Clashes Worsen Forgotten Crisis
Following weeks of battles between supporters of incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo and those of Alassane Ouattara, who won a November election that Gbagbo has refused to recognize, U.N. agencies warned of a looming humanitarian disaster. Calls for emergency aid went largely unheeded by an international community preoccupied with the war in Libya. At least 25 people were killed March 17 by pro-Gbagbo forces in Abidjan, where an earlier shoot-out left 11 Ouattara supporters dead. Pro-Ouattara militias may be planning reprisal attacks. Although a U.N. peacekeeping force is present, the chaos has forced some 500,000 people to flee.
World by the Numbers
[The following text appears within a map. Please see hardcopy or PDF for actual map.]
Auction price for a see-through dress worn by Kate Middleton in 2002 that supposedly first drew the attention of fiancé Prince William
Estimated number of migrants who have landed since January on the tiny Italian island of Lampedusa (pop. 5,000)
Number of years since the last terrorist attack in Jerusalem; on March 23, a bomb at a bus stop killed one and injured at least 30 others
Number of nations, including Australia, where current trends suggest religion may soon be "extinct," according to a new study
Fine that a man from eastern China had to pay after spreading rumors online about nuclear contamination in the country's waters
A Vote for Progress or The Muslim Brotherhood?
An overwhelming majority of voters passed a referendum held by the country's military-led government, approving changes to the constitution that will speed the way toward elections later this year. The 77% who voted yes certainly sought stability in the wake of the dramatic upheaval that ousted a three-decade tyrant. But some critics fear that the referendum plays into the hands of established parties, including the radical Muslim Brotherhood, that are better prepared for polls than much of Egypt's fledgling civil society.
The Daring Dissidents of Dara'a
While authorities rapidly extinguished protests in the capital, Damascus, the stirrings of the Arab Spring in this walled-off nation still spread to the southern town of Dara'a. Nearly a week of unrest was sparked by the arrest of 15 teenagers for scrawling antigovernment graffiti. On March 23, security forces gunned down at least six demonstrators outside the city's Omari Mosque, where many dissidents have sought shelter. A protest "day of rage" was called for March 25.
Obama Goes South With the Middle East On His Mind