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The Olympics and the uprising

Only a few miles from Tottenham, the epicenter of the recent London riots, and between the east end of Hackney and the west end of Stratford--neighborhoods where rioting quickly spread to--sits London's Olympic Park, home to the main Olympic Stadium and Athletes' Village, as well as a multitude of other venues for next summer's 2012 Summer Olympics.

As the British government imposes austerity measures on its poor and working-class citizens, it has dumped billions of dollars into these venues and security for the 2012 Games. As the riots in London escalated, many in the media began to question what impact it would have on the Games--with the fear that tourists might stay away or more rioting might occur.

Bob Quellos spoke with anti-Olympic activists Debbie Shaw, of London's Counter Olympics Network, and Martin Slavin, of the website, about the impact preparations for the Olympics have had on London's poor and working-class neighborhoods.

THE GOVERNMENT has spent billions on building the venues for the 2012 Olympics while people in surrounding neighborhoods are suffering the effects of austerity measures. Can you describe the dynamic in these neighborhoods?

Debbie: It's no coincidence that the riots kicked off in Tottenham following the murder of yet another Black man who just happened to get on the wrong side of the police. And it's also no coincidence that Monday's activities kicked off in Hackney, one of the five Olympics boroughs, with a long history of insurrection and large Black and homeless populations.

A Hackney resident interviewed by one of the news networks said, "This is an Olympic borough. There's a lot of money been spent here recently, but none of it is trickling down." There's a video on YouTube right now where a masked woman coming out of a shop is asked what she's doing, and she says, "Just getting my taxes back."

It's also no coincidence that the majority of the people involved are from the generation that are suffering most from the cuts to government spending. They're the same kids who got politicized last year when they marched to demand the reinstatement of the Education Maintenance Allowance, the money allocated to poor families to help teenagers study for university. MORE
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Oscar Pistorius will become the first amputee athlete to compete at the able-bodied World Championships, after being named in South Africa’s squad.

Oscar Pistorius will become the first amputee athlete to compete at the able-bodied World Championships, after being named in South Africa’s squad.

The 24-year-old double-amputee, who competes on carbon fibre legs, will race in the 400m and 4x400m relay

The event begins in Daegu, South Korea on 27 August.

Women’s 800m world champion Caster Semenya, who was cleared to run last year after an 11-month lay-off because of gender tests, is also in the squad.

Pistorius said: "I have dreamt for such a long time of competing in a major championships and this is a very proud moment in my life.

"It will be a great day for me when I set out on the track in Daegu and I hope to do my country proud.

"This will be the highest-profile and most prestigious able-bodied event which I have ever competed in, and I will face the highest-calibre of athletes from across the planet."

An International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) ban was overturned in 2008, allowing Pistorius to compete against able-bodied athletes.

The IAAF's ruling that his "blades" gave him an unfair advantage was overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Pistorius clocked a personal best time of 45.07 seconds in Italy last month to qualify just inside the cut-off time.

Continue reading

Via fyeahAfrica which has pics.
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Benoît Assou-Ekotto and Sébastien Bassong attack France race quotas

Benoît Assou-Ekotto still finds the concept faintly amazing, despite having lived in England for the past five years, and so does Sébastien Bassong, his Tottenham Hotspur team-mate, who has been in the country now for three. When the French-born Cameroon internationals ask colleagues such as Jermain Defoe or Aaron Lennon where they come from, the answers touch a nerve that is red raw in France at present.

"They say, of course, that they are English or British," Assou-Ekotto says. "At first, I thought that they must be ashamed of their origins because coming from where I did in France, even if you had only one little drop of Moroccan blood, for example, you would represent it to the death. You would be fiercely proud of being African.

"But here, it is different. People might say that their parents are from Ivory Coast, Nigeria or wherever but they are fiercely proud of being here and the society accepts that, which is a big difference to France. When you ask the same question in France, people will say, 'I'm from Congo or Mali or Cameroon' because there isn't the sense of belonging."


But the general unpleasantness of the affair has raised more fundamental questions, with the most prominent concerning why young men such as Assou-Ekotto and Bassong, who were born and raised in France, can feel such a disconnection from the society and, by extension, the France national team.

"I'm surprised by this affair but I'm not necessarily shocked because it's a reflection of French society as I see it," Assou-Ekotto says. "I would put a question to you. Can you name another country where, when the national anthem is sung at the stadium, people boo and whistle? This happens in France all the time. It is not foreigners who make up the crowd; it is people who are supposed to be French and yet there is this disconnect between the state and the people, and they do that. And yet, when something is wrong, they highlight the foreigners.

