Bill Weinberg

Uprising in Kyrgyzstan

The world is paying little note, but there is a popular uprising underway following contested elections in Kyrgyzstan, a key US ally in Central Asia. On March 20, protesters rallying against President Askar Akayev burned down police headquarters in the southern city of Jalal-Abad, in response to a pre-dawn action by special police units who briefly took back control of a regional administration office that had been occupied by opposition activists since early March.

Beirut blast raises civil war fears

At least six were wounded by a car bomb which wrecked the front of a government building in a predominantly Christian suburb of Beirut March 19.

Senate stooges of petro-oligarchy shaft the caribou

Resorting to the sleazy tactic of burying the measure in a budget package to head off a Democratic fillibuster, Senate Republicans passed a major hurdle in opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to oil exploitation. By a single vote, the Senate defeated a Democrat-backed measure that would have prevented a vote on ANWR as part of a budget resolution March 17. If the House similarly agrees to this subterfuge, western North America's last great caribou herd faces twilight.

Hyper-priapic OPEC can't get it down

A March 18 report on al-Jazeera noted a cruel irony to OPEC's just-ended conference in Isfahan, where the oil ministers of the 11 member nations agreed to boost production in a bid to bring down global prices. No sooner did the conference close before prices surged to an all-time record high of $57 a barrel.

Holocaust denial in the news: Lipstadt, Irving...and Ward Churchill

Over 200 historians at colleges nationwide have sent a petition to C-SPAN to protest its plan to accompany coverage of a lecture by Deborah Lipstadt, a professor of Holocaust studies at Emory University, with a speech by David Irving, the notorious Holocaust revisionist.

Karzai postpones Afghan elections

Condoleezza Rice's March 18 visit to Afghanistan ironically coincided with evident setbacks for the country's nascent democracy. President Hamid Karzai announced that parliamentary elections scheduled for May have been pushed back until September due to ongoing logistical chaos. The day before Rice's arrival a bomb blast in Kandahar (blamed on Taliban insurgents) killed five and injured over 30, all civilians. Children in a passing taxi were among the casualties. Another bomb in Kandahar that day shattered the windshield of a passing UN vehicle.

Feds seal off Siskiyou National Forest protest zone

Authorities at Oregon's Siskiyou National Forest have closed public access to an area where protesters have been blocking loggers from felling trees in an old growth forest reserve partially damaged by fire. Protesters have been trying to prevent a crew from going to work on the Fiddler timber sale in a remote area bordering the Kalmiopsis Wilderness since a federal court injunction was lifted March 7. Eleven people were arrested March 7 and 11 more last week.

Nepal: repression escalates

While a big anti-Syria rally in Lebanon made the front page of the NY Times Feb. 15, a nationwide coordinated campaign of protests for restoration of democratic rule in Nepal—harshly put down with hundreds of arrests—rated only a small blurb in the "World Briefing" section at the bottom of page 6. Nepal has almost completely dropped from the news since the seizure of dictatorial emergency powers by the king Feb. 1, but repression is escalating. Student protest leaders are wanted for arrest and have gone into hiding; newspaper editors who report on the protests are themselves hauled before the police and held "for questioning"; the Paris-based Reporters Without Borders has called for a thorough investigation in the recent shooting of an editor in east Nepal, and for the immediate release of detained journalists.