The World

6 minute read
Harriet Barovick, Alexandra Silver, Claire Suddath, Frances Romero, Kristi Oloffson, Kayla Webley and Nate Rawlings

1 | Northern Ireland

Bloody Sunday Reckoning

Following a 12-year investigation, a 5,000-page report on Northern Ireland’s 1972 Bloody Sunday shootings concluded that they were “both unjustified and unjustifiable.” British Prime Minister David Cameron offered an apology and declared that each of the 14 protesters killed was unarmed and innocent and that British soldiers had fired on them without warning. The government will decide whether to try any of the soldiers in court.

1998

An inquiry into the shootings is commissioned by Prime Minister Tony Blair. It is initially expected to last only two years

1998

Good Friday Agreement: Irish republicans and unionists, who want to maintain ties with Britain, agree to begin a peace process and form a power-sharing provincial government

2004

The investigation formally closes. Publication of a report is expected the following year, but it is delayed until 2010. The final cost of the probe totals nearly $290 million

2 | Iraq

A New Parliament Met Briefly

Following months of deadlock resulting from inconclusive March elections, a new Iraqi parliament convened for the first time on June 14. The body’s 335 members did not elect new leadership, however, because of ongoing negotiations between the country’s two largest political blocs, led by former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi and current Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Under Iraq’s constitution, the parliament has 30 days to form a coalition government. The session came one day after insurgents attacked the country’s central bank, killing at least 20 people.

3 | New York City

North Korea Plays Defense

Following a closed-door meeting with the U.N. Security Council, Sin Son Ho, North Korea’s U.N. ambassador, held a rare press conference and rejected Seoul’s assertion that his country is responsible for the March sinking of a South Korean ship, calling it “some kind of fiction.” North Korea says it has increased its military readiness, and Sin urged U.N. impartiality, warning ominously that censure could provoke “follow-up measures.”

4 | Belgium

A Nation at Odds with Itself

In June 13 parliamentary elections, called “an earthquake” by a Brussels think tank, the Socialist Party emerged victorious in Belgium’s French-speaking south, while separatist parties captured nearly half the vote in the Dutch-speaking north. Politicians are struggling to form a coalition government in the chronically divided country (similar talks to form a government in 2007 lasted more than six months). The impasse comes at an inopportune moment: Belgium will assume the rotating presidency of the E.U.–which is embroiled in financial turmoil–in less than three weeks.

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

Brussels

BELGIUM

• Dutch-speaking

• French-speaking

• German-speaking

• Capital region–French/Dutch

5 | Washington

Workforce Shortages

Post–high school degrees are more and more necessary for entry into the middle class, says a study by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce. By 2018, there will be jobs for 22 million new workers with college degrees. But there will be at least 3 million more jobs that require at least a two-year associate’s degree than there will be qualified people, which the report calls a “lost economic opportunity for millions of American workers.”

6 | France

A Few More Years of Work

Faced with a predicted pension-system deficit of 32 billion euros ($39 billion) this year, the French government announced plans to raise the nation’s retirement age from 60 to 62, to be implemented gradually by 2018. It also proposed additional pension reforms and tax increases. Tens of thousands protested in Paris the day before the June 16 announcement.

7 | Kyrgyzstan

ETHNIC VIOLENCE

Organized gangs killed at least 179 people and injured thousands more in the southern city of Osh, driving more than 100,000 ethnic Uzbeks to seek refuge across the border in Uzbekistan. The attacks, which the U.N. called “orchestrated, targeted and well planned,” left the country’s provisional government–in power since a bloody April coup–struggling to maintain control. Interim President Roza Otunbayeva has accused ousted leader Kurmanbek Bakiyev of instigating the violence, but Bakiyev has denied any involvement.

8 | California

Prop 8 Trial Nears End

A federal judge heard closing arguments in a case seeking to determine the constitutionality of Proposition 8, California’s 2008 ban on same-sex marriage. The five-month-long trial explored whether sexual orientation is a choice and whether recognizing same-sex unions would threaten the institution of marriage. A decision in the case is not expected for several weeks.

9 | Gulf of Mexico

There Will Be (Even More) Oil

On June 15, the U.S. government doubled its official estimate of the amount of oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico: it is now assumed to be a staggering 60,000 bbl. (2.5 million gal., or 9.5 million L) a day–or the equivalent of one Exxon Valdez spill every four days. Following a meeting with President Obama, BP executives offered an apology to the American people and agreed to create a $20 billion escrow fund to compensate Gulf residents and businesses damaged by the disaster. In the midst of these developments, international investment agency Fitch Ratings downgraded the energy giant’s stock to near junk status.

Official U.S. Government Oil-Spill Estimates

April 25

1,000 bbl. a day

April 28

5,000 bbl. a day

May 27

19,000 bbl. a day

June 10

30,000 bbl. a day

June 15

60,000 bbl. a day

SOURCE: U.S. DEPT. OF THE INTERIOR

10 | France

Fatal Flooding

Heavy rains that began to fall in southeastern France on June 15 caused a series of deadly flash floods that killed at least 19 people. The region’s worst flooding since 1827 forced more than 1,000 residents into shelters, left tens of thousands of homes without electricity and resulted in the dispatching of helicopters to aid in rescue efforts. The waters reached a height of about 6 ft. 6 in. (2 m) in some places and swept cars down streets, wreaking the most havoc in the town of Draguignan. Patrick Galois of the French national weather service said, “We’ve never seen so much rain in the month of June.”

* | Who They’re Arresting in Pakistan:

Colorado construction worker Gary Brooks Faulkner was arrested by Pakistani police on June 15 during his self-proclaimed mission to hunt down and kill Osama bin Laden. Faulkner, who has no formal military training, was detained in Pakistan’s Chitral border district–an area assumed to be the al-Qaeda leader’s hideout–and found to be carrying a dagger, a sword, a pistol, night-vision goggles, hashish and Christian literature. Authorities believe he has traveled to Pakistan at least six times since 2002.

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