Governing Coalition Threatened in Pakistan, Huge Parts of Australia Flooded
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, left, is flanked by leaders of Pakistan Muslim League Qaid-e-Azam (PML-Q) as he talks to the media after their meeting in Lahore on Monday. Pakistan’s prime minister won tentative support at crisis talks with political opponents, raising hopes that his government can stave off imminent collapse. Photo by Arif Ali/AFP/Getty Images.
Pakistan’s second-largest party, known as the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, is threatening to pull out of the governing coalition. Pakistan People’s Party, the party of President Asif Ali Zardari, is looking for ways to keep the coalition together to avoid losing a parliamentary majority, which could result in a no-confidence vote for Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani and force new elections.
The announcement has led to questions about the party of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, which the MQM could partner with to bring down the government, but disagreements between the two have made that scenario seem increasingly unlikely. Sharif himself has indicated that he will not support a no-confidence vote.
The internal turmoil is particularly concerning to the United States because of its alliance with Pakistan’s government and the ongoing threat from Taliban insurgents. Suicide bombings have become a common occurrence within Pakistan, and the border area with Afghanistan poses a challenge to the U.S. and NATO military operation.
The NewsHour’s Dan Sagalyn spoke with Moeed Yusuf, South Asia Adviser at the United States Institute of Peace for more details:
Australia Flooding Affects More Than 200,000
More than 20 towns have been submerged under massive flooding in Australia’s Queensland state, prompting military airlifts to the affected areas. Prime Minister Julia Gillard called the floods “unprecedented,” and said recovery “will take a significant amount of time.” Two people have died in the flood, and the region’s wheat and coal industries have been hard hit.
Goldman Sachs Deal Values Facebook at $50 Billion
Facebook has now reached an estimated value of $50 billion after a deal with Goldman Sachs and a Russian investor helped the massive social networking site surpass online giants eBay and Yahoo in value, according to the New York Times. The investment boosts Facebook’s clout, but has also increased calls for an initial public offering. The deal also has the potential to double the wealth of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, already estimated at $6.9 billion.
Jerry Brown to Be Sworn in for Third Time as California Governor
Jerry Brown, who first took office as governor in 1975, is poised to take office in the Golden State for a third time Monday in the capital, Sacramento. In doing so Brown, 72, is taking on massive budget deficits in the country’s most populous state, and is required to propose a new budget by Jan. 10. He is expected to propose a list of cuts to stabilize the state’s finances, according to the Sacramento Bee. The daunting fiscal problems are not new; his predecessor, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, faced similar crises when he took office in 2003.
African Leaders to Offer Ivory Coast’s Gbagbo Amnesty
In the latest bid to persuade Ivory Coast President Lauren Gbagbo to accept November election results and leave office, West African leaders are offering Gbagbo amnesty in exchange for conceding to opponent Alassane Ouattara. Thus far, Gbagbo has remained intransigent despite threats to remove him from force. In addition to other West African leaders, United Nations officials have called for him to leave voluntarily.
The impasse has claimed the lives of an estimated 170 people as violence has spread in a country recovering from a civil war that ended in 2003. Gbagbo, who retains control of the country’s armed forces, has been in power since 2000.