Falklands Dispute — Argentina has renewed a dispute with the U.K. over the control of the Falkland Islands, notes VOA News. This week, Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner wrote an open letter to the British government and accused it of having “forcibly stripped” the islands from Argentina in a “blatant exercise” of colonialism. British Prime Minister David Cameron rejected Kirchner’s call to return the autonomous overseas territory to Argentina while Suki Cameron, the Falkland Islands government representative in London, said the islanders do not want to be part of Argentina. In March the islanders are set to vote in a referendum on whether they want to remain part of a self-governing British territory. The U.K. took control of the Falklands after a 10-week war with Argentina in 1982.
Western Sahara — Al Jazeera reports that the disputed territory of Western Sahara, which has been under Moroccan rule since 1975 when the Spanish left following the dictator Francisco Franco’s death, shares commonalities with the occupied Palestinian territories. According to Al Jazeera, “Both involve the exit of former imperial powers, the arrival of forces from outside, alleged repression of the indigenous population, and the protection of the status quo by permanent members of the U.N. Security Council.” The difference between the two, however, is that the Israel-Palestine conflict receives wide media coverage while problems in the Western Sahara remain relatively unknown, say rights campaigners.
Cash-Only Vatican — The Vatican now only accepts cash as a form of payment from visitors, reports the Los Angeles Times. Italy’s central bank denied a permit to Deutsche Bank in the country to continue handling electronic transactions for the Vatican because the Holy See has failed to comply with E.U. safeguards against money smuggling, say bank officials and Italian media. The Vatican, which had 5 million visitors in 2011, has made no official comment on the matter.
Abortion Risks in Chile — While there’s been plenty of media coverage of abortion laws in the U.S. and Ireland in recent weeks, the New York Times sheds light on Chile’s severe laws and the legal risks facing even those who counsel women on terminating a pregnancy. In a country where abortion is illegal under all circumstances, 30 abortion hotline volunteers risk both safety and legal consequences, as well as social ostracization, by working to support women looking for help. The risks are so frightening for these volunteers that they wear masks when making public announcements about their work and only one woman, Angela Erpel, was willing to go on record about the hotline. She told the Times, “I’m open about being in an organization, but not necessarily that I work directly with abortion.”