21 1 Decade 7th yr
21 2007- AD
Jan 7 In the US, a new Congress has convened and is about to
confront President Bush's strategy regarding Iraq. A debate is taking
place on what to do about US policy failures in Iraq. Those supporting
Bush and favoring more troops sent to Iraq are suggesting that the US
must assert its will, otherwise Iraq and the entire region will sink
into an abyss. The other side of the debate is saying that a solution
by Iraqis is needed, that the Bush administration trying to impose its
will on the Iraqis by a troop "surge" will produce more aggravation
among the Iraqis and more failure.
Jan 8 The government of Morocco is putting two journalists on
trial in Casablanca, charging them with defaming Islam and damaging
public morality. The journalists created an article that explored
popular jokes about religion, sex and politics. Sale of the magazine
containing the article has been banned.
Jan 8 The government of Morocco arrests 62 Al Qaida suspects.
Jan 9 In the US the debate about a proposed troop surge in
Iraq continues, with Frederick Kagan of the American Enterprise
Institute on one side and Edward N. Luttwak of the Center for Strategic
and International Studies on the other. Luttwak compares the amount of
police controlling New York City and the number of soldiers it would
take to control Baghdad today and he concludes that Kagan's plan to
bust down doors in Baghdad neighborhoods would not be productive. He
favors continued support for the elected government in Iraq but with
less exposure and fewer casualties for US troops on desert bases, in
the Green Zone and such, doing what US forces can do effectively:
striking at any force that gathers into an anti-government "targetable
Jan 10 In Venezuela, President Chavez is sworn in for a third
term and promises "the construction of Venezuelan socialism."
Jan 10 In Nicaragua, the former Sandinista leader Daniel
Ortega is sworn in as President. After his own inauguration, President
Chavez flies in and celebrates with Ortega. Bolivia's president,
Morales, is there, as is President-elect Rafael Correa of Ecuador, and
Fidel Castro sends a message of "utmost support."
Jan 10 President Bush announces his new plan for success in
Iraq: the deployment of 21,500 more US troops and more economic
Jan 12 In Somalia, government troops backed by Ethiopian
troops have eliminated the last stronghold of the Islamist force that
has controlled part of the country for the past six months. Remnants of
the Islamist force are said to be hiding in the forests on Somalia's
border with Kenya.
Jan 16 Rafael Correa, an economist, is sworn in as Ecuador's
new president. He proposes less involvement by the United States in
Ecuadorian affairs and restructuring Ecuador's debt. Among those
attending his inauguration is President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran,
who has been touring "shanty towns" in Nicaragua.
Ogun Samast, in the center
Jan 16 In a News Hour television interview, President Bush
sums up his position on Iraq He says that if we don't help the Iraqis
now, Iraq will become a safe haven for Al Qaeda and radicals with
weapons of mass destruction will cause "huge devastation," among other
disastrous consequences. The interviewer, Jim Lehrer, asks why if
failure in Iraq would be such a disaster, the volunteer Army and
Marines and their families have been the only people actually
sacrificing. President Bush answers that he is opposed to the kind of
sacrifice involved in raising taxes, which, he says, would "hurt this
Jan 18 Egypt puts on trial a blogger, Abdel Kareem Nabil, for
insulting Islam and causing sectarian strife. He is reported by the
Associated Press as having "often denounced Islamic
authorities." The Associated Press adds that "Egypt has
arrested a string of pro-democracy bloggers over the past year."
Jan 18 Senator Leahy of Vermont lectures Attorney General
Alberto Gonzales concerning Maher Arar and others: "We knew damn well
if he went to Canada, he wouldn't be tortured. He’d be held; he’d be
investigated. We also knew damn well if he went to Syria, he would be
tortured. And it's beneath the dignity of this country, a country that
has always been a beacon of human rights, to send somebody to another
country to be tortured."
Jan 19 World Fact Book publishes estimates for per capita GDP
(wealth produced divided by population size) for the year 2006 (at
Purchasing Power Parity). Oil rich United Arab Emirates is $49,700 per
person, Norway $47,800, Ireland $43,600, USA $43,500, Iceland $38,100,
Denmark $37,000, Canada $35,200, Austria $34,100.
Jan 19-20 In Turkey the journalist Hrant Dink is assassinated
by a couple of youths who did not like what they considered to be his
insults against the nation. The nation of Turkey and its political
leaders are outraged and insulted. The assassin, Ogun Samast, a
teenager, is captured on the 20th and identified by his father. Ogun
Samast hangs his head in shame.
Jan 23 In Lebanon the strike against the government ends in
violence. Some who disapprove dislike Hezbollah having quit the
government and then having complained about the government not being
representative. Some who have supported the strike are upset that it
has turned violent. A majority of Lebanese see remedy in democracy.
Jan 26 Many have been describing an alternative strategy to
President Bush's plan for Iraq: Senator Hegel, Senator Webb of
Virginia, people at the Center for Strategic and International Studies,
and others, some of whom are scholars on military matters. President
Bush apparently holds ideas rival to his as unworkable. He declares
that those who oppose his planned "surge" have an "obligation and a
serious responsibility ... to put up their own plan as to what would
work." The president and his supporters are describing
Lieutenant-General David Petraeus as the authority on military
strategy. Petraeus has said that he is not sure the president's new
plan will work, but he has promised the Senate Foreign Relations
Committee that when he sees that it is not working he will openly admit
and Maqbook Ahmad
Jan 27 Two brothers in the village of Khatan in eastern
Pakistan, Mohammad Aslam and Maqbool Ahmad, kill their sister and the
man they find her with. They surrender to police explaining that they
have redeemed their family honor. The man they have killed belongs to a
family of Syeds, considered descendents of Prophet Mohammad.
Nevertheless, local people, with justice on their minds, are siding
with the brothers, who belong to a family of menial laborers. According
to the BBC the brothers are expected "to walk free."
Feb 1 US military killed in Iraq in January: 92.
Feb 2 Researchers at AngioGenetics in Sweden describe a new
mechanism for blood vessel growth that could lead to new treatments for
cancer and chronic inflammatory diseases.
Feb 2 In Lebanon, Sunni Muslim clerics publish a fatwa
prohibiting Muslims from killing their fellow countrymen and
particularly their fellow Muslims.
Feb 7 The move to control Baghdad - part of the so-called
surge - has begun. The city has been divided into nine districts. Each
district has been assigned 600 US troops and thousands of Iraqi
Feb 12 Iran has an interest in Iraq - a friendly rather than
hostile neighbor. The Bush administration denies plans to invade Iran
but accuses Iran of supplying weapons to those killing US troops, and
it says the US will use force against Iranian interference inside Iraq.
Iran's President Ahmadinejad says that Iran regrets the death of anyone
in Iraq and says that there should be "no foreigners in Iraq."
