Apr. 29th, 2011

the_future_modernes: (Default)
[personal profile] the_future_modernes
Uganda walk-to-work protests kick up dust

Being hauled up before courts and jailed just because you have chosen to walk to work as a form of protest is something unimaginable in many countries. But in Uganda it happens.

Security forces are harassing and have been locking up opposition politicians and their supporters who are taking part in a protest against spiralling food and fuel prices by walking to work.
The walk-to-work protest, as it is called, began on April 11. A group calling itself Activists for Change (A4C) organised the demonstration and opposition politicians - keen to show they are concerned about people's discontent over rising prices - heeded the call to take part.

But the protest got off to a stuttering start as the leading opposition figure, Kizza Besigye, was promptly intercepted by security forces when he was leaving his home in Kasangati near Kampala, the capital. Another politician, Nobert Mao, head of the Democratic Party, and an opposition MP were also picked up.

Besigye, who was arrested for a fourth time on Thursday a day after he was freed on bail on condition that he does not stage more protests, had been given three options: To return to his house or be driven to work in a police vehicle or send for his personal car and drive to work. He chose none.

Purchase of fighter jets

The tense standoff that ensued and resulted in Besigye getting shot in the right hand - as supporters who were dispersed by police amid plumes of tear gas joined him - shows no sign of easing and has led to more protests.
It is not hard to see the source of the discontent. The government is planning to buy eight fighter jets for $740m when its people cannot afford food. Government officials justify this spending by saying Uganda needs to beef up its defence systems, if it is to protect its newfound oil near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).MORE





Uganda rebellion gathers pace despite bloody government crackdown

Riots have swept across the Ugandan capital, Kampala, in the biggest anti-government protest in sub-Saharan Africa so far this year.

Security forces have launched a brutal crackdown, opening fire on unarmed civilians with live rounds, rubber bullets and teargas. Two people have been killed, more than 120 wounded and around 360 arrested. Women and girls have been among those beaten, according to witnesses.

Two weeks of growing unrest – sparked by rising food and fuel prices – have gained fresh impetus after the violent arrest of the opposition leader Kizza Besigye on Thursday
. Critics say President Yoweri Museveni, in power for 25 years, is losing his grip. They claim his wildly disproportionate crackdown on Besigye's "walk to work" protests smacks of panic and is sowing the seeds of popular revolt.

"I thought the police were going to kill me," said Andrew Kibwka, 18, after police with heavy sticks rained blows on him. "I was telling them I'm harmless but they just carried on. I did nothing to provoke them. They beat me because I was running away."MORE


the_future_modernes: (Default)
[personal profile] the_future_modernes
Egypt to open Gaza border crossing

Egypt is to permanently open the Rafah border crossing to ease the Israeli blockade on Gaza, Nabil al-Arabi, the country's foreign minister, has said.

Arabi said Egypt would take "important steps to help ease the blockade on Gaza in the few days to come".

Speaking to Al Jazeera on Friday, the minister said Egypt would no longer accept that the Rafah border, Gaza's only crossing that bypasses Israel, remain blocked, describing the decision to seal it off as "shameful".

The announcement came days after Hamas, which controls Gaza, and their secular West Bank rivals Fatah, which controls the Palestinian Authority (PA), agreed to end their rift and form an interim government to prepare for elections.

In talks before the deal, the two sides had discussed reopening the crossing after positioning PA representatives at the border, a condition in a US-brokered 2005 border crossing agreement between Israel and the PA.

Mahmud Zahar, a senior Hamas official, told the AFP news agency that it was understood that the crossing, which under the 2005 agreement was to be monitored by European Union delegates, would be opened after a unity deal.MORE
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[personal profile] happydork
Posting at [personal profile] the_future_modernes's request.

On Thursday 5th May, there is a referendum being held in the UK on changing the system for electing members of parliament.

The full text of the question will be

At present, the UK uses the “first past the post” system to elect MPs to the House of Commons. Should the “alternative vote” system be used instead?


First Past The Post (FPTP), the current system, works as follows:

The voter: Marks their first choice candidate.

The returning officer: Counts how many votes each candidate has. The candidate with the greatest number of votes wins.

Alternative Vote (AV), the proposed system, works as follows:

The voter: Puts the candidates in order of preference.

The returning officer:
1) Counts how many first choice votes each candidate has. If one candidate has over 50%, that candidate wins. If not, the candidate with the least number of votes is eliminated from consideration.
2) In each subsequent round, each vote counts for the voter's favourite candidate who is still in the running. If one candidate has over 50% of the vote, that candidate wins. If not, the candidate with the least number of votes is eliminated and the procedure is repeated.

(If this is not clear, a worked example of AV may be helpful.)

I strongly recommend A Guide to the Alternative Vote (pdf) by Roger Mortimore, Ipsos MORI SRI Director of Political Analysis as a clear, interesting and reasonably unbiased guide to the debate.

I've also put together my own (biased) collection of links.
the_future_modernes: (three trees and red blossoms on forest f)
[personal profile] the_future_modernes
Royal Wedding: The UK gets ready Wait...I didn't realize Dowining Street had a cat? He looks quite spiffy with his bow! And Oh dear LORD Westminster Abbey's architecture slays me every time!

While all of this was going on:

Royal Wedding in Photos

Police use royal wedding to clampdown on protest

Police are using the royal wedding as an excuse to take their revenge on activists. They have launched a major crackdown over the past week—including raids on squats and social centres, arrests and fresh charges for protesters.

Police commander Bob Broadhurst said that police were “looking specifically at the royal wedding” to prevent “disorder and violence” on the day. Bizarrely he added that “the threat to the wedding is a threat to democracy”.

The truth is that the police clampdown is a threat to democracy and a threat to the right to protest.

Police arrested six anarchists early in the week. Then they arrested and charged several student protesters—including Alfie Meadows, the student who had to have life-saving brain surgery after being struck by police at a protest last December.

Riot police arrived en masse at various sites across London the day before the wedding to raid squats. Outside the Ratstar squat in Camberwell, south London, rows of riot vans filled the streets while armed police kept guard outside.

They gave different reasons for the raid at different times of the day. But one Met police spokesperson said, “The search warrants were issued in connection with the disturbances at the student and TUC demonstrations.”

Around 40 officers arrived at Grow Heathrow, a community gardening squat in west London, at 7.15am in full riot gear. Witnesses describe how they pulled people from their beds and searched them—only to leave with nothing.MORE


Royal (British) Weddings Past




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LGBT activists arrested during royal wedding

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