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Feb. 2, 2009

Int'l News for Jan. 18 - 30

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

Jan. 28 - The International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicted that the world economy will only grow by 0.5 percent this year - the lowest percentage in 60 years - in the midst of the financial crisis. The IMF forecasted that Japan and the United Kingdom will experience the worst declines with both economies shrinking 2.6 percent. Two months ago, the IMF predicated a world growth rate of 2.2 percent but the worsening world economy has further decreased the rate. However, the IMF predicated a growth rate of 6.7 percent for China, which is much higher than the contraction rate of 1.6 percent for the United States but still lower than the percent growth rate China experienced in previous years.


Gaza

Jan. 21 - Israeli troops withdrew from the Gaza strip after both Israel and Palestine declared a unilateral ceasefire. On Jan. 18, Israel declared a ceasefire but both sides continued fighting. Hours later, Palestine declared its own ceasefire. As of Jan. 28, around 1,300 Palestinians and 13 Israelis have been killed during the conflict. Outside agencies have estimated that the cost to repair damages in Gaza will be more than $2 billion. The United Nations estimates that around 400,000 people in Gaza do not have running water.


Japan

Jan. 21 - Toyota became the world's largest automaker for the first time as it surpassed General Motors in global sales in 2008. In 2007, General Motors had sold 9.369 million vehicles to Toyota's 9.366 million vehicles sold to narrowly keep its title. But in 2008, General Motors only sold 8.35 million vehicles while Toyota sold 8.97 million vehicles. General Motors had held the title of world's largest automaker for 77 years before the current economic crisis caused its sales to slip. Late in 2008, it received a $13.4 billion bailout from the United States government.


Iceland

Jan. 26 - The Icelandic coalition government led by Prime Minister Geir Haarde collapsed in the midst of the economic crisis. Due to the country's poor economic performance, the alliance between Haarde's Independence Party and the Social Democratic party led by Foreign Minister Ingibjorg Gisladottir became increasingly strained in the past months. When Haarde and his party refused to hand over leadership of the country to the Social Democrats, the alliance dissolved and elections were set for May 9. Last year, economists reported that Iceland's debt was about six times its economic output and predicted that the economy would shrink by more than 10 percent this year.



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