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PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2015 9:17 pm 
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2015 7:12 pm 
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2,000 protest lesbian pair's ejection from Vienna cafe
16 January 2015

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Protestors hold a poster reading " Kiss me I'm cute" during an protest in support of gay kissing, in Vienna, Austria, on Friday, Jan. 16, 2015. The protest was called after the manager of a cafe in Vienna told a smooching lesbian couple to leave. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)

VIENNA (AP) -- Thousands of people have gathered in front of a renowned Vienna cafe to demonstrate against the expulsion of a kissing lesbian couple.

Police estimated around 2,000 people participated in the protest Friday, forcing the closure of one downtown street. Some of the demonstrators exchanged long kisses.

The manager of Cafe Prueckel has apologized for telling the couple to leave last weekend. But the pair - Anastasia Lopez and Eva Prewein - say the demonstration is meant to draw attention to the general prevalence of discrimination against gays in Vienna.

Vienna hosts several events each year that attracts gays, bisexuals and cross-dressers from across Europe, and Austrian singer Conchita Wurst has become the figurehead for Europe's non-straight community. Vienna's tourist agency has criticized the expulsions.

Source: AP.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2015 7:35 pm 
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Hundreds demonstrate in Montenegro against Kosovo official
16 January 2015

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A protester holding a banner reading "War criminal - Hashim Thaci" during protest against the visit by Kosovo's Foreign Minister Hashim Thaci, in Podgorica, Montenegro, Friday, Jan. 16, 2015. Thaci, the wartime political leader of the Kosovo Liberation Army arrived on a two-day visit in Podgorica where he is to hold several meetings with Montenegrin’s top officials. (AP Photo/Risto Bozovic)

PODGORICA, Montenegro (AP) -- Hundreds of Serb nationalists have demonstrated in Montenegro against Kosovo foreign minister's visit, chanting "Kill! Kill!" as he met Friday with his Montenegrin counterpart Igor Luiksic.

Foreign Minister Hashim Thaci was the highest-level Kosovo Albanian official to visit Montenegro since Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008.

Montenegro has established diplomatic ties with Kosovo despite opposition from Serbia, which has refused to recognize the statehood of its former province. Serb nationalists accuse Thaci, a former ethnic Albanian rebel leader, of war crimes against Kosovo Serbs during the 1998-99 war for independence.

Serbia and Montenegro were a single state until Montenegro split in 2006.

Source: AP.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 23, 2015 6:50 am 
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All over the world, the challenge to the old order is growing
by Seumas Milne
Thursday, 1 January 2015

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Eva Bee illustration of a turbulent game of risk ‘That crisis will shape politics in Europe in 2015, from London to Madrid. But the impact will be felt first in Athens.' Illustration: Eva Bee

A decade and a half into the 21st century, we’re still living through the aftermath of two epoch-making shocks.

The first was the demonstration of the limits of US power in the killing fields of Afghanistan and Iraq – the war on terror that broke the spell of invincibility of the world’s first truly global empire. The second was the financial crash of 2008 and the crisis of the western-dominated economic system it unleashed, still playing havoc with economies and lives across the world more than six years later.

That crisis will shape politics in Europe in 2015, from London to Madrid. But the impact will be felt first in Athens. The slump and stagnation that followed the crash has already fuelled the rise of the populist right. Now, after years of self-defeating austerity and falling living standards, the radical left has leapfrogged ahead to challenge for power in the most devastated eurozone economies of Greece and Spain.

It was a backlash waiting to happen. In Greece the leftwing Syriza party, which rejects the austerity enforced across the eurozone by its unelected troika, is favourite to win the snap elections called for the end of January. Syriza may have stepped back from its one-time demand for unilateral debt cancellation, its programme to boost living standards in the wake of a 1930s-style depression may be modest, and mainstream voices across Europe may also be calling for a change of direction. But Europe’s governing elites will have none of it.

Expect a ferocious campaign to terrify Greek voters, who have already been warned by the European commission’s Jean-Claude Juncker not to vote the “wrong” way. If Greeks still insist on making their own democratic choice, everything will be done to force Syriza to retreat. If all else fails, Greece will be punished for fear that others, such as Spain’s new Podemos party, might go down the same route later in the year.

