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 "

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A summer pause

Anticipating a full platter of news in the next week, here are a brief set of paragraphs on stories we've tracked.

France's Christine Lagarde is voted in as the first woman to lead the International Monetary Fund.

Christine Lagard, former French Finance Minister

Her first order of business is to guide Greece through its painful challenge of massive debt and a populace who wants its accustomed benefits. Violent protests have again broken out over new government plans to cut spending.

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Police stand guard around an area the site of frequent protests.

Yemen continues to fester
Hundreds of government Yemeni troops defect to the opposition reformer side, while Al-Qaeda extremists strengthen grip on urban strongholds.

Yemeni soldier stands at guard at a school where even now, examinations are taking place.

The Libyan civil war drags on
Rebels continue to slowly advance on various strongholds of Gadaffi. NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) airstrikes also continue, along with a further escalation: airdrops of weapons to the rebels despite a UN embargo on small arms to either side. Recently, the US Defense Secretary, Robert Gates, criticized European NATO countries for their inability to remove a "third rate" dictator ruling over a desert country of a few million, and having to ask the US for ammunition after only a few weeks. (Though the war policy of pressuring - but not removing - Gaddaffi was established primarily by US President Obama).

Rebels receive weapons from France via airdrops, though some raise concerns where the weapons end up, and that the UN specifically imposed an arms embargo on participants in the conflict.

Syria continues to manhandle its citizens.
The deadly suppression of reformers grinds on in Syria, disturbing Turkey its northern neighbor and previous ally.
The troubled lands of the Northern Arabian Peninsula

Apparently only one person of status in the whole Western world - US Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich - believes Bashir Assad's assertion that he is serious about reforming. Thus he joins the likes of Iran's Ahmadinejad and Lebanon's Najib Makiti.

Kucinich (right) on a "fact finding" mission to Syria, believes Assad (left) is sincere about reforms

Egypt continues to face street protests
Not sure exactly why these protests are occurring once again, but teargas and rocks continue to be thrown in the famous Tahrir square. From the BBC, "Egyptian officials have ordered a probe into overnight clashes between police and protesters in Cairo's Tahrir Square that left hundreds of people injured. Riot police used tear gas to disperse hundreds of demonstrators, who pelted officers with stones and fire bombs. The riots are the most serious violence in Egypt in weeks. Activists are calling for the speedy implementation of reforms demanded during the revolution that toppled President Hosni Mubarak in February. They also want senior officials to face justice for the deaths of 850 protesters during the uprising, including Mr Mubarak himself, who is due to stand trial on 3 August."

A still frame from video taken last night in Cairo.

The behind-the-scenes maneuvering for fall elections has yet to emerge in public - whether forces for true democracy or splinter groups of extremism make big strides is the question. Mubarak's trial in August will likely not be a calming event.

Chile's volcano surges on as winter sets in
Reports are that this volcano could continue to erupt for months - Chile sits on the Pacific Rim's "Ring of Fire"

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Further disruption of air travel between Chile, New Zealand, Argentina and Australia.


A flotilla of aid and solidarity ships to Gaza should be leaving this week or next, putting the Israeli defense forces on high alert to stop the breaking of a blockade.

July 9 is Independence Day for Southern Sudan, amid regular clashes between North and South militias and armed forces.

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