Posted tagged ‘International News’

Barack Obama’s Inauguration: Stories From The Mall

January 20, 2009
Millions on the national mall awaiting the inauguration of President Obama.

Millions on the national mall awaiting the inauguration of President Obama.

(Washington D.C.) – Today I along with a few other College Democrats joined the millions of Americans from every state stretching from the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial. Within 5 feet were people from Florida, North Carolina, Connecticut, California, Kentucky and a multitude of other states. Even more impressive were the people from the Bahamas and the Netherlands.

Every race, color and creed was visible on the mall. After arriving around 1am there were plenty of people who were rich, poor, tired and eventually just a huddled mass. All of them telling us how they came with friends from South Africa and as far away as Australia. Everyone sharing stories about how Barack Obama’s election has personally touched them in a way no election ever has.

Singing songs together in unity to stay warm, loudly cheering for President Obama when he appeared on the jumbotron and quietly listening to pastor Rick Warren when he spoke to everyone.

Whether you were there in person, saw it at home on your television, saw it online at work, or listened to it on the radio this was a moment for the history books. From Los Angeles to New York to the forgotten corners of the world everyone will remember this moment. What did you make of this moment?

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Obama Officially Announces Intelligence Staff

January 9, 2009

(New York) – President Elect Obama today announces his picks to lead his intelligence staff. Rertired Admiral Dennis Blair will be his Director of National Intelligence. Leon Panetta is scheduled to be his Central Intelligence Agency director.

The President Elect described both men as “public servants with unquestioned integrity, broad experience, strong management skills and the core pragmatism we need in dangerous times.”

The Green Zone Is Now Under Iraqi Control

January 1, 2009
Republican Palace

Republican Palace

(New York) – January 1, 2009. A new year has come and an old one has gone, in a sign of the progress in Iraq the United States has made it has handed over control of the Green Zone to Iraqi forces. The 5.6-square-mile area in the heart of Baghdad also known as the International Zone will be under full control of the Iraqi’s, although there will be a United States presence there, the US is even paying rent now. (more…)

Israeli PM Ehud Olmert: “currently at the first of several stages” of the operation

December 30, 2008

Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said in a meeting with top officials that the latest military actions were to continue. Mr Olmert’s statement that the bombardment was “the first of several stages approved by the security cabinet” was quoted from a briefing he gave to President Shimon Peres on Tuesday.

Israel is determined to defeat Hamas and end rocket fire into its southern cities. So far there are reports of close to 400 casualities however there is no known number of how many of those are civilian. Hamas has responded with rockets which have killed at least 1 Israeli.

One would expect large civilian causalities in such a densely populated area however so far Israel has managed to keep its bombs on target as there have been no reports of schools or other civilian buildings being hit. Israel has explicitly said it is only targeting Hamas and its operatives in the strikes.

Most of the strikes into Gaza have been predominately in Gaza city which is at the northern part of the Gaza strip.

The Israeli military “has made preparations for long weeks of action”, deputy defense minister Matan Vilnai said in an interview with the BBC.

US BACKS ISRAELI ACTIONS.
“The United States understands that Israel needs to take actions to defend itself, In order for the violence to stop, Hamas must stop firing rockets into Israel and agree to respect a sustainable and durable ceasefire.”

The United States has not called for restraint as many had hoped it would. President Bush has not announced his position on it, leaving the spokesperson to do so. Secretary of State Rice is pushing for a ceasefire.

– White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe.

CNN has more coverage:
http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/meast/12/30/gaza.israel.airstrikes/index.html?iref=mpstoryview

Israeli Embassy In London Faces Mass Demonstrations

December 29, 2008

(New York) Today protesters have gathered near the Israeli embassy to protest the recent military incursions into Gaza. We have clips from YouTube filmed by protesters outside of the embassy. The protesters were not allowed close to the embassy as they were held back by the London Metropolitan Police.

These protests follow reports stating that the embassy had received a white powder filled envelope which turned out to be a false alarm. Stay tuned for more updates.

Israel Launches Air Offensive on Gaza Strip

December 27, 2008
Gaza Strip map.

Gaza Strip map.

(New York) – Reports have been coming in about the recent Israeli military operations launched into the Gaza strip. The Israeli air force launched wave after wave of air strikes into Gaza as a response to the rocket attacks on civilian populations by Hamas. Casualty reports vary but estimates say close to 200 Palestinians have been killed in the air strikes. The BBC’s London Bureau is reporting injuries close to 700 people as of now. The air strikes continued on into the night and showed not sign of ending soon.

This does not seem to be a quick retaliation from the Israelis as indicated by announcements from top leaders. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said the military operation “may take some time.”

Surrounded by Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni he went on to say “It’s not going to last a few days.”

Khaled Meshaal a Hamas leader, called for a new intifada against Israel as a response to the recent violent escalation. An attack such as this against the palestinians has not been seen in decades. Hamas’ Gaza leader, Ismail Haniyeh, said “Palestine has never witnessed an uglier massacre.”

Israel has claimed to have hit close to 40 targets in the strip and Hamas confirmed that all of its security compounds in the Gaza strip have been destroyed as a result of the air strikes. Hamas has stated they would renew their rocket attacks against southern Israeli cities immediately as a response to this latest turn of events.

Rumors abound of an Israeli ground invasion of the Gaza strip amid televesion reports stating that Israeli ground forces had begun amassing near the border. (more…)

US To Increase Troop Presence In Afghanistan

December 20, 2008
U.S. Army Soldiers from Delta Company, 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment provide security during a meeting with the district subgovernor at the district center in Sabari, Afghanistan, March 6, 2007. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Justin Holley)

U.S. Army Soldiers from Delta Company, 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment provide security during a meeting with the district subgovernor at the district center in Sabari, Afghanistan, March 6, 2007. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Justin Holley)

(New York) – In Kabul Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen announced a planned increase in the number of American troops in Afghanistan.

“Some 20 to 30,000 is the window of overall increase from where we are right now. I don’t have an exact number,” He was quoted as saying.

This would double the amount of American troops in the country. Currently there are 31,000 US troops in the country. NATO is contributing 51,000 soldiers to the mission in Afghanistan under the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). However included in that number are 14,000 American soldiers.

General David McKiernan who is in charge of the ISAF has continually requested more troops to help combat a resurgent Taliban. Admiral Mullen said the American troops would be sent to Southern Afghanistan to assist Canadian and Dutch troops which have shouldered most of the burden in fighting the Taliban.

Secretary of State Gates recently announced the deployment of another brigade to arrive early next year. The annoucment of troops while not unexpected comes on the heels of an announcement from the British government stating their intentions to send more troops to Afghanistan.

It seems the plan would be to help build infrastructure and increase security on the local level while the Taliban is held at bay by the new forces.