The powers that be in Europe are determined to prop up a failed economic model regardless of the cost – as they will be in Britain if Labour wins the general election in May. The aftershocks of the breakdown of that neoliberal regime are still being felt across the world economy – in falling commodity prices, capital flight, stagnation and recession. But the interests that depend on it won’t let go without a serious challenge.

That’s just as true in terms of global power. The US and its satellites, including Britain, may have suffered a strategic defeat in Iraq and Afghanistan – symbolised by last weekend’s ceremony to mark the end of Nato’s combat mission, held in secret for fear of Taliban attacks. But they’re not letting go either. Some 13,000 troops are staying on as “trainers”, just as thousands of western troops have been returning to Iraq for the war against Isis – the al-Qaida breakaway spawned by their own invasion and occupation – with talk of a major assault in the spring.

In the same spirit, every effort was made at the time of the Arab uprisings of 2011 to hijack, control or crush them. Some of the results can be seen today in the disaster zone across the Middle East, the growing power of the western-backed autocracies of the Gulf, the brutality of Egypt’s new dictatorship and the maelstrom in post-intervention Libya, whose civil war is likely to intensify in the coming months.

Meanwhile, Russia’s challenge to untrammelled US strategic power, which began in Georgia in 2008 and intensified through Syria’s proxy war, has come to a head in the conflict in Ukraine. There has been much western crowing in recent weeks that the combination of collapsing oil prices with US and EU sanctions has plunged Russia into recession, while knocking chunks out of the economies of other independent oil states such as Iran and Venezuela into the bargain. It seems clear enough that the Saudi regime’s decision to boost oil output when prices were already falling was designed not only to protect market share and undercut fracking, but to punish Iran and Russia for their role in the Middle East and Europe to the benefit of Riyadh’s US sponsor.

It is a form of economic warfare – hailed by President Obama this week as the fruit of “strategic patience” – the consequences of which will be felt across the world in the months to come. But along with the global power and economic shocks of the past decade, two other crucial shifts have defined the early 21st century: the economic rise of China, in defiance of market orthodoxy, and the tide of progressive change that has swept Latin America, opening up alternatives to neoliberal capitalism.

Both have continued despite the backwash from the crash, which has taken its toll on the “Brics” countries and the wider global south. Progressive governments have carried on being elected from Bolivia to Brazil, while China’s slowing growth rate is still almost double that delivered by the US recovery. Political and financial pressure on Venezuela, which has been crucial to Latin America’s transformation and already faces serious economic problems, however, looks set to increase in the coming year. The key to riding the storm, as elsewhere, will be who is made to shoulder the burden of falling income and reform.

What seems certain though is that, however much the west tries to recapture lost ground, the global order will not revert to the status quo ante. There may be growing conflict, but there will be no return to unchallenged US diktat or uncontested economic catechisms. Alternative centres of power are forming. Both internationally and domestically, the old order is coming apart. The question will be what replaces it.

Source: Guardian UK.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2015 6:46 pm 
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Germany's right-wing upstart to assess "overlap" with Pegida group
7 January 2015
By Lena Klimkeit and Tim Braune

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Pegida demonstration in Dresden - © Peter Endig, EPA

Dresden (dpa) - Germany's right-wing political upstart Alternative for Germany (AfD) is set to meet with the founders of the country's burgeoning anti-Islam movement Pegida on Wednesday in order to assess any "overlap" they might have, a spokeswoman said.

The AfD, founded less than two years ago on an anti-euro platform and currently hovering around 7 per cent in opinion polls, says it wants to learn about Pegida's political goals "free of prejudice."

Pegida, an acronym that roughly translates as Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West, confirmed the meeting. "We want to see where the areas of overlap lie," spokeswoman Kathrin Oertel said, adding that Pegida's 12-strong management team including founder Lutz Bachmann would attend.

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Protests against anti-Islam movement Pegida - © Soeren Stache, dpa

The meeting comes against the backdrop of a surge in anti-Islam protests across Germany in recent weeks, which have been met with larger counterdemonstrations. Though organized by Pegida, the rallies have included hooligans, members of the far-right extremist National Democratic Party (NPD) and ordinary Germans that feel overlooked by political leaders.

