AFRICA

Mauritanian junta forced to address press freedoms?
By: Menassat, March 19, 2009
Was it public pressure that caused the Mauritanian courts to reverse its ban on the dissident e-journal Taqadoumy and release one of its jailed journalists? Or is the military junta that took power in an August 2008 coup actually considering taking the shackles off opposition media ahead of June presidential elections?
http://www.menassat.com/?q=en/news-articles/6213-mauritanian-junta-forced-address-press-freedoms

Child brides fight child marriage in Burkina Faso
By: HRT, March 18, 2009
It was not enough to argue that girls could not legally marry in Burkina Faso before age 17, or even that their lives might be put at risk. Tethered to tradition, some families and community leaders steadfastly resisted multimillion dollar efforts to wipe out child marriage, especially in the Muslim-dominant Sahel region in the north.
http://www.humanrights-geneva.info/Child-brides-fight-child-marriage,4244

Zimbabwe: Three detained activists 'disappear'
By: Financial Gazette, March 16, 2009
The Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (JOMIC) stamped its authority last week to steer the inclusive government on the correct path when it summoned Kembo Mohadi and Giles Mutsekwa - the Home Affairs Ministers - to explain the persistent detention of the remaining political prisoners that continues to hobble the shaky power-sharing arrangement.
http://allafrica.com/stories/200903190648.html

AMERICA

Thousands in Argentina protest crime
By: Brian Byrnes, CNN, March 19, 2009
An estimated 10,000 Argentines marched on the historic Plaza de Mayo in the capital, Buenos Aires, on Wednesday to demand more anti-crime measures, reflecting a top priority among Argentines, according to recent polls. There were other anti-crime marches throughout Argentina on Wednesday night, as well.
http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/americas/03/19/argentina.crime/index.html

Colombian activists smeared by abuse of legal system
By: Amnesty International, March 19, 2009
Colombian authorities have renewed criminal proceedings against two prominent and well-respected Colombian human rights activists. The Jesuit priest Father Javier Giraldo and Elkin RamÌrez, a lawyer for the human rights NGO CorporaciÛn JurÌdica Libertad, face charges of defamation (known as injuria, calumnia y falsa denuncia), a criminal offence in Colombia.
http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/news/colombian-activists-smeared-abuse-legal-system-20090319

US: Yes, you can foster democracy in the Middle East
By: One World, March 18, 2009
U.S. President Barack Obama should chart a new course on U.S. relations with the Middle East by implementing peaceful policies that encourage genuine democratic reform in the region, say over 150 American and international experts in an open letter to the head of state.
http://us.oneworld.net/article/360965-obama-advised-further-democracy-muslim-world

Ladies in White quietly mark anniversary of Cuba crackdown
By: Miami Herald, March 18, 2009
Cuba's Ladies in White decided to pray instead of protest for their imprisoned relatives Tuesday as they marked the sixth anniversary of a crackdown in which the government jailed 75 activists and independent journalists. About 30 women squeezed into the apartment of founding member Laura Pollan and chanted Roman Catholic prayers in unison, even seeking protection for Fidel and Raul Castro while urging Cuba's leadership to respect human rights.
http://www.miamiherald.com/1264/story/954543.html

Six years in prison in Cuba for 57 activists: Supporters face ongoing harassment
By: Amnesty International, March 18, 2009
Human rights activists marking the 6-year detention of 57 people imprisoned in Cuba for expressing their right to freedom of expression and association are facing ongoing harassment. Those planning to mark the anniversary of the arrests on Wednesday have been particularly targeted.
http://www.amnestyusa.org/document.php?id=ENGNAU200903189780&lang=e

Cuba: Dissidents' wives back in the fray
By: Patricia Grogg, Australia.To, March 18, 2009
The group of women known as the Ladies in White are holding six days of protests this week in the Cuban capital  - one for each year their dissident husbands, fathers or sons have spent in prison. îWe are peaceful people, and what we want is for our husbands to be freed,î B·rbara Rojo, one of the women who gathered at the house of Laura Poll·n, who often acts as spokeswoman for the group, told IPS.
http://www.australia.to/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7201:cuba-dissidents-wives-back-in-the-fray&catid=95:overflow

