Global News Journal

Beyond the World news headlines

In Mexico’s Ciudad Juarez, new police are charged with stopping the violence

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It is difficult to imagine things getting much worse in Ciudad Juarez, the manufacturing city across from El Paso that has become one of the world’s most dangerous places. Extortions, beheadings, bombs in cars, daylight shootouts and kidnappings are all daily fare in the border town once better known as a NAFTA powerhouse and party zone for fun seeking Americans. Even the Mexican army stands accused of abusing the trust citizens once placed in it, carrying out possibly hundreds of wrongful arrests and illegal house raids. MEXICO/

Things are so bad that business leaders are calling for a state of emergency to be called in the city on the Rio Grande with nighttime curfews in a bid to control the violence.  Around 10,000 businesses have closed in Ciudad Juarez over the past two years. A military-enforced curfew doesn’t resound much with residents who want the thousands of troops sent in by President Felipe Calderon to leave town for good. More than 6,700 people have died in drug killings since the army arrived in early 2008 and locals say the army-led crackdown on gangs has only provoked more violence across the city and its surrounding Chihuahua state.  (Click here for full Mexico drug war coverage)

The latest initiative implemented by Chihuahua state Governor Cesar Duarte, who took office for a six-year term this week, is to create a new, state-wide police force dissolving notoriously corrupt local cops. It fits in with Calderon’s plan to send a constitutional reform to Congress soon to give governors more power over the police in cities and towns where local mayors run the municipal police. The thousands of disparate municipal police forces across Mexico are the most ineffective and corrupt, seen as an outdated model unfit to fight drug gangs. MEXICO/

But things don’t look promising. Many mayors across Mexico are against the reforms and in Chihuahua, where the reform is going ahead, many of the same corrupt officers are being absorbed into the new force, despite promises of tough checks on dishonest police. Several officers accused of allowing criminals to steal 69 weapons from Chihuahua police headquarters last week were included in the new Chihuahua force.

In search of Russia

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President Dmitry Medvedev’s conference on the modern state and global security this week was an object lesson in efficiency and organisation. Four hours north east of Moscow in the ancient city of Yaroslavl, security was tight but not overbearing, hundreds of Moscow and Saint Petersburg students guided guests to their hotels and waited tables with exquisite fish, caviar, pastries, vegetables and fruit in a marquee beside the conference hall.

Russia was showing the face of a modern state with a global role.

Escaping the speeches for a view of Yaroslavl’s medieval Kremlin and onion-domed churches and monasteries, a few of us set off down the road from the conference centre in search of a taxi to drive us into town. The modern conference grounds quickly gave way to small wooden kiosks selling ‘products’, ‘vegetables’ – no brand names here.

from UK News:

On the frontline of the G20 summit

Abolish money. Punish the  looters. Eat the bankers.

Ageing 1960s hippies and their youthful anti-globalisation descendants joined in an angry  anti-capitalist protest at the Bank of England on Wednesday, waving placards and shouting slogans reflecting  a common fury at perceived corporate greed.

With worldwide recession destroying jobs by the week, protesters at the G20 protest in the City of London demanded an end to what they see as a global, predatory system that robs the poor to benefit the privileged.

from Africa News blog:

Tale of an African whistleblower

A new book on corruption in Kenya is considered so explosive there that copies are only being sold under the counter in Nairobi by some book sellers too nervous to display them openly.

"Within these pages, we stand eyeball to eyeball with corruption. The book is an ironclad tell-all that mercilessly bares all to the light," said the local Sunday Nation newspaper in a review of Michela Wrong's book. "It feels dangerous to just read, let alone write."

No mercy for Beirut traffic offender

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Lebanon, once a byword for violent anarchy, remains a country where the rule of law is patchy, to put it kindly. But Interior Minister Ziad Baroud, a youthful reform-minded lawyer who was appointed in July as part of a national unity government, is determined to change that, or at least to make a start. He has told the traffic police to do something about the cheerful but sometimes lethal chaos that pervades the roads. 

    Few Lebanese normally bother with seat belts or crash helmets. Speeding with a mobile phone glued to your ear or an infant in your lap comes naturally. Double or triple parking is the norm, lane discipline an alien concept and right of way determined by who gets there first or who drives a bigger vehicle. Scooters fizz everywhere, a law unto themselves. 

Fighting graft in Africa. Or not.

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 A little while back, we asked who is and isn’t fighting corruption effectively in Africa. This week, a number of examples bring us back to the subject.

 

In Tanzania, two former ministers have been charged with flouting procurement rules over the award of a tender for auditing gold mining back in 2002. The pair, who deny wrongdoing, served in the government of President Jakaya Kikwete’s predecessor Benjamin Mkapa. One of them also served under Kikwete himself.

Italy sends in troops, but why?

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“Should I wait until she’s finished?” asks a soldier from an Italian Alpine regiment, in their distinctive feathered Tyrolean-style hat, to her police colleagues as they patrol an area of Turin notorious for addicts known as “Toxic Park” and see a woman shooting up.

Incidents like this one reported in Corriere della Sera newspaper seem to support Italian police unions’ doubts about Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s initiative, which began this week, to put 3,000 soldiers on the streets of 10 cities for the next six months to help the police fight a supposed crime wave. Some police officers believe military personnel, even those hardened by peace missions abroad, do not have the training needed to fight crime.

New traffic law puts brakes on driving in Cairo

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The streets of the Egyptian capital Cairo have been unusually quiet since the start of the month and cabbies say they now drive around in fear of the massive police presence, evident at all major intersections. The big junctions have a police “liwa” on duty — equivalent in rank to an army major-general — along with up to a dozen subordinates enforcing, or perhaps working out how to enforce, a draconian new traffic law.

The newspapers publish daily reports of the number of tickets they have given out the previous day — at least several thousand, for offences such as failing to wear seat belts or stopping beyond the white line at a junction.

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