Feb 14 2011

Six In The Morning

They’re Just Moving To Fast

Governments step up political concessions, dole out benefits or prepare the riot police in attempts to keep order after the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, which showed people that strongmen may not be needed to protect against sectarian violence or Islamic extremism.

Middle East nations scramble to contain unrest

Reporting from Amman, Jordan – To track the growing political movements gaining strength from the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia across North Africa and the Middle East, one would be well advised to get a planner.

There were Saturday’s clashes between demonstrators and police in Algeria, now referred to as #feb12 on Twitter, much as Egypt’s uprising shall forever be known as #jan25. New popular protests are scheduled Monday in Bahrain (#feb14) and Iran (#25Bahman). Libya comes next on #feb17, followed by Algeria again on #feb19, Morocco #feb20, Cameroon #feb23 and Kuwait #mar8.

 Valentines The Dark Side  

Supermarkets eager to meet demand for cheap flowers urged to show more concern for the environment

Growing Valentine’s Day roses harming Kenya’s ecological site

Consumer appetite for cut-price Kenyan roses for Valentine’s Day is “bleeding the country dry” by threatening the region’s precarious ecology.

University of Leicester ecology and conservation biologist, Dr David Harper, warned. Harper has spent over 30 years researching wetland conservation at Kenya’s Lake Naivasha and said the growth of the flowers is draining the valuable water supply.

Seventy per cent of roses sold in European supermarkets come from Kenya, most from Naivasha. Harper called on UK supermarkets to show more concern about the health of the environment that the flowers come from.

 He’s An Afront  

Berlusconi faces the wrath of Italy’s women

. Hundreds of thousands of women gathered in cities across Italy yesterday to protest at Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s incorrigible sexism and in particular his fondness, in the words of his estranged wife, for consorting with minors – a penchant that may see him charged with sex-related offences in the coming week. Some of the protesters, who were demanding the Prime Minister’s resignation, carried banners that said: “Italy is not a brothel.”

Organisers say the 74-year-old premier’s antediluvian attitude to women has been made clearer than ever by the allegation that he paid for sex with a 17-year-old Moroccan belly dancer, Karima “Ruby” el-Mahroug.

 All Politics Are Local  

What would impel a Northern Irishman who’s lived in the East African country of Uganda for more than two decades to run for office? Potholes, he says. And he may win.

Why a Northern Irishman is running for office in Uganda’s Feb. 18 election

Kampala, Uganda

Standing on the back of a pickup truck in garbage-strewn Kisugu marketplace, Ian Clarke tried to explain to a crowd of potential voters why a Northern Irish physician would want to get involved in the minefield of local Ugandan politics.

“The reason why I first got into this race was potholes. Why are these potholes here year after year? Why does no one do anything about them?” Mr. Clarke said. “The problem is not a lack of resources, it is a lack of management and lack of willpower.”

After a brief pause for his words to be translated from English into Luganda – the main local language spoken in Uganda’s capital, Kampala – the crowd started cheering.

 Looking For Giant Rats But That Was Yesterday  

Face to face with 10,000 year-old carvings

AN AUSTRALIAN scientist searching for the fossilised bones of giant rats in a cave in East Timor has discovered ancient stone carvings of human faces, the first found on the island.

One of the faces, which has sunbeam-like rays coming out of it, has been dated at 10,000 to 12,000 years old.

A CSIRO researcher and rat expert, Ken Aplin, said he was on the rocky floor of Lene Hara Cave, when he looked up and light from his head torch glanced across its dark wall, revealing the strange images.

 They Continue To March  

Algerian opposition announces new march

The United States and Germany meanwhile called for restraint from the Algerian authorities on Sunday, a day after a massive security operation prevented 2 000 protesters from marching in Algiers.

The National Coordination for Change and Democracy (CNCD), a coalition of opposition parties, rights groups and unofficial unions, announced a new march for next Friday after a meeting of its leadership.

It will start from May 1 Square, where Saturday’s demonstration also took place, said lawyer Moustepha Bouchachi, president of the Algerian League for the Defence of Human Rights (LADDH), which is part of the CNCD.