By Keating Smith, Staff Writer
Africa: (Niger) The United States military has sent 100 soldiers to Niger to assist French forces in neighbouring Mali and their offense against Al-Qaeda-associated forces. According to several American media sources, the US and Niger have reached a tentative agreement on how much of a role the US military will assume in this region of Africa and assist in stabilizing the situation the region is faced with, due primarily to infiltration by Islamic extremists over the past several months.
Latin & South America: (Guatemala) Officials in Guatemala made a public apology after announcing the world’s most wanted drug lord, Joaquin ‘El-Chapo’ Guzman, was killed in a clash in the northern area of the country bordering Mexico. “It was a mix-up. We were referring to information generated from the area that there was possibly a crime scene with a dead person resembling El Chapo,” Guatemala’s interior minister told the press. El-Chapo is still believed to be in hiding in the western area of Northern Mexico and is the most wanted man by both American and Mexican authorities. He is estimated to be worth $1 billion, according to financial magazine Forbes.
Asia- Central & South: (Afghanistan) NATO forces are determining whether or not to leave a supposed 12,000 soldiers on the ground in Afghanistan after 2014—the initial withdrawal date of all foreign military forces from the country. Discussion on the subject comes shortly after President Obama announced withdrawing of 30,000-60,000 American troops from the country during his State of the Union speech by early next fall. NATO held the North Atlantic Council of Defense Ministers’ meeting in Belgium last week.
Asia- Pacific: (Guam) American fighter jets were scrambled last week to intercept two Russian Tu-95 long-range bombers off the coast of Guam. The Russian planes approached the Pacific military base on the day President Obama was preparing to give his State of the Union speech and discuss potential cutbacks in military spending. This is not the first time the Tu-95 or “Bear” has been intercepted by NATO forces during a crucial diplomatic event. In February 2009, two CF-18 jets were scrambled in Cold Lake, Alberta to intercept a Russian plane when it was detected flying in the high Canadian Arctic on the same day the American President was scheduled to visit Ottawa.
Europe: (Russia) The Liberal Democrat Party of Russia has proposed legislation in the Duma to protect the Russian language by passing a bill to fine or detain people who use English words that have infiltrated into Russian linguistics since demise of the Soviet Union. The proposed bill suggests that Russians instead use dated words that have been replaced by more modern terms used to describe English words such as “dealer,” “boutique,” and “wow.” Fines are slated to range anywhere from $80-1,650 for offenders and have brought fierce criticism from the United Russia Party, who sees the bill being unattainable due to the influence the Internet has on the country and its citizens.
Middle East: (Jordan) Ahmad Alhendawi was sworn in to the United Nations last week to become the next General Envoy on Youth. The 29-year-old was selected after a robust selection process, according to UN spokesperson Martin Nesirky, who refered to Mr. Alhendawi as “a very distinguished young leader among billions of young people, and one who will bring new and fresh and creative ideas [and] working with and for Women and Young People as major focus.” Mr. Alhendawi has made a strong UN presence over the past several years, dealing with politics in the Middle East and specifically within the League of Arab States.