International News Briefs

Director faces prison for violating probation

UNITED STATES: The director of an anti-Islam film that rocked the Internet last month could face two years in prison for violating a probation order, according to the Mail & Guardian. U.S. authorities said they won’t investigate Innocence of Muslims, the anti-Islamic film created by Mark Basseley Youssef that caused anti-American unrest in dozens of Muslim countries for its portrayal of the Prophet Muhammad as a sexual deviant. However, prosecutors say they can send Youssef back to prison for up to two years if he is found to have violated his probation on a bank fraud conviction. Under the terms of his release from prison last year, Youssef, known publicly as Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, can’t use aliases without permission of a probation officer or access the Internet.

Strikes create economic turmoil

SOUTH AFRICA: Government officials are unsure of how the strikes in South Africa will affect the country’s economy, the Mail & Guardian reports. Strikes in the country’s mining and transport sector have pushed the country’s currency, the rand, to a three-and-a-half year low. Transport unions are demanding a 19 per cent pay increase over two years. Mining companies Implats, Gold One and Bokoni have fired more than 12,000 workers over the past two weeks. The negotiations have become increasingly violent, with one person set on fire, one shot and another dead after being hit in the head with a rock, the Mail & Guardian reported.

Taliban shoots youth activist

PAKISTAN: The Taliban is claiming responsibility for shooting a 14-year-old Pakistani girl for her promotion of education and Western ideals. On Oct. 9, Malala Yousufzai was shot as she was leaving school in her hometown in the Swat valley, northwest of the capital Islamabad, the Mail & Guardian reported. A vocal advocate of women’s rights and education, Yousufzai wrote a blog under a pen name for the BBC about living under the rule of the Pakistani Taliban when she was 11. She was recently organizing a fund to make sure poor girls could go to school, friends and family said. A gunman opened fire on her and two classmates on a bus.

Constitution draft limits human rights

EGYPT: The draft of Egypt’s new constitution is tilted too much toward Islamic law and endangering democratic ideals, liberals and human rights groups charge. The draft, released Oct. 10, was created by a 100-member assembly dominated by Islamists, the Los Angeles Times reports. The draft states Egypt is a “democratic regime” and guided by the principles of sharia, or Islamic law. Critics like Human Rights Watch and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mohamed ElBaradei say the draft ignores basic freedom, economic and social rights. Egypt will hold parliamentary elections next year, with Salafis, moderate Islamists and the Muslim Brotherhood vying to increase their control of parliament.

Abuse, torture reports alarming, Amnesty says

MEXICO: Mexican authorities are turning a blind eye to increasing reports of torture and abuse by police and the military, Amnesty International says. Reports of torture and abuse has risen from 564 in 2008 to nearly 1,700 in 2011, the human rights group says, attributing the increase to pressure in the country to crack down on drug cartels. Amnesty is suggesting political reforms disallowing evidence obtained through torture in criminal proceedings, a ban on the military carrying out police functions and an end to arraigo, a practice in which those suspected of serious crimes can be detained for up to 80 days by officials without being charged.

Published in Volume 67, Number 7 of The Uniter (October 17, 2012)

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