Monday, March 8, 2010

International Scoop: Pay attention to world events

Cardinal Staff

Hello readers! As we become entrenched in the second semester, I’d like to remind you that Winona, Minn., and our lives are not the only places where events large and small are occurring. I’d like to encourage you to keep your eyes and ears open to world news, as the world is becoming more and more integrated, and small changes abroad are likely to continue influencing our lives in new and challenging ways.

Oil strikes in France, beginning with oil giant Total, may spread to Exxonmobil employees and could, if elongated, cause oil shortages. The strikes are a consequence of discussions concerning the closure of a refinery in Dunkerque, France, according to Total has six sites in France and refines 54 percent of France’s petroleum products, according to The New York Times. Also according to The New York Times, “Workers […] have been on strike since Feb. 16 to protest Total’s plans for Dunkerque […] they are seeking assurances on the future of refining at the site.”

Australia, intending to cut down on terrorism, is implementing tougher visa checks, according to The New York Times. In order to set up this program, the Australian government is spending about $62 million USD on a counterterrorism plan. According to NYT, “The new visa requirements (…) include mandatory collection of fingerprints and facial imaging data for visa applicants from 10 countries.”

According to a quote from, “Terrorism has become a persistent and permanent feature of Australia’s security environment, prior to the rise of jihadist terrorism, Australia was not a specific target. Now Australia is such a target.” Fear of terrorism and measures against it have been taken worldwide.

Speaking of terrorism, Mexico’s increasing violence has even caused Texan authorities to warn people from going over the border, according to the Associated Press. According to this article, 13 were shot in the Northern Province of Oaxaca. Gang and cartel violence have been on the rise in Mexico, and killings have escalated. In addition, some groups choose more grisly and violent ways of killing rival gangs or police than others. Some rumors have spread that Mexican President Felipe Calderon has gone after certain gangs more vehemently than others, which he strongly denies. According to the Associated Press, “Some 15,000 people have died in drug gang violence since President Felipe Calderon took office in 2006 and deployed thousands of troops and federal police to root out Mexico’s brutal cartels.” Keep your wits about you, dear reader. These places aren’t that far away from Winona, and somehow, these occurrences may affect your life.

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