Opposition leader to be hanged
By: Andrew Sullivan, The Atlantic, October 8, 2009
Unconfirmed news out of Iran: Mowcamp reported that [Mohammed Reza] Ali-Zamani ìwas transferred on Monday from Evin prison ward 209 to Revolutionary Court number 15, presided over by Justice Salabati and the execution verdict was communicated to him.î If confirmed, it would be the first death sentence yet in the trials of more than 100 opposition supporters for allegedly fomenting street violence following President Ahmadinejadís disputed election victory in June.

Iran protester gets death sentence
By: Reuters, October 8, 2009
An Iranian court has sentenced to death a man who took part in opposition protests over a disputed election in June, a reformist website reported on Thursday. Mowjcamp, which gave no source for the report, said Mohammad-Reza Ali-Zamani was informed of the verdict on Monday. It did not give details about the charges against him. A semi-official news agency, Mehr, said in August he was accused of fighting against the Islamic establishment and active membership of a "terrorist" monarchist association, and other crimes. There was no immediate comment from the authorities.

Former Iranian ministers and confidant of ex-president still in detention
By: Robert Tait, The Guardian, October 8, 2009
Some very prominent reformists remain in jail after Iran's post-election turmoil. They include Mohammad Ali Abtahi, a senior adviser to Mehdi Karroubi, one of the defeated candidates, and Mohammad Atrianfar, a well-known journalist and confidant to the influential former president Hashemi Rafsanjani. Wearing prison pyjamas, both men made televised mea culpas in court and "confessed" that claims of electoral fraud against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad were unfounded. Abtahi's appearance shocked observers. Formerly chubby and ebullient, he appeared tired, drawn and to have lost several stone in weight. Despite recent speculation that they would be released on bail, both men are believed to be still in section 209 of Tehran's Evin prison, run by the intelligence ministry.

ëMourning Mothers Iraní stand with activist mothers worldwide
By: Elahe Amani with Lys Anzia, Women News Network, October 8, 2009
A mother protecting her child isnít anything unique. But in Iran, humanitarian activist mothers are now becoming global icons for human rights causes worldwide. In silent public protest, the ëMourning Mothers of Iran,í known locally in Tehran as the ëMothers of Laleh,í stand together each week, on Saturday evening vigils in Tehranís Laleh Park. ìI urge all women around the world to show their solidarity with the Committee of Iranian Mothers in Mourning by assembling in parks, in their respective countries, every Saturday between the hours of 7 to 8 p.m., wearing black,î said Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Shirin Ebadi, in a plea made to women and activists worldwide. Like the infamous ìWomen in Black,î and the ëMadres de Plaza de Mayo,í the Committee of Iranian Mothers use methods of ethics and non-violence to bring attention to the atrocity of their dead children.

Iranian court shuts down three pro-reform newspapers as dissent continues to simmer
By: Nazila Fathi, NY Times, October 6, 2009
Iranís judiciary has shut down three pro-reform newspapers, opposition Web sites reported Tuesday, in what appears to be a new effort to prevent protests against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The closures came several days after the appointment of two hard-line military veterans to security-related positions. Together, analysts said, the moves reflected the governmentís continued determination to suppress the dissent that has risen in the wake of the disputed June 12 presidential election.

Iran closes leading newspapers
By: Al Jazeera, October 6, 2009
Iran has shut down three daily newspapers critical of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the president, according to reports by state-run news agencies. While no reason was given, the newspapers had been considered sympathetic towards those protesting over Ahmadinejad's disputed re-election in June. The papers closed on Tuesday were Tahlil Rooz (Day's Analysis) in the southern city of Shiraz, and two of the most influential reformist newspapers Farhang Ashdi (Culture of Reconciliation) and Arman (Ideals) published in the capital, Tehran.


Interim Honduras head stands firm
By: BBC News, October 8, 2009
The interim leader of Honduras, Roberto Micheletti, has resisted calls by regional ministers and diplomats to restore ousted president Manuel Zelaya. Delegations from a dozen countries across the Americas made the demand after arriving in Honduras to try to mediate between the two sides. But in a meeting shown on Honduran television, Mr Micheletti said Mr Zelaya's removal from power was lawful. Mr Zelaya is insisting he be restored to the presidency by 15 October.

Surveillance camera footage of Honduras coup invasion of Channel 36
By: Al Giordano, Narco News, October 8, 2009
The coup that can't shoot straight has done it again, as journalist BelÈn Fern·ndez reports today on Narco News: when military and police troops invaded the studios of Channel 36 on September 28, stealing its transmitters, antennas and other equipment, they forgot to remove the surveillance cameras. In that first video, National Police enter through the television network's underground parking lot and then up the stairs at 5:20 a.m. when the station is empty. They bring in men wearing masks and bulletproof vests stamped "Policia Nacional" to disconnect the TV station's broadcasting equipment, who then start removing it, piece by piece, from the premises.

Diplomats get talks started in Honduras crisis
By: AP, Ben Fox, October 8, 2009
Diplomats pushed the two sides of the Honduran political conflict into direct talks for the first time in nearly three months, but left the country Thursday with no commitment from the coup-installed government to reinstate ousted President Manuel Zelaya. Members of the delegation sponsored by the Organization of American States characterized the result of their one-day visit ó the establishment of a "table of dialogue" and an agenda ó as a positive step even though the rivals appear as far apart as ever. Costa Rican Foreign Minister Bruno Stagno said representatives of Zelaya and the interim government of interim President Roberto Micheletti had agreed to discuss the main international proposal for resolving the crisis and will have "logistical" support from OAS staff left behind.

Zelaya followers sentenced to house arrest for sit-in in Honduras
By: China View, October 8, 2009
Forty-nine Hondurans were sentenced to house arrest for their sit-in protest against the June 28 coup that ousted President Manuel Zelaya. The protesters, who said to protest for 90 days in a public building, were evicted by police from the National Agrarian Agencylast week and sent to jail. According to the sentence, they will have to report regularly to the authorities instead of serving jail terms and will be unable to leave the country. Luis Echeverria, prosecutor of common crimes in Honduras' public ministry, who named the sit-in action an act of sedition, told media that Judge Laura Casco had made the ruling. They will have an opportunity to appeal within 20 days, he added.

Leader ousted, Honduras hires U.S. lobbyists
By: Ginger Thompsan and Ron Nixon, NY Times, October 7, 2009
First, depose a president. Second, hire a lobbyist. In the months since soldiers ousted the Honduran president, Manuel Zelaya, the de facto government and its supporters have resisted demands from the United States that he be restored to power. Arguing that the left-leaning Mr. Zelaya posed a threat to their countryís fragile democracy by trying to extend his time in office illegally, they have made their case in Washington in the customary way: by starting a high-profile lobbying campaign. The campaign has had the effect of forcing the administration to send mixed signals about its position to the de facto government, which reads them as signs of encouragement.

Poll: Wide majority of Hondurans oppose coup díetat, want Zelaya back
By: Al Giordano, The Field, October 6, 2009
Finally, hard and reliable data - by a legally certified Honduran polling company ñ provides a clear measurement of how the Honduran people view the June 28 coup d'etat, its ìpresident" Roberto Micheletti, President Manuel Zelaya and the national civil resistance. The polling data ñ which we make public for the first time here - shows that Hondurans widely (by a margin of 3 to 1) oppose the coup, oppose coup ìpresidentî Micheletti by a margin of 3 to 1 and favor the reinstatement of their elected President Manuel Zelaya by a clear majority of 3 to 2.

Ousted Honduran leader dismisses decree decision
By: Ben Fox, Miami Herald, October 6, 2009
Ousted President Manuel Zelaya on Tuesday dismissed the withdrawal of an emergency decree that curbed civil liberties, calling it a meaningless gesture from a coup-imposed government that refuses to restore him to power. Two pro-Zelaya media outlets that were closed under the decree said the government had not returned seized equipment, preventing them from re-establishing normal operations. Channel 36 owner Esdras Amado Lopez called the lifting of the decree "a lie aimed at deceiving the international community." Zelaya criticized Interim President Roberto Micheletti for lifting the emergency decree Monday only after security forces arrested dozens of protesters and closed down two critical media outlets.

Zelaya supporters 'jailed for demonstrating'
By: Al Jazeera, October 5, 2009
Hondurans loyal to the country's deposed president have faced severe restrictions on freedom of assembly, speech and movement since the country's de facto leaders imposed an emergency order whichÖ
Watch the video...

Honduras: Anti-coup resistance movement "firmly united"
By: Juan RamÛn Dur·n, Up Side Down World, October 5, 2009
The National Resistance Front Against the Coup d'Etat (FRN) in Honduras is carrying out a nationwide consultation among its members to establish its position with respect to the expected talks between ousted President Manuel Zelaya and the de facto government, the movement's leaders said. MarvÌn Ponce, a lawmaker of the left-wing Democratic Unification (UD) party, said the FNR is "firmly united," despite the diversity of social, labor and political sectors represented by the movement that began to take shape and hold protests immediately after Zelaya was removed from his house at gunpoint by the military and put on a plane to Costa Rica on Jun. 28.


Zimbabwe media 'still not free'
By: BBC News, October 8, 2009
As the BBC prepares to broadcast a day of programs from Zimbabwe for the first time since officials lifted a ban on foreign reporters, Zimbabwean journalist Brian Hungwe says he and his colleagues are still concerned about restrictions. Two months after the formation of Zimbabwe's unity government a privately owned daily newspaper called NewsDay interviewed and recruited staff, preparing for its imminent launch. That was six months ago, but the paper has not yet printed its first edition. Its publishers cannot get to work until they have been licensed by the government's media watchdog, the Zimbabwe Media Commission. There is just one problem - the commission does not yet exist.

