Iran Election Guide

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Wednesday
Jan192011

Tunisia (and Beyond) LiveBlog: Righting the Government Ship

2135 GMT: Elaph reports that about 50 people are continuing a sit-in protest on Habib Bourguiba Avenue in Tunis, breaking the 8 p.m. curfew.

2105 GMT: President Fuad Mbazaa, addressing the nation on television, promised "a complete break with the past" with a "revolution of dignity and freedom" honouring "all the legitimate aspirations of the uprising".

Mbazaa's address followed the first meeting of the Cabinet, which proceeded despite reports that it would be delayed until Thursday.

2050 GMT: The Democratic Forum for Work and Liberty, after a meeting of the leadership, has confirmed that the withdrawal of its head Mustafa Ben Jaafar as Minister of Health is "final".

A spokesman said,"We have decided to withdraw from the current government and non-participation....[The party will] call to start new negotiations to form a new government."

Jaafar had resigned, in what the party called a "suspension" of participation, as a minister on Tuesday.

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Wednesday
Jan192011

The Latest from Iran (19 January): Ahmadinejad v. Khamenei?

2110 GMT: Ahmadinejad v. Khamenei. This may not be entirely accurate reporting, but it does bring us full circle with the updates.

The Twitter account "M_Ahmadinejad" reports, "Ayatollah seems really depressed today: he's been locked in his room playing Carole King records all morning."

1835 GMT: Curtain Down. The Iranian theatre and art community has criticised the shutdown by Iranian authorities of a Tehran production of Hedda Gabler, reported in last week's updates.

The House of Theatre and Association of Drama Actors described the ban as illegal, since the production had an official licence ifrom the Supervision and Evaluation Council.

The play was closed after allegations that it promoted “vulgarity and hedonism". Director Vahid Rahbani and members of the crew were summoned to the Tehran Prosecutor’s office “to provide clarification”.

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Wednesday
Jan192011

Iran Snapshot: Politics, Propaganda, and Denial Special

Lots of political grandstanding to cope with today. The international media will be occupied with all  the posturing on the eve of resumed nuclear talks in Turkey.

We already know that script, however, as the Ahmadinejad Government gives itself space to negotiate by showing how tough it is and as the "West" gives itself room with the story-lines that 1) its efforts, and those of Israel, have delayed the date of Iran's nuclear weapons capability and 2) Ahmadinejad is not actually crazy but very practical.

More intriguing today are the domestic showpieces.

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Wednesday
Jan192011

Tunisia Analysis: Will the New Government Survive?

Perhaps the most striking political development, given the symbolism of resistance and Government, was was the Minister who did not resign. Blogger Slim Amamou, an iconic figure inside and outside Tunisia because of his challenge to Ben Ali through social media, the man who had been arrested a week before Ben Ali fell and whose release symbolised the "new" Tunisia, refused to step down as Minister of Youth and Sport. 

Amamou said he would resign when he decided, not when others did. But that only brought further - questions.

What should he decide? And what will others, in the meeting rooms and on the streets, now decide?

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Wednesday
Jan192011

Haiti News and Video: The Arrest of Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier

On Tuesday, two days after he returned to Haiti from a 25-year exile, former leader Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier was charged with corruption, theft, misappropriation of funds, and other crimes during his rule from 1971 to 1986.

Haiti Snapshot: Thoughts on Watching the Return of "Baby Doc" (Shahryar)

The video shows an enthusiastic crowd welcoming Duvalier, 59, as he is taken away.

Wednesday
Jan192011

Israel Snapshot: Labour Party Splits; How Will It Affect Coalition and Peace Talks?

On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his Cabinet that the Palestinian Authority was refusing to return to negotiations with Israel because of the Labor Party's threats to leave the coalition.

A day later, the story was not that Labor had left but that the party had split. Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that he would quit and,  with four of Labor's remaining 12 MKs (Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai, and members of the Knesset Shalom Simhon, Einat Wilf, and Ori Noked), form a new party called Atzmaut (Independence).

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Tuesday
Jan182011

Tunisia Video: Claimed Footage of Tuesday Protests

Return of opposition leader Moncef Marzouki to Tunisia

Protest in El Kef in northwestern Tunisia:

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Tuesday
Jan182011

Iran Feature: Life Goes On in Tehran (Tehran Bureau)

The major shift in power over the last few years has been the rise of Ahamdinejad's faction and its alliance with [Supreme Leader] Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Sepah (the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps) to oust the supporters of Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and sideline the old clerical conservatives. Having weakened their major competitors --- reformists are almost completely shut out now --= and harboring potentially serious ideological and practical policy differences, many people think that there is a good chance the Khamenei and Ahmadinejad factions will face off in the coming year or two.

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Tuesday
Jan182011

Tunisia and the Real Net Effect: How Facebookers Changed Politics and Newsrooms (Ruiz-Goiriena)

When thousands took to the World Wide Web from Tehran to protest the result of the presidential elections the summer of 2009, traditional western media's first instinct was to turn a blind eye. It wasn't until days later when massive networks of activists and students were operating strictly through Twitter that outlets like CNN finally figured out covering this phenomenon was probably worth their while. Unfortunately after everything was said and done, many of my fellow journalists in newsrooms across the world concluded the Tehran Twitter protests were an isolated occurrence --- until now. After weeks of unrest in Tunisia seen only through videos uploaded on Facebook, it seems as our psychological apprehension to rely on social networks as a news source will finally come to an end.

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Tuesday
Jan182011

Tunisia (and Beyond) LiveBlog: Watching the Regimes

2135 GMT: One of a number of photos from a rally in Bizerte, on the northern coast of Tunisia:

2125 GMT: In Algeria, a woman "about 40 years old" tried to set herself on fire on Tuesday in the resort of Sidi Ali Benyoub, 600 kilometres (370 miles) west of Algiers.

It is the 7th case of self-immolation in the last week in Algeria.

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