Feb 12 For three days, violent protests have been taking
place in various towns in Guinea, with protesters trying to oust
President Lansana Conté from power. Today fifteen people die in the
capital city, Conakry. President Cote tells his military to "take all
necessary measures" to prevent civil war and to restore public order.
Feb 13 Sweden extends broadband Internet service to areas in
its north where there are only three persons per square kilometer.
Feb 15 Egyptian police arrest 72 men believed associated with
the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood. President Mubarak considers political
parties with a religious agenda as subversive to Egypt's secularism.
The Muslim Brotherhood is his regime's largest organized opponent.
Feb 15 A UN report (UNICEF to be exact) states its conclusion
that the Netherlands is the country that provides the best well-being
for children. Sweden is second.
Feb 18 President Assad meets with Iranians and speaks of "the
sinister aims of the United States and Zionists." He adds:
"Creating conflict between Shia and Sunni in Iraq and Lebanon is the
final card that America and its allies have."
Exorcist priest, Daniel Petru Corogeanu
Feb 19 In Romania, Daniel Petru Corogeanu, the priest whose
exorcism killed a nun, is sentenced to 14 years in prison. The four
nuns who helped him are sentenced to from five to eight years. The
Orthodox Church has promised psychological tests for those seeking
entry to monasteries.
Feb 19 The European Union extends economic and other
sanctions against Zimbabwe for another year.
Feb 22 Russia has set aside 3.5 billion dollars to address
poor health and low life-expectancy - age 60 for men and 72 for women,
rather than around 80 for some industrialized countries. Drinking,
smoking and pollution are said to account for much of the ill-health.
Russia's population dropped by 560,000 last year.
Feb 26 Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan tells a
business conference that the economy may fall into recession by the end
of 2007. He says the US economy has been growing since 2001 and that
the economy cycle is nearing an end. The Wall Street Journal quotes him
as saying, "When you get this far away from a recession, invariably
forces build up for the next recession, and indeed we are beginning to
see that sign, for example in the US, profit margins ... have begun to
stabilize, which is an early sign we are in the later stages of a
cycle." Greenspan added that the global economy looks to be stable and
that both the US and world economies are more resilient than before.
Feb 27 A prosecutor for the International Criminal Court
accuses Ali Kushayb of the Janjaweed with ordering killings, rapes, and
looting in Darfur. Accused with Kushayb is Sudan's Minister of State
for Humanitarian Affairs, Ahmed Haroun.
Feb 27 Prices on China's stock market rose 130 percent in
2006 and another 12 percent into February of this year. That is more
than 12 times faster than its economic growth. Concern that China's
government will intervene to stop a growing bubble of get-rich
enthusiasm sends China's stock prices falling, down 8.8 percent. Stocks
prices drop elsewhere in the world, in the US 4.3 percent. Some look
for something like a 10 percent drop in stock prices in the US Maybe 8
percent - an expected "correction" after a long period of rise in the
price-value of stocks.
Feb 28 President Bush invites British historian Andrew
Roberts to the White House, and Roberts dines with Bush, Vice President
Cheney and Karl Rove. Bush has read Roberts' A History of the English
Speaking Peoples since 1900 , a book that celebrates "Shouldering the
White Man's Burden."
Mar 1 US military killed in Iraq in February: 87.
Mar 8 In his first news conference since taking command of US
forces in Iraq, General Petraeus speaks of not foreseeing a military
victory over the insurgents. He favors military action to improve
security, but he avoids absolutes such as failure, win or victory. He
says "there is no military solution to a problem like that in Iraq, to
the insurgency of Iraq." Petraeus favors negotiations among the Iraqis.
Mar 11 In Mauritania power is changing hands for the first
time through the popular elections.
Mar 11 The new leader of Turkmenistan, President
Berdymukhamedov, is visiting communities without the pomp of previous
leaders - no staged crowds or children reading poems of praise.
Mar 11 In Thailand a Swiss citizen, Oliver Jufer, arrested in
December, goes on trial for insulting the king. He could be sentenced
to 75 years in prison.
Mar 11 In Harare, the capital city of Zimbabwe, a crowd
opposed to the rule of Robert Mugabe gathers. Morgan Tsvangirai, leader
of the Movement for Democratic, arrives. The police grab him and other
opposition leaders who are dragged from their cars as they arrive. The
police tear-gas the irate crowd and fire their weapons.The crowd is
enraged in response to one of their number being shot dead. They attack
the police. Those police who can, flee in their cars. Those who cannot
flee are severely beaten.
Mar 13 Tsvangirai and the other opposition activists have
been beaten while being held by the police. Bones have been broken. The
activists are released to the custody of their attorneys.
Mar 15 President Mugabe blames the crowd and its leaders for
the recent violence and tells his foreign critics to "go
Mar 14-16 Jeremy Bowen of the BBC asks a senior security
official from Saudi Arabia whether the US military presence in Iraq has
become "a recruiting sergeant for Islamist extremists." His answer: "It
inspires these people. Some of them think it is their duty to go and
perform jihad in Iraq. They think they are supporting the Muslims in
Iraq and actually protecting the Islamic civilization and culture in
Mar 16 In what will be the words of economist Paul Kruglman,
banks are selling "bunches of mortgages and other loans to poorly
informed investers, instead of keeping them on their own books," and
this has been "encouraging reckless lending." The housing market is in
a slow motion collapse and numerous lenders are going backgrupt. Today
the Dow Jones Industrial Average is at 12,100, 600 points down from
where it was last month, but confidence talk in the coming weeks will
send the market upward. Home costruction has fallen, but a weak dollar
is making US manufacturing more competitive and a boom in exports for
the US is ahead.
Mar 19 In a poll by ABC News, USA Today and others, 51
percent of Iraqis say violence against US forces is acceptable, and 80
percent oppose the presence of the US in their country.
Mar 19 President Bush speaks to the beginning of the fifth
year of "Operation Iraqi Freedom. "At this point in the war," he says,
"our most important mission is helping the Iraqis secure their
capital." He concludes: "(T)he fight is difficult, but it can be won.
It will be won if we have the courage and resolve to see it through."
Mar 22 Senator James Webb of Virginia expresses his opinion
that the US military on the streets in Iraq is an "aggravation," in
other words that it would be better for Iraq that they not be there.
Webb is an aggressive former Marine and was Secretary of the Navy
during the Reagan administration.
Mar 22 In the Democratic Republic of Congo a former rebel
leader, Jean-Pierre Bemba, has refused to lay down his arms after
having lost a presidential election, despite his having agreed to do
so. A. confrontation takes place and a gun battle lasts through the
Mar 27 King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia describes the US
military in Iraq as an illegitimate foreign occupation. A friend of the
Bush family, he has declined to attend a state dinner in Washington
this April 17.
