Archive for the ‘Outside US’ Category

Blair wants police to have war-time powers

28 May 2007

Tony Blair, in the last bit of his time in office, is trying to get British police war-time powers to stop people and ask them where they’re going, where they’re coming from, and who they are, according to the New Zealand Herald.  Police already have the power to stop and search people.

Blair’s other idea, allowing detainment for up to ninety days with no charges, was not accepted by Parliament and the courts.

Nigeria Having Elections

13 April 2007

Nigeria is holding the first of the year’s elections tomorrow, according to BBC News, which will determine state legislatures and governors. The president and national assembly are being elected on the 21st.

The government says that thousands on police and army will be out to keep the peace.

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Anna Politkovskaya

10 April 2007

The RSF has an article on Anna Politkovskaya, a journalist who was murdered but whose killer was never found. She was a critic of Putin, and was well-known for reporting on Chechnya.

In 2001 she went into exile after receiving death threats, but later returned. She was killed on October 7th last year in Moscow.

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Elections in East Timor

9 April 2007

The first elections in East Timor since it gained independence in 2002 were held today, according to BBC News. Though the UN did have to fly in extra ballots to some areas, the voting was calm and ordered, officials say.

Official results will be in April 16. There is not expected to be an outright winner, so a run-off is likely.

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YouTube Offers Blocking to Thailand

7 April 2007

YouTube has offered to allow the Thai government to block specific items, according to BBC News, saying that would be better than the country having the entire site blocked. Thailand currently has a ban on YouTube, because of material deemed offensive to the monarch.

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Secret Prisons in Ethiopia

5 April 2007

An investigation by the Associated Press has found that the US interrogates suspects from 19 countries in Ethiopia, a country known for human rights abuses. Human rights groups, lawyers, and several Western diplomats say that hundreds of people, including children, have been transferred secretly and illegally from Kenya and Somalia to secret prisons in Ethiopia. The people include refugees, Canadians, an American, French, and Swedes.

John Sifton of Human Rights Watch describes it as a “decentralized, outsourced Guantanamo.”

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British Detainee Released from Gitmo

2 April 2007

A British resident who was released from Guantanamo Bay this weekend made his first statement since then, according to the State. Bisher al-Rawi, 37, said within his statement that “The hopelessness you feel in Guantanamo can hardly be described. You are asked the same questions hundreds of times… Allegations are made against you that are laughably untrue, but you have no chance to prove them wrong. There is no trial, no fair legal process.”

Al-Rawi, who had been held for five years, was never given a trial. He and his friend, Jamil el-Banna, were arrested in Gambia when trying to return to Britain with what officials said was suspicious electronic equipment. According to his lawyer, it was a battery charger. El-Banna is still in Guantanamo.

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In Russia the Government Elects You

27 March 2007

Russia’s government has banned a leading opposition liberal party from standing in elections yesterday, according to the Guardian, because it had too few members. Parties must have at least 50,000 members and be represented in at least half of the country’s provinces; the government says that this is to make the democratic process more efficient. The reasoning is that if the government chooses the parties for you, you’ll have to spend less time deciding who to vote for, thereby making your democratic government more efficient (bit of a loss on the “democratic” part, but well worth it for the tidying up of the process).

“There isn’t much point in talking about democracy in Russia any more.” said Denis Bilonuv, and he’s right! There is no need for chit-chat; and the government has it all figured out anyway, so there’s no need to discuss anything.

Russia is having parliamentary elections this December and a presidential election next year. The Nationalist Bolshevik party was also suspended last week.

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Amendments to Weaken Egyptian Democracy

21 March 2007

The Egyptian parliament has approved a set of amendments to the constitution that would reduce protections against voter fraud and increase presidential powers, according to USA Today.

They passed with 315 in favor, and will go to a public referendum, later this month or early April.

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Now He’s Sorry

20 March 2007

Canadian Defense Minister Gordon O’Connor apologized yesterday for lying to Parliament about the situation with detainee abuse in Afghanistan, according to Yahoo. He had told them that the Red Cross would report to them any abuse, when in fact that Red Cross is only required to report to Afghan authorities. Canada’s military police is investigating 18 possible instances in which Canadian authorities handed prisoners to Afghanistan knowing that they might be abused. There are also four investigations into the possible abuse of three men taken in in April 2006.

Several opposition leaders have demanded O’Connor’s resignation, as, Reuter’s words, “misleading Parliament is taken seriously in Canada.”

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