News from around the World

Tuesday's World Events   —   Posted on October 26, 2010

(The excerpts below are from – from wire dispatches and Washington Times staff reports)

SINGAPORE – U.S. citizen faces caning for visa violation

An American businessman is facing the prospect of being caned in Singapore after overstaying his visa by almost half a year, court documents and his attorney said Thursday.

If convicted of violating Singapore’s immigration laws, Kamari Kenyada Charlton, 37, could become the first American in 16 years to be caned in the strict city-state.

Mr. Kamari, who was born in the Bahamas, was arrested at Changi Airport on Sept. 1 when he was about to leave the country, his attorney said.

A charge sheet issued against him said Mr. Kamari had remained in Singapore 169 days after his three-month social visit pass expired on March 15.

SYRIA – Chavez visits Syria to counter U.S. sway

DAMASCUS | On the Middle East leg of an international tour, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Wednesday that he and his Syrian counterpart are “on the attack” against Western imperialism.

The trip underscores the forces that complicate Washington’s battle for influence in Syria, which is under U.S. sanctions because the State Department considers it a sponsor of terrorism.

Despite U.S. outreach, Syria has remained close to Iran and the militant groups Hamas and Hezbollah, while building ties with Venezuela.

In Damascus, Mr. Chavez said that he and Syrian President Bashar Assad are “on the attack to speed up the fall of the imperialist powers so that we have a new, balanced world.”

The two also discussed a proposed oil project and signed several economic agreements.

TURKEY – U.S. presses Turkey to enforce sanctions

ANKARA | A top U.S. official prodded Turkey on Thursday to enforce international sanctions against Iran, increasing pressure on Ankara to scale back its flourishing trade ties with its neighbor.

“All we want is the sanctions to be imposed throughout the world,” Stuart Levey, U.S. Treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, told Turkish broadcaster NTV after meeting with Turkish government and banking officials for two days to discuss U.S. and U.N. sanctions.

“The purpose of this visit is to maximize our chances that the sanctions imposed on Iran are successful,” Mr. Levey was quoted by the Hurriyet Daily News as telling a group of journalists.

JAPAN – Toyota recalling 1.53 million cars

TOKYO | Toyota is recalling 1.53 million Lexuses, Avalons and other models, mostly in the U.S. and Japan, for brake-fluid and fuel-pump problems, the latest in a string of quality lapses for the world’s No. 1 automaker.

Toyota Motor Corp. said Thursday it will call back for repairs about 740,000 cars in the U.S. and 599,000 in Japan. The remainder are in Europe and other markets around the world.

Over the past year, Toyota has recalled more than 10 million cars and trucks worldwide for a variety of problems, from faulty gas pedals and floor mats that can trap accelerators to braking problems in its Prius hybrid. In August, Toyota recalled 1.33 million Corolla sedans and Matrix hatchbacks in the U.S. and Canada because it said their engines may stall.

The majority of vehicles this time around need to be fixed for a problem with the brake master cylinder that could lead to weaker braking power, said spokesman Paul Nolasco in Tokyo. Some models in Japan and elsewhere – but not in North America – have an electrical problem with the fuel pump that could cause the engine to stall, he said.

No accidents have been reported from the two defects, he said.


CHINA – Group: Tibetan protests spread across western China

BEIJING | Tibetan students in western China protested again on Thursday against policies to extend the use of Chinese language in classes, building on demonstrations earlier this week, a campaign group said.

The London-based Free Tibet group said students took to the streets in Tawo Town, also known as Dawu, in Qinghai province, which has a large ethnic Tibetan population.

In another protest elsewhere in Qinghai, middle school students in Tongren were stopped from leaving the school grounds, the group said.

About 2,000 students from four schools in Chabcha county in Tibet itself demonstrated on Wednesday against government plans to reduce instruction in Tibetan in favor of Mandarin Chinese, the Free Tibet group said in an e-mail.


NOTE: The news blurbs above are from “World Scene” published at on Thursday, October 21, 2010 and from “Briefly” published at on Thursday, October 21, 2010.

Copyright 2010 The Washington Times, LLC.  Reprinted from the Washington Times for educational purposes only.  Visit the website at


1. For each of the 5 countries, give the following information:
a) the continent on which it is located
b) the name of the capital city
c) the type of government
d) the chief of state (and head of government if different)
e) the population

[Find the answers at the CIA World FactBook website. For each country: type of government, capital and executive branch (chief of state/head of government) can be found under the “Government” heading; population is listed under the “People” heading.  Go to for a list of continents.]

2. For Singapore:
a) list the who, what, where and when of the news item
b) What law did Mr. Charlton break?
c) Read about Singapore’s caning law under “Background” below. What do you think of this type of punishment for certain crimes?

