The World Bank released its annual economic report this week, predicting that the global economy will grow by 2.7 percent in 2010. Yet, today the U.S. Dept. of Labor announced an increase in unemployment, and GM said that it will cut 8,300 more jobs in Europe. Also, economists are worried about asset bubbles in China and about stimulus packages wearing off.
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President Obama visited Mexico early in his term, and the U.S. has been active in funding the Mexican authorities in their war on drugs. Recently, violent conflict with drug cartels has been on the upswing. And today, 23 people died in a fight between rival gangs in a Mexican prison. Many experts believe that the American appetite for illicit drugs is fueling the drug wars.
For the next two weeks, we present "Obama and the World," an in-depth interview series that examines the first year of President Barack Obama's foreign policy. This week's four extended interviews address Iran, Africa, Israel-Palestine and Latin America. And next week we'll look at Afghanistan-Pakistan, China, Russia and the global economy.
Mehmet Ali Agca was released from a prison on the outskirts of Ankara and taken away in a motorcade. In 1983, two years after his incarceration, the pontiff visited Agca and forgave him for the shooting. Yet, authorities are still unsure what motivated the assassination attempt. Agca is said to be mentally unstable and even told reporters today that he is a messenger of God.
The images from Haiti are difficult to watch, but especially so far Haitians living abroad who are left to wonder about the fate of relatives and friends back home. And, some of the injured are making their way across Hispaniola to the Dominican Republic. Al Jazeera English's Rob Reynolds and Sebastian Walker report from Haiti.
International donor nations are rallying around the aid effort to Haiti, and President Obama announced today that this is a "moment that cries out for U.S. leadership." An estimated 50,000 are feared dead in the aftermath of a 7.0-magnitude quake Tuesday evening. The U.S. has promised to send $100 million in aid. For more, Daljit Dhaliwal interviews Michael Kocher.
President Obama is expected to announce a plan tomorrow to impose fees on U.S. financial firms, to recover shortfalls from government bailouts. Many firms that received bailout money are again making huge profits. Britain and France are imposing hefty taxes on bankers' bonuses. For more on the new taxes, Daljit Dhaliwal interviews Andrew Clark of The Guardian.
In Afghanistan, 16 militants were killed in two separate attacks by unmanned drones. While drones have been used widely across the border in Pakistan, they have been mainly for surveillance purposes in Afghanistan. Analysts suggest that a tactical change has occurred. Should the U.S. broaden its use of unmanned drones against militants, even if innocent civilians die?
This week, Worldfocus is airing two Signature stories about handicapped issues in Greece. Tonight, we look at the challenges of being wheelchair-bound in Athens. And tomorrow night, we'll look at a new high-tech device being tested in Greece that helps visually disabled people be more mobile. Do you think enough is being done to help the disabled?
More than 200,000 Prius cars were sold in Japan, three times the number from 2008. Hybrids account for 10% of auto sales in Japan, compared to 3% percent in the U.S. In 2009, China surpassed the U.S. as the world's largest car market. American auto sales dipped 21% to about 10.5 million. Will the United States ever regain its stature as an auto industry powerhouse?