San Juan, Puerto Rico- After 70 days of strike and hours of deliberation under the unmerciful Caribbean sun, the students of the Rio Piedras Campus, of the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) approved a plan of action to continue wielding their struggle for public education. The plan of action approved by about 2000 students in a general assembly not only includes a 48 hour strike that is to shut down the campus beginning today, and a 24 hour work stoppage that is to affect the UPR administration directly. But also a National March Against Tuition Hikes, the 11th of March, that is also the day of International Solidarity with the UPR, in which simultaneous demonstrations in solidarity with the UPR will be held in cities around the world including Amsterdam, Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester, New York, Chicago and Boston, among others. The students also approved cultural activities which include an uninterrupted reading and representation of Gabriel García Marquez’s novel, Cien Años de Soledad. After all of this is done, students will evaluate the situation in order to decide about future actions in another assembly. Last Spring UPR students won a two-month strike against fee hikes, budget cuts and privatization. They went on strike again on December 14, 2010 against an $800 tuition increase that has forced thousands of students out of school. University officials tried to stop the strike by calling in riot police to occupy UPR’s campuses and by expelling student leaders. This resulted in police brutality and more than two hundred arrests. Demonstrators have been forced off campus and have faced tear gas, police beatings.
- 24 OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso— Burkina Faso's government and a witness say four people have been killed in clashes between police and demonstrators in the centre of the landlocked West African nation. A government statement issued Thursday said demonstrations started Tuesday in the city of Koudougou over the death of a jailed student. The government said he died of meningitis while in police custody. Fellow students say he died because he received bad treatment. A local journalist says he saw bodies of a demonstrator and a policeman. The government says two were killed and two policemen were wounded. Demonstrators also looted and torched government buildings and vehicles. Students in the capital briefly marched Thursday in solidarity with Koudougou but calm returned to Ouagadougou.Iran-Two students were killed this week in a major eruption of anti-government demonstrations in Iran inspired by events in Egypt and Tunisia. The funeral of one of the students sparked further clashes in Tehran amid reports of unrest in other university towns. Tehran University of Fine Arts student Sanee Zhaleh and another student, Mohammed Mokhtari were shot in the streets during a banned protest in Tehran on Monday. The protests were in response to a rally call from opposition leaders Mir Hosein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, the former parliamentary speaker, to march in support of the recent Arab uprisings. The opposition leaders were held under house arrest and not allowed to join the first major demonstrations in the country since the 2009 protests sparked off by the disputed elections in June that year. Analysts said the government's strategy was to isolate the 'Green' opposition movement leaders from their student support base. Around half the country's 70 million people are under 25 with a large population bulge in the 15 to 30 years age group. "The opposition movement is run by students. That two students were killed shows that the students are still at the centre of the movement," said Saeed Paivandi, an associate professor at the University of Paris 8 and an expert on the Iranian university sector.
- 23 United Kingdom-On Tuesday last week, the staff at Soho Film Laboratory were told by their new owners, Deluxe, that they were stopping the printing of 16mm film, effective immediately. Len Thornton, who looks after 16mm, was told he could take no new orders. That was it: medium eviction without notice. Soho Film Lab was the last professional lab to be printing 16mm in the UK. In recent years, as 16mm has grown as a medium for artists, the lab has been inundated with work, both from this country and abroad. Contrary to what people imagine, it is a growing and captive market, albeit a small one, with a new generation of younger artists turning to analogue technologies to make and show their work: Thornton says he handles work from more than 170 artists. Then there's the effect that this will have on the BFI and their conservation of the many thousands of reels of Movietone news footage, television, documentaries, features and much else. Deluxe (who responded that they have "nothing to say at this time") are, admittedly, ending only one tiny part of an ongoing process: they will not stop processing 16mm negative, and will continue to process and print 35mm. It is not as though they are giving up the chemicals and going dry. But they are stopping 16mm print because the cinema industry does not need it any more, and it is they who run the labs and are dictating that movies go digital and celluloid be phased out. The decision to end 16mm print at Soho Film Lab, newly named Deluxe Soho, seems to be worldwide policy (they have already ended 16mm printing in their labs in New York and Toronto), so it is unlikely we will be able to reverse the decision locally. In the end, the decision is more cultural than fiscal, and needs to be taken away from the cinema industry. What we need in the UK is a specialist laboratory for conservation-quality 16mm and 35mm prints, possibly affiliated to the BFI. This needs to happen quickly, before the equipment, technology and experience is irreparably dismantled, and Deluxe must help with this. In the meantime, I will look to the last remaining labs in Europe to print my 16mm films.London- Students at the London School of Economics staged a sit-in on Wednesday in protest at the university's association with the Libyan regime. About 12 took over the offices of LSE director, Sir Howard Davies. The LSE has already issued a statement saying it is reconsidering its links with Libya "as a matter of urgency". But the students demanded the university paid back the £300,000 it had accepted of a £1.5m grant from a charity wing of the regime. The grant was pledged in 2009 by the Gaddafi International Charity and Development Foundation. The funds have so far been used to develop a research programme on North Africa, focused on politics, economics and society. The student demonstrators called on the LSE management to "repay" the £300,000 already spent by creating a scholarship fund for underprivileged Libyan students. The university said no more of the £1.5m donation from the Gaddafi International Charity and Development Foundation would be accepted. Saying about half of the £300,000 already accepted had been spent and its council would now consider what to do with the remaining funds, taking into account the views of LSE students.
- 22 Madison – It's protest pepperoni across the waters. Egyptian sympathizers are treating Wisconsin protesters to pizza. In fact, Ian's on State Street, a pizza shop haunt of UW-Madison students, has been busy filling orders from 12 countries—and 38 US states—to supply slices to protesters at the State Capitol as they demonstrate against a GOP move to cut pay and union rights of Wisconsin workers. The international movement, fanned by Ian's Twitter and Facebook posts, has become so monumental that the shop had to tweet people to stop ordering last night—at least until 11am today. On Saturday, the shop delivered more than 300 pizzas to the Capitol, compliments of Korea, Finland, Germany, Canada, Turkey, and other far-off locations.
- 21 Djibouti- Anti-government demonstrations are spreading south from the Arab world and North Africa, as students in Djibouti demonstrated against the 12-year rule of President Ismael Omar Guelleh on Friday. The march was intended to be a peaceful demonstration against economic stagnation, but resulted in riot police attacking the crowds with batons and tear gas shortly after evening prayers. An estimated 6,000 protesters came out to demand Guelleh step down, but only 3,000 remained when police came in to oppose them. Djibouti isn't a country most Americans think of when they think of Africa. For starters, it's a very small nation, being slightly less than 9,000 square miles in area - smaller than Rwanda, Belgium, or Haiti. Of that area, nearly the entire country is desert and sparsely populated. But wedged on the coast of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden between Somalia, Ethiopia, and Eritrea, it occupies an important strategic position at the entry point of the Red Sea, across from Yemen. According to Reporters Without Borders, Djibouti ranks at 110 among countries with press freedoms, near notably repressive nations such as Burundi, Gabon, Chad, and Congo. There are no foreign journalists in Djibouti. The President of the Djiboutian League of Human Rights was arrested on February 9 while he investigated "alleged arbitrary arrests following student protests in Djibouti City", according to a report by Amnesty International.
