February 20, 2009

Latvian government collapses

Per the International Herald Tribune, Latvia Prime Minister Ivars Godmanis has resigned and the Eastern European nation's government has collapsed, as a result of "growing economic and political turmoil."

One man currently in Latvia tweeted via iPhone that he learned the news through Twitter.

@toddprouty (Glazuskunis, Latvia): Just found out through Twitter that the government of Latvia, the country I'm currently living in, collapsed today. http://snurl.com/cb2lh

Another twitterer in Latvia predicted what the new government may look like.

@pecisk (Ogre, Latvia): Tauta nomierinās, Zalāns nebūs. Visticamāk būs bezpartejisks. (The people are calm, Zalans [political party] not. Likely to be free party.)

Others were quick to tweet their thoughts.

@jujupiter (London, U.K.): Iceland, Latvia... Which government will fall next?

@EnriqueLopez (New York City): Latvia's government has fallen! What a terrible precedent.

One American twitterer suggested it was a sign of things to come.

@TreyNantz (Charleston/Lincolnton, W.V.): First Iceland. Now Latvia. Next, Ireland & Ukraine. Soon, USA & EU? http://tinyurl.com/cvc2d6 #stimulus #tcot


Famed Spanish judge hospitalized

Per The Associated Press, Spain’s Judge Baltasar Garzon, was admitted to the coronary unit of a hospital near his office in central Madrid after a spike in his blood pressure following an anxiety attack.

Garzon is best known for having issued an arrest warrant for former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet for human rights violations in 1998 and has recently taken part in an investigation of alleged corruption within the country’s main opposition Popular Party, according to the article.

Twitter users commented:

@carlossaiz (Around Madrid): garzon en el hospital? Puede que exista una justicia más allá que la de los hombres? (Garzon in the hospital? Could there be a higher justice than that of man?)

@nubeblog (Spain): Crisis de ansiedad de Garzon. Leer los diferentes medios es divertidisimo. (Garzon's anxiety attack. Reading the different media is really fun)

@paulo_saavedra (Santiago, Chile): Juez Baltazar Garzon internado de urgencia en Madrid, via
@cooperativa!! (Judge Baltazar Garzon urgently admitted [to the hospital] in Madrid, via @cooperativa.)


Hard right candidate Netanyahu picked as Israel's next Prime Minister

Per the Tehran Times and The Independent, hawkish politician Binyamin Netanyahu has been picked by Israeli president Shimon Peres to serve as prime minister. Netanyahu held the post from 1996-1999, when he authorized a large expansion of new settlements. Netanyahu leads Israel's biggest right-wing party, Likud, which won 27 seats in the Knesset in the recent election. Tzipi Livni's more moderate Kadima party, which advocates a two-state solution, won 28 seats, but Netanyahu was tapped to form a unity government when he secured the endorsement of far-right nationalist Avigdor Lieberman.

Livni has said she does not want to join ultra-orthodox parties in Netanyahu's coalition that demanded she not negotiate with Palestinians and want Israeli control of the entire West Bank.

This move to the right by Israel has some worried.

@danysaadia (Mexico, NY, Spain): Netanyahu to form an Israeli cabinet... Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Others comment on Netanyahu's stance against Iran.

@Mercypolitics (New Orleans, La.): Netanyahu Targets Iran after Nomination for Prime.http://tinyurl.com/aaz8ug (expand)

@IBDeditorials (Los Angeles): Ahmadinejad Vs. Netanyahu: Middle East: The global stage is set for a confrontation reminiscent of Churchill vs... http://tinyurl.com/bg8yea

Some Palestinians look to the international community to push Netanyahu to work for peace and abide by international law.

@Gazamom (North Carolina): Waiting for quartet to place conditions on Netanyahu govt: accept Palestine, renounce violence,abide by accords,or no talks; #Israel #Gaza

The news also sparked approval from hard-liners.

@JordanSekulow (Virginia): @Sahd a Netanyahu government, because it's seen as harder line, may by default cause a possible enemy of Israel to think 2x (kind of Reagan)


GM Europe in talks with Opel

Per DerSpiegel, General Motors Europe is currently in the works to develop a plan in order to avoid massive layoffs and plant closures regarding Opel in Germany, Vauxhall in Britain and Saab in Sweden. Currently, Opel employs 26,000 workers at four plants in Russelheim, Bochum, Kaiserslautern and Eisenach in Germany.

Berliners are keeping a close eye on the news.

@inpressulum (Berlin, Germany): bin gespannt wie viele opel-angestellte morgen früh nicht mehr dort arbeiten #finanzkrise (i'm curious how many opel-staff tomorrow morning no longer work there #financialcrisis)

@baumfleisch (Berlin, Germany): Saab stellt Insolvenzantrag und soll mit Opel fusionieren um jobs zu retten. http://tinyurl.com/dypy4x (Saab is bankrupt and should merge with Opel in order to save jobs.)