Mar 27 Speaking of the efforts of General Petraeus in Iraq,
US Senator John McCain says "there are real signs the new strategy is
working" and that some others in the Senate are offering "a date
certain for surrender - with grave consequences..." His Republican
colleague, Chuck Hagel, sees the new strategy as an escalation that
will not bring resolution in Iraq. He complains of young Americans
"kicking down doors, with a bull's eye on their back" and speaks of
cost in American lives, dollars, and world standing as "devastating for
Mar 28 In the Democratic Republic of Congo, more than 200
fighters loyal to Jean-Pierre Bemba hand their weapons over to
government forces. Mr. Bemba has taken refuge in South Africa's embassy.
Mar 28 Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, Ben Bernanke,
tells Congress the following: "Overall, the economy appears likely to
continue to expand at a moderate pace over coming quarters. As the
inventory of unsold new homes is worked off, the drag from residential
investment should wane. Consumer spending appears solid, and business
investment seems likely to post moderate gains."
Mar 31 In Baghdad both Sunnis and Shia celebrate, by firing
weapons into the air, the victory of Shada Hassoun, 25, an Iraqi singer
who wins a popular TV talent final staged in Lebanon.
Apr 2 Mexico City officials have been ordered to ride a
bicycle to work once a month. Those who cannot must ride public transit
Apr 5 Uganda's Constitutional Court ends the country's law
against adultery because it is unfair to women. The law allowed married
men to have affairs but not women.
Apr 7 In Yemen water is scarce. Forty percent of irrigation
water is going to growing the drug khat, widely used by Yemenis, with
farmers receiving 20 times the return they would growing potatoes.
Yemen is predominately Muslim, one of the poorest countries in the
world and importing most of its food. Khat gives people who chew it a
Apr 7 In the city of Parachinar, Pakistan, Sunni and Shia
attack each other. Forty are killed and more than 70 injured.
Parachinar authorities put the city under a curfew.
Apr 9 The New York Times editorializes: "... there is little
sign that the Baghdad push is accomplishing its main purpose: to create
an island of stability in which Sunni Arabs, Shiite Arabs and Kurds can
try to figure out how to run the country together. There has been no
visible move toward compromise on the main dividing issues, like
regional autonomy and more power sharing between Shiites and Sunnis."
Apr 12 In Iraq's Green Zone a suicide bomber kills a member
of parliament and wounds two dozen others. The group taking credit is
reported to be an alliance of Sunni insurgents. They see those in
government siding with foreign occupying forces as traitors.
Apr 15 Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr announces that his cabinet
members will leave the government in protest over the government's
failure to support a timetable for a US military withdrawal. Sadr has
had six ministers serving in the Iraqi government.
Apr 15 Tens of thousands of Muslims rally in Karachi Pakistan
in support of President Mursharraf and against extremism. A march
leader says to the crowd that "Islam is a religion of peace."
Apr 16 Contrary to the claim above about Islam being a "religion of
peace," in the United States Imam Fouad ElBayly, president of the
Johnstown Islamic Center, objects to Ayaan Hirsi Ali's appearance in a
debate on religious freedom at the University of Pittsburgh. He says:
She has been identified as one who has defamed the faith. If you come
into the faith, you must abide by the laws, and when you decide to
defame it deliberately, the sentence is death.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali is the former Dutch parliamentarian originally from
Somalia. Islamic leaders in the area, according to the Pittsburgh
Tribune-Review dislike Ali's challenge to their belief system. The
Tribune Review describes the Islamic leaders as having "complained that
Hirsi Ali's attacks against the Muslim faith in her book [Infidel] are
'poisonous and unjustified' and create dissension in their community."
Apr 16 In Iraq, a professor of art history, Jaafar Hassan
Sadeq, is murdered in front of his house. Academics are a target of
choice of those opposed to liberal teaching. Many hundreds have been
killed or have fled the country.
Apr 18 In Eastern Turkey, three Christians employees of a
publishing house that distributes Holy Bibles are attacked by five
young men who slit their throat. Among the five is a note that states
that they expect to die.
Apr 18 In Baghdad, 180 are killed by car bombs aimed at Shia .
Apr 19 Prime Minister Maliki blames yesterday's bombings on
"infidels and Sunni extremist vampires." He orders the arrest of the
Iraqi army commander in charge of security in the bombed areas.
Apr 20 In Iraq, US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates meets
Prime Minister Maliki and urges faster "political reconciliation."
Apr 23 Nigeria's government fails to demonstrate fairness in
elections, which would have helped stave off the country's drift into
separatism and civil war. Umaru Yar'adua, the candidate for the
governing party, the People's Democratic Party, won 70 percent of the
vote to 18 percent for his strongest rival. All but the winners are
condemning what is being described as a fraud.
Apr 25 On the Daily Show, Senator John McCain and Jon Stewart
debate Iraq. Stewart asks whether we can get away from the language of
win or lose, and he says that deadlines are "not surrender to an enemy
that has defeated us." He adds that al Qaeda wants to attack us anyway,
"whether we are in Iraq or not." McCain says that a timetable is
surrender, the war has been mismanaged, "we are where we are," we
should support the new strategy of a "great general," and that the vast
majority of our troops believe they are "fighting for freedom." The
audience cheers Stewart.
Kenya's Nini Wacera
Apr 26 The Kenyan actress, Nini Wacera, stars in a new Kenyan movie,
The Game Plan. She also hosts a three-hour advice program on weekday
evenings on Kenyan FM radio.
Apr 27 China's premier, Wen Jiabao, promises to help clean
China's air and water and to combat global warming.
Apr 29 In support of Turkey's secularism, as many as one
million people march through Istanbul. The foreign minister, Abdullah
Gul, was the only candidate for president and elected on the 27th by
parliament. Turkey's president traditionally defends the country's
separation of state and religion. Mr. Gul's is widely feared because of
what some believe is his hidden Islamic agenda.
Apr 30 US military killed in Iraq in April is 104, up from 86
Iraq's Shia Prime Minister Jawad al Maliki
Another Shia, Lebanon's Hayfa Wehbe
May 1 More demonstrations in Istanbul. The election of
Abdullah Gul as Turkey's new president is annulled by Turkey's
Constitutional Court. In parliament, members of the secular political
parties had boycotted the vote for president, and Gul failed to win
majority support in parliament.
May 4 In predominately Shia Azerbaijan, two journalists are
sentenced for writing that European societies were more successful
because they were more inclined toward peace and tolerance than are
Islamic societies. Samir Sadagatoglu is given four years and Rafik Tagi
three years in prison.
May 7 In China many women are marrying earlier than 20 and
men earlier than 22, violating the constitution, producing unwanted
population growth. Also, China's one-child policy is threatened by
families wanting a son and not reporting the first birth of girls.
May 8 More than half of Iraq's parliament, its Council of
Representatives - 144 members - are reported to have signed a
legislative petition calling on the United States to set a timetable
for withdrawal from their country.
May 13 In the city of Izmir, more than a million Turks crowd
together in the streets, and boats join in off shore, to demonstrate
support for their country's secularism.
May 17 The highly regarded British think tank, Chatham House,
describes the Iraqi government as largely powerless and irrelevant. It
says that "military force in the form of surges cannot deliver the
critical political accommodation."