Zimbabwe: Tsvangirai wants media boards revised
By: Tendai Maronga, Zim Online, October 7, 2009
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said Tuesday that new boards announced last week to supervise state-owned newspapers and oversee the airwaves would have to be revised, in what could mark the start of a fresh tug of war with President Robert Mugabe over senior appointments. Information Minister Webster Shamu last week named several boards -- packed with former military men and allies of Mugabeís ZANU PF party -- to companies that run the governmentís vast newspaper empire and the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings, formerly known as Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation that is the countryís sole radio and television broadcaster.

Zimbabwe: Mugabeís men to block media reform - analysts
By: Cuthbert Nzou, Zim Online, October 7, 2009
President Robert Mugabeís decision to pack boards of state media companies with trusted loyalists ensures he has enough manpower to undercut whatever reforms his unity government with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is looking to implement in the media sector, analysts told ZimOnline on Tuesday. Mugabe, who has previously imposed tough controls on the media, agreed to media reforms under last yearís power-sharing agreement with Tsvangirai that gave birth to Zimbabweís seven-month old coalition government.

Zimbabwe: US urges Mugabe to implement power-sharing deal
By: The Guardian, October 7, 2009
The United States on Tuesday urged President Robert Mugabe to fully implement a power-sharing deal with the opposition and take steps toward democratic reform if he wants better Zimbabwean-US ties. The US State Department issued the statement after Mugabe said earlier that Zimbabwe was ready for "fresh and cooperative relations" with Western nations that have spearheaded global condemnation of his rule. "We encourage Robert Mugabe to show his commitment to positive relations with the US by fully implementing the global political agreement, which he signed in September 2008," said State Department spokesperson Ian Kelly.

France 'suspects Guinea leader'
By: BBC News, October 7, 2009
French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner has accused Guinea's military leader of possibly ordering the shooting of protesters last week. Mr Kouchner said Capt Moussa Dadis Camara was "strongly suspected... to have participated in the decision" to launch the bloody crackdown in Conakry.  Human rights groups say 157 people were killed in the incident, while the government puts the figure at only 57.  Earlier, Capt Camara said Guinea was "not a district of France".

Niger opposition renews call for election boycott
By: Abdoulaye Massalatchi, Reuters, October 7, 2009
Opponents of Niger President Mamadou Tandja on Wednesday renewed their call to boycott this month's parliamentary election, saying the leader intends to rig the process to ensure an assembly of his allies. Tandja is already facing widespread criticism for changing the uranium-rich nation's constitution in August to extend his term in office and give himself broader powers under a fully presidential government. "This election is not only illegal but also and above all a charade, because he has already decided the names of the elected officials," said Abdou Garba of the opposition umbrella group Coordination of Democratic Forces of the Republic.

Zambia: Protesters press horns; police press charges
By: Celia Dugger, NY Times, October 6, 2009
The police charged two opposition members of Parliament with illegally honking their horns on Friday to protest the stateís decision not to appeal the acquittal of former President Frederick Chiluba on corruption charges, the state-owned Times of Zambia reported Tuesday. Seven other drivers were also picked up for honking after a coalition of organizations called for the protest.

Zimbabwe: Hundreds of Harare residents protest poor service delivery
By: Alex Bell, SWRA, October 6, 2009
At least 500 residents marched to Town House, singing protest songs and waving placards, voicing their anger and growing impatient with a council that has done little to ensure adequate services return to the city. Roads are full of pot holes; street and traffic lights are not working and have not been maintained; piles of garbage are littered at most street corners in residential areas and shopping centers; raw sewerage is still a dreaded neighbor in most high density areas. However, despite the visible failings of the council to restore services, residents have still been faced with letters of final demand, threats of legal action and unrealistic council rates.


US: Remarks by the President on winning the Nobel Peace Prize
By: Office of the Press Secretary, The White House, October 9, 2009
ìThis award must be shared with everyone who strives for justice and dignity -- for the young woman who marches silently in the streets on behalf of her right to be heard even in the face of beatings and bullets; for the leader imprisoned in her own home because she refuses to abandon her commitment to democracyÖand for all those men and women across the world who sacrifice their safety and their freedom and sometime their lives for the cause of peace.î

US: Dozens arrested in anti-war rally
By: Matt Rist, The GW Hatchet, October 8, 2009
A coalition of anti-war groups marched to the White House Monday to mark the eighth anniversary of the war in Afghanistan, but their demonstration was cut short by law enforcement officers on horseback, who forced protesters and press from the sidewalk. The coalition that led the march included the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance, Peace Action, Veterans for Peace and a number of other interest groups that met at McPherson Square to speak out against war, and specifically the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan. The demonstration ended with Park Police arresting more than 60 protesters, according to figures in The Washington Post.

US: Understanding the Twitter crackdown
By: Bryan Farrell, Waging Nonviolence, October 7, 2009
New York City social worker who was arrested at the G20 protests in Pittsburgh and charged with essentially hindering the police crackdown on protesters by posting their whereabouts on Twitteróhas quickly spread from activist circles and independent media outlets to the mainstream. Naturally, thereís a bit of a difference in the coverage. The New York Times for instance didnít mention, as Amy Goodman did in her most recent column, that the information Madison tweeted was public information made available by the police on the Internet.

US: Rights activists see double standard in U.S. Twitter arrest
By: Michelle Nichols, Ottawa Citizen, October 6, 2009
The arrest of a New Yorker for using Twitter to alert protesters to police movements at a meeting of world leaders in Pittsburgh last month would be deemed a human rights violation if it happened in Iran or China, rights activists charge. Pittsburgh police arrested Elliot Madison, 41, on Sept. 24 as hundreds of people ó some throwing rocks and breaking shop windows ó protested on the first day of a summit of the Group of 20 rich and developing nations. The protesters, with a broadly anti-capitalist agenda, were kept well away from the convention site where the leaders held their two-day meeting. Police sporadically used pepper gas to disperse them.

US: Antiwar protesters take to White House Facebook page
By: Garance Franke-Ruta, Washington Post, October 7, 2009
On Monday, they staged a protest to deliver petitions to the White House. On Wednesday, they did the virtual equivalent at the White House online. Antiwar protesters seeking to increase pressure on President Obama to pull back from the war in Afghanistan took to Facebook to scrawl antiwar messages on the White House wall -- Facebook wall, that is, where any member of the public can leave a message -- in a "Friendly Takeover." The group Peace Action West and the Peace Education Fund launched the protest Monday. By Wednesday afternoon, the eighth anniversary of the start of the invasion, those clicking on the "Just Fans" tab on the wall were treated to a stream of antiwar messages.


Cuba bloggers test government limits
By: George Ballantine, BBC News, October 8, 2009
Cuba's dynamic emerging blogging community has recently been testing the limits of free expression with posts ranging from vivid accounts of everyday life to sometimes risky calls for political change in the Communist-run state. Bloggers - many of whom were born after the 1959 revolution - are trying to move debate away from the established official doctrine to exploring social and economic issues. Most still avoid direct criticism of the government, for fear of provoking a crackdown on the country's growing internet. However, the government's present tolerance could change, as an increasing number of bloggers are beginning to condemn the harassment of independent writers and are demanding structural reforms.


Chavez foes fear Venezuela law on civilian militia
By: Taiwan News, October 8, 2009
Opponents of President Hugo Chavez voiced concerns Wednesday that a newly approved law legalizing armed civilian militias to work with the military could be used to crack down on opposition protests. Pro-Chavez lawmakers deny the government plans to use the militias to break up street protests, saying the armed groups would be deployed only if Chavez declared martial law amid widespread political upheaval or natural disasters. His critics expressed skepticism."The militias are for intimidating and terrorizing" those who take to the streets to protest against Chavez, said Stalin Gonzalez, an opposition politician who helped organize anti-Chavez demonstrations in recent years as a university student.

Venezuela bans "Family Guy"- but "Baywatch" is ok
By: Charlie Devereux, Huffington Post, October 6, 2009
Stewie Griffin, the animated character from the hit cartoon "Family Guy," has caused offense here in Venezuela by singing a ditty lauding marijuana's restorative properties. El Aissami blamed U.S. drug consumption for fueling Venezuela's narco-trafficking market and suggested that "adult" cartoons such as "Family Guy" were mouthpieces for the U.S. government's tolerant attitude toward drugs. "Family Guy" is not the first cartoon to receive short shrift from authorities in Venezuela. Last year, "The Simpsons" was banned from terrestrial television after it was ruled "unsuitable" for children. It was replaced with "Baywatch," the 1990s series featuring scantily-clad lifeguards in California.

Ecuador's Shuar gird for conflict after protest
By: Jeanneth Valdivieso, Miami Herald, October 1, 2009
Several hundred Shuar Indians wearing black war paint and toting wooden spears on Thursday reinforced a highway blockade that police failed to break up earlier in a bloody melee that left one Indian dead and at least 40 police injured. Police pulled out of the southeastern jungle region on orders from leftist President Rafael Correa, who is in an intensifying dispute with indigenous groups that say proposed legislation would allow mining on their lands without their consent and lead to the privatization of water.

Nepal's Tibetans squeezed as China flexes muscles
By: Claire Cozens,AFP, October 7, 2009
As Beijing marked the 60th anniversary of Communist rule last week, police in Nepal quietly rounded up dozens of Tibetan exiles they said were suspected of planning to hold anti-China protests here. The pre-emptive arrests in early morning raids across the capital Kathmandu were the latest sign of an increasingly hard-line approach by Nepalese authorities to the country's Tibetan population. Nepal is home to around 20,000 exiled Tibetans, who began arriving in large numbers in 1959 after their spiritual leader the Dalai Lama fled Tibet following a failed uprising against the Chinese. Those who arrived before 1990 were given permission to stay and have often integrated successfully, building profitable businesses selling carpets and other traditional crafts, although they do not have full citizenship rights.