The AfD has been plagued by heavy infighting as its leadership attempts to extend its eurosceptic platform to include louder criticism of immigration rules and conservative family values. A survey by German polling firm Forsa published last month found that nearly three-quarters of AfD supporters (71 per cent) take issue with the influence of Islam in Germany, compared with only 29 per cent of the general public.

Oertel says the outcome of the meeting will be made public Thursday.

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Anti-Islam Pegida protesters gather in Dresden - © Arno Burgi, EPA

Source: dpa.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2015 6:12 am 
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Schoolgirl gang-raped in India
8 January 2015

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Schoolgirl gang-raped in India - © EPA

New Delhi (dpa) - A 16-year-old schoolgirl was allegedly abducted and gang-raped near the Indian capital New Delhi, a media report said Thursday.

She was on her way back home from a class in the suburb of Ghaziabad on Wednesday evening when she was allegedly picked up by three men in a vehicle, broadcaster NDTV reported quoting police. She was taken to a house in a nearby area where she was gang-raped and later dumped on a road near her house.

Police have arrested suspects, the report said, adding one of them was identified by the girl.

There has been a focus on sex crimes in India since the fatal gang rape of a 23-year-old woman in New Delhi in December 2012. But sexual violence continues unabated and there is widespread outrage over the safety of women in India. On Tuesday, there were violent protests in the southern city of Bangalore after an 8-year-old girl was reportedly molested in her school by a teacher.

Source: dpa.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2015 5:16 pm 
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Hostility to Muslims rises in Germany, but Merkel calls for unity
9 January 2015
By Jean-Baptiste Piggin

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Anti-Islam Pegida protesters gather in Dresden - © Arno Burgi, EPA

Berlin (dpa) - Anti-Islam attitudes in Germany are on the rise, according to new data released on Thursday amid a public outcry over the deadly shooting a day earlier at the Paris offices of French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo.

Among non-Muslims in Germany who were interviewed in November, 57 per cent regarded Islam as a threat, up from 53 per cent in 2012, said the Bertelsmann Foundation think tank, in an annual appraisal of attitudes towards religion. Some 61 per cent believed Islam could not assimilate to a Western lifestyle. The data showed a sharp disconnect with the views of German Muslims themselves, who generally emerged as open-minded, democratic in attitude and sociable towards the German majority.

Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thurday said there was no split in society, whereas activists of a right-wing party, the Alternative for Germany (AfD), said the attack in Paris showed a "war of cultures" was at hand. "We have a good relationship with the overwhelming majority of Muslims in Germany," Merkel said during a news conference with visiting Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk in Berlin. She said it was rare for young German Muslims to join jihadist movements. "We do everything to protect people of every faith - whether Jewish, Christian, Muslim or no faith at all - as citizens," she said.

She spoke after weeks of demonstrations by Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West - Pegida - a right-wing, anti-refugee group that is expected to try to capitalize on the Paris attack at its next rally on Monday in Dresden, eastern Germany.

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Pegida demonstration in Dresden - © Peter Endig, EPA

Pegida argues that Islamist terrorism is a reason to halt refugee arrivals. The eurosceptic AfD, which has seats in the European Parliament and in three of 16 German state assemblies, but not the national parliament, has adopted similar views. Konrad Adam, a co-leader of the party, said Islam and the West were in a "war of cultures." But the party founder, Bernd Lucke, warned followers it was wrong to blame the acts of the Paris attackers "on a whole faith where the majority are peaceful and blameless."

Two state-level leaders of the AfD voiced explicit support for Pegida. An AfD regional leader, Alexander Gauland, said the Paris attacks showed Pegida's political goals were right. In Dresden, AfD regional leaders had a meeting with seven Pegida leaders. Saxony state AfD leader Frauke Petry said on Thursday that they found "areas of overlap," advocating immigration "reform" and boosting police numbers. But she said the two groups were not in alliance, nor did Pegida want to link up with any one party.

In a rebuff to the right, Merkel's party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), announced it would liberalize German laws on organized immigration. Currently, non European Union citizens can only emigrate to Germany to fill essential jobs or as refugees.