"France has, at its heart, a problem where it has been unable or unwilling to accommodate the sons and daughters of its former colonies, even though France benefited and enriched itself greatly from the relationship. That's hard to accept and it's what sits at the base of what is dysfunctional in France

I and other have been saying this shit for a long fucking while: if the dominant culture is nasty to its immigrants then what the fuck do they expect said immigrants to do? Continue to hold out their hands to get slapped? Of course they are going to be alienated and draw away from the dominant society. This is logic and common fraking sense! Now the fun thing of course is that Britian has it own issues with immigration. But damn France, damn.

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The Work of Sport in the Age of International Acquisition

One day in the winter of 2002, Dorothee Paulmann received a telephone call at her home office in Trier, Germany. Paulmann had recently abandoned a career as a triathlete to become a sports agent, specializing in East African runners; the previous year one of her clients, a thirty-three-yearold Kenyan runner named Edith Masai, had won the bronze medal at the World Cross Country Championship. The caller was Leonard Mucheru, a 24-year-old long-distance runner from Kenya, seeking her services. She agreed, and Mucheru began to travel between his home in the Kenyan highlands and Trier, Germany’s oldest city. “He was impressed by the nice training facilities,” Paulmann recalls, “especially the forest and the stadium.” Mucheru improved steadily, and soon he was being recruited by friends of Paulmann, Moroccan trainers on the international circuit who were putting together a track team for Bahrain. There was one condition: Mucheru would have to renounce his Kenyan citizenship and become Bahraini. As Paulmann tells it, Mucheru agreed without hesitation and flew to Bahrain with the Moroccans. He filled out the necessary paperwork, changed his name to Mushir Salem Jawher, and settled into his new arrangement. Henceforth he would receive a salary of $1,000 a month, payable until death — his checks signed, oddly, by the Bahrain Defense Force — with substantial bonuses for winning races. Mucheru returned to Trier to train with Paulmann for the 2004 Asian Indoor Athletics Championship in Tehran, where he won the 3000-meter race.

Bahrain’s recruitment efforts imitated those of Qatar, which had been importing athletes for years — mostly that special breed of Kenyans from the Rift Valley highlands. Qatar had cultivated a network of scouts and agents to bring promising Kenyans to the emirate for negotiations, and contacts among Kenyan sports officials able to waive a rule requiring a three-year “cooling off” period before an ex-Kenyan athlete could represent an adopted country in competitions. The delicacy of these dealings was such that, in exchange for Kenyan assistance, Qatar agreed to construct a professional stadium with a running track in the Rift Valley, where most athletes practice on improvised dirt trails. But as time passed and the stadium remained merely notional, Kenya accused Qatar of chicanery. Qatar blamed Kenyan corruption and bureaucratic infighting for the delay. In 2003, relations nose-dived when Kenyan Olympic Committee president and former track star Kipchoge Keino barred a newly Qatari runner, 20-year-old Saif Saaeed Shaheen, from competing in the Athens games the next year.

Until that August, Shaheen had been Stephen Cherono. He was not well-known in Kenya, where there is such a surfeit of world-class runners that few qualify for the national team. Hardly anyone took notice when Cherono switched his citizenship and name in exchange for a lifetime monthly salary of $1,000 and the standard complement of elite trainers and cutting-edge facilities. But then he started winning races. In a surprise victory at the World Championships in Athletics, held in Paris that spring, Shaheen broke the world record for the 3,000-meter steeplechase. After crossing the finish line he fell to his knees and began to cross himself, but an official rushed to stop him; he then took a Qatari flag, wrapped it around his shoulders, and ran a victory lap; when he stepped up to the podium he forgot his new name and had to check the scoreboard. His brother, a runner on the Kenyan team, finished fifth in the same race, and refused to congratulate him.

This jarring scene was replayed on television in Kenya and elsewhere, and Shaheen, who had received a multimillion-dollar bonus for his victory, was condemned in his homeland’s newspapers.MORE

I am not surprised. Where there is a a disparity of resources, the moneybags in the more developed countries are going to be able to buy the talent of the less rich countries. Consider the bench of foreign born Olympic athletes in America and Britain and Canada for example. Especially in track and field. I have seen many Caribbean track athletes poached by these countries in particular because they had better universities (at which many of the athletes were used and dumped) and access to better training facilities and of course foreign and thus better coaches. of course, there's also the whole "I got immigrate because free trade agreements and the IMF and in association with local corruption done fucked over my country's economy" factor as well. And these athletes are lauded as America's or Britain's or Canada's when they bring home the medals, until one of them gets caught with drugs in the system. Then its "Jamaican-born so and so" and "Barbadian born whoever else." Nevermind that its the moneybags system in the developed countries that brings the access to these expensive designer drugs to the athletes. Lets quietly seep that under the rug and emphasize their foreign and criminal ways, distinguish the from the good old British and Americans and Canadians who would NEVAR do anything like this...