Burmese-American to get Suu Kyi Lawyers
By: CBS News, October 7, 2009
Two lawyers for detained Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi have agreed to defend a Myanmar-born American jailed for allegedly planning to incite unrest in the military-run country, the lawyers said Saturday. Attorney Nyan Win said he and fellow lawyer Kyi Win were approached by the U.S. Embassy to represent Kyaw Zaw Lwin, who has been in prison since being arrested Sept. 3 on arrival at Yangon airport. "We have accepted the offer," said Nyan Win, adding that the Foreign Ministry needed to confirm their appointment. Dissident groups reported Kyaw Zaw Lwin's disappearance, but his whereabouts were unknown until he was allowed a U.S. consular visit Sept. 20 at Myanmar's Insein Prison.

Aung San Suu Kyi meets with Burmese government minister
By: VOA, October 7, 2009
Detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi held talks with a Burmese government official Wednesday, the second time in less than a week. Aung San Suu Kyi met with the military government's official liaison with the country's opposition, labor minister Aung Kyi, for 30 minutes at a government state house in Rangoon. Details of the talks were not immediately known. On Saturday, the pair met for the first time since January 2008. Her lawyer Nyan Win says the talks were likely to have centered on how to get sanctions against military-ruled Burma lifted.

Vietnam democracy activist jailed
By: BBC News, October 7, 2009
A court in Vietnam has sentenced a man to three years in prison for hanging a banner over a bridge in Hanoi which called for multi-party democracy. Vu Hung is one of a several pro-democracy activists who were arrested last year, accused of spreading propaganda against the state. Rights groups say another activist, the poet Tran Duc Thach, has also been sentenced to three years in jail. Seven others face trial in Hanoi and Haiphong city later this week.

Vietnam teacher jailed for advocating democracy
By: John Ruwitch, Reuters, October 7, 2009
A Vietnamese court sentenced a secondary school physics teacher on Wednesday to three years in prison followed by three years of probation for hanging a banner on a bridge calling for multi-party democracy. Vu Hung, who turns 43 on Saturday, was among nine people linked to banned pro-democracy group Bloc 8406 whose arrests last year and lengthy pre-trial detentions have been criticized by human rights groups.

Vietnam: Spate of blogger trials to start tomorrow, another blogger held incommunicado
By: Reporters Without Borders, October 6, 2009
Reporters Without Borders calls for the acquittal of all the writers, bloggers and pro-democracy activists who are about to be tried in various courts after unexplained delays, with a danger of long jail sentences being imposed. Vu Hungís trial in Hanoi tomorrow and Pham Van Troiís trial the day after are expected to be held without guarantees for defense rights. Six other activists, who were arrested in September 2008 for various offences including posting criticism of government policies online and criticizing China in writings or in protests, will thereafter be tried in Hai Phong.,34653.html


China: Stopping people's grievances from visiting Beijing
By: Andy Yee, Global Voices, October 7, 2009
The letter and visit petition system is an administrative system for hearing complaints and grievances from individuals in China. The state and local bureaus of letters and visits are in charge of receiving letters, calls and visits from individuals or groups. The officers then channel the issues to respective departments and monitor the progress of settlement. Many citizens start their petition journey when the local courts fail to resolve their disputes. In August 2009, the Central Commission on Political and Legal Affairs of China issued an opinion document which encourage people to resolve their disputes by legal means and demanded local governments to intercept visit petitions to the central government. The authority is concerned about the rapidly increasing number of petition visits to Beijing which may disrupt social stability.

Beijing battles online 'disharmony'
By: Rick Martin, Japan Times, October 7, 2009
Thousands of goose-stepping troops, rumbling rows of tanks and floats celebrating China's achievements paraded proudly in front of Tiananmen Square  last week, all intended to convey the message that Beijing has everything under control. However, there's everything but control on the Internet. Ironically, behind this confident display of muscle during Thursday's celebration of the Communist Party's 60 years in power, Beijing is getting desperate in an information war with dissenting voices. China's Internet censorship has never been a secret. Web sites like YouTube, Blogger and Twitter all facilitate speedy, unfiltered communication ó and all are now blocked (or "harmonized" as they say in China) by the Great Firewall.

China: Tweets during the national holidays
By: Xiao Qiang, China Digital Times, October 6, 2009
Chinese twitterers were busy during the National Day holiday, offering their opinions about the military parade and celebrations. Below are some examples from more politically-minded tweets: Gongminyaoyao: I only have one thing to say about the military parade: the government can drive tanks on the street to show off the nuclear missiles,  but ordinary citizens could not get kitchen knives in the supermarket.

