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World News Last Updated: Mar 9th, 2011 - 07:17:27 

  • Gene Sharp: Author of the nonviolent revolution rulebook

  • [Feb 23, 2011, 00:25],  [BBC]
    In an old townhouse in East Boston an elderly stooped man is tending rare orchids in his shabby office. His Labrador Sally lies on the floor between stacks of academic papers watching him as he shuffles past. This is Dr Gene Sharp the man now credited with the strategy behind the toppling of the Egyptian government. Gene Sharp is the world's foremost expert on non-violent revolution. His work has been translated into more than 30 languages, his books slipped across borders and hidden from secret policemen all over the world. As Slobodan Milosevic in Serbia and Viktor Yanukovych in Ukraine fell to the colour revolutions which swept across Eastern Europe, each of the democratic movements paid tribute to Sharp's contribution, yet he remained largely unknown to the public.
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  • World Report: Governments Soft-Talking Abusers

  • [Jan 25, 2011, 00:51],  [HRW]
    (Brussels) - Too many governments are accepting the rationalizations and subterfuges of repressive governments, replacing pressure to respect human rights with softer approaches such as private "dialogue" and "cooperation," Human Rights Watch said today in releasing its World Report 2011. Instead of standing up firmly against abusive leaders, many governments, including European Union member states, adopt policies that do not generate pressure for change. The 649-page report, Human Rights Watch's 21st annual review of human rights practices around the globe, summarizes major human rights issues in more than 90 countries and territories worldwide, reflecting the extensive investigative work carried out in 2010 by Human Rights Watch staff.
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  • Southern Sudan votes on independence

  • [Jan 10, 2011, 08:01],  [BBC]
    Huge numbers of Southern Sudanese have been voting in a landmark referendum on independence from the north. The week-long vote is widely expected to result in Africa's largest country being split in two. Amid scenes of jubilation, south Sudanese leader Salva Kiir said: "This is an historic moment the people of Southern Sudan have been waiting for." The poll was agreed as part of the 2005 peace deal which ended the two-decade north-south civil war. The leaders of the mainly Muslim north have promised to allow the potential new country, where most people are Christian or follow traditional religions, to secede peacefully. The BBC's Will Ross in Southern Sudan says he has not met a single person who says they will vote in favour of continued unity with the north
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  • Royal wedding: Prince William to marry Kate Middleton

  • [Nov 16, 2010, 18:26],  [BBC]
    Prince William is to marry long-term girlfriend Kate Middleton next year, Clarence House has said. William, second in line to the throne, will marry in London next spring or summer and live in north Wales, where he is serving with the RAF. The couple, who are both 28, became engaged in October during a private holiday in Kenya. They began dating eight years ago while studying at St Andrews University in Fife, where they shared a house. The royal engagement was announced in a brief statement released by Clarence House. It said: "The Prince of Wales is delighted to announce the engagement of Prince William to Miss Catherine Middleton. "The wedding will take place in the spring or summer of 2011, in London. Further details about the wedding day will be announced in due course.
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  • MIA: 'People forgot what it's like to be punk'

  • [Nov 15, 2010, 16:41],  [The Guardian, UK]
    Frank Zappa once said that most rock journalism involves "people who can't write, interviewing people who can't talk, for people who can't read". I think I begin to see what he meant after spending an entertaining hour with MIA. The singer is perfectly beguiling, but quite baffling, and I leave wondering what on earth she has been talking about, how on earth I am going to write it up, and whether any reader will ever manage to make sense of it. To give you an example, here she is talking about her Sri Lankan identity: "Well in the beginning no one knew where the fuck it was, so I never really talked about it. And especially to explain: 'Well, yeah, and there's the Sinhalese and the Tamils and the war. You know, by the time you got to England you were just brown.
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  • .Offshore detention 'likely to be longer' after High Court ruling

