International News Briefs

Greece announces new interim leader

ATHENS: After much political bickering, Lucas Papademos has been appointed leader of a new Greek coalition government, the New York Times reported. This decision came after former prime minister George Papandreou agreed to step down following a controversial bid for a referendum in the midst of a bailout deal with the European Union. During his six-month term, Papademos has agreed to implement the strict austerity measures of the $177 billion bailout package meant to bring Greece’s economy back from the brink. Social unrest in the country has been mounting as unemployment worsens and these new measures will likely cause further job cuts.

IEA report on climate change points to bleak future

The International Energy Agency’s latest annual energy outlook suggests that, without immediate global energy reform, the world is headed for a 3.5-degree temperature increase within the next decade, a level most scientists agree is irreversible. The IEA cited fossil fuel dependency as the worst contributor to greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and noted many countries’ aversion to cleaner energy offered by nuclear power programs. The Huffington Post reported that renewable power and energy efficiency are not enough to make a large difference; rather, a worldwide energy agreement needs to be made and industrial outputs need to be tackled.

New Iraq insurgency feared

BAGHDAD: Concern is growing about the resurgence of an al-Qaeda offshoot in Iraq as the United States prepares to withdraw troops by year’s end, reported the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. While the terrorist organization is weaker than its peak five years ago, al-Qaeda allies in North Africa, Somalia and Yemen have been seeking more authority since Osama Bin Laden’s death. The group is responsible for 30 attacks a week and large scale strikes every four to six weeks in parts of Iraq. They have also started aggressively recruiting young Iraqis, leading some to question the ability of the government to control the group once the U.S. disembarks.

Death toll rises in Syria

SYRIA: According to the UN, more than 3,500 people have been killed during months of anti-government protests in the country, reported the BBC. President Bashar al-Assad’s government has enlisted the army and security forces to deal with what began as a peaceful uprising in March. Outrage has ensued as more than 60 people have been killed in the city of Homs following a recent agreement with the Arab League to remove forces from city streets. Along with balking this agreement, the government continues to arbitrarily arrest citizens, adding to thousands already in detention.

Published in Volume 66, Number 12 of The Uniter (November 17, 2011)

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