May 21 The BBC reports that Haifa Wehbe's new song "Kiss my
Wawa" (little wound) is doing well. Wehbe is a Lebanese Shia . She grew
up listening to jazz and rhythm and blues. She was outraged by recent
assassinations in Lebanon and she blames Israel for the war in 2006.
May 27 In Syria, Bashar al-Assad is approved for a second
seven-year term, following an election with no other candidate and an
official result of 97.6% of the vote. In the year 2000 he also ran
unopposed and won with 97 percent.
May 27 Rachel Carson was born 100 years ago. A move to honor
her is blocked in Congress by Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn. Because of
her opposition to the use of DDT. Carson will be accused of
responsibility for more than a million deaths by malaria. The use of
DDT resumes in a few areas while other areas, Mexico for example,
success against malaria will follow from use of mosquito nets and
hygienic measures hostile to mosquitos.
May 28 The first high level diplomacy between the US and Iran
in 27 years takes place at the home of Prime Minister Maliki in
Baghdad's Green Zone. The two sides express interest in a secure and
stable Iraq. The Iranians describe the US military in Iraq as an
occupation and its effort to train and equip Iraq's security forces as
inadequate. They propose a mechanism for coordinating efforts toward
May 29 In Bolivia, common indigenous people speak of
institutions that were closed to them now having open doors, because,
they say, of President Morales, whom they describe as "one of us." Some
among Bolivia's upper or middle classes are complaining that Morales is
drifting toward totalitarianism and is in tune with the
anti-Americanism of his friend, President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela.
May 31 US military deaths in Iraq for May number 123, up from
104 in April and the highest monthly total since November 2004. Sorry
about not having the figures for Iraqi deaths.
Jun 3 In Egypt, 52 have been arrested for hanging up posters
with Islamic messages, which is unconstitutional in Egypt. The messages
supported Islamist (Islamic Brotherhood) candidates in the June 11
Jun 4 Gunter Grass, noble prize winning author of the 1959
novel The Tin Drum confesses in the New Yorker magazine that in 1944 he
was drafter into Waffen-SS. Grass has been described as a leftist. Some
conservative Germans will attack him as a hypocrite, ignoring that
people develop orientations different from when they were young and
despite the commonality of this in Germany..
Jun 5 European light-bulb makers announce a plan to phase out
the standard light bulb in eight years, similar to plans considered in
Australia, Canada and California.
Jun 6 President Museveni of Uganda, long considered a good
friend by leaders in the West, complains that "Western counties have
denied us access to their markets - deliberately." Uganda's major
export is coffee. Another matter: Uganda has one of the world's higher
population growth rates, at 3.6 percent estimated for 2007.
Jun 7 In the city of Zhengzhou in central China, at least
1,000 students go on a four hour rampage that includes burning cars.
They are angry about an inspector of some sort hitting a fellow
student, female, in the face while she is working at an unlicensed
street stall. Authorities are reprimanding the inspectors. Riots have
been frequent in China in 2007. The riots are little threat to the
Hawaii's voyaging canoe, in Yokohama Harbor, Japan
Jun 8 Hawaii's voyaging canoe, the Hokule'a, sails into
Japan's Yokohama Harbor and is greeted by a grand celebration.
Jun 12 Anarchy continues in the Gaza Strip. Unemployment is
at Great Depression levels. Gangsters operate freely. There is some
starvation. The impulse to violence has gotten the people of Gaza
nowhere, but it continues. Two rivals for power, Fatah and Hamas, are
killing each other again. Two days of fighting have left 34 dead.
Jun 13 In Egypt it is official, candidates of the ruling
party have won 69 of 71 contested seats on the Shura Council - the
upper house of Egypt's parliament. Voting day included police blocking
people from voting and the arrest of 400 members of the Muslim
Brotherhood. The Brotherhood won no seat and claims it has been
cheated. The Shura Council has 264 members and the ruling party's Hosni
Mubarak appoints 88 of the them.
Jun 17 In the Gaza Strip, Hamas insurgents win the gun
battles in the streets. What little power President Abbas's Fatah
organizers had in the Gaza Strip has been wiped out.
Jun 18 Muslims demonstrate in the streets against Queen
Elizabeth having knighted Salman Rushdie. Regarding the knighthood,
Pakistani Religious Affairs Minister Mohammad Ejaz ul-Haq is reported
to have said that "If someone commits suicide bombing to protect the
honor of the Prophet Mohammad, his act is justified."
Jun 18 In Ghana people are celebrating a big oil discovery
that is expected to add much to the country's economic success.
Jun 20 People in Ghana are talking about the new oil
discovery allowing the building of schools, hospitals and roads -
benefits, they say, for all the people.
Jun 21 In Gaza a bank employee, who happens to be a US
citizen, tells the BBC that families have been "taking revenge" on each
other. He is not a Hamas supporter but says that with Hamas ruling the
streets everyone is safer. "People" he says, "have been told to hand in
Jun 23 In Saudi Arabia, Ahmed al-Bulaiwi, a retired border
patrol guard in his early 50s, has died in custody. He was arrested on
June 1 for the offense of being alone with a woman who was not his
Dr. Anthony Cordesman
Dr. Frederick Kagan
Jun 27 About Iraq policy, the debate between the Center for
Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and the American Enterprise
Institute (AEI) continues from January. Before the House Armed Services
Committee, Dr. Anthony Cordesman for CSIS describes the Iraqi
government as dysfunctional and that hopes placed in it by the Bush
administration to produce a favorable outcome for the war are
misguided. Dr. Frederick Kagan of AEI, credited with having created the
"surge" strategy, argues that the unexpected might happen in Iraq and
therefore we cannot conclude that the surge strategy is not working.
Also he claims that there is "every reason to be optimistic" about the
outcome of the surge strategy.
Jun 28 Egypt's Health Ministry announces the abolition of
Jun 29 Mandatory Christian education classes in elementary
schools in Norway are ruled in violation of Article 2 of the European
human rights convention. So rules the European Court of Human Rights
Jul 1 Sometime around now, a majority of people in the world
live in urban areas. Urbanization has risen from 13 percent (220
million) in 1900 to 29 percent (732 million) in 1950 and 49 percent
(3.2 billion) in 2005.
Jul 1 In England a smoking ban goes into effect everywhere
indoors except in private residences. Advertising and promotion of
tobacco products have been banned in Britain since 2002.
Jul 3 Life expectancy estimates for 2007 indicate that in
most countries since 2005 the average citizen's life span has increased
from 4 to 7 months.
Jul 4 The increase use of farm products for fuel will drive
up food prices claims a report co-written by the Organization for
Economic Development (OECD).
