North Korea

North Korea
The always bombastic and unpredictable North Koreans go hysterical again. This time the country is prepared to "go to war" with South Korea because that country is playing loudspeakers directed at North Korean territory. A headline from a UK paper reads, "More than 50 North Korea submarines 'leave their bases' as war talks with South continue "

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Time passes with fireworks and explosions

Much of the world celebrated the passing of 2010 into the new year with fireworks and good cheer. There were a number of other explosions, however, ever-present reminders of challenges ahead that must be dealt with.

Iconic Sydney Australia New Years Eve celebration

Australia always seems to start the event, so in spite of floods in the northeast of the country now being called "biblical" in scope, Sydney maintains its reputation for celebrating in style. After touring the flooded regions, the Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, returned to the Harbor City for New Years eve.

Flooding in Northeastern Australia now termed "biblical"

The US head of the Department of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, spent New Years eve in Kabul, Afghanistan, with the troops, and reviewing security concerns. Nearby, another drone strike (with explosion) in Pakistan killed additional militant leaders.

Drone strikes escalated in 2010, and show no signs of slowing

In Nigeria, a series of new bomb attacks, including on the market in the Nigerian capital of Abuja where New Year is usually celebrated, claimed a number of lives Friday evening. Nigerian television reported about 30 deaths, though there is still considerable confusion over the number of bombs, deaths, and locations.

Confusion seen in this man's eyes as Nigerian tensions between Muslims and Christians continue

The most serious incident (in terms of implications and trends) was an attack in Egypt against Coptic Christians. The Financial Times newspaper reported that "an explosion outside a Coptic church in the Egyptian port city of Alexandria killed at least 21 people and injured 80 early on Saturday, in an attack on an unprecedented scale that marks a serious escalation in sectarian tensions in the country. The blast came as several hundred worshippers left New Year’s mass in the Church of the Two Saints in a middle class area of Alexandria about half an hour after midnight.

Egyptian church bombing in Alexandria

The Egyptian interior ministry said the explosion was probably the work of a suicide bomber who detonated himself outside the church. It said that “foreign elements” had planned and overseen the attack, and that the bomb was locally made and packed with nails and ball bearings."

Remains of blasted car outside Coptic Church

On Saturday, January 1, there were serious riots between Christians and Muslims and police. Some riotous activity was Christians attacking mosques with rocks and clubs, while other protesters confronted police for a perceived lack of security for Christians, about 10% of Egypt's population.

And so we begin another year.

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