It appears as if another country is afraid of Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders because of his outspoken views about Islam and his film Fitna, which intersperses excerpts from the Koran with depictions of Islamic violence. Following the lead of Great Britain, Denmark has postponed a conference on free speech to which Wilders was invited by the Danish People’s Party.
In the midst of an economic crisis and worries over a global epidemic, North Korea’s creaky totalitarian state continues to occupy headline news. North Korea, arguably the last Stalinist regime on Earth, has, over the past decade, conducted three long-range missile tests — none of which has come remotely close to demonstrating an ability to reach even western Alaska, much less deliver a payload to the continental United States — and carried out a single, low-yield nuclear test that apparently was only partly successful. Now the North Koreans are threatening more missile and nuclear tests unless the UN Security Council apologizes for tightening sanctions over the latest missile launch.
The long-running war in Sri Lanka, the impoverished Indian Ocean nation suspended like a tropical teardrop below India’s southern tip, appears to be near an end. The secessionist war between the Tamil Tigers of Eelam (LTTE) and the majority Sinhalese government has attracted sporadic international attention over the years, but never the sort of sustained intervention that has taken place in the Balkans or in the Middle East.
The “Socialist Revolution” will continue in Ecuador for at least another four years after President Rafael Correa was reelected by a wide margin Sunday. “We’ve taken a historic step in consolidating our social revolution,” he proclaimed to supporters after exit polls indicated victory. “We will never defraud the Ecuadorian people.”
A pre-dawn U.S. military raid on April 26 that had targeted Iranian-backed Shi'ite militiamen but resulted in the deaths of two Iraqi citizens has generated a storm of outrage in Kut, a city in southern Iraq. It also prompted an official statement accusing the United States of violating the security pact between the two nations.
An Italian cruise ship carrying armed Israeli security guards successfully averted a hijacking attempt by Somali pirates late Saturday, according to multiple reports. The MSC Melody, which was carrying more than 1,500 people, opened fire on the speed boat when the six men armed with Kalashnikov rifles tried to put a ladder on the bow.
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.