As country after country attempts to recreate the historic events in Tunisia and Egypt, most of the world's and media’s attention has been focused on the Middle East. Cable news reports often depict a map of the region with the countries in turmoil highlighted: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Yemen. But no matter what cable news station one watches, one country — in the midst of turmoil and anti-government protests — remains unhighlighted and unmentioned on those maps: Albania.
Emboldened by the fall of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, a key ally of the United States, other pro-American regimes in the region are quickly coming to realize that their countries are not immune to the revolutionary fervor that has swept through the Middle East. In Bahrain, protests to topple the monarchy continue today, as protesters mourn the deaths of five fellow demonstrators killed the day before in a violent clash with the kingdom’s military.
Communist China supplies the world with more than 95 percent of the rare earth minerals, resources which are increasingly vital to advanced technology. In September 2009, China announced that it would reduce its production of these minerals to 35,000 tons, with the stated reason being to conserve scare resources and to protect the environment. In July 2010, China reduced the quota of rare earth minerals for export by 72 percent. In September 2010, the communist government halted shipments of critical rare earth minerals to Japan and the next month also halted shipments to the United States and Europe.
This past Wednesday as Egyptian society slowly returned to normality, the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces appointed Tareq al-Bishry, a retired judge, to head the Constitutional Amendment Committee authorized to redraft six articles of the constitution within a period of 10 days.
With the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak at the unrelenting demands of Egyptian protestors, the fate of Egypt still remains perilous. And when it seemed as if the situation could not degenerate further, now at least 1,500 workers from the Suez Canal Authority have protested over wage conditions and lack of equality.
London's Telegraph newspaper has again hammered Britain's National Health Service, that model of excellent patient care leftists want the United States to adopt. This time, the paper brought the health bureaucracy to book for its "callous" treatment of the elderly in a series of articles.
If any doubt remained that the U.S. and British governments’ case for invading Iraq was based almost entirely on lies, the Guardian has just put such doubt to rest. The British newspaper published a story based on interviews with Iraqi defector Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi, code name “Curveball,” in which Janabi admitted “that nearly every word he had told his interrogators from Germany’s secret service, the BND, was a lie.”
A spokeswoman for the Russian government, Olga Kamenchuk, reports that VsTIOM, the state’s polling organization, has found an astounding level of ignorance among Russians about basic facts of science. As an example, one-third of Russians polled believe that the sun revolves around the earth (not vice versa), and an equal number believe that the earth is the center of the solar system. Also, most Russians polled, 55 percent of them, believe that all radioactivity is man-made.
Scandal-plagued Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi will be tried in April on charges of corruption and paying for sex with an under-age prostitute. The evidence is reportedly so overwhelming that the prosecutors secured a fast-track trial for the billionaire leader, bypassing the normal preliminary hearing.
On February 13 voters in Switzerland turned back a proposal that would have tightened controls on firearms possession and use in a country where a large share of the homes have at least one gun and where learning to shoot and handle a rifle for defense of country (as well as sport) is a right of passage for every Swiss male.