5 Minute International Update 02/19/2013

Lowest number of civilian deaths in Afghanistan for 6 years; however attacks on government employees and local leaders by militant insurgents has increased by 700% in 2012. There was a 12% drop in overall civilian casualties though, 2,754 in 2012, compared to 3,131 in 2011. 80% of those who are killed are by insurgents. There was an increase in drone strike civilian deaths, 16 killed in 2012 (72%) increase.

7 French citizens have been kidnapped in Cameroon, include 4 children. This is right after an Islamist extremist group Answaru in Nigeria claimed to have kidnapped 7 foreigners. It is unknown if the two events are related.

Grenada is holding parliamentary elections today for the first time in 5 years. The country has a 30% unemployment rate and has been struggling economically.

US will lay out plans for dealing with cyber espionage from China after details on Chinese military hacking into US data came out today

In Pakistan, Shi’ite minorities demanded justice over a Sunni extremist group attack that left 90 dead, the protestors refused to bury the bodies for 3 days, protests stopped when the government launched a paramilitary operation against the militants

$50 million in diamonds stolen at Brussels airport

Gen. John Allen who was supposed to take over NATO forces in Europe has instead requested retirement

The Geneva summit for human rights and democracy is coming up, activists gathered from all over including those from North Korea, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Russia, Sudan, Syria and Tibet.

Missile strike in the Syrian city of Aleppo killed 33, about half of those were children, 2 mortars also exploded near one of Assad’s palaces in Damascus

Prime Ministers from Serbia and Kosovo met in Brussels today, the talks ended without a statement but are said to resume on Feb. 20th  Serbia refuses to recognize Kosovo’s independence

Norwegian court charged Sadi Bugingo from Rwanda with 21 years in prison for genocide, the premeditated murder of over 2000 people mostly from the Tutsi ethnic tribe in 1994

Poland opens debate on adopting the Euro

Bahrain arrests 8 terrorists, part of Iranian extremist group, can be traced to Hezbollah and others

Former President of the Ivory Coast, Laurent Gbagbo, is under investigation by the ICC for  murder, rape and persecution, after 3000 people died in the aftermath of 2010’s disputed elections

SpongeBob SquarePants as a Russian military marching song – 50,000 hits online