Global Weekend Update with Krzys Wasilewski

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AFRICA

HARARE, Zimbabwe. The Zimbabwean government is not going to introduce a new currency any time soon, the Central Bank governor, Gideon Gono, said Sunday in a state-controlled newspaper. Both foreign investors and ordinary citizens were hoping that, with a new currency, would come a long-awaited economic stabilization. Now, official rates peg one US dollar at 30,000 Zimbabwean dollars; however, on the black market one can get as much as 950,000 for one banknote bearing George Washington’s face. Nevertheless, Gono told his countrymen to “relax guys,” because “the launch is not until next year.”

Zimbabwe has been in a deep financial and political crisis since President Robert Mugabe purged the country of white farmers and parceled their lands among his comrades. Up until then, the white minority had produced most of the country’s annual income. Last week, Mugabe, 83, signed a bill that gives him power to choose his successor, if he steps down before the end of his term.

AMERICAS

MEXICO CITY, Mexico. If Kevin Costner ever wants to film a sequel to his “Waterworld” movie, he may well shoot it in Mexico. Hundreds of thousands of people, taking only what they were wearing, had to flee their homes in the coastal region as a huge wall of water swallowed everything that happened to be on its way. Local authorities estimate that the flood has caused damage to the property of more than 900,000 people in the region of approximately 2,000,000 residents. So far, only one person has been reported dead; however, hundreds of people can be infected with cholera and other easily-spread diseases.

The flood, which began its devastating force on Friday, has been the worst natural disaster in Mexico for years.

Additionally, some oil platforms have been damaged in this oil rich region.

Also, Haitians are experiencing the power of nature. Tropical Storm Noel, which was believed to have withered on Friday, reappeared this weekend, causing serious damage to this poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. The situation, additionally, is complicated since Haiti has been recovering from a civil war; the chaos inflicted by the storm has spurred various groups to renew street violence. United Nations soldiers, who were to protect refuge camps scattered across the country. are reported to have fled their posts.

ASIA

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan. Approximately 500 dissidents have been arrested during the first 24 hours of the emergency rule declared by President Musharraf on Saturday. In what was described by the governmental officials as the only way to save the country, thousands of troops were ordered to the streets to cordon off opposition leaders and prevent anarchy. Although the Supreme Court called the emergency rule illegal, the president refused to rescind his decision; instead, seven justices were relieved from their duties. In his televised address on Saturday, Musharraf said that the emergency rule was, in his opinion, “the simplest way to save Pakistan, to put it back on the right track.” In an almost one hour-long speech, the president also appealed to his Western allies asking them in English to “understand the criticality of the environment inside Pakistan and around Pakistan.” Later, he compared himself to Abraham Lincoln, the US president during the Civil War, as the man who had managed to prevent his country from splitting apart.

The emergency rule came as a surprise for Pakistan’s Western allies; namely, the United States and the European Union. They both asked President Musharraf not to veer his country off the democratic course.

Pakistan has been a nuclear power for several years and stocks dozens of n According to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the parliamentary election originally scheduled for January 2008 may be delayed for up to a year.

Pakistan has been a nuclear power for several years and stocks dozens of nuclear warheads in its arsenal. President Musharaff, who seized presidency in a military coup in 1999, has been a strong American ally in the war on terror.

EUROPE

MOSCOW, Russia. “There are forces in the world that want to divide Russia,” said President Vladimir Putin at an official reception on Sunday, given to celebrate Russia’s new national holiday: the Day of National Accord. In front of dozens of carefully selected guests, the outgoing president also noted that “there are some people who believe that the partition of our country is essential and they try to popularize their views.” Putin, however, fell short of saying precisely who he meant.

When dignitaries were indulging themselves in first-rate caviar and champagne, thousands of ordinary Russians marched through Moscow’s streets to celebrate their new holiday. As last year and two years ago, the Day of National Accord divided people more than any other “evil forces.” Among many demonstrations, the greatest number of people were attracted to the one organized by nationalist groups, demanding that the government expel national minorities from the country.

Russians have celebrated November 4 since 2005. The Day of National Accord, which commemorates the year 1612 when Muscovites forced Polish forces out of the Kremlin, intends to replace the anniversary of the October Revolution.

MIDDLE EAST

ANKARA, Turkey. The eight Turkish soldiers who were kidnapped by Kurdish rebels October 21, were released on Sunday. According to the Associated Press, the rebels handed the hostages over to Iraqi officials who then transported them to an American base in Iraq. The eight soldiers arrived in Turkey late afternoon.

On Monday, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will meet with US President George W. Bush in Washington. The talks may not be as friendly as they could have been only two months ago. First, Democrats in the Senate lobbied for a bill condemning Turkish massacres on Armenians shortly before the end of the First World War. Then the government in Ankara warned that it would not back off from invading northern Iraq to disarm Kurdish rebels, whereas the stability in the Middle East is Washington’s top priority.

Source: The Student Operated Press

Krzys Wasilewski, while living in Poland, completing his masters degree in International Relations, was seduced by English Literature.