International News Briefs

Jalil stops Libyan bid for autonomy

LIBYA: Libyan political leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil has rejected a bid by the eastern part of the country for political and economic independence. Al Jazeera reports political leaders in Benghazi are pushing for autonomy for the eastern region to combat marginalization and inefficiency of government affairs, which are currently centered 12 hours away in Tripoli. Jalil has accused the bid of coming from supporters of Gadhafi’s regime, who want to segregate the country and gain political power in the east. Jalil has also blamed foreign funding for supporting the bid, and ensures that force will be used to avoid separation if necessary.

Viral Kony video sparks debate

UGANDA: A video focusing on alleged war criminal Joseph Kony, posted by the non-profit group Invisible Children has received 15 million views in just three days and has become a topic of debate. According to Al Jazeera, the organization is receiving flak for using the majority of fundraised money to make high quality videos and for not being financially transparent. The Invisible Children campaign is an initiative to have Kony, leader of the LRA in Uganda, arrested for his abduction and abuse of child soldiers. The U.S. government has deployed 100 troops to help local forces in Africa, and Invisible Children wants more to be done to capture Kony.

UN envoy warns against military action in Syria

SYRIA: Former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan has warned against using military intervention to quell the crisis in Syria, citing that the issues are political and must be resolved within the Syrian government. Annan is the Arab-UN envoy charged with bringing peace to Syria. His message is for Arab League countries in favour of using force to stop the violence, reports Al Jazeera. Foreign journalists allowed into the cities of Homs and Baba Amr for the first time since March 1 reported vast devastation and few remaining residents. The UN is sending $105 million worth of food to 1.5 million

Syrian people over three months

Iraq war blamed for rising suicide rates in U.S. Army
UNITED STATES: A study by the U.S. Army Public Health Command has found suicide rates in the army have increased since the U.S. launched the war on Iraq in 2003. According to the Mail and Guardian, 140 army personnel committed suicide in 2008, an unprecedented 80 per cent increase since 2004. The majority of those who died were young, white males in lower military ranks who had never been deployed, citing the importance of pre-combat stress counselling. As well, one-fifth of all soldiers had a mental-health-related doctor’s visit in 2008, leading to a related rise in hospitalization for these issues.

Norway massacre suspect charged, awaits trial

NORWAY: Anders Behring Breivik has been charged with committing acts of terror and voluntary homicide for his twin attacks that killed 77 people in Norway last July, the Mail and Guardian reports. Breivik set off a car bomb in Oslo killing eight people then went to Uteoya Island dressed as a police officer and methodically killed 69 people attending a government operated summer camp. The attacks were racially charged. Before his trial begins on April 16, Breivik is being psychologically re-evaluated after he was diagnosed as criminally insane, which, if stands, would place him in a psychiatric ward instead of prison.

Published in Volume 66, Number 23 of The Uniter (March 14, 2012)

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