  • [Nov 12, 2010, 02:15],  [The Australian]
    FAILED asylum-seekers will be given access to the judicial system after a pivotal High Court ruling. The decision lands a significant blow to Australia's offshore processing regime and that the government warns will "elongate" detention times. But in a development that will increase pressure on the Gillard government to make good on its promised Timor Solution, Immigration Minister Chris Bowen said plans for a regional processing centre would not be affected by the court's decision. The High Court yesterday unanimously ruled that two Tamil asylum-seekers from Sri Lanka were denied procedural fairness after their claims were rejected under the Rudd government's independent merits review process. The administrative system - under which failed asylum-seekers can appeal against decisions by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship - was introduced by the Rudd government in July 2008.
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  • Argentinian judge petitions Spain to try civil war crimes of Franco

  • [Oct 27, 2010, 21:17],  []
    In a stark reversal of roles, an Argentine judge has taken a step towards opening the first comprehensive investigation into the human rights abuses of General Franco's dictatorship in Spain. Judge María Servini has asked Spain to declare whether its own courts are investigating cases of torture, murder and disappearance of Franco's political opponents. If amnesty laws prevent Spanish courts investigating the cases cited by Servini, which date from 1936 until the dictator's death in 1975, then she might declare her own court competent to investigate and try crimes allegedly committed by Franco's henchmen. In a formal petition to Spain, Servini indicates that the court would investigate allegations of genocide, including tens of thousands of cases of "torture, assassination, forced disappearances and the stealing of children".
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  • UN rights chief urges US, Iraq to probe WikiLeaks evidence

  • [Oct 27, 2010, 21:08],  [AFP]
    GENEVA — UN human rights chief Navi Pillay on Tuesday urged Iraq and the United States to investigate allegations of torture and unlawful killings in the Iraq conflict revealed in documents leaked last week. "The US and Iraqi authorities should take necessary measures to investigate all allegations made in these reports and to bring to justice those responsible for unlawful killings, summary executions, torture and other serious human rights abuses," her office said in a statement. Pillay said the confidential documents published last Friday by whistleblowing website WikiLeaks added to her concerns that serious breaches of international human rights law had occurred in Iraq. Those possible breaches included "summary executions of a large number of civilians and torture and ill-treatment of detainees."
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  • US jails Guatemalan ex-soldier for hiding massacre role

  • [Sep 18, 2010, 10:17],  [BBC]
    A former Guatemalan soldier has been sentenced to 10 years in prison in the United States for concealing his part in a massacre during Guatemala's civil war when he applied for US citizenship. Gilberto Jordan failed to reveal his participation in the 1982 killings of at least 162 villagers at Dos Erres. Jordan admitted throwing a baby down a well during a raid on the village by his elite military unit. Campaigners in Guatemala want him sent home for trial.
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  • Kosovo's independence is legal, court finds

  • [Jul 24, 2010, 00:38],  [CNN]
    (CNN) -- Kosovo's declaration of independence from Serbia in February 2008 was legal, the International Court of Justice ruled in a 10-4 vote Thursday. There were celebrations in Pristina, with fireworks being set off in the capital of Kosovo after the finding was announced, journalist Vlora Rrustemi told CNN. But Serbia's Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic expressed disappointment, saying Belgrade had hoped for a "peaceful compromise solution" that did not create "dangerous secessionist precedents" elsewhere in the world. The U.N. General Assembly asked the court to clarify the legality of Kosovo's declaration of independence, based on a request from Serbia, and the court held hearings last December. Serbia maintains Kosovo's move for independence was illegal and that it remains a part of the Serbian republic.
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  • Canadian Tamils head to the polls on June 20 to elect council

