World View: Summit of the Americas Ends in Bitter Division

World View: Summit of the Americas Ends in Bitter Division

This morning’s key headlines from

  • South African president will marry again and have four wives
  • Taliban in Afghanistan begin their ‘spring offensive’
  • U.N. observers arrive in Syria as ‘cease-fire’ shows signs of collapse
  • N. Korea’s Kim Jong-un places ‘national pride’ above peace
  • The ‘Summit of the Americas’ ends in bitter division

South African president will marry again and have four wives

Following ethnic traditions, South Africa’s 70-year-old Zulu leader Jacob Zuma next weekend will marry Gloria Bongekile (“Bongi”) Ngema. Bongi will be his fourth wife and his sixth marriage — one wife divorced him, and another one committed suicide. Zuma’s other wives are Sizakele Khumalo, whom he met in 1959, Nompumelelo “MaNtuli” Zuma and Thobeka Stacey Mabhija. He is thought to have around 20 children, including one three-year-old son by his new wife-to-be. The president acknowledged his wives: “I have them; they are many. They know that who comes in does not close the door behind [her] because it was not shut behind her.” Times Live (South Africa)

Taliban in Afghanistan begin their ‘spring offensive’

A series of explosions and sniper attacks began in Kabul on Sunday, and continued into Monday morning. The attacks occurred in a supposedly super-secure part of Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, calling into question the stability of Afghanistan’s government as U.S. and Nato forces prepare to leave. According to a Taliban spokesman, “These attacks are the beginning of the spring offensive and we had planned them for months.” However, U.S. officials are praising the Afghan security forces that were able to repel the attacks without U.S. or Nato help. CNN and Reuters

U.N. observers arrive in Syria as ‘cease-fire’ shows signs of collapse

The first members of a U.N. monitoring team have arrived in Syria, four days after a so-called cease-fire that is showing serious signs of collapse. The six monitors arrived Sunday in Damascus, to begin their work Monday morning. The observers arrived amid reports that government helicopter gunships were pounding the city of Homs, targeting residential neighborhoods. As in the case of January’s failed Arab League observer group, the Syrian government is demanding that all movement by the observer group be coordinated with the government. “Syria cannot be responsible for their security unless it participates and coordinates all the steps on the ground,” said a Syrian government spokesman. CNN

N. Korea’s Kim Jong-un places ‘national pride’ before peace

North Korea new leader Kim Jong-un has made his first televised public speech, as Pyongyang marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of the country’s founder, Kim Il-sung. This was the first time Kim Jong-un, believed to be in his late 20s, has spoken publicly since taking power following the death of his father in December. He gave his speech as a huge military parade passed by, including a large new missile camouflaged and carried on a 16-wheel truck. He said that national pride was more important than peace. “Let us move forward to final victory,” he said. He praised the country’s “military first” policy. “Superiority in military technology is no longer monopolized by imperialists. We have to make every effort to reinforce the people’s armed forces.” After last week’s attempt to launch a long-range missile turned into a major humiliating fiasco, North Korea is thought to be particularly dangerous right now, as Kim Jong-un is expected to launch some provocative military act to recover the country’s “national pride.” BBC

The ‘Summit of the Americas’ ends in bitter division

Argentina’s president Cristina Kirchner and Bolivia’s president Evo Morales stormed out of the annual Summit of the Americas conference, attended by Barack Obama and by the leaders of 30 Western Hemisphere nations under the auspices of the Organization of American States (OAS). Kirchner was the first to storm out because the conference did not support Argentina’s claim to the Falkland Islands (called the Malvinas by Argentina). The Falklands have historically been a colony of the U.K., and were retained by the U.K. by defeating an Argentine attack in the early 1980s. Morales followed Kirchner out of the meeting because the United States and Canada vetoed the participation of Cuba at next year’s meeting. Al-Jazeera

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