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Democratic Revolutions

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Egyptian Math. Soldier ambush caps bloody day in Syria; 90 dead. Syrians hold up their national flag as they rally in front of the Foreign Ministry as their Foreign Minister Walid Muallem speaks to the press in the capital Damascus, on November 14, 2011. LOUAI BESHARA/AFP/Getty Images BEIRUT - Dozens of soldiers and security forces were gunned down by suspected army defectors in southern Syria, a deadly ambush that comes as President Bashar Assad increasingly appears unable to manage the crisis, activists said Tuesday.

Monday's hours-long clash in the southern province of Daraa came on a particularly bloody day in Syria, with as many as 90 people killed across the country. The brazen attack by the army defectors suggested a new confidence among troops who have sided with the protesters and highlighted the potential for an armed confrontation to escalate. The U.N. estimates the regime's military crackdown on an 8-month-old uprising has killed 3,500 people in the past eight months. Disney factory faces probe into sweatshop suicide claims | World news | The Observer. Disney's best-selling Cars toys are being made in a factory in China that uses child labour and forces staff to do three times the amount of overtime allowed by law, according to an investigation.

One worker reportedly killed herself after being repeatedly shouted at by bosses. Others cited worries over poisonous chemicals. Disney has now launched its own investigation. It is claimed some of the 6,000 employees have to work an extra 120 hours every month to meet demand from western shops for the latest toys. The factory, called Sturdy Products, makes toys for the giant Mattel company, which last month announced quarterly profits of £48m on the back of strong sales of Barbie dolls and Cars 2 toys.

The undercover investigation was carried out with the help of human rights group Sacom (Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour), which helped to expose abuses in Apple's Foxconn plant in China this year. Sacom's accusations against the factory include: ■ Routine excessive overtime. Luxury, horror lurk in Gadhafi family compound. Sadistic brutality in Libya CNN visits the seaside homes of the Gadhafi familyA horribly scarred family nanny recounts being scalded by Gadhafi's daughter-in-lawA colleague corroborates the account and says he, too, was regularly torturedGadhafi family seaside villas are packed with high-end liquor and electronics CNN is working with humanitarian organizations and medical officials to get help for the nanny, Shweyga Mullah.

We know that viewers around the world want to help too. As soon as we get more information finalized we will post details on our Impact Your World page. Tripoli, Libya (CNN) -- Moammar Gadhafi told his people he lived modestly during his nearly 42-year rule over Libya, often sleeping in a Bedouin tent. Even if that was true for the leader, it certainly wasn't for his sons. CNN visited the seaside homes Sunday. The first house we entered was apparently the "party" beach condo with an oversized door that led into sleek, modern, black-and-white rooms.

What's next for Libya? Wael Ghonim relaunches the revolution. Everyone following events in Egypt knows by now that, last night around 11pm on Dream 2, Wael Ghonim — one of the instigators of the January 25 movement who has just been released after 12 days in detention — gave the country one of the most moving moments of television I have ever seen. After explaining his ordeal, his ideals, and his views on why the people in Tahrir were right, host Mona Shazli showed pictures of the "martyrs" of this uprising.

Ghonim broke down and cried, saying as he sobbed: "It's not our fault. To the mothers and fathers, it's not our fault. It's the fault of the people in positions of authority who don't want to leave power. " This cathartic moment may be the spark that was needed to revive Egypt's revolutionary fervor. The regime had, to some extent successfully, driven a wedge between the protestors and the majority of Egyptians who have spent the last two weeks terrified about the lack of security and hurting because the economy has come to a halt. DIY Weapons of the Libyan Rebels - Alan Taylor - In Focus. For the past four months in Libya, rebel forces made up of civilians and army defectors have been waging battles against Muammar Qaddafi's armed forces, holding their own and sometimes advancing with the assistance of NATO air strikes.

Scrambling to arm themselves against mercenaries and a professional army, rebels have been making use of everything they can -- from using captured weapons and munitions to rigging anti-aircraft guns and aircraft rocket launchers to the backs of civilian pickup trucks. Collected here are recent images of some of this weaponry used by the Libyan rebels. [34 photos] Use j/k keys or ←/→ to navigate Choose: At a weapon workshop in Misrata, a Libyan volunteer fixes a UB-32 rocket launcher pod, attached to the back of a pickup truck on May 28, 2011.

