Obama Visits Israel and the West Bank
President Obama spent three days in Israel and the West Bank, visiting the U.S' long time ally for the first time as president. Barack Obama met with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and reassured his interlocutor of the close bond between the United States and Israel.
Obama also reaffirmed America’s commitment to a two-state solution during his Jerusalem speech, saying that “the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination and justice must also be recognized.” He urged Israelis and Palestinians to return to peace talks.
Obama mentioned that both sides need to make efforts to resolve this conflict. While condemning rocket attacks coming from Gaza, the president also criticized the Israeli settlements on the West Bank, calling them"counterproductive to the cause of peace".
Cyprus' Economy On the Verge of Collapsing
Since 2008, the eurozone has turned to a number of massive bailouts to avoid members like Greece, Ireland, Portugal, and Spain from going into bankruptcy. The latest state seeking a bailout is the small island of Cyprus in the Mediterranean Sea. Its government is requesting the help of the European Union, the European Central Bank, and the IMF.
The plan proposed by the European Union offered Cyprus 10 billion euros on the condition that the country is able to raise 5.8 billion euros on its own. The initial plan to raise the money was to tax deposits by up to 9.9 percent. Following the public outrage to the new tax, the plan was rejected by the Cypriot Parliament.
The European Union is now giving Cyprus until Monday to find a plan B or the European Central bank will cut off liquidity of Cypriot banks, which could likely lead the island to be banished from the Euro.
UN to Investigate the Use of Chemical Weapons of in Syria
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announced that the U.N. would investigate the accusation of chemical weapons used in Syria as soon as possible on Thursday. At issue is a rocket attack that killed twenty-six people in Aleppo on Tuesday.
Since the Assad government and the rebellion have been accusing each other of using chemical weapons in the attack, Western nations asked the Security Council to investigate these accusation.
Since the beginning of the rebellion, the United Nation repeatedly asked the Syrian government to secure its stock of chemical weapons and that the use of it by either side would be an outrageous crime. This would be the third alleged use of chemical weapons.
Italy Still Looking for A Prime Minister:
A month after its legislative elections, Italy is still in a political deadlock. No parties received the necessary majority to form a government and lead the country out of its economic crisis.
Earlier this week, Giorgio Napolitano, the President of the Italian Republic, who has the power to nominate the prime minister, met with leaders of the major coalitions to try to find a solution to this political crisis.
Following his meeting with President Napolitano, Pier-Luigi Bersani asked that "all the forces in parliament" support a government with a program of reforms presented by his center-left coalition. This would include the support of Berlusconi's center-right coalition, an option that Mr. Bersani has so far rejected.
If no agreement is reached, Italy will likely see the nomination of a caretaker for the next couple of months, until new elections are organized this summer.