World Scene

Tuesday's World Events   —   Posted on June 8, 2010

(The excerpts from World Scene below are from WashingtonTimes.com – from wire dispatches and Washington Times staff reports)

SOUTH KOREA – North Korea warns against U.N. campaign

SEOUL | North Korea warned Sunday that it would retaliate over what it said was South Korea’s “intolerable” campaign to censure it at the U.N. Security Council for the sinking of one of Seoul’s warships.

Pyongyang’s broadside came as U.S. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said the North might stage more “provocations” while being held to account for the sinking, which has inflamed cross-border tensions.

Seoul has called on the Security Council to respond to the reported torpedo attack by the North on the Cheonan warship in March, which claimed the lives of 46 sailors.

The North’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland said Seoul would suffer a “stern punishment” for its diplomatic drive, describing the campaign as a “conspiratorial farce.”

“This is another intolerable and grave provocation to us, and a reckless challenge to the public opinions at home and abroad,” the committee, which handles relations with the South, said in a statement.

“The South Korean puppets will never avoid a stern punishment by our military and people, and also strong protests from the southern people if they continue the smear campaign against [North Korea].”

It did not elaborate on what the punishment would be.

SUDAN – Tribal clashes kill 41 in Darfur

KHARTOUM | Tribal clashes in Sudan’s western region of Darfur killed 41 people in three days, a tribal leader told Agence France-Presse on Sunday.

Ezzedin Eissa al-Mandil of the Misseriya tribe said the fighting broke out Thursday when “members of the Rezeigat tribe attacked one of our villages west of the town of Kass” in South Darfur.

“They killed one person and returned on Friday, with fighting taking place from morning to night. There were also clashes on Saturday and in total 41 people were killed and 17 wounded,” Mr. al-Mandil told Agence France-Presse.

The claim could not be confirmed immediately with the Rezeigat tribe or the governor of South Darfur.

But a spokesman of the joint U.N.-African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur said UNAMID received reports of fighting between members of the Nuwayba tribe, a branch of the Rezeigat, and the Misseriya tribe, without casualty figures.

AUSTRALIA – Google faces new privacy investigation

SYDNEY | Australia announced a police investigation Sunday into whether Google illegally collected private information from wireless networks, becoming at least the second country to probe the Internet giant’s “Street View” mapping service.

The Australian criminal investigation began as more regulators and consumer watchdogs around the world complain that Google doesn’t take people’s privacy seriously enough. Google maintains that its users’ privacy is one of the company’s highest priorities.

Last month, Google acknowledged that it had mistakenly collected fragments of data over public Wi-Fi networks in more than 30 countries while it was taking pictures of neighborhoods for the Street View feature. Google said it discovered the problem after German regulators launched an inquiry into the matter.

SLOVENIA – Voters back Croatia border arbitration

LJUBLJANA | Slovenian voters approved Sunday in a referendum a deal to resolve a long-standing border dispute with Croatia via arbitration, results showed, a move that could boost Zagreb’s ambitions for the European Union.

With nearly 99 percent of the votes counted, 51.49 percent were in favor and 48.51 percent against referring to arbitration the dispute over a small wedge of Adriatic Sea coastline.

Turnout was more than 42.24 percent of the 1.7 million eligible voters.

Center-left Prime Minister Borut Pahor said that if the final results confirm a victory for the arbitration plan, then “that will have very positive consequences for the whole region.”

Slovenian President Danilo Turk, who had backed the arbitration deal, said in a statement broadcast live that the result of the vote was “a step forward in the solution of the dispute [with Croatia].”

Ljubljana and Zagreb have been squabbling since the breakup of Yugoslavia nearly two decades ago over 5 square miles of largely uninhabited land and a wedge of territorial water in and around Piran Bay.

Slovenia, which has 29 miles of coastline, sees its access to international waters at stake, because Croatia, whose huge Adriatic coast stretches for 1,056 miles, wants the border to be drawn down the middle of the bay.

COLOMBIA – Military kills six rebels in raid

BOGOTA | Colombian military planes struck a leftist rebel camp Sunday, killing six guerrillas in a raid in the south of the Andean nation, its air force said.

Violence during the country’s long insurgency has declined over the past eight years, but fighting, bombings and kidnappings are still common, especially in remote, jungle areas bordering Venezuela and Ecuador.

“There were six [rebels] killed, seven captured and two guerrillas wounded, who were first given help and then later placed in the hands of authorities,” Colombia’s air force said in a statement.

Soldiers later occupied the FARC rebel camp in an area of Caqueta state, about 186 miles southeast of Bogota, where troops found arms and communications equipment, the statement said.

Rebels have been driven back to remote areas after a U.S.-backed offensive battered the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and other armed groups.