Peter Tauber, the CDU general secretary, told a newspaper, Die Welt, the law would put immigration on a new footing which was no longer limited to labour-market needs or temporary political asylum. He gave few other details. The announcement was a major change in policy for the CDU, which in the past has regarded massive recruitment of Turkish "guest workers" in the 1960s as flawed and said Germany does not need immigrants. Merkel has increasingly pointed in the past year to Germany's greying society and said immigrants are vital to keep the mix young, though some of her critics say she has not been blunt enough with that message. Tauber said Muslims would be as welcome as anyone else, saying, "The idea that a Muslim would not be a good citizen is wrong."

Germany has an estimated 4 million people with a Muslim background - mainly Turksih or Arab - in a population of 81 million. The social survey by the Bertelsmann Foundation reported that 90 per cent of those German Muslims who consider themselves highly religious agreed in interviews that democracy was a good form of government.

Nine out of 10 of all Muslims surveyed said they knew non-Muslims outside of work. Half of respondents said their social contacts were evenly balanced between Muslims and non-Muslims. "Germany has become their home country, yet the apparently negative image generated by a minority of Islamist radicals touches on them all," said Yasemin El-Menouar, Bertelsmann's expert on Islam.

Bertelsmann's data is based on representative surveys conducted in 2013 in 13 nations with 14,000 respondents. Some 63 per cent of those describing themselves as moderately Muslim or devoutly Muslim said they often reflected on their own views and were capable of changing their minds, for example about gay marriage.

Source: dpa.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2015 8:11 pm 
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Romanians protest Swiss franc loans repayments
26 January 2015

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An elderly woman holds a banner displaying exchange rates for the Swiss franc, the highlighted one being the level at which most people contracted loans and the current repayment rate on top, during a protest outside the parliament building in Bucharest, Romania, Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) -- Hundreds of people have protested in Romania against high repayments for Swiss franc loans, blaming the banks for offering deceptively cheap loans and calling on the government to regulate hard currency loans.

"The bank tricked us!" yelled up to 1,000 demonstrators gathered in a downtown square. "You have the power, we have the pain!" read one banner.

About 75,000 Romanians have loans in Swiss francs, taking them out during the economic boom of the mid-2000s, because they had a lower interest rate. They have been hit by a strong franc and even more so after the Swiss National Bank abolished its currency ceiling this month causing the franc to increase by 40 percent against the euro.

Lawmakers are discussing implementing rules to protect people who take out hard currency loans.

Source: AP.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2015 8:26 pm 
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South Africa shaken by anti-immigrant riots
25 January 2015
By CHRISTOPHER TORCHIA

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In this photo taken Thursday, Jan 22, 2015 looters make off with goods from a store in Soweto, South Africa. South African authorities have re-established order _ for now _ in Soweto and other Johannesburg townships, after a week of looting of foreign-owned shops and violence in which four people were killed. (AP Photo)

JOHANNESBURG (AP) -- South African authorities have re-established order - for now - in Soweto and other Johannesburg townships, after a week of looting of foreign-owned shops and violence in which four people were killed.

The 19-year-old mother of an infant who died after being trampled by a mob during the looting said she was accidentally caught in the street chaos. Some witnesses, however, said the mother was herself pillaging when she was knocked down with her baby strapped to her chest.

The dispute about the baby boy, Nqobile Majozi, echoes conflicting stories about what motivated some of the worst unrest in Soweto and nearby areas since protests swept the same districts before white racist rule ended in 1994. The casualty toll was higher during mass rallies and bloody, apartheid-era crackdowns, but the new upheaval raises concerns about anti-immigrant sentiment, the frustration of the poor and the government's handling of social tensions.

In a separate incident, a truck carrying livestock overturned on a highway in the Johannesburg area last week, and people carrying knives and buckets descended on the injured cattle and slaughtered nearly three-dozen for their meat, according to Eyewitness News, a South African media outlet. The driver alleged that people on a bridge threw objects at his vehicle, causing it to crash.

Such episodes reflect the predicament of South Africa, a regional hub with gleaming infrastructure projects where many people nevertheless feel marginalized by high unemployment, a lack of opportunity and a gap between rich and poor that is starkly visible in leafy, spacious suburbs, on the one hand, and the shacks and so-called "matchbox" homes of the townships where blacks were confined under apartheid.

