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January 29, 2011

Wikinews interviews Jim Hedges, U.S. Prohibition Party presidential candidate

Wikinews interviews Jim Hedges, U.S. Prohibition Party presidential candidate

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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Public domain image of Jim Hedges from the Partisan Prohibition Historical Society website

U.S. Prohibition Party presidential candidate Jim Hedges of Thompson Township, Pennsylvania took some time to answer a few questions about the Prohibition Party and his 2012 presidential campaign.

The Prohibition Party is the third oldest existing political party in the United States, having been established in 1869. It reached its height of popularity during the late 19th century. The party heavily supported the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which banned the sale of alcohol, and resulted in the US period known as Prohibition (1919–33). It was repealed in 1933. The party has declined since this period, but has continued to nominate candidates for the presidential election.

In 2003, the party split into two factions. Preacher Gene Amondson and perennial candidate Earl Dodge were nominated for the presidency by their respective factions. After Dodge’s death in 2007, the party reunified and named Amondson as its sole presidential nominee for 2008. During the election, Amondson was interviewed by Wikinews. He died in 2009, leaving an opening in the party for 2012.

Jim Hedges is a longtime Prohibition activist, who holds the distinction of the first individual of the 21st century (and the first since 1959) to be elected to a political office under the Prohibition Party banner. In 2001, he was elected as the Thompson Township tax assessor, and was re-elected to the post in 2005. He served until his term expired in 2010. Hedges declared his intent to run for the Prohibition Party presidential nomination on February 18, 2010. This marks his first run for the presidency.

Interview

Wikinews waves Left.pngWilliam SaturnWikinews waves Right.png When and why did you decide to join the Prohibition Party?

Wikinews waves Left.pngJim HedgesWikinews waves Right.pngI have identified with the Prohibition Party since being in high school, in the 1950s. Being “a member” is trickier to specify, as I’ve sometimes registered to vote in other parties for temporary pragmatic reasons (or have not been registered, at all). I could not be active in the Party until after I retired from the military, in 1980.

Why? Well, I liked, and still like, the Prohibition platform better than I do the platform of any other political group. Partly, this is because of the anti-alcohol plank, but more generally because it seems more principled and more reasonable.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSWikinews waves Right.png You are the first (and only) member of the Prohibition Party to be elected to any office in the 21st century. How were you able to accomplish such a feat?

Wikinews waves Left.pngJHWikinews waves Right.pngI ran for an insignificant local office which no one else wanted. Minor party people are always complaining that they can’t get elected – they can, if they start at the beginning instead of aiming at impossible goals.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSWikinews waves Right.png According to the New York Times, you were heavily involved in the 2004 split of the party that centered around five-time presidential nominee Earl Dodge. What exactly caused the split, and has the party since healed?

Wikinews waves Left.pngJHWikinews waves Right.pngTo answer the last part first: It has largely healed. A few months after Dodge died, his hand-picked vice-chairman also died. The man who was third in line refused to carry on. That man, and the Dodge relatives, then dropped out completely; the other folks mostly are now working with the regular organization.

The split was caused by dissatisfaction with Dodge’s management. Dodge was a somewhat paranoid person who trusted no one to help him. For example, he made one of his daughters “treasurer” of the Prohibition National Committee, but he did not allow her access to the bank account. He was the only “signer” listed on the check card. Another example: He used money from a bequest to purchase a small office condominium, then without telling even his vice-chairman, he mortgaged the condo, cashed it out, and after a time lost it (because the mortgage was not being paid); the vice-chairman discovered all this only after Dodge died. Dodge could sell the office condo undetected, because he held it in the name of a shell corporation controlled by himself and the said daughter.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSWikinews waves Right.png The late Gene Amondson, the 2004 & 2008 presidential nominee of the Prohibition Party was the national face of the party for a number of years. How well did you know Mr. Amondson, and what is the current state of the party with his absence?

Wikinews waves Left.pngJHWikinews waves Right.pngI met Amondson at a couple of conventions; otherwise, I knew him only from correspondence and from telephone calls.

