Nonviolent action around the world – 2 February 2010 (Part 2)

February 3, 2010
Singapore Democrats

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SOUTHEAST ASIA
Burma army frees boy after mother pleads through media
By: BBC News, February 1, 2010
The army in Burma has released a 14-year-old boy it had forcibly recruited, after his mother appealed for his return on international media.
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Burmese still demand return of democracy
By: Dayanath Singh, Assam Times, February 1, 2010
Burma’s largest political party, National League for Democracy (NLD), which won 392 seats out of total 492 parliamentary seats, in the country’s general elections of 1990, could not form its government even after its landslide victory, as the military junta regime ignored the verdict of the people and refused to hand over the power to NLD.
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Burma:  Palaung community women expose opium fields in junta strongholds
By: Marwaan Macan-Markar, IPS, January 31, 2010
A report exposing the spreading opium fields in the north-eastern corner of the military-ruled Burma has brought to light an equally revealing story. It was produced by a team of ethnic women who risked their lives to document the heroin-filled world they inhabit.
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Arrest of Burmese journalist condemned
By: RSF, January 29, 2010
Reporters Without Borders and the Burma Media Association condemn the 13-year jail sentence passed on journalist Ngwe Soe Lin by a special court inside Rangoon’s Insein prison on 27 January. He is the second video reporter for a Burmese exile radio and TV station based in Oslo to be convicted in the space of a month.
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EAST ASIA
China refuses to compromise over Tibet
By: Gillian Wong, Huffington Post, February 1, 2010
China stuck to its hard line in its first talks with Tibetan envoys in 15 months, refusing to discuss changes to the Himalayan region’s status and thus dashing hopes of a breakthrough.
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Chinese dissident stranded at Tokyo airport set to return home
By: Justin McCurry, The Guardian, February 1, 2010
A Chinese dissident who has spent the past three months living in limbo at Tokyo’s main airport said today he would return home after apparently reaching an agreement with Beijing.
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Press group slams Chinese censorship
By: CNN, January 31, 2010
There are more than 60 restrictions the Chinese government slapped on the media in 2009, often secretly, according to the International Federation of Journalists. The press freedom group said it obtained written media-related orders which are published in its report, “China Clings to Control: Press Freedoms in 2009.”
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Hong Kong: Lawmakers resign, call for suffrage
By: RFA, January 28, 2010
A group of pro-democracy lawmakers in Hong Kong resigned Tuesday to press Beijing for the right to universal suffrage for residents of the territory. The five legislators from the Civic League and the League of Social Democrats handed in their resignations to Hong Kong’s Legislative Council on Tuesday.
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AFRICA
Moroccan independent magazine faces closure
By: Bikya Masr Staff, CPJ, January 31, 2010
Moroccan authorities continue to stifle free press and freedom of speech in the country, the press watchdog Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said in a report published January 29. According to the New York-based rights group, the independent Le Journal Hebdomadaire is under threat from the government, who has been upset at the recent articles being published.
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Morocco loses a beacon of freedom
By: Issandr El Amrani, The Guardian, January 30, 2010
The closure of the daring magazine Le Journal Hebdomadaire is a sign of renewed authoritarianism in Morocco. Le Journal first hit the newsstands in 1997 and very quickly became one of the most daring publications in the country. It uncovered and publicised human rights abuses, taking the regime to task on its claims that it had broken with its bad old ways.
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Gandhi’s ashes scattered off South Africa coast
By: Huffington Post, January 30, 2010
Six decades after his death, some of Mohandas K. Gandhi’s ashes have been scattered off the coast of South Africa, where he was confronted by racial discrimination and developed some of his philosophies of peaceful resistance.
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NORTH AMERICA
US: Civil rights pioneer brings nonviolent message to Dallas
By: Wendy Hundley, Dallas News, February 1, 2010
One of the key architects of the nonviolent civil rights struggle is bringing his message of faith and peace to North Texas. Violence “is the No. 1 enemy of the human race,” the Rev. James Lawson told the congregation at St. Luke Community United Methodist Church on Sunday after he was introduced as a “living legend.”
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US: How the news media of the 1960s reported the civil rights revolution
By: Howell Raines, NY Times, January 31, 2010
On the morning of Feb. 1, 50 years ago today, four black freshmen at North Carolina A&T State University seated themselves at the all-white lunch counter in a Woolworth’s dime store in Greensboro. Within hours, news of this bold act by the Greensboro Four, as they would come to be called, had grapevined its way from A&T to the campuses of historically black colleges in Atlanta and Nashville.
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Google, China and U.S. foreign policy
By: Ernest J. Wilson, Huffington Post, January 31, 2010
Sitting in the lobby of the Taj Hotel in Mumbai, reading the front page of the local Economic Times, I was hit with a one-two-punch: the news that Google may quit the huge Chinese market in a dispute over serious cyber attacks to its facilities in the PRC, and the feeling that I was watching the opening salvo of a new, major trend in American foreign policy that has been quietly building for several years.
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Obama asked why US doesn’t condemn Israeli human rights abuses
By: Nicholas Graham, Huffington Post, January 28, 2010
During President Obama’s town hall this afternoon in Tampa, Florida, a young woman asked a pointed question about Israel and human rights that stirred up the crowd and prompted a long answer from Obama.
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CENTRAL AMERICA/CARIBBEAN
Honduras in limbo, awaits foreign aid resumption
By: EU News Network, February 1, 2010
