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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

World News

  • Afghanistan has weighed in on the whole "Osama Bin Laden was apparently living 35 miles from Islamabad for years" controversy.  Defence Ministry spokesman Zaher Azimy stated "If Pakistan's spy agency was not aware of the house near the academy, it brings the agency under question.  If I was a security analyst, I would raise these very important questions."  He went on to ask "If the agency was not aware that the biggest terrorist had been living there for six long years, how can it protect its strategic weapons?  How can the world be assured that the strategic and atomic weapons would not be in danger in the future?"
  • Bahrain's justice minister has charged 23 doctors and 24 nurses with "acting against the state" by treating pro-democracy protesters wounded by security forces.  Well, that's just the actual reason for the charges.  The official charges include promoting efforts to bring down the government, harming the public by spreading false news, embezzlement of public funds, forcefully occupying a public building, , inciting, participating in illegal protests, and "assault that led to death".  The Saudi-supported Bahraini government has only managed to kill 30 people since the protests began in February, so it is unlikely that the chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Court will consider bringing charges.
North Korea
  • Amnesty International has published satellite images of North Korean political prison camps, which are apparently growing in size.  The North Korean government - which denies the camps exist - did not comment.  Escapees from the non-existent camps have testified that prisoners are used as slave labor and are frequently subjected to torture and other human rights violations.  Former President Carter has not yet weighed in on whether these human rights violations are the fault of the United States...
  • In the wake of the "Osama Bin Laden was apparently living 35 miles from Islamabad for years" controversy, and the fact that the Pakistani army wasn't aware the operation was taking place until hours after it was over, Pakistani citizens and politicians are beginning to ask awkward questions like "how did the United States assault a building in a garrison town in our nation without our military noticing?"  Political anchor Kamran Khan probably put it best when he said "The biggest question is where do we stand now?  We had the belief that our defense was impenetrable, but look what has happened.  such a massive intrusion and it went undetected."
  • Pakistan, understandable feeling stung by the whole "Osama Bin Laden was apparently living 35 miles from Islamabad for years" controversy, is lashing out.  "We have intelligence failure of the rest of the world including the United States," said Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.  And while that is true, the position of the United States seems to be "Yes, but he wasn't living in a resort fortress in Disneyland, next door to a US Army base.  We think we might have noticed if he had been."
  • Prime Minister Jose Socrates has reached an agreement for a bail-out from the EU and the International Monetary fund.  The deal has to be endorsed by opposition parties, and will be asking for a three-year loan of 78billion euros.  It will also require Portugal's deficit to be cut to 5.9% of GDP by the end of 2011, to 4.5% of GDP by the end of 2012, and to 3% of GDP by the end of 2013.  There is, as yet, no speculation that they will renege on the deal the same way Greece has.
  • Now that the protests in Deraa has been smashed flat with automatic weapons fire and tanks (killing an estimated 560 people in the process), the Syrian military has surrounded the coastal ity of Baniyas and is preparing to steamroll protesters in that city as well.  The chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Court has yet to make any comments.
United States
[1]  I can sympathize if your reaction here is something like "so what?".  We are talking about Osama Bin Laden, after all, and I'm not particularly losing any sleep over the idea that he wasn't given a trial before being executed.  But, do we really want to be alienating our allies and throwing more fuel on the fire?

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