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Friday, September 14, 2012

Protests Spread Against Western Countries Over Anti-Islamic Film

Protesters angered by an U.S.-produced anti-Islam film continued to attack Western embassies and commercial concerns across North Africa and the Middle East in the fourth day of clashes in the region. In Sudan, protesters entered the U.S. compound in Kharthoum after attacking the U.K. and German embassies earlier in the day. One civilian was reportedly killed by riot police truck during chases near the U.S. compound. The attack against the German embassy was thought to have been sparked by a Sudanese Foreign Office communique criticising Germany for allowing a protest by right-wing activists last month who carried caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed and for an award given by Chancellor Angela Merkel to a Danish cartoonist that had depicted the Prophet in 2005. In Tunisia, clouds of smoke rose from burning trees and vehicles around the U.S. embassy compound as police fired shots in an attempt to contain the protesters, wounding at least five people. Protesters also set fire to the local American school. A Kentucky Fried Chicken branch was torched in the Lebanese city of Tripoli, where protesters fought battles with local security forces, with one demonstrator killed and two wounded as a result.

Morsi Says Anti-Muslim Film Distracts from Real Problems, Obama Says Egypt Not Friend Nor Foe

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi condemned a U.S.-produced anti-Muslim film as an “aggression” that distracted the world from the real problems in the Middle East during a visit to Italy on Friday. “We cannot accept this type of aggression and attempt to sow discord. These irresponsible actions yield no good and draw attention away from real problems like the conflict in Syria, the fate of the Palestinians and the lack of stability in the Middle East”, said Morsi. He added that the Egyptian government repudiated attacks against embassies, saying that “all governments have the obligation to defend diplomatic missions”. Morsi’s remarks come after U.S. President Obama used an interview with Telemundo, the NBC-affiliated Spanish-language network, to say that the Egyptian government was still “trying to find its way”. “I don’t think that we would consider them an ally, but we don’t consider them an enemy”, said Obama.

Eurozone ministers meet in Cyprus, Consider Giving Greece More Time, Say Spain Will Adopt Reforms

Eurozone finance ministers met in Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus, to discuss the possibility of a Spanish bailout and whether Greece should be given more time to meet its budget goals. Eurogroup chief Jean-Claude Juncker said that Greece would not leave the euro, although he does not expect a report on the country’s finances to be delivered by the troika, composed of the European Central Bank (ECB), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Commission, until at least October. IMF head Christine Lagarde said that “it is clear that Greece has already produced a huge effort, but must continue to do it”, adding that “more time is something that we can examine”. On the Spanish front, Olli Rehn, the European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs, said that the country should keep the momentum of its fiscal and structural reforms. “The Spanish government intends to adopt a national reform programme by the end of September based on recommendations of the European Union with very clear commitments and precise timetables”. Rehn’s remarks seemed to counter the strong words used earlier in the week by Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who said the country would not accept any external bailout conditions.

Turkey Moves to Close Borders With Syria, Pope Describes Weapons Trading as “Grave Sin”

The Turkish government has begun taking steps to stop Syrian refugees and rebels from crossing their border with the conflict-torn neighbour. An illegal immigrant from Syria interviewed by the AFP news agency said that police had given him 24 hours to leave. “Those who don’t have a visa or papers that are in order must go to refugee camps. Or else go back to Syria”, said Hassan, who declined to give his full name. Turkey officially hosts more than 80,000 refugees in camps in the Hatay border province, but other tens of thousands have crossed illegally and their presence has caused tensions among the local population. Officially the government in Ankara says that they are being moved away from the border region for their safety. “We kindly ask them to either go to the camps or continue their residence in a different city away from the border area”, said a Turkish government spokesman. Meanwhile, Pope Benedict spoke to reporters aboard his plane en-route to Lebanon for a three-day visit and said that weapons imports to Syria were “a grave sin”.

Striking South African Miners Reject Pay Offer, Described as “Insulting”

Workers at the beleaguered Marikana platinum mine have rejected a wage offer from Lonmin that had been tabled in a bid to end the strikes sweeping the South African mining industry. “Lonmin did not respond to the workers’ demand. What the workers say is that their offer is an insult”, said Molisi Phele, a miners’ representative, adding that what is being offered “cannot buy you anything”. Lonmin had offered a 986 rand ($ 119) increase to their 4,000 rand ($ 485) monthly salary, although company representatives maintain that miners actually earn 10,000 rand ($ 1,212) after bonuses and other gratuities. The reject increase was the first offer made by Lonmin since it was forced to shut down the Marikana mine after 34 miners were shot dead by police on site.

Weekend Read: The Birth of Punk in a Cinema in Peru

Almost a decade before the Ramones struck a chord in anger or Malcolm McLaren dreamt up the Sex Pistols, Los Saicos were screaming their way to notoriety. In The Guardian.

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