The week’s World News roundup
President Obama gave the first State of the Union address of his second term in Office. Unsurprisingly the economy featured heavily, with the President pledging to make jobs and growth the administrations ‘Northern Star’ guiding their policies throughout the next four years. Obama closed his hour long address with a fiery section on gun control, challenging his opponents to allow a vote on the sale of assault weapons and high capacity magazines.
Pope Benedict XVI became the first Pontif in almost six hundred years to resign from the post. The spiritual leader of one billion Catholics cited failing health and age as preventing him from carrying out his duties. As the traditional mourning period is not required, senior bishops will gather next month to elect a new pope. There are hopes that this year may see the first non-European pope, especially as Asia and Africa are the areas seeing the greatest growth in the faith.
North Korea was suspected of carrying out an underground nuclear test. The move was condemned by world powers, including China who have traditionally shielded the impoverished regime from international ire. The timing of the test would suggest it is part of a wider effort by the new ruler, Kim il-Jong, to prove his military credentials.
Rebels in northern Syria have claimed to have captured an airbase outside Aleppo, including several working jets. In recent months various groups fighting the government of President Assad have switched from attacking cities to picking off isolated military bases. This is partly because of the weapons and supplies that are yielded, and partly because the rebels have difficulty holding ground in urban areas.
The Australian parliament unanimously passed legislation that officially recognises the indigenous population as the first human inhabitants of the country.
A Tibetan monk has become the 101st protester to self immolate in resistance to Chinese rule. The man estimated to be in his early 20’s was taken to a local hospital.
London cemented its title as the technology hub of Europe, welcoming as it does Goggle into its new million-square-foot complex in Kings Cross. The office will be the internet leviathan’s European headquarters. Tech experts are exited at the potential ‘cluster’ effect the move will have, especially for the clutch of companies around Old Street, affectionately referred to in the industry as “Silicon Roundabout”.