Looking to resolve their financial problems, the Italian Senate passed a set of austerity measures that will force Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to step down and set up a national unity government. This move came as a result of significant international pressure on Italy to stave off another financial meltdown.
Greece and Italy have begun to work feverishly on solving their financial problems. They are currently looking at various technocrat leaders within their states to serve as interim Prime Ministers and prevent the government from defaulting. By installing these interim Prime Minsters over the new unity governments, Greece and Italy hope they have made the first steps on the long road to financial recovery.
Activists have turned to the streets in Syria, calling for their government’s suspension from the Arab League, a conglomeration of Arab states that support Arab nationalism within the Middle East, after Syria failed to implement a peace agreement from November 2. Protesters continue to defy the government security forces even in the face of violence and the possibly of death. The death toll in Syria continues to climb, making this current uprising one of the bloodiest the region has seen in years.
Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamanei of Iran has denounced the United Nations and the US in his latest statement regarding Iran’s nuclear program. Khamanei has claimed that the UN and the US are trying to propagate what he calls “Iranophobia,” which could be used to legitimize an attack on suspected nuclear bomb sites in Iran.
The Obama administration is pushing a plan that would give the US’s allies in the Gulf a great deal of power if Iran were to pursue nuclear weapons. The US has been quietly shipping advanced weapons to the United Arab Emirates, giving the US some strength in the region should Iran prove militant.
Germany is showing its financial strength by continuing to give income tax cuts and by spending money on infrastructure amid financial trouble in every other European nation. The Germany economy is at its best in years, with the lowest unemployment rate that it has seen in the last several decades.
The Occupy Wall Street protests are becoming violent in some areas, as one man died from a shooting during an Occupy Oakland protest last week. Police are investigating the incident, and initial reports indicate that the death was a result of a fight between two groups of men at the Occupy Oakland encampment.