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Geopolitics

ARABICA - A Daily Shot Of What the Arab World is Saying/Hearing/Sharing

ARABICA - A Daily Shot Of What the Arab World is Saying/Hearing/Sharing

A R A B I C A ارابيكا

By Kristen Gillespie


SYRIAN DIPLOMACY
Syria is expected to respond to an Arab League proposal to end the country's crisis, Al Jazeera reported. The Syrian opposition maintains that the regime is stalling for time and has no intention of reforming -- and called on the Arab League to suspend Syria's membership in the League. The Syrian National Council said in a statement that the government has responded to Arab League efforts to mediate by "stepping up the repression." The opposition also called on the League to recognize the National Assembly as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people.

SYRIAN MEDIA
News website Elaph.com looks at the Syrian official media and concludes that it "lacks professionalism," but remains a vital weapon in the propaganda war. Syrian intelligence agencies run the official media, says Syrian journliast Iyad Shabarjee, using "the lowest standards of professionalism."

EGYPTIAN ENCOUNTER
The chief of staff of Egypt's armed forces met with Coptic Christian clergymen to emphasize the goal of civilian democracy without distinction between Muslims and Christians. Bishop Marcus Shubra al-Khaimeh said after the meeting that they discussed recent sectarian riots and lifting laws that ban Christians from building and repairing churches as well as a law to prevent discrimination against Christians, key demands by Coptic leaders.

YEMENI PROTESTS
Protests have been ongoing in the south Yemeni city of Aden since February to demand the resignation of President Ali Abdullah Saleh. Activists are mobilizing young revolutionaries to clean the streets, which are piled with dust, rocks, garbage and even pieces of the sidewalks. Street cleaners have not cleaned the protest areas, with residents blaming the government for imposing collective punishment.

LIBYAN PROTESTS
Fighters representing Libya's National Transitional Council clashed for three hours near a hospital in Tripoli "in what is believed to be the largest confrontations between the rebels since the war broke out," CNN Arabic reported. Machine guns and anti-aircraft guns were used, with casualties not yet reported. Medical sources from the hospital said some of the fighters appear to be drunk. The battalion is responsible for securing the area around the hospital. "We are working to reorganize the army – when we have a great and powerful army, we will be secure," said Colonel Ahmed Bani.

November 3, 2011

photo credit: illustir

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Economy

Lex Tusk? How Poland’s Controversial "Russian Influence" Law Will Subvert Democracy

The new “lex Tusk” includes language about companies and their management. But is this likely to be a fair investigation into breaking sanctions on Russia, or a political witch-hunt in the business sphere?

Photo of President of the Republic of Poland Andrzej Duda

Polish President Andrzej Duda

Piotr Miaczynski, Leszek Kostrzewski

-Analysis-

WARSAW — Poland’s new Commission for investigating Russian influence, which President Andrzej Duda signed into law on Monday, will be able to summon representatives of any company for inquiry. It has sparked a major controversy in Polish politics, as political opponents of the government warn that the Commission has been given near absolute power to investigate and punish any citizen, business or organization.

And opposition politicians are expected to be high on the list of would-be suspects, starting with Donald Tusk, who is challenging the ruling PiS government to return to the presidency next fall. For that reason, it has been sardonically dubbed: Lex Tusk.

University of Warsaw law professor Michal Romanowski notes that the interests of any firm can be considered favorable to Russia. “These are instruments which the likes of Putin and Orban would not be ashamed of," Romanowski said.

The law on the Commission for examining Russian influences has "atomic" prerogatives sewn into it. Nine members of the Commission with the rank of secretary of state will be able to summon virtually anyone, with the powers of severe punishment.

Under the new law, these Commissioners will become arbiters of nearly absolute power, and will be able to use the resources of nearly any organ of the state, including the secret services, in order to demand access to every available document. They will be able to prosecute people for acts which were not prohibited at the time they were committed.

Their prerogatives are broader than that of the President or the Prime Minister, wider than those of any court. And there is virtually no oversight over their actions.

Nobody can feel safe. This includes companies, their management, lawyers, journalists, and trade unionists.

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