Honduras is eagerly awaiting the resumption of international aid that should have been restored after the November presidential elections but still remains blocked, officials said. The United States and other donors suspended assistance programs in Honduras after President Jose Manuel Zelaya was removed from power on June 28, 2009.
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Honduras: Zelaya supporters allege harassment
By: Al Jazeera, February 1, 2010
Supporters of Manuela Zelaya, the deposed Honduran president, say they continue to be harassed by national security forces even though his term of office has ended. Some even claim police have opened fire on opposition protests while journalists allege they have been threatened with years in prison for questioning the country’s constitution.
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Cuba: Much more frightened than me
By: Yoani Sanchez, Cuba Study Group, February 1, 2010
We had a little party at our house after the classes to celebrate the first anniversary of Voces Cubanas, which in its brief life now has 26 sites. I remember that in the middle of the hugs and smiles, someone told me to be careful. “In the system as it is today, there is no way to protect yourself from attacks from the State,” I told him, with the intent to scare away my own fear.
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Ex-Honduran leader leaves for exile, vows return
By: Juan Carlos Llorca and Alexandria Olson, AP, January 28, 2010
Former Honduran President Manuel Zelaya left his refuge in the Brazilian Embassy and flew into exile after his successor took office Wednesday, ending months of turmoil during his failed quest to be restored to power after a coup. Before boarding the plane to leave Honduras, Zelaya shouted: “We’ll be back! We’ll be back!”
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Honduras’ new government finds nation ‘bankrupt’ after diplomatic isolation over coup
By: AP, January 28, 2010
Honduras’ new administration began its term Thursday saying the nation is bankrupt and will likely need international financial assistance to recover from months of diplomatic isolation over its June coup.
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SOUTH AMERICA
Brazil: ‘Changing lives but still machista’
By: Mario Osava, Al Jazeera, January 31, 2010
There was just one woman for every seven men on the Brazilian committee that organised the first World Social Forum (WSF) meeting in Porto Alegre, the southern Brazilian city where this annual gathering of social organisations from around the world was born ten years ago.
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Gruma sinks after Chavez orders Venezuela unit seized
By: Nathan Gill and Daniel Cancel, Bloomberg News, January 29, 2010
Mexico’s largest maker of corn flour for tortillas, fell to a three-week low after Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said last night his government will seize one of the company’s local units.
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ARTICLES OF INTEREST
Why are there no Arab democracies?
By: Journal of Democracy, January 2010
By the time the Journal of Democracy began publishing in 1990, there were 76 electoral democracies (accounting for slightly less than half the world’s independent states). By 1995, that number had shot up to 117-three in every five states. By then, a critical mass of democracies existed in every major world region save one-the Middle East. Fifteen years later, this exception still stands.
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Salinger’s ‘Catcher In The Rye’ resonated behind Iron Curtain as well
By: Nikola Krastev, RFE, January 29, 2010
“The Catcher in the Rye” with its immortal teenage protagonist — the anguished, rebellious Holden Caulfield — came out in 1951 during a time of anxious, Cold War conformity. The book struck a chord with American teenagers who identified with the novel’s themes of alienation, innocence, and rebellion. But when the novel was translated into Russian during the “Khrushchev thaw,” its anti-hero’s tormented soul-searching also reverberated among admirers throughout the Soviet Bloc.
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Howard Zinn (1922-2010): In lieu of flowers, organize
By: Al Giordano, The Field, January 28, 2010
This segment of a Bill Moyers interview with Howard Zinn came after the production of last month’s History Channel special, The People Speak: Democracy Is Not a Spectator Sport, based on the works of Howard Zinn. Almost everyone who lived and organized in New England during the past many decades found yourself on a picket line or in a rambunctious assembly hall with Howard, who passed away yesterday at the age of 87 after a long life that anyone should consider successful.
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NEWS IN OTHER LANGUAGES
Honduras: Enorme despedida al compañero Manuel Zelaya
By: Habla Honduras, January 2010
Más de 350,000 miembros de la Resistencia marchamos el día de ayer en Tegucigalpa hasta desembocar al final de la pista del Aeropuerto Toncontín, el mismo lugar donde nuestro primer mártir,Isis Obed Murillo, muriera aquel fatídico 5 de julio del 2009.
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Le journaliste Alexandre Podrabinek, condamné à payer une amende et à publier un démenti sur la disparition de l’Union soviétique
By: RSF, January 29, 2010
“La ‘phase judiciaire’ du combat entre le journaliste et ancien dissident russe Alexandre Podrabinek, et des mouvements réactionnaires nostalgiques de la période soviétique, a commencé à produire ses premiers résultats. Et ceux-ci sont très inquiétants. D’autant plus que le journaliste a fait savoir aujourd’hui, sur la radio Ekho Moskvy que ses proches avaient reçu des menaces”, a déclaré Reporters sans frontières, deux jours après de la condamnation du journaliste par un tribunal de Moscou.
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BOOK REVIEW
Book dismantles female stereotypes
By: Times of India, February 1, 2010
These were voices that spoke in a babel of tongues, their stories drawing from cultures as diverse and far-flung as Cambodia and Azerbaijan, Sri Lanka and Mongolia. But bound between two covers, the tales were strung together by a common theme Asian women and their fight against stereotypes and repression. The book, Speaking for Myself: An Anthology of Asian Women’s Writing, was released by filmmaker Mrinal Sen at a glittering ceremony in Kolkata on Sunday evening.
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IN PAST NEWS

Brazil: Survival celebrates 40 years of success in campaign for tribal peoples’ rights
By: Survival International, December 15, 2010
The human rights organization Survival International celebrates its 40th birthday this month, and is highlighting the huge advances in tribal peoples’ rights since 1969. Survival focuses on supporting tribes under threat, and its campaigns alongside tribal people and local organizations have achieved many remarkable successes.
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