Sunday, November 06, 2005

Reporting from outside the US mainstream media

Rioters have fired shots at police in an 11th night of riots in France, injuring 10 policemen, two of them seriously, as Muslim leaders attempt to help quell the violence.
A police spokesman says about 200 youths are lobbing stones and other objects at police in Grigny, south of Paris.
He says some of the rioters have fired at officers with shotguns, hitting 10 policemen.
Two officers are being treated in hospital - one with lead shot wounds to the throat, the other with wounds to a leg.
Asked whether the rioters could have killed someone, the spokesman said: "Probably not at this distance, but they could have caused bad injuries, or turn one of the officers blind."
The riots have spread from the suburbs of Paris to other French cities.

Olive e-mailed to note the above, from "Fatwa issued as Paris rioters fire at police" (Australia's ABC). Olive also says to thank Ty because, when he highlighted the riots last week, she started looking for information on the topic.

Dominick e-mails to note "Iran opens military site to UN nuclear inspectors" (Ireland's

Iran, under heavy US-led pressure to curb its nuclear programme, has opened a high-security military site to UN nuclear inspectors who also met senior personnel at the facility, an Iranian official said today.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said the approval was given to the inspectors after they requested to visit the Parchin military site, about 20 miles south-east of Tehran, which US officials claim may be part of Iran’s nuclear arms research programme.
"This was not the first time. They had visited Parchin before. This time they asked to visit other areas of the site," Asefi told reporters during his weekly press conference.
"They talked with our friends this time. What they have done in Iran has been in the framework of the NPT (nuclear nonproliferation treaty) and safeguards," he said without elaborating.

Kyle e-mails to note "EU Vows Action Against Members Hosting CIA Prisons" (

The European Commission has warned that any European country proved to host secret CIA-run jails could face "severe action" by the European Union, Britain's The Daily Telegraph reported Friday, November 4.
Franco Frattini, the justice commissioner, said potentially sever legal and political consequences awaited any EU member, or any country seeking EU membership, if it was confirmed that it had cooperated with the CIA secret prisons program.
Frattini said that all EU member-states are bound by international legal obligations, in particular the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and the Convention against Torture.
In theory, nations can be suspended from the 25-state bloc for grave breaches of such fundamental principles.
Calling them the "black sites," The Washington Post revealed on Wednesday, November 2, that the secret prisons were located in at least eight countries, including Thailand and several eastern European democracies.
Citing senior US officials, the daily withheld the names of the eastern European countries at the request of senior US officials who said their disclosure could disrupt counter-terrorist operations in those countries and make them targets of attack.

Rob e-mails to note "Medics condemn Gaza sonic booms" (BBC):

Doctors' groups have filed a petition at the Israeli Supreme Court seeking to halt air force jets from breaking the sound barrier over the Gaza Strip.
The UN says the tactic is an abuse of human rights, causing widespread fear especially among children, and medics say it induces miscarriages.
The sonic booms from Israeli jets are designed to be a show of force to militant groups, correspondents say.
Israel evacuated its settlers and troops from Gaza earlier this year.
However, the Jewish state continues to control the territory's airspace, coastline and borders.
It has also continued to carry out air raids against what it says are militant targets.

Norah e-mails to note "Cocaine record on 'Crusader'" (Aftenposten):

Customs officers uncovered a record 190 kilos of cocaine during a routine check of the South American ship "Crusader" in Mosjøen in northern Norway on Wednesday night.
The "Crusader" is in dock at Elkem Aluminum quay and its crew of 25 is in custody and police continued to search the vessel, using sniffer dogs and divers to check if more drugs were hidden nearby.
"The old record for confiscation of cocaine in Norway was 49.8 kilos," said adviser Tormod Bønes of the National Criminal Investigation Service (NCIS).

Kara e-mails to note Shlomo Shamir's "ADL's Foxman warns of efforts to 'Christianize America'" (Haaretz):

[. . .] the national director of the Anti-Defamation League, Abraham Foxman, warned in his address to the League's national commission, meeting in New York City over the weekend.
"Today we face a better financed, more sophisticated, coordinated, unified, energized and organized coalition of groups in opposition to our policy positions on church-state separation than ever before. Their goal is to implement their Christian worldview. To Christianize America. To save us!" he said.
Foxman proceeded to describe the process and to name names: "Major players include Focus On Family. Alliance Defense Fund, the American Family Association, Family Research Council and more. They and other groups have established new organizations and church-based networks, and built infrastructure throughout the country designed to promote traditional Christian values."
The ADL, considered the largest Jewish organization in America, has in the past spearheaded campaigns against religious preachers and Christian elements deemed unusually extreme. But this is the first all-out media assault by an ADL head on the U.S. Christian establishment.
[. . .]
He noted that churches and organizations of this sort have always been active in America, but they had never before been so aggressive and determined. "They intend to Christianize all aspects of American life, from the halls of government to the libraries, to the movies, to recording studios, to the playing fields and locker rooms of professional, collegiate and amateur sports; from the military to SpongeBob SquarePants," Foxman charged. "No effort is made to hide their goals or their ambitions, and their vision of America is far different from ours."