NOTE: The news blurbs above are from World Scene published at WashingtonTimes.com on Sunday, June 6, 2010.

Copyright 2010 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 South Korea:
a) list the who, what, where and when of the news item
b) Define censure, provocation and farce as used in the news blurb.
c) The North Korean military sank a South Korean naval ship and is now threatening South Korea for its attempts to have the North censured by the UN. How do you think the international community should respond to North Korea’s threats against South Korea? Be specific.

3. For Sudan:
a) list the who, what, where and when of the news item
b) Name the two tribes who clashed in Darfur, Sudan recently.

4. For Australia:
a) list the who, what, where and when of the news item
b) Google said it only discovered that it had collected personal data over public Wi-Fi networks after German regulators launched an inquiry into the matter. Should consumers believe that this company of computer experts gathered the information by mistake, as they explained? Explain your answer, and be specific.

5. For Slovenia:
a) list the who, what, where and when of the news item
b) Define arbitration and referendum as used in the news blurb.
c) How could the outcome of the Slovenian vote help Croatia?

6. For Colombia:
a) list the who, what, where and when of the news item
b) How was the Colombian military able to drive the FARC rebels into remote areas of Colombia?

NOTE:  “Answers by Email” has ended for the summer–daily news postings will end June 11th — have a great summer!


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Background

ON KOREA: (from the CIA World FactBook)

  • An independent kingdom for much of its long history, Korea was occupied by Japan in 1905 following the Russo-Japanese War. Five years later, Japan formally annexed the entire peninsula. Following World War II, Korea was split with the northern half coming under Soviet-sponsored Communist domination.
  • After failing in the Korean War (1950-53) to conquer the US-backed South Korea (Republic of Korea – ROK) by force, North Korea (DPRK), under its founder President Kim Il Sung, adopted a policy of ostensible diplomatic and economic “self-reliance” as a check against excessive Soviet or Communist Chinese influence.
  • North Korea demonized the US as the ultimate threat to its social system through state-funded propaganda, and molded political, economic, and military policies around the core ideological objective of eventual unification of Korea under Pyongyang’s control.
  • Kim’s son, the current ruler Kim Jong Il, was officially designated as his father’s successor in 1980, assuming a growing political and managerial role until the elder Kim’s death in 1994.
  • After decades of economic mismanagement and resource misallocation, North Korea since the mid-1990s has relied heavily on international aid to feed its population while continuing to expend resources to maintain an army of approximately 1 million.
  • North Korea’s history of regional military provocations, proliferation of military-related items, and long-range missile development – as well as its nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons programs and massive conventional armed forces – are of major concern to the international community. [Kim Jong-il is an oppressive dictator who forces his people to call him “Dear Leader”]

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ON SUDAN’s MISSERIYA AND REZEIGAT TRIBES:

The MISSERIYA belong to the Baggara Arabs tribes and speak Sudanese Arabic. Numbering over one million, the Baggara are the second largest people group in Western Sudan, extending into Eastern Chad. They are primarily nomadic cattle herders and their journeys are dependent upon the seasons of the year.

The REZEIGAT are a Muslim and Arabic tribe of the nomadic Bedouin Baggara people in Sudan’s Darfur region. The Rizeigat belong to the greater Baggara Arabs fraternity of Fur people and Kordofan and speak Sudanese Arabic. Numbering over one million, the Baggara are the second largest people group in Western Sudan, extending into Eastern Chad. They are primarily nomadic cattle herders and their journeys are dependent upon the seasons of the year. They are a branch of the Juhayna group. They are divided into the Abbala (camel-herding) Rizeigat, who live in northern Darfur and Chad, and the Baggara (cattle-herders) who inhabit south-east Darfur. In turn they are divided into several large clans, notably the Mahamid, Mahariya and Nawaiba. The Mahamid, led by Sheikh Musa Hilal, have been deeply implicated in the Darfur conflict.

The Rizeigat backed the Sudanese government during the conflict with the SPLA. They formed frontline units as well as Murahleen, mounted raiders that attacked southern villages to loot valuables and slaves.  During the Second Sudanese Civil War thousands of Dinka women and children were abducted and subsequently enslaved by members of the Messiria and Rizeigat tribes. An unknown number of children from the Nuba tribe were similarly abducted and enslaved.

