January 2009 Current Events: World News
Here are the key events in world news for the month of January, 2009.
- Mills Elected Ghana's President in Runoff (Jan. 2): In a very tight runoff election—following an even tighter first round on Dec. 7, 2008—John Atta Mills of the National Democratic Congress is elected President of Ghana, with 50.2% of the vote. Opponent Nana Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party quickly concedes defeat, an important move considering Africa's troubled history with democratic elections.
- Fighting Between Israel and Hamas Continues (Jan. 3): After over a week of intense air strikes, Israeli troops crossed the border into Gaza, launching a ground war against the militant Palestinian group, Hamas. More than 430 Palestinians and 4 Israelis have been killed since the fighting began Dec. 27, 2008. (Jan. 8): The UN declared a suspension of aid in Gaza after one driver was killed and two others wounded in stray gunfire. (Jan. 9): Despite a call from the UN for cease-fire, fighting continues in Gaza. (Jan. 15): An airstrike from Israel hit the United Nations Relief and Works Agency building in Gaza, injuring at least three people. Called a mistake by Israeli military officials, UN workers are nonetheless outraged by the attack. (Jan. 17) Israel announces unilateral cease-fire in Gaza. Hamas will continue to fight as long as Israeli troops remain in the area. At least 1,200 Palestinians and 13 Israelis have been killed during the conflict. (Jan. 18) Hamas announces cease-fire in response to Israel's promise of peace. They will allow Israeli troops a week to pull out of the country.
- 46 Die in Taliban Attack in Pakistan (Jan. 10–11): At least 46 Pakistani soldiers and militants at a paramilitary base were killed when hundreds of Taliban militants crossed the border of Pakistan.
- Critic of Chechen President Killed (Jan. 13): Umar S. Israilov, 27, a vocal critic of President Ramzan A. Kadyrov of Chechnya, was killed while in exile in Austria. Israilov, a Chechen, had once worked as a bodyguard to President Kadyrov, but he later filed a complaint against the government, citing abduction and torture as common practice for handling insurgents and their families.
- CIA Officer Accused of Rape (Jan. 28): Andrew Warren, formerly the CIA station chief in Algeria, has been accused of drugging and raping two women while he was employed by the CIA. Warren has not yet been charged with a crime, though the U.S. government is investigating the matter and has ordered Warren not to return to his post. Both women are Algerian nationals.
- Provincial Elections Held in Iraq (Jan. 31): Iraq holds local elections to create provincial councils. More than 14,000 people are running for just 440 seats on councils around the country. The elections are notable for their lack of violence and the noticeably diminished role the U.S. played in their implementation. Voter turnout varies widely by area, with some regions reporting less than 50% participation and others more than 75%. Results are pending.