Amondson was a congenial person, warm and approachable. He was recommended to us by one of our supporters. He had an act, a re-creation of Rev. Billy Sunday’s sermon on booze, which he performed at conservative churches and other sympathetic venues. We hoped that his name recognition and the audience appeal of his act would enhance the Party’s appeal.

As it turned out, he had a handicap, analogous to dyslexia, which prevented him from stringing words together into fluent sentences. His act was great. His public speaking and his writing were, um, unremarkable.

We miss his ability to attract attention to us.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSWikinews waves Right.png Mr. Amondson stated that “Prohibition was America’s greatest 13 years” and that he would “rather have 100 Al Capones in every city than alcohol sold in every grocery store“. Do you agree with these comments, and additionally, do you second his projection that “Prohibition will come again for the fourth time“?

Wikinews waves Left.pngJHWikinews waves Right.pngI expect that national prohibition will come again “someday,” because nothing we’ve tried since then has worked as well in reducing per-capita consumption of alcoholic beverages and the related social problems.

The rest of that is campaign hyperbole.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSWikinews waves Right.png Why did you choose to run for president and what are your qualifications?

Wikinews waves Left.pngJHWikinews waves Right.pngIt’s partly a “finger-in-the-dike” tactic, because I see no one else in the organization who has the free time and the personal background needed to mount a plausible campaign. Partly, also, it’s the realization that, at age 72, if I’m ever going to do it, I’d better get on with doing it now.

Many times in the past, the Prohibition Party has recruited presidential candidates from outside its own ranks. The same may happen again this year. If not, I see myself as being the most broadly educated and widely experienced person within the core group of the Party.

I have a BA in musical performance (Iowa, 1960) and served 20 years in one of our nation’s most elite military units, The United States Marine Band.

I have a family-farm background, plus 20 years of life in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. I understand both rural and urban communities.

I have an MA in Geography (Maryland, 1972), have published research in refereed journals both here and abroad, and for 11 years edited a journal.

I have done volunteer work with and served as an officer of community organizations ranging from The Salvation Army to friends of the library to recycling programs to historical and literary clubs.

I have done newspaper reporting, primarily on local government.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSWikinews waves Right.png Who are some of your opponents for the nomination and why do you believe you are a better choice for the party?

Wikinews waves Left.pngJHWikinews waves Right.pngTo my knowledge, no one else has yet expressed an interest in the Prohibition Party nomination.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSWikinews waves Right.png When and where will the party hold their convention, and how will a nominee be decided upon?

Wikinews waves Left.pngJHWikinews waves Right.pngCullman, Alabama, in June. See the National Committee’s website for details.

A vote of the credentialed delegates will determine who is the candidate.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSWikinews waves Right.png Do you agree with the decision to allow prominent Libertarian Stephen P. Gordon to speak at the convention, despite his support for the sale of alcohol?

Wikinews waves Left.pngJHWikinews waves Right.pngYes. First of all, the Prohibition Party and the Libertarian Party share some common interests, such as small government, balanced budgets, and personal freedoms. Secondly, we should all take time to listen to those who disagree with us, in order to sharpen our debating skills. Thirdly, we shouldn’t be complacent, because… we might actually be wrong!

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSWikinews waves Right.png According to the Ballot Access News, the Prohibition Party has qualified for the ballot in only Florida. What will you do to gain ballot access in other states?

Wikinews waves Left.pngJHWikinews waves Right.pngMost likely, we will be able to meet the ballot requirements in only 2 or 3 states in addition to Florida (which has among the most lenient ballot access regulations today). Colorado is a likely one, as are Mississippi and Louisiana.

For small parties, the states where they run has very little to do with where they have the most support and very much to do with which states have the easiest regulations.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSWikinews waves Right.png What issues or policy stances form the basis of your campaign?

