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Jan. 4, 2009

International News for Dec. 20 - Jan. 2

by Alisa Lu, Online News Editor
This is not original reporting. All information has been compiled from CNN, the New York Times and the Associated Press. Silver Chips Online posts this news summary to provide readers with a forum for discussion.

India

Dec. 23 - Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh rejected the possibility of going to war with Pakistan over the attacks on the Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai last month. Instead, Singh stressed the importance of putting international pressure on Islamabad to cooperate in the fight against terrorism. On Dec. 22, India released a letter to Pakistan composed by the only surviving perpetrator of the attacks in Indian custody, Ajmal Kasav, stating that he and the other planners of the attack were Pakistani. Pakistan's Interior Ministry chief Rehman Malik denied Kasav's claims and said there were no documents that established the attackers' Pakistani nationality.

Japan

Dec. 22 - Toyota declares that it expects an operating loss for the first time since 1938 for the fiscal year ending on March 31. It estimates that its operating loss this year will be about $1.7 billion compared to its profit of $28 billion last year. Analysts concluded that the loss shows how the financial crisis is negatively affecting the global economy and even Japanese automakers like Toyota and Honda, which were thought to be immune from recessions. Toyota stated that the operating loss stems from an expected decrease in car sales in the United States, but also from an unexpected decrease in car sales in developing countries such as India and China.

Israel

Dec. 27 - Israel launched a series of air strikes on targets in the Gaza Strip, killing more than 400 and injuring over 1,500 Palestinians. Most of the casualties were members of Hamas's security force, but the United Nations reported that at least 62 women and children were killed. Israel stated the air strikes were in retaliation against Hamas rocket attacks in southern Israel, which Hamas has denied. Hamas has since launched rocket attacks against Israel from Gaza. United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the United Kingdom, the European Union, Russia, France and China have called for a ceasefire but a UN Security Council resolution aimed at stopping the air strikes did not pass because of a veto by the United States. On Dec. 31, Israel rejected a temporarily ceasefire and started preparing for a ground invasion of the Gaza Strip.

Thailand

Dec. 31 - A fire at a popular nightclub in Bangkok killed at least 61 people and injured more than 200 others. People were celebrating both the New Year and the Santika Club's relocation when a fire broke out and soon engulfed the building. The cause of the fire still remains unknown but investigators believe pyrotechnics or sparklers might have played a role. At least 30 bodies remain unidentified.



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