International News Briefs

Chinese dissident Ai Weiwei breaks silence

After being detained for 81-days by Chinese authorities and subsequently lying low for a year, Chinese artist and political dissident Ai Weiwei has broken his silence - largely through the foreign and English language press. Within the past couple months, Weiwei’s first American exhibition opened at the Smithsonian Institution’s Hirshhorn Museum in Washington and he starred in a recently released documentary titled Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry. He has also spoken with several Western journalists in English and even commented on CNN about the American presidential election, comparing United States democracy with what he characterized as a “stage-managed” leadership transition by the Chinese Communist Party, according to the Los Angeles Times. While WeiWei is no longer facing criminal charges by the state, he is still being sued by the government for $2.4 million in back taxes and penalties.

Border negotiations begin between Israel, Palestinians

Now that a ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinians along the Gaza Strip has ended the most intense fighting between the two sides in four years, negotiations have begun between Israel and the Palestinian government around border arrangements, according to the Associated Press. The negotiations, which are being mediated by Egypt, will not be simple as each side proposes its own complex set of conditions. The ceasefire, and subsequent border negotiations ended fighting that saw 160 Palestinians, many of whom were civilians, killed by Israeli airstrikes. The strikes were a response to rocket attacks by Palestinian militants that killed six Israelis, four of whom were civilians.

Canadian Mark Carney named Bank of England Governor

Mark Carney, the acclaimed Governor of the Bank of Canada, has been named the new head of England’s central bank in a surprise move announced on Nov. 26. Carney will replace former Bank of England governor Sir Mervyn King and will begin a five-year term in May 2013, when he will leave his current post in Canada. Carney will apply for British citizenship and has been offered a pay package of about $624,000 a year. The former British central banker was paid about half that, but retained a pension package worth about $519,000 a year, according to BBC World News.

Man behind controversial anti-Muslim film has no regrets

Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a convicted fraudster and the man behind a blasphemous anti-Muslim film that sparked mass protests across the Middle East in September, has expressed no regrets over his controversial film. The film, a crudely made feature titled Innocence of Muslims, first appeared on YouTube as a 14-minute trailer in July. It portrays the prophet Mohammed as thuggish and morally bankrupt, and was initially cited as a key reason for the September attack in Benghazi, Libya that killed U.S ambassador Christopher Stevens. The attack was later attributed to terrorism by the Obama administration. Nakoula, who was charged with bank fraud in 2010 and is now serving a one-year prison sentence for violating the terms of his probation, told the New York Times that the film conveys the “actual truth” about the prophet Mohammed.

Published in Volume 67, Number 13 of The Uniter (November 28, 2012)

Related Reads