International News Briefs

Independence vote coming to Scotland

LONDON: In 2014, the Scots will vote whether or not Scotland should become a nation independent of the United Kingdom, the Los Angeles Times reported. British Prime Minister David Cameron and Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond signed an agreement on Oct. 15. Salmond, of the Scottish National Party, has been pursuing independence since winning a stunning majority in the Scottish Parliament two years ago, according to the report. Salmond believes Scotland’s independence would build an economically prosperous and more just society. Union-minded politicians like Cameron, along with many of the 5.2 million Scots, oppose the country’s independence. The referendum will likely take place October 2014, but campaigning can begin now.

Anti-corruption activism resumes

NEW DELHI: Political activist Arvind Kejriwal is once again tapping into widespread anger against the Indian government over rising corruption, the Washington Post reported. Kejriwal has been targeting the Nehru-Gandhi family, the country’s older political dynasty, charging that its members have amassed vast wealth through shady property deals. Last weekend, Kejriwal accused the wife of Indian Justice Minister Salman Khurshid for swindling funds from her non-profit group. On Oct. 17, Kejriwal accused the president of India’s main opposition, Bharatiya Janata Party, of misusing his power in a deal in which the Maharashtra state government leased farmland to his nonprofit organization instead of to poor farmers. Observers say Kejriwal’s activism is aimed at fueling public anger in the run-up to a possible early national election next year.

Video shows police burning, razing and looting

SUDAN: The Satellite Sentinel Project (SSP) posted a video on YouTube claiming it shows for the first time Sudanese police unit Abu Tira participating in, and filming, the burning, razing and looting of a village. The SSP said the video shot in Gardud al Badry, a remote border village in South Kordofan, shows a teenager being interrogated at gunpoint as a village burns around him. The Mail & Guardian reported that activists say the violence is comparable to war crimes in Darfur without the international witnesses, calling it a pattern of indiscriminate attacks and destruction by the Sudan government against its own people. Founders of SSP include movie star George Clooney.

Russian leader allegedly discussed mass disorder

MOSCOW: Russian opposition leader Sergei Udaltsov could face serious criminal charges after he allegedly discussed organizing mass disorder and seizing power in some Russian cities on a documentary on NTV, a government-friendly television network. Udaltsov was detained and interrogated for several hours on Oct. 17 by authorities investigating whether he and colleagues were plotting to organize mass disturbances, the Los Angeles Times reported. Udaltsov was released on a pledge he not leave Moscow until the investigation has concluded. Udaltsov was a key organizer of mass street protests in Moscow and other cities against President Vladimir Putin. He could face up to 10 years imprisonment if charged and convicted of conspiring to organize mass disorders. If found guilty of high treason, he faces life in prison.

Published in Volume 67, Number 8 of The Uniter (October 24, 2012)

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