In China, a headless Mao is a game of cat and mouse
By: Jimmy Wang, NY Times, October 5, 2009
Itís not the kind of sculpture of Chairman Mao you typically see in China. Heís on his knees as a supplicant, confessing; his body language and facial expression indicate deep remorse. Whatís more, the head of this life-size bronze statue, titled ìMaoís Guiltî and created by the artist brothers Gao Zhen and Gao Qiang, separates from the body ó by design. Still, the Gaos are a reminder that, especially as China celebrates the 60th anniversary of the Communist revolution, limits to expression remain: although artists are increasingly free to deal with social and political topics, works that explicitly criticize Chinese leaders or symbols of China are still out of bounds.

China: Police, curbs mark anniversary
By: RFA, September 30, 2009
Chinese authorities have clamped tight security curbs on the capital, Beijing, blocking off major tourist spots and taking precautions against possible unrest, ahead of a huge parade marking 60 years of Communist Party rule. Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City, along with some hotels, restaurants, and shops in the city center closed ahead of the celebrations on Thursday, Oct. 1, aimed at showcasing the rise of the worldís largest country from war-torn poverty to economic superpower. Authorities have been stepping up security for weeks, notably in the wake of violent unrest since early last year among the countryís minority Tibetan and Uyghur populations, many of whom resent Chinese Communist Party rule.


Uzbekistan: Officials forcing entertainers to sing praises to the government - or else
By: Eurasia Net, October 6, 2009
As it struggles to keep a lid on political dissent while also trying to keep the wheels from coming off the economy, the government of Uzbekistan is co-opting the countryís entertainment industry. Local show-biz personalities are being forced to conform to the stateís wishes, and those who donít get with the program are having the plugs pulled on their careers. The experience of Yulduz Usmanova, dubbed Uzbekistanís "Madonna," highlights the extent of Uzbek government meddling in show business. Usmanova became a household name across Central Asia by producing more than a dozen albums and selling close to 5 million copies by 2008. But early that year she went into exile in Turkey, complaining of political persecution.


The Nobel Peace Prize
By: The Norwegian Nebel Committee, October 9, 2009
The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009 is to be awarded to President Barack Obama for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples. The Committee has attached special importance to Obama's vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons. Obama has as President created a new climate in international politics. Multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play.

The Berlin Wall - what really made it fall
By: Elizabeth Pond, Christian Science Monitor, October 8, 2009
Contrary to popular lore, the Berlin Wall did not fall on Nov. 9, 1989. Nor did it fall in Berlin. It fell on Oct. 9, 120 miles away, in the city of Leipzig. First, civil courage ñ a rare quality in German history ñ had to dissolve the four-decade-old mental wall of East German fear. Only then could the cement wall collapse in Berlin. Here's how it happened: When Valentine Kosch set out to join the Monday peace march in Leipzig on Oct. 9, she expected to be shot by the massed East German security forces. She explained to her two young daughters that she was going to take a walk with friends so that teachers would be nicer to their pupils ñ an accurate enough description in her case.

Russia's war on words
By: K. Anthony Appiah, Washington Post, October 7, 2009
Three years ago today Anna Politkovskaya, a courageous journalist who exposed appalling human rights offenses in Chechnya, was shot five times as she entered her Moscow apartment building. She was not the first Russian journalist to be slain for performing the invaluable function of bringing buried truths to light. Sadly, there have been, and will be, more murders. And we all pay the price. Westerners were inclined to think during the Cold War that a democratic Russia would be better for Russians and for us. Yet 20 years after the fall of the Iron Curtain, hopes for genuine democracy in Russia remain unrealized.

Chechnya: President Kadyrov libel trial reveals danger faced by human rights activists
By: Canada News, October 7, 2009
The information that came to light during a trial initiated by Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov against human rights activist Oleg Orlov has served to highlight the dangers faced by human rights activists working on Chechnya, Amnesty International said on Wednesday. ìThe failure of the authorities to respect the work of independent human rights organizations and to recognize human rights organizations as an integral part of a functioning society has placed the lives of human rights activists at risk and has created a climate of fear,î said Nicola Duckworth, Europe and Central Asia Program Director at Amnesty International.

Turkish police break up protests
By: Al Jazeera, October 7, 2009
Turkish police have fired tear gas and used water cannon for a second day to break up protests against the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, witnesses say. Between 100 and 200 protesters, mainly from Turkish unions and leftist political parties, clashed on Wednesday with riot police a few hundred meters from the IMF-World Bank semi-annual meetings on the global economy. Similar scenes were witnessed on Tuesday when the meetings began. Police used water cannons and tear gas to as protesters smashed windows of a McDonald's fast food restaurant and several banks in Istanbul.

Turkey: IMF meeting in Istanbul marked by police-protester confrontation
By: Jonathan Lewis, Eurasia Net, October 6, 2009  
The Tsarist-era Russian anarchist gadflies Mikhail Bakunin and Peter Kropotkin are widely credited with coming up with the slogan "anarchy is the mother of order." But on October 6, protesters mainly demonstrated that anarchy is the progenitor of destruction. An estimated 6,000 Turks gathered near central Taksim Square in Istanbul to protest the start of the International Monetary Fundís annual meeting. Most of the protesters -- including representatives of left-leaning political parties and trade unions -- were peaceable. But the crowd contained the usual sprinkling of mischief-making anarchists, who proceeded to smash windows and cause other property damage. Clouds of tear gas enveloped the area, as Turkish security forces acted resolutely to disperse the protesters.

ìEuropean Belarusî activist arrested for leaflets about trade union rally
By: Chapter 97, October 6, 2009
The Belarusian Trade Union of Electronics Industry Workers and the Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions applied to the Minsk city executive committee for holding a rally in Minsk on October 7. Uladzimir Lemesh, an activist of the civil campaign ìEuropean Belarusî, was detained on Friday of October 2 when he was handing out leaflets ìFor Dignified Labourî near bike and bicycle plant in Minsk, the website reports. The leaflets contained information about the trade union rally to be held on October 7.

Turkey: Violating online free speech
By: Bhumika Ghimire, Global Voices, October 5, 2009
Turkey, a modern democracy which takes pride in staying secular despite intense pressure from Islamic fundamentalists, unfortunately is actively engaged in curtailing online free speech. Since September 18,2009 MySpace, a popular social networking site and Last FM-where you can listen to free music, has been blocked in the country for alleged copyright and intellectual property right violations. Decision to block MySpace is not first step in Turkey's decision to police the internet. In 2008, blog host Blogger, popular video sharing site YouTube and about 850 sites were banned.  Also, YouTube was banned after an ìinsultingî video on the country's founder Mustafa Kemal Atat¸rk appeared on the site.

UK: Five held in coal depot protest
By: BBC News, October 5, 2009
Five environmental campaigners have been arrested after a protest at a coal loading depot in South Lanarkshire. About 10 people were involved in a blockade of the Ravenstruther terminal, near Lanark, from 0630 BST on Monday. They are opposed to five open cast coal mines in the area and 13 new mines due to open in Scotland. British Transport Police (BTP) said one man had been arrested at the scene for assault and three women and a man had been arrested for breach of the peace.


Iraq releases Iranian dissidents
By: BBC News, October 7, 2009
A group of 36 Iranian opposition members have been freed after nearly three months in custody in Iraq. The men were returned to Camp Ashraf in northern Iraq, where more than 3,000 People's Mujahideen of Iran (PMOI) members have been confined since 2003. A spokeswoman for the group told the BBC they had been tortured in custody and were now being treated in hospital. The men were detained by Iraqi police in July during a raid on the camp in which seven PMOI members were killed.

West Bank: Protest poetry
By: Alexa Bryn, Tablet, October 7, 2009
The arrival in English of a new anthology by poets opposed to Israelís occupation of the West Bank, With an Iron Pen: Twenty Years of Hebrew Protest Poetry, illuminates the diversity of Israelís literary leftóand the fact that its writing is done not only in prose. The Israeli poet and translator Rachel Tzvia Back first discovered the Hebrew edition of the anthology three years ago, and was surprised it had yet to reach English readers. Back decided to edit and translate the anthology into English but ìencountered closed door after closed doorî from American publishers. She soon realized that the publishersí reluctance stemmed from what was, to the American ear, the shockingly harsh nature of the poetsí critique. Dissent is perceived differently in Israel than it is abroad, she learned, because the audiences bring different cards to the table.

Gaza: Hamas bans women from riding motorbikes
By: Rory McCarthy, The Guardian, October 7, 2009
The Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas has banned women in Gaza from riding on motorbikes. The ban, posted on the movement's interior ministry website, said it sought "to preserve citizen safety and the stability of Palestinian society's customs and traditions". Given that few women ride on motorbikes in Gaza the proclamation seems unlikely to have much effect, but it raises concerns that a new Islamisation campaign is under way.

Campaign member Jelveh Javaheri receives six month sentence
By: Women's Learning Partnership, October 5, 2009
One Million Signatures campaign activist Jelveh Javaheri has been issued a six month prison sentence by Iranís Revolutionary Courts for her participation in a peaceful protest on June 12, 2008. Ms. Javaheri has been targeted for arrest and harassment on numerous occasions as a result of her work as a womenís rights activist and journalist, most recently on May 1, 2009 for taking part in a demonstration marking International Workers Day, for which she spent over one month in prison, including sixteen days in solitary confinement.

Egypt: Protest at Azhar over Aqsa Mosque raid
By: Abdel-Rahman Hussein and Yasmine Saleh, Daily News Egypt, October 2, 2009
Protestors gathered at Al-Azhar Mosque after the Friday noon prayers to denounce the events at Al-Aqsa Mosque last Sunday when Israeli protestors attempted to storm it on Yom Kippur. Security forces had managed to prevent many of the protestors from reaching Al-Azhar in the first place and set up a tight security cordon in the area. However, those who were inside the mosque did come out after the prayers were finished to show their solidarity with Al-Aqsa. Protestors ó many of them affiliated to the Muslim Brotherhood ó chanted against the raid and carried slogans bemoaning the perceived unwillingness of Arab leaders to make a defiant stand in protection of the mosque, considered one of the three holy mosques in Islam.


