Weekly geopolitical events
By Keating Smith, Staff Writer
Africa: (Somalia) A car bomb shook the Somali Parliament in Mogadishu, killing at least one person. Whether the bomb was from a suicide bomber or planted device is still unclear. There has been no claimant group on the attack, but the al-Qaeda related organization, al-Shabaab, has been active in the area, seeking to claim Islamic law as authority over the unstable country.
North America: (United States) Mark Basseley Youssef, the filmmaker behind the anti-Muslim film The Innocence of Muslims, has been given a one-year prison sentence for probation violations unrelated to the film. Youssef used fraudulent California driver’s licenses to commit several acts of bank fraud prior to releasing the film. The film was alleged to have provoked the protest that resulted in the deaths of several American diplomats in Libya in September.
Asia- Central & South Asia: (Indonesia) Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejiad stated in a democracy forum in Bali that “The period and era of using nuclear weapons is over … Nuclear bombs are not anymore helpful and those who are stockpiling nuclear weapons, politically they are backward, and they are mentally retarded.” The statement is contradictive though, with the capital of Iran Tehran’s recent barring of International Atomic Energy Agency observers from accessing some of its nuclear sites.
Asia- Pacific: (Laos) Government officials in Laos have announced that construction will begin on a hydroelectric dam this month on the Mekong River. The project, estimated to be worth $3.8 billion, has brought much antagonism to Laos from neighbouring countries who object the project, stating major disruptions to water flow in one of Asia’s largest river systems will create problems for nations further upstream along the Mekong.
Europe: (France) France’s government has approved a draft law to allow gay marriage and adoption for same-sex couples, despite fierce opposition from the Roman Catholic Church and the right wing opposition. François Hollande, the recently elected president, promised the country during his successful campaign earlier this year that a bill would be drafted granting marriage equality for France’s same-sex couples. A number of European nations allow gay marriage and adoption, whereas in France only married couples and non-civil union partners can adopt.
Middle East: (Syria) Over 11,000 people have fled from the violence and bloodshed facing Syria. The latest figure represents the largest number of refugees fleeing Syria in a single 24-hour period. The UNHCR has registered or assisted to 408,000 refugees in neighboring countries to Syria since the violence began in 2011.