Tag Archives: Arctic

Top Commander Says U.S. Strategy Not Working in Afghanistan

A new report from General Stanley McChrystal says that the U.S.’s strategy in Afghanistan is not working. The priority should be on protecting Afghans from the Taliban and that the U.S. should seek more peaceful engagement with the Taliban, McCrystal said, Christian Science Monitor.

45 Taliban were killed by security forces in the Swat Valley in Pakistan. Pakistan waged a house to house effort to root out Taliban from the Swat Valley earlier this year, Associated Press.

Two firefighters have died while fighting wildfires just north of Los Angeles, California. The fires are driven by high temperatures. A dozen separate fires are raging throughout the  area, threatening over 20,000 homes, ABC News.

Japan’s new leader will be Yukio Hatoyama. After 55 years in power, the Liberal  Democratic Party was defeated in Japan  by Hatoyama’s Democratic Party of Japan in elections held yesterday. Hatoyama will boost government spending, including increasing payments to families with children, Economist. Factbox on policy change challenges, Reuters.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is in Norway today to observe the effects of global climate change on the Arctic. He has made global climate change his top priority. The visit comes amid charges that Ban did not push the U.N. to stop bloodshed in Sri Lanka earlier this year when the government cracked down on Tamil Tiger rebels and ethnic Tamils, Associated Press.

What really happens to electronics when they are recycled? 60 Minutes tracks a shipping container from Denver to Hong Kong and discovers a toxic city in China, 60 Minutes story and video.

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Japan Mobilizes Missile Defense Shields

Japan has mobilized its missile defense capabilities in response to satellite images showing the continuation of launch preparations by North Korea. North Korea claims it plans to launch a rocket carrying a communications satellite into space, but intelligence experts believe North Korea will instead test a ballistic missile. If the missile is shot down by Japan’s Self-Defense Force, North Korea may argue it is an act of war by Japan, Asia Times.

The International Olympic Committee announced that the Olympic torch will no longer be relayed around the world prior to the Olympic Games. Protests of China’s human rights abuses plagued the relay in 2008. The ban officially begins for the 2014 games in Sochi, Russia but both the 2010 winter games in Vancouver and the 2012 summer games in London will feature home country-only relays, New York Times.

According to a publicly released report, Russia plans to create a permanent military force in the Arctic to patrol disputed lands and protect Russian interests in natural resources, including oil and natural gas. Global climate change is predicted to make new areas of the Arctic accessible over the next few decades. Disputes over control of the region are expected to arise amongst Russia, Canada, Norway, Denmark and the United States all of which have borders touching the Arctic, BBC  News.

An editorial in the British medical journal, The Lancet, condemns Pope Benedict XVI’s comments concerning condom use. In an interview with a French journalist while visiting Africa, the Pope said the problem of AIDS in Africa “cannot be overcome by the distribution of condoms: on the contrary, they increase it.” The Lancet editorial responded that the Pope’s statement is “outrageous and wildly inaccurate,” United Press International. The Lancet (subscription required).

Next week: The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), a military alliance of  democratic states in North America and Europe, meets on April 3rd and 4th in Baden-Baden and Kehl, Germany, and in Strasbourg, France, NATO homepage.

London hosts world summit of the Group of 20 countries (G20) beginning on April 2. The summit will be held in London’s financial district and is expected to draw protests. The G20 is made up of the finance ministers and central bank governors of 19 countries: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States of America, and also the European Union who is represented by the rotating Council presidency and the European Central Bank, G20 homepage.

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