- The Guardian
- Issue #2085
UGANDA: Uganda has disowned in the International Court of a judge from Uganda over the Israel genocide trial. “Justice Sebutinde’s ruling at the International Court of Justice does not represent the government of Uganda’s position on the situation in Palestine,” Adonia Ayebare, Uganda’s Permanent Representative to the UN said. His message was reinforced by Uganda’s Foreign Ministry, which released a statement saying “the government categorically clarifies that the position taken by Judge Sebutinde is her own individual and independent opinion, and does not in any way reflect the position of the government of the Republic of Uganda.” The swift reaction came after the Ugandan judge had opposed all emergency measures sought by South Africa in the genocide case against Israel. She voted against all the emergency measures that had been introduced at the ICJ, as in her opinion South Africa did not sufficiently demonstrate that Israel’s acts had genocidal intent.
RUSSIA: 27 January marked the 80th anniversary of the complete liberation of Leningrad (now St Petersburg) from the Nazi siege. The blockade began on 8 September 1941, and lasted almost 3 years. Over 2.5 million people were trapped in the city, including 400,000 children. Between 600,000 and 1 million people died during the blockade, most of them from starvation. The blockade was broken in January 1943 when a 11-kilometre wide corridor was created. A 33-kilometer long ‘Road of Life’ was built along the shore of Lake Ladoga and a crossing over the Neva River was built in 18 days. Despite the blockade, the city’s industries continued to work as best they could.
FINLAND: The first round of Finland’s presidential elections took place Sunday 28 January. A record 44 per cent of eligible voters cast ballots in advance. The elections were the first ones since Finland’s entry into NATO in April of last year which drastically changed its international and domestic policies. Former Prime Minister Alexander Stubb and former Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto were the favourites. Alexander Stubb of the centre-right National Coalition Party got 27.2 per cent, while his opponent got 25.8 per cent. A second round will be held on 11 February. To be declared president, the winning candidate must receive more than 50 per cent of votes.
GREECE: Poor farmers from the Thessaly region and across the country are setting up roadblocks on main roads to demand assistance from the government. They demand state compensation for lost income due to reduced production because of adverse weather conditions, as well as large cuts set out in the common agricultural policy (CAP), among other things. The government responded by sending police and riot police to deal with the protesters. The violent attacks by the police, the use of tear gas and stun grenades, the arrests of trade unionists have failed to deter the farmers, who have declared that they “will not be deterred by repression.” They are determined to continue and escalate their struggle for survival.
FRANCE: French farmers are not very happy either. According to the latest figures, 72,000 farmers and more than 41,000 tractors have been involved in the protest action there. The French Interior Minister ordered 15,000 police officers to protect Paris, two major airports and Rungis food market on the outskirts of Paris. The farmers are angered by unfair competition and want their demands heard. However, they are likely to be met by the police who using armoured vehicles and helicopters against them, as promised by the minister.