By Dr. Laura Culbertson
Faculty Member, International Relations at American Public University

It was two years ago this December when protests erupted across the Arab world following the self-immolation of Tunisian street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi on Dec. 17, 2010. During these two years, the world witnessed the ousting of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali of Tunisia and President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, as well as the resignation of President Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen.

By William Tucker Sakine Cansiz, and two other Kurdish nationalists, were killed this morning at a Kurdish information center in Paris. Cansiz was a rather well known figure in the Kurdish community, but was best known for her role in founding the Kurdish nationalist militant group Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan (PKK) – also known as the Kurdistan Workers’ Party.
By William Tucker The Malian army has stated that Islamists who seized much of northern Mali last year – along with several Tuareg groups – have begun moving south towards Mopti. The city of Mopti sits astride the Niger river and lays in the narrow region that separates the north of Mali from the south. Currently, the Malian army controls the majority of this chokepoint.
By William Tucker The newly appointed head of the Benghazi Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Abdulsalam Al-Mihdawi, and an associate were kidnapped by gunmen while waiting at a stop light. There isn’t much information to go on as to the culprits behind the attack, although eyewitnesses to the kidnapping claimed the attackers were militant Islamists. Benghazi has suffered from regular violence in the last few months.
By William Tucker Over the last few days there have been rumors circulating that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has died, or is otherwise in a vegetative state, following medical treatment in Cuba. These rumors appear to be unfounded, but the inconsistent discourse coming from Chavez’s inner circle – along with the president’s absence – have made the rumors difficult to combat.

WASHINGTON _ The Obama administration eased the way Wednesday for illegal immigrants who are immediate relatives of American citizens to apply for permanent residency, a change that could affect as many as 1 million of the estimated 11 million immigrants unlawfully in the U.S.

A new rule issued by the Department of Homeland Security aims to reduce the time illegal immigrants are separated from their American families while seeking legal status, immigration officials said.

China has yet to clarify the scope and limitations of a new rule that will allow the boarding and seizing of foreign ships that will pass through the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Wednesday.

“We have not yet received any clarification from China on the reported Hainan law,” Raul Hernandez, Foreign Affairs spokesman, said.

THE Philippine ambassador to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Grace Relucio Princesa, is facing another complaint, this time for the alleged non-payment of furniture that she asked a businesswoman to ship to UAE ostensibly to showcase them for Arab clients at the Philippine Embassy.

Earlier, a group of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) based in the UAE accused Princesa of allegedly misusing funds and ill-treating Filipinos.

The federal Department of Homeland Security once again has pushed back the deadline for states to comply with the Real ID Act, removing any doubt that travelers after Jan. 15 will still be able to board a commercial airline flight by using a New Mexico driver’s license for identification.

New Mexico is one of at least two dozen states still not in compliance with the federal law because New Mexico law allows illegal immigrants to get state-issued driver’s licenses, and the state apparently hasn’t met information technology requirements in the act.

About 600 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are stranded inside United States base camps in conflict-torn Iraq because the Philippine government refused to lift the partial deployment ban it imposed there, a migration expert said on Friday.

Emmanuel Geslani, a migration and recruitment expert, said in a statement that the Philippine government’s refusal to lift the partial ban caused Filipino workers in Iraq to be stranded in the US bases.

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama on Friday will nominate Sen. John Kerry as his next secretary of state, a senior administration official said, making the first move in a sweeping overhaul of his national security team heading into a second term

— Email the reporter at donnf@abqjournal.com. Call the reporter at 505-823-3874 ___

SEABROOK — The simple act of leaving his wallet on the counter helped police catch an Arizona man who will spend the next 12 months in jail, convicted of an elaborate credit card fraud scheme police traced back to New York state.

According to Seabrook prosecutor Scott Mendes, Gilbert Gonzales, 48, of 6632 East 42nd St., Tucson, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to fraudulent use of a credit card as part of a plea deal that reduced the charge from a felony to a misdemeanor.

ATWATER — A 52-year-old Atwater man was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of child pornography charges after law enforcement served a search warrant at his home, Merced police reported.

Police say they were alerted to suspect Kirby Lee Affholter after Detective Dan Dabney was notified by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security about an Orange County child pornography investigation.

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