Silver Chips Online

International News for Jan. 3 - 17

By Kevin Teng, Online News Editor
January 20, 2009
This is not original reporting. All information has been compiled from the Washington Post, U.S. News and World Report and CNN. Silver Chips Online posts this news summary to provide readers with a forum for discussion.

Israel and Palestine

Intense fighting continues as Israel continues to march towards Gaza. The death toll has increased rapidly since the fighting has begun, with over 1,000 Palestinians dead. The international media have been barred from entering the area by Israeli troops. Humanitarian aid to injured Palestinians is limited as Israel continues to control the flow of goods into the area. The United Nations passed a unanimous resolution on Jan. 13 urging for the immediate ceasefire between these two warring bodies, although the U.S. abstained from voting. Both parties are still fighting but have been conducting diplomatic negotiations in neighboring Egypt. Osama Bin Laden allegedly released an audio message on Jan. 14, calling for a jihad against Israel because of the Gaza conflicts. Thousands around the world have protested the Gaza conflict, calling for its end. On Jan. 17, Israel announced that it would cease fighting.

Somalia

Jan. 10 - The supertanker Sirius Star, carrying two million barrels of oil, was released by Somali pirates after an estimated $3 million ransom was paid, according to the pirates. The 25-man crew of the supertanker was unharmed after being held for two months. Five of the pirates died after receiving their share of the ransom for the Sirius Star after their escape ship capsized on its way back to shore. Pirating continues to be a problem off the west coast of Africa near the Suez Canal, forcing an increase in ship insurance costs and many industrial ships to sail around the Cape of Good Hope, a longer but safer route. On Dec. 16, The United Nations authorized the use of military force to raid hijacked ships and track pirates onto land.

Indonesia

Jan. 12 - A ferry sunk off the coast of the Indonesian island off of Sulawesi. As of Jan. 14, only 36 survivors have been rescued. At least 250 passengers and 17 crew members were documented to be on board, but Indonesian officials are investigating whether additional people were on board. Only two corpses have been recovered. Reports indicated that the ferry most likely sank due to bad weather conditions that also hindered initial rescue attempts. Although 12 inflatable rafts were on board as a safety precaution, none have been found and investigators believe that there was not enough time to properly evacuate the ferry. The accident is the worst in recent Indonesian history since a Dec. 30, 2006 ferry accident that left more than 300 dead.

http://silverchips.mbhs.edu/story/8857