In the recent Darfur conflict the Baggara Rizeigat have refused to join the government troops under Janjaweed militias to exterminate rebels. Their leader, Saeed Madibo cites the governnment’s lack of development in Rizeigat areas, despite the tribe’s history of support in recent southern conflicts. He also states that his tribe was not allowed to be part of the southern peace process. Conflict between nomadic tribes in Sudan is common with fights breaking out over scarce resources, including grazing land, cattle and drinking water. The state of Southern Kordofan is particularly prone to such instances due to its semi-arid climate.  The region remains unstable as it lies between Muslim Darfur, currently experiencing a civil war, and the Christian autonomous state of Southern Sudan. Due to this location the state was a key battleground during the 22-year Second Sudanese Civil War that ended in 2005. Fighting in 2008 between the Misseriya and the Rizeigat tribes claimed around 70 lives. 

  • Conflict between nomadic tribes in Sudan is common with fights breaking out over scarce resources, including grazing land, cattle and drinking water. The state of Southern Kordofan is particularly prone to such instances due to its semi-arid climate.[3] The region remains unstable as it lies between Muslim Darfur, currently experiencing a civil war, and the Christian autonomous state of Southern Sudan. Due to this location the state was a key battleground during the 22-year Second Sudanese Civil War that ended in 2005.[3] Fighting in 2008 between the Misseriya and the Rizeigat tribes claimed around 70 lives.[(from wikipedia.org)

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ON AUSTRALIA INVESTIGATION OF GOOGLE: (from a 5/18/10 report): 

  • Google Street View, which is available for the United States and certain other countries, allows users to view panoramic street scenes on Google Maps and “walk” through cities such as New York, Paris or Hong Kong.
  • WiFi network information allows Google to build location features into mobile versions of Street View such as directions or nearby restaurants.
  • A Google spokesman said a coding error was responsible for the collection of personal data sent by people over unsecured WiFi networks.
  • The spokesman said Google discovered that personal data had been swept up a week ago following a request to audit WiFi data from the Data Protection Authority in Hamburg, Germany.
  • “As soon as we became aware of this problem, we grounded our Street View cars and segregated the data on our network, which we then disconnected to make it inaccessible,” he said.
  • “We want to delete this data as soon as possible, and are currently reaching out to regulators in the relevant countries about how to quickly dispose of it,” Eustace said.
  • “Given the concerns raised, we have decided that it’s best to stop our Street View cars collecting WiFi network data entirely,” he added.
  • “Maintaining people’s trust is crucial to everything we do, and in this case we fell short,” he said. “We are profoundly sorry for this error and are determined to learn all the lessons we can from our mistake.”
    (from au.news.yahoo.com/a/-/world/7242013/google-ends-wifi-collection-after-personal-data-captured/)

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ON SLOVANIA AND CROATIA:

The SLOVENE lands were part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until the latter’s dissolution at the end of World War I. In 1918, the Slovenes joined the Serbs and Croats in forming a new multinational state, which was named Yugoslavia in 1929. After World War II, Slovenia became a republic of the renewed Yugoslavia, which though Communist, distanced itself from Moscow’s rule. Dissatisfied with the exercise of power by the majority Serbs, the Slovenes succeeded in establishing their independence in 1991 after a short 10-day war. Historical ties to Western Europe, a strong economy, and a stable democracy have assisted in Slovenia’s transformation to a modern state. Slovenia acceded to both NATO and the EU in the spring of 2004. (from cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/si.html)

The lands that today comprise CROATIA were part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until the close of World War I. In 1918, the Croats, Serbs, and Slovenes formed a kingdom known after 1929 as Yugoslavia. Following World War II, Yugoslavia became a federal independent Communist state under the strong hand of Marshal TITO. Although Croatia declared its independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, it took four years of sporadic, but often bitter, fighting before occupying Serb armies were mostly cleared from Croatian lands. Under UN supervision, the last Serb-held enclave in eastern Slavonia was returned to Croatia in 1998. In April 2009, Croatia joined NATO; it is a candidate for eventual EU accession. (cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/hr.html)

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ON COLOMBIA’S FARC INSURGENTS:

  • FARC is a guerrilla organization, self-proclaimed Marxist-Leninist.  The FARC is considered a terrorist group by the Colombian government, the United States, Canada, the Latin American Parliament, and the European Union. (from wikipedia.org)
  • The FARC continues to wage a war of words devoted to Marxist principles, despite the fact that many of its battles are fought with the less idealistic motive of controlling the illicit drug industry. (from tkb.org)
  • FARC is responsible for most of the ransom kidnappings in Colombia; the group targets wealthy landowners, foreign tourists, and prominent international and domestic officials. FARC stepped up terrorist activities against infrastructure in cities before Colombia’s May 2002 presidential election. (from cfr.org)
    (Read about FARC at cfr.org/publication/9272/.)

Resources

Go to worldatlas.com for maps of the countries.

Watch a 6/5/10 news report of defense ministers from G20 nations condemning Pyongyang over sinking of a South Korean naval ship: