Please subscribe to my wordpress to continue receiving up to minute updates on current world events, breaking news in politics, activism, economics, wikileaks, and more. Just enter your e-mail address below on the right side-bar where it reads subscribe.
Hundreds of thousands of cheering demonstrators packed this capital city’s central plaza Tuesday, triumphantly predicting that their week-old pro-democracy movement was on the verge of ousting long-time President Hosni Mubarak.
The news came, and the fires followed. On Dec. 9, sometime after 5 p.m., Britain’s Parliament passed a bill to triple university tuition fees to $15,000. Within minutes, peaceful student demonstrations descended into chaos, and Parliament Square — home to Big Ben and Westminster Abbey — transformed into ground zero. Protesters broke through metal barricades and used them to smash windows at the Supreme Court. They urinated on a statue of Winston Churchill. And they scaled the Cenotaph — the sacred memorial to the nation’s fallen soldiers — to rip down the Union Jack. As the night progressed, a mob of 50 demonstrators — many wearing full-face balaclavas — attacked the car carrying Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, denting its doors and pelting it with paint bombs. To anyone standing outside Parliament, amid riot police, injured students and plumes of smoke, one thing became clear: London was burning.
For students in the U.S., the widespread violence may be difficult to understand: $15,000 seems like a bargain compared with the $50,000 price tag of America‘s most expensive private universities. But until 1997, British students paid little or nothing to attend college because Britain’s government footed the bill through the national budget. In 1996, though, Conservative Prime Minister John Major commissioned a report endorsing the introduction of means-tested, mandatory tuition. Since then, the cost of attending college has risen steadily, climbing from $4,700 in 2003 to $5,000 in 2009 for students from the wealthiest backgrounds. The decision to suddenly raise fees by 200% has left students feeling cheated. “In Britain we believe in free education as a social good for all, and education should be based on social values and have nothing to do with money and consumerism,” says Daisy Jones, student union president at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London. “It should be a right for everyone.”
- Why Students Are Rioting in London (time.com)
- Why Students Are Rioting in London (time.com)
- Why British Students Are Rioting over University Tuition (time.com)
- Britain to probe lapse in royal security after riot (reuters.com)
- It’s your right to demonstrate but how dare you insult your country (thesun.co.uk)
- Wreckage and graffiti scars London riot scene (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- London Riots As Students Become Violent Protesting Tuition Fee Hike [Video] (realestateradiousa.com)
- Check Out Photos Of The Insane Student Riots Happening In London (businessinsider.com)
- Charles caught up in London riots – ABC Online (news.google.com)
- Rioting London Students Created Live Google Maps War Room [Apps] (gizmodo.com)
Protests turned violent in London Wednesday, as nearly 100 students occupied Britain’s Conservative Party Headquarters, leading to a standoff with police over the U.K.’s proposal to increase fees and cut government funding of higher education in England.
Around 50,000 students and teachers traveled to London for a march and rally in Westminster against the Government’s plans to raise yearly fees from $5,300 to $14,500. What started out as a peaceful protest in the capital early in the day suddenly turned violent. A small minority headed to the Tory Headquarters where placards were set on fire, smoke bombs and missiles were thrown at police and windows were smashed by rioters, reports the BBC. Within two hours, the entire lobby of the Conservative Party was destroyed, followed by riot police entering to regain control and evacuate the building.
Police blamed the riots on that small minority of protesters.
- Charlie Gilmour, Son Of David Gilmour, Charged In UK Student Protests (huffingtonpost.com)
- Student protest against tuition fees turns violent at Millbank (telegraph.co.uk)
- UK police charge Pink Floyd guitarist’s son in protest (pbpulse.com)
- Tuition fees protest: schoolboy, 14, held over petrol bomb footage (telegraph.co.uk)
- Tuition fees protest: Son of Pink Floyd legend arrested over ‘insult to war dead’ (dailymail.co.uk)
- London Students Stage Violent Protest (abcnews.go.com)
- Education Protest in London Turns Violent – NYTimes.com (jeffpruett.wordpress.com)
- Education Protest in London Turns Violent (nytimes.com)
- Tuition fees: police and students injured as protests turn violent (telegraph.co.uk)
- 153 arrests in London as students protest rising tuition (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
U.S. and British government officials have begun a global crackdown against pro-WikiLeaks “hacktivists” who briefly shut down Mastercard, Visa, Paypal and Amazon.com December 9. The loose group of hacktivists began a global cyber-attack called “Operation Payback” against the companies that earlier had caved-in to what was likely a U.S. federal government pressure campaign and similar electronic attack against the WikiLeaks website earlier in the year.
Five British citizens were arrested on January 27 in the anti-WikiLeaks government probe, and the U.S. government issued 40 search warrants the same day in a related move. The British arrests all involved young men aged 15 to 26. ABC News reported that many of the U.S. searches were “conducted in the San Francisco Bay area and the Boston area as part of an ongoing investigation that involved 26 FBI field offices executing search warrants.”
One of the search warrants issued in the United States was served against Georgia Tech freshman Zhiwei Chen on January 27. According to the college newspaper, Technique, Chen wrote: “I was a passive admin for Operation Payback and quit early to avoid complications with the law, but it seems the FBI has gotten the better of me.”
Visa, Mastercard and Paypal — the corporations targeted by hactivists in Operation Payback — had denied cardholder donations to WikiLeaks. An internal Visa investigation concluded January 27 that WikiLeaks had not broken any laws, but Visa continues to ban its customers from using their credit cards to donate to WikiLeaks.
- FBI issues Bay Area search warrants in probe of WikiLeaks reprisals (sfgate.com)
- FBI issues Bay Area search warrants in probe of WikiLeaks reprisals (seattlepi.com)
- FBI searches in WikiLeaks denial-of-service case (sfgate.com)
- SFgate.com FBI searches in WikiLeaks denial-of-service case (sfgate.com)
- FBI Executes Warrants for Pro-WikiLeaks Hackers (newser.com)
LetsTalk.com 25% off Accessories with Phone and Plan Use Coupon Code “LTSAVE25” expires 2/28/11
9.46pm: Reuters reports that police shot dead 17 people trying to attack two police stations in Beni Suef governorate, according to witnesses and medical sources. Twelve of those shot were attempting to attack a police station in Biba while five others were trying to attack another in Nasser city. Dozens of others were injured in the exchanges.
- Arab Dictators Will Fall Like A House Of Cards (democracyforum.blogspot.com)
- Protesters Call for Second Day of Unrest in Egypt – New York Times (news.google.com)
- Egyptians’ Fury Has Raged Beneath the Surface for Decades (nytimes.com)
- Violent Gunfight At Detroit Police Station Caught On Tape (mediaite.com)
- Egyptians’ Fury Has Raged Beneath the Surface for Decades – New York Times (news.google.com)
- 4 Police Officers Shot at Detroit Police Station (VIDEO) (blippitt.com)
- Fighting Into The Night (andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com)
- Gunman wounds officers in Detroit police station – Reuters (news.google.com)
- Gunman wounds 4 officers in Detroit police station (reuters.com)
- Detroit police station gunman linked to homicide case (reuters.com)
via Live Blog
Posterous is encouraging people experiencing Twitter/Facebook blackouts to post using email. The site writes: With Twitter and Facebook now shut down in Egypt to quell government protests, email is the only reliable sharing platform left. Same story in China. If you’re living or traveling there, email posting via Posterous Sites or Groups is the only way to get videos and photos to your Posterous site and reposted to Twitter and Facebook. Sharing information to people in a country that blocks social media is also difficult. Posterous solves this problem by delivering the full content of your posts via email to your subscribers. This means that anyone with access to an email account can read your posts, even within a blocked country.
- Egypt Bans Twitter To Fight Protests [Foreign Affairs] (gawker.com)
- “Cairo – Tunisa Inspiration: Thousands In Egypt Denounce Mubarak” and related posts (vosizneias.com)
- Twitter blocked in Egypt as thousands of protesters call for government reform (latimesblogs.latimes.com)
- 3 Die in Egypt; Crowds Demand Mubarak’s Exit (abcnews.go.com)
- Egypt protests: Twitter and Facebook blocked by Government (dailymail.co.uk)
- Massive Egyptian Protests Powered by YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Twitpic [Pics, Video] (fastcompany.com)
- Egypt protests: Facebook and Twitter blocked (dailymail.co.uk)
- Anti-government protests in Egypt expected to continue despite ban today (newstatesman.com)
- Twitter blocked in Egypt amid street protests (cnn.com)
- Egypt protests: Can Mubarak be toppled? – BBC News (news.google.com)
The ascension of Republicans in the Congress, most notably Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen as chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, means the Obama administration will face a lot more scrutiny, if not outright hostility, toward its policy of principled engagement on human rights at the United Nations. There are few foreign policy debates where the differences between the two sides are starker.
- “New House Foreign Affairs Committee packed with GOP freshmen” and related posts (thecable.foreignpolicy.com)
- GOP eyes UN funding for cuts (hotair.com)
- Ileana Ros-Lehtinen: The Next House Foreign Affairs Committee Chief? (devex.com)
- Senior US lawmaker to visit Haiti (alternet.org)
- Unpacking J Street-Ros Lehtinen-Moskowitz (blogs.jta.org)
- Eight GOP freshmen to join House Foreign Affairs panel (thehill.com)
- The World from The Hill: U.N. funding an early target for House Republicans ~ A key House Republican is quickly pressing forward with her goals to scale back U.S. funding for the United Nations… (gunnyg.wordpress.com)
- Top US lawmaker vows aid cuts, no ‘chainsaw’ (alternet.org)
- And as long as we’re wrapping things up for Shabbat… (blogs.jta.org)
- Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen: Use Power For New Global Gay Dawn (gayrights.change.org)