World Briefs – 4/27/10

Tuesday's World Events   —   Posted on April 27, 2010

(World Scene  and Briefly from WashingtonTimes.com, from wire dispatches and Washington Times staff reports)

FRANCE – U.S. extradites Noriega to France

The U.S. extradited former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega to France on Monday, clearing the way for him to stand trial there on money-laundering charges.

The former strongman, who had been held in a federal prison just outside Miami, was placed on an overnight Air France flight to Paris, according to a Justice Department official who spoke anonymously because he was not authorized to comment on the case.

The flight departed shortly after 6 p.m. Miami time and was expected in Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport shortly after 8 a.m. Tuesday local time.

Yves Leberquier, one of Noriega’s attorneys, confirmed his client was headed to France. He said Noriega will be turned over to French prosecutors Tuesday and later taken before a judge who will determine whether he should remain in custody pending further action.

SUDAN – Bashir re-elected in contested election

KHARTOUM | Sudan’s president won another term in office Monday with a comfortable majority in elections marred by boycotts and fraud allegations, becoming the first head of state to be re-elected while facing an international arrest warrant for war crimes.

President Omar Bashir’s victory was widely expected after his most credible challengers pulled out of the race to protest purported fraud.

It was unlikely to put to rest questions about his standing around the globe and among his opponents or ease Sudan’s isolation. Lt. Gen. Bashir cannot travel freely because he risks being arrested to face charges before the Hague-based International Criminal Court of war crimes committed in Sudan’s western Darfur region.

Sudan’s first multiparty presidential, parliamentary and local elections in 24 years were a key requirement of a 2005 peace deal that ended a 21-year civil war between the predominantly Arab and Muslim north and rebels in the Christian-animist south.

LUXEMBOURG – EU to push for piracy trials in Africa

The European Union’s foreign affairs and security chief will visit Africa next month to press for more help in prosecuting pirates arrested by European warships patrolling the Gulf of Aden, she told a meeting Monday.

Catherine Ashton wants to see the suspects on trial as close to home as possible instead of transported to Europe for prosecution.

An EU armada has detained scores of suspected pirates in recent months, but only a handful will ever wind up in court. The vast majority were disarmed and put back on their boats with enough food and fuel to reach land.

BELGIUM – King accepts government’s resignation

BRUSSELS | King Albert II accepted the government’s resignation Monday after negotiations failed to resolve a long-simmering dispute between Dutch- and French-speaking politicians over a bilingual voting district in and around Brussels, the country’s capital.

The king had waited since last week to see if last-ditch talks could keep the coalition government of Prime Minister Yves Leterme together. But late Monday, it became clear the differences between the linguistic groups were too deep. Elections could now be called in early June.

“I regret that the necessary dialogue to achieve a negotiated settlement did not produce the result we hoped for,” Mr. Leterme said in a statement.

The royal palace said that “the king has tasked the government to continue in a caretaker capacity.”

Belgian governments have a long tradition of teetering on the brink of linguistic collapse. For half a century, they have brokered ever more complicated compromises to keep the country from falling apart at the expense of giving the linguistic groups more autonomy. Yet the endless bickering has not stopped the nation from being among the most prosperous in Europe.

CHILE – World’s largest telescope to be built in desert

SANTIAGO | The world’s largest telescope will be built in Chile’s northern desert at a cost of more than $1 billion, the European Southern Observatory said Monday, and will set its sights on discovering other worlds like our own.

The 138-foot European Extremely Large Telescope will watch the skies for exoplanets, or planets around stars, as well as seek to unravel the mystery of dark matter and dark energy.

The telescope will be built at 10,040 feet above sea level on a mountain in Chile’s northern, mine-rich Atacama desert, which is favored for major telescopes because of low levels of water vapor and clear night skies.

“The size will allow us to see basically Earth-like planets,” said Lars Lindberg Christensen, head of the observatory’s education and public outreach department in Garching, Germany.

The telescope is set to begin operations in 2018.

NOTE: The news blurbs above are from World Scene published at WashingtonTimes.com on Tuesday, April 27, 2010 and Briefly published at WashingtonTimes.com on Tuesday, April 27, 2010.

Copyright 2009 News World Communications, Inc.  Reprinted with permission of the Washington Times.  For educational purposes only.  This reprint does not constitute or imply any endorsement or sponsorship of any product, service, company or organization.  Visit the website at washingtontimes.com.

Questions

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 worldatlas.com for a list of continents.]

2. For France:
a) list the who, what, where and when of the news item
b) Define extradite as used in this news brief.

3. For Sudan:
a) list the who, what, where and when of the news item
b) Why isn’t President Bashir able to travel freely?

4. For Luxembourg:
a) list the who, what, where and when of the news item
b) What is the EU currently doing with scores of pirates apprehended in recent months?

5. For Belgium:
a) list the who, what, where and when of the news item
b) What do you think of the politicians’ inability to resolve their dispute over a Dutch and French speaking voting district?

6. For Chile:
a) list the who, what, where and when of the news item
b) What does the European Southern Observatory hope to accomplish with the European Extremely Large Telescope?

 


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Resources

Read about former dictator Manuel Noriega at volokh.com/2010/01/05/manuel-noriega-the-supreme-court-and-the-war-on-terror/comment-page-1.

ON SUDAN,  THE DARFUR GENOCIDE:
“The [Sudanese] government [made up of Arabs] has launched scattered attacks on local African tribes for years. But when two main Darfuri rebel groups began retaliating against government positions in February 2003, Khartoum’s leaders ratcheted up their campaign with pounding intensity….  The Khartoum regime’s motives in Darfur soon became clear:  Its leaders are not only Islamists but Arabists, who believe blacks-even Muslims-are ‘slaves.’ ”   (From a 2006 article at WorldMag.com.)
For more background on the genocide in Darfur, read World’s Spectator to Genocide.

Read about the European Extremely Large Telescope at the European Southern Observatory website at eso.org/public/teles-instr/e-elt.

Read about Belgium’s language dispute at wikipedia.org.