Archive for January 22, 2010
Crowds continue to gather outside the Canadian embassy in Port-au-Prince – Haitians hoping to escape the city more than a week after it was rocked by a massive earthquake. Authorities says a staggering two million people are homeless while thousands are still without a steady supply of food and water. Outside the capital, members of Canada’s Disaster Assistance Response Team are in the quake-ravaged town of Jacmel, while Canadian soldiers in the town of Leogane are continuing efforts to help.
The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad is looking for Iraqi friends on Facebook. The embassy launched the page with the aim of reaching out to Iraqis who want to learn more about American culture and society, the latest step by the State Department to boost interest in Iraq’s burgeoning online culture and promote Web entrepreneurship. The State Department has organized a number of high-profile visits to Iraq in recent months by top executives from Google, Twitter, AT&T and others. Recently, the embassy assisted in setting up a YouTube channel for the Iraqi government. The Facebook page launch came the same day U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a speech about Internet freedom and its place in U.S. foreign policy. The embassy rolled out the page after a two-month test run on Facebook, said Philip Frayne, an embassy spokesman in Baghdad.
The Swedish government said it would close six Swedish embassies, including five in Europe, this year and open 10 new embassies. Embassies facing closure were based in European Union members Bulgaria, Ireland, Luxembourg, Slovakia, and Slovenia. “Within the framework of the close cooperation that exists between the EU member states, there is scope for developing new forms for maintaining bilateral contacts in future,” Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said. Meanwhile, Sweden is to upgrade its missions in Albania, Kosovo, Georgia and Moldova to embassies. The sixth embassy to be closed was in Dakar, Senegal, while section offices were to be upgraded in Senegal’s West African neighbours Burkina Faso, Liberia and Mali as well as Rwanda, Bolivia and Cambodia.