October 2011 Current Events: World News
Here are the key events in world news for the month of October 2011.
Alleged Assassination Plot Is Exposed (Oct. 11): U.S. Attorney general Eric H. Holder announces from Washington that the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps paid assassins from a Mexican drug cartel $1.5 million to kill Adel al-Jubeir, Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States. The main suspects are Mansour J. Arbabsiar, an American citizen of Iranian descent who is in custody, and Gholam Shakuri, a member of the Quds Force, who is at large and is believed to be in Iran. American investigators believe that high-ranking Iranian government officials are responsible for the plot.
Prisoner Swap Between Israel and Hamas Begins (Oct. 18): Gilad Shalit, a twenty-five year old Israeli soldier, is released after being held for more than five years by Hamas, a militant Palestinian group. He is exchanged for one thousand Palestinians who have spent years in Israeli jails. Shalit has been held in Gaza since Palestinian militants kidnapped him in 2006. In a televised address following Shalit's release, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says, "Today we are all united in joy and in pain."
Two-day Strike In Greece Pushes Riots to New Level (Oct. 19): Tens of thousands begin the first day of a two-day general strike in Greece bringing the country's ongoing rioting to a whole new level. Protestors range from retired army officers, teachers, judges, and trash collectors. The strike is in reaction to the Parliament's pending vote to approve new austerity measures. On the evening of the 19th, the Greek Parliament approves the new austerity measures and receives rescue financing. The new measures cut pensions and wages as well as approve thousands of public sector layoffs. The bill also revises collective bargaining rules, making it easier to fire workers. (Oct. 31): In an effort to placate protestors and save his political standing, Prime Minister George Papandreou announces that there will be a public vote on the austerity measures.
European Leaders Agree on How to Resolve Euro Crisis (Oct. 26): Led by Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and President Nicolas Sarkozy of France, leaders of the euro zone agree on a package to bring the debt crisis in Europe under control. The terms include forcing banks to take a 50% cut in the value of Greek debt and to raise new capital to protect them from future defaults, increasing the euro-zone's bail-out fund to $1.4 trillion, more austerity measures in Greece, and a reduction of Greece's debt to 120% of its GDP by 2020. Many Greek citizens and politicians condemn the deal out of frustration over Germany and France's continued influence over Greece's affairs.
Qaddafi Is Captured and Killed (Oct. 20): Libya's interim government announces that Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi has been killed by rebel troops in Surt, his hometown. Initial reports are unclear on the cause of death. (Oct. 23): Libya officially declares its liberation for Qaddafi and begins the process of electing a government and creating a constitution.
Tunisia Votes in First Ever Free Election (Oct. 24): Millions of Tunisians vote in their first ever free election. The vote is for an assembly to write a constitution and shape a new government. Ennahda, a moderate Islamist party, is the winner with 41 percent of the vote. Ennahda will therefore name the prime minister, lead the coalition government and have the most say in Tunisia's new constitution.
Palestine Becomes Member of UNESCO (Oct. 31): UNESCO (The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) approves the Palestinian bid for full membership to the UN with a 107 to 14 vote. The favorable vote defies a mandated cutoff of American funding. The U.S. contributes $70 million to UNESCO per year, about 22 percent of its yearly budget. The vote makes Palestine the 195th member of UNESCO.