Monday, July 30, 2012

Ain't No Riot Like A Pussy Riot (Link Round-Up 7/30/12)


Romney completely ignores why Israel actually has a better economy than Palestine
Almost all outside observers have acknowledged that continued military occupation is one of the things stalling economic development in the Palestinian territories. In a lengthy report issued just last week, the World Bank said that “the removal of Israeli restrictions on access to markets and to natural resources continues to be a prerequisite for the expansion of the Palestinian private sector.” The Bank’s country director for the occupied territories, Mariam Shirman, described Israeli restrictions on economic activity as “the biggest impediment to investing” there.
Anti-Putin, all-girl punk band faces seven years in jail over Cathedral protest 
The defendants, speaking from a courtroom cage, used the first day of trial testimony to define their stunt as a purely political protest against the Russian Orthodox patriarch's support for rule by Mr. Putin. The patriarch, the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, has called their act blasphemous.

The church, to which most Russians belong, has been a pillar of support for Mr. Putin during his 12 years as Russia's president and prime minister.

The government prosecution of the women appeared to mark an end to the relative tolerance the Kremlin displayed during a winter of large antigovernment demonstrations. It also signaled an attempt by Mr. Putin to shore up his authority by appealing to his conservative and religiously observant base.
The Western world's "narcissistic" view on post-colonial history (particularly in Asia)
Asian intellectuals couldn't help but notice that Europe's much-vaunted liberal traditions didn't travel well to its colonies. Mohammed Abduh, the founder of Islamic modernism, summed up a widespread sentiment when, after successive disillusionments, he confessed in 1895 that: "We Egyptians believed once in English liberalism and English sympathy; but we believe no longer, for facts are stronger than words. Your liberalness we see plainly is only for yourselves, and your sympathy with us is that of the wolf for the lamb which he deigns to eat."
Kashmiri journalist arrested over reporting destruction of ancient trees by Pakistani government
"Trees were chopped unnecessarily by the government workers in pretense of ensuring a safe landing for the plane of the Prime Minister," said Amiruddin Mughal, who has widely covered environmental issues of this region.

"In the past U.S. humanitarian forces had used the same landing area without any intervention in local forests to provide aid to the victims of the Kashmir earthquake in October 2005. They came in Chinook helicopters, which are larger than plane of our Premier," said Mughal.

Environmental groups and members of the community are angry that the head of the Pakistani government, who has vowed to protect the local forests, was making his speech on the same ground where trees were chopped by his government functionaries.
Indonesia's collective amnesia (or apathy) over the violent purge of 1960's communists
On Monday, the National Commission on Human Rights, an independent state body, released its findings from a four-year investigation. The commission concludes that the army-led campaign amounted to a gross violation of human rights. It urged the government to prosecute the perpetrators and compensate victims and survivors. It also called upon President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to issue a public apology.

But the report failed to generate much public interest, if the reaction of the country's major newspapers is any indication. They either ignored the story or buried it in the inside pages -- which made for a jarring contrast to the hysterical headlines devoted to shooting in faraway Denver last the weekend. But then the mainstream media have always been complicit in the conspiracy of silence over the killings, whether knowingly or out of ignorance.
Latin Americans are visiting (and living) in each other's countries
Millions of Latin Americans head nearby for their vacations, enjoying Patagonia, Machu Picchu, and the Galapagos Islands, among other places. Brazilians are the most active international travelers (in sheer numbers) with 1.5 million people (30 percent of their travelers) headed to locales in Central or South America. Latin American students are also increasingly studying abroad within the region. More than 50 percent of Chile's international students were from neighbors (Peru, Colombia, and Ecuador), with most opting to study professions such as business, health, and the social sciences.

Immigration too has shifted. Today nearly two thirds of all South American immigrants come from neighboring countries (compared to just a quarter forty years ago). Argentina and Chile have received the most immigrants, with 70 and 90 percent coming from neighboring countries. Whole communities of Bolivians live in Argentina, Brazilians in Bolivia and Paraguay, and Colombians and Peruvians in Ecuador. Further north, over four hundred thousand Nicaraguans live in Costa Rica.
Thousands in Hong Kong protest required "Chinese patriotism" school classes
"China wants Hong Kong's next generation to know how great it is and not know the bad stuff," said Chan Yip-Long, a 9-year-old primary school student. "The booklet is very biased, so I am opposing it."

The protest is the latest sign of growing discontent in Hong Kong over mainland China's increasing influence 15 years after the freewheeling financial center was returned to China by Britain following more than a century of colonial rule. Tensions have also been stoked by growing economic inequality and as well as an influx of free-spending wealthy Chinese, who are seen as driving up property prices and shop rents.
Vietnam considers legalizing same-sex marriage
Vietnam seems an unlikely champion of gay-rights issues. It is routinely lambasted by the international community over its dismal human rights record, often locking up political dissidents who call for democracy or religious freedom. Up until just a few years ago, homosexuality was labeled as a "social evil" alongside drug addiction and prostitution.

And Vietnam's gay community itself was once so underground that few groups or meeting places existed. It was taboo to even talk about the issue.

But over the past five years, that's slowly started to change. Vietnam's state-run media, unable to write about politically sensitive topics or openly criticize the one-party government, have embraced the chance to explore gay issues. They have run lengthy newspaper stories and television broadcasts, including one live special that won a top award.

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