According to polls, Evo Morales, the incumbent president of Bolivia is poised for reelection. Morales previously sponsored a referendum that allowed him to seek a second term. Morales is the country’s first indigenous president, BBC News.
A run-off vote for president was held in Romania today. Current President Traian Basescu is running against former Foreign Minister Mircea Geoana. Geoana was leading in the polls going into the election. The run-off election follows a November 22 election that was marked with fraud. The third place finisher in that election dropped out and gave his support to Geoana in the run-off, Bloomberg.
Political instability continues in Honduras. Though conservative Porfirio Lobo Sosa won last Sunday’s vote, some countries, including Argentina, Brazil, and Spain, are still not recognizing the legitimacy of the election because ousted President Manuel Zelaya was not returned to power before the election. The voter turnout numbers are now being analyzed to see if an argument can be made that the election represented the will of the citizens of Honduras, CNN.
Iraq’s parliament has missed a deadline that would have approved elections for January 2010. Iraq has two vice presidents who both have veto power and Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi vowed to not approve new election rules unless greater representation for Iraq’s Sunni population was included. Iraq does not currently have reliable census information. The UN has suggested February 27 as a new target date for an election, Al Jazeera.
Protesters clashed with police in Athens, Greece on the 1st anniversary of the police shooting of teenager Alexandros Grigoropoulos. Two officers charged with his death will begin trial next year, BBC News.
Voters in Honduras are at the polls today to select the country’s next president. According to polls, conservative candidate Porfirio Lobo of the National Party is in the lead while the Liberal Party candidate, Elvin Santos, trails behind. Both Manuel Zelaya, the former Honduran president who was deposed in June after he tried to change the country’s constitution so that he would be eligible to run for a third term in office, and Roberto Micheletti, the man who has been acting president since then, are members of the Liberal Party, Christian Science Monitor.
Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari has given up some of the presidential power that was expanded when his predecessor was in office. Presidential power was greatly expanded under President Pervez Musharraf who was a military general. Zardari moved control of the civilian seat on the National Command Authority which controls Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal to the office of the Prime Minister, New York Times.
The state news agency of Iran reported that the Iranian parliament has approved the construction of 10 new uranium enrichment nuclear facilities. The UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency has called for Iran to halt production of a recently discovered nuclear facility at Qom, CNN.
Rwanda has become the 54th country to be admitted to the Commonwealth of Nations and the second to be admitted without a British colonial past. The Commonwealth is a voluntary intergovernmental organization of member states that developed as former members of the British empire developed their own governments, BBC News.
More information is available on Major Nidal Malik Hasan, the Army psychologist who opened fire at Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas yesterday killing 13 people and injuring 30. Although he was initially reported to have been killed, it is now known that Hasan was shot several times by a civilian police officer and is unconscious and under armed guard at a local hospital. Hasan, the son of Palestinian parents who was born in Virginia, is a lifelong Muslim but did not appear to be an extremist. He was harassed after the September 11th attacks. Recently, he had expressed dissatisfaction with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and was suspected of posting comments on the internet that seemed to praise suicide bombers, Associated Press. Witnesses say Hasan was calm and methodical during the shootings, ABC News. Hasan was said to have joined the Army in exchange for college fees and to have tried to gain release from his contract but was denied, Times Online. Hansan’s aunt says he even offered to repay his medical training in exchange for discharge. His aunt said that Hasan’s work as a psychiatrist at Walter Reed Army Medical Center left him deeply disturbed and fearful of being deployed to Iraq, Washington Post.
Civilian police responded to the shooting within 3 minutes of the attack. Sgt. Kimberly Munley is being hailed as a hero for bringing down Hasan despite being shot herself, Associated Press.
Timeline of the shootings, BBC News.
In Yokohama, near Toyko, Japan, a gunman injured 3 debt-collectors before killing himself. The gunman was a member of organized crime in Japan. Violence, especially gun violence, is rare in Japan and is usually associated with the Japanese mafia (yakuza), BBC News.
The deal that would have restored political order in Honduras appears to have fallen through. Ousted president Manuel Zelaya says that he was unable to join the de facto government that has controlled the country since June 28 when Honduran military forced him to leave the country. Roberto Micheletti has been acting as the country’s leader since Zelaya’s exile. An upcoming scheduled presidential election is expected to proceed as planned but the United States has said the outcome will not be recognized as valid unless Zelaya is returned to power first, New York Times.
