July 10, 2009

  • Demonstrations against free market policies continue in Peru
  • US Congress debates position on Honduras crisis
  • Honduras de facto government threatens supporters of ousted President
  • Congress reviews CIA record on information disclosure
  • South Korea recovers from cyber attacks; Point finger to the North
  • 156 dead following ethnic violence in China´s Xinjiang region

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G8 leaders pledge food aid; 2000 march on meeting in Italy
The meetings of the Group of 8 wrapped up today in Italy.  World leaders agreed to provide $20 billion over three years to support food security in poor countries – the number is $5 billion higher than what US President Barack Obama, who led the effort, originally pushed.  But according to Olivier De Schutter, an independent food-supply advisor to the UN, the allocation does not come close to providing for the actual level of need.
“The sums which are announced are not particularly significant in the light of the needs that have been assessed, for example by the FAO or by the United Nations High Level Task Force. Both estimate that for agriculture, particularly in Sub Saharan Africa, to be effectively revitalized and to compensate for past neglect of this sector, we would need around 30 billion each year and we are still far from this target.”
But others have seen this as a significant shift in the priorities of G8 countries.  Meanwhile, protesters at the G8 made their largest showing yet in a peaceful march and rally.  FSRN’s Diletta Varlese reports from the march.
Italian Social movements rallied today in L’Aquilia city center to mark the close of the G8.  Two thousand protesters marched nearly 10 miles in the mid summer sun.  They voiced their support for local residents who are struggling for a full and shared reconstruction of their city after an earthquake left thousands homeless.  Michela Sforzi’s home was destroyed in the April earthquake.  She wants to say to the world leaders that tragedy has the same relevance in Italy as it does in poorer countries.
“I have lived in a tent for three months, with no other options.  I don’t know when it will end.  They talk of 100% reconstruction, but I wonder what they really mean. There’s no money here. And about the G8 ladies, it doesn’t make much difference to me if they walk around in the city center. Come and see, I know this disaster too well; i saw my house falling down piece by piece.”
The wives of several G8 leaders toured the devastated city on Friday.  The rally concluded with naming the 300 people who died in the earthquake.  Diletta Varlese, FSRN, L’Aquila, Italy.

Final witness defends pro-democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi
The trial of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi in Myanmar is drawing to a close.  She is being tried for allegedly violating her house arrest.  Today, the final witness testified before the court, saying Suu Kyi cannot be tried under the current circumstances because the laws she allegedly violated were thrown out more than 20 years ago when the country abolished the constitution.  Closing arguments are scheduled for July 24.

General Motors looks at the other side of bankruptcy
Today General Motors emerged from bankruptcy.  The new company will be much smaller than the old and plans to close 16 factories and cut 6000 US jobs.  The US government will own a majority share in the company.

Protests planned to support 27 activists arrested at Oregon logging site
Activists in Oregon say they will continue to fight the logging of Elliot State Forest in the southwestern part of the state. This week police took down a blockade erected by protestors, arresting 27 people.  Rachael McDonald reports.

Police arrested the final four protestors blocking a clear-cut logging operation on Thursday.  Authorities used a cherry picker to remove the activists from their position suspended high about the ground in one hundred year old trees.  Their blockade prevented travel on a logging road into the state forest.  Samantha Chirillo is with the environmental group Cascadia Rising Tide. She says she remains committed to stopping the operation.
“We’re really excited about building a community of resistance to protect what remains of our old growth and native forests here in Oregon.”
Protestors plan a march and rally today at the Oregon Country Fair, an alternative music and art festival outside Eugene. The Oregon Department of Forestry says logging on the Elliot State Forest will resume soon.  Most of those arrested have been released after being charged with interfering with agricultural operations.  Rachael McDonald.  FSRN.  Eugene.

Parents accuse private swim club in PA of ejecting large group of children on racial grounds
The families of 65 Philadelphia children are still up in arms after their kids were kicked out of a private swimming club in late June.  Parents and the organizer of the camp they attended claim their ejection was racially motivated.  Most of the children are African American.  Alethea Wright negotiated weekly swims at the suburban Valley Swim Club for her campers.  She spoke to the AP.
“If the children didn’t misbehave.  And we paid our membership in full, here’s the check to prove it.   What else could it be?  We were the only minorities there.”
Several of the children say they heard club parents complain about black children being allowed to swim there.  A statement from the Valley Swim Club said, “a lot of kids would change the complexion… and the atmosphere of the club.”  Some parents say they plan to take legal action.  And Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter says he will investigate the matter.



Demonstrations against free market policies continue in Peru
Protests against neoliberal economic policies entered a fourth day in Peru, just a month after at least 33 people died in demonstrations against oil drilling in the Amazon rainforest.
President Alan Garcia has promised to make significant changes in his cabinet, saying the protests have been instigated by neighboring countries who seek to destabilize Peru.
This week’s demonstrations have been led by Indigenous organizations and labor unions that oppose Garcia´s economic policies. They accuse the Peruvian president of using excessive force against demonstrators. FSRN reporters  Alfredo Cuadros and Pamela Cueva have more from Lima.

US Congress debates position on Honduras crisis
On Capitol Hill today, US lawmakers met to review their response to the political crisis in Honduras, where President Manuel Zelaya was recently ousted by the military.  Zelaya´s opponents say that the deposed president had defied the Honduran constitution and illegally attempted to extend his time in power. But as FSRN´s Sam Greenspan reports, Congressmembers have a different take on the events.

Honduras de facto government threatens supporters of ousted President
While negotiations continue over the return of the ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya, the de facto government of Roberto Michelletti has threatened to freeze bank accounts of Zelaya supporters. FSRN´s Tim Russo brings us more on the measures being taken to pressure Zelaya´s supporters in Honduras.

Congress reviews CIA record on information disclosure
A showdown is looming between Congress, the President and the CIA.  Several months after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi first accused the CIA of misleading her about torture practices in Iraq, new revelations are inviting skeptics to take another look at how the agency communicates with Congress.  Tanya Snyder reports from Washington.

South Korea recovers from cyber attacks; Point finger to the North
South Korea is reeling from a week-long wave of cyber attacks. This week, hackers managed to freeze or slow down eleven major websites in South Korea, including the site for the government´s Defence Ministry, while viruses infected more than 30,000 personal computers. Similar attacks in the US froze the websites of more than a dozen major institutions including the Secret Service and the New York Stock Exchange.
South Korean intelligence officials suspect that North Korea and its supporters are behind the cyber attacks, although they have not released any evidence linking North Korea, to these events.
To understand the scale of these attacks and their impact on the Korean peninsula, we spoke to Heon Joo Jung, a professor of Korean politics at Indiana University.

156 dead following ethnic violence in China´s Xinjiang region
Ethnic violence has left at least 156 people dead and more than 1,000 injured in China´s Northwest Xinjiang autonomous region this week. The worst riots are over in the regional capital of Urumqi, although several protesters of the Uighur ethnic group were arrested outside a mosque today, while Amnesty International reports that the editor of a popular Uighur website has been detained in Beijing.
The Chinese government blamed “outside forces” and “terrorist groups” for this week´s violence between members of Uighur ethnic minority and the Han majority.  But analysts say the recent violence stems from a series of unaddressed grievances, affecting China´s Uighur community.  FSRN´s Shuk-Wah Chung takes a look at some of these grievances.

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