US: Resort employees hug trees in protest
By: MSNBC, March 18, 2009
Employees of Westgate Resorts are protesting Tuesday and trying to block Progress Energy workers from cutting down trees, insisting they are not really that close to power lines. Employees stationed themselves around the trees in the heat, saying they are going to do whatever they can to ensure that Progress does not cut down any trees on the property.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29744056/

Decolonization's Rocky road: Corruption, expropriation and justice in Bolivia
By: Benjamin Dangl, Truthtout, March 17, 2009
Over 3,000 Bolivian and Peruvian indigenous activists recently marched in El Alto in commemoration of the March 13, 1781, siege of La Paz, Bolivia, launched from El Alto by indigenous rebels Tupac Katari and Bartolina Sisa. The siege was against Spanish rule and for indigenous liberation in the Andes. At a gathering the night before the recent anniversary mobilization, Eugene Rojas, the mayor of Achacachi, said, "We, the indigenous, organized a siege of La Paz in the past, and we will do it again if we need to." Rojas alluded to the long-postponed decolonization that Katari and Sisa dreamed of over two centuries ago. Today, those dreams of liberation are at once alive and in jeopardy.
http://www.truthout.org/031709T

Venezuela: Ch·vez threatens to arrest dissenting governors
By: El Universal, March 16, 2009
President Hugo Ch·vez threatened to arrest any opposition governors who resist the implementation of the recently amended Organic Law on Decentralization, which allows the Executive branch of government to take up the power granted to the regions.
http://english.eluniversal.com/2009/03/16/en_pol_art_chavez-threatens-to_16A2255803.shtml

El Salvador's quiet revolution
By: Roger Atwood, Mother Jones, March 16, 2009
El Salvador's long civil war finally ended on Sunday night. As election results trickled in showing victory for Mauricio Funes, presidential candidate of the guerrilla group-turned-political party Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front, the streets around FMLN headquarters in San Salvador filled with people wearing red shirts, waving red flags, and chanting a line popularized by the president of the FMLNís former archfoe, the United States: "Yes, we could!"
http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2009/03/el-salvador%E2%80%99s-quiet-revolution

ASIA/ SOUTH ASIA

Malaysia is roiled by a crisis of democracy
By: Thomas Fuller, IHT, March 19, 2009
A slew of political scandals gripping Malaysia and a transfer of power fraught with uncertainty have embroiled the elite here with exquisitely poor timing. As a major trading nation, Malaysia is being slammed by the global downturn, its exports collapsing by nearly one-third and current projections showing that its economy will shrink by as much as 5 percent this year.
http://www.iht.com/articles/2009/03/19/asia/malay.php

North Korean guards detain US journalists near border with China
By: Tania Branigan, Guardian, March 19, 2009
North Korean guards have detained one or more American journalists near the country's border with China, South Korean media have reported. The news comes amid increasing strains on the peninsula. Pyongyang is angry at Seoul and Washington's annual joint military drill, while the latter fear the North is planning to launch a ballistic missile next month.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/mar/19/north-korea-detain-journalists

China court closes human rights law firm for six months
By: Tania Branigan, Guardian, March 19, 2009
A Chinese court has ordered a pioneering law firm which specialises in human rights cases to close for six months. Yitong has defended some of the country's best-known dissidents, including Hu Jia, currently serving a three-year sentence. But the Beijing-based firm has been ordered to stop work and hand in the licences of all its lawyers ñ leaving them without livelihoods.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/mar/19/china-court-closes-law-firm

Rights groups worried by Chinese media crackdown
By: Alexa Olesen, March 19, 2009
Overseas rights groups expressed concern Thursday about China's tightening controls on its domestic media, including the creation of a journalist blacklist and the recent detention of two Tibetan journalists. New York-based Human Rights Watch said the blacklist, announced last month, increased the risk that reporters will be punished for "independent reporting on subjects the government deems sensitive."
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iqGv0rfPOTP75JVARl6poauNtfTAD97111EG0

China stops blogger from leaving
By: RFA, March 19, 2009
Authorities in the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang have prevented a journalist-turned-blogger from leaving the mainland to attend a writersí conference in Hong Kong. Hangzhou-based journalist and Web author Zan Aizong tried to travel to Hong Kong to attend the conference planned for Saturday by the writersí society International Chinese PEN.
http://www.rfa.org/english/news/china/blogger-03192009104321.html