Soweto came under the world's gaze in 1976 when it erupted in student-led protests. Parts of it are relatively affluent today, as malls, gyms and new homes attest. But poverty is still widespread. The violence there started Jan. 19 in an area called Snake Park when a Somali national allegedly shot and killed a 14-year-boy who was among a group of people attempting to break into his shop.

Crowds hit the streets, targeting immigrant-owned shops in riots recalling anti-foreigner violence in 2008 that killed about 60 people. President Jacob Zuma, who was attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, instructed his government to restore order. Police arrested more than 160 people. Several people had been fatally shot by this past weekend, when the unrest abated.

Zanele Majozi, the mother of the baby who died, said she came across a crowd looting a so-called "spaza" shop, a type of informal store where township residents buy basic necessities so they don't have to travel long distances to supermarkets and malls. "I was watching them when a group of boys came running out of the shop with a crate," Times LIVE, a news website, quoted Majozi as saying. "One of them knocked me down and I fell on my baby. Two more ran over me."

But witness Phindile Shabangu said Majozi was caught in a stampede after emerging from the shop with eggs and drinks, and that the mother didn't even notice her baby's dire state while she was trying to pick up fallen items, according to Times LIVE. "Blood was coming out of his ears, nose, mouth," Shabangu told the news outlet. "The baby was messed up."

Elsewhere, video footage showed looters loading stolen goods onto trucks, hopping over fences and ransacking shelves, sometimes in view of police. One clip showed a police vehicle parked outside a looted shop, and an officer apparently participating in the free-for-all. Also, schoolchildren attacked Pakistani-owned shops as they boarded a train for home, according to police.

A group representing immigrants said it believed the attacks were xenophobic and "not purely criminal," as some officials have said. The Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa urged the government to approve hate crimes legislation that it said would curb a culture of "impunity."

Prince Linda Dube, a 19-year-old Soweto resident, described immigrant shop-owners as "greedy," arguing that they undermine locally owned shops. "They are taking job opportunities," he said. "It's better if they hire our local people to help them out."

Associated Press journalist Thomas Phakane in Johannesburg contributed to this report.
Source: AP.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2015 4:13 pm 
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Poles with Swiss-franc mortgages demand government help
January 24, 2015

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People with mortgages in Swiss francs gather in front of the presidential palace in Warsaw, Poland, Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poles who have taken out mortgages in Swiss francs are protesting in a number of cities, demanding government help after the franc soared in recent weeks, making their monthly payments significantly higher.

It's a pressing issue in Poland, where there's more than 500,000 outstanding Swiss-franc loans in this nation of 38 million people. It threatens to become a serious problem for the government ahead of parliamentary elections later this year.

About 200 people gathered in front of the presidential palace in Warsaw on Saturday, and similar protests were also held in Krakow, Lodz, Gdansk and Wroclaw.

Many Poles took out such loans several years ago, lured by Swiss interest rates that were much lower than those on Polish zloty loans. After the financial crisis, the Swiss-franc loans were virtually banned

Source: Yahoo! AP.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2015 9:23 pm 
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Thousands stage pro-government rallies across Greece
11 February 2015

Athens (dpa) - Thousands of people, many carrying Greek flags and banners denouncing economic austerity, took part in rallies across Greece on Wednesday as a show of support for their new government which was holding crucial negotiations with eurozone partners in Brussels.

Demonstrators, young and old, braved freezing temperatures to participate in a peaceful rally in Syntagma Square in front of parliament, which was spontaneously organised on social media.

The pro-government rally, the second to take place since the leftist SYRIZA government was elected to power last month, is a far cry from violent protests which took place at the height of the economic crisis in 2012.

"The citizens of Athens and dozens other cities across Greece and in Europe have taken to the streets and squares in demonstrations against austerity," said government spokesman Gabrille Sakallarides. "The Greek government is not negotiating alone with the Eurogroup and the European summit but together with the 10 million citizens of Greece. Hope has erased fear," he added.

