Highlights of the News of the Week

December 23, 2012 | Current Events

Ms Universe Olivia Culpo (Photo: skynews.com.au)

Japan Elections: Shinzo Abe has recently been elected as the 7th Prime Minister of Japan. He will serve the country for 6 ½ years with a mission of overcoming the current economic crisis. One of his plans is to increase the budget for public works spending to reconstruct those areas that were affected by the last tsunami. Abe has also been the Prime Minister of the country in 2006 but resigned after a year due to problems in his administration. The 58-year old is now determined to “pull Japan out of deflation”, “strengthen alliance with the US and improve relations with China”.

Fiji Cyclone: Tropical Cyclone Evan hit the island of Fiji last Monday causing destruction of properties and leaving international tourists stranded due to flooding. Thousands of locals and visitors were evacuated as the cyclone lashed the western part of the country for more than 12 hours with heavy rain and strong winds of 200 kilometers per hour. Considered as the strongest cyclone to batter Fiji in 20 years, Evan submerged bridges, toppled power lines and caused landslides in the Pacific nation. Earlier, the cyclone also pummelled the Samoan Islands in South Pacific leaving 5 people dead with 10 still missing.

Miss Universe 2012: In the recently concluded Miss Universe beauty pageant held in Las Vegas Nevada, an American student from Boston University won the title. The 20-year old, Ms. USA Olivia Culpo, took home the crown. She competed with the other 88 beautiful and talented candidates from other parts of the world. Last year’s winner, Leila Lopes from Angola, passed the crown to Culpo. Other winners  are Ms. Philippines Janine Tugonon- 1st runner up, Ms. Venenzuela Iren Sofia – 2nd runner up, Ms. Australia Renae Ayris – 3rd runner up and Ms. Brazil Gabriela Marcus – 4th runner up. The newly crowned Miss Universe will travel to different countries to speak about HIV/AIDS prevention.

South Korea Elections: Park Geun Hye is now the first female President of South Korea after winning the recent election with almost 51.6% votes versus her opponent Moon Jae with 48% votes. The 60-year old President is the daughter of the former President Park Chung Hee, the military ruler  who led the country from 1961-1979 and was assassinated in 1979. Among her plans as the newly elected President are “to create new jobs, increase welfare spending, and reduce social disparities.”  She also said that during her term in office, there will be more engagement with North Korea which demonstrates her ‘willingness to resume humanitarian aid to the reclusive state”.

Mayan Calendar: The Mayans predicted that the world will end on December 21, 2012 as their 5125 cycle calendar also ends. On this date, many believers gathered in temples and other designated areas, sat with crossed arms and offered prayers. In other parts of Africa, the followers also performed their rituals, played drums, yelled their voices and danced. In Chichen Itza, the ancient Mayan city in Mexico, people danced and chanted a prayer. Some people in Russia, France, Turkey and Italy even stockpiled the basic necessities like food, water, salt, candles, torches and matches to prepare for the apocalypse. The Mayans are the people from the northern part of Central America and southern Mexico. They are the Native American people who use a system of calendars known as the Maya calendar.

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