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Monday, September 30, 2013

Testimony Reveals Golden Dawn Hate Crimes

According to a Greek government report, the ultranationalist political party linked to the stabbing death of anti-fascist musician Pavlos Fyssas, Golden Dawn regularly organized “assault militias” in which dozens of members would ride the streets on motorbikes, hitting immigrants with sticks. In court testimony one ex-member claimed he, “took part several times in activities involving 50 or 60 motorbikes, with two people on each. The one who was sitting behind held a stick with the Greek flag and hit all the Pakistanis he could see.”

Since Fyssas’ death, police have raided several of Golden Dawn’s headquarters; seizing caches of weapons, and have arrested six high profile members including the party’s founder Nikolaos Michaloliakos. The Greek Supreme Court has deemed the group a criminal enterprise despite the fact that the political party maintains 18 seats in Parliament.

Woman Slain in South African Housing Protest

A woman was shot dead, according to South African police in Durban, as officers fired on a crowd during a community protest this morning. After years of petitions had failed to draw any reaction from the government, other than occasional violence, residents of the Cato Manor suburb barred the gates of their housing development to protest their housing developer’s decision to rent rather than sell the small homes. Police spokesman Jay Naicker, said police officers responded to reports that protestors had cordoned off a street, and upon arrival, “heard gunshots emanating from the mob and realized that they were going to be killed. They then fired shots at the group and the suspects fled.” Naicker said the officers used live ammunition “to protect their lives”.

Roughly 308 miles away, South African police near Centurion fired rubber bullets to disperse a demonstration over a lack of basic services, which saw burnt tires and hurled missiles directed at the officers. Police spokesperson Katlego Mogale said, “The protests started at 6am. We fired rubber bullets from a distance as warning shots.” At press time no arrests had been made and no injuries were reported, though at least one resident claims to have been hit in the leg with a rubber bullet.

Private Space Crafts Reach New Milestones

Private american space firms, SpaceX and Orbital Sciences, each reached key milestones over the weekend. Orbital Sciences’ Cygnus capsule, loaded with clothing and chocolate, successfully docked with the International Space Station a month after launch. Cygnus’ mission is a proof of concept for the the $1.2 billion deal which will see Orbital Sciences provide eight cargo flights to the ISS starting at the end of this year. The Cygnus capsule will detach and burn up in the atmosphere on October 22nd.

Meanwhile, SpaceX, which has already docked with the ISS a number of times, launched its second generation Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Canadian Space Agency’s satellite Cassiope. Cassiope is scheduled to begin studying space storms and their effects on GPS as soon as it completes it’s diagnostic checks next month.

Continuing Violence in Iraq

More than 54 people lay dead after a rash of 14 car bombs tore though mostly Shia neighborhoods in Baghdad today. The most powerful of which opened a gash in Sadr City, when a white care exploded near a crowd gathered before work. Abu Mohammed, a worker at the scene recounted, “The driver said he would move the car soon, but it exploded a few minutes later.” Today’s attacks are the latest in a long line of violent acts, presumably aimed at re-igniting an internecine conflict in Iraq much like that which has engulfed the nation’s neighbor Syria.

At the end of last year, Sunni Iraqi’s took to the streets to protests Shia Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s attempt to arrest a senior Sunni politician. In April, security forces raided a largely peaceful encampment of protestors, killing many, since then the country has been plagued by violent backlash. Iraq, says one security official, “will get worse because al-Qaeda and its allies will increase their attacks against both sects to incite people and force them to respond.” Members of Shia militias which, were largely disarmed and absorbed into security forces, have largely held their fire; several attacks in recent weeks however, suggest some have resumed hostilities.

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