Jul 4 Since Hamas has taken over in Gaza, people there feel
safer and are in the streets more. Hamas wants to demonstrate that it
can deliver law and order and in Gaza it forces members of the Dughmush
clan to release the British journalist, Alan Johnston, after 16 weeks
Jul 9 Zimbabwe's economy is not working. Zimbabwe has the
world's highest inflation rate, reported by the BBC to be at 3,700%
(per year). President Mugabe has imposed price controls. Business
people are being arrested for violating those controls, and producers
are not producing because they are being asked to do so for less money
than the cost of production.
Jul 9 Hamas creates more order in Gaza. It rescues a lion
stolen two years ago when she was a cub. Clan members were charging
people to have their pictures taken with the animal, and they did not
take care of her properly. Hamas has returned her to the Gaza Zoo, and
the lion's brother recognized her instantly and is happy she is back.
Jul 10 In China, Zheng Xiaoyu is executed. He was convicted
of taking bribes to approve medicines that killed an unknown number of
people. It is considered unlikely that the US Congress will pass a law
creating such punishment as a deterent for similar behavior by US Food
and Drug Administration officials.
Jul 17 Bear Sterns tells investors that its hedge funds have
become worthless, that May and June were devastating. That the funds
are now almost worthless came as a surprise to many on Wall Street. In
a New York Times article someone asks “How did you go from reporting
very high returns to suddenly now saying the collateral is worth
nothing?” Bear Stearns stock is at $134 per share, down 14 percent for
Jul 18 It is being said that a cause of the conflict in
Darfur is drought, desertification and competition for water resources.
Today the BBC reports that a huge underground lake has been discovered
in Darfur. According to University of Boston researchers, reports the
BBC, "some 1,000 wells will be drilled in the region, with the
agreement of Sudan's government."
Jul 19 The BBC reports that as life becomes increasingly hard
many Algerians are turning to a "stricter form of Islam," while not
supporting Islamist militants, whom they blame for having traumatized
the population. Those militants, according to the BBC, this year have
renamed themselves "al-Qaeda in the Islamic Mahgreb."
Jul 19 In Nepal, Sajani Shakya, the ten-year-old worshipped
by Nepalese Hindus and Buddhists as a goddess, has disturbed temple
elders. But they decide not to take away her status. This is because
after having returned from the United States she is willing to undergo
a cleansing ceremony.
Jul 22 In the US, Sunday talk shows discuss an apparent
contradiction regarding Iraq. Almost everybody, including generals,
have said that the war there is to be settled politically. The Bush
administration is hoping that military action will give the Malaki
government more time, but expert analysts, including the head of the
CIA, describe the Malaki government as hopelessly dysfunctional. The
world will be watching.
Jul 22 In Turkey those who see the country's secularism as
threatened appear to be a minority as Prime Minister Erdogan wins a
stunning election victory. But moderation dominates, with the prime
minister as well, although his wife wears a head scarf, which has
created a stir. A more extreme Muslim political party receives less
than 3 percent of the vote.
Jul 24 Jean-Marie Guehenno, United Nations'
Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, states that forces
under Laurent Nkunda are the single most serious threat to stability in
the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Nkunda is an ambitious breakaway
general from the DRC army. He has been indicted for war crimes and is
under investigation by the International Criminal Court. He reneged on
a promise to abide by general elections in the DRC in November 2006.
Jul 27 Jon B. Alterman of CSIS has written that in Iraq "The
trend lines are clear: the central government is less and less relevant
to what happens in Iraq, and regional leaders-call them warlords, if
you like-are grabbing the upper hand." ( CSIS July 21, 2007)
Jul 28 Rather than vacation in violent Lebanon or religiously
strict Saudi Arabia or Libya, more Middle East people are flocking to
Cairo, Egypt, where they enjoy the food, well known movies, drink the
locally brewed Stella beer and, some in Egypt complain, use Cairo as
their sin city. (Reported in the Christian Science Monitor.)
Jul 30 Britain's Royal Society has published a study that
concludes that on the Atlantic Ocean hurricanes doubled in frequency in
the last century as a result of warmer water surfaces and climate
change. (Reported by the BBC.)
Aug 1 The Kingdom of Jordan successfully completes
public elections for council seats in the country's municipalities,
positions previously held by persons appointed by the king.
Aug 1 In Minneapolis, Minnesota, an eight-lane bridge filled
with bumper to bumper traffic collapses into the Mississippi River.
Aug 3 The governor of Minnesota, Tim Pawlenty, reverses
himself. In 2005 and early in 2007 he vetoed bills to raise gasoline
taxes. Today he says he will consider a gas tax increase.
Aug 4 Some pundits in the US describe the nation as spending
too much on consumption and too little on its infrastructure.
Aug 5 Eric Weiss in the Washington Post writes of engineers
in the 1950s and '60s building bridges at a lower cost and with less
steel while not realizing the amount of stress that many of these
bridges would eventually need to endure.
Prime Minister al-Maliki of Iraq and
President Ahmadinejad of Iran.
Aug 7 In the US the Brookings Institute think tank reports
that “On balance, Iraq at the end of July is showing significant signs
of battlefield momentum in favor of US/coalition military forces, but
there is nonetheless little good to report on the political front and
only modest progress on the economic side of things.”
Aug 8 Prime Minister Maliki of Iraq meets again with Iranian
officials amid declarations of friendship and help from Iran.
Aug 9 The global banking group BNP Pribas, headquartered in
Paris and owner of several US banks, tells investors that two of its
funds have collapsed. Other banks, worried about possible losses, are
to fear lending, creating a rise in the cost of credit and a slow
moving "credit crunch" that will be described as not severe at first
but pushing the US economy into a recession by the end of the year. The
BBC will describe "most analysts" as linking the credit crisis to the
sub-prime mortgage business, in which banks give high-risk loans to
people with poor credit histories.
Aug 12 Agence France-Presse reports that in the holy city of
Medina, in Saudi Arabia, a Bangladeshi man dies of a heart attack (of
fright says the article) after members of the Commission for the
Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice detained him "for washing
his car instead of praying."
Aug 14 On the Larry King show (CNN), a clip of Bill Maher
shows him saying something like any country that lets me run my mouth
the way I do in public deserves to be saved.
Aug 14 In an article for Reuters news service, Abigail
Hauslohner descibes Sudanese in Cairo, Egypt, "living in gang-dominated
neighborhoods" and feeling "forced to choose between one gang or
another." She focuses on a 21-year old gang memeber, "Marc," who "loves
rap music and has 'Los Angeles' scrawled in black ink across his
Aug 15 It is said that at least 250 were killed and 350
injured in yesterday's bombings in Yazidi villages near Mosul in Iraq.
Yazidi are a religious minority among Kurds. This is the deadliest
attack on a single area since since the war began in March 2003. The
Bush administration claims that US forces and the Iraqi government will
continue to "beat back" the "vicious and heartless murderers."
Aug 17 Russia's state media director has complained that BBC
broadcasts in Russia are propaganda because the BBC is state owned.
Pressure from the Russian government is ending FM broadcasts of BBC
programs from within Russia. The BBC will still reach the Russians
through the internet and shortwave frequences.
