World in brief: Sept. 7, 2009


Iran elections turn into revolt

TEHRAN, IRAN – Riot police and immense crowds followed the June 12 Iranian election, as the results were widely contested.

According to CNN, the opposition has accused President-elect Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of tampering with the results.

Opposition candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi has stated that he was a victim of election fraud and that his followers, who have taken their demonstration to the street, seem to agree.

Election count continues

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN – As votes are tallied in the war-torn Afghanistan questions about the country’s future remain unanswered.

When Afghans went to the polls Aug. 20, the New York Times reported that the results continue to be delayed amidst growing accusations of election fraud.

According to the Washington Post, 40-50 per cent of the eligible Afghan population turned up to vote, making voter turnout across the country exceptionally low.

North Korea returns American journalists

PYONGYANG, NORTH KOREA – The Washington Post reports that it took a visit from former American President Bill Clinton for North Korean officials to hand over two American journalists, Laura Ling and Euna Lee, who were held captive in the secretive state since March 17.

North Korea is adamant that the two reporters, who were filming a documentary on the North Korean-Chinese border, crossed illegally into North Korean territory and were subsequently apprehended.

To date the exact details of the detainment, detention and trial of the two Americans remains highly disputed.

Regardless, on Aug. 4 the journalists were safely back on American soil and reunited with their families.

Healthcare debate grows

UNITED STATES – American President Barack Obama promised Americans healthcare reform.

However, the economic crisis has severely hampered many of his pricier election platform features, including this.

Nonetheless, the healthcare debate just south of the border rages on.

In light of the recent death of Senator Ted Kennedy, fuel has only been added to the fire.

According to the Toronto Star, this is because “long before he fell ill, Kennedy made health care a major focus of his career, terming it ‘the cause of my life.’”

Northern caucasus relapse

NORTH CAUCASUS, RUSSIA – After success over terrorism was recently hailed in Russia’s troubled North Caucasus region, today it appears the celebrations were premature.

Regrettably, the end of the government’s “Anti-Terrorism Program” has brought violence back to the region. According to Russia Today, terrorist attacks have taken place in a seemingly simultaneous fashion in recent weeks.

The Associated Press reports that Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said, “Some time ago, we got an impression that the situation regarding terrorism in the Caucasus has significantly improved. Regrettably, recent events have shown it’s not the case.”

Overall, the situation in the problematic North Caucasus republics of Dagestan, Chechnya and Ingushetia continues to deteriorate on almost a daily basis.

Drug wars escalate

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO – A crackdown on Mexican drug cartels was launched and well underway this summer.

According to BBC, the Mexican government spent the majority of the summer months attempting to weed out high level corruption, well-established in the country’s law enforcement and political system.

Despite hefty setbacks, Mexican President Felipe Calderon continues to champion the cause of fighting high powered drug traffickers in his country.

According to Reuters, the Mexican drug war is responsible for 13,000 deaths in the last three years.

Locker bomber sent home

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND – The man behind the bombing of PanAm flight 103, which exploded over the skies of Lockerbie, Scotland on Dec. 21, 1988, has been released.

BBC reports that Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, the man indicted for the bombing has returned home to Libya after years of suffering from cancer.

According to BBC, tensions and emotions ran high in the United Kingdom as al-Megrahi returned home to an almost victory celebration in Libya.

North Korea in final uranium phase

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA – Uranium enrichment tests in North Korea have been successfully carried out, and the project is entering its final phase of completion.

If the process is fully completed, it could result in increased pressure from the rest of the world to abandon nuclear work.

North Korea has been testing plutonium-based warheads since 2006.

New protests in western China

XINJIANG, CHINA – Fresh protests have arisen in the city of Urumqi, where back in July protests killed over 200 people.

Reports place nearly 2,000 Han Chinese people deomstrating in the capital.

The protests appear to be triggered by stabbings using hyperdermic syringes.

Nearly 500 people have been treated for similar stab wounds in the past.

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