From the New York Times, April 30 (condensed):
At Least 18 Arrests Made in Tense Night of a Monthly Cycling Protest
Under tense circumstances, the monthly Critical Mass bicycle ride set out last night from multiple locations in Manhattan, in an attempt by the riders to thwart a police crackdown. The police did not supply arrest numbers last night, but a lawyer who works with the riders, Julia Cohen, said at least 18 were detained.
This year's North American winner of the Goldman Prize, awarded annually to the most courageous environmental activists on five contients, is Isidro Baldenegro of Chihuahua, Mexico, a Tarahumara Indian who has long defended the forests of the Sierra Tarahumara against the chain-saws of the timber mafia. As reported in WW4 Report 90, Baldenegro was imprisoned in 2003 on trumped-up terrorism charges, and released following an international campaign.
A group of prominent businessmen in Turkey have issued a call for Arnold Schwarzenegger's movies to be banned from Turkish TV after the California governor endorsed a call by Armenian-Americans (a sizeable constituency in his state) for April 24 to be declared "Day of Remembrance of the Armenian Genocide."
The recent moves towards peace between India and Pakistan, symbolized by the historic establishment of bus service across the line of control in divided Kashmir, are a welcome development. But the April 6 arson attack on a Srinagar compound where trans-border bus passengers were being housed is testament to the potential for further armed resistance. This report from the Pakistan Daily Times of April 25 delineates some of the little-noted reasons that Jammat-e-Islami, the biggest Kashmir resistance group, is not laying down arms (a position supported by the group's legal arm, Muthidda Majlis-e-Aamal):
Zacarias Moussaoui, the only man to be charged with a crime related to 9-11 in the U.S., was finally allowed to enter a plea in federal court April 22, and, in his inimitably garbled fashion, pleaded guilty to all six charges of terrorist conspiracy (for which he will likely face the death penalty) while insisting he had no involvement in 9-11. Instead, he said he was recruited for a separate series of attacks aimed at freeing Sheikh Omar Abdul Rahman, the notorious "Blind Sheikh" imprisoned at a top-security facility in Minnesota. (CNN, April 23)
Ethnic tensions are rising in southwest Iran's Khuzistan province along the Iraqi border, where violence has left three dead and injured in recent days. Protests by the region's Arab minority were sparked by reports that authorities were planning to colonize the city of Ahvaz with ethnic Farsies. Nationwide operations of Qatar-based Al-Jazeera TV were suspended by the government April 18 on charges of inciting the unrest. (AP, April 18)
An important victory is reported from the Brazilian Amazon, which has been the scene of recent violence linked to struggles for control of land and resources. From the BBC, April 15:
President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has signed a decree creating an Amazonian Indian reserve the size of a small country in northern Brazil. The reserve, Raposa Serra Do Sol, is called "the land of the fox and mountain of the sun" by the 12,000 Indians who live there. Its hills, rivers and forests cover 17,000 sq km (6,500 square miles).
From the San Francisco Chronicle, April 18:
A car bomb attack near Baghdad has killed a well-known activist from Northern California who entered war zones to record civilian deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan and secure aid for those caught in the crossfire.
Marla Ruzicka, 28, of Lakeport (Lake County), founder of CIVIC -- Campaign for Innocent Victims of Conflict -- died with her driver on the Baghdad Airport road Saturday when a suicide bomber attacked a convoy of security contractors that was passing next to her vehicle, according to her family and news reports quoting U.S. Embassy officials in Iraq.