Unlike past rallies, riot police were visibly absent from Wednesday's gathering, with some 15,000 protesters allowed to approach the steps of parliament. Many carried banners or shouted slogans saying they want an end to austerity, while others waved Greek flags. Among the banners held in the crowd read, "Europe - the answer is democracy" while another said "Not one step back." Standing in front of parliament, protesters unfurled banners reading "Bankrupt but Free" and "Stop Austerity, Support Greece, Change Europe."

"People are not gathered here demanding a higher salary. They are here because we want our dignity back and for us to decide our own future and the future of our children," said 50-year-old teacher Garyfalia Papanikolao.

For the four member Tsimpourouni family who came down to the rally, their presence was a message to Europe that Greeks remained united in their battle for a better future. "We need to show Europe that we are determined and united with our government's cause," said 67-year-old Tasos Tsmpourouni who was joined by his two adult children and wife.

Police said another 5,000 rallied peacefully in the northern port city of Thessaloniki and 3,000 in the western port city of Patras.

Greeks are angry with previous governments who agreed on the terms of a 240-billion euro (270-billion dollar) bailout with international lenders. Five years of austerity have pushed nearly one-third of Greeks into poverty and caused unemployment to escalate to more than 26 percent. A poll on Tuesday showed 75 percent support in Greece for the government's stance.

Source: dpa

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2015 9:56 pm 
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Greek protesters clash with police in first backlash against Syriza
26 February 2015

ATHENS (Reuters) - Dozens of black-clad protesters clashed with riot police in central Athens on Thursday, smashing shop windows, throwing petrol bombs and burning cars after an anti-government march, the first since the leftist Syriza party took power a month ago.

Around 450 far-left protesters took to the streets of Athens against the newly elected left-right coalition government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, which agreed a deal with EU partners last week to extend an aid program to Athens. The deal has triggered dissent within Tsipras' own party and accusations by some on the hard left that the government is going back on pre-election promises, including to end a much-hated 240 billion euro EU/IMF bailout program.

After the march, about 50 anti-establishment protesters wearing hoods hurled petrol bombs and stones at police in Athens' central Exarchate district, a Bohemian quarter known as a haunt for artists and left-wing intellectuals. A small number of shop windows and bus stops were also smashed or damaged during the violence.

The incidents, albeit on a small scale, mark the first public disorder against the leftist government, which was elected on January 25 on a promise to write off a chunk of the country's debt and end painful austerity which has helped push one in four Greeks out of work.

(Reporting By Vasillis Triandafyllou, writing by Costas Pitas, editing by Andrew Heavens)
Source: Reuters

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2015 8:28 am 
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Hundreds protest security law in Spain
14 February 2015

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Demonstrator holds placards and banners as they protest against the public security law "ley mordaza", in Madrid on February 14, 2015 (AFP Photo/Javier Soriano)

Madrid (AFP) - Hundreds of Spaniards marched in Madrid and similar protests were called in other cities on Saturday against a government plan to toughen penalties for unauthorised demonstrations.

Blowing whistles and banging drums, several hundred marched to Madrid's central Puerta del Sol square. Organisers called for similar gatherings in about 20 other cities. It was the latest in a string of protests against the proposed reform, dubbed the "Gagging Law" by its critics.

The bill increases possible jail terms for certain public order offences and sets fines of up to 600,000 euros ($683,000) for organising unauthorised demonstrations. The government says the new legislation will improve public security and protect rights and freedoms. It has been passed by the lower house of parliament and is due to be voted on by the Senate in the coming weeks. Both houses are controlled by the conservative governing Popular Party, so it is likely to pass before a general election due in November.

Joining in the Madrid march was international environmental group Greenpeace, which often stages demonstrations and stunts in its campaigns. Its activists pushed along a big model lion in a cage with a yellow gag over its mouth -- a replica of a statue that stands outside parliament in Madrid.

Spain saw a rise in protests after an economic crisis broke out in 2008 that has left millions of people out of work. "The government remains set on silencing the voice of the people," said Miguel Angel Soto, a spokesman for Greenpeace Spain. "They are gagging dissenting voices and want to fine citizens who do not resign themselves to what we are going through."

