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23-Jul-11 World View — Norway Terrorist Attack Kills 17


This morning’s key headlines from

Dual terrorist attack in Norway kills at least 17 people

Aftermath of terrorist bombing in central Oslo (EPA)
Aftermath of terrorist bombing in central Oslo (EPA)

A meticulously planned terrorist attack on Norway, the worst atrocity since World War II, killed at least 17 people. First, a bomb blew up at the center of Oslo, near the government’s headquarters, although Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg was not in the building at the time. Then, hours later, a gunman posing as a policeman rampaged through Utoya, an island 20 miles away, firing at teenagers in a youth camp organized by the ruling Labor party. At least 20 people were seen lying dead in the water. Independent

Because of the complexity of the attack, it’s believed that the gunman was part of a larger group attacking Norway’s government. The shooter is in custody, and it’s been confirmed that he’s Norwegian. Authorities are leaning towards suspecting right-wing extremists rather than an Islamist group. Telegraph

Memos from 2009, published by Wikileaks, reveal that US authorities thought that Norway’s security service was “in over its head,” and that the country was in denial about terrorism. Norwegians felt that their country felt “immune” from terrorism, and “that terrorism happens elsewhere, not in peaceful Norway.” Telegraph

Fitch gives Greece’s bond a temporary ‘selective default’ rating

Analysts in Europe and around the world are popping the champagne corks and making bubbly statements about the wonderful bailout of Greece that ministers in Brussels agreed to on Thursday. The IMF and European taxpayes will be shelling out €109 billion, while private bondholders, mostly banks, will “voluntarily” contribute another €50 billion. Fitch Ratings said that the deal represented “an important and positive step towards securing financial stability.” However, as expected, Fitch slapped a “restricted default” status on Athens, and warned of a “potential precedent” for Ireland and Portugal. Fitch also promised that the default rating might be only temporary, and that it could be lifted, once its bonds have been exchanged under the EU’s rescue plan. Irish Times

Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel during negotiations (AFP)
Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel during negotiations (AFP)

An interesting analysis, comparing the current financial crisis with Europe’s financial crisis following the 1929 Wall Street crash, concludes that the current crisis will “give Germany the empire it’s always dreamed of,” because Germany will dominate the “fiscal union” being created, making the governments of the peripheral countries increasingly irrelevant. Telegraph

Despite Assad’s atrocities, Syrian protesters flood the streets

It’s Friday again, and up to a million people poured out of mosques after midday prayers and filled the streets with anti-government protests, defying numerous atrocities by the security forces of president Bashar al-Assad. At least four people were killed, while thousands have been killed since the protests began. Daily Star (Beirut)

In a ‘seismic shift’, Palestinians turn against Syrian regime

In what some are calling a “seismic shift,” the half million Palestinians living in Syria are turning against the Syrian regime and joining the anti-government protesters. Palestinians are furious as details have emerged of the regime’s role in pushing Palestinian protesters into a deadly confrontation with Israel last month. ( “7-Jun-11 World View — Syria implicated in ‘Naksa day’ deaths”) The confrontation is widely condemned as a move by the Syrian regime to divert attention from its own brutal crackdown. “We will not accept to be a bargaining chip for the Syrian regime,” says one Palestinian refugee living in a refugee camp in Syria. Global Post

Russia: Gaddafi has concluded that he should step down

Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Mikhail Bogdanov, tells a reporter:

“The Libyan leader has come to the conclusion that it’s high time that he should step down and leave his top-level post. The Libyan representatives arriving from Tripoli, say that a principled decision has already been taken to the effect that Muammar Gaddafi will take part neither in the political talks on settling the crisis nor on the restructuring of the State of Libya.”

The Voice of Russia

China protests visit by Philippine politicians to Spratly Island

China reasserted its claims to all the islands in the South China Sea, even islands historically belonging to other countries, as it lodged a protest over the recent visit of several Filipino politicians and military personnel to Pagasa Island, one of the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. TV stations across China covered the visit heavily, including the singing of the Philippine national anthem and flag raising in the island. Minda News (Mindanao)

15 killed in fierce Karachi Pakistan gunbattle

After five days of political and ethnic violence earlier this month that resulting in the deaths of 98 people and 150 wounded ( “10-Jul-11 World View — Karachi Pakistan crawls back to life”), a new gunbattle broke out in Karachi on Friday morning. The office and house of a political activist were torched while 20 people, including three women, were injuried in areas of conflict. At least 15 people were killed in the day of protests, that took the police several hours to bring under control. The News (Pakistan)


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