World in brief: Feb. 9, 2011

On Feb. 3, the United States made it clear that it was time to end the global weapons talks. Reaching an impasse, the U.S. and Russia would develop an agreement that would ban the production of new nuclear weapons. The treaty has since been ratified by the Russian Upper House, the final major step in finalizing the agreement. In late April 2009, United States President Barack Obama made a speech in Prague about his goal for a nuclear-free world.

Results from the referendum showed that an overwhelming 99 per cent of people from South Sudan voted for independence from the North. There is widespread enthusiasm in the South, as citizens begin to embrace the idea of living in “Africa’s newest nation.” The issues of border separation and oil rights have still not been decided, but it is estimated that a separation will give the South control of 80 per cent of former Sudan’s oil.

CAIRO, Egypt
President Hosni Mubarak in Egypt has stepped down as the leader of the country’s ruling party, but will sit as president for the duration of his term until September elections. The resignation was a positive gesture to protestors in Cairo that demand Mubarak step down as president as well.

Four men who were accused of being spies for the United States were shot and killed in Pakistan by militants last Saturday. The remains of the individuals were found with notes in the pockets of the bodies stating that, “This is the fate for whoever works for the U.S.” The bodies were found along a road near North Warizistan, which has been known to be a region that has harboured the Pakistani Taliban and al-Qaeda linked militants.

LONDON, England
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), warns that world food prices have reached an all time high. The FAO’s food price index, which measures the change in the price for basic commodities such as sugars, cereals, fat, dairy, oils and meats, rose by 3.4 per cent in January. Abdolreza Abbassian, an economist for the FAO, said that these high prices are likely to remain over the next few months.

–Compiled by Ravi Balakrishnan