Citizens speak out – 14 Aug 2011

Citizens speak out – 14 Aug 2011


Citizens speak out. As they seek improved
lives through greater job opportunities, more access to education and other democratic reforms,
people continue to gather in countries across the globe, including Chile, Brazil, Israel,
Libya, Palestine, Russia, Syria, and Yemen. BRAZIL – Judge Patricia Acioly, known for
her strict sentencing in cases of illegal drug crimes as well as police corruption,
succumbed to gunshot wounds in an attack on Friday, August 12 that occurred as she was
arriving home. Brazil’s Supreme Court President Cezar Peluso spoke out against the attack,
demanding a swift investigation. CHILE – On Thursday, President Sebastián
Piñera signed an education bill that met many demands expressed by student protesters,
including a constitutional guarantee to a quality education. However, students protested
the measures, saying they lacked clear initiatives that would grant equitable access to higher
education. RUSSIA – In the wake of a report from President
Dmitry Medvedev’s human rights council, which found reasonable evidence that attorney Sergei
Magnitsky’s 2009 death was the result of severe physical abuse during his year-long detainment
after accusing officials of fraud, two prison physicians have been charged with negligence
for their possible role in his death. ISRAEL & PALESTINE – The Palestinian News
Network reports that joint demonstrations held on Friday by Palestinian villagers, Israelis
and international activists in several West Bank villages resulted in three children being
injured by police, with many others who were treated for tear gas inhalation as they protested
the Israeli construction of a separation wall as well as the confiscation of Palestinian
farmlands to build Israeli settlements. Meanwhile, the international community has
spoken out against the Israeli government’s approval this week to build 1,600 new settler
homes in East Jerusalem, noting that they are illegal according to international law
and hinder peace efforts. Those voicing concern include UN coordinator for the Middle East
peace process Robert Serry; European Union Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton, Russian
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Aleksandr Lukashevich, and Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel
Amr. LIBYA – As the revolutionary Transitional
National Council announced on Friday that its members have assumed control of the strategically-important
Libyan town of Brega, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressed concern over the large
number of citizen casualties, calling for all sides to minimize the loss of innocent
life. SYRIA – Nationwide protests against the current
regime continued on Friday, with security forces killing at least 20 people according
to activist reports. Some 10,000 demonstrated in the streets of the western coastal city
of Latakia. However, on Saturday, Al Jazeera stated that the UK-based Syrian Observatory
for Human Rights and a resident speaking anonymously to avoid reprisal said that tanks had entered
the city and began engaging in heavy gunfire. As we mourn the loss of cherished lives and
sympathize with the wounded and others who suffer, we pray that the turmoil ceases in
every nation so that people everywhere may choose shared freedom and dignity as a peaceful
world�

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