3. For Syria:
a) list the who, what, where and when of the news item
b) Why has the U.S. imposed sanctions on Syria?

4. For Turkey:
a) list the who, what, where and when of the news item

5. For Japan:
a) list the who, what, where and when of the news item
b) How many cars and trucks has Toyota recalled worldwide over the past year for various problems?
c) Would such widespread problems with Toyota affect your decision to purchase one? Explain your answer.

6. For China:
a) list the who, what, where and when of the news item


Free Answers — Sign-up here to receive a weekly email with answers.


Singapore was founded as a British trading colony in 1819. It joined the Malaysian Federation in 1963 but separated two years later and became independent. Singapore subsequently became one of the world’s most prosperous countries with strong international trading links (its port is one of the world’s busiest in terms of tonnage handled) and with per capita GDP equal to that of the leading nations of Western Europe. (from CIA World FactBook)
Caning: as a form of legally sanctioned corporal punishment for convicted criminals, caning was first introduced to Singapore and Malaysia (both then part of British Malaya) during the British colonial period. … In that era, offences punishable by caning were similar to those punishable by birching or flogging in England and Wales, and included:
  • Robbery
  • Aggravated forms of theft
  • Breaking and entering a house
  • Assault with the intention of outraging the victim’s modesty
  • A second or subsequent conviction of rape
  • A second or subsequent offence relating to prostitution
  • Living on or trading in prostitution.

Caning remained on the statute book after Malaysia declared independence from Britain, and likewise in Singapore after it was expelled from Malaysia. Subsequent legislation has been passed by the Singaporean Parliament over the years to increase the minimum strokes an offender receives, and the number of crimes that may be punished with caning. (from wikipedia)


For most of the first half of the 20th century, Venezuela was ruled by generally benevolent military strongmen, who promoted the oil industry and allowed for some social reforms. Democratically elected governments have [ruled] since 1959. Hugo CHAVEZ, president since 1999, has promoted a controversial policy of “democratic socialism,” which [aims] to alleviate social ills while at the same time attacking globalization and undermining regional stability. (From the CIA World FactBook.)


Officially, Syria is a republic. In reality, however, it is an authoritarian regime that exhibits only the forms of a democratic system. Although citizens ostensibly vote for the president and members of parliament, they do not have the right to change their government. The late President Hafiz Al-Asad was confirmed by unopposed referenda five times. His son, Bashar Al-Asad, also was confirmed by an unopposed referendum in July 2000 and May 2007. The President and his senior aides, particularly those in the military and security services, ultimately make most basic decisions in political and economic life, with a very limited degree of public accountability. Political opposition to the President is not tolerated. Syria has been under a state of emergency since 1963. Syrian governments have justified martial law by the state of war that continues to exist with Israel and by continuing threats posed by terrorist groups. (from the U.S. State Department website)


U.S.-Turkish friendship dates to the late 18th century and was officially sealed by a treaty in 1830. The present close relationship began with the agreement of July 12, 1947, which implemented the Truman Doctrine. As part of the cooperative effort to further Turkish economic and military self-reliance, the United States has loaned and granted Turkey more than $12.5 billion in economic aid and more than $14 billion in military assistance.  (from the U.S. State Department website)


Tibet was an ancient country the size of western Europe when it was invaded by the People’s Liberation Army of China in 1950. A place with a unique culture, history and identity, Tibet has been changed dramatically by the Chinese invasion and occupation. Not only have many Tibetan lives been lost, Tibetans in Tibet do not enjoy basic human rights and the Chinese government have introduced policies by which Tibetan culture, language and natural resources are being systematically and irrevocably eroded. (from

Tibet is a plateau region in Asia, north of the Himalayas. It is home to the indigenous Tibetan people, and to some other ethnic groups such as Monpas and Lhobas, and is inhabited by considerable numbers of Han and Hui people. Tibet is the highest region on earth, with an average elevation of 16,000 ft. It is sometimes referred to as the roof of the world.

During Tibet’s history, starting from the 7th century, it has existed as a unified empire and as a region of separate self-governing territories, vassal states, and Chinese provinces. In the interregnums, various sects of Tibetan Buddhism, secular nobles, and foreign rulers have vied for power in Tibet. The latest religious struggle marked the ascendancy of the Dalai Lamas to power in western Tibet in the 17th century, though his rule was often merely nominal with real power resting in the hands of various regents and viceroys. Today, most of cultural Tibet is ruled as autonomous areas in the People’s Republic of China.

The economy of Tibet is dominated by subsistence agriculture, though tourism has become a growing industry in Tibet in recent decades. The dominant religion in Tibet is Tibetan Buddhism, though there are Muslim and Christian minorities. Tibetan Buddhism is a primary influence on the art, music, and festivals of the region. Tibetan architecture reflects Chinese and Indian influences. Staple foods in Tibet are roasted barley, yak meat, and butter tea. (from