We kid you not

Issue 

Afghanistan: A new, democratic police force

"The Afghan police force is the most corrupt institution in Afghanistan. Bribery is common and if you have money, by bribing police from top to bottom you can do almost anything.

"In many parts of Afghanistan, people hate the police more than the Taliban. In Helmand, for instance, people are afraid of police who commit violence against people and make trouble."

— Afghan feminist and anti-war campaigner Malalai Joya in a February 15 British Independent article.

Obama brings change

"[Taliban leader] Hakimullah Mehsud probably is dead. He was the target for a missile fired last month from an unmanned aircraft hovering over the Afghan-Pakistani border — but launched by an operator in the US ...

"But, in their payback, the enraged Americans confirmed the breadth of a new horizon in modern warfare — launching 15 clinical drone attacks in which more than 100 people died along the border ...

"[T]he professorial Obama is the new killer on the block, authorising more drone attacks in the first year of his term in office than Bush did in his entire presidency."

— February 13 Sydney Morning Herald article by Paul McGeough.

Searching for fresh profits, outer-space privatised

"Government agencies have dominated space exploration for three decades. But in a new plan unveiled in President Barack Obama's 2011 budget earlier this month, a new player has taken center stage: American capitalism and entrepreneurship ...

"Two fundamental realities now exist that will drive space exploration forward. First, private capital is seeing space as a good investment, willing to fund individuals who are passionate about exploring space, for adventure as well as profit ...

"Second, companies and investors are realizing that everything we hold of value — metals, minerals, energy and real estate — are in near-infinite quantities in space. As space transportation and operations become more affordable, what was once seen as a wasteland will become the next gold rush."

— The February 13 Wall Street Journal

Chile: Elderly resort to drug smuggling

"Elderly pensioners in Chile struggling to make ends meet are being lured by the narcotics trade, changing the profile of drug dealers, police say ...

"Most of the women apprehended this year have no prior criminal record and are targeted for work by traffickers because they live in poor areas, do not have liveable pensions and are too old to find a job, police say."

— A February 15 AFP article.

Germany: Too left-wing to become a citizen

"The daughter of a former Scots soldier has been refused German citizenship because the government has declared her to be 'too left-wing'.

"Jannine Menger-Hamilton, 29, grew up in Germany as the daughter of a Scottish
army father and an Italian mother ... two years ago, after marrying a fellow German, she applied to become a citizen of the country in which she has lived since birth.

"Yet as she acts as spokeswoman for the Left Party ['Die Linke'], the country's most left-wing political party ... the Office for the Protection of the Constitution is understood to have ruled that she is 'not suitable' for a passport ...

"The Left Party is the fourth biggest political party in Germany, with 76 MPs in parliament and
strongly represented in the EU."

— February 25 Scotsman article.

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