Silver Chips Online

International News for Feb. 1 - 14

By Julia Wynn, Online Connections and Food Editor
February 15, 2010
This is not original reporting. All information has been compiled from The New York Times. Silver Chips Online posts this news summary to provide readers with a forum for discussion.

Pakistan
Feb. 2 - Al Qaeda, in cooperation with its affiliates, intends to coordinate a large-scale terrorist attack on the U.S. within the next six months. Dennis C. Blair, U.S. Director of National Intelligence, informed legislators of Al Qaeda's plans in a Senate hearing along with top officials from the Central Intelligence Agency (C.I.A.) and the Federal Bureau of Intelligence (F.B.I). In addition to the threat of a physical attack on American soil, Blair mentioned the growing probability that Al Qaeda would destroy computer networks and target telecommunications. These announcements mark a departure from Blair's outlook last year, when he expressed confidence in the U.S.'s ability to weaken Al Qaeda networks.

Costa Rica
Laura Chinchilla became Costa Rica's first female president Feb. 8 after winning 47 percent of the popular vote. Courtesy of The New York Times
Laura Chinchilla became Costa Rica's first female president Feb. 8 after winning 47 percent of the popular vote.
Feb. 8 - Former Vice President Laura Chinchilla of the National Liberation Party became Costa Rica's first female president, receiving 47 percent of the popular vote. Chinchilla plans to implement a 50-percent increase in security spending as a part of her pledge to address crime, violence and drug trafficking in Costa Rica. Out-going President Oscar Arias established free trade policies that Chinchilla intends to continue; campaign opponents alleged that Arias will continue to exert political influence through Chinchilla.

Venezuela
Feb. 8 - In the first edition of his new radio talk show, "Suddenly Chavez," Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez declared a nationwide electricity emergency due to a drought's drain on hydroelectric power supplies. This decree allows the government to implement immediate emergency measures, including rationing, seeding clouds for rain and investing in thermoelectric generators. Chavez instituted rolling blackouts starting in January to ration electricity, but he was forced to restore power in Caracas, the capital, when citizens began to riot. The announcement comes as Chavez's approval rating drops to 50 percent from 60 percent last year. Water shortages and increased crime have also contributed to the president's decrease in popularity.

Canada
Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili was killed during a training run before he had the chance to participate in what would have been his first Olympics. Courtesy of outsports.com
Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili was killed during a training run before he had the chance to participate in what would have been his first Olympics.
Feb. 12 - Hours before the opening ceremony of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili, 21, was killed during a test run at the Whistler Sliding Center track. The first-time Olympic participant lost control of his sled and slammed into a steel support pole as he was careening down the slope at 90 miles per hour. Luge officials have lowered the men's starting point to that of the women's so that male lugers are unable to reach potentially fatal speeds on the track. Speakers at the opening ceremony dedicated this year's Olympics to Kumaritashvili and lowered all flags to half-mast in his honor. The rest of the ceremony featured performances from aboriginal dancers and Canadian singers, who celebrated Canada's first Winter Games in 22 years.

http://silverchips.mbhs.edu/story/9870