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Sunday, 30 January 2011

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WORLD AT A GLANCE

This week the world news is dominated by suicide bomb attacks in four cities around the world. The first was at Moscow's Domodedovo airport which reported to have killed 35 people, injuring around 170 others. On Tuesday two bomb attacks against Pakistan's minority Shia community killed 15. The latest incident was reported on Friday where a suicide bomber attacked a famous market area in Kabul killing at least eight people.

The Australian Prime Minister took prompt action to introduce a tax as a part of Australia's strategy towards recovery and reconstruction that affected large parts of North Queensland and Brisbane city and adjacent suburbs but is facing backlashes against her decision.


Suicide bomb attack in Moscow

Last Monday an explosion in the international baggage-claim area at Domodedovo airport destabilised all the activities in Moscow's busiest airport and claimed to have killed 35 people injuring about 170 others. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev described it as a terrorist attack. Medvedev ordered all Moscow airports, the metro and other public transportation networks to be put on high alert and publicly vowed to find and punish those behind the explosion. The bomb, equivalent to at least seven kilograms of TNT, went off at 4:32 pm.

Initially Russia's Investigative Committee reported that there were at least 20 casualties in the blast and the state news agency RIA Novosti quoted a spokesperson of the Russian aviation agency saying there were dead among the casualties.

Unidentified Russian officials as quoted by Russian news agencies had different views on whether the bomb was carried by a suicide bomber or not.

The last deadly blast in Moscow occurred on March 29 when two female suicide bombers from the North Caucasus blew themselves up in the Moscow metro, killing 40 people and wounding 160 others. North Caucasus insurgents later claimed responsibility for the attacks.

The insurgents have targeted Moscow in several high-profile terrorist attacks since the fall of 1999.


Lahore and Karachi bombings toll rises

The number killed in Tuesday's two bombings against Pakistan's minority Shia community has risen to 15. At least 11 people were killed in the Lahore attack. According to the BBC, the Police have said that they have registered a case against unidentified people on charges of murder, attempt to murder and terrorism.

On Friday, a suicide bomb attack killed at least eight people at a supermarket popular with foreigners in Kabul according to a report by BBC. The bomber had opened fire in the store before detonating his explosives as reported by Kabul police and witnesses. Afghans and foreigners, including two women and a child, were among the dead, say reports. The Taliban had told the BBC they had carried out the attack.

BBC reported: "Six months after Pakistan's worst monsoon floods in 80 years, Oxfam says the crisis is far from over and could even get worse.

The UK-based agency says malnutrition levels in the south have soared, and the aid community has only "scratched the surface of human need".

At least 170,000 people remain in relief camps and swathes of land are still under foul water in the south.

Pakistan's government is to halt most emergency relief efforts this month.

The UN appeal for $2bn to rebuild Pakistan remains only 56 percent funded."


A new tax after Australia's floods

Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard has announced last Thursday a new tax to help pay for devastating floods that she says will cost A$5.6bn in reconstruction work.

With a $5.6 billion price tag Australia's floods will be paid for by a one-off $1.8 billion flood levy, with cuts to climate change schemes and delays in road projects.

Ms Gillard said the 12-month tax, starting from July 1 would be levied on those earning A$50,000 or more and those affected by floods would not pay.

"We should not put off for tomorrow what we are able to do today," she said.

After a few days of speculation Prime Minister Gillard used a speech at Canberra's National Press Club to outline how the burden of the flood would be shared among taxpayers, business and the government.

The one-off levy of 0.5 percent will apply to taxable income in 2011/12 between $50,001 and $100,000, and a one percent levy will apply to taxable income above $100,000.

However, flood victims and the low paid Australians will not pay the levy.

The Australian newspaper reported on Saturday criticisms against Gillard's proposed new tax for recovery and reconstruction.

"Julia Gillard is fighting to contain a growing public and political backlash against her $5.6 billion flood reconstruction package, as community goodwill from the Queensland disaster threatened to evaporate and one Labour state broke ranks over the rescue plan."

According to the same source the Opposition Leader, Tony Abbot will also criticise the new levy at a speech he is scheduled to deliver on Saturday addressing a Young Liberals conference on the Gold Coast.


State of the Union Speech by President Obama

President Obama's State of the Union speech highlights bipartisanship support in creating new jobs. He vows to protect his legislative achievements from more than 'fixes.' In his hour-long speech on Tuesday night, the President also identified the need for new spending cuts while advocating increased funding allocation for education, mass transit and infrastructure development.

 

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