Fourteen Year Old Girl Recovering After Assassination Attempt
Malala Yousafzai, aged 14, is recovering today in Peshawar, Pakistan after surgeons successfully removed a bullet from her head. She was the target of an assassination attempt by the Taliban on Tuesday in the Swat Valley, 95 miles away from Peshawar, which saw three school girls injured. When Taliban forces entered the Swat Valley in 2007 they became the de facto government, implementing Islamic law, banning music, and, most devastating to Yousafzai, closing girls’ schools. Yousafzai drew the ire of the Taliban at the age of 11 when she began an anonymous blog detailing her life under the Taliban and her hope for greater education & opportunities in the future. Spokesman for the militant group, Ehsanullah Ehsan, told the BBC that if she survive they will continue to target the young girl. The provincial government has offered a $105,000 bounty for the capture of Yousafzai’s assailants.
Turkey Forces Syrian Plane to Land
Turkish fighter jets forced a Syrian passenger plane to land under suspicions that it was carrying Russian military equipment to Syrian national forces. Turkish officials vowed to prevent any transfer of arms to the Bashar al-Assad government traveling through Turkish airspace. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said, “we are determined to control weapons transfers to a regime that carries out such brutal massacres against civilians. It is unacceptable that such a transfer is made using our airspace”. Aviation officials in Ankara, Turkey cleared the charter jet to continue to Damascus, Syria after officials seized “suspicious cargo,” but the aircraft remained on tarmac at the time of publishing. This comes only days after Turkey shelled positions in Syria in response to fire from Syrian armed forces that killed five Turkish nationals.
Kenyan President Vetoes Parliament Raises
Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki rejected the latest pay raise for the Kenyan Parliament (passed by the same parliament) saying the $105,000 bonuses were unconstitutional and unaffordable. The Kenyan members of parliament are already the highest paid lawmakers in Africa, earning more than $100,000 a year tax-free, while the average yearly salary in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi is $7,500. Hundreds marched through the capital with signs decrying the parliament members as “greedy hyenas,” while shouting “mwizi”, the Kiswahili word for thief.
Spanish Credit Rating Downgraded
Standard & Poor’s (S&P) has, in light of mounting economic and political issues, lowered Spain’s credit rating two levels to BBB- from BBB+. This is one step above Non-Investment Grade, also known as junk bonds. S&P also gave Spain a short term rating of A-3, signifying that adverse economic conditions will weaken Spain’s ability to meet its obligations. On Monday, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced Spain will miss the 2012 and 2013 targets for its deficit, suggesting further austerity measures might be needed. But Spanish Finance Minister Luis de Guindos disagreed: “there was a positive evaluation (by ministers of Spain’s 2013 budget), of Spain’s economic policy and the need to carry out a fiscal adjustment that is sensitive to the economic situation in the country.” Spanish citizens have been protesting the austerity measures, as short sighted, since they were implemented in 2011.
Chevron Loses Challenge Against $18.2 Billion Fine
The U.S. Supreme Court denied Chevron’s bid to block an $18.2 billion fine against the oil company. The fine was imposed for polluting the Lago Agrio region of the Amazon jungle in Ecuador from 1964 to 1992. Chevron claimed the judgement, made by an Ecuadorean court last year, was unenforceable under New York law. An international arbitration panel will meet in November to hear another challenge by Chevron under a trade agreement between the U.S. and Ecuador. The Ecuadorean court originally filed an estimation of $8.6billion to provide for environmental damages but later doubled that amount when Chevron refused to make a public apology. The outcome of this case will be carefully watched by other oil companies facing similar litigations.