Global Rumblings

August 5, 2010

A (very brief) round up of under the radar global stories.

Nicaragua ex-Contra rebel threatens uprising against Daniel Ortega over re-election issue” (Canadian Press). How nostalgic. “Gabriel Jose Garmendia, a minor figure in the U.S.-backed rebel movement, claims Ortega has violated the constitution by seeking a new term….He did not give details of his plans for an insurrection.”

Garmendia’s vow comes a week after a case against Ortega and other Sandinista commanders brought by Miskito Indians collapsed with judges citing insufficient evidence. Alleged outrages committed against the Miskitos formed a significant part of the propaganda case against Ortega in the 1980s.

Over at Guantanamo, lawyers of Omar Khadr, a Canadian detainee who was detained aged only 15 in Afghanistan in 2002, are frantically trying to have him tried under a military court martial or an ordinary court, and not a “military commission” designed specifically to process “non-citizen unlawful enemy belligerents.”

Unfortunately for him, Khadr is not detained at the Polinter de Queimados jail in Rio de Janeiro, where Brazilian police were recently admitted on an anti-corruption raid by the inmates themselves. Just one “guard” was found at the jail which was effectively being run by prisoners.

In Kenya, multinational firms may be about to receive a blow as the government considers how to “scale back” a 50,000 ha jatropha plantation to be run by Italian firm Nuove Iniziative Industriali Srl on behalf of clients as illustrious as furniture moguls Ikea. Conservationists from the group Nature Kenya have sought to head off the scheme which they say threatens the Dakatcha coastal woodland forest and will result in the displacement of 20,000 people. For his part, Italian businessman Luciano Orlandi has branded the conservationist’s opposition “a pretentious protest made just by a small group.”

Russia to impose temporary ban on grain exports” (BBC) – stung by droughts and huge forest fires, the Russian government has decided to ban grain exports until the end of the year, sparking panic amongst grain buyers, and delight amongst speculators who have used the ban as an excuse to push grain prices still higher.

Meanwhile, in Niger, the country is suffering through the worst food crisis in 30 years as drought has decimated farming, though as the Guardian reports, as with all famines, there are elements of market failure at work too

In Senegal, workers at the telecoms company Sonatel are on strike after the government brought in an American firm, Global Voice, to monitor international call volumes and maximise tax revenues. The strike comes in a context of rising discontent at the country’s disfunctional electricity system, which is hitting food production (to power water pumps used in rice growing). Last week the government banned a planned protest march against the problems, citing “fears it would disrupt traffic and create public disorder” and anger amongst activists. But Muslim clerics in Dakar have continued to call for people to boycott power bills.

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2 Responses to “Global Rumblings”

  1. watsonlow Says:

    How long before all of this is on the streets of Britain? I happened to be walking along a Hampstead street the other day and came across a van marked “Stormont Security” with some burly lads sitting in it. This is, I believe, an increasing phenomenon, both in rich areas like Hampstead and rough areas where the “Security” is more clearly a protection racket. This is privatised policing at best. How long will it be before we have food riots which are put down by a bunch of gangsters in uniform? At our peril we dismiss the events you report above as belonging to far away countries.


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