A deadly strain of swine flu is sweeping across Mexico and has already spread to bordering states in America, as well. Mexican health officials are sounding the alarm as the spread of the disease is described by the head of the World Health Organization (WHO), a United Nations agency, as approaching “pandemic levels.” More than 68 people have died in this outbreak of swine flu and at least a thousand more are suffering from the concomitant illnesses.
With returns still coming in two days after the April 22 parliamentary elections in South Africa, the African National Congress (ANC) has won an apparent overwhelming victory. With 14.5 million ballots having been counted, the ANC party led by Jacob Zuma was leading with about 66 percent of the vote. Winning a two-thirds majority of seats in the parliament would allow the ANC to enact major legislation unchallenged, or to change the country's constitution.
The UN's Durban Review Conference on racism got off to a rocky start in Geneva on April 20, as about 40 delegates from 30 countries walked out during a speech delivered by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Even before the Ahmadinejad talk, the conference was sparsely attended owing to a boycott by eight Western nations (including the United States) that anticipated that the event would become a forum for anti-Israeli rhetoric.
Though the United States was still the focus of plenty of the usual criticism, observers noted that it was toned down at this year's meeting of the Summit of the Americas. Reporters commented that Barack Obama was the “star” of the gathering. The three-day summit began Friday, April 17 in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.
The resistance put up by the American crew of the Maersk Alabama and the dramatic Easter Sunday rescue of Captain Richard Phillips, of Underhill, Vermont, who had been held by Somali pirates since April 8, may cause pirates to think twice about targeting Americans. But some Somali pirates are threatening retaliation for the U.S. military action that resulted in three pirates being killed and one taken captive.
A familiar accusation leveled at U.S. government officials came from a surprising source: Mexican President Felipe Calderon. “It is impossible to pass tons of drugs or cocaine to U.S. without some grade of complicity of some American authorities,” he said in a March 30 interview with the BBC before leaving for an official visit to London. “We need to act on both sides of the border.”
Sooner or later it was bound to happen. Over the past several years, American ships and crews had evaded the rising tide of piracy in the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea. But on April 8, pirates off the coast of Somalia seized a U.S.-flagged container ship, the Maersk Alabama, with a crew of 20 Americans. However, the American seamen were unwilling to join the crews of 18 other ships who are being held for ransom by the Somali pirates. In what is believed to be an unprecedented action in the Somali pirates’ sphere of operations, the unarmed crew fought back and overpowered their attackers.
Ex-prime minister Tony Blair is seen as the front-runner for a permanent EU presidency post, when and if the job is actually implemented. The post of President of the European Council is held for six months on a rotating basis by various heads of member states. Currently the Czech Republic holds the seat, with Mirek Topolanek as president of the council and Vaclav Klaus as president-in-office. The president-in-office is a rather insignificant unofficial position.
As expected, North Korea launched its Taepodong-2 long-range rocket on April 5, a move President Obama called "provocative" and "clear violation" of a United Nations Security Council resolution. While the ostensible purpose of the launch, according to official North Korean statements, was to launch a communications satellite, officials from South Korea, Japan, and the United States have all said that the launch was — in actuality — a test of the missile, itself. The three nations stated in advance of the launch that they wanted to level sanctions against North Korea if it proceeded. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on March 31: "Their missile launch violates UN Security Council Resolution 1718 and there will be consequences, certainly (at) the UN Security Council if they proceed with the launch."
Leaders of the 22-member Arab League and 12 South American countries met last week and agreed to an 11-point declaration on everything from the Israeli-Palestinian peace process to economic cooperation. The one-day Second Summit of Arab-South American Countries took place in Doha, Qatar, following the Arab League conference. Among the countries attending the summit were some of the world’s largest oil exporting nations, including Venezuela.
How can you tell if a president is asking to spend too much money? (No, it’s not when his lips are moving, wise guy.) It’s when the president has to campaign to get socialist European nations like Sweden, France and Germany to spend more “stimulus” money … and the Euro-socialists refuse.