Internationally Brief

Sri Lanka ElectionsChandrika Kumaratunga’s party has won Sri Lanka’s parliamentary elections on Sunday. Although she did not gain enough seats for a majority, she did gain 105 seats and beat her opponent Prime Minisiter Ranil Wickramasinghe’s party. Voting took place on Friday and has been reported to be one of the most peaceful voting processes with nearly 10 million participating.

Hmong Refugees The Southeast Asian war has driven the Hmong out of their homelands into small camps in Thailand and Laos. The Hmong have never had a country of their own however their main concern is the fight to preserve their culture and beliefs. This summer an estimated 15,000 Hmong refugees will arrive in the U.S. and join the communities of Minnesota, California, Wisconsin, and North Carolina. The U.S. has endeavored to take in the Hmong refugees, for instance 25,000 refugees are currently living in St. Paul. The American culture is such a sharp contrast to their way of life that simple tasks like shopping in a supermarket, using a toilet bowl and taking the bus are daunting and stressful tasks.

Cyprus in the hands of its peopleThe Cyprus conflict has on many occasions brought Greece and Turkey on the brink of war. Late last week UN secretary general, Kofi Annan, announced the final rounds of peace talks failed to achieve an agreement. The UN will now propose the settlement, of having Turkey-Cypriot delegation handing over some disputed territory to Greek-Cypriot control, directly to Greek-Turkey Cypriots.

Uzbekistan terror attacksA series of terror attacks in Uzbekistan have taken place last week and the dictatorial president Islam Karimov has taken an active role in harsh crackdowns against “terrorist” within Uzbekistan boarders. Uzbekistan security forces attacked what they claim was a hideout of an Islamic militant group. Many feel that Karimov will respond to the recent attacks with brutal repression. Many human-rights groups declare that torture and abuse are still widespread in the country and there are zero efforts taken toward correcting this situation. In Jan., the U.S. has “decertified” Uzbekistan for aid eligibility because of the lack of progress toward ending human rights violations.

Einstein’s theoryNASA anticipates Gravity Probe B will lift off from California on April 17th to test two of Einstein’s theories about the nature of space and time, and how the Earth distorts them. The theory proposes that space and time form a structure that can be curved by the presence of a body. The satellite will orbit 400 miles above Earth and the project will rely on using spherical balls that will be sent spinning once in space. If Einstein’s theory is correct then there should be changes in the balls’ orientation.