Margaret Thatcher dies at 87

April 8, 2013

Britain’s ‘Iron Lady’ dies following a stroke, North Korea irks world leaders by closing industrial park, and extremist Buddhist Monks in Myanmar incite violence against Muslims. Today is Monday, April 8, and this is the World Wrap, brought to you by @dwbronner.


British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher points skyward as she receives standing ovation at the Conservative Party Conference on October 13, 1989. REUTERS/Stringer/UK

Former British Prime Minister dies at age 87. Margaret Thatcher, the United Kingdom’s conservative prime minister from 1979 to 1990, died today following a stroke:

Britain’s only woman prime minister, the unyielding, outspoken Thatcher led the Conservatives to three election victories, governing from 1979 to 1990, the longest continuous period in office by a British premier since the early 19th century. A grocer’s daughter with a steely resolve, she was loved and loathed in equal measure as she crushed the unions, privatized vast swathes of British industry, clashed with the European Union and fought a war to recover the Falkland Islands from Argentine invaders.

According to a spokesman for the family, Thatcher died peacefully early on Monday morning. Thatcher had been suffering from dementia for many years, and was not well for months leading up to her death.  Click here for full coverage of reactions to Thatcher’s death, and here to view a gallery of images.

North Korea temporarily closes profitable plant. Pyongyang ceased operations at industrial complex Kaesong, the last remaining joint operation between the North and South, prompting world leaders to criticize further the bellicose nation:

Reclusive North Korea’s [earlier] decision to all but close the Kaesong industrial park coincided with speculation that it will carry out some sort of provocative action – another nuclear weapons test or missile launch – in what has become one of the most serious crises on the peninsula since the end of the Korean War in 1953.

China also chastised  the North, though may stop short of strictly enforcing U.N. sanctions against its valuable ally. North Korea’s state news agency reported that officials decided to temporarily close Kaesong because it had become a “theatre of confrontation,” adding that Seoul was attempting to “turn the zone into a hotbed of war” against North Korea.  Last week, North Korea moved two missiles to its east coast, but does not appear to be prepping its army for war.

Militant monks lead anti-Muslim violence in Myanmar. At least 43 people were killed over four days of conflict between Buddhists and Muslims in Mingalarzay Yone, a small neighborhood in Meikhtila, Myanmar that is one of the many that has been struck by Buddhist-led attacks against the country’s Muslim minority:

 Ethnic hatred has been unleashed in Myanmar since 49 years of military rule ended in March 2011. And it is spreading, threatening the country’s historic democratic transition. Signs have emerged of ethnic cleansing, and of impunity for those inciting it.

Nationalistic Buddhist monk Wirathu, freed last year after serving nine years in prison for inciting violence against Muslims in 2003, is leading the “969” movement that has been at the root of much of the violence against Muslims. Wirathu calls himself the “Burmese bin Laden” and spreads 969’s apartheid-like mission of Buddhist purity throughout the nation. Some onlookers suggest the violence is driven not only by religious separatism, but by economic inequality. Nearly 13,000 Muslims fled from their homes during the riot, and about 2,000 took up residence in a high school, hoping for protection.

Nota Bene: A United Nations mandated team of experts was sent to Syria to examine claims of chemical weapon use.


No relief for Cyprus – According to Reuters columnist Hugo Dixon, Cyprus is headed toward a euro exit. (Reuters)

Bad hair day – A human rights group criticized Hamas for arresting men whose hair is too long, or has too much hair gel. (BBC)

Alphabet antagonism – Tens of thousands of Croatians protest plans to introduce Cyrillic street signs to a town ravaged by Serb rebels in the 1990s. (Al Jazeera)

Help from the holy – A French town receives aid in the form of Catholic priests. (The New York Times)

Nutella nabbers – Thieves in Germany steal 5.5 tons of Nutella, making off with more than $20,000 worth of chocolate spread. (The Associated Press)

From the  File:

  • Putin laughs off topless protest, defends NGO moves
  • Two more dead after sectarian clashes in Egypt
  • Serbia to reject Kosovo deal, begs EU for more time
  • France to publish ministers’ assets as scandal deepens
  • Turkish ship raid victims to go to court despite Israeli apology
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