Here are some big news stories (and potentially big news stories that may be about to happen).
Item 1: Another bit of North Korea just blew up. Reports of a large mushroom cloud along the North Korean/Chinese border on Thursday had American, Chinese and S. Korean leaders scrambling to figure out what happened and then spin it. There very little information coming out of the "Hermit Kingdom" on this one. Early speculation that it was a nuclear weapons test seem to have been unfounded (according to US officials). However, there are reports that explosion occurred at a secret N. Korean missile research center with some sort of underground firing range (go figure). There are no reports of casualties but a train explosion a few months ago killed hundreds and injured over a thousand people.
Item 2: Demonstrations turned violent in Herat, Afghanistan when demonstrators set fire to UN offices there. Afghan police opened fire on the crowd killing 8 people, wounding 15 (4 critically). The demonstrators were apparently upset because their local governor (who had built a private army) had been transferred to the Ministry of Mines.
Item 3: Fighting is flaring up again in the "Sunni Triangle" in Iraq. A suicide bomber killed a number of Iraqis in an attack on Abu Ghraib prison. Iraqi police at Abu Ghraib say that five civilians were injured when American troops swept the neighborhood.
Item 4: There is an election underway in Australia. The challenger, Mark Latham (Labor), is strongly critical of Australia's support for the occupation in Iraq (aprox. 800 Aussie troops are there). Latham has repeatedly said that if elected, he would pull Australian troops out of Iraq. Other issues in the election are the recent bombing of the Australian embassy in Indonesia and a nagging scandal about a ship full of refugees from Afghanistan. Former civil servants are claiming that the current PM, John Howard (Liberal - note: Liberal means something different outside the United States this is a center-right party), lied bout the incident in the run up to the last election. Apparently, the desperate refugees threw their children overboard when the Australian Navy turned their ship away. Latham seems the consensus winner of the first debate.
Item 5: SOUTH Korea has admitted to having conducted a secret nuclear weapons research program. Harry Shearer's Le Show reported that the Washington Post reports that S. Korea extracted weapons grade plutonium in 1982 and had been conducting nuclear experiments as recently at six years ago. Interesting.
Item 6: Two Danish parties (The Social Democrats and the Radical Liberals) reconsidering their continued support for deploying Danish troops in Iraq. I'm not sure if this will have immediate policy implications. Danish governments often survive major policy opposition so long as a majority doesn't form in opposition their continued government. The danger for the current government (Liberals and Conservatives) is that the Social Democrats and Radical Liberals are frequent coalition partners and seem to have the tacit support (if not cooperation in a future government) of the "New Left" Socialist People's Party.
Sunday, September 12, 2004
Posted by Raised By Republicans at 10:01 AM