Wikinews waves Left.pngJHWikinews waves Right.pngInasmuch as beverage alcohol is our signature issue, I anticipate spending most of my time talking about the alcohol connection with various social problems: public safety, public health, taxes, homelessness, spouse abuse, child welfare, military preparedness, industrial efficiency, product quality, and so forth.

The platform most likely will address a lot of other things, but, let’s face it: The Prohibition Party today is an exercise in living history. We’re like the weekend warriors who put on costumes and re-enact the Civil War. The South is not going to rise again. Neither is national prohibition going to come back (not, at least, in our lifetimes). But in both cases, we think there are important historical lessons which ought not be forgotten. And so, we soldier on against all odds.

Unless we stay on the message (of alcohol), our living history lesson will be lost.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSWikinews waves Right.png Have you received any notable endorsements thus far?

Wikinews waves Left.pngJHWikinews waves Right.pngNo. Neither have I sought any.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSWikinews waves Right.png According to Weekend America, Vice-Presidential nominee Leroy Pletten was incapacitated following a stroke during the 2008 campaign. Have you chosen a running mate, and if not, will health be a factor in the decision?

Wikinews waves Left.pngJHWikinews waves Right.pngThe Public Radio announcement appears to be a case of mistaken identity. I have checked with Pletten, and no such thing happened.

I’ve been asking around. I know who I’d like to have, but it’s still under discussion.

Health should enter into it. We don’t need another Reagan!

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSWikinews waves Right.png How often do you campaign, and how might that change should you win the nomination?

Wikinews waves Left.pngJHWikinews waves Right.pngVery little campaigning, at this point. I sent out a series of monthly postcards last year, presenting myself to the people on the Party mailing list. There is also a (very rudimentary) campaign website – www.hedges4-12.com I’m in touch with the people who will make the decision, at the Convention this coming June.

If I should receive the nomination, the website will have to be improved, and there will have to be press releases and some personal visits to states where we get on the ballot. I’ll have to obtain advice on making more effective use of the internet.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSWikinews waves Right.png Describe a typical day for Jim Hedges. How do you spend your time?

Wikinews waves Left.pngJHWikinews waves Right.pngBefore going to sleep each evening, I map out the following day in my mind. Then, in the morning, I roll out (not too early), tend to personal care and a hearty breakfast, go to the other house (when my wife and I were married, 20 years ago, we each had a paid-for house, and it was convenient to keep both of them) and tend to the pets. The rest of the morning is spent dealing with paper mail and other clerical work. In warm weather, afternoons are devoted to yard work and to gardening; in cold weather, I do household maintenance chores, work in the shop, work on the wood pile. After supper, if there is not a rehearsal or a concert to go to, I practice half an hour on my tuba, then look at the internet or read.

Every day is different, but that’s the basic schedule.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSWikinews waves Right.png What is your main source for political news?

Wikinews waves Left.pngJHWikinews waves Right.pngThree weekly newsmagazines: The Economist, The Nation, and Science.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSWikinews waves Right.png What is your biggest political concern at the moment?

Wikinews waves Left.pngJHWikinews waves Right.pngIn the next 10 years, eliminating governmental deficits, primarily in the United States and in Europe. In the next 100 years, dealing with the social and economic consequences of the rise in sea level due to climatic warming.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSWikinews waves Right.png How would you assess the presidencies of George W. Bush and Barack Obama?

Wikinews waves Left.pngJHWikinews waves Right.pngBush the Younger was unquestionably the most damaging president since FDR, perhaps the most damaging of all time: His “Patriot Act” and other security measures trashed the Constitution, our Constitution. His deficits have never been equaled. His foreign military adventures are the longest wars ever fought by our country.

Obama was dealt a miserable hand, but even so, I’m becoming disappointed. We still have Bush‘s deficit spending. We still have Bush’s wars. We still have Bush’s failure to secure the border with Mexico. We still have Bush’s exporting American jobs overseas. What is there to like?

Obama did end Bush’s “global gag rule,” which attempted to prevent family planning agencies all over the world from even discussing abortion. And he did make a stab at improving medical care.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSWikinews waves Right.png What are your thoughts on Sarah Palin and the Tea Party Movement?

