Iranian rial falls to all-time low as Western sanctions take hold
The rial has hit an all-time low against the American dollar, trading at 37,000 to the dollar this week, Future TV reported. And as objections against his government have risen, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad denied the presence of a shortage of hard currencies in the Iranian market, and clarified that the Iranian rial was devalued because of international sanctions on Iran. He also said that he sees a psychological war accompanying this external international pressure, which led to the devaluation of the currency.
Tunisian woman accused of indecency after being raped by security forces
Dubai TV reported that the Tunisian judiciary charged a girl with public indecency on Wednesday, after police said they had arrested her in a car under what they described as "suspicious circumstances" this past September. The girl had accused security agents of raping her. After a number of protests worldwide, Tunisian President Moncef al-Marzouki offered a state apology to the girl, and viewed the security flaw as not being within the security institution, but rather in the mindset of some of its members.
Turkey strikes Syrian targets in retaliation for deadly shelling
Press TV reported that tensions simmered between neighbors Turkey and Syria, as Turkey hit targets on Syrian soil in retaliation for mortar shelling from Syrian territories that hit Akcakale in the southeastern province of Sanliurfa on Wednesday. At least five people were killed and over a dozen others injured.
On Thursday, Al Jazeera reported that Turkey's parliament agreed to allow the government to wage a military operation outside the border if found necessary. Following the decision, anti-war protestors gathered around parliament and clashed with riot police there. Turkey's shelling eventually stopped, but New TV reported that at an AKP gathering on Friday, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan issued a new warning to Syria of the consequences of another shelling in Turkish territory.
Jailed Bahraini activist Mohammed Mushaima dies in custody
On Tuesday, 24-year-old Bahraini activist Mohammed Mushaima died of an illness while in custody. Press TV reported that he was in jail serving a prison term of seven years for taking part in anti-regime protests. Manama officials said that he was suffering from a hereditary disease. Lawyers said that they asked the court to release Mushaima because of his health, but their request had been denied.
Al-Alam reported that Bahraini regime forces launched a crackdown on his funeral procession in Manama on Wednesday, which was attended by "tens of thousands" of protestors. Al-Wefaq Society accused the Bahraini regime of being behind Mushaima's death, through depriving him of medical treatment and fabricating accusations against him.
Thousands of Jordanians take part in Friday protests despite king's dissolution of parliament
On Thursday, Jordan's King Abdullah II decided to dissolve parliament and call for early parliamentary elections in his country, reported Dubai TV. This was likely a preemptive move to head off the massive protests being called for by opposition groups on Friday. However, BBC Arabic reported that thousands still gathered in Amman on Friday for a day of protests dubbed "Friday to Save the Homeland," as called for by the opposition parties, most notably the Islamic Action Front.
Image: Protesters chant slogans during a demonstration against charges of indecency filed against a woman raped by two police officers, in front of the court in Tunis October 2, 2012. REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi
I can hear it already: This is not real world music!!!
But wait, aren't the blues "world music?" As Link's resident expert, I say "yes, they are!" Of course, that's me singing the song I wrote, so I have a vested interest in bending the category (maybe). But no less a luminary that Howard Mandel, President of the Jazz Journalists Association saw fit to carry this on HIS blog. So there.
Here's the scoop on how this all happened:
Getting laid off because of a recession can really get to you, no matter how busy you make yourself. My partner Bruce Arnold had been writing songs for his new lap steel, and this one, called "Up the Spout" (a Midwestern depression term) just spoke to me. I wrote a melody and words and voilá.
Occupy Wall Street happened right around the time we were shooting the video, so I went down there and got shots of some of the more poignant people and signs... what can I say, they were more sympatico than I thought they'd be, and every one of them could have been you or me. Much has been said against the demonstration, but I for one am glad that someone is expressing the outrage that Americans should be feeling about being used and abused by a system that is badly out of kilter. Do I have the answers? As Mr. Mandel sagely pointed out in his blog: "Nobody should expect policy answers from a blues."
