International News Briefs

Ghana seeks non-violent solution to Ivory Coast situation

IVORY COAST: Last week, Ghana’s president John Atta Mills questioned the effectiveness of military intervention to solve post-election unrest in the Ivory Coast, the BBC reported. Mills noted that more than one million Ghanaians live in the Ivory Coast and would suffer directly from any violence. The Ivory Coast’s west African neighbours had previously threatened to remove presidential incumbent Laurent Gbagbo by force to allow the internationally recognized winner Alassane Ouattara to take control of the country. Meanwhile, Canada refused to comply with a request by Gbagbo to remove its ambassador from the Ivory Coast, calling the request illegitimate, the CBC reported.

Receding flood waters to reveal actual extent of damages

AUSTRALIA: Australian officials warned citizens of flood-ravaged eastern Australia to stay off flood damaged roads despite receding water levels, CNN reported last week. Many residents were still using boats to travel to and from their homes as officials began to speculate on the extent of the damage to more than 30,000 km of roads in Queensland province. Repairs and recuperation of losses to state infrastructure, agriculture and mining operations are expected to take years. The record flood levels covered an area equal in size to both Germany and France and affected 200,000 people, including 10 deaths and thousands of evacuations.

Greek anti-immigrant fence faces opposition

GREECE: Plans are likely to go ahead to build a fence along part of the Greece-Turkey border despite criticism from both the European Union (EU) and asylum seeker rights groups. The Greek government’s plans involve a 12.5 km fence along an unprotected stretch of border where more than 40,000 illegal immigrants entered the country last year, Al Jazeera reported. Greece is a popular gateway for those seeking to enter the EU and the country’s already struggling economy cannot bear the increasing illegal population. EU officials have called the fence a temporary fix for complicated migratory issues and asked Greece to ensure legitimate asylum seekers will not be forgotten in this latest plan.

Whalers, Sea Shepherds battle near Antarctica

JAPAN: Anti-whaling activists confronted Japanese whaling vessels with both sides documenting the clashes and accusing the other of dangerous conduct, according to Al Jazeera. Three Sea Shepherd ships followed three Japanese harpoon ships as they attempted to hunt whales 3,000 km south of New Zealand. Japan is allowed to catch a quota of whales each year by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) for research purposes. However, extra whale meat is still sold to the Japanese public despite a 1986 worldwide moratorium on commercial whaling. Japanese officials say their vessels were pelted with stink bombs while activists claim they were hit with a water cannon by the whalers.

Rising food prices cause alarm

Group talks were held last week to address record high global food prices ahead of a regular G20 summit in France later this year, Reuters reported. Officials fear that unchecked rising prices of many basic crops could lead to unrest and slow economic recovery in some regions. Price increases have been connected to poor weather conditions in Russia and some parts of the U.S.A spokesperson with the UN’s World Food Program said food assistance would be provided to vulnerable countries, especially those where children are at risk. Relatively stable rice and fuel prices are expected to mitigate overall effects of higher wheat and corn costs.

Published in Volume 65, Number 15 of The Uniter (January 13, 2011)

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