More than 400 members of the Federation of Nepalese Journalists (FNJ) staged a rally in Kathmandu March 29 to demand an end to press censorship imposed by King Gyanendra when he seized power last month. Unlike other anti-monarchy demonstrations in the past two months which have been quickly broken up by police, the journalists' protest was allowed to proceed uninterrupted as a strong deployment of armed police looked on.
A musician from Turkey's Laz minority group said the country's public television refused to allow him to perform his songs, claiming that new laws adopting democratic European standards exclude the Laz language.
The Laz musician, Birol Topaloglu, said he had been invited to participate in a musical special on March 18 in Ankara on the national television station TRT-INT. He has been involved since 1997 in trying to preserve the culture of the Laz community of about 250,000 people in northeast Turkey.
From Connecticut's Shore Publishing group of community newspapers:
New London -- Drawing parallels to Cold War-era paranoia and fear mongering, a regional group is organizing protests of next month's TOPOFF3 drill, which will simulate a chemical attack on New London. Department of Homeland security officials have said the drill, beginning on April 4, will take place mostly at Fort Trumbull State Park, and will not interfere with daily activities in the city. Culled from the memberships of the Southeastern Connecticut Peace and Justice Network and the War Resisters League, the Mock Terror Task Force has been holding informational forums with promises of future protests in front of City Hall during the exercise.
From the Bond Buyer, April 1:
The Bond Market Association will participate in next week's U.S. TOPOFF 3 test, an exercise in which municipal market participants, government agencies, and trade groups will explore how a simulated terror scenario might affect market operations, the association said yesterday.
What is now being dubbed Kyrgyzstan's "Tulip Revolution" is starting to look considerably less than velvet. The country remains divided, with ousted president Askar Akayev in hiding but refusing to step down, and some protests and even road blockades reported in his support. (AP, March 28) Looting and sporadic gunfire continue, with armed bands roaming the streets of Bishkek, the capital.
The Indonesian army and police have killed three people, burned down houses, killed pigs and destroyed crops, in the latest in a series of attacks against tribal villages in the Papuan highlands. One of those killed was a child. The Indonesian army frequently uses the pretext of searching for members of the Free Papua separatist movement to attack and intimidate the highland people. This latest assault focused on a village called Nggweyage. Besides the child, the village leader and an elder were also killed. Survival International has protested to the Indonesian government at this latest atrocity. (Survival International, March 30)
A group of ex-national security officials have sent an open letter calling for weaning America off the oil addiction and asking the Bush administration to spend $1 billion on develeoping more fuel-efficient automobiles.
Retail gasoline prices now averaging above $2 a gallon make US reliance on foreign suppliers a looming national security crisis, a group of 31 former officials wrote.
Well, it seems workers are battling to contain a large spill of crude-contaminated water—111,300 gallons—at ConocoPhillips' Kuparuk oil filed on Alaska's North Slope. State officials are concerned about impacts on the fragile tundra environment. How ironic that this comes days after the Senate voted to open the nearby ANWR to oil development. Fortunately, however, the compliant media have contained the crisis—by keeping it out of the headlines.