March 12th, 2008 12:28 EST
World Chronicle: March 12
HARARE, Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe promised pay rises, two weeks before a parliamentary and presidential election. Mugabe, 84, has been in power for over two decades but has continually rejected any suggestions that it was time to step down. During his rule, a large number of opposition politicians have been either arrested or disappeared; whereas, Zimbabwe’s economy - once the strongest on the continent - has plummeted, with the inflation reaching 100,000 percent a year. Although the opposition warned it would stage protests, similar to the ones in Kenya, it is very unlikely that Mugabe will ease his grip on power any time soon.
LA PAZ, Bolivia. President Evo Morales announced Wednesday that he would set aside $300,000 from the national budget to promote the legal usage of coca. Bolivia, which is among the world biggest producers of coca leaves, strives to encourage its farmers to sell their harvests to companies that produce, for example, the local tea where coca is one of the ingredients. Morales’s decision will certainly infuriate the White House that sees Bolivia as the main exporter of cocaine in Latin America.
BEIJING, China. Hundreds of monks who took to the streets of Tibet to mark the 49th anniversary of an anti-China uprising were brutally quelled by the police, the Reuters news agency reports on Wednesday. According to witnesses, the protesters were stopped by police officers armed with electric prods and firearms. It was the second day of a world-wide campaign that hopes to attract media attention to Tibet, once an independent country turned into a Chinese province in 1950.
TALLINN, Estonia. U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff signed a document on Wednesday that allows the people of Estonia and Latvia travel to the United States without visas. In response, the governments of the two Baltic states pledged to share personal data of travelers who fly overseas. It may take several months to bring about necessary changes before Estonians and Latvians will be allowed to visit America without visas, and they should be joined by the people of other Central European countries.
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip. Hamas, recognized by the US as an extremist terrorist organization, said Wednesday it was ready for a cease-fire with Israel. The Associated Press quotes a Hamas politician who listed the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the Gaza Strip and the halt on the execution of Hamas members, as the conditions for a real peace deal.
NEW YORK CITY, NY. Gov. Eliot Spitzer resigned on Wednesday after it turned out he had affairs with prostitutes. According to the opinion poll quoted by the Associated Press, 70 percent of the state residents thought Spitzer should resign, with 66 percent saying the governor should be impeached had he refused to give up his post.
2008 US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
WASHINGTON, DC. Sen. Barack Obama has been so successful in the national politics because he is black, says former vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro. On Wednesday the first female candidate for the second position in the country repeated her statement that if Obama “was a white man, he would not be in this position.” The Illinois senator’s campaign called Ferraro’s words racist and harmful to the Democratic Party.
The World Chronicle is taking a short break and will appear again on the first day of April.