A deal has been reached in Honduras that will allow deposed President Manuel Zelaya to return to power. The legislature must approve the deal. The interim leader of Honduras, Roberto Micheletti, had argued that the crisis would be resolved after the upcoming scheduled November 29 presidential election, but the international community pledged to not recognize the results if Zelaya was not returned to power first. Micheletti contended in June that a coup was necessary because Zelaya had illegally changed the country’s constitution to allow him to run for a third term. The international community refused to recognize the coup as legal and maintained that Micheletti’s government was not valid. President Zelaya, who was threatened with arrest if he set foot on Honduran soil, has been staying in the Brazilian Embassy in Honduras for more than a month, New York Times.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wrapped up a 3-day trip to Pakistan where she met with government officials and military leaders. Clinton urged cooperation between the U.S. and Pakistan in their efforts to curb militant factions of the Taliban. However, Clinton also expressed skepticism that Pakistan was doing everything it could to capture al Qaeda leaders suspected of hiding in the northwestern mountainous areas along Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan, Reuters.
Former French President Jacques Chirac has been ordered to stand trial for corruption charges dating back to his time as Mayor of Paris from 1977-1995. Chirac is alleged to have created fake government contracts in order to route city funds to his political party, BBC News.
ICANN, the international regulatory group that oversees internet domain names, will allow internet addresses to include non-Latin based characters, PC World.
Ri Gun, a North Korean diplomat, will be allowed to visit the United States later this month where he will discuss the country’s nuclear program, BBC News.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai of Zimbabwe has announced that he and his party will boycott cabinet meetings and not work with President Robert Mugabe’s party. Mugabe is a very controversial figure and has been condemned internationally for his policies. Tsvangirai says the catalyst for this move was the jailing of Roy Bennett, his deputy agriculture minister-designate, New York Times.
Talks in Honduras remain deadlocked as de facto leader Roberto Micheletti resists reinstating President Manuel Zelaya, the man ousted during a military coup in June. Zelaya says he will give the interim government two days to reach an agreement, Reuters.
Hot Topic: In Mexican Drug War, Investigators Are Fearful.
A new confidential report by the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency says that Iran has the information necessary to make a nuclear device. However, the agency has also cautioned that it has no proof Iran has started the complicated physical process of making a weapon, New York Times. Leaked excerpts of the report, Institute for Science and International Security.
Rescue experts from Rapid UK and International Rescue Corps have arrived in Indonesia to help search for victims of a massive earthquake that occurred on Wednesday. 1,100 people have already been declared dead and rescuers fear that another 3,000-4,000 may be trapped under rubble. The earthquake was centered near the city of Padang, BBC News. In pictures, BBC News.
Ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya and defacto President Robert Micheletti have agreed to talks, though it is unlikely the two will meet in person. President Zelaya was forced to leave the country in June after a coup by military leaders. Opponents of President Zelaya claim that he was trying to change the country’s Constitution so that he could serve a longer term as President. The President of the Honduran Congress, Robert Micheletti, was sworn in as the new president in June. However, world leaders have not accepted his presidency and have stated that Mr. Zelaya needs to be reinstalled as president. Mr. Zelaya returned to Honduras in late September and is currently living in the Brazilian Embassy. Soldiers are stationed outside the Embassy ready to arrest Mr. Zelaya if he leaves, Voice of America.
Honduras has imposed a curfew from 4pm to 7am local time as ousted President Manuel Zelaya makes his return to the country. Zelaya is currently inside the Brazilian embassy. Interim leader Roberto Micheletti has called for Brazil to hand over Zelaya and says Brazil will be held responsible for any violence, BBC News.
More than 100 people have been killed by militiamen in southern Sudan in ethnic clashes. The UN says the Lou Nuer ethnic group attacked civilians and security forces, possibly in retaliation for the deaths of 185 Lou Nuer members last month in the same area, BBC News.
Six people have been killed as flooding in the Southeast U.S. continues. Five of the six killed were in the Atlanta area and many schools have been closed, MSNBC.
Ousted President Manuel Zelaya briefly returned to Honduras today, despite the opposition government’s threat to arrest him for being back in the country. Zelaya was greeted by supporters as he crossed over to the country, but he quickly returned back to Nicaragua. The U.S. has deemed the move “reckless,” BBC News.
At least 17 people were killed when an airplane skidded off a runway while attempting to land in Iran. Reports say the tires failed to work and the plane, which was flying from the capital city Tehran to the northeastern city of Mashhad, skidded into a wall. Only nine days ago 168 people were killed in a plane crash in the country, Sky News.
Football star David Beckham has been fined $1,000 by the MLS for a run-in he had with a fan during halftime of a friendly matched played on Sunday. The fan, a part of a group who brought banners and signs admonishing Beckham for what they feel is a lack of commitment to the club, jumped from the stands to meet Beckham after the player walked to the stands and asked him to come down. Beckham has just rejoined the U.S. club after being loaned to AC Milan for five months and he has expressed interest in returning to Italy to play professionally, Sports Illustrated.
Archaeologists have discovered five shipwrecks off the coast of Italy that are believed to be from Roman times. The wrecks were found near Ventotene in the Mediterranean Sea. The ships are dated to be from between the 1st century B.C. and the 4th century, AP.
Hot Topic: Fears That Amazon Tribes Won’t Be Heard.