Aug 17 On a permanent basis, Russia is resuming the
long-range bomber flights that was the practice of the Soviet Union.
NATO has been shadowing the Russsian flights and it is reported that
Russian and US pilots exchanged smiles near Guam in the Pacific. None
of the bombers have violated US airspace.
Aug 21 In Kabwe, Zambia, the city's biggest employer, a
textile factory, has closed, unable to compete with Chinese imports.
Some complain of an old trading relationship: manufactured goods in,
raw materials out.
Aug 22 President Mwai Kibaki of Kenya refuses to sign into
law a bill that would allow courts to force reporters to reveal their
Aug 22 On a panel on the News Hour (PBS television) Laith
Kubba speaks of a "dysfunctional political system" in Iraq. Susanne
Maloney of the Brookings Institute complains about the focus on Prime
Minister Maliki and says, "it really demonstrates a paucity, I think,
in the political debate here in Washington that, on this very important
issue, we're now very much focused on the search for either a white
knight or some opportunity for blame-laying."
Aug 25 In Liberia, officials are promoting morality and
discipline among children at school by banning sloppy dress, exposure
of underwear and unusual hair styles.
Aug 26 In eastern Shandong Province, officials are giving up
hope of saving 181 miners trapped in a mine flooded during
Aug 27 McClatchy News reports that in Iraq sub-contractors
for projects financed by the US are paying extortion money to get
supplies moving across roads controlled by the insurgents. In other
words, money from the US is helping to finance the insurgency.
Aug 29 An article for the BBC mentions that the Mediterranean
Sea has "almost 2,000 pieces of plastic per square kilometer of seabed."
Sep 2 North Korea claims that the United States has agreed to
remove it from its list of countries that support terrorism. The chief
US negotiator, Christopher Hill, describes North Korea as having agreed
to fully account for and disable its nuclear program. North Korea has
been on said list since 1987.
Sep 3 British troops withdraw from the city of Basra to a
location outside the city. The intention of the Brits is to force
Iraqis in Basra to stop sitting back and letting the Brits do their
police work. Some in Basra do not want to see the Brits leave. Many
others are uncomfortable with the presence of foreign troops and cheer.
Sep 6 The great Luciano Pavarotti dies of cancer, almost 72.
Sep 10 US Army Gen. David H. Petraeus describes military
progress in reducing violence in Iraq and includes his proposal to
remove troops in Iraq to pre-surge levels by next summer.
Sep 10 A poll commissioned by ABC News, the BBC and NHK
(Japan) is published that asked Iraqis whether the increased number of
US forces in the past six months "has made it better, worse, or had no
effect in the area where the surge forces were sent, in the place of
reconstruction and economic development." The results for each of these
questions is between 60 and 70 percent that it has been worse. The
highest percentage for improvement is 18 percent. Nearly 2,000 Iraqis
were polled, and nearly 60 percent of them describe attacks against US
forces as justified.
Sep 10 Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki takes credit for stopping
Iraq's slide into civil war. He says that violence has fallen 75
percent in Baghdad and Anbar and that 14,000 militants linked to
al-Qaeda have renounced violence.
Sep 13 Al Jazeera reports that an Egyptian court has
sentenced four newspaper editors to one year in prison with labor for
defaming President Mubarak and his son, and it reports that human
rights groups accuse Egypt's government of "cracking down on other
forms of expression, such as political blogs."
Sep 15 The purism and terrorism of al-Qaeda in Iraq is
increasing its political isolation. It is two days since al-Qaeda
assassinated the Sunni tribal coalition leader in Anbar, Abdul Sattar
Abu Risha. Today the leader of the Shammar tribe around the city of
Mosul, Fawwaz al-Jarba, says that local Sunni Arab tribes have joined
Kurdish, Christian and Yazidi groups in a new front against al-Qaeda.
The alliance, he added, would work directly with the Iraqi government,
not the United States military.
Sep 17 Sheikh Salman al-Oudah, once mentored Osama bin Laden
and was one of the 26 top Saudi clerics who during the 2004 struggle in
Fallujah declared attacks on US troops as a lawful duty. Now he shakes
up militant Islam by questioning al-Qaeda's tactics and violence. Arab
News describes it as "a major blow to the ideology of Osama Bin Laden
and his followers."
Sep 17 In Sierra Leone an effort at honest elections by a new
elections commission, headed by a former nun and head teacher, produces
a defeat for the ruling party and a victory for Ernest Bai Koroma of
the All People's Party. People were enthusiastic for democracy, the
election and change.
Sep 18 Reporting for the BBC from among Iraqis in
Baghad Andrew North describes what he calls a veneer of
security and some of the progress spoken of by General Petraeus but
also Iraqi frustration. He quotes a teacher saying, "It doesn't matter
what we think. The Americans will do what they want."
Ernest Bai Koroma. The face of a democrat.
Than Shwe. The face of Burma's ruler.
Sep 22 For years military rule in Burma has been violating
human rights. Now that the regime has increased gasoline prices,
massive anti-government demonstrations are in the streets.
Demonstrators include a group of at least 2,000 Buddhist monks in their
sixth day of protest in Rangoon, and monks across the country,
protesting human rights violations as well. The military regime has had
close ties with senior Buddhist clergy.
Sep 25 President Bush exercises his genuine sense of decency and, at
the United Nations, expresses outrage at oppression of the people of
Sep 25 Pakistan's former prime minister, Madam Benazir
Bhutto, says she wants to turn around Pakistan's economy, clean up its
city streets, address the energy issue and advance education. She wants
to encourage moderation and discourage extremism. She plans to return
to Pakistan on October 18.
Sep 28 On NBC's Today Show, finance personality Jim Cramer
says, "Don't you dare buy a house now you will lose money."
Representatives of the National Association of Realtors, thinking about
their own interests and wanting to keep a bursting bubble whole, are
Sep 28 China bans "sexually suggestive" advertising on
television and radio. Advertisements for sex-related health
supplements, sex toys, breast enhancements and female underwear will be
Sep 29 The world watches the second day of army brutalities
in Burma, wondering what will happen in the coming weeks. Will a
colonel or such lead a rebellion from within Burma's military? Will the
conceit that has been drilled into the minds of common soldiers hold?
Signs or desertions from the ranks are not appearing as they did in
Petrograd in 1917.
Sep 30 The BBC reports that US Department of Defense "has
launched a new command centre for military operations in Africa." Oil,
terrorism and instability are reported as having stimulated the move.
Oct 1 In Zimbabwe bakeries are running out of bread. Because
of mismanagement this year's wheat harvest is described as one-third
the country's requirement, and there is not enough cash to pay for food
Oct 1 Burma's foreign minister, Nyan Win, defends Burma's
dictatorship, saying "neo-colonialism has raised its ugly head by
trying to spread disinformation about human rights abuses in Burma." He
describes as "political opportunists" those he says have tried to turn
protests by a small group into a showdown.
