November 10, 2009

ICA Newsletter – Week 6 Term 1

Internation Current Affairs Society

Meetings every Wednesday at 2pm in S0.18
Live at 5pm on RaW 1251AM every Friday

Below are the topics we'll be discussing at our weekly meeting. Come along for lively informal discussions on these issues and more.


IRANIAN PROTESTS FLARED BY STUDENT ACTIVIST

An Iranian maths student has publicly criticised the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in a twenty minute long tirade, even going so far as to call the leader an idiot. The student’s speech has helped stoke the fires of dissention in Iran, which has been prevalent since the controversial re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Iranian state media only reported the protest after claims by opposition supporters that he had been arrested, something which is common for those who oppose the Iranian regime.

There are also claims of torture and widespread police brutality against protesters. Until recently protesters had not openly criticised the supreme leader, and so this could be a sign that his absolute rule is weakening, likely due to his controversial support for Ahmadinejad in the election. Will anything come of these protests? Or is regime change impossible in Iran?


RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT ADMITS POLICE CORRUPTION

The Russian government has admitted to the severe corruption of police forces across the country. A video has appeared online showing a Russian police officer shooting three people in a Moscow supermarket, apparently acting with impunity.

Police officers regularly accept bribes and act like criminal gangs in some areas of the country. Now a senior policeman has made a personal request to Vladimir Putin to tackle the problem, before it gets any worse. How could the problem have gotten so bad? And will anything be done to solve it?


FORT HOOD SHOOTINGS

Maj Hasan, a soldier at the US military base of Ford Hood, in Texas, has shot dead 13 people. It has been revealed that the soldier was in contact with a radical Muslim cleric, and that this was known by US military authorities. However, such accusations should not be made lightly, as many fear that Muslim Americans may be targeted if the shooter is shown to have acted based on faith, as opposed to as a lone gunman. What will this mean for US attitudes to Muslim soldiers in the army?



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