Even if the athletes decide to compete for their country of birth, many of them train overseas.To use Jamaica as an example, over TWO HUNDRED Jamaican athletes train in America currently. Which is why one of the triumphs of the Beijing Olympics was to see the astonishing amount of Jamaican athletes who had trained at home under Jamaican coaches, right there in the capital Kingston, in some cases leaving American programmes to do so...beating the living hell out of the world, left and right. The example was set. Now Jamaicans at least, do not HAVE to go abroad and swear allegiance to another set of people in order to develop their talents to the fullest. Read that list of people attached to that school. Consider how many of them were the medal winners in Beijing.

Because of that, I am not at all going to beat up on athletes leaving their home countries at a chance for a better life and career with the moneybag countries. Everyone has a right to search out what will make them have better. When it comes down to the nub, some people cannot afford patriotism, no matter how pissed off it makes their fellow countrypersons. What I am going to say to their home countries is this. You are going to have to fight like hell to keep them with you. Because the moneybag countries don't give a fuck except for their performances. They want prestige and they will happily sacrifice the athletes themselves in order to get it. You want to protect your people and make that prestige stay where it belongs? You are going to have do it yourself. And when you finally manage though hard work and sacrifice and difficulty to pull it off, the sports writers of the moneybag countries might just as be pissed as hell and accuse you of taking drugs and otherwise cheating. They might just decide to complain about your showboating and your utter NERVE at having the ability to beat them and your celebration of your win could juusssttt be deemed as arrogant and unsportsmanlike. At which point your news media and fellow countrypeople can rally round and politely or not joyously insult the moneybags. Because for once, their money couldn't buy this thing.
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Via: [ profile] ontd_political
Protesters Occupy Fortnum and Mason Posh UK store

UK Uncut secret occupation revealed as Fortnum & Mason 3.30pm – UK Uncut occupy Fortnum & Mason and aim to stay for as long as possible

UK Uncut groups from across the country transofrmed banks and shops on Oxford Street into hospitals, libraries and theatres with Sam West, Josie Long and Mark Thomas performing.

UK Uncut, the anti-cuts direct action group, are currently occupying Fortnum & Mason over the tax dodge of over 40 million by its owners Whittington Investments which have a 54% stake in Associated British Foods who produce Ryvita, Kingsmill and others and own Primark. ABF have dodged over £40 million in tax. Over 500 activists congregated on Oxford Circus from the march and from Oxford Street where they had been transforming tax dodging retailers such as Vodafone, Boots and BHS where actors Sam and Timothy West performed and Soho Square where comedians Josie Long and Mark Thomas performed stand up comedy gigs. The activists left Oxford Circus at 3:30 reaching Fortnum & Mason by 4 PM. They are vowing to stay for as long as possible in the shop where there will be music, speeches and games. MORE

Yesterday the Guardian profiled the different protester groups that planned to take part: Anti-Cut March, The Protesters

Read more... )

Belfast March in Solidarity with The March for the Alternative

Read more... )

Belfast marks 'March for Alternative'

Workers March in Spending Cuts Backlash

The Londonists Live Blog

The Socialist Worker Live Blog

In pictures: Spending Cuts March Through London

Penny Red: Why I am marching today

Read more... )

Penny Red's Twitter

Coaches travelled in from Wales to join the March

Johann Hari This budget was about redistribution of wealth - from you, to the rich

Read more... )

Any links I missed? Anyone went and have tales to share? Let me know!!!
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Brazilian President Rousseff Escapes Lula's Shadow
This is from Business Week, oh readers. Just so you know. Read more... ) And this one is from Fox News Latino News Brazilian students demonstrate, are received by president Read more... )



Iceland’s PM Violated Equality Laws
Read more... )


Iceland’s Government Likely to Widen Coalition Read more... )



Doctor's protest ends at intervention of the Prime Minister
Read more... )


Kamla, 'special' kids have fun in the rain
Huh. The headline bothers me. Is that acceptable terminology? Read more... ) Children’s health an urgent priority—Kamla Read more... )



Flashbacks : 2004 First female Prime Minister in Mozambique Read more... )


