World News

Phil Gengler
2005-02-18 00:00:00

Lebanese ex-prime minister assassinated

Rafik Hariri, Lebanon's former prime minister, was assassinated on Monday, prompting accusations that Syria was involved. Hariri was planning to return to politics as the head of the opposition party to Syrian-supported president Emile Lahoud.

The assassination has spurred many anti-Syrian protests throughout Lebanon and led the U.S. to call for the withdrawal of more than 14,000 Syrian troops in Lebanon. Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said be believed Hizbollah, a Syrian-backed militant group, was behind the attack. Imad Moustapha, Syria's ambassador to the U.S., denied any Syrian involvement in the attack, claiming that one of its goals may have been to damage Syria.

Togo military agrees to return "constitutional order"

Following the protests from the army-back installation of Faure Gnassingbe as Togo's president, the military has agreed to back down and restore "constitutional order." After the sudden death of Faure's father, Gnassingbe Eyadema, the country's constitution was changed to give Faure power through 2008. The move prompted worldwide warnings and numerous local protests, which left four people dead. Some sources indicate that elections may be held in as little as 60 days.

Kyoto Protocol comes into effect

Seven years after it was signed, the Kyoto accord came into force on Wednesday, even without the backing of the United States. The agreement is designed to cut down on the emission of greenhouse gasses, such as carbon dioxide, in an attempt to slow and possibly reverse global warming. The U.S., the world's top polluter, has refused to sign the agreement, saying it would cost too much to implement the required changes.

While hailed as a great step forward in the fight to end global warming, the agreement may not be as useful as some hope; several nations, including Canada and Japan, do not plan to meet their emissions targets.

Shiite alliance wins plurality in Iraq elections

In results announced on Sunday, Shiite-backed United Iraqi Alliance won a plurality of Iraq's vote, but did not obtain an outright majority, receiving 48% of the vote. The Kurdish Alliance finished second in the election, winning 26% of the vote. Some Kurdish groups have said they want Jalal Talabani, leader of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, to be Iraq's president. With 58% voter turnout and no major problems, Iraq's new National Assembly is generally regarded as legitimate. Some Sunni groups, however, may not accept this, given their low turnout in the election.