International News

North Korea

Kim Jong-il’s potential illness

North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-il, is suspected to have suffered a stroke a few weeks ago and is now seriously ill.

Since Jong-il failed to attend the 60th anniversary celebration of his nation Tuesday, Sept. 9, there is much speculation of his health.

Song Il-ho, a North Korean diplomat denied all accounts of Jong-il’s illness and the country’s second leader in command, Kim Yong-nam, also said the reports were false.

Jong-il’s health is such a hot topic because Western officials are unsure of who is next in line to rule the country since North Korea is such an unpredictable state.

American intelligence suspects that a chaotic power struggle will erupt in North Korea as a result of their nuclear arms if Kim is unable to continue his rule.

SWITZERLAND

Microscope could lead to black holes

The European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN) activated the most powerful microscope ever built in Geneva, Switzerland last Wednesday.

It took at total of 14 years and $8 billion to finally turn on the microscope; it was constructed in order to investigate the elemental particles and forces of nature, and the protons’ first circuit was around the Large Hadron Collider, 300 feet beneath the Swiss-French border.

Protons inside the structure will collide at higher energies than was ever before possible.

There has been speculation about the new microscope, stating that collisions could lead to a black hole; physicists cannot be certain what will happen under the conditions of the machine. The first actual experiment of collisions will not occur until late fall.

GEORGIA

Russian-Georgian tensions remain

A Georgian policeman was killed last Wednesday near a Russian checkpoint. The checkpoint was located in a Russian-occupied zone of the country. However, Russia, under President Dmitri Medvedev, agreed, two days prior to the shooting, to withdraw forces from Georgia by Oct. 1.

Shota Utiashvili, a Georgian Ministry of Interior spokesman, said that this incident threatens the peace that was recently made between the two countries after a five-day war erupted on Aug. 8 over the region of South Ossetia. Still, Georgia does not intend to use force against the Russians.

HAITI

Hurricane devastates island

Haiti, the poorest place in the Western Hemisphere, has been struck with more misfortune. In less than a month the city of Gona’ves has experienced four tropical storms that have forced already-destitute households to move onto their roofs as a result of major flooding.

In addition, all schools have been cancelled and hunger is particularly intense; livestock and stores of rice were ruined by the waters. The local Red Cross, an unofficial shelter, has taken in more than 100 Haitians.

All 10 of Haiti’s regions have been struck with the hurricanes, which naturally created isolated areas as a result of washed away roads and destroyed bridges.

The United Nations World Food Program is working to get food to all of the hungry mouths, but since the mud is so dense, planes, ships and helicopters are the only means of delivery.