2007 ANGOLA-MOZAMBIQUE Women Face Unequal Inequality Read more... )


2007 Mozambique: Network of Women Ministers And Parliamentarians Read more... )


2009 African Success:Luisa Diogo

Born on 11/04/1958 (format : day/month/year) Biography : Luisa Diogo (b. April 11, 1958), is a Mozambican politician who became the Prime Minister of Mozambique in February 2004. Read more... )

Ms. Diogo's term ended in 2010.
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Houseboaters being 'socially cleansed' from Olympics area

River Lea residents fear licence could rise from £600 to £7,000, but British Waterways says increase only option

Houseboat residents near the Olympic development site in east London are accusing British Waterways of an attempt at "social cleansing". They say proposed changes to rules for living on the canals before the 2012 Games could force hundreds of people from their water-based homes.

British Waterways, which manages 2,200 miles of canals and rivers, has put forward changes to the mooring rules on the river Lea, in east London, that could increase the cost of living on the waterway from about £600 to £7,000 a year. Residents see the move as a deliberate attempt to drive them away.MORE
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via shakesville

The Iroquois invented Lacrosse

And for teh past couple of days, the US gov't saw fit to violate their sovereignty by refusing them to allow them travel to the World Chamopionship being held in Britain on Iroquois Passports. HELLO treaty breakage part elventybillion!

Update: Iroquois Nationals lacrosse team heads to airport, still awaiting word from State Department

NEW YORK — Members of an Iroquois lacrosse team who refuse to travel on U.S. passports were barred from getting on a flight Tuesday to the sport's world championship tournament because of a dispute over their passports.

The 23 members of the New York-based squad arrived at a Delta terminal at Kennedy International Airport wearing team jackets and shirts. Their manager, Ansley Jemison, didn't expect to be allowed to board their flight to Amsterdam and wasn't surprised to be turned away at the check-in desk.

U.S. officials previously informed the team that new security rules for international travelers meant that their old passports — low-tech, partly handwritten documents issued by a tribal authority — wouldn't be honored.

But by showing up, the team avoided forfeiting its tickets. The airline allowed the squad to rebook its flight for Wednesday without penalty. Team officials remained hopeful that a last-minute diplomatic intervention would allow them to attend the World Lacrosse Championship, which is taking place in England.

Jemison said he was confident tribal leaders could work out an arrangement with the U.S. State Department, get the necessary visas from the United Kingdom and make it in time for their first game, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Thursday in Manchester.

"Things are looking very good," he said, although he added, "We are on a crunch deadline."

The Iroquois previously have traveled using passports issued by the Iroquois Confederacy. But the U.S. government says that, unlike U.S. passports, the Iroquois passports aren't acceptable under new, stricter immigration rules. The players won't accept U.S. government-issued documents because they see them as an attack on their identity.

The British government, meanwhile, won't give the players visas if they cannot guarantee they'll be allowed to go home.

Several lawmakers have urged the State Department to find a way to allow the team to travel but the department said there had not yet been a resolution to the case.MORE

Transcript of the fuckery that is the press briefing by the Justice Dept.

Read more... )


Apr. 13th, 2010 02:05 pm
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Caster Semanya cleared to compete as a woman.

After months of speculation and gender testing, South African runner Caster Semenya is finally being allowed to compete again:

“Semenya’s lawyers told the eNews channel Wednesday that her medical team looked at test results following the 2009 world championships and their own tests and concluded that she was clear to compete.”


Pending official “gender verification” from the track and field’s governing body, the IAAF, Semenya plans to make her return to competitive racing at Spanish competition on June 24.MORE
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Iran fights Fifa ban on hijab

Because punishing kids for what their fucking gov'ts do is absolutely what the Olympic Spirit should be about. Apparently the argument started in Canada 11 year old girl told to take off hijab while on the field or be banned for safety reasons And instead of asking that adjustments be made to satisfy their safety requirements, they just banned religious symbols entirely. Which is in my view discriminatory and high-handed.
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In the early 1960's the CIA recruited and led the Hmong people of Laos to fight the communist forces during the Vietnam War in what is known as "The Secret War". Known as some of the world's best guerilla fighters, the Hmong loyally served as an efficient counter attack to communist forces on America's behalf.
In 1975 the US withdrew from the region, leaving the Hmong behind in communist controlled territory to fend for themselves. Many attempted to flee to refuge in Thailand, thousands were killed by Lao and Vietnamese forces during that journey. Some returned to their villages where they suffered retaliations such as death and prison, and even others escaped to the remote mountains and jungle in fear of that same fate.
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