International News Briefs

Death of journalists in Syria prompts international outcry

SYRIA: The deaths of two European journalists in Syria on Feb. 22 have sparked condemnation from Western leaders. Marie Colvin, an American journalist with Britain’s Sunday Times, and Remi Ochlik, a French photographer, were killed in the city of Homs. Activists claim that 80 Syrian citizens were also killed. British foreign secretary William Hague called the incident “a terrible reminder of the suffering of the Syrian people.” French president Nicolas Sarkozy used even stronger language, calling for an end to the government of Bashar al-Assad: “This regime must go and there is no reason that Syrians don’t have the right to live their lives and choose their destiny freely. If journalists were not there, the massacres would be a lot worse.”

Montana governor angry over Keystone delay

MONTANA: Montana governor Brian Schweitzer has blasted Washington over their hesitance to approve the controversial Keystone XL pipeline. The pipeline is designed to supply the Midwestern and Southwestern United States with energy from Alberta’s tar sands.  The delay in construction has incensed Schweitzer who, although a Democrat, finds himself vehemently opposed to his party colleagues in Congress. Schweitzer fumed in the Globe and Mail: “While we were doing the heavy lifting here in Montana and in South Dakota and in Kansas and Oklahoma ... in Washington, D.C. ... all these great defenders had never heard of Keystone before.”

Wave of bomb attacks in Iraq leave 50 dead

IRAQ: Coordinated bomb and shooting attacks on Feb. 23 have killed 50 people, the Globe and Mail reported. Security forces were targeted in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad. The town of Musayibb was also struck, with a bomb being detonated near a primary school. More than 200 were injured by the attacks. Targeting of security forces is a common tactic of al-Qaeda in Iraq and indeed, the group has claimed responsibility for the attacks. The deadliest strike of the day occurred in central Baghdad, where a car bomb detonated downtown killed nine and injured 26.

Leaders offer support for beleaguered Somalia

LONDON: World leaders have pledged to aid Somalia in addressing piracy and terrorism, the Globe and Mail reported. At the summit, hosted by British Prime Minister David Cameron, the delegates pledged the support of the international community in helping Somalia make the transition to peace and greater stability. Delegates at the conference also pledged their support for prosecuting the “kingpins” of Somalian piracy, a problem that has plagued the waters around the Horn of Africa for years. The Somali militant fundamentalist organization al-Shabab denounced the conference decrying it as a Western attempt to carve up Somalia.

Iran nuclear program talks collapse

IRAN: The collapse of talks in Tehran between the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Iranian government has led to a further chill in relations between Iran and the United States. Washington sharply criticized the Iranian government over the talks’ failure, the Mail & Guardian reported. White House spokesperson Jay Carney told the press: “This particular action by Iran suggests that they have not changed their behaviour when it comes to abiding by their international obligations.” Undeterred, Iran’s Supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei vowed that Iran’s nuclear program will continue to develop regardless of external pressures.

Published in Volume 66, Number 21 of The Uniter (March 1, 2012)

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