The Patch

April 22, 2007

Sunday 22nd April- International News Round Up

Filed under: International News — denesha @ 10:21 am

This week, I figured that I would do something different. The celebrity news front has been slow this week, unless you feel like being told off by Alec Baldwin.

I will hopefully be undertaking an International Relations degree in September, so it makes sense for me to pick out some international news stories this week, instead of celebrity gossip. Alas, a degree in Lindsay Lohan’s hair colour is not offered…yet.

I hope Phil doesn’t mind- I promise to go back to celebrity news once something interesting happens.

Stand-off at Houston’s NASA space centre results in tragedy

Less than a week after the Virginia Tech University shooting, a gunman took two hostages at the NASA’s Johnson Space Centre in Houston, Texas. After a stand-off between the police and the gunman, police entered the building to find the gunman and a hostage, David Beverley dead. The female hostage, Fran Crenshaw was found unharmed despite being held by the gunman for four hours after the death of David Beverley. The gunman was Bill Phillips, a contact engineering who was working at the site. Houston Police indicated that a negative performance review about the suspect, Bill Phillips, written by David Beverley, was the motive behind the shooting. The event follows the Virginia Tech shootings on Monday and the 8th anniversary of the Columbine school massacre on Friday. As a result, American gun control laws have been called into question, across the world. These events will continue to happen, and will happen across America until tighter gun control is enforced. Relaxed gun control laws meant that up until Cho Seung-hui or Bill Phillips took out their guns and shot innocent people, they were entirely within the parameters of the law. Of course, one can blame violent movies and video games, but access to the guns has to be limited in order to limit the possibility of these events occurring.

Islamist Militiamen and Ethiopian troops clash in Mogadishu, Somalia

After four days of heavy fighting in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, an estimated 100 people have been killed in the violence, with a further 200 people wounded. The al-Barakah market was the target of mortar rounds, which killed a number of innocent civilians. Violence between the Ethiopian troops and Islamist insurgents (a mixture of fighters and militiamen from the Hawiye clan) has intensified since the Ethiopian troops entered the country in December, to aid the provisional Somali government in displacing the Islamic Courts Union (UIC).

The UIC had been credited with providing the city with relative calm when they were in charge. However, the UIC had criticised the provisional government’s relationship with Ethiopia, imposed Sharia law and threatened to invade the Ogaden, a Somali speaking region of east Ethiopia. Ethiopia’s concerns had been shared by America, who were also determined to prevent the spread of Islamic fundamentalism across Africa. Ethiopian troops had started to withdraw and are intended to be replaced by African Union peacekeeping forces, despite only 1200 of the 8000 AU troops required to stabilise the region, being deployed.

The UN has warned of a ‘humanitarian disaster’ as more than 320 000 people have fled the fighting since February, and hundreds of these evacuees have already died of cholera or diarrhoea.

Bhutan hosts mock election

After 100 years of a monarchy based system of government, the inhabitants of Bhutan, a small Himalayan country, have prepared for their upcoming election in 2008, by hosting a mock election. The former king, Jigme Wangchuk had pledged to turn Bhutan into a parliamentary democracy by 2008 and the election was designed to give the Bhutanese people, a taste of what democracy would be like. The mock election saw voters choose from one of the four fake political parties; the Blue, Red, Green and Yellow Thunder Dragon parties. The two parties with the most votes would compete in May, represented by Bhutanese high school students.
Bhutan makes me smile.


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