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Death Toll Climbs in Twin Bombings in Baghdad

It’s been one week since President Obama announced the full withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. The communal violence, though, shows no signs of abating. At least 32 people were killed in a pair of bombings in Baghdad on Thursday night that targeted a mostly Shi’ite neighborhood. “The two blasts, which took place Thursday evening at a music store, wounded 71 other people, police and health officials said. First one bomb went off and then, minutes later, another bomb exploded, targeting rescue workers and onlookers who had arrived after the first blast…Many Iraqis fear violence will increase when the U.S. troops leave the country. Insurgents have for months sought to exploit continued instability and security gaps that Iraqi forces have been unable to close. ‘I was on my motorbike with a delivery to a restaurant when the first bomb exploded,’ said Maytham Abdul-Karim, 32, the owner of a nearby kiosk selling pickles and yogurt. “The sound was very powerful. I stopped. I saw smoke coming from the site. I heard policemen calling on people to keep a distance out of fear of another bomb explosion.” (ABC http://abcn.ws/rYULSK)

Post Election Violence Erupts in Tunisia

The election this week seemed to go off without a hitch. That is, until yesterday: “Tunisia imposed a curfew Friday night following two days of post-election violence in the central city where the nation’s uprisings started, state media reported. Violence broke out Thursday night in the city and province of Sidi Bouzid over election disqualifications. On Friday, protesters again clashed with security forces, who used tear gas to disperse the crowd, according to the state news agency Tunisie Afrique Presse. Authorities imposed a curfew in Sidi Bouzid between 7 p.m. and 5 a.m. following the clashes, state media said. The clashes erupted after independent commission disqualified some candidates for seats that had been won by the People’s Petition.” (CNN http://bit.ly/uQl9lt)

UNHCR: A “New Wave” Of Refugees Fleeing Sudan’s Blue Nile State

UN Refugee Agency officials are warning of a new surge of refugees into Ethiopia who are fleeing fighting in Sudan’s border region. Says UNHCR: “Aerial bombings in Sudan’s Blue Nile state are driving a new wave of refugees into Ethiopia. In the last four days, nearly 2,000 Sudanese refugees have arrived in western Ethiopia amid tightening security at the border area of Kurmuk. Kurmuk, one of several refugee entry points into the country is also considered to be the busiest. The new arrivals are mostly women, children and the elderly. They tell us they fled bombings and fear of bombings by Antonov planes in areas including Bau, Sali and Dinduro, all located between Kurmuk and the Blue Nile capital, Damazine. There are also reports that armed militia on the Sudanese side of the Kurmuk border have warned the community to leave the area, possibly in preparation for a ground offensive.” (UNHCR http://bit.ly/uiev94)

#Occupy…J-Burg?

A radical leader of the ANC’s youth wing lead thousands of south Africans on a march to the Johannesburg stock exchange on Thursday. “Julius Malema…is the nation’s most vocal champion for mine nationalization. He also has urged the government to seize white-owned farms without compensation, positions that have earned him admiration from the nation’s jobless youth…Mr. Malema’s ‘Freedom Youth Mass Action’ sought to mobilize South Africans to demand a share of the country’s wealth through policies such as nationalization of the mines. But the political fortunes of Mr. Malema—and the degree to which his young backers would continue to support the ruling ANC—were important subtexts of the event. Many in South Africa say the government isn’t going far enough in redistributing the nation’s wealth. ‘Since 1994 the government has made many promises that haven’t happened,’ said marcher Paul Maleka, who holds part-time jobs. ‘The actions are just benefiting the capitalists.’” (WSJ http://on.wsj.com/ucjAPw)

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