Wikinews waves Left.pngJHWikinews waves Right.pngPalin was given a job for four years by the voters of Alaska. When she got bored with it, she handed the office key to her lieutenant governor and walked away. That’s not responsible behavior.

The Tea Party folks are on the right track in trying to get the federal budget deficit under control. I fear, though, that they lack the patience and flexibility to do the job gracefully. And, they’re too easily distracted by unrelated issues.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSWikinews waves Right.png What is your take on the the health care bill?

Wikinews waves Left.pngJHWikinews waves Right.pngObamacare is a step in the right direction, but it leaves intact the private insurance industry, which is a major source of waste. We need a public health service, like the one in England.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSWikinews waves Right.png What are some of your foreign policy views?

Wikinews waves Left.pngJHWikinews waves Right.pngAmerica first! Our unqualified support for Israel is doing us a great deal of damage elsewhere in the world. We need to stop all aid, both civilian and military, to Israel until Israel abides by the Oslo Accords.

We need to stop being the world’s bully and, instead, lead by example: ratify Kyoto, ratify CEDAW, rein in the international corporations.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSWikinews waves Right.png What historical or contemporary figures do you identify with?

Wikinews waves Left.pngJHWikinews waves Right.pngYou know, I think it would be appropriate to name Jimmy Carter. I didn’t always agree with what he did, but I could sympathize with why he did it. To the extent that any president can be, he was an honest, well-meaning person.

Look at the things he has done since leaving the White House, then look at the things other presidents have done after their terms ended. Carter has continued to serve the American people, and the world, while the others have hie’d themselves to their clubs and estates, to their lecture circuits and their corporate boards.

Yes, I would like to be a person such as Jimmy Carter.


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Los Angeles City Council to sue police officer accused of filing a false report

Los Angeles City Council to sue police officer accused of filing a false report

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Saturday, January 29, 2011

California
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Los Angeles City Hall, where the council meets.
Image: Brion Vibber.

The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to sue a police officer accused of creating a story about being shot by someone at El Camino High School, causing a costly search for the assailant by police.

The officer, Jeffrey Stenroos, who had worked for the Los Angeles Unified School District police for eight years, caused thousands of students to remain on lockdown for hours.

Traffic officers, county sheriffs, California Highway Patrol, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation were involved in the search. The council voted to ask Stenroos to pay the city for the cost of the search. Council president Eric Garcetti said, “We had thousands of dollars spent on police overtime.”

Thursday, the Los Angeles Police chief announced Stenroos’ claim was false and he was later arrested and released on $20,000 (€14,600) bail, charged with filing a false police report.

Stenroos allegedly mishandled a firearm and shot himself in his bulletproof vest, according to an anonymous police official.



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Ipswich, England serial murders to be adapted into \’musical\’

Ipswich, England serial murders to be adapted into ‘musical’

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Saturday, January 29, 2011

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The Ipswich serial murders, in which five female prostitutes were killed in Ipswich, Suffolk, England, are to be turned into a show entitled London Road. The “documentary musical” is expected to debut in the Royal National Theatre in London this April.

The concept has been criticised. When ITN conducted some vox populi interviews, members of the public reacted negatively: “[A]lmost makes it seem a bit light-hearted, doesn’t it? It takes the impact out of it,” one woman said. One man said that it would “bring back memories to [the families of the victims] and that’s not right.” Another woman remarked: “It’s not a musical, you know, it’s a tragedy for the families it happened to.”

Cquote1.svg It’s not a musical, you know, it’s a tragedy for the families it happened to. Cquote2.svg

—Female member of the public

The Reverend Andrew Dotchin, who knew victim Tania Nicol, advised: “It’s holy ground. Take your shoes off. Walk carefully. Remember you’re dealing not so much with an event in the news but with something that in a real sense that is still alive, still affecting lives. It has a great potential to bring healing but if you’re not careful, it can also bring harm.”