Lyrics to "Up the Spout"
It's a bitter wind, and it ain't no breeze
It shakes the windows and it takes the trees
And it blew me away
I love my work. It's what life's about-
that wind came and blew it all Up the Spout
Yes it blew me away.
Now here I sit... what shall I do
That wind left me here without a clue
Yes, it blew me a way
You were the boss, yet here we meet
Yeah, we both lost on that windy street
Yes it blew us both away
That wind don't care -- we're all just dust
and it' happening to all of us
It's blowing us away
Now with a little luck I'll make it through
But when that wind blows it's gonna come for you too
It's blowing -- It's blowing us away, Up the Spout
Blowing us Up the Spout
For more of Michal's original music videos, visit inter-muse.com.
"Ever since the Arab Spring, many people here have been pining for an American Autumn," says Charles Blow in the New York Times. "The closest we've gotten so far is Occupy Wall Street." For almost four weeks, Occupy Wall Street activists have gathered in Manhattan's financial district to protest corporate greed, corruption, and social and economic inequality, among other things. The movement's website states, "We Are the 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%. We are using the revolutionary Arab Spring tactic to achieve our ends."
Many disagree. Blow describes the protests as "a festival of frustrations, a collective venting session with little edge or urgency, highlighting just how far away downtown Manhattan is from Damascus." James Joyner at Outside the Beltway states, "What these movements have in common: frustrated youth loosely organized using social media …It's simply insulting to compare the two."
What can the American protestors learn from the more experienced "Arab Spring" protestors? In a Foreign Policy Magazine article entitled "From Tahrir Square to Wall Street," veteran Egyptian protestor Mosa'ab Elshamy offers his advice to the Occupy Wall Street activists on what makes a successful protest movement. Most importantly, Elshamy says, is that protestors have a unified platform. They must first agree on a set of simple and broad demands in order to attract a wide base of support, which is exactly what Occupy Wall Street lacks, according to most critics.
Almost one month after the start of protests in New York City, the Occupy Wall Street movement has shown surprising staying power. The movement has spread to over 70 US cities and has been endorsed by several labor unions, celebrities, and politicians. But will it succeed in bringing accountability and equity to the US financial system, or will it fizzle as protestors are dispersed by a cold New York winter?
(Photo: Occupy Wall Street protestor marches up Broadway in New York. Mike Segar / Reuters)
(Associated Press: 0825 PT, May 11, 2011) The Chinese middle class is enjoying bounty at the dinner table, but the urban poor are seeing lean times. Observers warn the gap could create problems for China's communist rulers.
(Russia Today: 0604 PT, May 10, 2011) The world's two economic giants have ended a first day of talks aimed at easing the strains in their relations. But there are still many areas in which China and the US are struggling to find common ground. Beijing says Washington is trying to stunt its economic growth; America hit back with criticism of China's human rights record. And, all the while, the threat of a growing arms race rumbles in the background. RT's Kristine Frazao has been following the difficult negotiations.
(Al Jazeera English: 0900 PT, May 10, 2011) Australia appears to have defied the global financial crisis, enjoying several consecutive years of growth. There is another side to this rosy picture though, as the country's strong currency is hurting a number of industries. Andrew Thomas reports.
(Euronews: 0800 PST, March 24, 2011) Europe's leaders are meeting today to sign off on a plan to defend the euro after months of financial turbulence, but Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates resigned after parliament rejected his minority government's plan to avoid a bailout. Socrates' resignation causes a new dilemma for the EU and IMF if Portugal does decide to seek an financial bailout.
(Channel 4 News: 1400 PST, March 22, 2011) Channel 4's Alex Thompson reports on the effort to reopen the Sendai airport, just a week after the devastating tsunami.
(Euronews: 1300 PST, March 22, 2011) The Japanese economy has been negatively affected by the earthquake and tsunami, and though uncertainty remains, many remain hopeful about Japanese economic stability and long-term growth.