International Bulletin

Chavez Tells US “gringos” to “go to hell!”

During his weekly television show, fi rebrand Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez vocally lambasted the United States government. Recent US State Department remarks criticize proposed legislation giving Chavez widespread powers to pass laws by decree. Chavez responded, “Go to Hell, Gringos! Go Home!” hinting at the wider issue of US interference with Venezuelan politics.

Former Ohio Rep. Bob Ney Arrested

Last Friday, former Ohio Republican Rep. Bob Ney was sentenced to 30 months in prison. Ney was convicted of conspiracy and falsifying statements in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal. Prosecutors say Ney traded political favors for golf trips and campaign donations. State Senator and fellow Republican John Carey said the sentence was “a reminder if you don’t (follow the law), no matter who you are … you’ll be held accountable.”

Anti-Capitalism Forum

This Saturday was the opening day of the World Social Forum in Nairobi, Kenya. Activists from all over the world are gathering in the historic capital city to discuss the issues of “social justice, international solidarity, gender equality, peace and defense of the environment”, according to Onyango Oloo, the national co-coordinator of the Kenya Social Forum. The forum’s slogan is ‘Another World is Possible’, and is designed to expand the voice of those seeking concrete, sustainable, and progressive alternatives to imperialist globalization.

Nintendo Wii Claims First Victim

Jennifer Strange, 28 year old mother of three, died earlier this month of water intoxication after consuming 224 ounces of water in a contest to win a Nintendo Wii gaming console. A local radio station, Sacramento’s KDND 107.9 “The End,” held a “Hold Your Wee for a Wii” contest in which contestants were urged to drink bottled water in large quantities, and refrain from using the restroom. Strange placed second in the contest. KDND station manager John Geary said: “The Morning Rave is off the air indefinitely.” Water intoxication is an often fatal condition in which cellular processes are disrupted by an abundance of water in the body, and can lead to swelling of the organs, specifically the brain.

China Demolishes Satellite with Kinetic Kill Vehicle

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao confi rmed his country used a ground-based medium-range ballistic missile to destroy an obsolete Chinese Feng Yun 1C polar orbit weather satellite. The test, executed on January 11 more than 537miles above the Earth, marks the fi rst successful satellite interception in more than 20 years. China joins the United States and the Soviet Union as the only world powers that have successfully shot down an object in Low Earth Orbit.

Hezbollah-led Strike Paralyzes Beirut

Opposition leaders in Lebanon called a general strike on Monday to protest the prowestern government of Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora’s economic policies. Roadblocks made of burning cars and tires cut off all highway access to the Lebanese capital and the Beruit airport, and disrupted schools and offi ces around the region. The opposition has demanded veto-power over government initiatives it opposes, a move that Siniora remains unwilling to accept. Siniora, operating from the Government House, under non-violent siege by Hezbollah supporters since December 2006, called the strike an “effort at intimidation.”

Israeli President Charged with Rape

Israeli President Moshe Katsav will face charges of rape and sexual misconduct levied by the Israeli ministry of justice in response to allegations made by several female employees over the last several months. The largely ceremonial offi ce of President enjoys immunity, but may be impeached or prosecuted after the seven-year term. Attorneys for Mr. Katsav maintain his innocence, but will likely face trial after he leaves offi ce later this year.

Turkey Honors Slain Journalist

Tens of thousands of people joined the funeral procession of Turkish-Armenian newspaper editor Hrant Dink in Istanbul. Sixteen year-old Ogun Samast, who later confessed to the assassination, allegedly gunned down Dink, 53, mere meters from his offi ce. Dink had written extensively about the Ottoman Empire’s Armenian genocide in 1915. Dink was convicted in October of 2005 on charges of “insulting Turkishness” through his publications.