Tag Archives: North Korea

NATO Pledges More Troops to Afghanistan

NATO has pledged an additional 5,000 troops to be sent to Afghanistan. U.S. President Barack Obama announced yesterday that the U.S. would be sending 30,000 additional troops. 42,000 NATO personnel are currently in Afghanistan, CNN. Map of forces in Afghanistan, BBC News. The Taliban has vowed to fight the surge, BBC News. Live blog of the U.S. Senate hearings on Afghanistan, New York Times.

The 5 British sailors who were picked up by Iran after allegedly straying into Iranian waters have been released, BBC News.

More than 1,000 police officers were removed from their posts in the province of  Maguindanao where 57 people were massacred on November 23 in a pre-election power struggle. Those killed were family members and supporters of Esmael Mangudadatu who were on their way to register his name for the race for governor of the province as well as journalists covering the event. Andal Ampatuan, Jr., son of the current provincial governor, has been charged with 25 counts of murder and is suspected of arranging the massacre. The federal government removed the police officers, who are suspected of helping or allowing the violence, prior to a full investigation of the massacre. They will be replaced with officers from other parts of the Philippines, Al Jazeera.

In an effort to stamp out free market trade, North Korea is revaluing its currency, the won. Citizens must exchange their cash and there will be an exchange upper limit of 100,000 won (about $700 USD) per family. This will virtually wipe out any wealth an average North Korea has managed to accumulate. Shops will be closed until next week when the new currency becomes valid, Times Online.

Thierry Henry, the French football player responsible for the handball that led to France advancing to the World Cup over the Republic of Ireland, will be investigated by FIFA’s disciplinary committee, BBC Sport.  World Cup seeding announced, New York Times.


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Germany and France Unite for Armistice Day

People around the world are honoring veterans and celebrating peace. Today is the 91st anniversary of the end of World War I. The leaders of Germany and France participated for the first time in a ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris where German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicholas Sarkozy laid at wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Reuters.

“The Germans and the French, once bitter enemies, now stand united as neighbors in a way that nourishes hope and confidence that elsewhere in the world, too, deep trenches can be bridged and overcome,” Merkel said in her speech.

Today’s Armistice Day in the United Kingdom will be the first since the war ended in 1918 in which no veterans of World War I are present.  The UK’s last 3 remaining WWI veterans died earlier this year, BBC News.

Recollections and personal stories on Veteran’s Day in the United States, New York Times.

A German man who killed a pregnant Egyptian woman in a courtroom in July has been sentenced to life in prison, BBC News.

The cause of the massive power outrage that affected parts of Brazil and Paraguay last night is still undetermined, AFP.

Naval vessels from North and South Korea clashed yesterday off the west coast of the two countries. Disputes over the placement of the sea border occur regularly, but this was the first time in 7 years that shots were fired. The North Korean vessel retreated after being hit, Associated Press.

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Reid Promises Public Option in Healthcare Bill

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said that the U.S. healthcare reform bill will include a public option. The option of a government-run health insurance plan seemed to be dead in the water months ago, but is gaining more momentum, Wall Street Journal.

The death toll from yesterday’s suicide bombing in Baghdad has risen to 160, including 30 children who were on a bus. At least 540 were injured after the two car bombs detonated around 10:30 am local time, CNN.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai and challenger Abdullah Abdullah are at odds over the country’s election commission chief. Abdullah wants the chief fired, but Karzai has refused. The two will partake in a runoff election on November 7th after the UN issued a report stating they believed Karzai had not legally won the August presidential election, BBC News.

South Korea is offering to ship 10,000 tons of corn to North Korea. It would be the first government aid sent to the communist country in almost two years, but far less than the amount of aid South Korea has exported previously, New York Times.

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Zimbabwe Prime Minister to End Dealings With Mugabe

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.

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Socialist Party Wins in Greece

In today’s elections in Greece, the center-right party of current Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis was defeated by the Socialist party. George Papandreou will be the new Prime Minister, CNN.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao met with North Korean leader Kim Jong-il today. The two men attended a North Korean production of the Chinese opera “A Dream of Red Mansions,” Xinhua. If talks during Wen’s three-day visit go well, the United States may send special representative for North Korea policy Stephen Bosworth to the country in an effort to restart six party talks, Yonhap.

Maoist rebels (known as Naxals) have killed 16 people in the eastern Indian state of Bihar. Naxal attacks are common in eastern India. Land disputes were likely the cause for this attack, according to a local journalist, Al Jazeera.

An inspection date has been set for the IAEA to inspect Iran’s recently revealed uranium enrichment facility. The inspection is planned for October 25, USA Today. The New York Times examines the possible effect enhanced sanctions could have on Iran and notes that a roboust black market is already in operation there, New York Times.

Earlier this week, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) added the tango to a list of “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity,” The Big Picture.

A dangerous strain of E. coli is still a problem in America’s meat industry, New York Times.

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Yemen President Urges Ceasefire in War Against Shia Rebels

At least 50 people have been killed in the Philippines after flooding from Tropical Storm Ketsana. 21 people remain missing, but the rain has slowed down and the worst is believed to be over, for now, CNN.

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh says government forces may be fighting Shia rebels for years to come, but urged the rebels to accept a ceasefire. 150,000 people have been displaced because of the war and hundreds have been killed only this month alone as violence intensifies, BBC News.

Over 121 children in China are suffering from lead poisoning. The children all live near a battery plant in eastern China and the results have sparked unrest in the country over public safety, AP.

Hot Topic: Cries and Hugs at Reunion of Families in North Korea.

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UN Makes Gains on Decreasing Nukes

The UN Security Council adopted a resolution calling for nuclear disarmament. While not mentioned specifically in the resolution, President Obama, who chaired the session, said the resolution was, in part, in response to the nuclear ambitions of Iran and North Korea, BBC News. Women’s rights discussed behind the scenes at the UN, CNN.

The FBI is investigating the death of a U.S. Census Bureau worker, William Sparkman, who was found hanged in Kentucky with the word “fed” written on his chest to see if the death is linked to anti-government radicalism, USA Today. More on right-wing attacks on the Census, which the U.S. Constitution mandates be taken every ten years, USA Today. The results of the Cesus are used to allocate congressional districts, electoral votes, and government spending.

A new vaccine for the AIDS virus has been effective in trials. In a trial of 16,000 volunteers in Thailand, the vaccine reduced the risk of getting the virus by 31%, National Public Radio.

Sydney and Brisbane clean up after the dust storm, the Big Picture.

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Karzai Leading in Afghan Election So Far

The independent election commission in charge of last month’s elections in Afghanistan has annulled votes from 447 polling stations because of fraud. Current President Hamid Karzai is leading with about 3/4 of votes counted but he does not yet have the 50% majority he needs to avoid a run-off election, Al Jazeera.

Canada’s Globe and Mail has a series of reports from North Korea by reporter Mark MacKinnon and photographer Susan Gallagher, Day 1, Day 2, and what North Koreans think about the rest of the world.

New scheme from Wall Street: “Wall Street bankers plan to buy life insurance policies that ill and elderly people sell for cash and package hundreds or thousands of them together into bonds,” New York Times. “The earlier the policyholder dies, the bigger the return — though if people live longer than expected, investors could get poor returns or even lose money.”

White House environmental advisor Van Jones has resigned after controversy stemming from statements he made during the George W. Bush administration, Washington Post.

Today is the start of dolphin hunting season in Japan, but hunters may be staying at home thanks, in part, to The Cove, an undercover documentary about the dolphin industry, NPR.

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