News from around the World

Tuesday's World Events   —   Posted on December 14, 2010

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

BRITAIN – Officials: Students made ‘contact’ with royals

LONDON | Student protesters made physical contact with the wife of Prince Charles during an attack on the couple’s car that has sparked a review of royal security, a British government minister said Sunday.

Home Secretary Theresa May told Sky News that “there was contact made,” although she would not confirm reports Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, had been poked with a stick through an open car window.

The prince’s office also declined to comment, but stressed that the royal couple did not seek medical help after Thursday’s altercation.

Officials are assessing royal security after the attack on Charles and Camilla, whose Rolls-Royce strayed into the path of protesters against tuition-fee increases. They hit the car with sticks, fists and bottles and chanted “off with their heads” before the vehicle pushed its way through the crowd and drove off.

Police have launched a “major criminal investigation” into the demonstrations, which saw protesters scuffle with riot police, smash windows and daub government buildings with graffiti.

GREECE – Economist: Greeks must accelerate reforms

ATHENS | The European Central Bank’s chief economist said on Sunday that Greece needed to press on with difficult structural reforms if it is to overcome the debt crisis plaguing the nation.

“The program remains broadly on track. … But Greece needs to continue structural reforms to lay a sound basis for growth and job creation,” Juergen Stark said in an interview with Greek daily To Vima.

“It is not a 100-meter sprint, it is a marathon, and Greece has just started with this process.”

Greece has committed itself to drastic reforms and cutbacks in its overblown state sector in return for a $148 billion European Union-International Monetary Fund loan that saved it from bankruptcy this year.

In late November, Athens won approval for a new slice of rescue funding but the IMF and EU prescribed even tougher action on tax evasion, waste in health care and on state companies to merit another payout.

HAITI – Palin urges Americans ‘not to forget Haiti’

TITANYAN | Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin on Sunday urged her fellow Americans not to forget Haiti as she wrapped up a two-day visit to the crisis-torn Caribbean country.

“I do urge Americans not to forget Haiti,” said Mrs. Palin, who was in Haiti at the invitation of Franklin Graham, an evangelical preacher whose Christian relief organization, Samaritan’s Purse, is involved in cholera-treatment efforts in the deeply impoverished nation.

Haiti is still recovering from the Jan. 12 quake that killed nearly a quarter of a million Haitians a year ago, and the 1.3 million people made homeless by the disaster are still living in makeshift camps and under tents and tarps in the sprawling capital Port-au-Prince.

The country has more recently been hit by a cholera epidemic that has killed more than 2,000 people and is wracked by political upheaval over a contested presidential election that has sparked violent street protests.

BANGLADESH – 100 hurt in clash between garment workers, police

CHITTAGONG | Garment workers demanding the implementation of a new minimum wage clashed with police at an industrial zone in southeastern Bangladesh on Sunday, leaving up to three people dead and 100 hurt, police and news reports said.

A police official said authorities opened fire and used tear gas after thousands of workers attacked factories and smashed vehicles at the Chittagong Export Processing Zone. The zone houses about 70 foreign companies that mainly manufacture garments, shoes and bicycles, and employ about 150,000 workers.

LEBANON – Heavy rain, winds batter Middle East

BEIRUT | Heavy rain and fierce winds pummeled countries across the Middle East on Sunday, killing a woman in Lebanon, sinking a ship off Israel’s coast and prompting Egypt to close its largest Mediterranean port.

The storm, which caused temperatures to plunge to below freezing in some places, ended weeks of unseasonably warm and dry weather across the region that caused dozens of forest fires in Lebanon and helped feed a massive blaze in Israel that destroyed thousands acres of forest.

NOTE: The news blurbs above are from “Briefly” and “World Scene” published at on Sunday, December 12, 2010.

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


GREECE:  Why is Greece in so much trouble?

  • Greece has been living beyond its means in recent years, and its rising level of debt has placed a huge strain on the country's economy.
  • The Greek government borrowed heavily and went on something of a spending spree during the past decade.
  • Public spending [government spending] soared and public sector wages [salaries of government employees] practically doubled during that time. 
  • However, as the money flowed out of the government's coffers, tax income was hit because of widespread tax evasion.
  • When the global financial downturn hit, Greece was ill-prepared to cope.
  • Greece's budget deficit, the amount its public [government] spending exceeds its revenues from taxation, last year was 13.6% of its gross domestic product (GDP). GDP is the value of all its goods and services. This is one of the highest in Europe and more than four times the limit under eurozone rules.
  • Greece's high levels of debt mean investors are wary of lending it more money, and demand a higher premium [interest rate] for doing so.
  • This is particularly troublesome as Greece must refinance more than 50 billion euros in debt this year. (from a May 2010 article posted at