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Isocracy Newsletter 13: April 21, 2010

Isocracy Newsletter 13: April 21, 2010

"It seems to me that we have come to the time war ought to be given up. It no longer makes sense to kill 20 million or 40 million people because of a dispute between two nations who are running things, or decisions made by the people who really are running things. It no longer makes sense. Nobody wins. Nobody benefits from destructive war of this sort and there is all of this human suffering."

Linus Pauling - the only person to receive two unshared Nobel Prizes, one in Chemistry (1954) and one in Peace (1962).

Changes in Government

On April 10, the ruling left-wing United People's Freedom Alliance of President Mahinda Rajapaksa has had a very big victory over the right-wing United National Party. The People's Alliance on 60% of the vote and 117 District seats, whereas the National Alliance mustered only 29% and 46 District Seats. National Seats are yet to be determined. Although the Tamil National Alliance only received 3% of the overall vote, it won 12 District seats and received a majority in both of the Northern provinces (Jaffna and Vanni) as well as an Eastern province (Batticaloa). More than 90,000 Tamil civilians are detained in military-run internment camps. In November 2009, the Sri Lankan Government promised these camps would be closed by the end of January.

On 11 Apri, the conservative Fidesz – Hungarian Civic Union led by Victor Orban has had a large victory over the Hungarian Socialist Party of incumbent Prime Minister Gordon Bajnai, winning an absolute majority of seats in the first round in parliamentary elections. The conservatives won 206 seats (up 42), and received 53% of the vote. The Socialists, won only 28 seats (down 162) and received 19% of the vote. In third place the nationalistic Movement for a Better Hungary received 26 seats (up from 0) and 16.67% of the vote. The ruling Socialists, how had been in power for eight years, were considered largely responsible for the the current serious economic woes of the country.

In Kyrgystan a popular uprising and riots started in on April 6 resulting in then-President Bakiyev fleeing the country and resigning from Kazakhstan on April 15. Opposition leaders have formed a new interim government led by former foreign minister Roza Otunbayeva of the Social Democratic Party of Kyrgyzstan, who claim control of the police and army. The uprising results from the government closing several media outlets and disquiet over economic issues, especially massive planned increases in heating costs and electricity. At least 83 deaths and 500 injuries have been confirmed.

On April 18, in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus Derviş Eroğlu for the the anti-unification and conservative National Unity Party has won the position of President in the first round with 50% of the vote. His closest rival was Mehmet Talat, of the pro-unification and leftist Republican Turkish Party, with 43%. At the last legislative elections for the House of Representatives - April, last year - the party won 44% of the popular vote and 26 out of 50 seats.

As a non-political change of government, Polish President Lech Kaczyński, travelling with 95 other people, died when his plane crashed in Russia due to heavy fog. According to the flight manifest, those on the plane included the President, Maria Kaczyńska, the first lady of Poland, Ryszard Kaczorowski, the last President of the Polish government-in-exile, Jerzy Szmajdziński, the Deputy Speaker of the Sejm, Władysław Stasiak, Chief of Office of the President of the Republic of Poland, Aleksander Szczygło, head of the National Security Bureau, Paweł Wypych, Secretary of State in the Office of the President of the Republic of Poland, Mariusz Handzlik, Undersecretary of State in the Office of the President of the Republic of Poland, Andrzej Kremer, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, General Franciszek Gągor, Chief of the Polish Army General Staff, Sławomir Skrzypek, President of the National Bank of Poland, Andrzej Przewoźnik, Secretary-General of Council for the Protection of Struggle and Martyrdom Sites and several members of the Sejm.

Other International Political News

The April 2010 Kohat bombings were a pair of bombings that struck a center for displaced people on the outskirts of the town of Kohat, in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province of Pakistan, on April 17, 2010.[1] At least 41 people were killed,[2] while another 64 more were injured. The next day another suicide bombing at a police station killed 7 more and injured nearly two dozen. A Sunni militant organisation, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi has claimed responsibility. The following day another 24 people were killed in two suicide bombings in Peshawar. Also on April 17, the Pakistani government killed seventeen militants Orakzai Agency, following an air raid the week before almost 100.

