International News February 16-23
Journalists Attacked Investigating Mugabe’s £4M HK Pad
Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace secretly bought a £4 million house in the Far East while his country suffers from starvation, unemployment and a cholera epidemic, from which 3,467 people have died in a matter of months, The Times of London reports. One reporter and a photographer were attacked by Zimbabwe’s residents while they were visiting the Hong Kong house. At the same time Mugabe adherents carried out a plan evicting the last white farmers off their land in Zimbabwe, before his 85th birthday, according to The Sydney Morning Herald reports.
Saudi Arabia Appoints Female Minister
King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia had a meeting with the first woman to a ministerial post, The Sydney Morning Herald reports. Noura al-Fayez, of the Saudi Institute for Public Administration, was promoted to the new position of deputy minister of women’s education.
The monarch reshuffled his government and tried to balance between the moderates and the ultra-conservatives in a country that is trying to come up to the global financial crisis and the threats from the al-Qaeda militants. King Abdullah is striving to bring back the religious establishment by discharging a fundamentalist cleric and the head of the nation’s powerful religious police.
Taleban, Opponents, Announces Ceasefire
Taleban opponents announced a 10-day ceasefire after the local officials deal with a militant leader to enforce Islamic law in the region, BBC News reports. Swat valley, a famous Pakistani holiday destination, is now under Taleban control. A militant spokesman, Muslim Khan, said the ceasefire was a “goodwill gesture to the ongoing talks between Sufi Mohammad and the government.” However, the Pakistani central government hasn’t announced or done anything yet.
Venezuelan President Opposes Term Limits
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez struggling amid tough times and wondering how long he will still be in power, The Los Angeles Times reports. In Caracas, Venezuela, oil prices are plummeting and homicide rates are rising. Chavez has introduced a new bill that would eliminate term limits for all politicians, not just the president. At present, his term ends in 2013.
Chavez faces opposition since his approval rating has dropped; the nation has a 30%+ inflation rate, the continent’s highest; and the number of killings has tripled since 1998, with the capital city, Caracas, boasting the third-highest homicide rate among the world’s most popular cities.