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In Search of an African Revolution

africa globe
© geographicguide.com
Demonstrations are continuing across the Middle East, interrupted only by the call for prayer when protesters fall to their knees on cheap carpets and straw mats and the riot police take a tea break. Meanwhile, in 'darkest Africa', far away from the cameras of international mainstream media, reports have surfaced of political unrest in a host of sub- Saharan nations.

As international audiences watched 18 days of nonviolent protests topple longstanding president Hosni Mubarak this month, Egypt suddenly became a sexy topic. But, despite the fact that the rich banks of the Nile are sourced from Central Africa, the world looked upon the Egyptian uprising solely as a Middle Eastern issue.

Few seemed to care that Egypt was also part of Africa, a continent with a billion people, most of whom are living under despotic regimes and suffering economic strife and political suppression just like their Egyptian neighbours.

"Egypt is in Africa. We should not fool about with the attempts of the North to segregate the countries of North Africa from the rest of the continent," says Firoze Manji, the editor of Pambazuka Online, an advocacy website for social justice in Africa.


UPDATED: Fox Reverses Poll Results To Falsely Claim Most Americans Favor Ending Collective Bargaining

On Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade claimed, along with an on-screen graphic, that a recent USA Today/Gallup poll found that "61 percent" of Americans are in favor of taking away collective bargaining rights from public unions. In fact, Fox aired the results of the poll completely backward: the Gallup poll found that 61 percent of Americans are opposed to taking away collective bargaining rights.


UK - Record number of young people not in education, work or training

© John Sturrock/Alamy
Almost one million young people in Britain are unemployed, according to the latest figures.
Figures show 15.6% of 16-24 year-olds were 'neets' at end of last year, as thinktank warns young people's unemployment likely to rise to 1.2m in next five years

The number of 16- to 24-year-olds not in education, work or training in England hit a record year-on-year high at the end of last year, official statistics show.

Some 938,000 young people in this age group were "neets" - not in education, employment or training - quarterly statistics from October to December reveal.

This is 43,000 more than the same point the year before and a year-on-year high since records began in 2005. It means 15.6% of all 16- to 24-year-olds in England were neets. This compares to just 13.1% in the last three months of 2007.

The latest statistics show the number of neets had fallen between the summer of last year and the end of the year. Between July and September, 1.03m 16- to 24-year-olds were neets - 17.1% of the age group.


Russia's chief whistleblower wants to jail the corrupt

© Agence France-Presse
Alexey Navalny Russian blogger Alexey Navalny as he speaks in his office in Moscow.
Website has tracked down £2.6m in alleged government fraud, and volunteers examine state tenders for evidence

Alexey Navalny leaps out of his chair and draws five black circles on a whiteboard. The circles represent players in Russia's multibillion-dollar oil industry. With boundless energy and lightning speed, he draws lines and connects the dots, telling the story of what he calls classic Russian corruption.

In Russia, this is not done - at least not publicly. Navalny is speaking in a country that has seen its greatest government critics jailed, exiled and killed. But the 34-year-old lawyer, smart, self-confident and apparently fearless, has made a career of going after Russia's untouchables. As Russia's chief whistleblower - a one-man WikiLeaks - he has focused in the past three years on using the law to obtain information from the infamously secretive state-run corporations that fuel the country's economy and line the pockets of its highest officials.

"Everyone says corruption is everywhere, but for me it seems strange to say that and then not try to put the people guilty of that corruption away," Navalny said during an interview at his central Moscow office, adorned with little but stacks of papers and a gleaming silver MacBook.

For now, that is not his goal. Instead, he has focused on exposing the insidious corruption that even Russia's leaders acknowledge is the country's biggest problem.


Indian trade unions rally over food prices

Tens of thousands of trade unionists marched through the capital yesterday in protest at high food prices and corruption.

At least 40,000 people took part, according to Delhi police, though organisers put the number at about 100,000. Marchers came from trade unions linked both with the opposition Communist Party and with the governing Congress Party.


