International News for the past week

Dec. 29, 2006, midnight | By Hokuma Karimova | 14 years ago

Canary Islands
About 6,000 African immigrants died in 2006 while trying to cross the Atlantic to reach the shores of Canary Islands, said Spanish immigration officials. More than 31,000 immigrants reached the shore this year, six times the number in 2005.

Belarus refuses to accept the new price raise on gas from Gazprom, Russia's energy giant, risking the chance of having its gas cut off by Jan. 1. If Gazprom does cut Belarus' gas supply, Belarus said that they will deny the company access to their pipelines which may hurt other consumers across Europe, adding that the two are codependent on one another.

DR Congo
A reported 18 rebels died on Wednesday's clash between troops and insurgents in eastern DR Congo, said the UN.

Saudi Arabia
An estimated three million Muslims began leaving from the Saudi Arabian holy city of Mecca, marking the beginning of the annual Hajj pilgrimage. The Hajj, one of the five pillars of Islam, will end on Monday.

Kenya has banned the transport and slaughter of livestock following the death of 24 people from the Rift Valley fever. The fever, which causes the victims to vomit blood or bleed to death, is passed to humans from the livestock by mosquito bites or by handling contaminated animal fluids.

Two more die as cases of avian flu spread from poultry to humans in the Nile Delta. A 15-year-old girl died on Monday, a day after the death of a woman in her 30s whose family members also showed symptoms of infection. Egypt has confirmed nine deaths since the avian flu was found in a person in March.

Rida Farid Abdel Halim, 26, the third member of his extended family, died from the avian flu, making him the tenth individual in Egypt to die from this virus.

Georgian parliament has passed constitutional amendments that will extend its own term for several months in 2008. The parliament ignored advice from an advisory body of the Council of Europe, which asked them not to make the change.

Ecuador's President-elect Rafael Correa appointed seven women to his cabinet, including the first woman to become a defense minister. Correa said the new change comes in his attempt to promote gender equality in the country.

Jowhar, 90 km north of the capital and a former Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) stronghold, was strategically seized by Ethiopian troops and Somali government, forcing Islamist militia to retreat.

If Defence Secretary Robert Gates decides to adopt the recommendations from a report by the Iraq Survey Group, an estimated 3,300 US troops could be sent to Kuwait in the New Year.

Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir confirmed in a letter to the UN that he supports their plans for a joint UN-African Union force in Darfur and wants to "immediately" implement UN plans.

The clash between police and army officers in Burkina Faso has halted as the two sides agreed to stop fighting. Sparked after a soldier died in a brawl with police, the clash has left five dead since it began earlier this week.

Mumbai (Bombay)
Millions of people spent a day without water in western Mumbai (Bombay) because of the repairs to the existing pipeline. The authorities told citizens about the shutdown ahead of time and asked them to stock up on water.

Israel has approved the construction of 30 new houses in the occupied West Bank, prompting Palestinian anger and U.S. concern since construction of new settlements in the West Bank is considered illegal under international law. This is the first time since 1992 that Israel has approved a new settlement instead of expanding on already existing ones.

The Revolutionary Armed Forced of Colombia (FARC) pressed President Álvaro Uribe on Tuesday to withdraw troops from two southern areas as a condition to holding talks over the release of hostages who have been held for up to nine years.

Residents of a remote village in the Far East were advised to stay home after a second volcanic eruption in the region in two days coated buildings in ashes. Although there were no reported injuries, officials warned that ash and steam from the eruption could be toxic.

Prime Minister Ali Mohammad Ghedi, Somalia's interim, entered the capital of Mogadishu a day after Ethiopian backed forces drove Islamist fighter out of the city. While some cheered Ghedi, others opposing Ethiopia's role in Somalia threw stones at his armored convoy.

Luis Gerez, a 50-year-old construction worker, who testified against Argentina's military junta on bases of torture, has not been seen since Wednesday. Gerez is the second witness in the "Dirty War" trials to go missing in past months.

South Korea
A defense white paper has stated that North Korea's nuclear capability, land army and conventional weapons had raised the threat to South Korea. The talks aimed at dismantling North Korea's nuclear program ended in deadlock in Beijing earlier this month.

660 Palestinians were killed by Israeli security forces in 2006, which is three times more than in 2005, according to an Israeli human rights group. Among the dead were 144 children, and 322 did not take part in hostile acts. Yet the number of Israeli casualties has declined from 50 in 2005 to 23 in 2006.

Heavily armed drug gangs killed at least 19 people after unleashing a wave of attacks on police stations and public roads early on Thursday.

On Thursday, a local private organization freed 50 child laborers who were brought to New Delhi to work in small factories making elaborately embroidered fabric called zari.
After a freight train slammed into a passenger bus in Cuautitlán, north of Mexico City, at least 21 people were killed and 10 were injured.

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Hokuma Karimova. Hokuma is a fun and happy person, who has been described by some as crazy and eccentric. She is ecstatic to be part of the Silver Chips Online staff and hopes to someday fulfill the legacy that her older sister left behind. One thing that … More »

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