World in brief: Sept. 23, 2009

Condemnation swells

TEGUCIGALPA, HONDURAS – The July 28 ousting of Honduran President Manual Zelaya continues to receive near unanimous international condemnation. Reuters reports that the EU refuses to recognize the interim government, which exiled Zelaya, and is threatening further economic sanctions unless a peaceful resolution to the conflict can be reached. Earlier this month, the U.S. cancelled over $30 million in non-humanitarian aid.

Similarly, the European Commission has been withholding all development assistance and budgetary support payments since July. The de facto Honduran government is accused of initiating an illegal military coup as well as committing human rights violations and illegal detentions of pro-Zelaya demonstrators.

Evidence of election fraud

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN – A team of EU observers claim that up to one third of the votes cast for incumbent President Hamid Karzai in Afghanistan’s recent presidential election may be fraudulent. The findings support the claims of Afghanistan’s newly established Electoral Complaints Commission, which has reported “clear and convincing evidence of fraud” in at least 10 per cent of the country’s polling stations. According to the Globe and Mail, the investigation process is expected to take weeks and a runoff election is becoming increasingly likely.

Defense shield scrapped

WASHINGTON D.C., U.S. – The Obama Administration’s decision to scrap plans for a missile defense shield is receiving mixed reviews from Polish and Czech officials, according to The Associated Press. The shield, requiring 10 interceptor missiles, was to be installed in Poland. The former Bush Administration originally promised the initiative as a preventative measure against potential long range nuclear attacks from Iran. The installations also offered the Czech Republic and Poland, allies in Afghanistan and Iraq wars, increased military solidarity with America and defense against Russian aggression.

Politically-fuelled riots

KAMPALA, UGANDA – Ugandan political riots have claimed over 20 lives, the BBC reports. Rioting erupted a week ago after Bagandan King Mutebi II, leader of Uganda’s ethnic majority, was banned from visiting the region of Kayunga by Uganda’s central government.

The region, formerly a part of the Kingdom of Baganda, recently seceded due largely to a shift in ethnic population. Tension between central government and the various ethnic kingdoms of Uganda has been building for decades, leaving many Ugandans and ethnic Bagandan’s demanding the return of monarchic political power and control.

Anti-government tensions

TEHRAN, IRAN – The Associated Press reports that Iran’s annual anti-Israel Quds Day rally attracted thousands of anti-government protesters despite Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei’s clear condemnation of such action.

The highly controversial results of Iran’s June presidential election initiated massive protests and demonstrations by reformers and have resulted in hundreds of arrests and detentions in recent months.

To date, President Ahmadinejad maintains that the results of the election are legitimate.