Shots fired near home of U.S. VP
Around 8:25 Saturday evening, several shots were fired from a moving vehicle near Vice President Joe Biden’s New Castle, Delaware residence. The vice president and his wife were not home at the time.
According to the Secret Service, the shots were fired from a public road several hundred yards away from the house. At press time, it was unknown whether any rounds struck the Bidens’ home.
Switzerland revalues its currency
The ripples of Switzerland’s latest financial policy change are rapidly spreading through the Eurozone. Though the small alpine state had long kept the value of its currency pegged to the Euro, the 16th of January saw Switzerland’s central bank lift the cap on the Swiss franc. Now the two currencies are going separate ways.
In one day, the franc shot up 39 percent against the Euro. European holidaymakers face even pricier vacations in already expensive Switzerland. The prices of Swiss exports are expected to go up. Two days after the change, central bank officials said they would consider intervening to weaken the franc.
Boko Haram kills thousands in Nigeria
Reports indicate that as many as 2,000 people were killed by the Islamist insurgency group known as Boko Haram from Jan. 3 to 7. The massacre took place in the town of Baga, a small settlement near the shores of Lake Chad in northeastern Nigeria.
The attack is widely cited as Boko Haram’s deadliest to date. In a statement issued a week following the attack, Nigeria’s government said that the high casualty reports are misleading. Boko Haram’s ongoing campaign is expected to have a major impact on Nigeria’s upcoming elections, which are themselves poised to trigger more violence.
Russian ruble tumbles
In the wake of Western sanctions and a glut in the oil supply, Russia’s ruble has taken a major hit, declining 50 percent against the dollar. But Russia isn’t the only country hurt by the ruble’s lackluster performance.
Several countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia rely heavily on rubles sent home by nationals living and working in Russia. 25.1 percent of Tajikistan’s GDP relies on money from Russia. For other countries, that number is lower but by no means insignificant. For Kyrgyzstan it is 24.8, Uzbekistan 11.7, Armenia 9.1, Moldova 9.3, and Georgia 4.5 percent.