  • [Jun 16, 2010, 00:52],  [Digital Journal]
    Toronto - On June 20, Tamils across Canada will head to the polls to take part in a nationwide election to vote for the National Council of Canadian Tamils (NCCT). Several Canadian Tamil organizations are working together to help form this national council. In December 2009, Digital Journal reported on the more than 50,000 Canadian Tamils who took part in a national referendum. Approximately 99.8 percent voted in favor of a separate Tamil state within the nation of Sri Lanka. A referendum also took place around the world, including France and Norway. On June 20, 2010, thousands more are expected to take part in a nationwide election to elect 51 candidates, who have submitted their nomination documents and papers, to the national, provincial and regional levels of the NCCT, according to a press release e-mailed to Digital Journal.
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  • New York Times Runs Correction on M.I.A. Feature

  • [Jun 4, 2010, 02:07],  []
    M.I.A.'s distaste for her recent feature in The New York Times Magazine hasn't been much of a secret. The enraged Sri Lankan singer responded to the less-than-flattering piece by tweeting the phone number of the article's author Lynn Hirschberg and later penning a diss track, titled 'I'm a Singer.' M.I.A.'s most rational response to the entire ordeal, was the threat of posting the unedited transcript of the interview on her website, but the New York Times decided to help her out a bit, by running a small correction on the piece on Thursday (June 3).
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  • Internal security meet: Multiple security threats must be put down - PM

  • [Feb 7, 2010, 18:35],  []
    New Delhi, Feb 7 (IANS) Emphasising that the road ahead to securing India was hard and there was a lot to achieve, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Sunday said multiple threats such as leftwing extremism and insurgencies in the northeast and Jammu and Kashmir required a firm hand to put down. "Hostile groups and elements operate from across the border to perpetrate terrorist acts in our country. The state of Jammu and Kashmir bears the brunt of the acts of these groups. There is insurgency and violence in the northeast. Many states are affected by leftwing extremism, which I have in the past referred to as the greatest threat to our internal security," said Manmohan Singh, inaugurating the internal security conclave of chief ministers here. "There are also those trying to divide our society on communal and regional lines. Each one of these threats requires a strong effort, determination, hard work and continuous vigilance to tackle. These threats to our society, to our polity and our country constitute a challenge that we must and we shall meet effectively at all costs," he said.
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  • Cohn: How Canada can help rebuild Haiti

  • [Jan 20, 2010, 05:32],  [Toronto Star]
    It's human nature to hope for the best in Haiti. We tell ourselves that life for Haitians can't possibly get any worse, that people will pull together at a time of such unbearable sorrow. Believing in the power of redemption, we give it our best shot. But history tells us Haiti is a long-shot. Once again, Canadians are donating generously, humanitarian workers are on the ground and our troops are being deployed as part of Canada's DART (Disaster Assistance Response Team). We have no choice but to help Haiti rebuild. An epic disaster seizes the front pages, electrifies the internet, energizes NGOs and boosts their cash flow. Canada will host a meeting of foreign ministers next Monday to pin down donors, so we are on track for yet more feats of fundraising – and that is good news for Haiti's future. But past experience in other conflict zones suggests that any new foundation will ultimately crumble unless we look beyond infrastructure – and focus on political structures. hhh
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  • Chaos as overburdened Haiti airport can’t cope with volume of aid flights

  • [Jan 15, 2010, 02:37],  [Times on Line]
    Haiti’s tiny airport buckled under the burden of global sympathy last night as controllers called a halt to incoming relief flights, unable to cope with the volume of traffic heading to the earthquake zone. With roads cracked and blocked with rubble, a ruined port and no heavy-lifting equipment to be found across the capital, aid workers warned that thousands may die for the want of emergency supplies sitting hundreds of miles away on an airstrip on the Dominican side of the island. All flights were suspended after air traffic controllers declared that Haitian airspace was saturated by the rush of aircraft trying to deliver supplies. Among 11 aircraft that were turned back was one containing a team of British firefighters and rescue dogs sent to search for survivors. “It’s chaos,” said Elisabeth Byrs, spokeswoman for the United Nations Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs, which oversees the international response to major disasters. “It’s a logistical nightmare.”
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