A rebel army officer works on a weapon captured from forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, at a workshop in Benghazi, on June 1, 2011. Rebel fighters take part in training in Giminis, on May 26, 2011. Behind the Arab Revolt Is a Word We Dare Not Speak. Shortly after the invasion of Iraq in 2003, I interviewed Ray McGovern, one of an elite group of CIA officers who prepared the President's daily intelligence brief. At that time, McGovern was at the apex of the "national security" monolith that is American power and had retired with presidential plaudits. On the eve of the invasion, he and 45 other senior officers of the CIA and other intelligence agencies wrote to Bush that the "drumbeat for war" was based not on intelligence, but lies. "It was 95 percent charade," McGovern told me. "How did they get away with it? " I asked. "The press allowed the crazies to get away with it.

" "Who are the crazies? " "The people running the [Bush] administration have a set of beliefs a lot like those expressed in 'Mein Kampf,'" said McGovern. I said: "Norman Mailer has written that he believes America has entered a pre-fascist state. "Well ... How did such extremism take hold in the liberal West? Hamza Ali al-Khateeb Becomes a Symbol of Syrian Brutality. Egypt: general confirms "virginity checks" forced on female protesters by military. Via CNN and other sources today, the revolting news that a senior Egyptian general admits so-called "virginity checks" (presumably, forcible examination of the hymen) were performed on women arrested in at least one demonstration this spring.

Previously, military authorities denied it. Now, an Egyptian general who asked not to be identified defends the practice—wait for it—as a protective measure for the women's own good. As noted previously on Boing Boing, Amnesty International reported and condemned news of this systematic sexual abuse by military agents back in March. At the time, women were at the forefront of the historic Tahrir Square protests that overthrew the regime of President Hosni Mubarak.

And Amnesty International was told then by a group of women protesters "that they were beaten, given electric shocks, subjected to strip searches while being photographed by male soldiers, then forced to submit to 'virginity checks' and threatened with prostitution charges. " Political Unrest in North Africa and the Mideast - Graphic. Libya: African mercenaries 'immune from prosecution for war crimes' The key paragraph said that anyone from a non-ICC country alleged to have committed crimes in Libya would “be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction” of their own country. It was inserted despite Susan Rice, the US ambassador to the UN, saying that all those “who slaughter civilians” would “be held personally accountable”. Speaking to reporters outside the council chamber, Gerard Araud, the French UN ambassador, described the paragraph as “a red line for the United States”, meaning American diplomats had been ordered by their bosses in Washington to secure it.

“It was a deal-breaker, and that's the reason we accepted this text to have the unanimity of the council,” said Mr Araud. Carne Ross, a former British diplomat to the UN, said on Sunday that a mechanism was needed urgently to allow Libyans to report the names of people they believed should be subject to the UN sanctions. U.S. says Libyan rebels may sell oil. The war in Libya and the new scramble for Africa. 29 March 2011 Today’s international conference on Libya in London will be dutifully reported in the media as a gathering of concerned parties determined to honour their pledge to safeguard civilians from reprisals by Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s regime. In reality, state dignitaries from 40 countries—including US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and African Union Chairman Jean Ping—have gathered like vultures to either take part in or provide political cover for those picking over the spoils of a post-Gaddafi carve-up of Libya and Libyan oil reserves, the largest in Africa and the ninth largest in the world.

The meeting’s agenda in deed, if not in word, is based on the drive for regime change, which will put opposition forces long cultivated by the CIA and other Western intelligence agencies in power. The NEDB has been a key conduit for US and UK penetration of the Libyan economy. Chris Marsden. Hana El-Gallal: 'He will kill everyone. Do something. Please...' - Commentators, Opinion. Whenever he gets to Benghazi, he will deny us our lives too. Days ago, a no-fly zone could have been imposed and that would have helped.

It would still help, but now it may be too late. Even so, it is not too late to help to stop him reaching us. There are soldiers here, willing to fight for us, but we have no weapons. We are walking around gathering up what we can use to defend ourselves. I am a mother, not a member of al-Qa'ida; not a mujahideen. The world needs to know this will not happen unless we get help. We pray that our brothers and sisters can hold Ajdabiya. We are all desperately waiting for the UN, or Nato, or the EU or anyone to act. We have all heard the speeches of Gaddafi and his sons: does the international community really believe that we are al-Qa'ida and on drugs? Hana El-Gallal is a law professor from Benghazi.