The World

6 minute read
Harriet Barovick, Laura Fitzpatrick, Alexandra Silver, Claire Suddath, Alyssa Fetini, Frances Romero, Kristi Oloffson and Kayla Webley

[The following text appears within a chart. Please see hardcopy or PDF for actual chart.]

The euro’s steady decline

Dec. 3, 2009

1 euro = $1.51

April 14, 2010

1 euro = $1.36


1 | Greece

E.U. Approves Rescue Plan

Greece can breathe a sigh of relief. On April 11, the 16 members of the European Union that use the euro agreed to lend $40 billion to the struggling nation. Under the long-awaited financial-rescue plan, Greece, which is $400 billion in debt, would be able to borrow at interest rates of about 5%, significantly lower than commercial market rates, which have been higher than 7%. The International Monetary Fund is expected to offer an additional $20 billion. Greece did not immediately accept the E.U.’s overture, saying it would wait to see if the pledge alone was enough to lower interest rates. Greek leaders also hope to continue to raise money by borrowing from capital markets and through austerity measures.

2 | Vatican City

New Abuse Guidelines

The Catholic Church released guidelines on April 12 instructing church officials to notify local police about cases in which sexual abuse is suspected. Posted on the Vatican’s website, the rules instruct bishops to follow “civil law concerning reporting of crimes to the appropriate authorities.” The church claims this has long been its policy, though it was never explicitly documented. Critics say the measure–a suggestion, not a requirement–is not strong enough.

3 | Kyrgyzstan

Waiting for Bakiyev … to Go

On April 13 ousted leader Kurmanbek Bakiyev said he would formally resign if leaders of the coup that removed him from power guaranteed safety for him and his family. But the nation’s interim government said Bakiyev, who fled the capital on April 7, must either face trial or go into exile alone and leave behind family members who served in his regime. The highly unstable Central Asian country is home to an airbase that serves as a main transit point for U.S. troops and supplies into Afghanistan.

[The following text appears within a map. Please see hardcopy or PDF for actual map.]

Manas Transit Center


Bagram Airbase


Manas is a key supply hub for the Afghan war

4 | Arizona

Immigration Crackdown

Lawmakers have passed what could be the nation’s strictest law against illegal immigrants, making it a crime to fail to have proper documentation. If signed by Governor Jan Brewer, the bill will also empower police to stop a person merely on reasonable suspicion that he or she is in the U.S. illegally–a departure from current law, which holds that police can inquire about someone’s immigration status only if that person is already suspected of another offense.

5 | New York

More Toyota Woes

Putting another dent in Toyota’s already banged-up reputation, Consumer Reports magazine issued a rare “Don’t buy” warning for the company’s Lexus GX 460 SUV because of high rollover risk. Toyota responded on April 13 by ordering its dealers to immediately stop selling the model. Plans to launch the SUV in the next few weeks in China were also put on hold. While only about 5,000 of the luxury vehicles had been sold since its November debut, executives decided to err on the side of caution following the revelation that Toyota had withheld information about gas-pedal problems in a number of its most popular cars. A week before the Lexus stoppage, the car manufacturer was hit with a $16.4 million federal fine for its failure to report the gas-pedal defect.

6 | Sudan


Votes were cast in Sudan’s first multiparty elections since 1986, held in accordance with a 2005 peace agreement that ended the nation’s 22-year civil war. The landmark occasion was tainted, however, by accusations of vote rigging by supporters of President (and accused war criminal) Omar al-Bashir, leading many opposition parties to drop out of the race.

7 | Belfast

Blast Greets New Minister

Catholic and Protestant lawmakers reached a power-sharing milestone on April 12 by jointly choosing Northern Ireland’s first Justice Minister in almost four decades. Not everyone was pleased. Just hours before the agreement, an army base that houses the local branch of Britain’s MI5 spy agency was bombed. At his swearing-in the afternoon of the attack–which caused alarm but no deaths–the new minister, David Ford, vowed to work toward political stability.

8 | Thailand

Protests Reach Boiling Point

The monthlong conflict between protesters and the Thai government exploded on April 10, when more than 20 civilians and soldiers were killed (and at least 800 wounded) in the worst political violence the country has seen in almost 20 years. The Red Shirts continue to press for the dissolution of the government led by Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva. On April 12, Thailand’s election commission cited the misuse of campaign donations in its call for the ruling party to be disbanded.

9 | Philippines

Just like Mumbai

About 25 Abu Sayyaf militants disguised as troops and police officers perpetrated a series of attacks in Isabela City, located on one of the nation’s southern islands. The attackers, who are seeking an independent Muslim state, detonated bombs and opened fire in what one official called “a Mumbai-style attack.” Fourteen died in the assault. On April 14 a gun battle erupted between government troops and 60 rebels as police searched for those responsible for the strike.

10 | Hungary

Leaning Too Far Right?

Suffering a decline in popularity largely because of the global financial crisis and Hungary’s high levels of unemployment, Prime Minister Gordon Bajnai’s Socialist Party suffered a major setback in the country’s first round of parliamentary elections on April 11. Although the final allotment of seats won’t be determined until after a second round of polling on April 25, the center-right Fidesz party looks to have won 206 spots in the 386-member parliament, while the extremist, far-right Jobbik party, a nationalist group that some accuse of anti-Semitism, won an estimated 26 seats.

* | What They’re Restricting in South Korea: In an attempt to crack down on video-game addiction, South Korea is setting a curfew for online play. Underage players will have to abide by an automated blackout period after midnight and become accustomed to slower connection speeds after long periods of use during earlier hours. While currently limited to a handful of games, the “slowdown” plan will eventually apply to the 19 role-playing titles that comprise 79% of the nation’s online-gaming market. A recent survey of 1,500 South Korean public-school students found that 29.3% of them exhibit signs of addiction.

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