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Friday
Jan212011

Belarus Latest: 31 People Still in Prison Over Election Protests

More than a month after the disputed Presidential election, more than 30 people remain in prison in Minsk over the 19 December protests.

Four Presidential candidates --- Alexei Mikhalevich, Vladimir Neklyaev, Andrei Sannikov, and Nikolai Statkevich --- are still held.

The other 27 accused include candidates' representatives, social activists, journalists, and a former police officer who spoke out on behalf of the protesters.

There has been limited communication with detainees.

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jan212011

Iran Snapshot: How Do You React to a Country Like Tunisia? (Tehran Bureau)

Earlier this week Tehran Bureau posted a series of first-hand reactions from Iranians to the fall of the Ben Ali regime in Tunisia. A selection....

Text message circulating around Iran: "Tunis tunest [did it], Iran natunest [couldn't do it]."

Journalist, 28: "It's okay to celebrate for now. We did the same thing.... I'll tell you in about 20 years what you got yourselves into."

Anonymous on Persian-language website: "We revolted with a leader and an ideology and this is how it turned out for us. I feel sorry for the Tunisians, who brought about a revolution without leadership or an ideology."

Basij member, 37: "Agha [the Supreme Leader] was right about Islamic awakening and the Muslim world learning from the successful example of our revolution. Inshallah, the values of the Revolution will reach every corner of the Muslim world."

Tehrani joke: "Ben Ali, please tell Seyed Ali [Khamenei] to follow you wherever you go!"

Read full article....

Friday
Jan212011

Tunisia (and Beyond) LiveBlog: Debating the Future, Mourning the Past

2224 GMT: The Tunisian Prime Minister's office has regained control of its homepage, after it was taken over by the Anonymous collective earlier this evening (see 2135 GMT).

2215 GMT: Speaking on television tonight, Tunisian Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi says he will not be a candidate in elections, due in six months, and will retire from politics.

2135 GMT: The Anonymous collective has posted a message on the homepage of the Tunisian Prime Minister:

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jan212011

The Latest from Iran (21 January): It's Nuclear Talks Day!

2035 GMT: Execution Watch (Bahrami Edition). It looks like the Iranian Foreign Ministry may be a bit uncomfortable about the attention to the death sentence imposed on Iranian-Dutch national Zahra Bahrami.

Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast insisted in a press conference today that Bahrami's capital punishment was merited because she was "carrying more than one kilogram (2.2 pounds) of narcotics". He continued, "It is expected from the western countries to appreciate Iran's efforts to combat drug trafficking and even cooperate accordingly. Unfortunately, however, we are witnessing their support for Zahra Bahrami and they have even called for her release."

None of the claimed evidence has been presented against Bahrami publicly, and the Iranian authorities have imprisoned her lawyer, Nasrine Sotoudeh, and refused to allow Dutch officials to visit one of their citizens.

Mehmanparast did not deal with any of these issues although he did make a curious allusion to the dual nationality: "Apart from an Iranian passport, Bahrami holds other passports, including European ones."

Mehmanparast concluded with the warning against further intervention: the West should realise that if the issue of narcotics is not taken seriously, it will directly affect their own youth who will be entrapped by drug traffickers.

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jan212011

Tunisia Snapshot: US Media Try to Interpret the Uprising

UPDATE 0830 GMT: Mona Eltahawy, one of the most prominent activists on Twitter, has filmed a report for Time magazine on Tunisia, Youth, and Social Media:

Now that President Ben Ali has been toppled in Tunisia, international media are putting reporters into Tunis and interpreting what has and what will happen.

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jan212011

Tunisia Music Video: El General's Latest Song "Egypt, Algeria, Libya, Morocco, All Must Be Freed"

As the protest against Tunisian President Ben Ali was building this month, we posted a music video from rapper El General (Hamada Ben Amor), who had been seized by the police. His crime was to put out lyrics such as "President, Your People Are Dying".

Well, Ben Ali is no longer President and El General is free and producing more music. His latest track is an "ode to Arab revolution", calling for a repetition of the Tunisian rising in countries throughout the region: "Egypt, Algeria, Libya, Morocco, all must be liberated/Long live free Tunisia".

Friday
Jan212011

Israel-Palestine Analysis: Another Dennis Ross Mission to West Jerusalem

On Thursday, Dennis Ross, a senior member of the US National Security Council, and David Hale, deputy to President Obama's envoy George Mitchell, arrived in West Jerusalem. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said Israel's security needs and the maintenance of the Israel Defense Forces' qualitative advantage during negotiations with the Palestinians would be discussed with the American diplomats. 

Back in the US, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared that Washington's position on Israeli settlements in the West Bank has not changed; however, the US is not going to support the Palestinian proposal for international condemnation of Israel's "illegal" activities in the "occupied" lands.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jan202011

Latest Tunisia Videos: Thursday's Protests

Protest in Tunis against the former ruling party, the Constitutional Democratic Rally

Thursday
Jan202011

Iraq Latest: At Least 106 People Die in Bombings Since Tuesday

At least 45 people died today when two suicide bombers detonated vehicles packed with explosives on the outskirts of the holy city of Karbala in central Iraq.

At least 150 others were wounded in the attacks, which occurred about 20 minutes apart at separate entrances to the city, known for its Shia shrines. 

More than a million pilgrims are expected to visit Karbala in the coming days for ceremonies to commemorate Arbaeen, which marks 40 days since the anniversary of the death of Hussein, Shia's 3rd Imam.

Earlier on Thursday, a roadside bomb detonated among a crowd of Shiite pilgrims at the Al-Rasheed vegetable market in southern Baghdad, killing one and wounding nine, and another blast in central Iraqi town killed one and injured three.
At least 12 people were killed and 55 were wounded on Wednesday when a suicide bomber detonated an ambulance packed with explosives outside a security headquarters in Baquba, north of Baghdad. And at least 49 were killed on Tuesday in Tikrit, north of Baghdad, when a suicide bomber attacked a line of police recruits.

Thursday
Jan202011

Latest Tunisia Videos: Stealing President Ben Ali's Ferrari...With a Forklift

A report from Dutch TV, purportedly of a forklift taking away the Ferrari of former President Ben Ali