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theeconomic

Dec 30th 2009

    From The Economist print edition

    Turmoil in Iran increased after security forces fired on anti-government demonstrators in several cities.

    State television said that eight people had died, including a nephew of last June’s thwarted presidential

    candidate, Mir Hosein Mousavi. More than a thousand people were reportedly arrested, including a former

    foreign minister. Divisions in the ruling clerical establishment deepened. See article

    Barack Obama ordered an investigation into why America’s security apparatus failed

    to stop a man from

    boarding a jet in Amsterdam, which he then allegedly tried to blow up as it made its final approach to

    Detroit on Christmas Day. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was overpowered by fellow passengers after he

    attempted to detonate explosives on the plane, causing a fire. An al-Qaeda-affiliated group in Yemen

    claimed responsibility. See article

    At least 38 people died in clashes between the police and members of a radical Islamist sect called Kala

    Kato in Nigeria’s north-eastern state of Bauchi. The violence started when police tried to enforce a ban

    on open-air preaching.

    The UN imposed sanctions on Eritrea to punish it for backing Islamist militias in Somalia. Governments

    in the region, along with the African Union, have been demanding such measures for several months.

    A South Korean consortium beat French, American and Japanese rivals to win a coveted $40 billion

    contract to build and run four nuclear reactors in the United Arab Emirates, which will form part of the

    first civilian nuclear-energy project in the Arab world. See article Mr Obama and his fellow Democrats were confident of passing a significant reform of health care in early

    2010 after the Senate voted, along party lines, in favour of a bill. Differences between legislation in the

    Senate and the House need to be thrashed out before the president gets a bill to sign. The share prices of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac soared in response to the Treasury’s recent decision to

    remove limits on the amount of federal aid to the companies. Fannie and Freddie, America’s biggest

    “government-sponsored enterprises”, were bailed out in 2008 amid huge mortgage losses. The amount of

    public money each could obtain was capped at $200 billion (neither has received that amount), but the

    Treasury now wants to “leave no uncertainty” about its commitment to the firms.

    In a setback for President álvaro Uribe’s security policy, Colombia’s FARC guerrillas kidnapped and killed

    the governor of Caquetá department, south-east of Bogotá. See article

    Just hours after his funeral, the mother and three other grieving relatives of a soldier who died during a

    government raid that killed Arturo Beltrán Leyva, one of Mexico’s top drug-traffickers, were murdered in

    a revenge attack that shocked Mexicans.

    At a ceremony in Ushuaia in Tierra del Fuego, two Argentine men became the first gay people in Latin

    America to get married. Meanwhile, Mexico City’s legislature voted to legalise gay marriage.

    The candidate of the ruling party was eliminated in the first round of Croatia’s

    presidential election,

    suggesting that voters are grumpy despite more steps towards joining the European Union. In mid-

    December Serbia, Croatia’s neighbour, formally applied to join the EU. See article

    In a sign of renewed tension between the Turkish army and the government, eight special-forces

    soldiers were briefly arrested for allegedly plotting to assassinate a senior politician from the ruling Justice

    and Development (AK) party. See article

    The Basel committee on banking supervision, which sets capital standards for banks around the

    world, published a consultation document on December 17th that was more stringent than many bankers

    had expected. Among other things, the committee is calling for a shake-up in the way banks’ capital is

    measured.

    -1-

    Liu Xiaobo, one of China’s best-known political dissidents, was sentenced to 11 years in prison for

    “inciting subversion”. Mr Liu had been instrumental in drafting a petition in December 2008 known as

    Charter 08, calling for radical political reform. See article

    Akmal Shaikh, a Briton convicted of smuggling heroin into China, was executed by lethal injection in the

    north-western region of Xinjiang, despite pleas for a review of the man’s mental health. Gordon Brown

    said he was “appalled”. See article

    More than 4,000 ethnic Hmong refugees were repatriated from Thailand to Laos, despite

fears that some

    of them might face persecution. See article

    More than 40 people were killed in a suicide-bombing in Karachi, Pakistan’s biggest

    city, that targeted a

    procession of Shia Muslims.

    There were complaints as India tightened rules for long-term tourist visas, after the arrest of a Pakistani

    American who was accused of involvement in planning the November 2008 attack on Mumbai. He had

    travelled to India several times.

    The governor of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, N.D. Tiwari, resigned after a television news

    channel aired pictures purporting to show him having sex in the company of three women. Mr Tiwari is 84.

    Copyright ? 2010 The Economist Newspaper and The Economist Group. All rights reserved. -

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