In their defence, a National Theatre spokeswoman made a statement, saying “London Road has been created from edited interviews recorded with people from Ipswich and is a serious look at the effect on the community of this tragic event, rather than at the murders or victims themselves; and at how the community was able to pull together to create something positive out of the tragedy.

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We’re not going to call it a musical in future because we recognise it gives a misleading impression; the music will do something very different by reflecting the voices of the interviewees. We realise how sensitive a subject this is and hope that, when people come to see it, they will see that the piece doesn’t seek to exploit or sensationalise but to shed light on a side of the story that hasn’t previously been told.”

The name London Road is a reference to the name of the street where Steve Wright lived. Wright was was jailed in February 2008 for the murders of Tania Nicol, Gemma Adams, Anneli Alderton, Annette Nicholls and Paula Clennell – all of whom were female prostitutes that lived in the Ipswich region. Their naked bodies were discovered close to Ipswich in December 2006.

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Four killed, fourteen others injured at bus blast in Philippines

Four killed, fourteen others injured at bus blast in Philippines

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Philippines
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Saturday, January 29, 2011

An explosion occurred in a bus in the Epifanio de los Santos Avenue, in Makati City, Philippines on Tuesday. The blast occurred in shortly before 2 p.m. Four are dead with fourteen more wounded.

After the explosion, the National Capital Region Police Office’s Director, Nicanor Bartolome, said that he formed a special investigation team and the city has formed a crisis management committee.

President Benigno Aquino III condoled the grieving families of the dead. The Metro Manila police are now on full alert following the blast. The bus was an air-conditioned model, plate number TXJ-710.

After news reached the Malacañang Palace spokesman Eduardo Lacierda said that the cause of the blast was “some sort of explosive device placed in the vicinity of the middle of the bus.” Many passengers had already got off before the explosion; almost half disembarked at Ayala.

A survivor said that they did not notice the explosion because they were all busy watching television. The bus driver noticed an abnormal smell, namely gunpowder. He stated that mechanical failure could not possibly be the cause. The police are yet to establish what type of explosive was used.


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Ipswich, England serial murders to be adapted into ‘musical’

Filed under: Acting,Culture and entertainment,Film,Radio,Television,Theatre — admin @ 5:00 am

Saturday, January 29, 2011

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More information on Culture and entertainment:

The Ipswich serial murders, in which five female prostitutes were killed in Ipswich, Suffolk, England, are to be turned into a show entitled London Road. The “documentary musical” is expected to debut in the Royal National Theatre in London this April.

The concept has been criticised. When ITN conducted some vox populi interviews, members of the public reacted negatively: “[A]lmost makes it seem a bit light-hearted, doesn’t it? It takes the impact out of it,” one woman said. One man said that it would “bring back memories to [the families of the victims] and that’s not right.” Another woman remarked: “It’s not a musical, you know, it’s a tragedy for the families it happened to.”

Cquote1.svg It’s not a musical, you know, it’s a tragedy for the families it happened to. Cquote2.svg

—Female member of the public

The Reverend Andrew Dotchin, who knew victim Tania Nicol, advised: “It’s holy ground. Take your shoes off. Walk carefully. Remember you’re dealing not so much with an event in the news but with something that in a real sense that is still alive, still affecting lives. It has a great potential to bring healing but if you’re not careful, it can also bring harm.”

In their defence, a National Theatre spokeswoman made a statement, saying “London Road has been created from edited interviews recorded with people from Ipswich and is a serious look at the effect on the community of this tragic event, rather than at the murders or victims themselves; and at how the community was able to pull together to create something positive out of the tragedy.

HAVE YOUR SAY
Wikinews commentary.svg
Is this show a bad idea or a good one?
Add or view comments

We’re not going to call it a musical in future because we recognise it gives a misleading impression; the music will do something very different by reflecting the voices of the interviewees. We realise how sensitive a subject this is and hope that, when people come to see it, they will see that the piece doesn’t seek to exploit or sensationalise but to shed light on a side of the story that hasn’t previously been told.”

