Silver Chips Online

International News for Feb. 15 - 28

By Sophia Deng, Online Managing Editor
March 1, 2010
This is not original reporting. All information has been compiled from CNN, BusinessWeek and The Washington Post. Silver Chips Online posts this news summary to provide readers with a forum for discussion.

Pakistan
Feb. 16 – The Pakistani military captured Taliban commander Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, a senior member of the Taliban's governing Quetta Council. Barader, a major player in the Afghan Taliban, is second-in-command to Osama bin Laden. He was reportedly arrested in Nowshera, a city in northwestern Pakistan. The capture, which was the fourth largest of a Taliban leader in the last month, is expected to improve relations between Pakistan and the United States. "Pakistan didn't do this for free," STRATFOR's director of analysis Reva Bhalla said. The country wants the U.S. to divert attention from Saudi Arabia, a Pakistani ally, in negotiations with the Afghan Taliban.

Ukraine
Ukraine Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko withdrew a vote recount challenge, citing a partial court. Courtesy of Forbes
Ukraine Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko withdrew a vote recount challenge, citing a partial court.
Feb. 20 - Citing the Ukrainian court's subjective nature, Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko dropped her appeal to recount votes of the Feb. 7 presidential run-off election. On Feb. 8, the Central Election Commission announced that opponent Victor Yanukovych clinched an electoral win over Tymoshenko. This is not the first time Yanukovych has been involved in political controversy; in 2004, Yanukovich's presidential win was nullified. The tensions between Yanukovych and Tymoshenko may prevent parliament from making crucial economic decisions.

Turkey
Feb. 22 - Police forces detained 51 military figures, comprised of Turkish air force, navy and military members, for plotting against the Islamic-rooted government. Called “Sledgehammer,” the plan allegedly involved bombing mosques to dismantle Turkey's Justice and Development Party (AKP). The incident brings light to the lingering tensions between the secular military, or “pashas,” and the Islamic-rooted AKP. Since 1960, the Turkish military has toppled four Turkish governments, but the arrest of 51 military figures is the largest military clampdown of this nature. In a press conference held in Spain, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan had no comment.

Greece
Feb. 24 - More than 30,000 demonstrators took to the streets in Athens, Greece in a 24-hour march to protest a government austerity program that calls for severe cuts to alleviate Greece’s rising debt. The nationwide march led to the closings of schools, tax offices, all Greek flights and other public transportation, such as ferries and trains. Protesters, who chanted, “Billions for the rich, but nothing for us,” were generally peaceful, but police were forced to use tear gas on violent protestors throwing rocks and water bottles near parliament. The austerity program, which would simultaneously increase civilian taxes and cut wages, is expected to create massive civil unrest and unemployment in the future.

Chile
The 8.8-magnitude earthquake in Chile has caused numerous public transportation problems. Courtesy of CNN
The 8.8-magnitude earthquake in Chile has caused numerous public transportation problems.
Feb. 27 - An 8.8-magnitude earthquake hit the coast of Chile at 3:34 a.m. followed by 6.9-magnitude aftershocks that appeared approximately every hour. There are currently 214 civilians dead; Chilean President Michelle Bachelet and President-Elect Sebastian Pinera predict the number will continue to rise. Buildings have toppled in Concepion, a major bridge that connects northern and southern Chile has been shut down and residents in Santiago are without power and water. The earthquake has also triggered tsunamis that threaten the Pacific region, including the Philippines, Australia and Antarctica. The Pacific Tsunami Center issued tsunami warnings for the entire Pacific rim after Maule, the earthquake's epicenter, reported nine-foot waves. California, Alaska and Hawaii were also under tsunami watch.

Canada
Feb. 28 - The 2010 Winter Olympics held in Vancouver came to a close yesterday. The United States topped the medal count with record 37 medals, followed by Germany with 30 total medals and host country Canada with 26 medals. The next Winter Olympics will take place in Sochi, Russia in 2014.



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