Herta M¸ller wins Nobel Prize in literature
By: Motoko Rich and Nicholas Kulish, NY Times, October 8, 2009
Herta M¸ller, the Romanian-born German novelist and essayist who writes of the oppression of dictatorship in her native country and the unmoored existence of the political exile, on Thursday won the 2009 Nobel Prize for Literature. Announcing the award in Stockholm, the Swedish Academy described Ms. M¸ller as a writer ìwho, with the concentration of poetry and the frankness of prose, depicts the landscape of the dispossessed.î Her award coincides with the 20th anniversary of the fall of Communism in Europe.

Activists in 15 countries launch historic global collective bargaining campaign
By: Anannya Bhattacharjee, Jobs with Justice, October 7, 2009
On October 7th, the ITUC-declared World Day of Decent Work, Asian workersí organizations and representatives along with allies in the US, UK and throughout Europe are coming together to demand a Minimum Living Wage called the Asia Floor Wage. As the protestors at G-20 recently urged the global platform of governments to realize the fallacy of the neoliberal ìfree tradeî model of development, labor activists in Asia, US, UK and Europe have joined hands to pro-actively propose a new model for growth. The Asia Floor Wage (AFW) Campaign is based on the premise that we need a new framework for the growth of the global economy; one that is based on labor rights and prioritizes the demand for a living wage.

Talks for an arms trade deal going at snail's pace as figures show over 2000 die per day from armed violence
By: Oxfam, Relief Web, October 7, 2009
Oxfam and a coalition of NGOs reveal death toll reaches 2.1 million in three years of talks about talks - issue urgent call to launch negotiations on arms trade treaty. Talks to establish an effective international treaty on the trade in conventional arms are going at a snail's pace because of self interest and delaying tactics by some major arms exporters, warned international agency Oxfam today. This diplomatic wrangling is taking place ahead of crucial UN talks this month and as figures show that tens of thousands continue to suffer from armed violence worldwide.

IsumaTV - Indigenous community media and online activism
By:  Teague Schneiter, The Hub, October 5, 2009
Since I first heard of what folks were calling a 'YouTube for indigenous media' in early 2008, the word about IsumaTV has been spreading: in its first nine months the site registered almost 4 million hits. Since its birth, the internet portal for global Indigenous media has been reaching out and making a significant contribution to the online Indigenous media landscape. Though IsumaTV emerged out of a very interesting and prolific history of Inuit filmmaking practice, in this post I will be discussing the platform's increasingly global and political focus, made possible by a growing user base, new networking capabilities, and issue-based curation.

Defining digital activism - part 3 ñ where are we going?
By: Mary Joyce, DigiActive, October 4, 2009
So we come to the end of our journey  (well, this series anyway).  Weíve answered the first two of Gauguinís existential questions.  In the first post we asked ìWhere do we come from?î and realized weíre Builders, Doers, and Thinkers (graphic below).  In the second post we investigated ìWhat are We (Thinking)?î and found we operate in a mish-mash of terminology that make effective discussion of technology and activism difficult.  Now we come to the final question: ìWhere are we going?î  This is the most interesting question and also the most perilous, as prognostication always is.


Hundreds "drop dead" for climate justice at Twilight concert series!
By: Peaceful Uprising, September 6, 2009
The banner sat on the edge of the railing, and we peered down below at the thousands of concertgoers moving like ants through Gallivan Plaza. It had been long summer for Peaceful Uprising, trying to stay active in the face of climate change while student activists disappeared for vacation, and the desert heat fried our brains.  But now we were about to make our move, with a flash mob and banner drop in the midst of a free Toots and the Maytals concert.

To protect public land, eco protesters get creative
By: Bryan Walsh,, January 31, 2009
The outlaw spirit lives on in the work of contemporary monkeywrenchers like Tim DeChristopher, a 27-year-old college student who singlehandedly disrupted a multi-million-dollar land auction that would have put hundreds of thousands of acres of public lands in southern Utah in the hands of oil and gas companies. But DeChristopher didn't use sabotage or homemade bombsójust chutzpah.,8599,1874446,00.html


Call for applications for the 2010 session of the annual Human Rights Advocates Program (HRAP) at Columbia University
By: Craig Zelizer, Peace and Collaborative Development Network, October 7, 2009
The application for the 2010 session of the annual Human Rights Advocates Program (HRAP) at Columbia University is now available. HRAP is designed to prepare proven human rights leaders from the Global South and marginalized communities in the U.S. to participate in national and international policy debates on globalization by building their skills, knowledge, and contacts. The Program features a four-month residency at Columbia University in New York City with a structured curriculum of advocacy, networking, skills-building, and academic coursework.