The name London Road is a reference to the name of the street where Steve Wright lived. Wright was was jailed in February 2008 for the murders of Tania Nicol, Gemma Adams, Anneli Alderton, Annette Nicholls and Paula Clennell – all of whom were female prostitutes that lived in the Ipswich region. Their naked bodies were discovered close to Ipswich in December 2006.

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January 28, 2011

US government to replace color-coded terror alert system

Filed under: United States — admin @ 5:00 am

US government to replace color-coded terror alert system

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Friday, January 28, 2011

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A key to the current color-coded warning system
US Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano

United States Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano said Thursday that the country’s government would end its color-coded threat assessment system, called the Homeland Security Advisory System. The announcement came one day after rumors about such a move surfaced.

Napolitano, who made the announcement at George Washington University, said a new advisory system would be implemented in April. “When we have information about a specific, credible threat, we will issue a formal alert providing as much information as we can,” she said. “The alerts will be specific to the threat. They may recommend certain actions or suggest looking for specific suspicious behavior. And they will have a specified end date.”

The color-based system has been heavily criticized since its introduction after the 9/11 attacks. Napolitano said it often presented “little practical information” to the public. For most of its existence, the Homeland Security Advisory System has stayed at the yellow (“elevated”) and orange (“high”) levels. The new National Terrorism Advisory System will have only two threat levels: “imminent” and “elevated.”

The current system will begin to be deprecated this week, but it has been under the scrutiny of the US Department of Homeland Security since 2009.



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Taliban bombing in Kabul supermarket leaves eight dead

Taliban bombing in Kabul supermarket leaves eight dead

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Friday, January 28, 2011

Violence in Afghanistan is at its worst since the end of the Taliban regime in 2001.

At least eight people have died after a suicide attack at a supermarket in Kabul, Afghanistan. The ‘Finest’ store, located in the strongly patrolled Wazir Akbar Khan area of Kabul, was popular with foreigners, being located near embassies, a few hundred yards from the British Embassy.

The suicide bomber opened fire in the supermarket, which was protected by armed guards and was situated near a police checkpoint, before detonating a bomb, resulting in at least eight deaths and six wounded, including a child, both from Afghanistan and abroad. The Taliban have claimed responsibility for the attack, with Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid stating: “We claim responsibility for the attack, and it was carried out at a time when foreigners were shopping, including the head of a security company”.

The last major attack on civilians occurred last February, when fourteen were killed in two separate bombings, and there have been multiple attacks against security forces in the meantime.



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Nelson Mandela suffers collapsed lung

Filed under: Archived,Nelson Mandela,South Africa — admin @ 5:00 am

Nelson Mandela suffers collapsed lung – Wikinews, the free news source

Nelson Mandela suffers collapsed lung

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Friday, January 28, 2011

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File photo of Nelson Mandela, in 2008.
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Nelson Mandela, the former South African president, is currently recovering from a collapsed lung in Johannesburg, according to the Reuters news agency. The 92-year-old was admitted to hospital on Wednesday for ‘routine tests’, having been airlifted from Cape Town, where he and his wife were having a holiday, to a hospital near his home in Johannesburg. He is thought to be recovering well.

The South African president Jacob Zuma stated that “President Mandela is comfortable and is well looked after by a good team of medical specialists”, going on to say that “[he] urge[s] the media to afford him the dignity and respect that he is entitled to as the country’s founding democratic president, as a national hero and also as a citizen of the republic” of South Africa.

Robert Gibbs, spokesperson for the White House, stated that “the U.S. president and the first lady, their thoughts are wi[th] Nelson Mandela”.

Mandela spent twenty-seven years in a South African prison as a leader of the South African anti-apartheid movement, before being released in 1990 and becoming South Africa’s first black president.



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Egypt anti-government protests continue, Internet shut down

Egypt anti-government protests continue, Internet shut down

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Friday, January 28, 2011

Egypt
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  • 27 January 2015: Greek singer Demis Roussos dies aged 68
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Anti-government protestors in Egypt rallying against the rule of president Hosni Mubarak took to the streets for a fourth straight day, demanding the long-time leader step down and complaining of poverty, corruption, and oppression. The demonstrations were supposedly inspired by a popular uprising that saw Tunisian president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali ousted from office. A national curfew is in effect, but is being ignored by many.

Protestors in Cairo, Tuesday – the initial day of protests.
Image: Muhammad Ghafari.

Tens of thousands of people spilled out into streets after Friday prayers today, chanting slogans like “Down, down with Mubarak” and “The people want the regime to fall”. At least eighteen people died in the violence between riot police and protestors, with hundreds more wounded. Up to a thousand people have been arrested.

Police responded to protestors by deploying rubber bullets, tear gas, and water cannons. In addition, Mubarak ordered the army out onto the streets to help quell the conflict. He was earlier supposed to make a statement, but hasn’t yet done so.

In Cairo, demonstrators targeted the heavily-guarded state broadcasting building, as well as the building of the ruling National Democratic Party, which was set on fire, according to a BBC reporter. In Sinai, armed men took several policemen hostage after seizing a road leading into a nearby town.

Former International Atomic Energy Agency head Mohamed ElBaradei, a prominent opposition figure, was taken into custody by authorities and now under house arrest, The Telegraph reports.

Internet shutdown

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Meanwhile, according to media reports and statistics, Egypt has shut down practically all Internet traffic both out of and into the nation, as well as disrupting cellphone usage. A graph by Arbor Networks available on the New York Times website shows an almost vertical drop in overall Egypt internet traffic, starting shortly before four o’clock in the afternoon with over 2.5 million megabits per second down to almost zero in the space of an hour.

“Almost nobody in Egypt has Internet connectivity, and there are no workarounds. I’ve never seen it happen at this scale,” said the chief technology officer for Renesys, a company that tracks Internet traffic. “In a fundamental sense, it’s as if you rewrote the map and they are no longer a country. I never thought it would happen to a country the size and scale of Egypt.”

Andrew Noyes, spokesman for Facebook, noted that the social website had seen almost all of its Egypt traffic disappear and there is only a “minimal” amount left. In a statement, Noyes said: “Although the turmoil in Egypt is a matter for the Egyptian people and their government to resolve, limiting Internet access for millions of people is a matter of concern for the global community.”

Vodafone announced on its website that “all mobile operators in Egypt have been instructed to suspend services in selected areas. Under Egyptian legislation the authorities have the right to issue such an order and we are obliged to comply with it.”



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  • “Massive anti-government protests in Egypt continue into second day, several killed” — Wikinews, January 27, 2011

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January 27, 2011

Massive anti-government protests in Egypt continue into second day, several killed

Massive anti-government protests in Egypt continue into second day, several killed

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Thursday, January 27, 2011

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To write, edit, start or view other articles on Egypt, see the Egypt Portal
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Thousands of people throughout Egypt continued protests for a second straight day, clashing with security officials. The demonstrators were protesting against the three-decade-rule of president Hosni Mubarak. Demonstrations turned violent in places, with police employing tear gas and rubber bullets while civilians hurled stones, burned tires, and even set fire to a government building. The Haaretz newspaper says there were five deaths.

Reports say such massive protests have never been seen in the country before; they come two weeks after Tunisian president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali was overthrown by a popular revolt. Egyptian protestors, apparently inspired by the fall of Ben Ali, are demanding that Mubarak resign, complaining about unemployment, poverty, repression, and other issues.

Over five hundred protestors were arrested during the skirmishes. Local media reports that at least fifty people have been wounded by the violence. According to media, however, there were somewhat fewer protestors on the second day of the rallies than the first, dubbed the “Day of Wrath” by anti-government supporters.

Egypt’s stock market reacted negatively to the clashes, going down by six percent on Wednesday, and the Egyptian pound reached a six-year low against the US dollar.



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