What’s New April 2011

This page lists changes to this site for April 2011.

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Following elections in Cote d’Ivoire in October 2010, both President Laurent Gbagbo and opposition candidate, Alassane Ouattara, claimed victory. International observers agreed that the Ouattara had won, but Gbagbo refused to accept this.

Negotiations failed and while the world’s attention was elsewhere, the situation became volatile and violent outbursts turned into the country’s second civil war. Forces supporting Ouattara have swept through the country and Gbagbo’s position looks precarious while he remains defiant.

At the same time, possibly a million people are thought to have fled their homes, about 100,000 of which have crossed over into neighboring Liberia.

Thousands of civilians have been killed in what observers have found to be mass human rights violations. There have also been reports of massacres and mass graves. UN personnel on the ground have been targeted. There are accusations of violence by both sides.

This situation had been brewing for a long time, and yet, the international community has been comparatively silent compared to how they have reacted to the situation in Libya.

This page presents news coverage from Inter Press Service on this crisis.

Related Issue:

The earthquake off the coast of Japan on March 11, 2011 was one of the biggest recorded, measuring 9 on the richter scale.

It was the resulting tsunami, however, that caused the most destruction. It devastated the northeast of Japan, leaving many thousands dead or missing, and hundreds of thousands homeless or evacuated from the area.

In addition, various power generators failed. Some older nuclear power stations risked meltdown and suffered explosions and radioactive leaks. Workers have battled for weeks to try and bring the situation under control. Radioactive material has been detected in various places.

It is thought that the cost of the earthquake and tsunami could be over $300 billion — the world’s most expensive natural disaster on record.

There are global economic repercussions as well, given Japan’s key position in the world economy.

There are so many issues that this tragic event has caused that I can’t cover them on my own. However, this new page brings together news stories on the issue from Inter Press Service

Related Issue:

The crisis in Libya comes in the context of wider unrest throughout the Middle East and North Africa. The surge of what looks like spontaneous and ground up pro-democracy protests has been spreading throughout a region long controlled by authoritarian regimes from left and right of the political spectrum, and both pro and anti-West.

Peaceful protests against the long-running oppressive Qadhafi regime in February resulted in a violent crackdown. As the situation quickly escalated ordinary citizens took up arms to help free themselves from Qadhafi’s brutal regime. Despite some military defections, the opposition has generally been a disorganized and out-gunned rebel force.

As Qadhafi’s forces increasingly targeted civilians the opposition appealed to the international community for a no-fly zone to limit or prevent the bloodbath that Qadhafi threatened.

The West appears to have responded with what looks like a genuine humanitarian intervention attempt. Yet, when looked at a bit more deeply, there are many murky — often contradictory — issues coming to the fore that complicate the picture.

These mixed messages make the future for Libya uncertain. Civil war is how some commentators have already started to describe the conflict, which would imply a long drawn out conflict, not a quick fix that the West hoped for.

This new page looks at this issue further:

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