Oct 2 In Ghana timber brings foreign exchange. It brings
money to those who cut and sell it illegally, and timber is used
domestically for fuel. At the present rate of cutting there will be no
timber in ten years.
Oct 2 A new Washington Post - ABC News poll describes 52
percent of the US public as favoring Bush's pace for withdrawal or an
even less hasty withdrawal. In July, 60 percent favored decreasing
troop numbers in Iraq. Today 43 percent want a quicker exit. But the
poll shows distrust for the Republicans. Regarding key issues,
including Iraq, the approval rating for Democrats is 15 percent higher
than for Republicans. Seventy percent want funding for Iraq and
Afghanistan cut, and President Bush's approval rating remains at a low
point: 33 percent.
Oct 3 Portugal becomes the 105th country to ratify the treaty that has
created UN's International Criminal Court - created to prosecute
individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Those
not members of the treaty include Russia, China, India and most Muslim
nations. The Bush administration remains hostile to the treaty.
Oct 7 General Musharraf wins a landslide victory and is
re-elected president. In Pakistan voting for the presidency is limited
to its two houses of parliament. Pakistan's judiciary is soon to decide
whether the election was legal.
Oct 7 The BBC reports that descendants of the German General
Lothar von Trotha have traveled to Namibia and have apologized and
expressed their deep shame. In 1904 General von Trotha gave the order
that resulted in the extermination of nearly 90 percent of the Herero
Oct 7 Weijun Chen writes for the BBC that "60 percent of
China's college graduates choose government as their ideal career."
Oct 9 In the US, the Dow Jones Industrial Average reaches a
high of a little over 14,000. A sign of credit trouble is being
ignored. This indicator involves US treasury bills. The difference
between interest rates on interbank loans on the one hand and
short-term government debt (treasury-bills) on the other has in recent
years been running at about 0.5 percent and as high as 1.0 percent.
From the middle of this year, 2007, the TED-spread has reached higher
than 2.0 percent. Wikipedia describes that TED-spread as "an indicator
of perceived credit risk in the general economy."
Oct 10 From Kazakhstan, a Russian spacecraft takes off from
Kazakstan with Malaysia's first man into space aboard: Sheikh Muszaphar
Shukor. Malaysians are joyous. The ship heads for the International
Space Station, and one of the three aboard is the first woman astronaut
commander of the space station, Peggy Whitson.
Oct 10 India, according to an article by the BBC, has been
been reluctant to criticize Burma's generals because of its strategic
interests in the area. Since the mid-1990s India has been competing
with China's growing influence in Burma. "Now it is building roads and
railways in western Burma and its companies are trying to gain access
to rich deposits of oil and natural gas."
Oct 13 Yesterday the Dow Jones Industrial Average reached an
all-time high at 14,097. Investment advisors consider themselves
contrarians but many are inviting the public to join the party. Today
in the New York Times,David Kelly, an economist at Putnam Investments
is quoted as saying, "If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The American
economy is basically strong enough right now to weather the housing
downtrend. The Federal Reserve doesn’t need to do anything else.”
Oct 13 It is believed that male and female partnership in
reproduction has helped give species survivability. The BBC reports
that many "asexual organisms have died out because they cannot adapt to
changes in the natural world." The report describes an exception: a
tiny sexless species known as a bdelloid rotifer. It has survived
millions of years because it makes separate proteins from two different
copies of a key gene.
Oct 17 After years of authoritarian rule, the return of
democracy is celebrated in Togo. Parliamentary elections have
concludedin in which all opposition parties participated.
Oct 17 US influence in Iraq shows signs of decline as Iraq's
government awards contracts to Iranian and Chinese companies to build
power plants in Baghdad.
Oct 18 In Baghdad, two months of negotiating results in a
12-point agreement between local Sunni and Shiite leaders to end
sectarian violence. Participants in the agreement hope that it will
keep military operations out of their neighborhoods. The US military
favors the agreement.
Oct 18 Pakistan's former prime minister, Benazir Bhutto,
leader of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP), returns from eight years
in exile and is greeted by great crowds. She is greeted also by two
explosions that kill more than one hundred and wound more than 200.
President Musharraf calls the attack a "conspiracy against democracy."
Benazir Bhutto was unhurt be this and by the rifle fire.
Oct 18 President Putin holds his annual three-hour TV call-in
show, enjoying his popularity for helping Russia achieve stability and
growing prosperity. He believes that the US has been overbearing as a
self-appointed world policeman. He describes threats to Iran as
Oct 21 Vice President Cheney says the Iranian regime "needs
to know that if it stays on its present course, the international
community is prepared to impose serious consequences.”
Oct 21 The anti-immigrant Swiss People's Party (SVP) gains
seven seats in Switzerland's 200-seat parliamentary body, the National
Council. The SVP now leads with 62 seats. The Social Democrats are
second with 43, having lost nine seats.
Oct 24 China's space program lauches a moon probe, viewed by
a happy and proud crowd. Some in the US are not so happy. Chinese
officials say they are not interested in initiating an arms race in
space, but their ability to turn space into a battlefield is
recognized. In January a ground-launched missile destroyed a defunct
Oct 25 France's President Sarkozy reveals plans for new taxes
that target pollution and the possibility of taxing imports from
countries that are not respecting Kyoto Protocal.
Oct 25 Rebel groups in Chad sign an immediate ceasefire and
prisoner exchange aggreement with the government. The accord is
brokered by Libya's Muslim leader, Muammar Gaddafi.
Oct 26 Joe Klein in Time Magazine writes of Amar Al-Hakim,
the Shia cleric and militia leader, feasting and praying with cheerful
Sunni leaders and saying "We are all Iraqis, and we must reconcile."
Another murdered journalist,
Alisher Saipov, 26
Oct 27 Kyrgyz authorities seize the computer of Alisher
Saipov, the 26-year-old journalist shot dead in Kyrgyzstan outside his
office on October 24th. Saipov wrote about torture in the prisons of
neighboring Uzbekistan and about repression of dissent and the plight
of the Uzbek refugees in Kyrgyzstan.
Nov 3 President Musharraf suspends the constitution and
declares a state of emergency, saying he will not allow Pakistan to
commit suicide. He blames militant violence and judges who have
paralysed government. Restrictions are put on the media and hundreds
President and General Musharraf
Nov 4 A suburb of Cape Town, South Africa, installs four
pairs of sunpowered traffic lights.
Nov 4 A BBC Poll taken in twenty-two countries, including
China, suggests that three out of four people "would back energy taxes
if the cash [were] used to find new sources of energy, or boost
Nov 7 In Russia, according to a C.J.Chivers article in the
New York Times,inattention to public safety has created a death rate
from fire more than ten times what is typical for Western Europe and
the United States. In Russia in 2006 nearly 13 people in every 100,000
died in a fire.
