Weekly World News Briefs
Friday, February 9, 2007
Moderate group Fatah and Hamas, the elected extremist ruling party, have agreed to a deal that will see a government of national unity formed with members of both parties. The move will put an end to the vicious infighting that has been taking place in the Palestinian Territories for the past week. It is also hoped that the unity government will break the deadlock of international boycott that has put the Palestinian Government in dire straits. Canada, the U.S. and the European Union are among the organizations that cut aid to the Palestinian Authority after the election of Hamas to power a year ago.
Bush Presents 2008 Budget to Congress
This week U.S. President George W. Bush presented his 2008 budget, which will kick in October 2007. This budget will be a nightmare to pass through the Democrat-dominated Congress: it includes a steep increase in military funding, drastic cuts in social programs for the poor and the elderly, and no longer pegs some income tax thresholds to inflation, which means that these thresholds effectively become lower every year. While the budget contains a few worthwhile measures, like funds for AIDS treatment worldwide and an increase in grants for post-secondary education, it is unlikely that the budget that will finally be approved by Congress will resemble Bush’s proposal.
UN, EU Prepare Plan for Kosovo’s Independence
A plan unveiled by UN Special Envoy Martti Ahtisaari earlier this week appears to be a blueprint for the full independence of the Serbian autonomous province of Kosovo. Although the plan does not formally address that possibility, both the pro-independence Kosovar government and the nationalist Serbian government have acknowledged that this is its ultimate goal. Kosovo has been administered by the U.N. following a 1999 NATO military campaign to prevent the genocide of its Albanian population.
Crazy Weather All Over the World
In case you haven’t noticed, it is cold out there. Most of the U.S. is immersed in a deep freeze, with at least 20 deaths attributed to the extreme weather conditions. In Oswego County, N.Y., it has been snowing non-stop for six days and counting, which led to N.Y. Governor Eliot Spitzer to declare a state of emergency for an area that is nearing 100 inches of snowfall in the past week. Elsewhere, in Britain a snowstorm paralyzed the country on Thursday, disrupting public transit and canceling hundreds of flights from the island’s main airports, while rainstorms and tornadoes in Florida killed at least another 20 people around SuperBowl weekend.
If Only We’d Known
This week marked another chapter in the sad story that led to the Iraq war. On Thursday, the Pentagon released a result in which civilian officials were rebuked for their handling of pre-war intelligence. In the same day, in Spain, former Spanish Prime Minister José María Aznar followed in the footsteps of fellow instigators George W. Bush and Britain’s Tony Blair and finally admitted that Saddam Hussein did not in fact possess weapons of mass destruction.