- 18 Wisconsin-25,000 people turned out for Thursday's protests in Madison, according to the Associated Press, in the third day of demonstrations against Gov. Scott Walker's (R) controversial proposal to strip most state government workers of their collective bargaining rights. Because the Assembly did not adjourn, the Capitol must remain open, meaning protesters can bunk down for another night in the Capitol if they so choose. Some people had brought along sleeping bags to spend the night. "The fact that the Democrats have walked out, it shows they're listening to us," Neil Graupner, a 19-year-old technical college student from Madison, told the AP. Graupner was one of those who planned to stay in the Capitol overnight. With an estimated 5,000 protesters jammed in the building, the Capitol was noticeably warmer and more humid than normal for the middle of winter. College students also joined in. The Badger Herald, student newspaper of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, reports that several hundred students organized a walkout yesterday morning, and marched together down to the Capitol. Meanwhile, high numbers of teacher absences forced many Wisconsin schools to close for another day. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports that a dozen districts near Madison were unable to open. Many schools that remained open were hard pressed to find enough staff and substitutes to operate. Two district superintendents told the Journal-Sentinel that teachers who were absent without a reasonable excuse will be disciplined, but they did not specify how. Nine demonstrators were arrested for disorderly conduct by Capitol police Thursday, according to the State Journal. On Thursday evening, the Madison police said they had not yet had to arrest anybody, and praised the behavior of the demonstrators.
- 17 NEW YORK-Yesterday, students gathered in Washington Square Park to advertise their debt. Calling attention to the issue of student debt - and shaking off the stigma many associate with having such debt - these demonstrators wore their debt across their chest. Their shirts read: "$80,000." "$200,000." "An Arm and a Leg." "Too Much." This event was coordinated by Andrew Jenks, a filmmaker and protagonist of an MTV documentary series in which he explores the lives of young Americans. As he traveled the country, he heard a familiar concern: the rising cost of education. But he also heard a new twist on it: not that students couldn't get the money to get an education, but that they couldn't escape their debt burden once they entered the workforce. Student loan debt now stands at a greater total than credit card debt nationally. It is often viewed as "good debt" since our country values education, and there is a special emphasis on the need for higher education. But it's turning out graduates who are actually carrying a very bad debt. Unlike other countries with policies to delay student loan repayments when the debtor is unemployed, or bases payment levels on income levels, our policies allow for a more rigid repayment policy. Even bankruptcy isn't a cure for student debt. The Wall Street Journal reported on a doctor whose debt had ballooned to $550,000, ruining her credit rating and her chances to really invest in her community and her own stability, despite now having regular, professional employment. While this is an extreme case, it's not unusual for graduates to find themselves in this debt trap. And it's all too common that the rules of the debt game aren't serving our society.SANA, YEMEN — Thousands of people continued to protest across Yemen on Wednesday, with hundreds of people taking to the streets of Sana, Taiz and other cities, in a bid to force the resignation of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.In the southern town of Taiz, demonstrators protesting for a sixth successive day said they were determined to keep on until the government was ousted. In Sana, at least 800 protesters marched through the streets near Sana University, Reuters reported, despite police efforts to break up the demonstration. The Associated Press reported that 2,000 police officers faced off with demonstrators in the capital, firing in the air and blocking thousands of students at Sana University from joining the protest. In Taiz, Ahmed Shawqi, a journalist and protest organizer, said Tuesday that about 3,000 people had joined in demonstrations, and the number was still growing. “Our demand, that we will not abandon whatever happens to us, is the removal of the regime,” Mr. Shawqi said. “We want President Saleh and his relatives holding military and civil posts to leave. This popular and youth protest wants the removal of the regime.” On Monday, the police and pro-government counterdemonstrators attacked the protesters with stones and batons, injuring at least 10 people, Mr. Shawqi added.Muhammad al-Maweri, an Interior Ministry spokesman, said security forces opposing the demonstrators had acted lawfully to protect not only the General People’s Congress, the ruling party, but also the opposition Joint Meeting Parties and students. “The security authorities are safeguarding authorized demonstrations and are keen to allow the people to express themselves with freedom,” Mr. Maweri said. Supporters of Mr. Saleh, who were said by some to be soldiers out of uniform, gathered at Sana University to block students from taking to the streets. “I got up really early and went to the university, but there were no protesters there,” said Sam al-Khateeb, a student. “Some people with batons intercepted me while heading toward the university gate and ordered me to leave, and threatened me,” he said. On Tuesday, hundreds of students marched on the presidential palace, but were blocked by anti-riot police who blanketed the main streets of the capital. In Taiz, a protester, Sediq Abdul Karim, 28, voiced the general mood. “We want our own revolution like those in Tunisia and Egypt,” he said. “Our goal is to remove the regime and our slogan is: Leave, leave, the chair you are sitting on has become rusted.”
