Friday, December 2, 2011

Headlines from Conflict Areas: Dec 01

By Krista McCarthy
Here is the daily roundup and summary of the major headlines coming out of conflict areas. United to End Genocide does not necessarily support the views expressed in the articles in this post.

Sudan and South Sudan
Calls for an end to Sudanese oil dispute from China—The National
“The simmering dispute over Sudan’s most valuable resource was forced on to the international stage this week, as Khartoum announced it had blocked exports from the south until an agreement on fees was reached. The growing rift has caused China, the biggest consumer of Sudanese oil, and owner of the company operating the pipeline, to call for a resolution of the conflict…”

South Sudan threatens to suspend oil production if north imposes charges unilaterally
“The South Sudan government on Wednesday reacted negatively to reports that Sudan plans to take 23% of the new country’s oil exports, saying it will consider suspending oil production if north Sudan continues to impose high transportation and refinery costs…”

Kenyan Foreign Minister to Meet al-Bashir Over Arrest Ruling
“Kenyan Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetangula said he will meet Sudanese President Umar al- Bashir tomorrow to defuse tensions over a Kenyan court ruling calling for al-Bashir’s arrest…”

Sudan singles out Kenya for retaliation over Bashir’s warrant
“Sudan’s decision this week to expel the Kenyan ambassador after a High Court judge ordered the government in Nairobi to arrest president Omer Hassan al-Bashir, took many observers by surprise with some describing it as an overreaction…”

Sudan expels Kenyan ambassador
“Sudan ordered the Kenyan ambassador in Khartoum to leave the country on Tuesday, after a Kenyan court issued an arrest warrant against Sudanese president Omar Al Bashir…”
SPLA deny claims of defections to rebels in Unity state
“South Sudan’s army (SPLA) has denied allegations by a rebel movement in Unity state that 55 soldiers including three majors and five captains from its fourth division have defected to the South Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SSLM/A)…”
Opposition parties form coalition in Unity state, accuse SPLM of neglect
“Four South Sudanese political parties have formed a coalition in Unity state to address the dominance of the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM)…”
1 killed, 6 critically injured in camp looting by Abu-Tira
“Internally displaced person Aseyid Abdullah Abdalbannat was shot dead in ZamZam camp by a group of people belonging to the Central Reserve Forces, also known as Abu-Tira, according to local witnesses…”
Returnees Arrive In Juba
“The South Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Commission (SSRRC) on Monday received four batches of internally displaced people (IDP’s). The 3000 IDPs who arrived in Juba came from Sudan’s Kosti town in White Nile State…”

Syria in state of civil war, death toll 4,000: U.N.
“Syria is in a state of civil war with more than 4,000 dead and increasing numbers of soldiers taking up arms against the government of President Bashar al-Assad, the top U.N. human rights official said Thursday…”
Syria firms and VIPs sanctioned in “civil war”
“The United States, European Union and Arab League blacklisted Syrian VIPs and companies on Thursday to force an end to the military crackdown on protesters challenging the rule of President Bashar al-Assad…”
EU, Arab League Tighten Syria Sanctions
“European Union diplomats say member nations have agreed to tighten sanctions on Syria, as the U.N. raised the death toll from Syria’s crackdown on an eight-month-long uprising to at least 4,000…”

Democratic Republic of Congo
AU, Carter Center Urge Congolese to Accept Vote Results
“Electoral observers in the Democratic Republic of Congo are urging presidential and legislative candidates to accept the results of this week’s vote. Four presidential candidates are calling for the vote to be annulled. Some people are still voting after ballots were delivered late…”
Congo Opposition Candidate Calls for Annulment of Vote
“One of the leading presidential candidates in the Democratic Republic of Congo said Tuesday that he wants this week’s elections annulled because of what he says is systematic fraud. The vote has been marred by violence and the late delivery of ballots, which forced officials to extend balloting…”
Tshisekedi Will Only Accept Credible Congo Vote, Says Party Official
“In the Democratic Republic of Congo, a top official of main opposition Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) says presidential candidate Etienne Tshisekedi will only accept the outcome of a transparent and credible general election…”

Clinton offers Myanmar first rewards for reform
“The United States will support more aid for Myanmar and consider installing an ambassador after an absence of some two decades, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Thursday, offering the first rewards for reform…”
Clinton Challenges Burma to Expand Reforms
“U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has offered Burma’s military-backed government incentives to expand recent reforms, saying economic sanctions would not be lifted until certain policies are reversed. People in Burma are welcoming Clinton and efforts to push for change in their country…”
Aung San Suu Kyi Optimistic About Clinton’s Burma Visit
“Burma’s pro-democracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, says she is optimistic that a landmark visit by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will advance reforms in the country…”
China Calls for Lifting of Burma Sanctions
“China is calling for the lifting of sanctions on Burma imposed by the United States and Europe.  Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei says China welcomes Burma’s apparent warming towards the United States, as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton makes a landmark trip to the southeast Asian nation…”

