Thursday 18 June 2009

Protests continue in India over Australian attacks on students

Student activists under the banner of Non-Aligned Students and Youth Movement (NAYSM) staged a mass demonstration in the national capital New Delhi on Thursday (June 18).
They were protesting against the attack on Indian students in Australia that they termed as racial.

The protesting activists raised slogans and displayed placards condemning the attacks.

"We are holding this demonstration and later we will be going to Australian High Commissioner to submit a memorandum to condemn the racial attacks on Indian students in Australia," said Subash Chaudhary, Chairman of Non-Aligned Students and Youth Movement (NAYSM).

It may be recalled that these attacks have caused some diplomatic discomfort between the two countries and sparked angry protests in India after a gang attacked four Indian students with a screwdriver when they were partying in Melbourne last month.

Another Indian student was attacked in what appeared to be a robbery, and there were three other attacks in early May, including two on Indian taxi drivers.

The recent attacks on students in Sydney and Melbourne have been described by the Indian media as racial evoking angry protests in India.

However, Canberra which initiated a probe condemned the attacks but contended racism was not behind these attacks.

Police said the violent assaults were purely criminal.

Around 93,000 of the 430,000 foreign students in Australia are Indians, up from around 30,000 just a few years ago.

Earth Day 2009 Compliments of Earth Day Network

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Earth Day 2009 Compliments of Earth Day Network, Green Apple Festival and Planet Green. Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips surfs Earth Day On The National Mall crowd in his giant bubble. Photo by C. Taylor Crothers. (PRNewsFoto/Planet Green)

Obama extends benefits, promises more for gays

Obama extends benefits for federal workers' gay partners; gay rights groups welcome decision as a first step.

President Barack Obama on Wednesday (June 17, 2009) extended limited job benefits to gay partners of U.S. government workers in what he called a first step to end discrimination against gays and lesbians.
Under pressure from gay rights groups, Obama urged Congress to pass legislation that would extend full healthcare and retirement benefits to gay families in the 1.9 million-strong federal workforce, as many U.S. businesses already do.

"Many of our government's hardworking and dedicated and patriotic public servants have long been denied basic rights that their colleagues enjoyed for one simple reason: the people that they love are of the same sex," Obama said before signing an order to extend benefits for federal workers' gay partners.

"It's a day that marks a historic step towards the changes we seek, but I think we all have to acknowledge this is only one step."

Obama's announcement showed that his administration may focus more on incremental, tangible gains for gays and lesbians, rather than wading directly into the divisive gay marriage debate that has played out at the state level.

Gay rights groups called Wednesday's move a welcome first step and said they understood that the president had been busy trying to shore up the economy and lay the groundwork for landmark healthcare and climate-change legislation.

But they said they would continue to press the administration to outlaw workplace discrimination and extend benefits for same-sex couples.

Obama did not back gay marriage during the 2008 campaign, but he did promise to repeal a 1996 law that prevents the government from recognizing same-sex marriages.

Wednesday 17 June 2009

Tehran suffers another night of unrest, police stand set alight

Backers of Iran's defeated Mousavi keep up protests by setting a police stand on fire.

Supporters of Iran's defeated presidential candidate Mirhossein Mousavi aimed to keep pressure up with new protests on Wednesday (June 17) over a disputed poll which has led to the biggest upheaval since the 1979 Islamic revolution.
Some sent messages to others to meet again in Tehran's central Haft-e Tir Square.

Mousavi has called on supporters to stage peaceful demonstrations or gather in mosques on Thursday to express solidarity with people killed in post-election unrest.

Seven people were killed in a vast opposition protest on Monday in central Tehran, state media has said.

One unidentified resident in Tehran said on Wednesday (June 17), "I hope whatever comes of this situation will be in the interest of our people."

There was further unrest in the Iranian capital overnight. Television pictures showed a police stand on fire.

Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, dismissed protests about last week's election as the work of "tension seekers", and appeared to rule out any change to the outcome of the poll by referring to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as the "elected president".

Romanians flee Belfast racist attacks

Romanian families forced to shelter in a church hall after fleeing their homes in Belfast in the wake of racist attacks are vowing to leave Northern Ireland for good.

More than 100 Romanian nationals spent Tuesday night (June 16) in Belfast's City Church near Queen's University after evacuating their homes in the Lisburn Road area in the south of the city.
Police helped up to 20 families leave their houses and set up in the hall. Volunteers provided bedding and food.

One local resident and volunteer, Paddy Meehan, said terrified Romanian families fled after attacks on their homes:

"They were worried with very young children, just a few day old baby in the house, that they couldn't feel safe there with these young people that could be attacked, and a broken window with glass fell on them. Already residents, people living in the house have been injured by stones thrown through the window."

Meehan said threats had been to the Romanians outside Belfast's City Church:

"They felt they would be safer together, it was suggested that they come along to the church tonight to stay together. It's unfortunate now that people have threatened them outside the church."

On Wednesday (June 17) most of the Romanian families were taken to a leisure centre in south Belfast, where they will spend the rest of the day. They said they did not want to return to their Belfast homes and many have decided to pack up and return to Romania.

Simmering racial tensions in the area have erupted over recent days, culminating in an attack on a rally in support of the east European migrants on Monday night (June 15).

Youths hurled bottles and made Nazi salutes at those taking part in the anti-racism rally.

Police patrols were stepped up in a bid to stop the racist attacks which have continued for four days after festering for months.

Monday 15 June 2009

Hector Pieterson (1964 – 16 June 1976)

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Hector Pieterson (1964 – 16 June 1976) became the iconic image of the 1976 Soweto uprising in apartheid South Africa when a news photograph by Sam Nzima of the dying Hector being carried by a fellow student, was published around the world. He was killed at the age of 12 when the police opened fire on protesting students. For years, June 16 stood as a symbol of resistance to the brutality of the apartheid government. Today, it is known as National Youth Day — a day on which South Africans honor young people and bring attention to their needs.

Sunday 14 June 2009

ACCESS DENIED: Petition Against EU VISA Discrimination of Musicians

Anette Widholm Bolme is inviting you to join the Facebook group "ACCESS DENIED: Petition Against EU VISA Discrimination of Musicians."

Anette says, "Join! I don´t wan´t to live in a world that denies young people to freely express themselves... do you?"

To see more details follow the link below: