The week at a glance...International


Dadaab, Kenya

Somalis overwhelm camp: Thousands of Somalis continued to flee famine this week, only to be raped, beaten, or robbed before they could reach overcrowded camps in Kenya. The Dadaab camp, built for 90,000 people, is now the world’s largest, with 400,000 crammed into it and thousands more arriving every day. Police there said that authorities don’t have the resources to patrol the Somali border, so criminal gangs are free to attack the refugees. Some women told of attackers who’d forced their brothers and other relatives to rape them; men who refused were killed. Others said their children died of dehydration after attackers robbed them of all their food and water. “It is a human tragedy. I don’t even have a word to describe it,” said Wilson Kisiero of CARE International.

Hama, Syria

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Arab criticism: President Bashar al-Assad was under pressure this week as Arab governments turned against his brutal regime. Syrian forces have killed hundreds of people in recent days in a military crackdown on protesters in the Hama region and the eastern town of Deir el-Zour. Saudi Arabia withdrew its ambassador, and Saudi King Abdullah said, “There is no justification for the bloodshed in Syria, and what is happening has nothing to do with religion or ethics.” The Arab League issued a statement expressing “growing concern and strong distress,” and called on Assad to “stop all acts of violence.”

Tangi Valley, Afghanistan

SEAL Team Six disaster: Taliban militants downed a U.S. helicopter in Afghanistan last week, killing 30 U.S. servicemen, including 22 Navy SEALs. Among the dead were members of SEAL Team Six, which killed Osama bin Laden, though no one involved in that action was on board. The Chinook crash was the single deadliest incident for U.S. forces in Afghanistan since hostilities began, in 2001. The Taliban claimed responsibility, and officials believe they brought down the aircraft with a lucky shot from a rocket-propelled grenade. “All of those killed in this operation were true heroes,” said Gen. John R. Allen, “who had already given so much in the defense of freedom.” Allen said an American airstrike this week killed the insurgents responsible for the attack, including local Taliban leader Mullah Mohibullah.

Nagasaki, Japan

Bomb survivors speak: Survivors of the World War II nuclear bomb attacks in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, long proponents of safe nuclear energy, have abandoned that position in the wake of the March meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear reactor. Last month Hidankyo, the group representing the 50,000 remaining survivors, appealed for the first time for Japan to phase out civilian nuclear power. This week, Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue joined that call. “How has it happened that we are threatened once again by the fear of radiation?” he asked at a ceremony marking the anniversary of the bombing. “Have we become overconfident in the control we wield as human beings?” Prime Minister Naoto Kan has promised to reduce Japan’s dependence on nuclear energy.

Pyongyang, North Korea

Hacker army: North Korea’s outlaw regime is raising funds by deploying an army of hackers on South Korea’s online gaming sites, where players can convert points into cash. South Korean police uncovered the network last week when they arrested five South Koreans who’d allegedly collaborated with the North Korean operation. Police say the hackers wrote software that breached the servers for online gaming sites to allow round-the-clock play by dozens of programmed bots. The organizers allegedly made $6 million in less than two years and gave more than half of it to the hackers. It’s not the first allegation of hacking levied against North Korea: The South blames the North for attacks against South Korean government sites in 2009 and a South Korean bank this year.

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