Thousands of Red Shirt supporters rallied at a concert in the Thailand seaside resort city of Pattaya on September 4, in what was one the biggest mobilisations since the military bloodily dispersed their mass protest camp in Bangkok on May 19, 2010, killing 91 and injuring thousands more.
Many analysts have rushed to give their opinions regarding the “crisis of the MAS” and its consequences. Yet, the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS — the party of President Evo Morales) has always been in crisis — if by crisis we mean internal disputes for power and the existence of personal interests. Despite this permanent “crisis”, the MAS was able to cohere the majority of plebeian sectors through a kind of corporative alliance.
A multi-party conference in Lahore on August 29 has launched a campaign to cancel Pakistan's crippling foreign debt and to organise mass rallies in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad. The first rally took place on September 2 in Islamabad. The Labour Relief Campaign, in association with Oxfam Pakistan, called the conference to discuss the issue of debt repayment in the post-flood scenario. It was chaired by Aman Kariaper and Ammar Ali Jan. Senator Hasil Bezinjo vowed to take the issue to Pakistan’s Senate and present a resolution to demand that government refuse to pay the foreign debt.
“We won. It’s over, America. We brought democracy to Iraq.” Those were the words of a soldier from the 4th Stryker Brigade, supposedly among the last US combat soldiers to leave Iraq, quoted in the August 20 www.DailyMail.co.uk two weeks ahead of President Barack Obama’s August 31 deadline for withdrawal. The Obama administration is claiming the withdrawal of combat soldiers represents a new day for the country. “Politics, not war, has broken out in Iraq”, US Vice-President Joe Biden told an August 23 convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, www.CSMonitor.com said that day.
On July 21, the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth published an interview with Donald Perera, Sri Lanka’s ambassador to Israel. Perera, the former Sri Lankan Air Force commander and Chief of Defence Staff, thanked Israel profusely for its support in the fight against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
A huge transformation of agriculture is taking place in Venezuela, a transformation that has lessons for every other country in the world. I had the opportunity in July to visit the country and see the changes that are taking place first hand. Venezuela’s Law of the Land and Agrarian Development, the Law of Food Sovereignty and Security, and the Law of Integrated Agricultural Health set out the agenda.
“A federal judge has blocked the Obama administration from funding human embryonic stem cell research, ruling that the support violates a federal law barring the use of taxpayer money for experiments that destroy human embryos … “The ruling stunned scientists and other advocates of the research, which has been hailed as one of the most important advances in medicine in decades because of its potential to cure many diseases …
“An inquiry into the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority, a corruption finding against a NSW Maritime lawyer and, to top it off, the resignation of a cabinet minister who admitted accessing adult and gambling websites on his parliamentary computer. “Even by the standards of the eternally scandal-ridden Labor government, yesterday was a bad day for public administration in NSW.
NSW Christian Democrat Senator and right-wing Christian fundamentalist Fred Nile, who has built a career as a “moral crusader”, was caught in a NSW parliamentary audit that revealed his parliamentary computer had been used to access pornographic sites. The September 2 Daily Telegraph said: “An audit of parliamentary computers conducted two months ago identified the Christian Democrat MP as one of the biggest viewers of adult content … up to 200,000 suspect hits have been recorded under Mr Nile's log-on, sources said.”
The Obama administration seems to believe that the president has the authority to order the assassination of anyone, including US citizens, if they meet certain as-yet-undisclosed criteria. One US citizen, accused terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki, has been widely reported to be on a US government “kill list” — making him just one of several US citizens the government is reportedly trying to kill without charge or trial.
The world of international cricket has been rocked by allegations of a betting scandal involving players in Pakistan’s national cricket team. British tabloid News of the World published allegations that Pakistan players had bowled “no-balls” at an exact moment in the game in return for money from bookmakers. The scandal has also raised speculation of Pakistan players being involved in match-fixing on behalf of bookmakers. Three Pakistani players have been suspended from international cricket and charged by the International Cricket Council over their alleged role in the scandal.
“The Iowa egg producer that federal officials say is at the center of a salmonella outbreak and recalls of more than a half-billion eggs has repeatedly paid fines and settled complaints over health and safety violations and allegations ranging from maintaining a ‘sexually hostile’ work environment to abusing the hens that lay the eggs. “In the past 20 years, according to the public record, the DeCoster family operation, one of the 10 largest egg producers in the country, has withstood a string of reprimands, penalties and complaints about its performance in several states …
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