expected, reducing her chances for the national presidential nomination to little above zero. Sen. Barack Obama, who managed to snatch the two states, has now 70 delegates more than Clinton. Anticipating defeats, the former first lady has concentrated her campaign on Texas and Ohio which hold primaries on March 4.
John McCain easily won the Wisconsin and Washington primaries and is one step away from receiving the Republican presidential nomination.