Sunday, June 5, 2011

25 Protesters dead in Syrian city over the weekend

The information this article was given was from activists from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Syrian security forces opened fire on protesters this past weekend, killing 25. This protest brought out at least 1,000 people to join the fight. The article also claims that 2 policemen were killed and at least 20 other people were injured by "armed terrorist groups" that attacked buildings. Throughout these uprisings, the government has called the protesters "terrorists" and armed criminals"; a report written about the protest stated, "The terrorist groups spread fear in the hearts of citizens who called upon the competent authorities to interfere forcefully to protect them and bring back security and stability." The article also claims that since these protests have been occurring, the government has made many crackdowns, causing at least 1,000 deaths (says the United Nations). The article ends by stating that, "despite international calls to halt it's aggressions and sanctions by the United States, Syria has shown no signs of backing down."

Jen Crawford

Celebrations in Yemen

The Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh has departed Yemen for Saudi Arabia to be treated for severe wounds that were inflicted during an extensive attack on his presidential compound. This has led to large numbers of citizens to flood the streets in the capital of Sana and Change Square where protesters have been encamped since February. There was dancing, celebrating, flag waving to the point where even uniformed military men joined in. Dozens of gunmen attacked the presidential compound in Taiz avenging Mr. Saleh's security force's attacks on civilians. Mr. Saleh's departure has allowed the country to become easy pickings for Al-Qaeda, which has placed the United States in something of a pickle. The New York Times believes that Saudi Arabia will not allow Mr. Saleh to return to Yemen as president, an arrangement that many Arab countries have been hoping for for weeks. With the power vacuum opening up, this places Saudi Arabia and the United States in an uneasy position, and will lead to difficult decisions in the coming weeks.

by Margaret Nunne

Rape Victim Accuses Libyan Leader and Forces

Eman al-Obeidy is a young woman who is accusing Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's forces of gang-raping her. Al-Obeidy left Libya and went to Qatar to seek shelter as a refugee, but was reportedly beaten and then deported back to Libya on Thursday. Al-Obeidy told CNN that while in Qatar, guards were blocking a UN refugee officer from entering her hotel room to provide her with papers that he had prepared for her. When she was deported from Qatar, the guards had taken all of her belongings and had beaten her, her sister, and her parents then handcuffed them and put them on a military plane back to Libya. In regard to al-Obeidy's experience, the United States has claimed that this is a "breach of humanitarian norms." Senator Hillary Clinton has been following her case.

Click here to read more.

Summarized by: Heather Krizka

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Kenya Looks to Appeal ICC Ruling

The request by the Kenyan government to have the six men suspected to be responsible for the mass violence that swept the country last year to be tried in Kenya was rejected by the ICC. According to the ICC, there is not a sufficient amount of evidence for the trial to be conducted in Kenya. The violence seen last year led to the rape and murder and a severe amount of strife enveloped the country. The charges facing these men include: crimes against humanity, torture, persecution, the forceful transfer of the population, rape and murder.What will be very interesting is to see how the country and its people will react to the actual rulings that will be issued as the country has a long history of political violence.

Matt Boguslawski

Pakistani Militant Leader Reportedly Killed by U.S. Strike

In Islamabad, one of Pakistan's most wanted militant commanders, Ilyas Kashmiri, was reportedly killed in an American drone strike on Friday. There were nine people killed in the strike, and witnesses claim that Kashmiri was one of them, although officials have not been able to confirm this. U.S. intelligence and counterterrorism officials say that Kashmiri is among the most dangerous militant leaders in Pakistan today because of his training skills, commando experience and strategic vision to carry out attacks against Western targets. He was formerly a member of Pakistan's special forces but he was suspected of being behind several attacks and has been implicated for a 2008 attack in Mumbai, India. In light of this, Kashmiri's death would certainly be welcomed by Pakistan and the United States since he was wanted in both countries and could have been a good target for renewed intelligence sharing.

Megan Borows

When Sports Mirror Politics

There have been several anthropologists and sociologists that have noticed general similarities between sports and warfare, but yesterday in Israel, a soccer game reflected a real political divide.

Bnei Sakhnin, which is the only Arab-Israeli team in Israel's first division was playing Beitar Jerusalem. These two teams are rivals, as one represents the Arab population and the other is associated with right-wing politics in Israel and is the only team in the division never to have enlisted an Arab player. Rock-throwing fights often result from the matches between the teams, and this game could easily be no exception.

Why? If Bnei Sakhnin loses, it will drop to the second division, and so winning this game is essential to Arab fans. One fan, Ali from Tamra, explained that for Arabs, soccer is "the only place where [they're] equal in this stinking country."

After an intense game, Sakhnin ended up winning 1-0 in the 85th minute. A few fans were injured, but to the Arabs, the athletic and political victory was well worth it.

To read the original article click here.

-Gracie Hollister

Friday, June 3, 2011

Brazil launches scheme to lift millions out of poverty

Dilma Rousseff, Brazil's current president, has made it her priority to eradicate extreme poverty in Brazil by 2014, becoming the first developing country to do so.  Over the last decade, 20 million Brazilians were taken out of poverty; however, there are still 16.2 million people, roughly 8.5% of the population, living on less than 70 reais ($44) each month.  Because Brazil's economy has grown so much in the last decades and such a large middle class has emerged, the gap between the haves and have-nots is growing.  Therefore, the Brazilian government is planning to increase its efforts to combat poverty.  In the next few years, they hope to expand education and health programs, as well as Bolsa Familia, Brazil's social welfare program.  In addition, they will focus more on Brazil's poorest regions, with an understanding that the state must reach out to the impoverished, rather than expect the impoverished to come to the state for help.

