March 5th, 2008 10:22 EST
World Chronicle: March 5
N'DJAMENA, Chad. One French soldier – a member of a European Union peacekeeping mission recently deployed to Chad to protect refugees from the Darfur region of Sudan – is missing after his patrol mistakenly crossed the Sudanese border on Monday and was attacked by unknown forces. France, whose troops constitute the majority of the peacekeeping mission, asked Sudanese authorities for assistance in searching for the missing soldier. The European Union started sending its troops in late February but warned that they could be withdrawn if clashes between Chad and Sudan intensified.
BOGOTA, Columbia. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez could have been sponsoring leftist rebels who intend to topple the pro-American Columbian government, Columbian authorities revealed on Wednesday. A laptop which was found with one of the rebel leaders Raul Reyes – who, together with 23 other guerrillas, was ambushed and killed by Columbian special forces in Ecuador last Saturday – includes documents that link the Venezuelan president with the leftist rebel group. According to those documents, the relations date back to the early 1990s when Hugo Chavez was imprisoned for orchestrating a military coup. Although Chavez rejected any accusations of financing Reyes's insurgents, he has expressed his hostility towards the Columbian government on many occasions.
BEIJING, China. Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabo announced Wednesday that his government would double its efforts to help the entire society enjoy more equally the fruits of the booming economy. In his annual speech before parliament, Wen said the top priority for the next 12 months would be reducing the soaring inflation that reached over 7 percent in January and could significantly dent the domestic budgets of some 1.2 billion Chinese citizens. Although officially communist, China has been developing a free market economy for over a decade. Apart from visible gains, such as the abundance of western goods in stores, capitalism has created a financial and social chasm that many Chinese find impossible to bridge.
BELGRADE, Serbia. The Serbian government, where the prime minister leads pro-Russian nationalists while the president embraces western values, appears to be unable to decide whether the country should join the European Union; it may call a referendum to gauge the people's opinion. Although the presumptive accession is a matter of many years, Serbia faces the threat of isolation in Europe as it remains adamant to the independence of Kosovo, its former province. The nationalist prime minister said that his government would not start accession talks until the European Union withdrew its support for Kosovo.
BAGHDAD, Iraq. Iranian diplomats arrived in Baghdad today to hold talks with their American counterparts on Iraqi security; the U.S. Department of State denied any meeting was planned. Both countries broke diplomatic ties years ago, but the situation in Iraq caused them to establish semi-official relations. Yet, with the upcoming 2008 presidential election in the United States, it's getting increasingly harder for the incumbent administration to achieve a major change in the relations with Iran.
WASHINGTON, DC. U.S. President George W. Bush said Wednesday that Americans should use less oil to cut the country's dependence on the fragile Middle East. The president addressed his countrymen soon after major oil exporters had warned they would not pump more resource into the market. With the plummeting dollar and the growing instability of the Middle East, Americans have to pay more and more to fill their cars' gas tanks.
2008 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
HOUSTON, TX. Republican Sen. John McCain won all four of his party’s Tuesday primaries and enjoys more delegates that the 1,191 required to win the Republican national nomination. Mike Huckabee, who until yesterday was McCain's only rival, pulled out from the race and pledged to work for the presidential success of his party. The Arizona senator is expected in the White House today to receive the official support of incumbent President George W. Bush. Democratic Sen. Hillary Clinton remains in the race with three important wins in Ohio, Rhode Island, and Texas. The latter primary was one of the most highly contested ones in history, giving the former first lady only a slight lead over Sen. Barack Obama, who won the Texas caucus and the primary in Vermont. Despite the serious defeat in Ohio, the senator of Illinois still heads the Democratic contest with over 100 delegates more than Hillary Clinton.