Hours after polls closed in Saudi Arabia's third and final round of quasi-democratic elections, presumed Islamic militants attacked a security checkpoint in the holy city of Mecca, sparking a gunbattle in which one police officer was killed and several wounded. Up to 15 police and civilian vehicels were also reported destroyed. The battle reportedly began when a group of men in a taxi attempted to run the checkpoint.(AP, AHN, April 21)
Italy has finally blinked. Afer two generations of delay, the first of three pieces of a third-century Ethiopian obelisk plundered by the Italian fascist occupation in the 1930s has touched ground in the ancient city of Axum, where it was met by a cheering crowd and pealing church bells. Engineers extended the runway to accomodate the four-engine cargo plane carrying the precious cargo from Rome. The remaining pieces are to arrive shortly, Italian authorities pledge. (UK Telegraph, April 21)
Unfortunately, the recent victory for indigenous land rights in Brazil may be followed by a rollback of recent gains for indigenous peoples in Botswana--where the world is paying even less attention. Reads an April 18 alert from Survival International:
Botswana's government is pushing a bill through Parliament to scrap the key clause in the Constitution which protects Bushmen's rights. The move comes half way through the Bushmen's landmark legal action against the government, in which the same clause forms a major plank of the Bushmen's case. The trial marks the first time in Botswana's history that the clause has actually been tested in court, but the government aims to scrap it within a few months.
Hopes for a moderately progressive pontiff who could loosen up the Chuch line on the supposed evils of condoms in the age of AIDS--or even an African or Latin American one who could help Catholicism rally against the aggressive inroads of Islam and Protestantism on those continents—have been dashed by the choice of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as Pope Benedict XVI.
Globophobe activists protested the annual meeting of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in Washington DC this weekend, tho BBC reports that they numbered in the hundreds rather than the thousands--a testament to how dissent has been sidetracked and marginalized in the post-9-11 world. Photos and accounts of the protests are provided by our friends at the Global Justice Ecology Project.
(The last major globophobe mobilization, at the November 2003 Mi
From the Washington Post, April 14:
A detainee at a U.S. military prison alleges that U.S. military guards
jumped on his head until he had a stroke that paralyzed his face,
nearly drowned him in a toilet and later broke several of his fingers,
according to a lawsuit filed yesterday in federal court.