Sunday Times

Here’s this week’s new stories I’m following:

Syria

As a Correspondent at the UN right now, I learned quickly that the organization has a massive reach and can be powerful, but when that power fails in concrete action the effects are deadly.  The United Nations Security Council has faced frustrating vetos from Russia and China and now the United Nations Supervisory Mission in Syria (#UNSMIS) is ending today, with no clear ceasing of violence.  With Kofi Annan’s resignation a few weeks ago, Mohammed El-Baradei was set to lead negotiations by the Arab League (Al Arabiya).  The UN has now named, Lakhdar Brahimi as the new envoy, a former Algerian foreign minister and man who helped end the war in Lebanon – a country that has seen Syrian violence creep across it’s border.

However, one interesting development is the disappearance of Farouq al-Sharaa (CNN).  I say ‘interesting’ rather than ‘progress and win for rebels’ because reports vary on whether his absence is due to defection or if the Assad regime predicted his dissidence and remedied it.  It sounds a bit conspiratorial perhaps, but I would not put it past any government willing to kill so many of their own children.

Julian Assange

Wikileaks founder and accused rapist.  But, if you look at the media coverage it seems that second fact seems to be lost in the overwhelming asylum issues and diplomat cable emails which were leaked by Assange and Wikileaks.

He says the United States should ‘stop their witch hunt for Wikileaks’ but what about those women in Sweden who want to face their accused rapist?  Is this another case of an ‘uncomfortable womens’ issue’ being subverted in the media for?  I wonder what would happen if Assange was not part of controversial Wikileaks.  I think those charges play a huge role in the asylum debacle Assange has gotten himself into at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.  Here’s a primer on the issue from CNN.

A Dark Day in South Africa

In Marikana, South Africa there is a mine owned by Lonmin (AllAfrica), a subsidiary of the world’s largest platinum producer – Anglo Platinum.  The country is home to nearly 80% of known platinum in the world.

Mining conditions throughout the country are notoriously hazardous and mining is a dangerous profession even here in the States.  On top of that, the Marikana miners felt they were underpaid, highlighting the already large and growing inequality in South Africa.   On August 10, approximately 3000 workers went on strike demanding a pay raise which would result in a monthly salary equivalent to approximately $1500 USD/month.

The clashes began between the National Union of Mineworkers and the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, the latter which considers themselves a distinct and apolitical faction of the former.

Eyewitness accounts differ according to what I have read, but approximately 500 members of the South African Police shot and killed 34 strikers miners and wounded almost 80 more.  Reports (South Africa Times) indicate some of the miners were armed with machetes, clubs, and possibly guns.  Reactions (Mail & Guardian – South Africa) are, as expected, angry, sad, and hint at the days of apartheid.

Here’s video from International Business Times UK, of that day (Warning: The video contains violent content):

On Trade:

The United States is now accusing Iraq of helping Iran circumvent trade sanctions (New York Times).  It’s my belief trade sanctions don’t work, but that’s for another post all together.

Back to the States:

This is a must-read piece, written about the horrible week religious institutions have faced this past week in America, the land of religious freedom (as long as you’re not Brown?)  (Written by @GhazalaIrshad)

I’m writing a piece regarding the foreign policy implications of a Romney-Ryan election win, so stay tuned for that.

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