World Focus: Four Snapshots of Current Events from the Far Corners of the GlobeWednesday, June 02, 2010 By Anna Scanlon '11
Eyjafjallajökull, Iceland: Nobody seems to be able to pronounce its name, but the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland has been on the tips of everyone’s tongues since March, when it’s first major eruption in nearly 200 years wreaked havoc on European flight paths. For weeks after the eruption, the volcanic ash blanketed the sky over Europe and prevented any flight travel in and beyond Iceland. Its effects continue to thwart air travel today. Bangkok, Thailand: Violence has wracked the streets of Bangkok for the past two months, as a group commonly known as the “Red Shirts” have engaged in protests against the Thai government. The working class “Red Shirts” oppose the current Thai Prime Minister, claiming that his election was unfair and his regime is undemocratic. In March the “Red Shirts” set up a stronghold in the center of Bangkok and have been waging explosive street-battles against government forces since. Both sides have attempted to negotiate peace, and the Red Shirts have demanded UN-negotiated peace talks, but the attempts so far have been unsuccessful, and the violence rages on. Paris, France: On May 19, in a Hollywood-style heist, a lone thief made off with five masterpieces from the Paris Museum of Modern Art. The paitings included “Pigeon with Peas” by Picasso, “The Pastoral” by Matisse, “Olive Tree Near the Estaque” by Braque, “Woman with Fan” by Modigliani and “Still Life with Candlesticks” by Léger. The masked thief was caught on camera, carefully removing each piece of artwork from its frame. The total value that the thief made off with? Around €100—or $126 million. Sacre bleu! Gulf of Mexico: Drilling for oil is a dangerous business—for both humans and animals. Over a month ago, a BP oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, killing 11 workers and spewing harmful oil into the Gulf at an astonishing rate of 1000 gallons per day. The oil has already endangered countless animals, including species of birds and fish, and has detrimentally affected the Louisiana shores. While initial outrage was directed at BP, many are angered that the government has failed to yet adequately handle the situation. Because of the depth at which the oil was being drilled for, the disaster is proving excruciatingly difficult to deal with, and attempts are still being made—unsuccessfully—to get the situation under control.