INDIA 30 Jan 2013 Anna Hazare on the road for stiffer anti-corruption law
Social crusader and Gandhian protester Anna Hazare begins a nationwide awareness-raising journey across India that is aimed at pressing the Indian government to enact the Jan Lokpal (citizen ombudsman) law. Activists see the proposed law, which would install an independent body for investigating corruption cases, as stronger than the government’s proposed Lokpal Act. The movement is gaining traction because of public outrage over a string of corruption charges against the governing Congress Party. He has also spoken out against proposed reforms that lift government restrictions
UNITED STATES 29 Jan 2013 NASA launches newest global communications satellite
NASA launches its newest Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS-K) atop an Atlas 5 rocket from Cape Canaveral in Florida on Jan 29. It has been 10 years since the last launch for the network. The January deployment of the next generation spacecraft begins the replenishment of the fleet. The geosynchronous network 22,300 miles above Earth relays communications from the International Space Station, the Hubble Space Telescope and a range of other satellites in low-Earth-orbit.
ROME 28 Jan 2013 Bishops convene to elect Chaldean Catholic patriarch
Pope Benedict XVI has called a Synod of the bishops of the ancient Chaldean Catholic Church, centered in Iraq, for Jan 28 to elect successor to Cardinal Emmanuel III Delly, Patriarch of Babylon. The Patriarch resigned at 85 in December. The bishops will also plan the future for the war-ravaged Chaldean Church. Iraq’s largest Christian group, the Chaldeans have been severely depleted since the United States-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. Years of internal violence and a campaign of intimidation against Christians followed the invasion, shrinking the
ADDIS ABABA 27-28 Jan 2013 20th African Union leaders meet
African leaders meeting in January can applaud twin landmarks – it is the 20th AU Ordinary Summit, and it will be chaired by a woman, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, for the first time. The theme, Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance” reflects the bloc’s continuing quest for a more powerful and united voice. Consensus on the conflicts that bedevil Africa is elusive, but the leaders have found agreement in areas that include the need to fast-track a Continental Free Trade Area, reform the United Nations, and set up an African space agency
INDIA 27 Jan 2013 Ganges festival a huge draw for Hindus, a focus for environmentalists
The Maha Kumbha Mela at the Ganges River in Allahbad on 27 Jan could bring as many as 60 million people to the waterway, the holy river of Hinduism. On the eve of the festival, held every 12 years, Hindus bathe in the heavily polluted river. Environmentalists are certain to use the event to draw attention to the state of the river and on the flagging Ganga Action Plan (GAP), India’s most ambitious river cleaning project. The Times of India complained in February that what
WASHINGTON DC 24 Jan 2013 Department of Homeland Security 10 years oldRead More
FRANCE & GERMANY 22 Jan 2013 Neighbors celebrate 50 years of Élysée Treaty
On 22 Jan 1963 General Charles de Gaulle of France and West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer sealed the reconciliation of the two WWII combatants in Paris with the Elysée Treaty. Also called the Franco-German Friendship Treaty, its aim was to end a century of war and enmity between the two countries. The success of the pact will be celebrated on its 50th anniversary by the successors of the two men, President François Hollande and Chancellor Angela Merkel. Hundreds of anniversary events are planned. Periodic disagreements over issues
CUBA 14 Jan 2013 Cuba drops exit visa requirementRead More
CZECH REPUBLIC 11-12 Jan 2013 Czechs hold first direct presidential election
The Czech Republic’s first direct presidential election to replace departing euroskeptic President Vaclav Klaus is widely described as a response to public demands for more transparency and less cronyism and corruption in the country’s politics. Previously, the parliament elected the president. The presidency, once held by anti-communist dissident and playwright Vaclav Havel, is an esteemed and influential role rather than a pinnacle of power. The two main candidates from six expected to qualify – former prime ministers Milos Zeman and Jan Fischer — won’t be following Havel’s anti-communist footsteps
WASHINGTON DC 3 Jan 2013 113th US Congress opens – unity pledges honored?
Many incumbents running for the United States Congress were punished for the legislative dysfunction that marked the first four years of the Barak Obama presidency. A few lost their seat, many just squeaked through. The new Congress looks much the same as before, with Democrats in control of the presidency and Senate and Republicans in control of the House of Representatives, and legislators on both sides seem to have got the message. The leaders in both parties are pledging to “cross the aisle” to solve the country’s most
RUSSIA 1 Jan 2013 Russia assumes chairmanship of G20
Russia will be under pressure during its 2013 presidency of the G20 to lead a way through the entrenched global financial crisis and a potential world food crisis. Russia chairs the bloc of 19 major economies and the European Union in an auspicious year – its first as a member of the World Trade Organization. It formally joins the WTO ranks in 2012 after more than 18 years of negotiations. All the other G20 countries are members.
UNITED STATES 1 Jan 2013 Lincoln delivered Emancipation Proclamation 150 years ago
President Abraham Lincoln delivered the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed the slaves of the Confederate states on 1 Jan 1863, during the American Civil War. The 150th anniversary, which will be celebrated with re-enactments of the reading and with a wealth of retrospectives, falls in the same year as the 50th anniversary of civil rights leader Martin Luther King’s iconic “I have a Dream” speech. King observed in the speech that 100 years after Emancipation, “the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of