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November 2011

Nov 1  Syria is accused of kidnapping dissidents from Lebanon, to which its citizens have fled to avoid persecution by the Assad regime.

Nov 1  In Greece, political support for the government's austerity measures is cracking, and this sends stock markets into another dive. A poll shows most Greeks do not support the government's austerity measures. Common Greeks are not blaming themselves for their country's debt crisis; they are blaming the wealthy who dodged paying taxes – as did many who were not so wealthy.

Nov 1  The scientific work of genetically modifying male mosquitoes is raising the hope of reducing mosquito populations and disease transmissions.

Nov 2  Following UNESCO'S acceptance of the Palestinian Authority as a member, Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has decided to expedite the construction of 2,000 housing units planned for East Jerusalem, for Gush Etzion (20 kilometers southwest of Jerusalem), and for Ma'aleh Adumim (a bedroom community ten minute's drive eastward from Jerusalem). Britain, France and Germany denounce Netanyahu's move.

Nov 3  At an Arab League meeting in Cairo the Assad regime has agreed to end attacks against civilians, to take its troops and tanks off the streets, to allow journalists and rights groups to monitor events and to dialogue with protesters. The foreign minister of Qatar says he is "happy" concerning the agreement and with his "brothers in Syria." A few tweeters have called on members of the Arab League to "get real." And today, tanks with machine guns are reported as active in the city of Homs, killing seven people.

Nov 4  The Assad regime responds to its agreement with Syria's fellow Arab League members by again offering people amnesty if they surrender. Aljazeera reports more demonstrations today and more government violence.

Nov 4  A new law in Cuba offers more free-market reform: the buying and selling of homes. Since 1959 people have been exchanging property by complicated barter arrangements or black-markets deals involving illegal payments and bribes. (BBC)

Nov 5  Islamists kill at least 63 people and set churches afire in Damaturu, northeastern Nigeria. The group accused is Boko Haram, which means Western Education Forbidden. Followers are said to be influenced by the Koranic phrase, "Anyone not governed by what Allah has revealed is among the transgressors." These are not our modern, educated Muslims. Followers have been described as rejecting modern science, the wearing of shirts and pants and voting in elections.

Nov 6  In Legatum Institute's annual 2011 ranking, the US is 1st in health, 5th in entrepreneurship and opportunity, 10th in prosperty, 13th in education, and 26th in safety and security.

Nov 6  Bloomberg News reports that an Italian surveillance company, Area SpA, is busy supplying Assad's regime with the power to intercept, scan and catalog virtually every e-mail that flows through the country. The system is now in a test phase.

Nov 10  In Italy, rising bond yields burden paying off government debt. Borrowing money is more expensive. Italy's economic growth is stalled, reducing its ability to pay off its debt. The European Union announces that economic growth for the entire Eurozone has stalled. Recession looms.

Nov 11   In an article at Atlantic.com today the anti-regime Free Syrian Army is described as protecting "some villages in Dera, Jebal Al-Zawya and Idlib and some districts in Hama and Homs." And there is hope that Arab League influence on Russia and China will prevent these two from casting another veto in the UN Security Council. (From a tweet by SlaughterAM.)

Nov 12  The Arab League votes to suspend Syria from its meetings and asks member states to withdraw their ambassadors from Syria. In Syria, state televsion describe the league as "serving a Western and American agenda."

Nov 14  Portland's mayor, Sam Adams, a Democrat with progressive views and a history of toughness on police abuses, orders the closing of the Occupy Portland protest camp. The deadline for the protesters to leave the city-park area was yesterday. Adams says he is enforcing the law. Police have been in riot gear because of potential retaliation. Protesters haven't understood this and have complained that there were no riots and that "We are a peaceful protest." Yesterday some protesters scuffled with police in response to being forced to move, rather than sitting down and letting themselves be arrested.

Image of Jean Quan, mayor of Oakland, California

Jean Quan, progressive Democrat and
the embattle mayor of Oakland, California

Nov 14  Google ranks change of address scammer (who is legal) ahead of the US Postal Service.

Nov 15  The mayors of New York and Oakland clear their cities of occupation camps. Both mayors are progressive thinkers. Quan is a smart Democrat. Their rationale is that their cities belong to all the people, that they are in a democracy where freedom to express opinions still exists. The protesters can express their views in a variety of ways that will impact electoral politics where their views will count more – without disrupting the rights of others in their use of public parks and roadways.

