Frustration grows over Kenya vote-count delay

Al Jazeera

Widespread technical failure and thousands of spoiled ballots prompt complaints of voting irregularities.

Ballot counting from this week’s Kenyan general and presidential elections has been facing delays due to technical glitches in an electronic counting system, causing growing frustration over the slow pace of the count.

The country’s electoral commission (IBEC) had hoped official results would come on Wednesday, but now plans to finish vote counting by late Thursday and release the results on Friday.

Instead of relying upon electronic transmission of data, electoral officials were bringing ballots from around the country to be counted manually at the main tallying centre in Nairobi on Wednesday.

Continue reading Frustration grows over Kenya vote-count delay

State Dept. Releases Keystone XL Environmental Impact Statement

Common Dreams

Green groups expresses “outrage” and “disappointment” over “deeply flawed analysis” that ignores “greatest threat to our children’s future: climate disruption”

– Jon Queally, staff writer

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Tens of thousands gathered in Washington, DC on February 17th with one simple call to the Obama Administration: “Move forward on climate, Mr. President, and reject the Keystone XL pipeline.” (Photo: Reuters)The US State Department on Friday afternoon released a newly updated draft of its Supplementary Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which, if approved, would dramatically increase the extraction and transfer of Canadian tar sands oil to the Gulf coast.

And as Sierra Club’s Michael Brune said in a late afternoon press call, “You know the news is bad when it comes out at 4pm on Friday.”

Continue reading State Dept. Releases Keystone XL Environmental Impact Statement

Kenyans queue in general election vote

Al Zazeera

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About 100,000 police deployed to prevent repeat of post-election violence that left more than 1,200 people dead in 2007.

Groups of hundreds have queued throughout Kenya to vote in the first elections since deadly ethnic violence that killed more than 1,200 people following disputed polls in 2007.

Voters have waited for more than six hours at a time to cast ballots for a president, senators, members of parliament, county governors and representatives to the newly formed county assembly.

Festus Mogae, former president of Botswana who is leading the team of observers for the election, said he is so far “impressed” by the number of people turning out to vote. Continue reading Kenyans queue in general election vote

U.S. Finally Passes Stronger Protections for Women against Abuse

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usaVDay 2011 community campaign in Bakersfield, California to End Violence Against Women. Credit: Julie Jordan Scott/cc by 2.0

By Carey L. Biron

WASHINGTON, Mar 1 2013 (IPS) – The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday ended more than a year of stonewalling a piece of legislation that for two decades has offered legal protections for women against sexual violence, harassment and abuse.

The move will close gaps in related funding and safeguards that have opened since the legislation, known as the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), lapsed in September 2011. It will also offer renewed protections for Native American women and immigrants, regardless of their legal status, and, for the first time, will extend similar guarantees to sexual minorities.
Continue reading U.S. Finally Passes Stronger Protections for Women against Abuse

All Eyes in Haiti on Duvalier Hearing

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From left to right, Veronique Roy, often referred to as Duvalier’s “long-time companion”, Jean-Claude Duvalier, and General Prosper Avril, a former dictator and ex-member of François Duvalier’s Presidential Guard. Credit: AlterPresse/Stephen Ralph Henri

By Jane Regan and Milo Milfort
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Feb 26 2013 (IPS) – Angry and frustrated, but also cautiously hopeful, victims, human rights advocates and the Haitian population are waiting for Thursday, Feb. 28, the day former dictator Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier has been ordered to appear at a hearing to determine whether or not he will face charges for human rights abuses committed during his brutal 15-year regime (1971-1986).

The order was issued on Feb. 21 when, once again, the 61-year-old ex-dictator refused to show up at court. The sweltering room was packed with representatives of foreign and local human rights groups, journalists and with some of the 30 victims who are suing Duvalier on the rights violations.

After listening to arguments from Duvalier’s lawyer, the three judges issued an order saying it was “imperative” that Duvalier come to a Feb. 28 hearing, with police escort if necessary. Continue reading All Eyes in Haiti on Duvalier Hearing