Martial law was effectively declared in the Ukraine last week by unpopular President Victor Yushchenko after an outbreak of what health officials described as flu and respiratory infections. The outbreak has reportedly already infected hundreds of thousands of people in the western regions of the country. In response, the office of the President on November 6 floated the idea of postponing the presidential election until May of next year.
“Drug Czar” Professor David Nutt, the top British adviser on drugs, was fired last week over controversial statements criticizing current drug policies. The dismissal has prompted outrage among government scientists and even resignations among members of his council. Now, he is leading a revolt and threatening to form a new independent committee to continue his work.
Under intense pressure from European Union leaders, other governments, and factions within his own country, Czech President Vaclav Klaus caved in on November 3 and signed the so-called Lisbon Treaty, a slightly altered version of the EU Constitution that was rejected by French and Dutch voters in 2005. The agreement, having cleared its final hurdle, is expected to go into force in December or January.
After coming out with strong support for admitted child rapist Roman Polanski, French Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand is once again in the spotlight — over stunning revelations in his autobiography that he admitted to paying for sex with young boys. And now he is refusing to step down.
The so-called “Grand Coalition” in Germany is over, with its left-wing party being decimated at the polls.
Sweden assumed the rotating presidency of the European Union Wednesday and immediately announced the nation’s top priorities: the economic crisis and the war on “global warming.”
Iceland’s government has become the first state casualty to collapse from the economic crisis currently engulfing the globe. A new election is scheduled for May 9. Amid protests that have become increasingly violent, Prime Minister Geir Haarde resigned this week along with Bjorgvin Sigurdsson, the nation’s top economic minister. The International Monetary Fund is even coming to the rescue, something that while typical in “developing countries,” hasn’t happened to a Western European nation in over three decades. The economy is forecasted to shrink by 10 percent in 2009 according to the Icelandic Finance Ministry, possibly worse.
As the British pound continues downward relative to foreign currencies and the nation’s banks continue sucking up taxpayer money, nationalization seems to be on the horizon. Britain’s economy has been contracting at alarming levels, and the pound has gone down with it — down almost 30 percent against the U.S. dollar from last year to about 1.35.
The ruling military junta in Egypt is moving ahead with criminal prosecutions of dozens of foreigners, including more than 15 Americans, working for non-governmental organizations (NGOs) — all of which are funded with American or European taxpayer money — despite U.S. threats to cut off aid. The trials are set to begin on February 26, according to judicial sources cited in news reports.
As Libyans prepare to mark the one-year anniversary of the Western-backed uprising that ultimately toppled the regime of despot Muammar Gadhafi, human-rights monitors say hundreds of “out of control” militia groups are still engaged in mass savagery — raping and torturing people to death in makeshift prison camps, ethnically cleansing parts of the country, and more.