News Timeline: January 2010


January 11 — East Asia: CHINA

In its demographic study, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences warns about growing gender imbalance in China due to the one child policy and a bias towards male children. For every 100 girls born, there are 119 boys. As a result, about 24 million Chinese men, especially in the country’s poorer areas, will end up without spouses. The growing gender imbalance also breeds forced prostitution and human trafficking.

January 12 — Middle East: YEMEN/SAUDI ARABIA

Saudi forces push back the Yemeni Houthi rebels from the Saudi border village of al-Jabiri. Houthi forces entered the village in November, accusing the Saudis of helping the Yemeni government to fight them.

January 12 — Latin America: HAITI

A massive 7.0-magnitude earthquake and a series of aftershocks strike Haiti about 16 miles west from the capital of Port-au-Prince, devastating this long-impoverished country. According to the Red Cross, about three million people are affected. More than 300,000 people are killed and hundreds of thousands are left homeless. The international community sends search and rescue teams as well as aid supplies to Haiti.

January 13 — South Asia: AFGHANISTAN

A report by the United Nations Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) says that more than 2,400 Afghan civilians were killed in 2009, 14 percent more than during the previous year. Most of these deaths were caused by the Taliban. At the same time, deaths caused by the allied forces declined by 30 percent.

January 17 — Former Soviet Republics/Europe: UKRAINE

Ukraine goes to polls to choose a new president. Pro-Russian opposition leader Viktor Yanukovych who takes 35 percent and Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko who takes 25 percent of the votes emerge as two leading candidates. Because no candidate obtained the required 50 percent of the vote, they are forced into a runoff vote, which will take place in February. Pro-Western President Viktor Yushchenko and the Orange Revolution hero obtains a mere 5.5 percent of the votes. The Ukrainian people blame him for failing to deliver promised reforms, including tackling corruption, introducing transparency in government, and closer ties with the European Union.

January 18 — Latin America: VENEZUELA

Venezuelan President nationalizes the joint French-Colombian supermarket chain, Exito, accusing it of breaking the law by raising prices after the country’s recent currency devaluation. Chavez says the chain will become part of a planned Corporation of Socialist Markets, which will provide goods and services at subsidized prices.

January 19 — South Asia: AFGHANISTAN

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) survey shows the corruption in Afghanistan so widespread that the Afghan people paid $2.5 billion in bribes in 2009, which constitutes one fourth of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). The report says that it is impossible to obtain a public service without a bribe, and that the Afghans are overall more concerned about the corruption than security in their country.

January 22 — Africa: NIGERIA

The Nigerian army takes control over the city of Jos after a week of violent clashes between Christians and Muslims. Jos is situated in the middle of the country between the mainly Muslim north and the mainly Christian south. As a result of the clashes about 265 people were killed, thousands fled their homes, and houses, churches and mosques were burnt. Similar violent riots between Muslims and Christians with high casualties took place in 2001 and 2008. The two groups come from different ethnic groups, are divided along the party lines, and compete for resources.

January 25 — Middle East: IRAQ

Iraq’s former presidential advisor in the Saddam Hussein’s regime and Hussein’s cousin, Ali Hassan al-Majid, is executed by hanging. Al-Majid was known as “Chemical Ali” for ordering gas attacks against Kurds in 1988. The Iraqi High Tribunal gave al-Majid four death sentences for genocide and crimes against humanity.

January 27 — Latin America: HONDURAS

Honduran President-elect Porfirio Lobo allows the ousted President Manuel Zelaya to leave the Brazilian Embassy, where he took refuge, and go into exile to Dominican Republic. At the same time, the country’s Supreme Court dismisses the charges against the military commanders who ousted Zelaya in June last year. These moves end a months-long political crisis in Honduras.

January 27 — North America: UNITED STATES

U.S. President Barack Obama gives the 2010 State of the Union Address to a joint session of Congress. In his speech, he says that job creation must be the number one policy in 2010. He also gives proposals for federal deficit reduction. Other topics covered in the speech are health care and immigration reform, repealing Don’t ask, don’t tell policy, encouraging American innovation focusing on clean energy, as well as investing in the skills and education of the American people.

January 28 — Europe: CYPRUS/EUROPEAN UNION

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) upholds the ruling of a Cypriot court that Greek Cypriots have the right to reclaim their land and homes in the Turkish-controlled Cyprus left behind after they had to flee Turkish invasion in 1974. The ruling opens the door for more legal battles about the properties in Cyprus.

January 28 — Europe: GREECE

Greece’s Prime Minister George Papandreou says that Greece will not ask the European Union for financial bailout despite the country’s dismal financial situation. Greece’s debt amounts to $419 billion, or 113 percent of its GDP, which significantly exceeds the eurozone limits of 60 percent. It also has a budget deficit of 12.7 percent of its GDP, which is also far above the eurozone top limit of 3 percent. The Greek government is planning to introduce austerity measures.