Monthly Archives: October 2010

Cat Video’s Back In Turkey

Turkey has lifted its ban on YouTube, in a defeat which pleased many lonely uploaders of cat videos and seekers of psychedelic double rainbows.

Video, thought to be uploaded by Greek users in 2008, portrayed Ataturk and Turks as homosexuals. President Abdullah Gul asked for officials to find a solution. And they did, joining a handful of other countries that have strict bans on internet video.

For the past two years YouTube has been disallowed in Turkey because of defamation to the country itself. While some say “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me,” that doesn’t seem to apply in Turkey, where videos insulting Mustafa Kemal Ataturk or “Turkishness” is illegal.

YouTube claims that a third party took down the videos, which led to the ban being lifted by Transport Minister Binali Yildirim, who oversees internet issues in the country. Turkey is seen as having some of the most strict oversight of internet issues. But after “common sense prevailed,” according to Yildirim, the country can now ensconce itself in crappy videos like the rest of us.

Here’s a list of other countries that have banned YouTube or that are being watched closely.

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Move Over, Sarah Palin: Tea Party Movement Crops Up in Israel

By Sarah Ostman

The Tea Party movement appears to be going international.

Much like the American Tea Party movement splintered off the far-right of the Republican Party, disenchanted members of Israel’s conservative Likud party are breaking off to form a reactionary party of their own.

The target? President Barack Obama. Members of Israel’s Tea Party-inspired movement are furious that Obama has called on Israelis to stop building on the fought-over West Bank. And they’re worried that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu — himself a member of the Likud Party — will give in to the powerful Obama’s wishes.

“We believe President Obama is trying to force us to do things that most Israelis believe are very dangerous,” said Michael Kleiner, a former Likud legislator and one of the creators of the Tea Party movement. “We are being blackmailed to sacrifice our security and vital interests by another country, which is unprecedented.”

The movement will kick off with a rally Sunday night in Tel Aviv, with banners proclaiming their slogan: “Saying no to Obama.”

Read the Telegraph story here.

Bill Clinton to bring peace to the Middle East?

By Angelica Jimenez–

A recent report claims former President Bill Clinton will make his political comeback in the Middle East of all places and might be involved in peace process, according to a story in “The Jerusalem Post.”  But sources in Jerusalem are discounting these claims and calling them pure speculation.

The international community’s interest was piqued after “Politco” reporter Laura Rozen quoted Steven Clemens from non-partisan think tank New American Foundation as essentially endorsing Clinton for the job.  Clemens explained, ““Bill Clinton is the only guy I can think of who is trusted and liked by all sides.”

While Clemens is certainly entitled to his opinion, there are many who beg to differ–like the million Russian immigrants living in the Middle East who Clinton accused earlier this month of being obstacles to peace.  And the widely-reported rift between Clinton and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu back in the day during Netanyahu’s first term from 1996-1999 would leave some to take pause.

And some contend the reports are actually designed to hit closer to home.  As the midterm elections quickly approach, this might be a move to rally Democratic support from the American Jewish community.  The Democrats are feeling their tight grasp on the American electorate slipping, and right now they need all the help they can get.

Canada Fake Refugees

By Josh Newkirk

Canada’s open immigration policy is being taken advantage of by fake refugees, and could cause negative feedback by citizens.

The open door policy causes many fake refugees to slip through the cracks, because of backed up paper work, taking years to file cases.

since anyone can file a claim, just the promise of staying here for years while the process unfolds can lure fake refugees says Randall Hansen, Canada Research Chair in Immigration and Governance at the University of Toronto

“We are very unique in that respect.” But that could change if we don’t do something about the refugee system, he says.

According to the Epoch Times article, Canadian citizens supports immigration into the country. But 38 percent are saying immigration levels should be the same or lowered, with only one on five supporting more immigrants coming into the country.

Canada has good support from its government on the immigration issue. Canada better be careful, or it could end up with the immigration mess that the United States have.

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, It’s…….Brangelina!

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by Wendy Wohlfeill

Well it looks like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are making headlines in a news section other than entertainment this week according an Associated Press Article.

After visiting and drawing attention to a refugee camp in Bosnia and the lone 15 people still living in it, the U.S. government gave $500,000 donation. The money will be used to construct an apartment complex that could house refugees by September 2011.

Apparently the mayor of the eastern Bosnian town of Rogatica, Radomir Jovicic, said he has rallied for donations for the camp for years, with no results prior to the famous duos visit.

Although it has been reported that neither Jolie’s or Pitt’s name appear on the contract for the apartment or attached to the donation, local town officials and refugees are convinced it was due to the headline grabbing couple.

One refugee camp resident was even quoted in the story saying her will tattoo Jolie’s name on his arm because he considers her a saint.

Guess this is one for the old saying, “It’s all about who you know”……. or who visits your camp?

Canadian Refuge = Mr. Softee Truck

Posted By: Margarita Williams

The Canadian government is taking steps to fix it’s ‘broken’ refugee system according to an article in the Canadian Sun. The country is known for having a relatively lenient immigration policy and it seems it has been being taken advantage of by smugglers who see an easy way in.

According to the article, the government has lost track of 38,000 failed refugee claimants (some of them criminals and terrorists) and there is a backlog of 60,000 claimants. Not to mention bogus claims costs up to $50,000 in health and social service fees.  Columnist Lorrie Goldstien says that the government would be hit with claims of racism if they challenged false refugee claims. It seems that most of the targeted claims would be toward human smuggling rings.

The proposed Preventing Human Smugglers from Abusing Canada’s Immigration System Act would make it easier to prosecute human smugglers, impose mandatory minimum sentences on those convicted of this crime and hold ship owners and operators responsible and permit mandatory detention for up to a year to allow proper investigation by the Immigration and Refugee Board.

Send out the clowns

Actor Randy Quaid and his wife, Evi, were freed Wednesday from jail in Vancouver after an Immigration and Refugee Board hearing, according to a story in the Hollywood Reporter.

Apparently, the pair had been arrested last week in Vancouver and detained for six days after skipping an arraignment hearing in California over charges that they squatted in their former home. Quaid and his wife are seeking asylum in Canada, claiming they’re being persecuted by “Hollywood star whackers” in the U.S. and that their lives are in danger after several of their Hollywood friends have died.

The Canada Border Security Alliance withdrew an earlier request for an admissibility hearing for Evi Quaid, as they now consider her “a prima facie Canadian citizen” on grounds her father was born in Canada. As a result, she received an unconditional release from custody. Randy Quaid was no longer in detention after posting a $10,000 bond.

The CBSA referred all questions about Randy Quaid’s Canadian status to the Immigration and Refugee Board, which is now expected to hear the Oscar-nominated actor’s application to remain in Canada.

Sounds like a three-ring circus to me with all the commotion the Quaids have caused lately. I hope Canada keeps these two clowns.

Read the story here: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/randy-and-evi-quaid-freed-32953

By Felicia Dechter

South Africa wants to control the flow of refugees

Times are changing in South Africa. The country of Nelson Mandela has just decided to strengthen its laws on immigration. This change will affect more particularly the refugees and itwill make it more difficult to seek political asylum, reported an article from the news agency Bernama.
The Government of President Jacob Zuma has shown that there  are 42.000 refugees in the country and not less than 100,000 other cases are waiting to be treated.
This situation is an important contrast from the previous ones. Many years ago now, thousand of people, mostly politicians, were leaving this country of southern Africa.
While this country was ruled by the apartheid regime, many political leaders of the opposition fled to England to avoid jail. From the outside, they have increased the international pressure on the regime and Frederik de Klerk, the last regime’s president, finally agreed to a compromise.
The new law would give more power the Immigration minister, rather that lower officials, a good way to avoid corruption, the government said last week.
Submitted by Jean-Virgile Tassé-Themens

Seeking Refuge From Refuge

Pakistan has more refugees than any other country, including 1.7 million Afghans. But it’s not necessarily the paradise that the Afghanis want when leaving one tumultuous place filled with problems of humanity to another tumultuous place filled with problems of the cosmos. What’s worse, fearing bullets or the lack of necessities needed for survival…or does it matter?

An article on thestar.com shows that Pakistan’s refugees might be some of the most neglected when compared to any other country. The damage from the flooding this past summer beats out this year’s Haiti earthquake, South Asia’s tsunami and Pakistan’s earthquake combined, according to the U.N.

Afghan refugees in camp Azakhel are what some call “recycled refugees” who come and go depending on the situation in Afghanistan. Some Afghan refugees actually feel just as much Pakistani at times than they do Afghani.

And while this camp, which has been in operation for around 30 years, continues to survive, both the government and its operators question rebuilding the damage that has been caused by the flood. And right now, they’re working with limited resources. But refugees continue to populate the area because, really, there’s no where else to go. They’ve invested their lives in Azakhel and have become these “professional refugees.”

It is, what Sarah Crowe, chief of communication for UNICEF’s South Asia office, calls “a double tragedy”–an emergency on top of an emergency. But for some, it’s life.

Killing Fields refugees try making sense of senseless murders

By Angelica Jimenez–

Survivors of the Killing Fields genocide met face to face, via teleconference, with perpetrators who committed heinous crimes against fellow Cambodians to learn what would possess them to kill their own people, the Press-Telegram reported.

The massacres that occurred between 1975-1979 in Cambodia under Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge regime are featured in a new documentary “Enemies of the People.”
Two of the regime members who appeared in the film participated in a very tense and painful Q&A session in Long Beach, California.  The film’s co-director, Rob Lemkin, thought the discussions would help survivors and perpetrators heal.

Khouen, one of the perpetrators, gave this justification: “It was not our intent to kill people.  But if we did not kill, we would be killed.”  They said they had no choice but to commit the murders in order to save their own families.

And these perpetrators believed whatever they were told and seemed to accept it.
When asked why they murdered children, one perpetrators responded that they were told, “If you want to kill grass you have to cut it at the root.”

This is reminiscent of testimony of former Nazi officers who also stated they were following orders.  In March a Dutch court sentenced Nazi officer Heinrich Boere, 88, to life in prison for the murder of civilians.  His response, like that of the Khmer Regime soldiers, was, “As a simple soldier, I learned to carry out orders.  And I knew that if I didn’t carry out my orders I would be breaking my oath and would be shot myself.”