5 Killed as Yemeni Government Forces Shell Taiz
“Shells and mortar fire rained down on the Yemeni city of Taiz on Thursday, killing five people and wounding at least 20. Residents of several Taiz neighborhoods said government forces launched the attack early in the day. Medical officials confirmed the death toll and said some of those wounded were in critical condition…”

Cote d’Ivoire
Gbagbo Party Protests ICC Action, Withdraws From Reconciliation Process
“The executive committee of former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo’s Ivorian Popular Front Party says the International Criminal Court’s decision to bring Gbagbo to The Hague to stand trial is illegal…”

Network aimed at black audience debuts in Philly

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The nation's first free broadcast network targeting African-American audiences arrived in the nation's fourth-largest media market on Thursday.

Atlanta-based Bounce TV is an over-the-air free channel supported by sponsors and is geared toward black viewers ages 25 to 54. Unlike cable channels, Bounce TV is one of a growing number of networks carried on the broadcast digital signals of local television stations.

Bounce TV executives — among them Martin Luther King III and former Atlanta mayor and U.N. ambassador Andrew Young — said the new network's targeted demographic is vastly underserved and hungers for positive programming that speaks to them.

"I believe that a network, while its primary purpose is entertainment, can have a balance so that there is information or education, or 'edutainment,' that is created by certain content," King said at a news conference Thursday to publicize Bounce TV's launch on Lenfest Broadcasting's WMCN-TV in Philadelphia, ranked by the Nielsen Co. as the No. 4 media market after New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.

The popular cable network BET, or Black Entertainment Television, focuses on a 25-and-under demographic with a heavy rotation of hip-hop videos that have alienated many older viewers. The cable networks TV One, owned primarily by Radio One and Comcast, and Centric, a two-year-old BET spin-off, also court the over-25 niche but Bounce TV officials said there is plenty of room for growth — especially in the non-cable realm.

According to Nielsen's latest annual television audience report, African American households with televisions watch an average of 46.5 hours of TV every week. By comparison, the weekly average is 34.1 hours for U.S. households overall and 29.3 hours for Hispanic households.

Since launching in a handful of markets Sept. 26 with an inaugural showing of the 1978 movie-musical "The Wiz," the network has made deals with broadcast station groups that include Fox, Gannett, Raycom Media, Belo Corp. and Meredith Broadcasting.

Bounce TV is live or coming to more than two dozen cities including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Houston, New Orleans and Washington D.C. Network executives said Bounce TV is in markets representing more than 70 percent of African American households. Network executives said the name comes from an expression in the African American community to "bounce on over" somewhere, meaning to move forward with energy and enthusiasm.

Bounce has reached licensing agreements with NBC, Sony and others to offer hundreds of movies traditionally popular with black audiences, from "Do the Right Thing" to "Ray," and "Mo' Better Blues." The round-the-clock programming also features children's shows, gospel music, reruns of TV series such as "Soul Train" and "Backstage Pass," plus live football and basketball games from historically black colleges and universities.

Original programming and live concerts are on deck for early next year, and talks are under way to bring the network to Comcast Cable early next year, Bounce executives said.

"There is definitely room in the TV landscape for an African American-targeted over-the-air digital network like Bounce," said longtime TV-industry analyst and researcher Shari Anne Brill. "For those African American homes that don't have access to cable TV, Bounce offers a programming alternative that doesn't really exist anywhere else."

"I believe the network will be here to stay especially because of the people associated with it," she added.
Households not subscribing to paid cable or satellite television have a growing number of options. Bounce TV is among more than 20 digital networks that can be accessed over the air, from the majors NBC, NBC, CBS, PBS and Fox to Telemundo, Univision, Ion and Create. A regional broadcast network for black audiences, Song of the South, is slated to go live next year in several southern states.

"It'll be interesting to see how this goes," said media analyst Brad Adgate of Horizon Media. "They should go for slow and steady growth. They won't become a hit overnight because it's already too crowded and congested out there."

Though there appears to be a dearth of black-oriented networks, the entertainment landscape is much broader in an era of tablet computers, DVRs, on-demand, free online content on Hulu and YouTube, and streaming subscription sites like Netflix. That makes it tougher for any network to get established, he said.
Adgate said 12 percent of black households in the U.S. do not receive TV programming from cable, satellite or broadband operators. The overall national average is 10 percent.

Unemployment drops to 8.6%

The U.S. labor market strengthened last month, adding 120,000 new jobs and pushing the unemployment rate down to 8.6%.

The rate is now lower than at any point since March 2009, when it was 8.6% as well.

Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire