World View: Polio Continues to Flare in Nigeria, Pakistan

World View: Polio Continues to Flare in Nigeria, Pakistan

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Spain’s King abdicates as Catalonia moves to secession referendum
  • Hamas leader resigns as Palestine unity government is announced
  • Polio continues to flare in Nigeria and Pakistan

Spain’s King abdicates as Catalonia moves to secession referendum

Spain’s King Juan Carlos, is revered among older Spaniards for hisdeft handling of Spain’s transition to democracy after the death ofdictator Francisco Franco in 1975, and for putting down an attemptedarmy coup in 1981. But younger Spaniards see him as the man who wenton a lavish elephant-hunting trip in 2012 at the height of Spain’sfinancial crisis.

On Monday, King Carlos abdicated the throne:

“We have felt the need for renovation, and to open upa better future. Today a younger generation deserves to stepforward.

I want the best for Spain, to which I have dedicated my wholelife. I have decided to abdicate my crown to give way to a newgeneration embodied by my son Felipe, heir to the throne. I keepand will keep Spain forever deep in my heart.”

In the mid 2000s decade, Spain had one of the worst real estatebubbles of any country in the world, and unemployment today is above25%. Catalonia is holding on November 9 a referendum to vote onseceding from Spain. The Spanish government considers the referendumto be illegal, but it’s going ahead anyway. It’s hoped that theascension of Prince Felipe and his glamorous wife Princess Letizia tothe throne will help dull Catalonia’s desire for independence.AP andGuardian (London)

Hamas leader resigns as Palestine unity government is announced

Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas announced on Monday thathis organization (PA/Fatah) and its arch-enemy Hamas have joined intoa unity government. In a ceremony in Ramallah in the West Bank,Abbas said:

“Today, with the formation of a national consensusgovernment, we announce the end of a Palestinian division that hasgreatly damaged our national case.

This black page in the history (of the Palestinians) has beenturned forever, and we will not allow it to comeback.”

The Hamas charter demands the total destruction of Israel.Abbas has promised that the new unity government will recognizeIsrael and renounce violence, but this promise is not widelybelieved.

However, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh dramatically announced hisresignation, so that he would not stand in the way of thereunification agreement.

“We’re leaving the government, but not thenation. We’re leaving the ministries but not the question of thenation.”

It’s thought that Haniyeh stepped down because Hamas is close tobankruptcy. Since the Syrian war, Hamas has lost its main financialsponsor, Iran. And Gaza is doubly blockaded, both by Israel and byEgypt. So Haniyeh can continue doing whatever he wants, but justwon’t be part of the unity government. The real test will occur whenIslamic Jihad, which is an independent terror group in Gaza that hasbeen arming for a future war with Israel, decides to launch a newbarrage of rockets into Israel. What will the unity government dothen? Gulf Today (UAE) and Times of Israel

Polio continues to flare in Nigeria and Pakistan

The terrorist group Boko Haram is responsible for thousands of deathsthrough terrorist attacks in northeastern Nigeria, and is stillholding hundreds of kidnapped schoolgirls, possibly as sexual slaves.But Boko Haram is posing an additional danger to Nigeria and theentire region by making it almost impossible to administer poliovaccines. The vaccination campaign has been forced to use so-calledinsecure areas to quickly administer vaccines, and quickly escape.

Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan are the three remaining countrieswhere polio is endemic.

Pakistan has been a particular problem because the Taliban have beenmurdering health care workers in Pakistan involved in polio providingvaccines, ever since the administration bragged in 2011 that avaccination program in Pakistan was used as a cover to locate andcapture Osama bin Laden. Polio is spreading within Pakistan, andtravelers from Pakistan have been carrying the virus to othercountries, particularly China and the Mideast. The World HealthOrganization (WHO) has announced a requirement that all Pakistanistraveling abroad will be required to present a polio vaccinationcertificate at the time departure, and those certificates becamemandatory on Sunday, June 1.CBC and Dawn (Pakistan)

Permanent web link to this article
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail