“Jasmine Revolution”
Symbol of peace: Flowers placed on the barrel of a tank
in very much calmer protests than in recent days in Tunisia

'The Protester' - Time Person of the Year 2011

'The Protester' - Time Person of the Year 2011
Mannoubia Bouazizi, the mother of Tunisian street vendor Mohammed Bouazizi. "Mohammed suffered a lot. He worked hard. but when he set fire to himself, it wasn’t about his scales being confiscated. It was about his dignity." (Peter Hapak for TIME)

1 - TUNISIA Democratic Change / Freedom of Speech (In Transition)

How eyepatches became a symbol of Egypt's revolution - Graffiti depicting a high ranking army officer with an eye patch Photograph: Nasser Nasser/ASSOCIATED PRESS

2 - EGYPT Democratic Change / Freedom of Speech (In Transition)

''17 February Revolution"

3 - LIBYA Democratic Change / Freedom of Speech (In Transition)

5 - SYRIA Democratic Change / Freedom of Speech (In Transition)

"25 January Youth Revolution"
Muslim and Christian shoulder-to-shoulder in Tahrir Square
"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) -
(Subjects: Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" (without a manager hierarchy) managed Businesses, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)
"The End of History" – Nov 20, 2010 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll)
(Subjects:Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Muhammad, Jesus, God, Jews, Arabs, EU, US, Israel, Iran, Russia, Africa, South America, Global Unity,..... etc.) (Text version)

"If an Arab and a Jew can look at one another and see the Akashic lineage and see the one family, there is hope. If they can see that their differences no longer require that they kill one another, then there is a beginning of a change in history. And that's what is happening now. All of humanity, no matter what the spiritual belief, has been guilty of falling into the historic trap of separating instead of unifying. Now it's starting to change. There's a shift happening."

“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013.

They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."

African Union (AU)

African Union (AU)
African Heads of State pose for a group photo ahead of the start of the 28th African Union summit in Addis Ababa on January 30, 2017 (AFP Photo/ Zacharias ABUBEKER)

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela
Few words can describe Nelson Mandela, so we let him speak for himself. Happy birthday, Madiba.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Jordan protesters want regime reform, reject price hike

The Daily Star, November 30, 2012

Protesters from the Islamic Action Front and other opposition parties shout
 slogans during a demonstration against rising fuel prices after Friday prayers
in Amman November 30, 2012. REUTERS/Majed Jaber
AMMAN: Former premier and intelligence chief Ahmad Obeidat joined thousands of Jordanians to protest fuel price hikes, demanding regime reform and the resignation of Prime Minister Abdullah Nsur.

"The people want to reform the regime. We demand reform and change. Nsur, out before the people revolt," chanted the protesters led by Obeidat's National Reform Front which includes opposition Islamists.

"The people want the downfall of the (fuel) prices. Together, let's reject the decision to raise the prices," read a banner carried by the demonstrators, gathered near Gamal Abdel Nasser Circle, close to the city centre.

Police said 3,000 people took part in the protest, while Islamists put the number at around 20,000. According to an AFP estimate, the demonstrators numbered around 10,000.

Demonstrators gave police flowers, but a limited number called for "the fall of regime," which is punishable by imprisonment under Jordanian law.

Obeidat however stopped them.

"We did not come here today to flex muscle. We came here to defend our constitutional rights. We will stick to our demand of reforming the regime," he told the crowds.

"We want comprehensive reform. We insist on rejecting the general election and any polls under this current bad electoral law."

The National Reform Front and Muslim Brotherhood have said they will boycott Jordan's January 23 vote.

Earlier in November, the government raised fuel prices by up to 53 percent, sparking a series of nationwide protests, rioting and clashes that killed one person and wounded dozens.

Nsur, who formed his government on October 11, has defended the price hike as "unavoidable" given Jordan's $5-billion (3.9-billion-euro) budget deficit and said the measures would save $42 million by year end.

Jordanians have held Arab Spring-inspired protests since last year, demanding reforms and a tough anti-corruption fight.

Africa's first budget airline Fastjet takes to skies

The Daily Star, November 30, 2012

LONDON: The world's first pan-African low-cost carrier Fastjet enjoyed keen demand on its first day of commercial operations, it said in a statement.

"Fastjet... commenced commercial flight operations yesterday, with its first aircraft flying passengers from Dar es Salaam to Mwanza, and Dar es Salaam to Kilimanjaro in Tanzania," the carrier said.

The group flew eight services on Thursday from Tanzania and carried more than 900 passengers.

The so-called passenger load factor, which measures the number of seats filled on flights, stood at an avereage of 78 percent, while three of the services had a load factor of 90 percent.

"Future demand for seats on these two initial routes is currently far outstripping supply," Fastjet added.

"Additional flights to these destinations are already being considered, and the company also intends to expand its route network regionally over the coming weeks as the fleet grows to three Airbus A319s."

The airline was formed earlier this year by Stelios Haji-Ioannou -- the founder of British no-frills airline easyJet -- and London-listed Rubicon Diversified Investments.

Haji-Ioannou's EasyGroup and Rubicon agreed to buy the aviation business of Africa-focused conglomerate Lonrho in June.

"Fastjet is delighted to see how the people of Tanzania are embracing the low cost carrier model," Fastjet chief executive Ed Winter in Friday's statement.

"Yesterday was a huge success and a great way to start operations. We are pleased to see reservations and bookings continuing to grow. The demand for this type of air travel has far exceeded the company’s expectations."

He added: "Passengers ranged from business people through to many first time flyers who were using Fastjet as an economic alternative to conventional bus transport.

"Clearly, as predicted, our low cost model is stimulating a whole new market of people to fly."

Fastjet uses the existing route network of Lonrho's airline, currently operating as Fly540, in Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana and Angola.

EasyGroup's move may meanwhile be challenged by easyJet which for some time has had fractious relations with Haji-Ioannou, whose family is the biggest single shareholder in the British airline with a stake of about 38 percent.

Mau Mau massacre documents revealed

BBC News, Peter Biles, BBC World Affairs Correspondent, 30 November 2012

Related Stories

The documents have been made
public after more than 50 years
The fullest account yet of a massacre which took place during the Mau Mau rebellion in Kenya in the 1950s, has been given in Foreign Office documents released by the National Archives.

Eleven Kenyans were beaten to death by prison warders at the Hola detention camp. Dozens more were injured.

There were no prosecutions after the Hola massacre.

Survivor Wambugu Wa Nyingi is one of three Kenyans currently suing the UK government for alleged torture.

The newly declassified documents reveal that in 1958 there were serious problems of discipline at the Hola detention camp near Garissa, eastern Kenya, where Mau Mau suspects were being held.

Poison theory

Detainees complained of being treated "like slaves" while carrying out enforced work on an irrigation scheme. Another grievance was over their diet, which they claimed was responsible for many diseases.

On 3 March, 1959, 11 Kenyans died at Hola. Initial public statements suggested the men had been poisoned by contaminated water.

But three days later, Kenya's governor, Evelyn Baring, wrote to the secretary of state for the colonies, Alan Lennox-Boyd, saying preliminary reports had been "misleading".

"(The) result of first three autopsies is that in each case, death was due to violence", said the governor's telegram to London.

The colonial secretary began to demand daily updates from Nairobi.

"I am sure you will understand my anxiety to have fullest possible information by morning of Tuesday March 10 at the latest. Please let me know what further publicity you propose and whether or not disciplinary proceedings or charges are likely to follow from these findings", wrote Mr Lennox-Boyd.

On 9 March, Mr Baring sent this telegram to London: "The injuries are reported to be consistent with being caused by heavy sticks or batons and/or boots".

In Parliament, the colonial secretary was to face awkward questions about whether the government had, in effect, had a plan authorising the unlawful use of violence against detainees in Kenya.

Mr Lennox-Boyd wanted to establish how many British officers and African warders were alleged to have been implicated in the assaults on detainees at Hola.

The governor replied that two European prison officers had been in charge. He said there were also 40 warders with batons, supervising the prisoners at work, and a special platoon of 51 warders as a riot squad, equipped with batons and shields.

'Flowery officialese'

As an inquest got under way in Nairobi in March 1959, Mr Baring sent another cable to London about the proceedings: "Government Chemist told of examination water from cart and stomach contents. Both negative, no poisonous substances found".

The hearing on 26 March saw the Hola camp commandant, Michael Sullivan, giving evidence.

The telegram from Government House in Nairobi to the Secretary of State read: "Sullivan proved very bad witness. An unintelligent man with poor education. He would not directly answer questions but took refuge in rambling statements couched in flowery officialese. Magistrate not impressed".

Summing up the magistrate's findings, Mr Baring told London: "Broadly, death was caused by shock and haemorrhage due to multiple bruising caused by violence".

He went on: "Evidence as a whole so conflicting and unreliable that impossible to be certain of exact happenings on March 3 when things got out of control of one man"..... "Not a single witness of Hola Prison Staff, warders or detainees made any real attempt to tell truth".

In May 1959, the colonial secretary wrote again to Mr Baring: "Public opinion is extremely sensitive on Hola problem.... I am sure you will agree we should try to let this unhappy incident drop out of sight as soon as possible".

Mr Wa Nyingi and his two fellow claimants won a legal case in the UK in October to make a claim against the British government.

The government accepts that the colonial administration tortured detainees, but denies liability .

Britain suspends Rwanda aid on DR Congo rebel support

Google - AFP, 30 November 2012

Britain plans to give a further £18 million to provide 100,000 people in DR Congo
 with food, water and education (AFP/File, Fabrice Coffrini)

LONDON — Britain said Friday it would withhold £21 million ($33.7 million, 25.9 million euros) in aid to Rwanda following concerns over its support of rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The announcement by International Development Secretary Justine Greening follows the widely-criticised decision by her predecessor Andrew Mitchell to restore a tranche of aid in September following its suspension in July.

Britain meanwhile said it would give a further £18 million to provide 100,000 people in DR Congo with food, water, household items and emergency education, as the advance of M23 rebels sparks fears of a humanitarian catastrophe.

"The government has already set out its concerns over credible and compelling reports of Rwandan involvement with M23 in DRC," Greening said in a statement.

"This evidence constitutes a breach of the partnership principles set out in the memorandum of understanding, and as a result I have decided not to release the next payment of budget support to Rwanda."

Under these principles, Britain will only provide aid to governments who show strong action on reducing poverty, tackling corruption, improving accountability and meeting international obligations to support peace and respect human rights.

"We are committed to finding lasting solutions to the conflict in this region and will work with the governments of Rwanda and DRC to secure a peaceful resolution to the situation in eastern DRC," Greening said.

Britain is the second largest bilateral donor to Rwanda after the United States and had been due to grant £75 million this year, of which £37 million was general budget support payable directly to the government.

Over the four previous years, Britain paid out about £265 million in total aid to Rwanda, according to officials.

Britain suspended its aid in July along with other Western donors after a UN report accused Rwandan officials of backing army mutineers in eastern DR Congo, who formed a rebel group called M23. Rwanda strongly denied this.

In September, however, outgoing international development minister Andrew Mitchell said half the suspended funds -- £8 million -- would be paid to the government as planned and the other half donated through alternative channels.

Greening's action blocks £21 million of general budget support which was due to be paid in December.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Nobel peace laureates call for Israel military boycott over Gaza assault

Letter with 52 signatories including artists and activists also denounces US and EU 'complicity' through weapons sales

guardian.co.uk, Chris McGreal in Jerusalem, Wednesday 28 November 2012

A man looks at the ruins of a Hamas police station destroyed by an Israeli
air strike in Gaza City. Photograph: Oliver Weiken/EPA

A group of Nobel peace prize-winners, prominent artists and activists have issued a call for an international military boycott of Israel following its assault on the Gaza Strip this month.

The letter also denounces the US, EU and several developing countries for what it describes as their "complicity" through weapons sales and other military support in the attack that killed 160 Palestinians, many of them civilians, including about 35 children.

The 52 signatories include the Nobel peace laureates Mairead Maguire and Adolfo Pérez Esquivel; the film directors Mike Leigh and Ken Loach; the author Alice Walker; the US academic Noam Chomsky; Roger Waters of Pink Floyd; and Stéphane Hessel, a former French diplomat and Holocaust survivor who was co-author of the universal declaration of human rights.

"Horrified at the latest round of Israeli aggression against the 1.5 million Palestinians in the besieged and occupied Gaza Strip and conscious of the impunity that has enabled this new chapter in Israel's decades-old violations of international law and Palestinian rights, we believe there is an urgent need for international action towards a mandatory, comprehensive military embargo against Israel," the letter says.

"Such a measure has been subject to several UN resolutions and is similar to the arms embargo imposed against apartheid South Africa in the past."

The letter accuses several countries of providing important military support that facilitated the assault on Gaza. "While the United States has been the largest sponsor of Israel, supplying billions of dollars of advanced military hardware every year, the role of the European Union must not go unnoticed, in particular its hefty subsidies to Israel's military complex through its research programmes.

"Similarly, the growing military ties between Israel and the emerging economies of Brazil, India and South Korea are unconscionable given their nominal support for Palestinian freedom," it says.

The letter opens with a quote from Nelson Mandela: "For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others."

The other signatories include John Dugard, a South African jurist and former UN special rapporteur in the occupied territories; Luisa Morgantini, former president of the European parliament; Cynthia McKinney, a former member of the US Congress; Ronnie Kasrils, a South African former cabinet minister; and the dramatist Caryl Churchill.

Related Articles:

The Jewish-Palestinian Declaration (1997)

UN recognizes Palestine as non-member observer state

NO voters:

Czech Republic
Marshall Islands

“… Let us talk about the swords: When you hear the word sword, the first thing that occurs to you is battle. The Bridge of Swords is a battle and we told you that as well. Swords are metaphoric and they mean many things, so let us describe the things we mean them to say to you.

Number one: They are indeed a weapon in a battle. There is a battle coming. "Kryon, does that mean there's going to be a war?" Potentially, yes. Right now we will tell you that the Middle East cooks itself. You've noticed, haven't you? What do you know about the Middle East, dear one? Let's start examining things for a moment. What energy did you grow up in? What was the energy of the Middle East? In the '40s, what was the energy? With the establishment of the state of Israel, you built a wall of hate, both sides. The wall was so thick that the children of both sides were taught to hate one another as soon as they were able to understand the language. They were told who their enemies were. Now, where were you then?

Some of you weren't here yet. By the time you arrived, in your youth, were you aware of the Middle East? Not particularly. "What's the hatred about?" you might ask. What if I told you it's about a family feud? Two sons of a Jewish master are involved. One founded the Arabs and one remained a Jew. They don't want to hear this, but they are all Jews. (Don't tell them this.)

If you look at the lineage, it's pretty obvious and yet it's a complete and total set-up for either solution or war. The set-up would have this world ending in a conflagration that would have been brought about by this hatred. That's in the prophecy of Nostradamus and your scripture, but it is no longer the prophecy of the planet. Yet the hatred still exists. The hatred is as great today as it was then, but where was all the terrorism 40 years ago? It was isolated.

Those in Israel and Palestine and surrounding areas took the brunt of it, but now it's seemingly everywhere - and you're worried. Why would this be? The answer is that the old energy was happy to have this hatred contained, for it would keep it going and never involve outsiders. Outsiders tend to bring unwanted light to the party. Suddenly, the whole earth is involved and can see the entire scenario before them. The old guard wants war, just like all the eons before them. The ones on the bridge are holding the light and showing the earth how to cross. Even many younger ones in Israel and Palestine and Iran are holding light! It's all around the old guard and they are furious, for they are losing the "battle of hatred." …”

9. It can be no other way—simply, this is the physics that governs life in this universe. As Earth continues apace into successively higher planes, nothing with low vibrations in any form—physical bodies, subversive plans, theft, dishonesty, unjust laws and imprisonment, bigotry, cruel customs and deeds—can survive.

10. Moving on, no, it will not be quite like religions being “totally discarded and replaced by universal laws in the Golden Age.” When the truths come forth that science and spirit are one and the same and that religious dogmas were originated by early leaders of church and state to control the masses, people whose consciousness has risen beyond the constraints of third density will adhere to the spiritual aspects of their respective religions and the devised, controlling aspects will fall by the wayside.

11. One of the truths to come forth is that Zionism, which by dark intent has been made synonymous with Judaism, actually is a bellicose political movement within the Illuminati, and its aim for more than six decades has been to create conflict and instability in the entire Middle East. Zionists, who have wielded powerful influence within and behind major governments and their military forces, do NOT represent the Jewish peoples in Israel or anywhere else. And, like all other Illuminati factions, they have been committed to that cabal’s goal of global domination.

12. Although Semites are of diverse national origins and religions, the Zionists have been successful in convincing many that “anti-Semitic” is exclusively prejudice against the Jewish peoples and opposition to Israel’s right to defend itself from its “enemies.” By means of that blatant distortion, they obtained not only world sympathy, but also massive defense funding from Israel’s allies, most especially the United States, all of which served to increase the Illuminati’s vast profits from their industrial-military machine.

13. In addition to controlling the masses through dogmatic teachings, religions have served the dark purpose of divisiveness to such an extent that it resulted in centuries of trauma and bloodshed. Witness the Crusades, wars between Catholics and Protestants, pogroms against Jews, executions of “blasphemous” individuals who refused to “recant.”  (Read More …)

Communication blackout in Syria, especially Internet

Deutsche Welle, 29 November 2012

Internet traffic in Syria has slowed to an effective standstill, according to a pair of US technology companies monitoring web traffic. Rebel fighters, meanwhile, have reported clashes for control of Damascus airport.

US companies Akamai and Renesys said on Thursday that Syrian Internet activity had ground almost to a halt as of 12:26 local time (1026 GMT), with coverage staying down throughout the afternoon.

"In the global routing table, all 84 of Syria's IP address blocks have become unreachable, effectively removing the country from the Internet," Renesys wrote on its blog.

Several news agencies reported that residents had noticed only sporadic coverage for their cell phones and some disturbances for landlines as well.

Localized blackouts have taken place in the past during Syria's lengthy conflict, but Thursday's was thought to be the first nationwide loss of coverage.

"As the atrocities in Syria continue, now the Internet and telephone connection are shut down. Really scary #SyriaBlackout," EU Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmström wrote on her Twitter account, using the signature "CM" to denote that she had written the entry herself.

The blackout also interrupted the news feed of Syria's state-run SANA news agency.

Fighting reported around Damascus airport

Activist groups, including the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, reported heavy fighting on Thursday around Damascus' airport, as rebel forces apparently sought to gain control of the site. The airport is situated roughly 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) to the east of the city center.

"The road to Damascus International airport was closed because of ongoing fighting and military operations in the surrounding areas," the Observatory said.

As with most reports coming out of Syria, the information could not be independently verified owing to restrictions on access for international press - though state television later acknowledged the clashes, saying that the road had been reopened.

"The road from the airport was secured after attacks by armed terrorist groups against cars and after a deployment of the competent forces," the broadcaster said, citing the Intormation Ministry.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights estimates that more than 40,000 people have died in Syria since the civil war broke out in March last year between forces loyal to President Bashar Assad and those seeking a change in government.

International envoy Lakhdar Bramini was also due to brief the Security Council on the situation in Syria on Thursday, an address that looked set to be overshadowed by the General Assembly vote in New York on recognizing the Palestinian Territories as an observer member of the UN.

Case against Tunisian woman raped by police dropped

The Daily Star, AFP, November 29, 2012

Tunisian women shout slogans as they demonstrate in solidarity with
 the inhabitants of the southwestern town of Siliana on November 28,
TUNIS: Tunisian authorities on Thursday dropped a case of possible indecency against a young woman allegedly raped by two policemen, her lawyer said, adding the accused security officers would now face charges.

"The charges (against the woman) were dropped for lack of evidence and the judge has decided to (charge) two policemen for rape and a third for corruption," Bochra Belhaj Hmida told AFP.

The case was dismissed "against the woman and her boyfriend," another lawyer Emna Zahrouni said.

President Moncef Marzouki in October
 offered a state apology to the woman
(AFP, Fethi Belaid)
The 27-year-old rape victim faced possible indecency charges with her fiance based on the testimony of the alleged rapists, policemen who say they took the couple by surprise in an "immoral position" just before the attack purportedly took place.

A judicial source has previously said that the police had taken the couple by surprise as they were having sex in their car.

Two of them then took the woman to the police car, where they raped her, while a third restrained and tried to extort money from her fiance, the source added.

Last month a magistrate had questioned the woman, alleged raped on September 3, to decide whether she was to be charged with indecency.

The case sparked a storm of protest in Tunisia, with NGOs, media and opposition figures saying the proceedings had transformed the victim into the accused and reflected the Islamist-led government's policy towards women.

Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali, from the ruling Islamist party Ennahda, said in October that the policemen, arrested shortly after the incident, would be "severely judged."

But he also said there may be a case of indecency to answer.

However, Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki in October offered a state apology to the woman.

"The Tunisian president received the young woman raped by the policemen... and after listening to the details of this painful case... he expressed total sympathy (with the woman) and offered a state apology," a statement from his office said.

Since the Islamists' rise to power after last year's revolution, feminist groups have accused police of regularly harassing women, by challenging them over their clothing or if they go out at night unaccompanied by family members.

The principle of gender equality, enshrined in the Personal Status Code that was promulgated in 1956 under Tunisia's first president, Habib Bourguiba, made the north African nation a beacon of modernity in the Arab world.

Ennahda, the Islamist party that heads the ruling coalition, was heavily criticised for proposing an article in the new constitution, since dropped, that referred to the "complementarity" of men to women, rather than their equality.

Related Article:

Amnesty wants 15 Saudis held at protest released

The Daily Star, AFP, November 29, 2012

In this photo released by Saudi Press Agency, Saudi Royal family and other
prominent Saudis prepare to give the oathes of loyalty to New Saudi crown
 prince Nayef bin Abdel-Aziz, unseen, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Saturday,
Oct. 29, 2011. (AP Photo)
RIYADH: Rights watchdog Amnesty International urged Saudi authorities to release or charge around 15 men held during a protest they staged in Riyadh to call for the release of their Islamist relatives.

Saudi "authorities must release all those detained on Tuesday's protest or charge them with recognisable criminal offences if there are legitimate reasons for doing so," said Amnesty's regional director Philip Luther in a late Wednesday statement.

The rights group said that police have detained 15 men outside the offices of the Human Rights Commission in Riyadh. Some 22 women and eight children also detained for taking part in the protest were later released.

On Tuesday, police dispersed dozens of protesters gathered in Riyadh calling for the release or immediate trial of imprisoned Islamist relatives.

"Participating in a peaceful protest or appearing to criticise state authorities for the treatment of detained relatives would never be a legitimate reason for arrest and detention," said Luther.

