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Bono reignites anger over shoot the Boer song

The U2 frontman Bono has sparked anger in South Africa after an interview in which he appeared to suggest support for an anti-apartheid song that includes the line "shoot the Boer".

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© Getty Images
Beyonce Knowles and Bono visit the Baphumelele Children's Home in Khayalitsha
The Irish singer reportedly drew comparisons between the song and Irish republican songs, during an interview before a U2 concert in Johannesburg on Sunday night.

He was aware of the furor the song had caused, he reportedly told South Africa's Sunday Times newspaper, but added that protest songs were legitimate parts of political activism.

"I was a kid and I'd sing songs I remember my uncles singing ... rebel songs about the early days of the Irish Republican Army," he told the newspaper. "We sang this and it's fair to say it's folk music ... as this was the struggle of some people that sang it over some time."

The controversial South African song includes a line "shoot the Boer" or "shoot the farmer", and prompted sustained debate after the murder of Eugene Terreblanche, a white separatist leader allegedly hacked to death on his farm by two black employees.

Julius Malema, the head of the youth wing of South Africa's ruling African National Congress, was reprimanded last year for singing the song, which was an anti-apartheid anthem in the 1980s.

Che Guevara

Will revolution spread to Pakistan?

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© Shakil Adil/AP
Police use batons to disperse protesters at Karachi airport in Pakistan

As Hosni Mubarak reluctantly retired last Friday night, another revolt was reaching its climax in Pakistan. For four days the workers of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), the national carrier, had been on strike. Some 25,000 passengers were stranded, including me.

I was stuck in Quetta, a tense, paranoid city near the Afghan border where the security forces are engaged in a ruthless cat-and-mouse game with nationalist rebels; it is also a supposed refuge for the one-eyed Taliban leader Mullah Omar. As the skies emptied of planes, guests from my hotel fled Quetta by car, crossing the sprawling deserts, or chancing the rickety 22-hour train ride to Karachi. I stayed put.

On TV the picture flipped from ecstatic crowds surging through Tahrir Square in Cairo, to Pakistani riot police baton-charging PIA workers at Karachi airport. The strike was over planned reforms. PIA is a bloated, sick elephant. It has 400 employees per aircraft - about three times the norm - and last year it asked the government to pay $1.7bn (£1.06bn) in debt. But the unions objected to plans to rationalise the workforce, and demanded that managing director Aijaz Haroon resign. And so on Friday night, under immense pressure, he went, resigning at the same time as Mubarak fell in Egypt.

Family

One million UK children 'attacked or abused'

child abuse
© unknown

As many as a million older school children have been attacked, abused or neglected, the first comprehensive questioning of 11 to 17-year-olds has discovered.

Almost one in five respondents said they had been subjected to severe maltreatment, with one in 20 complaining of sexual abuse. The NSPCC, which published the results of its survey yesterday, said much child abuse remained unreported.

It claimed that official figures which showed 46,000 children on child protection registers across the UK vastly under-represented the scale of the problem. "Physical violence, neglect and forced sex are still harming the lives of hundreds of thousands of children, and most of it remains unreported," said Andrew Flanagan, the chief executive of the NSPCC. "Successive governments have taken steps to improve child protection but local authorities are under strain, providing child protection plans for only a small proportion of cases. The UK still faces a problem in tackling child abuse.

Health

Woman with learning difficulties could be forcibly sterilised

A woman with learning difficulties could be forcibly sterilised after she gives birth this week to stop her becoming pregnant again.

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© Healthwise Inc.
Methods of how female sterilization is performed.
The secretive Court of Protection will rule on the woman's case on Tuesday, in a rare open hearing scheduled because of the overwhelming "public interest" in understanding the case.

She is due to give birth by cesarean section on Wednesday and could undergo an operation to sterilise her at the same time, if the court agrees.

Disability campaigners described the prospect of such a "drastic" step as "quite wrong".

The woman will be represented by the official solicitor, a government lawyer who represents those who cannot instruct their own legal team because they lack capacity.

The patient's local NHS trust and council have made an application to the Court of Protection to decide whether she lacks the capacity to make decisions about contraception for herself - and if so, whether she should be sterilized by means of "tubal ligation".

Arrow Down

Good-Bye California

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© Unknown
How The 'Progressives' Ruined The State

The last three weeks I have traveled about, taking the pulse of the more forgotten areas of central California. I wanted to witness, even if superficially, what is happening to a state that has the highest sales and income taxes, the most lavish entitlements, the near-worst public schools (based on federal test scores), and the largest number of illegal aliens in the nation, along with an overregulated private sector, a stagnant and shrinking manufacturing base, and an elite environmental ethos that restricts commerce and productivity without curbing consumption.

During this unscientific experiment, three times a week I rode a bike on a 20-mile trip over various rural roads in southwestern Fresno County . I also drove my car over to the coast to work, on various routes through towns like San Joaquin , Mendota, and Firebaugh. And near my home I have been driving, shopping, and touring by intent the rather segregated and impoverished areas of Caruthers, Fowler, Laton, Orange Cove, Parlier, and Selma . My own farmhouse is now in an area of abject poverty and almost no ethnic diversity; the closest elementary school (my alma mater, two miles away) is 94 percent Hispanic and 1 percent white, and well below federal testing norms in math and English.

Here are some general observations about what I saw (other than that the rural roads of California are fast turning into rubble, poorly maintained and reverting to what I remember seeing long ago in the rural South). First, remember that these areas are the ground zero, so to speak, of 20 years of illegal immigration. There has been a general depression in farming - to such an extent that the 20- to-100-acre tree and vine farmer, the erstwhile backbone of the old rural California , for all practical purposes has ceased to exist.

Che Guevara

Popular uprising in Yemen continues

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© Unknown
Yemeni protesters in Sanaa, January 27
As the uprising in Yemen enters its eighth day, four pro-democracy protesters have been killed in the southern port of Aden and scores were reported injured across the country.

On Thursday, riot police gunfire killed four protesters and injured 17 others in Aden, where around 3,000 people held pro-democracy rallies.

In capital Sanaa, 40 people were injured when some of President Ali Abdullah Saleh's loyalists, some of whom armed with guns, attacked a crowd of protesters.

Saleh has described the pro-democracy protesters that demand his ouster as "elements of a coup."

Meanwhile, the government has planned a million-man counter rally across the country in a show of support for the president.

Black Cat

Former Tunisian dictator Ben Ali 'in coma after stroke'

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© Unknown
Deposed Tunisian president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali
Deposed Tunisian president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali has reportedly slipped into a coma after suffering a stroke and is currently hospitalized in Saudi Arabia.

French newspaper Le Monde reported on Thursday that Ben Ali had a stroke earlier this week in Saudi Arabia, where he fled to in January following his ouster.

The paper has described the deposed president's condition as "worrying," citing the blog of French journalist Nicolas Beau, a veteran reporter specializing in Tunisia.

The 74-year-old reportedly slipped into a coma on Tuesday while being treated in a Jeddah hospital after suffering a stroke.

The hospital in Jeddah, where Ben Ali was admitted under false identity, is reserved for Saudi princes, according to Le Monde.

Stormtrooper

24 protesters killed in Libya: Human Rights Watch

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© Unknown
Muammar Gaddafi, human?
At least 24 protesters have been killed and hundreds wounded in Libya during anti-government demonstrations, demanding the ouster of Muammar Gaddafi, Human Rights Watch (HRW) says.

Thousands of anti-government demonstrators have flooded the streets of Libya's eastern city of Benghazi, as the wave of protests spread across North Africa and the Middle East.

Clashes have been reported between security forces and protesters. In the nearby eastern town of Benghazi al-Baida, people were bringing tents to camp out on the streets, Reuters reported on Friday.

Some pro-government activists have also been reported on the streets shouting slogans in support of Gaddafi.

In defiance to warnings by government forces against demonstrations, thousands of protesters took to streets of Benghazi and al-Baida on Thursday. At least six people were killed and more than forty were reported injured.

USA

The Shame Of Being An American...

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The United States government has overestimated the amount of shame that it and American citizens can live down. On February 15 "the indispensable people" had to suffer the hypocrisy of the U.S. Secretary of State delivering a speech about America's commitment to Internet freedom while the U.S. Department of Justice (sic) brought unconstitutional action against Twitter to reveal any connection between WikiLeaks and Bradley Manning, the American hero who, in keeping with the U.S. Military Code, exposed U.S. government war crimes and who is being held in punishing conditions not permitted by the U.S. Constitution. The corrupt U.S. government is trying to create a "conspiracy" case against Julian Assange in order to punish him for revealing U.S. government documents that prove beyond every doubt the mendacity of the U.S. government.

This is pretty bad, but it pales in comparison to the implications revealed on February 15 in the British newspaper, The Guardian.

The Guardian obtained an interview with "Curveball," the source for Colin Powell's speech of total lies to the United Nations about Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Colin Powell's speech created the stage for the illegal American invasion of Iraq. The Guardian describes "Curveball" as "the man who pulled off one of the greatest confidence tricks in the history of modern intelligence." As The Guardian puts it, "Curveball" "manufactured a tale of dread."

Family

Suit says US Scout leaders were warned of abuser

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© Associated Press/Rick Bowmer
Attorney Kelly Clark announces a new child sexual abuse lawsuit against the Boy Scouts of America Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2011, in Portland, Ore. The lawsuit claims the leader of a Boy Scout troop in Oregon sponsored by the Mormon church sexually abused a boy in Portland in the 1980s.
Portland, Oregon - A Scouts leader in Portland, Oregon, subjected a boy to hundreds of instances of fondling, sodomy, oral sex and masturbation in the 1980s, even though Scout and Mormon Church leaders had been warned for years that the man was an abuser, a suit filed Tuesday alleges.

In all, the suit says, there were 14 reports of sexual abuse or inappropriate behaviour on the part of the man before the boy joined a Cub Scout den in 1981.

The suit seeking $5.2 million from the Scouts was filed by Portland lawyers Kelly Clark and Paul Mones, who won a major abuse suit against the Scouts last year and have continued to file similar suits.

The victim, Clark said, is a member of the armed forces, in his mid-30s who is "emotionally shut down" and trying to come to terms with the abuse, Clark said. He has a history of troubles with relationships and authorities, Clark said.