WW4 Report

Arab unrest, peace protests in Iran

Ethnic tensions are rising in southwest Iran's Khuzistan province along the Iraqi border, where violence has left three dead and injured in recent days. Protests by the region's Arab minority were sparked by reports that authorities were planning to colonize the city of Ahvaz with ethnic Farsies. Nationwide operations of Qatar-based Al-Jazeera TV were suspended by the government April 18 on charges of inciting the unrest. (AP, April 18)

Victory in Amazon indigenous struggle

An important victory is reported from the Brazilian Amazon, which has been the scene of recent violence linked to struggles for control of land and resources. From the BBC, April 15:

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has signed a decree creating an Amazonian Indian reserve the size of a small country in northern Brazil. The reserve, Raposa Serra Do Sol, is called "the land of the fox and mountain of the sun" by the 12,000 Indians who live there. Its hills, rivers and forests cover 17,000 sq km (6,500 square miles).

True freedom fighter killed in Iraq

From the San Francisco Chronicle, April 18:

A car bomb attack near Baghdad has killed a well-known activist from Northern California who entered war zones to record civilian deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan and secure aid for those caught in the crossfire.

Marla Ruzicka, 28, of Lakeport (Lake County), founder of CIVIC -- Campaign for Innocent Victims of Conflict -- died with her driver on the Baghdad Airport road Saturday when a suicide bomber attacked a convoy of security contractors that was passing next to her vehicle, according to her family and news reports quoting U.S. Embassy officials in Iraq.

National Counter-Terrorism Center takes over

By order of Secretary Rice, the State Department will stop publishing its annual report "Patterns of Global Terrorism," ceding responsibility for counting and analyzing worldwide terror attacks to the new National Counter-Terrorism Center. The order comes despite controversy over the Center's findings, on which the State Department relied for last year's report. The report found a higher incidence of terror attacks in 2003 than in any year since the State Department began counting them in 1985. This year, the number has again risen dramatically, according to intelligence sources—from 175 "significant" attacks in 2003 to 625 in 2004. The State Department has issued a public version of the report every since 1985, and it is uncertain if the National Counter-Terrorism Center will now do so. The move to halt publication is controversial on Capitol Hill. "This is the definitive report on the incidence of terrorism around the world," said Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA). "It should be unthinkable that there would be an effort to withhold it—or any of the key data —from the public. The Bush administration should stop playing politics with this critical report." (Knight-Ridder, April 16)

PKK resurgence in Turkish Kurdistan

At least 20 Kurdish guerilla fighters are dead in an assualt by Turkish army troops backed up by US-made Cobra attack helicopters near the Iraq border, AP reported April 15. Three Turkish soldiers and a village guardsman were also killed in the fighting in Siirt and Sirnak provinces. Turkish authorities said the guerillas infiltrated Turkish territory from Iraq, where they had taken refuge across the border.

Opus Dei in the news

The death of Pope John Paul II has occassioned a great deal of speculation in the press about the influence of Opus Dei, the secretive ultra-conservative Catholic organization, in choosing his successor. One of the more strictly factual accounts, "Pope Election: Opus Dei Pulls Strings," is from India's Sify.com:

Lebanon back from brink?

Lebanon's Omar Karami has resigned a second time, after Parliament refused to accept his February 28 resignation. This time Najib Mikati, a Sunni perceived as a moderate, has been chosen to succeed him. Mikati hailed the opposition--especially Druze leader Walid Jumblatt--for breaking a boycott of the political process to approve his nomination, and said he wanted to "personify national unity." The opposition is said to have supported his nomination because he is less pro-Syrian than his chief rival for the post, Abdel-Rahim Mrad.

Chinese farmers revolt against industrial expansion

From the UPI:

ZHEJIANG, China, April 12: Rioting by farmers in eastern China has forced the closure of 13 new chemical factories the farmers claim are poisoning their families and crops. The protests began in the rural village of Huaxi March 24 when farmers began erecting roadblocks to stop deliveries to and from the factories that produce fertilizer, dyes and pesticides.

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