Weekly geopolitical events
By Keating Smith, Staff Writer
Africa: (Mali) French troops began a military intervention early last week in Mali to push Islamic extremists out of the northern area of the country, who have maintained a strong presence in the region since last April. Though neither government would comment on the number of troops in the area or the assortment of armaments they brought with them, Mali’s president Francois Hollande told the press “The operation will last as long as is necessary.” The two countries have strong colonial ties with several thousand French civilians currently living in the country.
North America: (Mexico) Newly elected president Enrique Pena Nieto has enacted a law which will work to financially compensate the victims and families of those who have been disturbed by the drug wars. Although the bill was approved by Mexican congress last spring, former president Felipe Calderon opposed passing the bill during his well-known fight against drug violence in the country. Up to $70,000 will be paid to families who have suffered from the violence as early as next month.
South America: (Argentina) An Argentine naval ship that was detained in Ghana has arrived back to its homeport after being detained for over two months. An investment company had seized the 103-metre sailing ship ARA Libertad in Ghana in an attempt to recover debt the country still owed after the 2002 debt default, in which the firm has stated Argentina still owes the company $370 million.
Asia- Central & South: (India) Three of the five men charged with the rape and death of an Indian woman on a Delhi bus in mid-December have pleaded ‘not guilty’ to the charges against them. The 23-year-old woman was attacked while onboard a transit bus and subsequently died of injuries in the hospital afterwards. The attack has sparked public outcry towards India’s judicial system for being inaccurate and slow, with many women coming forward to confess similar stories of their own.
Asia- Pacific: (North Korea) Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt and former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson made a visit to North Korea last week in an attempt to convince the country’s government to lift a ban on providing Internet access to its population. Isolation has created a false image of the world for North Korea’s population and Schmidt expressed concerns of major economic woes for the country if the ban is not lifted soon. Currently, Internet access is restricted to the country’s heavily censored intranet.
Europe: (Northern Ireland) Violent protests raged throughout Belfast last week in response to a decision made by city council to stop flying the Union Jack year-round on several of its buildings. Although the protests have been ongoing since the decision was made, violence has escalated in the past week with reports of 52 police officers injured and almost 100 protesters arrested.
Middle East: (Syria) UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has stated that over 60,000 people in Syria have died from the conflict that has completely uprooted and destroyed the country. The UN Human Rights Commission used statistics from several different sources including those from the Syrian government and activists in Syria to compile the shocking numbers. Although the figures do have a first and last name and location of death associated with them, the actual likely death toll is poised to be potentially higher due to the number of deaths unaccounted for over the past 22 months of fighting.