Tibet and China: The past in the present
By: Tsering Shakya, Open Democracy, March 19, 2009
The Chinese government proclaimed in January 2009 that for the first time a festival called "Serf Liberation Day" is to be celebrated in Tibet, in commemoration of the events of 1959 when Chinese forces occupied Lhasa and established direct control over the country following the uprising of Tibetans against their encroaching rule.
http://www.opendemocracy.net/article/tibet-and-china-the-past-in-the-present

Burma: Juntaís blatant denial of rights abuse shameful
By: Solomon, Mizzima News, march 19, 2009
The Burmese Ambassador to the United Nations is spinning white lies at the Human Rights Council by denying the presence of political prisoners in Burma, activists alleged on Thursday. Wunna Maung Lwin, Burmese Ambassador to the UN on Tuesday denied a report by the UN special envoy on Human Rights Tomas Ojea Quintana that over 2,000 political prisoners continue to languish in prisons across Burma.
http://mizzima.com/news/inside-burma/1863-juntas-blatant-denial-of-rights-abuse-shameful-activists.html

Burma monksí leader urges resistance
By: RFA, March 18, 2009
A leader of Burmaís 2007 Saffron Revolution, U Gambira, is urging the Burmese people to carry on in resisting the military government and has agreed to appeal his conviction and lengthy prison sentence, according to his mother. U Gambira, leader of the All-Burma Monks Alliance, is serving a 69-year jail term in Khandee prison for his role in the 2007 protests. He was transferred from Mandalay prison in February after staging a hunger strike there.
http://www.rfa.org/english/news/burma/burmamonkleader-03182009112622.html

Myanmar arrests 5 members of pro-democracy party
By: HRT, March 18, 2009
Authorities in Myanmar have arrested five members of detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyiís political party, a spokesman said Tuesday, a day after the U.N. called for the release of more than 2,000 political prisoners in the military-run country.
http://www.humanrights-geneva.info/Myanmar-arrests-5-members-of-pro,4245

China's new offensive on Tibet
By: Warren Smith, RFA, March 18, 2009
Chinaís current policy on Tibet is based on the principle that Tibet is not an issue of ìhuman rights, ethnicity or religion,î but rather a fundamental issue of Chinaís sovereignty over Tibet.  This means that China does not believe that the Dalai Lama has really given up Tibetan independence as a goal.
http://www.rfa.org/english/commentaries/chinatibetoffensive-03182009150014.html

Singapore activists protest orchid named after Burmese PM
By: Ko Wild, Mizzima News, March 18, 2009
Activists in Singapore tried to stage a protest on Wednesday against an orchid naming ceremony for Burmese Prime Minister Gen. Thein Sein. Singaporean human rights activists Mr. Seelan Palay, Mr. Chia Tilik and film producer Mr. Ho Choon Hiong tried to protest the naming ceremony held at the Orchid Park in the city state. But they arrived late and missed the ceremony.
http://mizzima.com/news/regional/1860-singapore-activists-protest-orchid-named-after-burmese-pm.html

Maldives: Dissident and anti-Islamic sites blocked
By: Rezwan, Global Voices, Marcy 18, 2009
Several dissident and alleged anti-Islamic websites were filtered recently in Maldives. The Ministry of Islamic Affairs ordered the Telecommunication Authority of Maldives (TAM) to block access to those websites.
http://globalvoicesonline.org/2009/03/18/maldives/

Man held in China for posting conflict rumors
By: China Digital Times, Mach 17, 2009
The man, who was identified only by his surname, Ya, was accused of posting a report on the Internet in January about 500 Uighurs demonstrating against a supposed murder in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, Xinhua news agency said. Ya had also written that 16 ethnic Han Chinese had beaten and killed a Uighur, the report quoted a police spokesman for Aksu prefecture, in western Xinjiang, as saying. The policeman said that the false account had been online for three hours before it was removed, Xinhua reported.
http://chinadigitaltimes.net/2009/03/man-held-in-china-for-posting-conflict-rumours-report/