- 16 President Obama’s proposed budget for the 2012 fiscal year includes cuts to funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Under the proposed budget, each organization’s budget would drop by 13 percent. The cuts would mean a drop in funding from $168 million this fiscal year to $146 million next year. The National Endowment for the Arts is working with its sister agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities, to better coordinate and/or consolidate their administrative functions in areas of mutual interest. Such efforts will help to reduce overhead costs at both Endowments, which could produce savings that can be reallocated to partially offset some of the grants programs. In other words, cooperation between the two organizations could mean lower operating costs, savings which could then go back towards funding grants to arts organizations. The Smithsonian Institution, on the other hand, sees a request for a budget raise, largely to provide funds for the renovation of older facilities and the construction of the upcoming National Museum of African American History and Culture, planned to open in 2015 but the victim to many starts and stops. The White House is also asking for an $8 million increase in operating funds for the National Gallery of Art, from $111 million in FY 2010 to $119 million in FY 2010. The budget also supports the continuation of the NGA’s infrastructural capital projects already underway at both the East and West Buildings.ALGIERS-a thousand students expressed this morning in Algiers in front of the headquarters of the Ministry of higher education. Students of various specialisation institutes but also of the University of Algiers, Boumerdes, protesting for days against a new regulation that is devalues their diplomas '. Protests are also underway in other University of Oran, Algeria, Tizi Ouzou, Blida, Laghouat. The presidential decree amended the qualifications required for access to work.
- 15 Egypt- Just prior to the momentous demonstrations that began January 25th, anonymous leaflets circulating in Cairo also provided practical and tactical advice for mass demonstrations, confronting riot police, and besieging and taking control of government offices. Signed "long live Egypt", the slickly produced 26-page document calls on demonstrators to begin with peaceful protests, carrying roses but no banners, and march on official buildings while persuading policemen and soldiers to join their ranks. The leaflet ask recipients to redistribute it by email and photocopy, but not to use social media such as Facebook and Twitter, which are being monitored by the security forces. Protesters in Cairo are advised to gather in large numbers in their own neighbourhoods away from police and troops and then move towards key installations such the state broadcasting HQ on the Nile-side Corniche and try to take control "in the name of the people". Other priority targets are the presidential palace and police stations in several parts of central Cairo. The leaflet includes aerial photographs with approach routes marked and diagrams on crowd formations. Suggested "positive" slogans include "long live Egypt" and "down with the corrupt regime". There are no signs of slogans reflecting the agenda of the powerful Muslim Brotherhood. It advises demonstrators to wear clothing such as hooded jackets, running shoes, goggles and scarves to protect against teargas, and to carry dustbin lids – to ward off baton blows and rubber bullets – first aid kits, and roses to symbolise their peaceful intentions.
- 14 British Columbia- finds itself in strange political times, and strange times seem to call for unusual methods. Arts advocacy tactics have lately taken a new turn, one that may at seem confusing or counter-intuitive. However, it may be a way to focus public attention on the serious damage that the cuts to arts funding have inflicted on our sector, and we believe it’s an effective way to bring pressure to bear on the BC government. The BC government is trying to force a mega-casino on Vancouver’s downtown core. However their permission from the City is still pending, Arts advocates are using the conscience of Vancouver City Hall as the pointy wedge in their fight against the recent cuts. Arguing that mega-casino is a bad deal for many reasons showing statistics that it isn’t even good business, but they are emphatically opposed to it in light of the unwarranted and possibly illegal cuts of gaming funding to charities in BC. The current strategy regarding the casino was not solely initiated by the arts. It was devised in collaboration with the BCACG (BC Ass’n for Charitable Gaming) which represents all charities in BC who receive gaming funds. All of these charities were hit with devastating cuts at the same time the arts were hit – August of 2009. But the arts didn’t just see a lessening of funding; Minister Rich Coleman actually made the arts ineligible for gaming funds altogether, thereby cutting the majority of BC arts funding. The BCACG has tirelessly advocated for the restoration of gaming funds to arts organizations despite the fact that the arts have been disqualified from receiving.