Source: Yahoo! AFP

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 01, 2015 8:36 am 
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Spanish radical left party gets boost with huge Madrid rally
By HAROLD HECKLE and JORGE SAINZ
31 January 2015

MADRID (AP) — At least 100,000 people marched through Madrid on Saturday in a show of strength by a fledgling radical leftist party, which hopes to emulate the success of Greece's Syriza party in the Spanish general election later this year.

Podemos supporters from across Spain converged around the Cibeles fountain Saturday before packing the avenue leading to Puerta del Sol square in what was the party's largest rally to date. Police said at least 100,000 people participated in the march while Podemos put the figure at 300,000.

Podemos ("We Can") aims to shatter the country's predominantly two-party system and the "March for Change" gathered crowds in the same place where sit-in protests against political and financial corruption laid the party's foundations in 2011. The party's rise is greatly due to the charisma of its pony-tailed leader, Pablo Iglesias, a 36-year-old political science professor.

Hailing from the Madrid working class neighborhood of Vallecas, Iglesias prefers jeans and rolled up shirt sleeves to a suit and tie and champions slogans such as Spain is "run by the butlers of the rich" and that the economy must serve the people. "We want change," Iglesias told the crowd. "This is the year for change and we're going to win the elections."

Speaking at a meeting in Barcelona, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said he didn't accept the bleak picture of Spain that Podemos propagated. "They're a sad bunch, who go around saying how badly things are going," he said, giving them no chance of winning the elections. "They're not going to do it."

Senior Podemos member Rita Maestre told the Associated Press that their aim was to show that the party is the instrument for change. "We called the demonstration in the hope of lighting the torch (flame)."

In roughly a year, Podemos has leap-frogged from being the dream of a handful of university professors and activists to a political party. Opinion polls show the party could possibly take the No.1 spot in upcoming elections and thus trigger one of the biggest political shake-ups in Spain since democracy was restored in 1978 after decades of dictatorship. "The two-party framework has suffered a change. It now really does seem like a third political force can achieve government, so yes, I think it can have a great impact," said literature student Alicia Sanchez, 20.

This year, Spain holds elections in 15 of its 17 regions followed by general elections. Podemos' first battle will be in the southern Socialist heartland of Andalusia in March, followed by regional and municipal elections in the crucial ruling Popular Party stronghold of Madrid in May.

"The political class has lost all credibility," said unemployed lathe worker Marcos Pineda, 54. "The PP that governs today had its former treasurer in jail for corruption and the banks were bailed out with 40 billion euros ($52 billion) of European money, but the government refused to call it a bailout."

Podemos has often expressed its support for some of the policies of left-wing governments in Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador, which makes many Spanish mainstream politicians bristle. In Europe, it openly supports Syriza, which won national elections in Greece on Jan. 25 and which has pledged to challenge the austerity measures imposed on the country by the European Union and International Monetary Fund.

While there are major political and economic differences between Spain and Greece, both countries have suffered severe economic crises, massive unemployment and austerity measures while simultaneously having to put up with myriad political corruption scandals. This combination has given rise to a nationwide anti-establishment movement that has boosted Podemos and Syriza immensely.

Source: Yahoo! AP

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2015 10:02 am 
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Satisfy Us In Bed Or Face Mass Divorce - Ghana Women Protest
By Emmanuel Tornyi
21 February 2015

Image

Women from a community in Ghana's Kaduna State, Rido, took to the streets to protest sexual weakness of their spouses, demanding that they start performing their matrimonial duties or face a mass divorce.

According to the women, the chemical waste and fumes from the Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company (KRPC), has made thier husband’s lose sexual potency, making them unable to satisfy their women on bed.

Speaking to journalists during the protest, some married women said most men in the Mararaba Rido community suffered one form of reproductive health problem or the other due to the toxic waste from the KRPC. They reported that their men suffer weak erection and infertility, while the women often miscarry their babies or their ovaries are affected.

A community leader, Mohammed Bashar, also pointed out: “Most of the complaints could be associated with secondary infertility, because victims have, in the past, given birth to children before they suddenly stopped.
There was widespread belief that smoke and poisonous gases emitted from the refinery have reproductive health effect on people living in the area, but no medical report has confirmed the allegation due to inability of villagers to seek comprehensive medical tests, perhaps owing to lack of awareness and poverty.”

Source: Pulse Ghana

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