@Askowronek (Berlin, Germany): Steinbrück schließt Hilfe für Opel nicht aus … Darf man erfahren, wofür OPEL das Geld verwendet? Für neuerliche Rationalisierungen doch wohl (Steinbrück includes support for Opel ... Can not you find what OPEL the money used? For further rationalizations surely)

@KTGuttenberg (Berlin, Germany): @FrankGarrelts Gute Idee. Dann ist der nächste Opel ein Porsche - ein Volksporsche. Das hat Potential! (Good idea. Then the next Opel a Porsche - a Porsche people. That has potential! )

One man posted a 1970's Opel commercial from YouTube.

@ixa (Berlin, Germany): In memoriam Opel http://tinyurl.com/bfmnhk

Another made this observation about a current marketing campaign by Opel.

@kaipiranha (Berlin, Germany): Interessante Musikwahl für den aktuellen Opel-Spot: "Bittersweet Symphony" von The Verve (Interesting choice of music for the current Opel Spot: "Bittersweet Symphony" by The Verve)


Argentine authorities expel Catholic bishop

Per BBC, the Argentine Interior Minister made public a statement announcing that authorities are given ten days to the Bishop Richard Williamson to leave the country under threat of immediate expulsion. The bishop denies the Holocaust in statements made to a local TV station.

Argentina has the sixth largest Jewish population in the world outside Israel. Buenos Aires, in particular, is considered the second capital with the highest Jewish population, behind New York.

Tweets poured in around the world about the news.

@Sabrioli (Brooklyn, N.Y.): Argentina: where in the 40's or 50's it was still ok to name your kid "Adolfo." Holy..

@niels_stet (Nijmegen, Netherlands): "Argentina expels Holocaust bishop" and they are absolutely right!http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/7900591.stm

@WillHeaven (York, U.K.): Argentina tells Bishop Williamson to get out of the country -http://tinyurl.com/cu9bjr. But where will he go? Tehran?

@jredding (Shanghai, China): Awesome! This behavior is no longer tolerated!http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/americas/02/19/argentina.bishop/index.html

@sablikatriumph (Curacao, Netherlands Antilles): funny is how the Jewish aint protesting like #blck folks do against British bishop in Argentina that denied the Holocaust.


Korea on brink of war?

Per BBC, North Korea claims troops are "fully ready" for war. As diplomatic relations deteriorate between North and South Korea the threat of war from these opposing neighbors increases with peace agreements cast off.

The North Korean military plans to launch a missile test on Wednesday -as a dramatic warning to the people of South Korea, reported today by BBC News.

Map Courtesy of BBC World News

Twitter users comment about possible missile attacks.

@Harma (Sappemeer, Netherlands): @ProjectPrayer Please pray for North and South Korea.. http://tinyurl.com/amrmvk

@warhawke (Albuquerque, N.M.): ABC News: S Korea to hit N Korea missile sites if attacked: minister: South Korea would target North Korean launch... http://twurl.nl/mfajfg

@viralviral007: GOOGLENEWS: S. Korea warns North on Yellow Sea attack - United Press International http://tinyurl.com/cmc2hb

This latest threat comes off of recent news that North Korea may be soon launching a missle toward the United States.

@julielaughridge (Sylacauga, Ala.): N Korea is planning on testing a missile in next 2 wks & that it will LOOK like an attack on the U.S., but won't really be! Really???

@12212012 (Las Vegas, Nev.): Just across the news wire: N. Korea to test missile capable of hitting U.S. within 2 weeks time. Test may resemble attack on U.S. says N. K.

@PurdueSam (West Lafayette, Ind.): N Korea missle test would be "very unhelpful". Is this a preview of the next 4 years? Grow a pair State Dept! http://is.gd/jRed


Egypt frees dissident leader Ayman Nour after 3 years' imprisonment

Per Al Jazeera English, Egyptian authorities released liberal politician Ayman Nour, an opponent of Egypt's military regime, citing Nour's declining health. Nour led the al-Ghad ("tomorrow") party, a secular liberal political party in Egypt created in 2004 to push for democratic reforms and human rights improvements. In 2005 Nour ran against 28-year incumbent Hosni Mubarak in Egypt's first multi-candidate presidential elections and was subsequently jailed on charges of forgery.

Upon his release, Nour announced he would step down as leader of al-Ghad, al Jazeera reported.

Many pointed to Nour's incarceration as a sore point in US-Egyptian relations.

@BlackInformant: condi watch: Interview: Ayman Nour on Egypt's Elections - New York Times http://tinyurl.com/dfyol2

Some speculated whether Obama, to whom Nour wrote from prison, may have played a role.

@WilfDinnick (Dubai): Is Obama already changing Mideast?Finally Ayman Nour finally released. Prelude to Obamas first speech in mideast?

@cath_sitterding (Washington, D.C.): Ayman Nour released from prison (finally) in Egypt... Mubarak's way of making nice with US? http://cli.gs/uejGqZ

The Egyptian blogosphere responded as well with analysis of the high-profile move.

@moftasa (Cairo): Ayman Nour released at The Arabist Fetched from del.icio.us/whirlpool 1 minute ago. http://arabist.net/archives/2009/02/18/ayman-nour-released/