August 5th, 2009
World Links: Protests and Tear Gas In Iran, Tension at First Fatah Conference In Two Decades

After arriving in Burbank, California, Laura Ling and Euna Lee thank former president Bill Clinton and his team for securing their release from North Korea. Clinton’s visit may signal a turning point in talks between the United States and the reclusive, nuclear-armed country.

Iran media reports that more than 5,000 security forces guard the block outside President Ahmadinejad’s swearing in ceremony and use tear gas against nearby demonstrators who shouted “death to the dictator.” When the U.S., France, Britain and Germany refused to send a customary congratualtory message, Ahmadinejad replies that, “the Iranian nation neither values your scowls and threats, nor your smiles and greetings.” His next step is to introduce his new cabinet, which must be approved by members of parliament, many of whom boycotted his inauguration.

While urging American companies to invest in Africa at a trade conference on the first stop on her tour of the continent, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the U.S. is disappointed at the slow pace of prosecuting the masterminds of post election violence in Kenya. At least 1,000 people were killed and about 650,000 were evicted from their homes as a result of the violence.

Delegates nearly come to blows during the first Fatah General Conference in two decades after participants demand information on the 20 years of the Palestinian political party’s activities and finances since the last conference, and discover that the Central Committee prepared no reports for the conference. President Mahmoud Abbas opens the conference in the West Bank city of Bethlehem by saying, “It is a miracle that Fatah is still standing strong in spite of all that has happened.”

Russian military officials suspect Georgia is planning new military action, and say unnamed third countries are helping Georgia rebuild its military potential. Last August’s war saw Russian forces expel invading Georgian troops from South Ossetia amid accusations on both sides of human rights abuses. Russia eventually recognized the independence of both South Ossetia and Abkhazia, another former Georgian republic.

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