Checking in on the rest of the world

Checking in on the rest of the world

The tragedy in Haiti has been a rare instance where the attention of the U.S. public has been intensely focused on an event overseas. But with Scott Brown’s ascendancy, attention has swiftly shifted back to domestic politics. (Wolf Blitzer looked like he had whiplash on CNN last night trying to transition back in forth between the two stories.)

While both stories are undeniably important, they’re hardly the only things going on in the world right now. Here are some major recent developments in world hotspots that have gotten short shrift in the press in recent days:

President Hamid Karzai announced plans to entice Taliban fighters to lay  down their arms in exchange for land and pensions. Asked if the program would work any better than previous efforts, U.S. envoy Richard Holbrooke responded, "It can’t be any worse."

The names of 645 detainees at Bagram airbase have been released. 

Violence continues to rise ahead of March’s parliamentary elections. Gunmen killed five people in the office of a Baghdad charity in what appear to be the city’s first targeted killings of civilians in more than two years. 

U.S. National Security Advisor James Jones and Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen have left for Moscow to hammer out the final details on a successor to the START treaty. 

A journalist in Siberia was beaten to death by police. 

The Knesset passed a no-confidence vote in Prime Minister Netanyahu’s foreign policy on Monday. Embarassingly, the vote came on the same day as a visit from German Chancellor Angela Merkel. U.S. envoy George Mitchell is also in the region to try to restrat Israel-Syria peace talks. 

Religious rioting has left more than 400 people dead, a situation that isn’t be helped by the fact that ailing President Umaru Yar’Adua is still AWOL. Yar’Adua is said to finally be out of the hospital, though. 

As Yemen continues to bomb al Qaeda targets, Saudi Arabia continues its bloody fight against the Shiite Houthi rebels. It’s Saudi Arabia’s first significant military operation since the Gulf War.

In recent days, Hugo Chavez’s government has taken over three banks, a French-owned supermarket chain, and jailed a political opponent on graft charges. 

Lucky dogs Blake and Beth went to Chile to report on last weekend’s election, which has brought a right-wing government to power for the first time since the end of the Pinochet era. 

The U.N. reports that more than 63,000 people have been displaced by fighting in Somalia in just the last 19 days. It’s hard to imagine that a disruption on this level in any other region except the Horn of Africa wouldn’t be a major international story.