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Archive for November 2011

Egypt holds 3-round People’s Assembly election

November 28, 2011 - EGYPT

Egypt’s 3-round elections for its People’s Assembly, the lower house of parliament, begin Nov 28. The second round is Dec 14, and the third Jan 3. Separate elections follow for the upper house. Scores of parties, ranging from Islamist to secularist, plan to contest the election. The new assembly will appoint a committee to write a new constitution. An Egyptian court has said members of ousted President Hosni Mubarak’s now-dissolved ruling National Democratic Party can run, reversing a previous ruling.

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Voters select president, National Assembly, local legislators

November 28, 2011 - DR CONGO

The president of the Democratic Republic of Congo and its 500-member National Assembly will be elected for a five-year mandate by a simple majority in a single round. The term will be renewable once. The process reflects recent controversial changes. Anticipating that the election might be anything but peaceful, the United Nations has extended its peacekeeping mission to the recovering but still violence-prone nation of 90 million. President Joseph Kabila is widely expected to run again.

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Voters choose legislators

November 26, 2011 - NEW ZEALAND

The governing center-right National Party and Prime Minister John Keys expect a second 3-year term, but the struggling economy gives the opposition Labour Party led by Phil Goff the possibility of a comeback. Another determining factor could be the ability of the main parties to woo smaller parties and their supporters. Voters will decide on the same day whether they want to change the present proportional representation voting system. One option is a return to the simple plurality system.

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Presidential election date set

November 24, 2011 - THE GAMBIA

President Yahya Jammeh is primed to win the presidency of the former British colony for the fourth time since he seized power in a bloodless coup in Jul 1994. Recent elections have been relatively peaceful. This time round, protest elsewhere against autocratic regimes is rife, and outside force to help oust him can’t be counted out if Gambians decide he has to go. Some Gambians – perhaps enough to keep his win unchallenged – say he has done much to improve schools, hospitals and roads. Ousainou Darboe and Hamat Bah. Darboe leads the main opposition United Democratic Party. He won 26.69 per cent of the votes in 2006. Bah is running for the third time but this time under the banner of the newly-formed United Front, which groups four opposition parties.

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Iran hosts back to back human rights conferences

November 22, 2011 - TEHRAN

Iran, as 2011 president of the Non-Aligned Movement, hosts back-to-back human rights conferences in November. They are likely to attract international interest because Iran is under fire for its human rights record, and because any findings from the conferences might not sit well with Iran’s leaders. The country is under United Nations investigation for its runaway rate of capital punishment, the execution of minors, torture, amputations and arbitrary detentions. The Non-Aligned Movement Center for Human Rights and Cultural Diversity, the Irish Center for Human Rights and the International Red Cross are collaborating on the first conference, temporary armed conflicts and protection of civilians and also civilian objects during times of armed conflict, occupation and after conflict.The First International Conference on Human Rights and Cultures: Cultures in Support of Humanity follows from Nov 24 to 26.

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General election called

November 20, 2011 - SPAIN

Spain’s election for both houses of its parliament was due in March, but brought forward to Nov 20 to ease uncertainty caused by a precipitous economic downturn and Socialist Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero’s announcement that he won’t be standing for a third term. The Socialists are probably doomed unless the economy turns around. The election pits Socialist candidate Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba against center-right Popular Party candidate Mariano Rajoy. Campaigning began Nov 2.

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World Toilet Day turns 10

November 19, 2011 - WORLD

World Toilet Day turns 10 in 2011. Toilet Day headlines are generally written for laughs but experts see nothing funny about the problems caused by the mounting tide of human waste: one expert notes that worldwide, disease spread by waste kills more people every year than any other single cause of death. The day turns a spotlight on the need for solutions to the sanitary disposal of the waste. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, with a big gift for the search, sees a need to reinvent the toilet.The 11th World Toilet Summit (WTS), in an effort to promote the construction of travel toilets and sanitation conditions in tourist destinations, will be held Nov 22-25 this year in the Chinese city of Haikou.

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Pope Benedict visits West Africa

November 18, 2011 - BENIN

Vatican Radio reports that Pope Benedict XVI will make a pilgrimage to Benin to mark the 150th anniversary of the Catholic church’s evangelization of the West African country. It is the pope’s second visit as pontiff to Africa, where the Catholic Church is growing faster than on any other continent, according to a Reuters report. He could be asked to explain his recent controversial pronouncement about condoms and AIDS. His last words on the subject in Africa caused a storm.

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ASEAN holds 19th summit in balmy Bali

November 17, 2011 - INDONESIA

Indonesia hosts two summits during its 2011 presidency of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations — May in Jakarta and Bali in October. The 6th East Asia Summit, on the sidelines, will bring Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, United States President Barak Obama, Australian and New Zealand prime ministers Julia Gillard and John Key, and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao to Bali. ASEAN members can anticipate applause from the visitors for the enviable economic growth of the region.

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President Barack Obama visits Australia

November 16, 2011 - CANBERRA

United States President Barak Obama visit to Australia marks the 60th anniversary of the Australian-US alliance. The pact is a relic of the Australia, New Zealand, United States Security Treaty (ANZUS), a military pact between the three countries signed on 1 Sep 1961. It became an Australia-US pact when New Zealand banned nuclear-armed vessels from its ports, including US Navy vessels. Obama will address a rare joint sitting of Australia’s House of Representatives and Senate on Nov 17.Obama’s predecessor as president, George W. Bush, was heckled during a special parliamentary session on 23 Oct 2003 by opponents of the US invasion of Iraq. Canberra’s decision to send troops to Iraq to support the US invasion was extremely controversial in Australia. With the Iraq war winding down, Obama can expect a warmer reception in a legislative body known for rowdy exchanges.

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Qatar hosts first summit of Gas Exporting Countries Forum

November 15, 2011 - DOHA

The leaders of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) convene for the first summit of the 10-year-old organization. Debate has intensified within the body about the benefits and price of achieving cartel-like collaboration to fix the price of natural gas, and to peg the price of gas to the price of oil. The summit will be watched for movement toward or away from these options. Qatar Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani will preside. The forum will hold its 13th ministerial meeting on Nov 13 to fine-tune the summit agenda.

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Qatar hosts first summit of Gas Exporting Countries Forum

November 15, 2011 - DOHA

The leaders of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) convene for the first summit of the 10-year-old organization. Debate has intensified within the body about the benefits and price of achieving cartel-like collaboration to fix the price of natural gas, and to peg the price of gas to the price of oil. The summit will be watched for movement toward or away from these options. Qatar Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani will preside. The forum will hold its 13th ministerial meeting on Nov 13 to fine-tune the summit agenda.

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