International News Briefs

Pakistan continues to face issues with flooding

JASHMORO: Heavy flooding continues to wreak havoc on residents, as thousands of
Pakistanis have seen their homes destroyed for a second time in less than a year. Last year’s floods left 21 million Pakistanis homeless, while this year’s flood has impacted approximately 5.3 million people. Prior to the torrential rainfall that began in August, Oxfam released a statement criticizing governmental efforts to rebuild and prevent future flooding and stated that 37,000 people in the Sindh province were still in refugee camps.

Internet restrictions lifted in Burma

YANGON: After years of restrictive Internet policy, the Burmese government has lifted bans on certain foreign news sites. These bans, having been in place since action was taken against monk protests in 2007, included blocking sites such as Reuters and the Burmese version of the BBC. However, there are still concerns about overall media censorship in the country, with television news reporting remaining closely monitored by state officials. Other forms of media, such as visual arts and music, must still be approved by the state’s media department.

Role of NATO in Libya hailed as a success

WASHINGTON: Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Phillip Gordon called the recent military operation in Libya, conducted by NATO, a resounding success for European and American co-operation in military matters. President Barack Obama transferred authority of the Libyan mission to NATO forces on March 31, after the first strikes had been delivered by the United States on March 19. The United States also shared this leadership role with Britain and France in an effort to defend Libyans from the government forces guided by Muammar Gaddafi.

Tensions grow on Afghan-Iranian border

ZARANJ: A tension-filled situation on the Afghan-Iranian border got significantly worse this past week as border guards traded gunfire. According to Pajhwok Afghan News, the situation broke down when Iranian border police crossed over the Afghan border into an area disputed by the two nations. The Iranians had been attempting to assemble a check post and a transit road in the territory when the Afghans opened fire. The disputed territory has been a contentious issue and has been under constant disagreement since 1973, when five Afghani policemen died in a skirmish.

Malnourishment strikes North Korea’s army

TOKYO: Despite a monumental parade celebrating the country’s 63rd anniversary, it appears that there are still several major issues coming out of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. According to Asiapress, a Japan-based news agency, smuggled video shows soldiers around the country complaining about the lack of food available in the armed forces. One member of the forces estimated that up to 50 per cent of the army suffers from malnutrition. In response to these reports, the United States delivered more than $900,000 worth of aid supplies to the nation, in hopes that the sign of goodwill will bring North Korea back to negotiations over nuclear weapons.

Published in Volume 66, Number 4 of The Uniter (September 22, 2011)

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