The repercussions and the debate around this episode will continue for years. But you can be certain that a question poseed elsewhere --- “Where did the alleged attacker Jared Lee Loughner get the gun?” --- will not be a priority in America. From The New York Times to The Washington Post to CNN and MNSBC, this query was not being posed, let alone answered. No one wants to touch the subject of gun ownership. It has become the third rail of politics.
The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe agreed on Wednesday to a statement about “the worrying developments that took place in Belarus following the Presidential elections held on 19 December 2010 [which] raise a number of questions". The Committee asked for "additional information on what basis the presidential candidates, journalists, and human rights activists were arrested in the wake of the elections", demanding their immediate release, and insisted, "Political freedoms should be fully respected.”
The Committee warned that it "will continue supporting the establishment of closer relations between the Council of Europe and Belarus only on the basis of respect for European values and principles".
But will the statements matter?
And then, WikiLeaks reveals what everyone was whispering. And then, a young man immolates himself. And then, 20 Tunisians are killed in one day.
And for the first time, we see the opportunity to rebel, to take revenge on the "royal" family who has taken everything, to overturn the established order that has accompanied our youth. An educated youth, which is tired and ready to sacrifice all the symbols of the former autocratic Tunisia with a new revolution: the Jasmine Revolution – the true one.
Riots seen recently in Algeria and Tunisia are unlikely to spread to Egypt despite deteriorating economic conditions, experts say.
Although Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt are countries which, to a certain extent, are facing similar challenges --- bleak job prospects, unemployment, skyrocketing staple prices and the looming crisis of aging leaders--Egypt’s peculiar political context could render it immune to North Africa’s social upheaval.
2145 GMT: Sanctions Watch. The US Treasury added 26 firms to its sanctions list, claiming that 24 have ties with state-owned Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines --- linked to the Revolutionary Guards --- and two were affiliated with Aerospace Industries Organization, a subsidiary of Iran's Ministry of Defense.
Still, such news is a trifle for Press TV: it gleefully reports that Italy's oil imports from Iran are up 92%.
1730 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. More than 170 activists have signed a letter calling for the release of female detainees Reyhaneh Tabatabai, Nazanin Khosravani, Sajadeh Kianoush-Rad and Farzaneh Roustaei.
The power-sharing Government was 14 months old and had taken five months to form. It consisted of 30 ministers, with the provision that the resignation of a third would bring it to a halt. Yesterday afternoon, 10 ministers allied to Hezbollah handed in their resignation after demanding that current Prime Minister Sa’ad Hariri call a Cabinet meeting to discuss the tribunal or face the consequences. Independent Shia MP Adnan Hussein followed suit shortly afterwards, dissolving Hariri’s government at around 17.00 Beirut time.
Premier Hariri was at the time in New York meeting President Obama. It is likely that the resignations were timed to coincide with the meeting and cause optimum embarrassment to Hariri, leaving the most powerful man in the world in a meeting with an ex-Prime Minister.
2140 GMT:Comment of the Night via Twitter....
"Just switched to Tunis TV.There is a democratic debate going on.Is this a joke or what? The country turned democratic in one hour."
2040 GMT: The Tunisian authorities have lifted the block on the multimedia site Nawaat and on the video site YouTube and Daily Motion.
It is also reported that the photographic site Flickr and even sites for pornography are now accessible.
2030 GMT: Just to round off the highlights of the President's speech: he also ordered the reduction of bread, milk, and sugar prices.
1914 GMT: Ben Ali says, "We will give freedom to the media and we will put an end to censorship of the Internet. We must find social remedies."
He assures, "This is not a Presidency for life" and asks those who wish to campaign in 2014 to present themselves.
Iran Interview: Wife of Jafar Kazemi, Condemned to Death, "We Request the Help of All Our Compatriots"
Jafar Kazemi, a lithographer for textbooks and pamphlets for Amir Kabir University, was arrested on 18 September 2009, apparently for putting up posters supporting the opposition. Soon he faced more serious charges.
Kazemi was accused of "mohareb" (war against God), a crime which carries the death penalty. Like others who have been executed in Iran, the public support for the allegation appears to be that Kazemi has a relative --- in this case, a son --- who is in Camp Ashraf in Iraq. The camp is home to many members of the People's Mojahedin of Iran, a banned organisation which has sought the overthrow of the Iranian regime for more than 30 years.
Kazemi was convicted and sentenced to hang. In recent weeks, activists have expressed increasing concern that his execution is imminent.
Masih Alinejad, working for the oppostion site Rah-e-Sabz (Jaras), interviewed Roudabeh Akbari, the wife of Kazemi, this week. The translation is by Siavosh Jalili.
To the families of those we've lost; to all who called them friends; to the students of this university, the public servants gathered tonight, and the people of Tucson and Arizona: I have come here tonight as an American who, like all Americans, kneels to pray with you today, and will stand by you tomorrow.