Each Monday, Runner blogger Katya Slepian brings us a run down of the big news stories of the past week
By Katya Slepian
1. Undoubtedly one of the week’s biggest stories is the burning of Qurans by American troops in Afghanistan last Monday evening. Officials at Bagram Airbase, the U.S.’s largest base in the country, believed that Taliban prisoners were using the books to pass messages to each other, causing the Quran’s to be put into an incinerator.
Since then, despite a swift apology by Gen. John Allen, commander of foreign troops in Afghanistan, protests have erupted across the country in response to the burnings. The protests have quickly turned violent, claiming almost 40 lives in the week since the Quran’s were burned.
These recent events also threaten to undermine America’s plans for withdrawal. The United States’ current strategy involves replacing the large contingents of NATO troops with small groups of advisers who will live and work closely with their Afghan counterparts. It’s a strategy that is based largely on trust between the two groups, trust whose existence has been cast into doubt over the past week.
It remains to be seen if the American can convince the outraged Afghans that the burning of the Qurans had nothing to do with their status as Islamic symbols and was just an honest mistake.
2. Another story that’s received far less coverage are the anti-government protests in Moscow. Generally, voters in Russia were considered largely apolitical, giving politicians a largely free reign. However, starting in December of last year there have been a series of protests in the capital (Moscow) by voters who have grown tired of past President and current Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s increasingly transparent and illegitimate attempts to secure a third term in office.
In the most recent rally, anywhere from 36,000 to 120,000 people are said to have gathered, according to Moscow authorities and the organizers respectively. While few expect the protests to change the outcome of the presidential elections that will be held next week, the protesters hope that they will ensure that this is the last victory that Putin will be able to secure.
While the events in Russia have nothing to do with the Arab Spring, it is interesting to see a growing global trend of people growing tired of undemocratic and dictatorial regimes and making their voices heard.
3. One of the main political stories here at home has been Bill C-30, also called the “Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act,” despite the fact that there is no mention of either children or predators anywhere in the bill apart from the title.
The legislation would require Internet service providers and cellphone companies to provide the authorities with customer information such as names, addresses, phone numbers, emails and IP addresses when ever asked and with no warrant necessary.
Seeing the backlash against the bill, the Conservatives have opted to temporarily pause action on the bill, although sources say that Stephen Harper still plans to push the bill through. One does wonder however, if this bill will really go through or if it will go the way of SOPA, with the Conservatives realizing that the Internet is not a place where people like governments meddling with.
Filed Under: What's Happenin'
About the Author: The Runner is owned by students and created for students. We are the premier news and culture source for students at Kwantlen Polytechnic University.
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