Apr 04 2011

Six In The Morning

UN staff flee Abidjan amid warnings of ‘bloodbath’

Troops loyal to Ivory Coast’s recognised President-elect prepare for ‘final push’

By Daniel Howden, Africa Correspondent Monday, 4 April 2011

The United Nations has started to evacuate its staff from Abidjan ahead of a bloody final battle for Ivory Coast’s commercial capital that is expected to start today.

Laurent Gbagbo, who has refused international appeals to stand down after losing an election last year, has ordered his supporters into the streets to form a “human shield” around him while the forces of Alassane Ouattara, the President-elect, have been massing on the outskirts of the city.

“We are in the last kilometre of a marathon, the last step, which is always the toughest,” UN spokesman Hamadun Touré told The Independent by telephone from Abidjan.

U.S. Shifts to Seek Removal of Yemen’s Leader, an Ally


Published: April 3, 2011

SANA, Yemen – The United States, which long supported Yemen’s president, even in the face of recent widespread protests, has now quietly shifted positions and has concluded that he is unlikely to bring about the required reforms and must be eased out of office, according to American and Yemeni officials.

The Obama administration had maintained its support of President Ali Abdullah Saleh in private and refrained from directly criticizing him in public, even as his supporters fired on peaceful demonstrators, because he was considered a critical ally in fighting the Yemeni branch of Al Qaeda. This position has fueled criticism of the United States in some quarters for hypocrisy for rushing to oust a repressive autocrat in Libya but not in strategic allies like Yemen and Bahrain.

Andrzej Wajda film will shine new light on Lech Walesa

Oscar-winning Polish film-maker says he will tell the story of how an uneducated worker triggered the collapse of communism

Julian Borger

The Guardian, Monday 4 April 2011

Poland has had a complicated relationship with Lech Walesa. The love-hate of past years, however, is danger of fading into indifference and neglect. Poles are often surprised when foreigners ask after him, as if he is a half-forgotten uncle.

Now Andrzej Wajda, a veteran Oscar-winning film director and, at 85, something of a national treasure himself, has decided enough is enough. A jaundiced, dyspeptic, post-modernist nation will be made to look again at “the hero in its midst”, with a biopic recounting the Solidarity struggle.

Radical Chinese artist held by police as part of wide crackdown on dissent

The Irish Times – Monday, April 4, 2011


POLICE STOPPED China’s most controversial artist Ai Weiwei from boarding a flight at Beijing airport yesterday and detained him, in the highest profile action yet in a clampdown on dissents that is casting a wide net.

Outspoken in his criticism of the ruling Communist Party, it has long been a question of when, not if, the authorities would haul in the 53-year-old artist.

“Every day many people ask me on Twitter: ‘How come they still have not come to you yet?’ I don’t know. But I think the possibility is high,” he said in an interview with Germany’s ARD radio on Wednesday.

Mangroves shield against climate change


April 4, 2011 – 4:56PM

Mangroves, which have declined by up to half over the past 50 years, are an important bulkhead against climate change, a study released yesterday has shown for the first time.

Destruction of these tropical coastal woodlands accounts for about 10 per cent of carbon dioxide emissions from deforestation, the second largest source of carbon dioxide after fossil fuel combustion, the study found.

Fewer trees not only mean less carbon dioxide absorbed from the air, but also the release of carbon stocks that have been accumulating in shallow-water sediment over millennia.

Nigeria pushes back polls after logistics chaos


Africa’s most populous country will now hold parliamentary elections on April 9, presidential elections on April 16 and governorship elections in its 36 states on April 26, electoral commission head Attahiru Jega said.

Nigeria was forced to abort parliamentary elections on Saturday after voting materials failed to arrive on time in large parts of the country.

It had planned to try again on Monday, but political parties complained the timeframe was too tight.

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