The Thai government continues to struggle with 'Red Shirt' (National United Front of Democracy Against Dictatorship) protestors, who are supported by deposed Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. The Red Shirts claims that current government took power 'illegitimately', backed by the Thai Army and the judiciary, and calls for the Thai Parliament to be dissolved so that a general re-election can be held. From March the Red Shirts have continued their protests in Bangok. On April 10 the government declared a national state of emergency and on 10 April, government troops attempted to disperse the protesters, resulting in the deaths of 24 people and injuries to at least 800 others. On April 16, the government attempted to arrest protest leaders, but they escaped. On April 16, Abhisit relieved Deputy Prime Mnister Suthep from his 'security' responsibilities and replace him with the Commander of the Royal Thai Army.

The Islamic Republic of Iran has convened a conference entitled "International Disarmament and Non-proliferation: World Security without Weapons of Mass Destruction" on 17 and 18 April 2010 in Tehran with the slogan-theme "Nuclear Energy for All, Nuclear Weapons for No One". The Conference was attended by representatives of 35 countries, including 24 foreign or deputy foreign ministers. China, Germany, France, Japan, and Russia all had representatives present. The Foreign Ministers of Iraq, Lebanon and Syria also supported Iran's right to nuclear technology while condemning Israel's nuclear arsenal. Ahmadinejad called for "An independent international group which plans and oversees nuclear disarmament and prevents proliferation...This group should act in a way where all independent countries and governments could have a say and role in running the affairs of that group. Until now the presence and political domination of the [International Atomic Energy] Agency has prevented them from carrying out their duties and has diverted the Agency from performing its legal obligations.

Internal emails, released by the US Justice Department, show that Porter Goss approved a decision by Jose Rodriguez, the head of the Central Intelligence Agency's clandestine service at the time, to destroy more than 100 tapes of interrogration of al-Qaeda suspects held in Thailand in 2002. Interrogators used simulated drowning ("waterboarding"), without using proceedures authorised by the government. Rodriguez approved the destruction of the tapes due to fears that their release could have a "devastating" effect on the CIA if they were to be somehow made public. This follows the leaking of the video of the July 12 2007 Baghdad airstrike which caused the death of 12 people, including 2 civilian reporters. The attacks have received worldwide coverage following the unsourced, but confirmed, release of 39 minutes of classified cockpit video footage on Wikileaks.

In India 76 Police killed by Maoists rebels - who lost 8 - in Dantewada. The Naxalite-Maoist insurgency has been ongoing since 1967 and is active across provinces in eastern and central India, accounting for some 40% of India's area. The population includes some of the poorest regions of that country. Last year the Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, bluntly declared that the government is losing the battle against the Naxalites. The rebel force is estimated to number between 10 and 20 thousand and is adopting a policy of a potracted civil war against the government, whose active forces number 1.4 million.

And, on for something positive Peru has announced a free health care plan for the poor. Under the new regulation announced Friday, the entire population will be able to get health benefits on the basis of three categories - contributory, semi-contributory and subsidised. Alan Garcia's government has also set a goal of lowering the poverty rate from 36.2 percent in 2008 to 30 percent in 2011. Also, in India, The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, came into force in April. The law was by the Indian parliament on 4 August 2009. India is now the 135th country to make education a fundamental right of every child.

Actions - Make A Difference

Medecins Sans Frontieres has launched a Campaign Against Tuberculosis. More than 9 million people worldwide are suffering from this easily treated and controlled - and highly contagious - disease.

Avaaz is seeking donations for a campaign against the "rape trade"; forced prostitution and sexual slavery. Avaaz members have voted to make this a top priority this year, so we're beginning work across the world with expert teams, local campaigners and investigators to shut down these brutal and shadowy businesses. The efforst will involve sting operations, lobbying elected leaders, partnering with sex work activists

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