CENTRAL ASIA

Azerbaijan: Taking a step toward monarchy?
By: Mina Muradova, Eurasia Net, March 19, 2009
Azerbaijanís constitutional referendum featured a Soviet-style result, as election officials claimed that more than nine out of every 10 voters expressed approval for lifting presidential term limits. Opposition leaders, meanwhile, are describing the referendum as a charade designed to mask the introduction of hereditary rule in the country.
http://www.eurasianet.org/departments/insightb/articles/eav031909.shtml

Human rights activist Tolekan Ismailova arrested during peaceful gathering in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
By: WLP, March 18, 2009
Tolekan Ismailova, Director of WLP Kyrgyzstan/Human Rights Center "Citizens Against Corruption" was among at least four people who were detained in Bishkek on March 18. The arrests followed a peaceful gathering in commemoration of the anniversary of tragic events that took place in Aksy in March 2002, during which six protesters were shot by security officials.
http://www.learningpartnership.org/en/advocacy/alerts/kyrgyzstan0318

EUROPE

Belarusian opposition reacts harshly to Lukashenka's accusations
By: RFE, march 19, 2009
The United Democratic Forces (ADS) in Belarus have called on EU leaders to not invite Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka to Prague for the EU summit in May, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports.  ADS leaders told RFE/RL that their demand is connected with Lukashenka's recent statement about the opposition in Belarus.
http://www.rferl.org/content/Belarusian_Opposition_Reacts_Harshly_To_Lukashenkas_Accusations_/1513390.html

Belarusí freedom fighters at Prague Human Rights Festival
By: Charter 97, March 19, 2009
Today the winner of the human rights films festival ìOne Worldî is to be announced today. Our country has many its representatives at the festival. ìOne Worldî festival is taking place in the capital of Prague for the 11th time. It is organized by the human rights organisation ìPeople in needî. More than 1,500 documentaries from more than 42 countries are presented at the festival. About 130 films are in the final contest. In 2006 the film ìLessons of Belarusianî about students of Yakub Kolas Belarusian Humanities Lyceum closed by the authorities won in the festival.
http://www.charter97.org/en/news/2009/3/19/16357/

France braced for huge street protests over economic crisis
By: Angelique Chrisafis, Guardian, March 19, 2009
France is bracing for a wave of street protests in the second general strike over Nicolas Sarkozy's handling of the economic crisis. Traditional public sector strikers such as teachers, transport workers and hospital staff will join an unprecedented new protest movement by private sector workers from banks and supermarkets to multinationals. Together they are protesting against both Sarkozy's cuts to France's public sector and welfare state, and accusing him of failing to protect workers from the economic crisis.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/mar/19/france-second-wave-strikes

Reporters without Borders says Belarus still alternates between censorship and harassment of Internet users
By: Prava, March 13, 2009
According to www.lenta.ru, the Reporters without Borders international organization has issued an annual report on the freedom of Internet, calling Belarus one of the governments which ëstill alternate between censorship and harassment of Internet usersí, albeit refraining from placing it on the list of top Internet enemies.
http://prava-by.info/en/archives/513

Russia: Disabled activist challenges airline in rights dispute
By: Chloe Arnold, RFE, March 12, 2009
When Pavel Obiukh turned up at Moscowís Domodedovo airport to board a plane to Kazan on February 18, he was expecting an uneventful flight. Obiukh is blind, but he had made similar trips dozens of times before, and he navigates even the Moscow metro with ease. But staff at Russia's S7 Airlines told him he was not permitted to check in for the flight, because he did not have an accompanying passenger with him.
http://www.rferl.org/content/Disabled_Activist_Challenges_Airline_In_Rights_Dispute/1508812.html

MIDDLE EAST/ NORTH AFRICA

Iran: Disciplinary actions taken against student activists in Martyr Beheshti University
By: IHRV, March 19, 2009
In continued confrontations with student activists in Martyr Beheshti University, even while the Persian New Year is approaching and students are away on holiday, the disciplinary committee in the university has continued to issue sentences for a number of student activists.
http://www.ihrv.org/inf/?p=2034

Iran: Shock at death of blogger in Tehran prison
By: RSF, March 18, 2009
Reporters Without Borders said today it was deeply shocked at the death in a Tehran prison of blogger Omidreza Mirsayafi and called for the immediate opening of an investigation into the circumstances of the tragedy. His lawyer, Mohamed Ali Dadkhah, was informed of the bloggerís death by a doctor, Hesem Firozi, who is himself imprisoned. The young blogger had been depressed and no longer able to cope with prison conditions. The doctor said, ìThe death of this young blogger is entirely due to a failure to provide assistance.î Omidreza Mirsayafi had been devastated at the prison authoritiesí refusal to allow him permission to leave the prison.
http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=30622