Nov 18  Protest leaders in Berkeley and Oakland in the 1960s opposed the urgings of wilder participants in demonstrations to close down the Bay Bridge or otherwise block people trying to get some place, like work. We were trying to win people to our point of view, not to annoy people. Yesterday in New York City, protesters wanted to shut down subway hubs and block roads. One emotionally wrought protester told a newsman: "Bloomberg has really put gasoline on the flames. And every inch that he pushes us back, we're going to go forward a foot. And nothing's going to stop us, no matter how many times you try to shut us down. We're going to figure out a way to be heard." Why he can't be heard and seen demonstrating in the legal fashion that Mayor Bloomberg favors the demonstrator did not say, and what he accomplishes by pushing back that he could not accomplish remaining in accord with Bloomberg will soon be apparent.

Nov 21  More than 109 Egyptian ambassadors and other diplomats sign a statement that calls for an immediate halt to the violence and aggression by security forces against protesters and for those responsible to be brought to justice, and the statement says that the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces should hand power to a civilian government completely by the middle of 2012. At least 20 people are reported to have died with hundreds more injured since the violence began on the 19th. The protesters are offended by plans by the military to remain an authority above a civilian government.

Nov 22  Greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere hit record levels in 2010, and nearly 40 percent more carbon dioxide is in the atmosphere now than at any time since the industrial era began in 1750, according to a United Nations report.

Nov 23  Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says his forcast that the Arab Spring would turn into an "Islamic, anti-Western, anti-liberal, anti-Israeli and anti-democratic wave" has become a reality. He accused the Arab Spring revolutions of "moving not forward, but backward." He criticized Western leaders, and especially President Obama, for favoring Egypt's dictator, Mubarak, resigning from power. According to Barak Ravid in Haaretz (Israel's foremost news agency), Netanyahu is using the upheaval in the Arab world "to justify his government's inaction vis-a-vis the peace process with the Palestinians."

Nov 24  King Hamad promises reforms after receiving a report he ordered regarding events in Bahrain in February and March. The 500-page report was led by an Egyptian-American law professor, Mahmoud Sharif Bassiouni, a veteran UN human rights investigator. King Hamad says he never again wants to discover that "any of our law enforcement personnel have mistreated anyone." He promises to sack those officials who have abused their power and to reform Bahrain's laws to protect freedom of speech and other basic rights.

Nov 25  Following days of mass demonstrations across Egypt and around 38 protester deaths, Egypt's ruling military council has apologized to the country. The aroused passions of the crowds in the street want more. They want the generals to step aside. The Obama administration has been supporting the generals but now calls for a "Full transfer of power to a civilian government ... in a just and inclusive manner that responds to the legitimate aspirations of the Egyptian people, as soon as possible."

Nov 26  In Morocco's elections the Islamist Justice and Development Party (PJD) wins the most seats in parliament – 80 among 395. The party's leader, Abdelilah Benkirane, will become head of Morocco's government, the prime minister – appointed by King Mohamed IV. The PJD has modeled itself on Turkey's ruling party, also named Justice and Development Party. The elections are described in Morocco as a victory for democracy.

Nov 29  Los Angeles mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa, a Democrat, has flattered demonstrators by congratulating them on their accomplishments. But the mayor wants to uphold the law and the right of people to free passage on public thoroughfares. Los Angeles police have been avoiding aggressive confrontations while watching tents diminish in number from day to day. This soft approach annoys those who are impatient for tough police confrontation with illegality. They complain that the police have lost credibility.

Nov 29  Russia's foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, sets Russia against the logic of events that have been developing in Syria. He calls for further attempts at political dialogue with the Assad regime. The failure of the Arab League to move Assad through dialogue has been followed by the league's economic sanctions and Syria's further international isolation – except for more support for the Free Syrian Army. France's foreign minister, Alain Juppe, says publicly that the days of the Syrian government are "numbered."

Nov 30  More than 200 are arrested in a sweep that clears the Occupy LA.camp – according to the Los Angeles Times without the fierce confrontations that marred the sweeps in Oakland and New York. There was some righteous indignation among the demonstrators. They apparently saw no distinction between the laws they were violating and the oppressive laws of authoritarian regimes or the laws that Martin Luther King intentionally violated. Mrvonh, from Boone NC, makes no distinction and tweets that the US is acting as a "police state." A few demonstrators have mistakenly described themselves as representing democracy and a majority – as did the T-Party movement – no equivalency intended.

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