Nov 9 Major-General Joseph Fils, US commander of forces in
Baghdad, describes murders there being down 80 percent since June and
adds that "the Iraqi people have decided that they've had it up to here
with violence." (See Oct 26 for another report of declining violence in
Nov 10 In Iraq, Abu Ibrahim, leader of former insurgents,
tells the Associated Press that his fighters ambushed al-Qaida members
near Samarra on Friday, killing 18 people and seizing 16 prisoners.
Nov 11 China sentences six Muslims charged with having been involved in
a violent separatist movement, including bomb making, in the far west
province of Xinjiang. The punishment for at least three of the six will
Nov 11 A survey done by the South African Institute of Race
Relations reveals that in 2005 South Africa had 4.2 million living on
$1 dollar a day, up from 1.9 million in 1996.
Nov 11 The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has a plan for
Liberia that involves a three-year growth program to reduce poverty and
help finance its international debt obligations. The IMF is cancelling
Liberia's debt to the agency.
Nov 15 In Saudi Arabia an appeals court gives a 19-year-old
rape victim, a Shia, a sentence of 200 lashes and five years in jail.
Her seven Sunni assailants receive a prison sentence of between one and
five years. The woman was faulted for having been in the company of men
with whom she was not related.
Nov 16 In Russia a group calling itself the "True Russian
Orthodox Church" has barricaded itself in a cave with supplies as they
wait for the end of the world, which they expect in May. Four children
are with the group. They threaten to blow themselves up if authorities
attack. Their leader is a former engineer, Pyotr Kuznetsov, who is
being held by authorities and examined psychologically.
Nov 17 A Japanese whaling fleet leaves for the South Pacific
on the 18th and plans to take 1,000 whales including 50 humpbacks until
mid-April. Japanese fishery officials claim that the humpbacks have
returned to "substantial numbers" - after having been hunted to near
extinction four decades ago. Taking 50 from a population of tens of
thousands, they say, "will have no significant impact whatsoever."
Nov 23 In Michoacan, Mexico, a Chinese and Mexican investment
partnership begins contruction of an auto assembly plant for cars that
will retail for as low as $6,280. Production is scheduled to begin by
Nov 27 Of the 1.5 million or so Iraqi exiles in Syria, around
800 begin their return on busses provided by the Iraqi government,
encouraged by news of improved security.
Nov 27 Ethiopia's prime minister, Meles Zenawi, complains
that the lack of a united Somalian government and lack of a sufficient
number of peacekeepers in Somalia prevent Ethiopian forces from
withdrawing from their fight against Islamists there, whom the
Ethiopians see as a threat to their country.
Dec 3 Australia's new Labor Party government joins most of
the rest of the world and signs the Kyoto Protocol - to become
effective for Australia in March, 2008. The Kyoto Protocol is designed
to reduce greenhouse gasses that cause climate change. President George
Bush has remained opposed to the US joining the Kyoto agreement.
Dec 3 In Venezuela a close special election denies President
Hugo Chavez constitutional reforms that included allowing him to run
for president for life and allowing him to choose mayors and state
governors. Among the opponents of the reforms: students, human rights
activists and the Catholic Church. The results are 51 to 49 percent.
Chavez' present term in office expires in 2012.
Dec 3 The school teacher Gillian Gibbons is returning to the
UK, pardoned by Sudan's President al-Bashir after she served eight days
of a fifteen-day sentence for naming a teddy bear Muhammad in her
classroom. Outraged Muslims who packed the street shouting for her
death have been described as not representing majority Sudanese opinion.
Dec 3 In the US, a National Intelligence Estimate states that
Iran was "less determined to develop nuclear weapons than we have been
judging since 2005," contradicting its report in May 2005 that said
"with high confidence" that Iran was "determined" to build nuclear
Dec 4 The UN force in the Democratic Republic of Congo
increases its support for democracy by moving from logistic to
fire-power support against the renegade general Laurent Nkunda.
Dec 8 In recent weeks in the extreme northeast of Pakistan,
Pakistan's army is reported to have killed 290 "pro-Taliban" forces and
arrested 143. The army is pushing the remaining "pro-Taliban" forces,
said to be between 200 and 400 in number, back from the villages they
have been harrassing and pursuing them into the mountains.
Dec 10 A BBC poll of 11,344 persons in 14 countries describes
40 percent as saying "it was more important to maintain social harmony
and peace, even if it meant curbing the press's freedom to report news
truthfully." People contributing to this number tended to be from
India, Singapore and Russia. People in Western Europe and North America
were recorded as much stronger in their support for press freedom and
truth in reporting.
Dec 12 In the city of Algiers, an al-Qaeda faction has taken
responsibility for two bombs that shattered offices of a United Nations
refugee agency, described by the faction as "the headquarters of the
international infidels' den." The faction says it has struck the
"slaves of America and France." Algeria's government describes the
death toll at 31. The BBC records disgust among Algerians. Al-Qaeda
appears on track in alienating people rather than winning converts.
Dec 14 According to the International Energy Agency, Iraqi
oil production has risen above levels before the US-led invasion in
Dec 16 In Basra Province, British troops turn responsibility
for controlling insurgents over to Iraqi troops. Political power is
also being transferred to the Iraqis. In a poll of 1,000 province
residents, more than 85 percent say that British troops in the province
have had a negative effect since 2003, and two-thirds believe that
security will improve following the handover of power.
Dec 17 In Bolivia, President Evo Morales wants indigenous
peoples - 62 percent of the population - to have greater autonomy and
control over their land, correcting what he describes as centuries of
discrimination by a corrupt class dominated by those descended from
Europeans. With the draft of a new constitution that Morales supports,
leaders in Bolivia's more wealthy regions are intensifying their threat
to break away from President Morales and the central government into
regions with greater autonomy.
Dec 17 The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization
warns that a 40 percent rise in food prices in the past year is
creating a crisis in poorer countries. The rising prices are attributed
to climate change, rising oil prices and demand for bio-fuels.
Dec 17 Saudi kings routinely pardon select convicts.
Following an international outcry, Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah pardons
the rape victim who was to receive 200 lashes in addition to five years
in jail. (See November 15)
Dec 18 A US Pentagon report warns that sustained progress
will require political and economic reforms. It describes Iraqi police
forces as afflicted by corruption and sectarian divisions and Iraq's
army losing up to 17 percent of its troops per year because of high
casualty rates and desertion.
Dec 27 In Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto is assassinated.
(Recommended reading: "Assassination " by Stephen Cohen.)
Educational videos offered
Welcome to Our World of
a modern open area for learning
and understanding the mysteries
of the plant world!
Our Herbaceous Plants
Video package is a
2 disc. 3 hour set, packed full of information.
Plants Video package is sold
separately or as part of a
package is a
3 disc. 3 hour explaining the medical
compounds derived from plants
Pharmaceutical Plants Video package is
sold separately or as part of a
The Poisonous Plants
Video package is a
2 disc. 2-hour collection exzaming the
Poisonous compounds in and from plants
Poisonous Plants Video package is
sold separately or as part of a