4,500 Chinese escape Libya by sea, Americans stuck

Foreigners escape Libya and disclose accounts of the "frightening situation" describing the violent scenes they witnessed

Two ships braved churning seas Thursday to whisk 4,500 Chinese workers away from strife-torn Libya to the island of Crete, while rough weather further west left hundreds of Americans stranded on a ferry in Tripoli.

As tens of thousands of foreigners sought to flee the turmoil in Libya, Britain pondered whether to send in its military to evacuate oil workers stranded in remote sites by fierce fighting in the North African nation.

Those who made it out of Libya described a frightening scene - with bodies hanging from electricity poles in Libya's eastern port of Benghazi and militia trucks driving around loaded up with dead bodies. One video showed a tank apparently crushing a car with people inside.


EU bracing for exodus of asylum seekers

© Google maps
Frontex, the EU border agency, has been given instructions to start preparing for a possible unprecedented influx of immigrants and asylum seekers fleeing Libya towards the EU, particularly through Malta and Lampedusa.

The EU is " very concerned" about the possible exodus of some 750,000 Libyan citizens and sub-Saharan Africans from the country towards Europe as a result of the turmoil, according to European Commission sources.

The sources said Frontex, the EU's border agency, was working on a plan involving all 27 member states to be put into action in case this exodus starts.

" We all know there is the potential of a massive exodus of asylum seekers from Libya and the fact that certain parts of the country now seem to be out of control may accelerate this influx," a Commission source said.


Iran's president: Mideast upheaval will reach US

© Associated Press/Vahid Salemi)
A cameraman films Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's car, as it is displayed at an auto show for auction for a charity in the city of Abadan, 600 miles (1000 kilometers) southwest of the capital Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2011. Iran's populist president is putting his 33-year-old Peugeot up for auction for a charity that funds housing projects for young people. Ahmadinejad's move is seen as a bid to appeal to the young and attract attention to housing projects he espoused during his campaigns, promising to put a roof over the head of every poor Iranian.
Tehran, Iran - Iran's president said Wednesday he is certain the wave of unrest in the Middle East will spread to Europe and North America, bringing an end to governments he accused of oppressing and humiliating people.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose own country resorted to violence to disperse an opposition rally earlier this month, also condemned Libya's use of force against demonstrators, calling it "grotesque."

Iran's hard-line leaders have sought to claim some credit for the uprisings in Arab nations, saying they are evidence that its 1979 Islamic Revolution, which ousted the U.S.-backed shah, is being replayed.

Arrow Down

Mystery behind two Libyan fighter jets landing in Malta, revealed

© Unknown
AP reports that two Libyan air force jets arrived in Malta today. Military officials say their pilots have asked for political asylum amid a bloody crackdown on anti-government protesters in Libya, in which air force pilots were ordered to fire on civilian demonstrators (see previous BB post). Apparently, these pilots refused to follow those orders.

Above: a Libyan airforce pilot walks next to his Mirage F1 fighter jet after landing at Malta International Airport outside Valletta today.

Two Libyan fighter jets and two civilian helicopters landed unexpectedly. The office of Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi said at the time it was not clear whether the two fighter pilots intended to ask for asylum - they later did. They initially had asked to refuel. (REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi)


World Slams Gaddafi Brutal Crackdown

© Unknown
Libyans prepare to bury their dead after 1,000 pro-democracy protesters were killed in airstrikes on Monday.
The Libyan regime is facing growing international condemnation over its brutal crackdown on pro-democracy protesters as the death toll from the country's revolution climbs.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said Wednesday that the 27-member bloc has decided to suspend talks with Libya on the EU-Libya Framework Agreement and promised to "take further measures" in response to the brutal violence against Libyan civilians.

The UN Security Council has also condemned Libya's deadly crackdown on the pro-democracy protesters and demanded an immediate end to the violent repression of peaceful demonstrations against Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi's regime and expressed "deep regret for the death of hundreds of civilians."