- 07 New York- Laborers, artists, students and activists protested in solidarity with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers against the grocery chain's labor policies for farm-workers who pick the chain's tomatoes. The CIW, the Community Farmworker Alliance NYC and the Student/Farmworker Alliance rallied outside of the Trader Joe's Union Square location at noon before marching to the chain's Chelsea location. In conjunction with community organizations, farmworkers have pushed for grocery chains to adopt a fair food agreement that guarantees workers' rights and a fair wage for field workers. Although major food corporations Whole Foods, Subway and McDonald's have already signed the agreement, Trader Joe's has not responded to the CIW's requests in two years. "We are asking Trader Joe's to add one more penny per pound of tomatoes, which will double the wages," said Luis Gomez, a spokesperson for the Community Farmworker Alliance NYC. Currently, Trader Joe's pays tomato pickers 45 cents per 32 pounds of tomatoes picked. CAS sophomore Gaia Dell'Eugenio said she heard about the event from a professor in NYU's Social and Cultural Analysis department. "I thought it was something interesting and something important," she said. "I live in University Hall, so Trader Joe's is half a block away. NYU is renting that space. If you can tell NYU that you care about this, then they'll tell Trader Joe's and something can be done." CIW's requests also include the right to deal solely with companies that strictly abide by human rights laws, to support the agreement between the CIW and Florida Tomato Growers Exchange that granted workers more leverage in the workplace, and to eliminate slavery in the food supply industry. Representatives of farmworker, community and student groups from across the northeastern United States also attended the rally.
- 01 England- Nottingham students and lecturers from both universities and further education & six form colleges demonstrated again amongst thousands in both London and Manchester on Saturday 29th January against forthcoming rises in tuition fees, the cut to EMA that has already taken place, and cuts to other services. Some demonstrators who went to London, including some of the Nottingham contingent, ended up at the Egyptian embassy near Hyde Park in solidarity with anti-government protests there, before joining coaches back. Others took action at high street stores of tax avoiding companies, many of which were closed and had to be protected by police. In Manchester hundreds of students chased NUS president through the streets with chants including “Students, workers, hear us shout, Aaron Porter sold us out” and “Porter – out”. Eventually he took refuge in Manchester Metropolitan Students’ Union, protected by a heavy cordon of riot police. NUS deputy, Vice-President Further Education Shane Chowan who took his place was drowned out by hostile chanting and pelted with eggs.Erbil- The Kurdistan Region’s minister of education said his ministry has requested the Regional government to employ 6,000 pedagogical staff and employees in 2011. The number is almost twice the number of recruited teachers in 2010. The demand has been directed to the Kurdistan Council of Ministers to fill the gap in teaching staff and administration posts of new and demanding schools. Some 3,200 new teachers were assigned to teach across the Region in 2010, most of whom primary school teachers. Now the teachers’ institutes have been superseded by colleges of basic education, so, the remaining 1,400 unemployed graduates of the institutes are given priority in 2011 recruitment proposal, said the minister. Ismael Barzinji, the media secretary at the ministry told AKnews, currently the number of teachers in the Kurdistan amounts approximately to 90,000. The Kurdistan Region is entitled to 17% of the Iraqi total budget, which is currently under discussion in parliament. However, fears are that the Kurdish share may drop to 11.6% for 2011. The general Iraqi budget for 2011 is estimated to be around 94 trillion IQD- around $80 billion U.S. Dollars, up from $71 billion in 2010.