World in brief: September 2, 2010

The Americas

The Caribbean — Hurricane Earl has now risen to category four, passing by Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Meteorologists have indicated that Earl may be heading towards the eastern seaboard of the US. Travelling with winds up to 215km/h, the effects could be disastrous if Earl hits land.

Mexico City, Mexico — Mexican authorities have arrested Edgar Valdez, an alleged drug trafficker. Valdez, whose aliases included “El Guero” and “Barbie”, had been affiliated with the Beltran Leyva drug cartel. Mexico’s war on the drug cartels has left 28,000 dead to date.
Cancun, Mexico — At least 8 have been left dead when petrol bombs were thrown into a resort bar. The bar had been the subject of threats of extortion before and it is still unclear whether the attack was connected to any outstanding drug-related violence. Among the dead are six bar employees and two guests.

Europe

Amsterdam, Netherlands — Dutch authorities arrested two Yemeni men, held on conspiracy to commit terrorist acts. The two men boarded United Airlines Flight 908 from Chicago O’Hare airport having packed “suspicious” items, including mobile phones strapped to medicine containers in addition to knives and clocks. Security at Amsterdam airports has been high since a Nigerian student attempted to commit a terrorist attack on Christmas Day, 2009.

Rome, Italy — Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has met with Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi to discuss the varying dimensions of African immigration into Europe. Gaddafi had proposed European investment of €5 billion in order to curb a “black Europe.” Italy has been widely criticized for their immediate repatriation of Libyan migrants en route to Europe, failing to properly screen them first.

Madrid, Spain — Spanish authorities have arrested 14 people following a raid on a sex trafficking ring. The operation targeted Brazilian men, originally lured with the promise of legitimate jobs in Europe working as dancers or models. The victims had cocaine, Viagra and other recreational drugs forced upon them. They were subsequently put to work as prostitutes under threats of death.

Asia

Seoul, South Korea — South Korea has made its first effort at reconciliation with North Korea since it accused Pyongyang of sinking a war ship earlier this year, which left 46 crewmembers dead. Red Cross in South Korea has offered $10 billion in aid to flood victims following heavy rains that affected northern areas of the impoverished country. North Korea has relied on foreign aid following a famine in the 1990s that left hundreds of thousands dead. South Korea’s offer has yet to be accepted.

Sumatra, Indonesia — The Mount Sinabung volcano has erupted sending black ash and smoke into the atmosphere. The volcano, which has been considered by residents to be dormant, erupted for the first time in 400 years. Approximately 18,000 villagers have been evacuated within a 6km radius of the volcano and subsequently moved into government shelters. At least two have died as a result of respiratory problems.

Tokyo, Japan — Progress has been made in order to breach the influences of organized crime on Japan’s age old sport of sumo wrestling. The Japan Sumo Association (JSA) has taken measures to exclude known criminals from sumo events. The JSA has sustained criticism following a series of allegations earlier this year involving illegal gambling.

Africa

Antananarivo, Madagascar — Ex-President Marco Ravalomanana has been sentenced to life imprisonment with hard labor for ordering the assassination of at least 30 opposition sympathizers by his presidential guard. The opposition leader, Andry Rajoelina, has since assumed office.

South Sudan — The Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) has pledged to decommission all child soldiers within their ranks by the end of the year. The SPLA has also mobalized a child protection unit to assist with their pledge. Having discharged more than 20,000 children thus far, it has been reported that there remains an additional 900 that are still on duty.
Nyala, Darfur — Three pilots that have been abducted were freed after 2 days of detainment. The pilots work for Badr Airlines which provide transport for peacekeeping troops under UN- African Union joint operations. Violence in the Darfur region has claimed the lives of 300,000 people over a six year period.

Middle East

Baghdad, Iraq — US Vice-President Joe Biden is currently in Iraq to participate in security changeover talks following the withdrawal of US combat troops. Iraqi PM, Nouri Maliki, has claimed the country is “independent” as Iraqi forces now address all security issues.

Jerusalem, Israel — A senior rabbi from Israel’s coalition government, Ovadia Yosef, has issued statements in his weekly sermon that warranted for Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to “vanish from our world.” Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu was quick to affirm that his government only wishes for peace with the Palestinians. Rabbi Yosef has been the centre of controversy before, releasing offensive statements condemning secular Jews, homosexuals, women and Arabs.

Damghan, Iran — An earthquake measuring 5.7 on the Richter scale has killed three and injured 21 striking the northern part of the country. Reports indicated that the tremors were felts in Iran’s capital of Tehran, 175 miles east of the epicentre of the earthquake.

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