1. WASHINGTON D.C., USA
Barack Obama has been elected the 44th President of the United States in a landmark result that will send the first black man to the White House. His first announcement was an intention to close Guantanamo Bay, the controversial terrorism prison on Cuba. He is expected to announce Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State this week, a move which many fear could weaken the President. He will be inaugurated on January 10.
2. BAGHDAD, IRAQ
All US troops will leave Iraq by the end of 2011, and will pull out from towns and cities next summer, in a deal made between the Iraqi Cabinet and the US. A brawl took place while the deal was being debated. The measure signifies a landmark in the handover of power to the Iraqi government. Thousands of Shia Muslims have taken to the streets of Baghdad in protest, requesting the US troops remain.
3. KABUL, AFGHANISTAN
More British troops have been called for in Afghanistan to aid an Iraq-style surge. The US will send in up to 20,000 more troops to assist the current 33,000. The UK, which currently has 8,000 troops on the ground, warns that the 4,000 returning from Iraq need a considerable break. UK Defence Secretary John Hutton is expected to resist promising anything.
4. MONTEVIDEO, URUGUAY
President Tabare Vazquez has stepped in to veto a bill that would have legalised abortion up to the 12th week of pregnancy. Currently, Uruguay only provides legal abortions in cases of rape or danger to the mother.
5. MOSCOW, RUSSIA
Putin could return as Russia’s President and remain until 2024 under a new amendment to the constitution. The change was proposed by the current President Medvedev, although many suspect that the idea came from Putin, re-enforcing the opinion that he is still effectively running the country.
6. HARARDHERE, SOMALIA
Naval pirates are threatening the shipping trade after a series of high-level hijackings. Two Britons are aboard a hijacked Saudi oil tanker a cargo thought to be worth £67m. More than 90 vessels have been attacked this year. The world’s largest shipping company, Maersk, has said that it is avoiding the trade route. The announcement has been seen as a massive blow to world trade.
7. WAZIRISTAN, PAKISTAN
Wanted British fugitive Rashid Rauf has been killed by a US airstrike in North Waziristan, Pakistani media have claimed. Rauf, who escaped from imprisonment in Pakistan, was wanted by the UK Government for his suspected role in the liquid bomb plots to bring down aircraft in 2006. Senior MPs have questioned how much the UK knew of the attack. The Foreign Office have refused to confirm his death.
8. KIGALI, RWANDA
An aide to Rwanda’s president has agreed be tried for war crimes over the 1994 genocide. Rose Kabuye, who was President Kagame’s chief of protocol, will stand trial in France under anti-terrorism laws. Kabuye agreed to stand in order to prove her innocence.
9. GUANTANAMO BAY, CUBA
US District Court judge Richard Leon ruled on 20 November that five Algerians accused of plotting to blow up a US embassy in Bosnia. Judge Leon ruled that there was little evidence to support the Algerians seven-year imprisonment in Guantanamo Bay. This follows a US Supreme Court decision that every detainee held deserves a trial in a civilian court.
10. LONDON, UK
MPs were accused of playing politics over the death of ‘Baby P’ during Prime Minister’s Questions. The 17-month old child was killed after months of abuse last August, bringing about serious criticism of social services. David Cameron labelled Gordon Brown’s party-political stance as “shameful” during their heated confrontation.
11. BEIJING, CHINA
China will recognise internet addiction as a medical condition similar to alcoholism following research by Chinese psychologists. China, with over 253 million internet users nationwide, hopes to lead the world in recognising the disease.
12. POONERYN, SRI LANKA
The Sri Lankan government has recaptured a strategic town from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, claiming an important victory against the rebel group. The town lies on a strategic road link in the north of the country.
13. JERUSALEM, ISRAEL
Nir Barkat, a secular businessman, has been elected Mayor of Jerusalem. The Orthodox community had hoped for Rabbi Meir Porush. Instead Barkat won with 52% of the vote, further increasing the split between Orthodox and non-religious Jews in the holy city.
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