Sunday, April 10, 2005

Baghdad Burning: "The chess pieces were moved around and adjusted and every one is getting tired of the game."

We'll start our look at news from other countries (other than the US) with Girl Blogger of Baghdad Burning. Here is an excerpt from her latest post:

Thousands were demonstrating today all over the country.
Many areas in Baghdad were cut off today for security reasons and to accomodate the demonstrators, I suppose. There were some Sunni demonstrations but the large majority of demonstrators were actually Shia and followers of Al Sadr.
They came from all over Baghdad and met up in Firdaws Square- the supposed square of liberation. They were in the thousands.
None of the news channels were actually covering it. Jazeera showed fragments of the protests in the afternoon but everyone else seemed to busy with some other news story.
[. . .]
BBC and EuroNews were busily covering the wedding between Prince Charles and the dreadful Camilla. CNN was showing the Pope's funeral.
No one bothered with the demonstrations in Baghdad, Mosul, Anbar and the south. There were hundreds of thousands of Shia screaming "No to America. No to terrorism. No to occupation. No to the devil. No to Israel."
The numbers were amazing and a little bit frightening too.
Ever since Jalal Talbani was named president, there have been many angry Shia. It's useless explaining that the presidential chair is only symbolic- it doesn't mean anything. "La izayid we la inaqis." As we say in Iraq. "It doesn't increase anything, nor does it decrease anything."
[. . .]
Two years and this is Occupation Day once more. One wonders what has changed in this last year. The same faces of April 2004, but now they have differing positions in April 2005.
The chess pieces were moved around and adjusted and every one is getting tired of the game.

In an article from Haaretz entitled
"PM to tell Bush: Abbas losing control, not fulfilling promises"
and credited to Aluf Been, Nathan Guttman and "Haaretz Correspondents and Agencies" we are told the following:

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon will be emphasizing to U.S. President George W. Bush and other administration officials this week that Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas' control over the Palestinian Authority's territories is collapsing and the armed organizations are violating their own cease-fire promises, as occurred this weekend in Gaza.
[. . .]
The Sharon trip came after a tense weekend in Israel. In addition to the flare-up in Gaza, thousands of police were sent to Jerusalem to prevent a threatened demonstration by extreme rightists on the Temple Mount. Palestinian demonstrators flooded the site to "protect" it from the Jewish protesters.
And while fewer than 100 demonstrators showed up for a much touted "demonstration by tens of thousands" on Tel Aviv's Ayalon highway, dozens of rightists burned tires Sunday, snarling the already jammed morning rush-hour traffic until police cleared the way.

Also from Haaretz, Rob e-mails to note Aluf Been's
"Analysis: Another chapter of tiresome bickering:"

Sharon's visit was planned as a public relations exercise, as a show of support on the part of President George W. Bush for the prime minister and his disengagement plan. There isn't much personal chemistry between Sharon and Bush, but they need one another. Sharon needs his standing in the Likud bolstered in the wake of his severe run-ins with his party through the obstacle course of getting the pullout approved. The six hours he will spend at the president's ranch and the joint jeep ride among the cows and calves are designed to show that only Sharon can "bring the Americans," who will support him.
For his part, Bush wants to show his critics around the world that he is serious about promoting an Israeli-Palestinian accord, that America knows how to repay someone who is willing to evacuate settlers.

From Germany's Der Spiegel, we'll note Marion Kraske and Jan Puhl's
"Eastern Europe Probes Secret Police Informants 15 Years On:"

The Budapest consulting firm Political Capital markets itself with a bold and entirely self-confident slogan: "We bring the future to your desk." But the documents the firm is currently working on are attracting more attention than any marketing catchphrase. The company is compiling embarrassing files on people who reportedly served as informants to the secret police here before the fall of the Iron Curtain. The files portray many Hungarians in a rather unfavorable light.
Political Capital's first move was to publish a list of 19 names on an Internet site where well-respected members of the former Hungarian secret service are identified. The names are of people who are now top journalists, famous rock musicians, as well as a Who's Who of the Budapest political scene. This includes former prime minister Peter Medgyessy, Hungary's former ambassador to the Vatican, Sandor Keresztes, the current head of the Hungarian central bank and the deputy director of the Hungarian division of Europol.Within only two hours of the names' release, the Web site recorded a surge of more than 100,000 visitors. For many Hungarians, the mechanisms and complexities of the communist informant system are now only gradually coming to light.

Also from Der Spiegel, we'll note Uwe Klussman and Christian Neef's "Revolutions Speed Russia's Disintegration:"

Kyrgyzstan was the latest country in the region whose government was chased out of office. The Georgians needed several months in 2003 to unseat Eduard Shevardnadze, and the Ukrainians took eight weeks last fall to overthrow their government in Kiev. But the former nomad people of Kyrgyzstan broke all previous records: in Bishkek, the revolution was a done deal after two hours, and it was the first such event in a former member of the Soviet Union that is dominated by the Muslim religion.
Of course, East and West had totally different takes on the kind of coup which happened in this republic, which shares its border with China.
While the Americans celebrated Kyrgyzstan's "dawn of a better, democratic future" (Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice), a confidante of Putin had a different take. Referring to Kyrgyzstan's traditional role as a hub for drug trafficking and the looting in the capital's streets, he painted a grim picture: This, he said, was a revolution that "tastes like opium and shows the color of the darkest night."
It sounded all-too similar: When the authoritarian Ukrainian regime in Kiev was overthrown by Victor Yushchenko and Yulia Tymoshenko, Moscow called it an "anti-Russian coup." But the upheaval in Kyrgyzstan wasn't exactly any old uprising of local shepherds. Instead, it was no less than a break with tradition, especially for Putin.
That the reports from Bishkek reached him during his visit to Yerevan must have been symbolic for the Russian leader in a very bitter way: Following Akayev's toppling, a leader known to be loyal to Moscow, Armenia is now the last remaining truly pro-Russian republic in the post-Soviet region.

From Aljazeera, we'll note "WHO attacked in Angola:"

World Health Organisation teams fighting an outbreak of Marburg virus in Angola have been forced to temporarily suspend work in one area after scared residents stoned their vehicles, officials said.
WHO halted operations in parts of the Uige district in northwestern Angola on Friday following the attacks on Thursday.
Residents apparently feared the medics could be spreading the infection that has already claimed 184 lives, some of them health workers.

Also from Aljazeera, Kara e-mails to note "Oxfam: Rich nations fixing world trade:"

Rich nations are rigging international trade by providing heavy farm subsidies while also pushing for developing countries to lower protective tariffs, according to a report released by the Oxfam aid agency.
In negotiations at the World Trade Organisation, richer states - particularly the US and the EU - are forcing developing countries to open their markets and then dumping their own excess agricultural produce at below cost price, undermining the livelihood of farmers in poorer nations, according to the 68-page report.

"This is an example of rigged rules and double standards at their baldest," said Phil Bloomer on Monday, head of Oxfam's Make Trade Fair campaign. "Their selfish motives couldn't be clearer."
The US and EU have repackaged their farm subsidies so they appear to conform to WTO rules, but they are still able to dump products such as corn, milk, rice and sugar on world markets, the report said.

Note: This is part one. I'm breaking it up into sections because there's trouble posting.
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