Skip e-mails to note Yuriy Humber 's "Liberal Voice Otto Latsis Dies" (Moscow Times):

Otto Latsis, a political and economic commentator who was forced out of journalism in the early 1970s and returned with perestroika to become a quiet but uncompromising voice of liberalism, died last week. He was 71.
Latsis died Thursday in a Moscow hospital after struggling to recover from injuries he suffered in a car accident in September, Interfax reported, citing Igor Yakovenko, head of the Russian Union of Journalists.
Latsis had undergone several operations in the past two months after suffering a fractured second vertebrae and a hematoma in the car crash, which occurred on the Kaluzhskoye Shosse outside Moscow, Interfax said. His grandson also was injured.

Two years ago, he was hospitalized after being knocked unconscious in an attack that left him with a concussion.
"While Tolstoy was alive, so was literature. You could say the same about Latsis and journalism," said Olga Timofeyeva, acting editor of Moskovskiye Novosti, the last of several newspapers to publish his columns.

James in Brighton e-mails to note "US holds four China spy suspects" (BBC):

FBI agents in Los Angeles have arrested four people for allegedly trying to smuggle US military secrets to China.
An FBI affidavit said they were charged with theft of government property, conspiracy and transportation of stolen goods, Reuters news agency reported.
The affidavit said one suspect worked for a California defence contractor.
Those arrested - two married couples - are all ethnic Chinese. Two of them are naturalised US citizens, while the other two are legal US residents.

Erik e-mails to note "Missile embedded in cruise ship, says Downer" (New Zealand Herald):

A cruise ship with up to 19 Australians on board has an unexploded missile embedded in an accommodation unit after a possible terrorist attack off the east African coast, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer says.
The passengers on the US-owned Seabourn Spirit were woken by machinegun fire and a rocket-propelled grenade crashing into the vessel at dawn on Saturday about 160km off the coast of the lawless nation of Somalia. The luxury cruise ship is about to dock in the Seychelles, but Mr Downer said that could be delayed while officials disarm the unexploded ordnance.

Pru e-mails to note Carlo Ungarelli's "Italy’s student revolt" (Socialist Worker):

Mass protests against privatisation
A huge series of demonstrations and occupations in Italy over the last few weeks has seen the return of the student movement. Students across the country have been protesting against the new university bill recently introduced by the ministry of education.
This new bill increases the privatisation of education.
An unexpected, vibrant and colourful 150,000 strong student demonstration took place on Tuesday of last week in Rome, Italy’s capital, against the right wing government of Silvio Berlusconi. This followed a series of occupations of universities that challenged the government's plan.
The demonstration peacefully occupied the centre of Rome and for many hours students filled the streets and the squares near the Italian parliament.
Ignazio la Russa, a member of the "post fascist" National Alliance party, which is in the government, tried to incite the police against the students. Police then attacked some students.
The success of the protest sparked off occupations of universities all over Italy. Two days after the Rome demonstration Milanese students marched on the state university because the minister of education was due to attend a meeting there.
The demonstration turned into a victory march when the news spread that the minister had decided not to come.
Students found Nobel prizewinning playwright Dario Fo marching alongside them.
He then gave an impromptu speech focused on the need for education to be free -- as opposed to the Berlusconi government’s proposals of placing education at the service of private business.
Parts of the university were then occupied, and two days later Fo returned to give a theatrical performance. Elsewhere, occupations and demonstrations are spreading.
Giorgio Sestili, a student at the University of Rome, said, "We are protesting against the plan of transforming the university into an institution where only an elite can afford to go.
"The services for students are getting worse, there are no grants, fees are increasing. This is part of a neo-liberal model of society that we strongly oppose, where both workers and students are under attack. That's why we will join the national strike called by the unions."
The protests have increased the pressure on the Berlusconi government, which faces a general election next year.
It also shows the centre left and its leader Romano Prodi that hundreds of thousands of people reject the neo-liberal policies he has hinted that he will keep in place if he wins the election.
Last week's demonstration sends a clear message of the strong opposition to the privatisation of higher eduction and in favour of a social model where education is a fundamental right.
Many commentators are talking about the arrival of a new generation of protesters.
Suzie Wylie, a member of the National Union of Students (NUS) national executive, told Socialist Worker, "Neo-liberal governments across Europe, whether it's Berlusconi in Italy or Tony Blair in Britain, are pushing through policies which are destroying people’s access to higher education. This is part of a broader attack on the whole concept of the welfare state.
"Students in Italy have shown the way to fight such attacks. Their direct action has forced their government to take note.
"We need a similar movement in Britain against top-up fees and other pro-market policies. We need to show the same resistance to these policies that Italian students have.
"The Italian movement has been organised by students in local areas taking action. We can replicate that in Britain, which can increase the pressure on the NUS to call national action.
"Activists will be inviting Italian students who have been involved in the movement to visit Britain to explain their struggle and inspire students here."
To read more on the revolt against neo-liberalism across Europe get International Socialism journal 108 for £5. Go to or phone 020 7819 1177
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