June 2007

Hawaii's voyaging canoe, Holulea

Hawaii's voyaging canoe, in Yokohama Harbor, Japan     (Wikimedia Commons)

Jun 3  In Egypt, 52 have been arrested for hanging up posters with Islamic messages, which is unconstitutional in Egypt. The messages supported Islamist (Islamic Brotherhood) candidates in the June 11 elections.

Jun 4  Gunter Grass, noble prize winning author of the 1959 novel The Tin Drum confesses in the New Yorker magazine that in 1944 he was drafter into Waffen-SS. Grass has been described as a leftist. Some conservative Germans will attack him as a hypocrite, ignoring that people develop orientations different from when they were young and despite the commonality of this in Germany..

Jun 5  European light-bulb makers announce a plan to phase out the standard light bulb in eight years, similar to plans considered in Australia, Canada and California.

Jun 6  President Museveni of Uganda, long considered a good friend by leaders in the West, complains that "Western counties have denied us access to their markets – deliberately." Uganda's major export is coffee. Another matter: Uganda has one of the world's higher population growth rates, at 3.6 percent estimated for 2007.

Jun 7  In the city of Zhengzhou in central China, at least 1,000 students go on a four hour rampage that includes burning cars. They are angry about an inspector of some sort hitting a fellow student, female, in the face while she is working at an unlicensed street stall. Authorities are reprimanding the inspectors. Riots have been frequent in China in 2007. The riots are little threat to the central government.

Jun 8  Hawaii's voyaging canoe, the Hokule'a, sails into Japan's Yokohama Harbor and is greeted by a grand celebration.

Jun 12  Anarchy continues in the Gaza Strip. Unemployment is at Great Depression levels. Gangsters operate freely. There is some starvation. The impulse to violence has gotten the people of Gaza nowhere, but it continues. Two rivals for power, Fatah and Hamas, are killing each other again. Two days of fighting have left 34 dead.

Jun 13  In Egypt it is official, candidates of the ruling party have won 69 of 71 contested seats on the Shura Council – the upper house of Egypt's parliament. Voting day included police blocking people from voting and the arrest of 400 members of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Brotherhood won no seat and claims it has been cheated. The Shura Council has 264 members and the ruling party's Hosni Mubarak appoints 88 of the them.

Jun 17  In the Gaza Strip, Hamas insurgents win the gun battles in the streets. What little power President Abbas's Fatah organizers had in the Gaza Strip has been wiped out.

Jun 18  Muslims demonstrate in the streets against Queen Elizabeth having knighted Salman Rushdie. Regarding the knighthood, Pakistani Religious Affairs Minister Mohammad Ejaz ul-Haq is reported to have said that "If someone commits suicide bombing to protect the honor of the Prophet Mohammad, his act is justified."

Jun 18  In Ghana people are celebrating a big oil discovery that is expected to add much to the country's economic success.

Jun 20  People in Ghana are talking about the new oil discovery allowing the building of schools, hospitals and roads – benefits, they say, for all the people.

Dr. Anthony Cordesman

Dr. Anthony Cordesman

Dr. Frederick Kagan

Dr. Frederick Kagan

Jun 21  In Gaza a bank employee, who happens to be a US citizen, tells the BBC that families have been "taking revenge" on each other. He is not a Hamas supporter but says that with Hamas ruling the streets everyone is safer. "People" he says, "have been told to hand in their weapons."

Jun 23  In Saudi Arabia, Ahmed al-Bulaiwi, a retired border patrol guard in his early 50s, has died in custody. He was arrested on June 1 for the offense of being alone with a woman who was not his relative.

Jun 27  About Iraq policy, the debate between the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) continues from January. Before the House Armed Services Committee, Dr. Anthony Cordesman for CSIS describes the Iraqi government as dysfunctional and that hopes placed in it by the Bush administration to produce a favorable outcome for the war are misguided. Dr. Frederick Kagan of AEI, credited with having created the "surge" strategy, argues that the unexpected might happen in Iraq and therefore we cannot conclude that the surge strategy is not working. Also he claims that there is "every reason to be optimistic" about the outcome of the surge strategy.

Jun 28  Egypt's Health Ministry announces the abolition of female circumcision.

Jun 29  Mandatory Christian education classes in elementary schools in Norway are ruled in violation of Article 2 of the European human rights convention. So rules the European Court of Human Rights (at Strasbourg).

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