Tensions are high in Sudan with less than a month to go before a landmark referendum that will determine whether Southern Sudan will become a new country.
Many fear that a weak international presence for the January 9 vote combined with a build-up of opposing armed forces on the north-south border could result in chaos.
Why a referendum?
On Tuesday, Italy’s controversial Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi narrowly survived a political fitness test in Italy’s lower house of parliament while rioting ensued outside.
Support for the 74-year old leader has eroded due to suspected fraudulent business dealings and ties to Italy’s mafia, and his affection for young women.
As a result, despite winning Tuesday’s vote, his future as prime minister could be short-lived, leaving him in trouble with the law.
Tension is high in the West African nation of Ivory Coast (also known as Cote d’Ivoire) as two political rivals have both been declared winners of the recent presidential election.
Raising the prospect of violence is the fact that the two candidates are from opposing sides of the decade-long civil conflict that was supposed to be concluded with the election.
This week, five newspapers have published the first instalment of a total 251,287 leaked documents from the whistle-blowing website Wikileaks.
The documents, known as cables, are messages between the US government and its 274 embassies throughout the world, mostly from the last decade though dating back to 1966.
But with more to come in the world’s largest classified information release, it could spark a new age of accountability and transparency regarding government behaviour.
It has often been joked that Americans who like small government should go to Somalia.
There the federal government provides little, with most public services around the country supplied by “the market.”
Indeed, Somalia is largely considered a failed nation. But somehow the country carries on, despite no proper government and a battle for its capital city that keeps raging.
Decades without a national government
On Saturday, the world watched as Aung San Suu Kyi – Myanmar’s ‘Nelson Mandela’ and Nobel prize-winning democracy leader – was released from house arrest.
Thousands of people came out to cheer her as she made her way into central Yangon, the country’s largest city.
But now that the euphoria of her release has died down, people are considering the cold reality of what she might actually be able to achieve.
Having tried illegal terrorism, legal fighting against Israel’s powerful army and peaceful negotiations, all without much success, many Palestinians feel they are just about out of moves.
But an old idea has been rejuvenated and many feel it could be their best chance at getting their own country.
It is the simple, yet effective plan of building the requirements for the country of Palestine now, so it’s ready to go on the day it’s created.
The Salam Fayyad Plan
America has dealt a major blow to the Obama presidency just two years after they voted him and his Democrats into power in November 2008.
The opposition Republicans have fought back from their disastrous defeat at the end of the President Bush presidency to claim the majority of seats in the House of Representatives in Tuesday’s midterm elections.
But given the Republicans’ agenda, it may not only be a blow for Obama, but indeed for America and the world.
This Sunday, long-awaited elections will be held in Myanmar, one of the most secretive and repressed countries in the world.
The Southeast Asian nation of 50 million people, formerly known as Burma, has been ruled by a brutal military regime since 1962.
It’s the home of famous democracy leader and Nobel peace prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, whose party won 80% of the vote in Myanmar’s last elections in 1990 but wasn’t allowed to take power.