The week at a glance...International



Rich get richer: China’s wealth gap has widened so much that the country now one of the most unequal outside of sub-Saharan Africa. A respected Chinese institute found this week that China’s Gini coefficient, a number that represents income inequality, has soared from 0.41 a decade ago to 0.61 today. Anything over 0.5 is considered to be destabilizing, and South Africa, where opulent mansions border shantytowns that lack water, scores a 0.65. Nearly half a billion Chinese live on $2 a day or less. Chinese economists urged tax reform and increased spending on social services. “Taxation has so far failed to shape a healthy income distribution, which it is supposed to do,” said economist Gan Li.

Pyongyang, North Korea

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Missile launch: In defiance of international warnings, North Korea has successfully launched its first three-stage, long-range rocket and apparently placed its first satellite into orbit. The launch, which seems to have taken U.S. and South Korean officials by surprise, brings the rogue nuclear power closer to having the ability to build an intercontinental ballistic missile that could reach the U.S. The White House called the launch “a highly provocative act that threatens regional security” and directly violates a U.N. ban. Japan and South Korea requested an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council to discuss more sanctions against North Korea. This “ends the argument that Kim Jong Un might be a young, progressive reformer,” said analyst Victor D. Cha.

Mildura, Australia

You are here, maybe: Police in Victoria state warned tourists to stop using Apple’s new Maps app this week because it has been leading people to the middle of nowhere. Several motorists have been stranded in Murray-Sunset National Park after following their iPhones’ incorrect directions to the town of Mildura. Some hiked for miles across rough terrain to reach a phone signal. There is no water supply in the park, and temperatures there can soar to 115 degrees. This is “a potentially life-threatening issue,” police said. Apple says it has corrected the location of Mildura in its map.

Doha, Qatar

Kyoto pact barely alive: Nations of the world have granted a tepid reprieve to the Kyoto Protocol, the treaty that sets limits on greenhouse-gas emissions and was due to expire at the end of the year. The latest round of U.N. climate talks, in Qatar last week, extended the pact until 2020, but only for some countries, and analysts agreed that it would not keep global warming under 2 degrees Celsius, which was the original Kyoto goal. “With the world currently on track to experience 4 degrees to 6 degrees Celsius of global warming this century, it is very disappointing that Doha failed to deliver any real progress to reduce global emissions,” said Will McGoldrick of the World Wildlife Fund.

Gaza City

Exiled leader visits: Exiled Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal last week visited the Gaza Strip for the first time in his life after Egyptian authorities let him cross their border. Mashaal, who left the West Bank as a child, leads the Islamist militant movement—an offshoot of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood—from his home in Qatar. Now that the Brotherhood controls Egypt, it is working to end the international isolation of Hamas, which the U.S. and Israel consider a terrorist group. Addressing cheering crowds of Palestinians, Mashaal told Hamas fighters “to please keep your fingers on the trigger.”

Benghazi, Libya

Stonewalled: Libyan authorities are blocking action against the Islamist extremists suspected in the September attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, U.S. officials told The New York Times this week. The FBI identified several suspects caught on surveillance cameras and passed the information on to Libyan police, but none have been arrested and some have fled abroad. Officials said Libyan authorities were reluctant to go after members of Ansar al-Sharia, an Islamist group suspected in the attack that killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. “I have expressed to the Libyans that it hasn’t proceeded as quickly as any of us would have liked,” said Gen. Carter Ham, head of the U.S. military’s Africa Command.

Bamako, Mali

Coup, Act 2: Mali’s military deposed the prime minister this week, the second coup since March. Prime Minister Cheikh Modibo Diarra announced his resignation on state TV at 4 a.m., a few hours after soldiers stormed his house and took him away. The coup has put into doubt a U.N. proposal to send troops to help the Malian military take back the north of the country, which was overrun by Islamist militants linked to al Qaida in the chaos after the March military coup. The militants have been destroying priceless antiquities in Timbuktu.

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