Demonstrations are banned in Saudi Arabia -- an absolute ultra-conservative monarchy that has remained relatively untouched by the Arab Spring uprisings.

Riyadh warned in October it would deal "firmly" with demonstrations.

The warning had been slammed by Amnesty which urged the authorities to "withdraw their threat."

Botswana to ban wildlife hunting

Yahoo – AFP, 29 November 2012

An elephant is pictured at Addo Elephant National Park in the Eastern Cape
 region of South Africa, near Port Elizabeth, on July 9. Botswana, one of Africa's
 premier safari destinations, said Thursday it will ban commercial hunting of wildlife 
because of a decline in animal populations.

Botswana, one of Africa's premier safari destinations, said Thursday it will ban commercial hunting of wildlife because of a decline in animal populations.

The government has decided to "indefinitely suspend commercial hunting of wildlife in public or controlled hunting areas" from January 1, 2014, the environment ministry said in a statement.

The government of the diamond-rich country stated that the killing of wild game for sport was no longer seen to be "compatible with either our national commitment to conserve and preserve local fauna or the long term growth of the local tourism industry".

Tourism contributes about 12 percent to Botswana's gross domestic product.

Hunting concessions in the vast southern African country currently exist in the Okavango Delta and in parks in the Kalahari region, famous for its high-end tourism facilities.

The country boasts large numbers of big game like elephant, lion and buffalo, but the government has voiced concern over a sharp decline in some species.

"If left unchecked this decline poses a genuine threat to both the conservation of our natural heritage and the long term health of the local tourist industry which currently ranks second to diamonds in terms of its revenue earnings," the ministry said.

It added that individual licences for specific game, in specific circumstances, would be assessed.

The ban was foreshadowed by President Ian Khama in his state of the nation address last month.

Earlier this year Spanish King Juan Carlos, 74, went on what was to become an infamous elephant hunting trip in Botswana's northern Okavango region.

The trip attracted widespread criticism back home, as the country was battling an economic decline.

His expedition was cut short after he suffered a hip injury. 

Related Article:

Spain's King Juan Carlos poses in front of a dead elephant
on a hunting trip in Botswana, Africa. Photograph: Target
Press/Barcroft Media

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Protests across Egypt as pressure piles on Morsi

Google – AFP, Haitham El-Tabei (AFP), 27 November 2012

Tens of thousands of people take part in a mass rally against a decree by
President Mohamed Morsi in Tahir Square (AFP, Gianluigi Guercia)

CAIRO — Tens of thousands packed Tahrir Square on Tuesday to protest a power grab by Mohamed Morsi, piling pressure on Egypt's Islamist president as he faces his most divisive crisis since taking power in June.

The huge turnout in the iconic square in the heart of Cairo, as well as in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria and most of Egypt's 27 provinces, marked the largest mobilisation yet against the president.

"I'm here to protest Morsi's autocratic decisions," said Mohammed Rashwan, an engineering graduate who voted for Morsi in the country's first presidential election since a popular uprising toppled Hosni Mubarak last year.

Mohamed Morsi's decree has led to
 charges that he is taking on dictatorial
powers (AFP/File)
"I have discovered that he is pro-Muslim Brotherhood and not the revolution," Rashwan told AFP from the packed square.

Throughout the afternoon and into the evening, marches poured into Tahrir Square, swelling the numbers, amid an electrifying atmosphere many said reminded them of the 2011 uprising.

The protesters are angry at the decree that Morsi announced last Thursday allowing him to "issue any decision or law that is final and not subject to appeal", which effectively placed him beyond judicial oversight.

The decree put him on a collision course with the judiciary and consolidated the long-divided opposition which accuses him of taking on dictatorial powers and raises concerns that the Islamists will be further ensconced in power.

The demonstrations come a day after Morsi stuck by his decree after a meeting with the country's top judges aimed at defusing the crisis that has sparked deadly clashes and prompted judges and journalists to call for strike.

