Fri, Jun 24, 2011 - Page 7 News List

Taiwan News Quick Take

Agencies

BAHRAIN

Protests after activists jailed

Protesters poured back to the streets after a security court sentenced eight Shiite activists to life in prison in the latest blow by the Western-backed kingdom to cripple the biggest Arab Spring opposition movement in the Gulf. The fast and angry reaction to Wednesday’s verdicts — the most significant display of unrest in weeks — underscored the volatility in the island nation after four months of unrest and raised questions about whether any credible pro-reform leaders will heed calls by the Sunni monarchy to open talks next week. Security forces used tear gas to drive back hundreds of Shiite marchers trying to reach a central square in the capital, Manama. In other Shiite areas, protesters gathered in the streets, but were held back by riot police. No injuries were reported.

NETHERLANDS

Politician acquitted

A court acquitted right-wing politician Geert Wilders of hate speech and discrimination yesterday, ruling that his anti-Islam statements, while offensive to many Muslims, fell within the bounds of legitimate political debate. Presiding judge Marcel van Oosten said Wilders’ claims that Islam is violent by nature, and his calls to halt Muslim immigration and ban the Muslim holy book, the Quran, must be seen in a wider context of debate over immigration policy. The court said his public statement could not be directly linked to increased discrimination against Dutch Muslims.

SOUTH AFRICA

Mrs Obama talks to youth

US first lady Michelle Obama urged young Africans on Wednesday to fight for women’s rights and battle the stigma of AIDS, using her husband’s “yes, we can” campaign slogan to motivate youth across the continent. Obama is on her second solo trip abroad as first lady to promote issues such as education, health and wellness. However, her speech to a group of young women and men at Regina Mundi Church, which played a role in South Africa’s anti-apartheid movement, touched on race, discrimination, democracy and development.

UNITED KINGDOM

Royal visit draws media

About 1,300 journalists are accredited to cover Britain’s Prince William and his wife Catherine’s visit to Canada from June 30 to July 7, Heritage Minister James Moore said on Tuesday. It is almost twice the number that followed the prince’s grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, during her trip to the Commonwealth country last year. Among them will be 241 foreign journalists, including from Japan, China, India and Qatar, Moore told a media briefing to highlight the massive interest from around the world in the couple’s first visit abroad as newlyweds.

SENEGAL

Police disperse protesters

Police used tear gas on Wednesday to disperse people demonstrating against proposed changes to the electoral laws that would make it easier for the country’s aging president to be re-elected. Private radio station Radio Futurs Media, or RFM, said the protesters were attacked in Place de l’Independance, the largest square in the capital’s downtown district, in the suburb of Pikine, and in the town of Kaolack in the interior of the country. No casualties were immediately reported. Anger is building in this normally stable country on Africa’s western coast because the proposed constitutional amendments are seen as designed to make it easier for 85-year-old President Abdoulaye Wade to be re-elected and to create the position of vice president for his son.

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