1) Sweden has called a snap election after its left-leaning government was unable to pass a budget due to opposition from the far right Swedish Democrat party. The current government has only held power since September.
1) Breaking news this morning on Iraq. The U.S. is now providing weapons to the Kurds who managed to force ISIS into retreat yesterday after American airstrikes. Also, Prime Minister Maliki has sent troops into Baghdad as a show of force while Iraq’s highest court ruled that Maliki would stay PM as his party has the largest bloc in the new parliament.
1) Despite a 16 hour ceasefire this past weekend, negotiations between Israel and Palestine have not resulted in any peace agreement. The UN has demanded a ceasefire for the past 2 days but there have been no sustainable arrangements. At least 60 airstrikes by Israel hit targets last night with a dozen dead. and 5 Israelis were killed during clashes in the Hamas tunnels. More than 1000 have died since the conflict began. Additionally, there is discussion that the US-Israel relationship is becoming frayed over the issue.
Tragic downing of Flight MH17 – Dutch have been angry about it – the bodies, the time it has taken. An investigation is on-going. The current facts are disputed by Moscow and the West, much blame from Americans. In the Ukraine conflict there continues to be planes shot down and a move towards Donetsk. Pressures have shown up in the Ukraine parliament with a fist fight breaking out today.
This weekend, back-to-back international conferences will take place in the United States, hosted by President Obama. The G8 summit which hosts “the world’s 8 largest economies” (which is not actually accurate since countries like China are excluded) will take place at Camp David in Maryland. The great eight countries include France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, the U.S., Canada and Russia.
A unique thing is happening in 2012: 4 out of the 5 permanent members (nick-named the P5) of the United Nations Security Council have major elections this year. These five countries, (China, Russia, United State of America, United Kingdom and France) all have the power to veto any Council resolution no matter how much support it may have. Only one country needs to provide a veto to stop any “substantive” draft.