Around the World

News from around the globe impacting our world.

Unrest in Syria Growing. Al Jazeera reports continuing and widening unrest across Syria. Gunfire erupted overnight in the Syrian city of Homs where thousands of anti-government protesters had gathered in the main square, a day after activists said at least 25 people were killed there. Homs has been cordoned off by Syrian state security. Gunfire erupted overnight in the Syrian city of Homs where thousands of anti-government protesters had gathered in the main square, a day after activists said at least 25 people were killed there.

Meanwhile, The Guardian reports that the newly appointed Cabinet in Syria has lifted the country's state of emergency laws, which have been in effect since 1963. The official Sana news agency says the government has also approved abolishing the state security court, which handled the trials of political prisoners, and a new law allowing the right to peaceful protests. The bill requires the signature of president Assad to take effect but that is expected to be a formality.

Saudi Oil Did Not Compensate for Libyan Loss. The OPEC Monthly Oil Market Report and IEA Oil Market Report both came out last week. The Oil Drum finds that in March Libyan production plummeted but that Saudi Arabia made no significant move to compensate for the shortfall. Combined with uncertainty in Nigeria in advance of election and speculative forces, oil prices rose.

Saudi Arms Deals in the Works? The Asia Times reports that despite the coolness in US-Saudi relations over the unrest in Bahrain, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is looking to expand its recent $60 billion USD deal to buy additional weaponry from the US.

Death Toll Rises in Uganda. Opposition protests continue amidst a widening crackdown by government forces. Army and police units yesterday used tear gas, bullets and truncheons to break up protests against rising food and fuel prices around the country, leaving at least one person dead in Kampala, and bringing the death toll to four in three days. President Yoweri Museveni, a darling of the US Christian Right, ordered social network sites such as Twitter and Facebook. Several opposition leaders have been arrested and bloodied for leading a "walk to work" campaign. All Africa has more on this developing story.

Violence in the Islamic North in Nigeria. Violence erupted in the largely Muslim northern part of the country as the incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan, a Christian from the south was declared the winner of the presidential election in this critical but cleft oil producing West African nation. More from All Africa.

Around the World

News from the around the globe impacting our world.

Europe Assesses the Impact of the True Finns. The True Finns' electoral success on Sunday in which the right wing populist party captured 19 percent of the vote becoming the third largest politial force follows a recent trend in the Nordics, which has seen right-wing populist parties do well in a region that was once dominated exclusively by the social democratic center-left. The right-wing Danish People's Party won 13.9 percent of the vote in 2007, and their counterparts in Norway won 22.9 percent in 2009 though a similarly xenophobic party in Sweden fared less well managing to win just 5.7 percent in 2010. Still the specter of right wing populism is casting a deeper shadow across Europe particularly in the Nordic countries, European policy makers wonder about the impact to the European Union while many Europeans consider what happened to values of tolerance and openness. Der Spiegel looks at the debate.

UK to Run Libya Evacuation. Britain to help evacuate thousands trapped in Misrata and provide medical aid across western Libya. The story in The Guardian.

Nigerian Results Trigger Violence in Muslim North. As results in Nigeria's presidential elections continue to trickle showing a commanding lead for incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan, a Christian, protests turn violent across the Islamic north of the country. Some 73.5 million Nigerians had been expected to cast their ballots in Africa's most populous country with international observers finding the elections as "fair and credible." Coverage from the Associate Press, All Africa and the BBC.

Mexico State Police Chief Dismissed. The head of security in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas is replaced after the discovery of 145 bodies in mass graves in San Fernando believed to be the work of Las Zetas drug cartel. More from the BBC.

Communists in West Bengal Face Electoral Test. The Indian state of West Bengal went to the polls Monday in a vote that looked set to end three decades of uninterrupted rule by the world's oldest democratically elected communist government. The Left Front, led by the Communist Party of Indian (Marxist), or CPI-M has dominated electoral politics in the east state of West Bengal that includes Kolkata since 1977. Opinion polls suggest the Left Front may be headed for a defeat at the hands of Mamata Banerjee,a populist who casts herself as a champion of the poor. Elections are also slated for four Indian states against the backdrop of several corruption scandals and a surge in food price inflation. Agence France Presse reports.

Around the World

News from around the globe impacting our world.

Japan Nuclear Crisis to Last Nine Months. The operator of Japan's crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant says it expects to bring the plant to "cold shutdown" by the end of the year. The story from the BBC.

The Ongoing Brutal Crackdown in Bahrain. Arrests and troop movements signal another government crackdown on protests in the Gulf state. Both The Guardian and Al Jazeera have coverage.

Cuba to Introduce Wide Reforms. Speaking at the start he first congress of Cuba's ruling Communist Party in 14 years, Cuban President Raúl Castro is calling for wide political and economic reforms. Castro said top political positions should be limited to two five-year terms, and promised "systematic rejuvenation" of the government. In terms of economic reforms, free education and healthcare would still be guaranteed, but mass subsidies of basic goods would be removed and social spending would be "rationalized". More from the BBC.

Early Returns in Nigeria Favor Incumbent. Goodluck Jonathan, the incumbent president leads in Christian south while his main rival, Muhammu Buhari, is ahead in Muslim north as counting is under way. Full coverage from All Africa

World Bank President Warns of Crisis. Robert Zoellick, the President of the World Bank, is warning that the world is "one shock away from a full-blown crisis." In particular, Zoellick is worried that rising food prices pose the main threat to poor nations who risk "losing a generation". The story from the BBC.

A Hong Kong Bubble? The Asia Sentinel looks at the real estate market in Hong Kong. Hong Kong likes to lay the blame for its escalating property prices on the influx of mainland money, particularly into high-end apartments. However the latest evidence from the HK Monetary Authority suggests that Hong Kong is doing much to help the process along. Meanwhile the territory's lending institutions are helping mainland firms avoid the rather modest efforts that China has been making to rein in credit growth.

Finns Voting in Crucial Parliamentary Elections. Finns are voting today in elections that may have a deep impact on the sovereign debt crisis in Eurozone countries and for the future of the euro itself. Finland has a unicameral Parliament with 200 seats and all seats are being contested. These elections, against the backdrop of the ongoing Irish and Portuguese debt crises, have seen the rise of right wing populism in the Nordic country. The polls show that the True Finns party, led by Timo Soini, stand to gain close to 20 percent of the vote in Sunday's elections on an anti-Islam, anti-Europe platform. Der Spiegel has a preview of the Finnish elections and what's at stake in this one of the most pro-Europe countries in the EU. I'll have a wrap-up later once results are in.


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