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SIx In The Morning Saturday July 13

Syrian Rebel Infighting Undermines Anti-Assad Effort


BEIRUT, Lebanon — Competing rebel factions in Syria are increasingly attacking each other in a series of killings, kidnappings and beheadings, undermining the already struggling effort to topple President Bashar al-Assad.

The open hostilities could no longer be contained Friday, when a Western-aligned group, the Free Syrian Army, demanded that a Qaeda-linked rebel faction, the Islamic State of Iraq and Al Sham, turn over the suspected killers of a prominent commander who was shot dead on Thursday. Commanders with the Free Syrian Army warned that the broader movement against Mr. Assad was being threatened by the conflict between itself and the Islamic State.


NGOs in Russia refuse ‘agents’ label

Russia’s law on non-governmental organizations which was passed last year has taken a toll on NGOs: They were prosecuted, received hefty fines; some of them were shut down. But they refuse to give up.

Thirteen years of “Golos” (Voice)’s history came to an end on June 26, 2013. That’s when Russia’s justice ministry banned the renowned election watchdog for six months, because the NGO refused to register as a “foreign agent.” A new law which was passed by the Russian parliament on July 13, 2012 makes registration mandatory – it came into effect in November.

On that very same day, the organization, which documented numerous violations during recent parliamentary and presidential elections, decided to dissolve. It’s the first and so far only time that a nongovernmental organization essentially closed down because of the controversial law.

Girl Rising: Mahala Fires Up a New Generation


Last fall Malala Yousafza, a 15-year-old blogger in Pakistan, was gunned down for demanding the right to an education. She has taken her message to the UN, and girls worldwide are fighting back against violence and oppression. A global movement is taking shape.

For Diya, the rebellion began in India on the day she sat at the police station, a shy 13-year-old girl, and was able to find words for the unspeakable: “He did something bad to me.” She chose not to be silent though the man had said: “If you tell on me, I will kill your brother.” She chose to testify.

She told the police about how she had left the house, a girl with barrettes in her hair clutching a metal bucket. Diya’s parents had sent her out to fetch some water from the village faucet, which was only a few steps from her house. She was anxious to get back home quickly. It was her favorite time of the day, the few hours before going to sleep. Diya loved the stories she saw on TV when her family watched together in the evenings. She liked Bollywood star Salman Khan, especially his smile. That was in April.

From patriot to pariah

July 13, 2013

Peter Munro

In an era where technology has made it easier to smuggle data, governments are determined to demonise whistleblowers.

Deep Throat would meet journalist Bob Woodward in an underground car park at 2am, their meetings arranged through the signal of a red flag in an old flower pot or codes circled in the newspaper. Four decades later, Bradley Manning lip-synced to Lady Gaga while downloading hundreds of thousands of classified documents from military servers.

The diminutive, low-ranking army private, now on trial for “aiding the enemy”, is in many ways the antithesis of the well-connected Watergate whistleblower, chain-smoking while spilling state secrets. Hell, Manning doesn’t even look old enough to smoke.

More Americans believe Snowden is a whistleblower than a traitor – a mood that might win the day. 

Third of CAR population in urgent need of help: UN, EU say


A third of the population of the Central African Republic is “in urgent need of help,” a joint United Nations and European Union mission found Friday.

UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos and her EU counterpart Kristalina Georgieva visited Bangui and the northern town Kaga-Bandoro during a two-day fact-finding mission.

Kaga-Bandoro is one of the areas worst affected by a conflict, which began in December 2012 and displaced 260,000 people inside and outside of the country.

“The European Commission decided to increase humanitarian funding in CAR from 12 to 20 million euros. We will continue our support for security in the country, a very important priority,” said Georgieva.

Chinese firms in Myanmar attempt to fix image problem

China is piloting a strategy more commonly used by Western corporations: corporate social responsibility.

By Joseph J. SchatzCorrespondent


Facing unexpected turbulence over its investments in MyanmarChina is employing a strategy more commonly used by Western corporations: The “corporate social responsibility” campaign.

Hence last week’s rollout of new guidelines to be followed by Chinese firms doing business here in Myanmar (Burma), a country that until recently had been viewed by many as a Chinese client state.

The move speaks to China’s image problem not only in Myanmar, but in many of the Asian and African countries where it operates copper mines, dams, and oil fields amid complaints of safety violations and environmental damage.

Gao Mingbo, the social media-savvy head of the political section at the Chinese Embassy here inYangon, sees the Myanmar effort – which is now a staple of US corporate strategy in the developing world – as a “pilot” exercise for how Chinese companies should be doing business abroad.




SIx In The Morning Saturday July 13

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