Mark Zajac

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Japan Prime Minister Survives No-Confidence Vote

Thursday was a day to rejoice and relax for Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan after he survived a no-confidence vote in the Parliament. It didn't come easily though. The Prime Minister faced a lot of criticisms from the public as well as form within his party and the opposition about his government's ineffective handling of the nuclear crisis. He was also accused of his indecisive response to one of the country's deadliest disaster. In the midst of mounting pressure, the Prime Minister promised to step down once his government makes some progress in overcoming the crisis. If he resigns from the office, he will be the sixth prime minister to resign within the last five years.

By: Namgyel Dorji

Yemen: 'Thousands' of tribesmen march on Sanaa

The more I read about Yemen, the more worried I get. I feel that Yemen isn't being reported on as much as it should. Especially since the situation is becoming just as bad at the situation in Syria."Witnesses say thousands more fighters are on their way to Sanaa to boost the tribal forces. Flights at Sanaa airport were disrupted due to the fighting, but officials say operations have returned to normal. President Ali Abdullah Saleh is refusing to step down despite months of opposition to his 33-year rule. Fighters loyal to powerful tribal leader Sheikh Sadiq al-Ahmar have been battling government troops in Sanaa since last week. Sheikh Ahmar heads the Hashid tribal confederation that has declared its support for the Yemeni opposition movement. A ceasefire agreed on Friday broke down two days ago and street battles have raged since, leaving scores dead or injured."

Post by Rima

Outbreak is new form of E. coli

This is completely frightening considering that the outbreak is centralized in Germany and they have no idea where it is coming from. The infection can cause the deadly complication - haemolytic-uraemic syndrome (HUS) - affecting the blood and kidneys.More than 1,500 people have been infected and 18 have died: 17 in Germany and one in Sweden. In the UK, three British nationals have been infected - all had visited Germany. The World Health Organisation said the variant had "never been seen in an outbreak situation before."Scientists at the Beijing Genomics Institute in China are also reported as saying the new form was "highly infectious and toxic."

post by rima

Global war on drugs 'has failed' say former leaders

The Global Commission's 24-page report argues that anti-drug policy has failed by fuelling organised crime, costing taxpayers millions of dollars and causing thousands of deaths. It cites UN estimates that opiate use increased 35% worldwide from 1998 to 2008, cocaine by 27%, and cannabis by 8.5%. "Political leaders and public figures should have the courage to articulate publicly what many of them acknowledge privately: that the evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates that repressive strategies will not solve the drug problem, and that the war on drugs has not, and cannot, be won," the report said.

Post by Rima

Nigeria cracks down on possible baby traffickers

A police raid on a hospital in Aba, Nigeria, rescued 32 young women between the ages of 15 and 17. The girls were all pregnant and found in what police have deemed a "baby farm." They had been locked up and used to produce babies, which were then sold for witchcraft purposes or put up for adoption illegally. The rate for babies in Nigeria can go up to $6,400, depending on the sex of the baby. Boys are prized more highly. UNICEF has estimated that at least 10 children are trafficked daily across Nigerian borders. Human trafficking is Nigeria's third most prevalent crime, falling behind only economic fraud and drug trafficking. However, there are groups in the country trying to fight this trend. One such organization is the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons.

-Abbey Smith

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Germany to go Nuke-free by 2022

Germany has decided to be nuclear-free by 2022. The Christian Democratic Union party on Monday, agreed to shut down all of the nation's nuclear power plants by 2022. Minister of Ecology Norbert Roettgen of the Christian Democratic Union party said, "The decision looks like this, seven older nuclear power plants ... and the nuclear plant Kruemmel will not go back online ... a second group of six nuclear reactors will go offline at the end of 2021 at the latest, and ... the three most modern, newest nuclear plants will go offline in 2022 at the latest." To make up for the loss of nuclear energy, the German government will begin to switch to renewable energy and increase investments in energy research. They realize that they will not be able to do without conventional power plants, especially gas power plants for a long time. But they new research should hopefully make the energy transition more efficient and easier on the ecology.

-Kristine Zizis

Italy Supports Rebels of Libya

Italy gave funds consisting of hundreds of millions of euros to Rebels of Libya to fight against Moammar Gadhafi. The funds were to be used for fuel supplies and cash. The funds made possible were ENI SpA (Italian Oil Company) and UniCredit SpA (italian bank). Libyan Rebel's assets are currently frozen but will be made available in a couple of weeks. Italy has had an extensive history with Libya, being a former colonial power in Libya.

-Richard (RJ) McNichols

Mubarak on Trial

Former Egyptian president Mubarak will be tried on August 3rd in Cairo under charges of killing protesters during the countries recent uprising. In addition to the trial, Mubarak was reportedly fined more than $90 million for restricting internet and cell phone usage during the uprising. This tactic has been used across the world to squelch protests, which might change after a presidence is set in this case. However if Mubarak is found guilty for all the charges, totaling 800 counts of murder, he could very likely fact the death penalty. It is safe to say that how Egypt handles this case will set the bar for their new government.

Megan Smith