"The solution is to cancel the constitutional declaration... We won't replace a dictator with another," said Asser Ayub, 23, waving an Egyptian flag.
In the Mediterranean city of Alexandria, thousands gathered in Qait Ibrahim square.

Egyptian youth and demonstrators hurl
 stones towards Egyptian security forces 
during clashes in Cairo (AFP, Gianluigi
Members of the Muslim Brotherhood, on whose ticket Morsi ran for office, staged their own rival rally, but marched away after a few hours without any confrontations.

"Down with the rule of the Supreme Guide," the protesters chanted, in reference to the head of the powerful Islamist group, a chant echoed in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, where hundreds took to the streets.

Demonstrations were also staged in the Nile Delta cities of Mansura, Tanta and Mahalla and in the central provinces of Assiut, Sohag and Minya.

A rival rally in Cairo by the Muslim Brotherhood in support of the president was called off to "avoid potential unrest" but that has done little to abate the division among supporters and foes of Morsi.

"The Muslim Brotherhood stole the revolution" read one banner in Tahrir.

After the meeting on Monday with top judges, Morsi stuck by his controversial decree.

There was "no change to the constitutional declaration," presidential spokesman Yasser Ali told reporters at the end of the meeting.

But he added Morsi sought to clarify that any irrevocable decisions apply only to issues related "to his sovereign powers" and stressed the temporary nature of the decree.

In a statement, the head of the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) -- the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood-- said the meeting between Morsi and the judges had been "fruitful".

An Egyptian protester attempts to throw
 back a tear gas canister during clashes
 with the police in Cairo (AFP, Gianluigi
But judges at the meeting said the crisis was not over.

"The meeting failed," Judge Abdel Rahman Bahlul, who attended the talks, told the independent daily Al-Masry Al-Youm.

"We cannot say this is the end of the crisis between the judiciary and the presidency," another judge who attended the talks, Judge Ahmed Abdel Rahman, told the paper.

A judicial source told AFP that even if immunity were limited to sovereign powers, "which appears to be a compromise, there are still concerns that the text itself remains unchanged".

Morsi's decree has led to charges that he is taking on dictatorial powers.

The decree also bans any judicial body from dissolving a controversial panel that is drafting the country's new constitution.

Liberals, leftists and the country's three churches have already walked out of the Islamist-dominated panel because they say it fails to represent all Egyptians.

Related Article:

Monday, November 26, 2012

EU to unfreeze Egyptian, Tunisian assets

The Daily Star, November 26, 2012

High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security
 Policy Catherine Ashton answers journalists before a Foreign Affairs ministers
meeting on October 15, 2012 in Luxembourg. AFP PHOTO/JOHN THYS
BRUSSELS: The European Union announced Monday it was lifting its asset freeze on Egyptian and Tunisian funds, imposed as sanctions before the countries' strongmen rulers were ousted in the Arab Spring uprisings.

The EU's council of ministers said it had taken steps to "facilitate the return of misappropriated funds to the Egyptian and Tunisian authorities" now that Egypt's Hosni Mubarak and Tunisia's Zine El Abidine Ben Ali had been replaced by elected governments.

The council said it had adopted new legislation allowing the courts in individual EU member states to order the release of frozen assets once controlled by Mubarak, Ben Ali and their inner circles.

"Once the necessary judicial steps have been taken, this should enable the release and return to the Egyptian and Tunisian authorities of funds frozen under EU sanctions," it said.

"In addition, the amended legislation will facilitate the exchange of information between EU member states and the relevant authorities in Tunisia and Egypt so as to assist in the recovery of misappropriated funds."

The EU did not say how much money was involved.

Since January 2011, the EU had frozen the assets of 48 people accused of stealing Tunisian public funds, including Ben Ali, and 19 accused of stealing Egyptian public funds, including Mubarak.

EU diplomatic chief Catherine Ashton said returning the funds was a priority for the 27-member bloc.

"The EU will spare no effort to help return this money to the people of these two countries," she said.