President Barack Obama made his first visit international trip as president on February 19, as he made a seven-hour visit to Canada’s capital city of Ottawa. The U.S. president was honored by a double line of Royal Canadian Mounted Police at Ottawa’s airport and was welcomed by Canada’s governor general, Michaëlle Jean, who escorted him inside the terminal. The governor general is the representative of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II in Canada.
Like most members of the Baby Boomer generation who grew up watching movies about space exploration and following our nation's quest to put a man on the Moon, this writer entered the 21st century somewhat disappointed that space had not become quite as familiar a place as was depicted in the 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey and Star Trek.
In a feature article, the December 22 issue of Forbes magazine reported that drug cartels are increasingly having their way in Mexico. Assassinations of policemen are on the rise along with kidnappings of the wealthy for ransom money and murders of innocent people for the hideous purpose of demonstrating power. Political leaders who haven't been corrupted have become customary targets. Profits gained by Mexico's drug lords add up to as much as $24 billion annually, most of the funds resulting from sales of cocaine and marijuana in the United States.
The escalating violence by Mexico’s various drug cartels has taken a heavy toll on Mexico’s police forces in recent months, with the month of May proving especially brutal. At least four high-ranking police officials were gunned down in May, along with many other police and soldiers. “Drug cartels are sending a brutal message to police and soldiers in cities across Mexico: Join us or die,” reported the Associated Press on May 19.
Just as the European Union was sold to Europeans as a trade agreement even though it was actually a political union, so it has been sold again, this time to the islands of the Caribbean.
A report from the AP on October 29 cited a statement from an official at the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Seoul, South Korea, saying that North Koreans had fired two rounds toward South Korea along the border and South Korean troops immediately fired back.
On October 27, AFP news service quoted from a statement issued by Russia’s foreign ministry calling for "clemency" for former Iraqi Deputy Premier Tariq Aziz, who had been sentenced to death by hanging by Iraq's top criminal court a day earlier.
Voice of America and other news sources reported on October 25 that Tariq Aziz, Iraq’s former foreign minister and deputy prime minister, has been sentenced to death by hanging by Iraq's top criminal court. Aziz, a Chaldean Catholic, was the only Christian in Saddam Hussein’s government, which was dominated by Sunni Muslims.
The Associated Press reported on October 21 that government officials in China had taken a woman from her home during her eighth month of pregnancy and forcibly aborted her baby.The report cited a statement made by the woman’s husband, Luo Yanquan — identified as a construction worker — who said that his wife “was taken kicking and screaming from their home by more than a dozen people on October 10 and detained in a clinic for three days by family planning officials, then taken to a hospital and injected with a drug that killed her baby.”