Mass protests at rising energy prices and falling living standards have forced the government of Bulgaria to resign. Prime Minister Borisov was elected in 2009 on a ticket of reducing corruption and safeguarding the former Warsaw Pact member into the European Union. Wage and pension freezes, combined with tax rises had already earned his government the displeasure of the public. But recent increases in fuel costs, which the government blames on foreign utility companies, proved to be the straw that broke this particular camels back.
Radiation from North Korea’s nuclear test has been detected in Japan and Russia. The impoverished but heavily armed state has also been ramping up its propaganda efforts, showing images of President Obama and US troops engulfed in flames, and threatening South Korea with ‘final destruction’. For its part, South Korea have shown their usual restraint, but have taken the precaution of beefing up missile defences on the border.
Catholics in the US have started an online petition aimed that preventing Cardinal Mahony from taking part in the vote to elect a new Pope. Mahony is one of 117 Cardinals worldwide eligible to take part in the selection process. Activists claim that Mahony is guilty of covering up sex abuses by members of the clergy, and that any Pope elected with his approval would be tainted with that guilt.
A French soldier and 20 Islamists are thought to have been killed in the Adrar des Ifoghas mountains area of Mali. This would be the second French casualty of the campaign to evict Jihadist groups from large swathes of Mali, and re-establish the authority of the central government.
In just under 5 minutes, 8 robbers in Belgium managed to make off with an estimated $50 million worth of diamonds. Details of the audacious theft are still coming out, but what is known is that at least some of the thieves used police uniforms. There also seems to be evidence that the groups had inside help.
China killed almost 1 billion Japanese last year…on screen at least. The Hengdian film studios, dubbed China’s Hollywood, produces many films and television shows for the Chinese markets. Productions centred on the Japanese Occupation of parts of China are especially popular, with high body counts of enemy combatants being one of the criteria for a hit. The death toll works out at roughly 2.7 million deaths a day; a rate of 30 per second.