Afghanistan: New evidence 'proves' that Pervez should be released
By: Jerome Starkey, Independent, March 19, 2009
New evidence has emerged in defence of Sayed Pervez Kambaksh, the Afghan student journalist convicted of blasphemy, which his lawyers hope could help free him from a 20-year sentence in one of Kabul's most notorious prisons.
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/new-evidence-proves-that-pervez-should-be-released-1648411.html

Palestine: Broad nonviolent resistance
By: Ahmad Hijazi, The Electronic Intifada, March 18,2009
Amid the escalating violence, and the 60-year-long status quo, there are certain fundamental questions that need to be asked. Are there certain values and absolute foundations that make resistance in general, and against Zionism specifically, a moral and humane necessity? What is the framework for nonviolent resistance, and how is it connected to these values? What is the ultimate end goal of the struggle? Is it returning the land and some rights to the indigenous Palestinian population, or can it lead to "solutions" that include acceptance of Zionism or even its right to exist?
http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article10394.shtml

The Iraqi shoe-thrower should be pardoned
By: Medea Benjamin, Huffington Post, March 18, 2009
On March 12, just one week before the sixth anniversary of the war in Iraq, Iraqi journalist Muntadar al-Zaidi was sentenced to three years in prison for throwing his shoe at George W. Bush. CODEPINK co-founder Medea Benjamin talked about the incident with Hero Anwar Brzw, a Kurdish Iraqi woman who is getting her master's degree in conflict transformation at the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding, Eastern Mennonite University.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/medea-benjamin/the-iraqi-shoe-thrower-sh_b_175621.html

Bahrain: Human rights activist facing lengthy jail time amid crackdown on free expression
By: IFEX, March 18, 2009
In the Bahraini government's ongoing crackdown on free expression, blogs and social networking websites have been censored, union leaders have been slapped with defamation suits and human rights activists are facing up to 10 years or even life in prison, report the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR), Human Rights Watch and ARTICLE 19.
http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/101712/

Pakistan: Giving in to people's power
By: Hany Ramadan, Islam Online, March 17, 2009
The Pakistani popular movement has written a new chapter in the history of the country's struggle for democracy. The showdown of Pakistan's lawyers and popular activists with president Asif Zardari has finally paid off after he was forced to give in to their call for reinstating the Chief Justice, Iftikhar Chaudhry, and his fellow judges of the Supreme Court.
http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?c=Article_C&cid=1236509062774&pagename=Zone-English-Muslim_Affairs%2FMAELayout

OCEANIA

Thousands Papua student demand to open room of democracy
By: Free West Papua, March 17, 2009
Thousands of West Papua student from each campus long march demand to Indonesia government open the room of democracy for West Papua. 'They stated that Indonesia government still isolated West Papua from International Media, and to close all West Papua people right of democracy. This was big demonstration. All Campus closed and the road was traffic jam. No economy activity a long the way in Abepura, West Papua.'
http://freewestpapua.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=899&Itemid=2

NOTICE

The International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) invites nominations for the 2009 Knight International Journalism Awards
By: Peace and Collaborative Development Network, March 19, 2009
The International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) invites nominations for the 2009 Knight International Journalism Awards. he awards recognise outstanding international journalists who demonstrate an extraordinary devotion to the craft by upholding and promoting the highest journalistic standards, despite overwhelming challenges.
http://www.internationalpeaceandconflict.org/forum/topic/show?id=780588%3ATopic%3A121173&xgs=1

WEBSITE OF INTEREST

http://www.oneclimate.net/
OneClimate is an initiative of OneWorld UK. We are a not-for-profit organisation and our mission is ëto leverage media innovatively for a fair and sustainable worldí.  Clearly, we cannot have a fair and sustainable world without tackling climate change. We could go farther and say that climate change is providing humankind with one final and convincing opportunity: a wake-up call to persuade us, as nothing ever has before, that we must act together to bring about a fair and sustainable world.