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COLOMBIA -- Former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe formed the Democratic Center in 2013 to contest the country’s legislative election on 9 Mar 2014 and the presidential poll in May. Uribe remains popular and the new party might elbow aside the Conservative Party as the main rival to the ruling National Unity party of President Juan Manuel Santos. Ahead of the vote for 102 Senate seats and 166 Chamber of Representatives seats, the ruling party will campaign on the country’s newfound political stability, its economic growth and relative lack of violence after a 50-year bloody insurgency. Santos is seeking a referendum on a peace deal with FARC – a Yes vote would ratify the pact -- for the same dates as the March or May elections.
Colombian farmers risk death to reclaim lost land (Guardian 16 Oct 2014)
Colombia: Paramilitary group threatens indigenous protesters with ‘social cleansing’ (Amnesty International 21 Oct 2013)
Colombia's Uribe Will Run for Office Again (ABC/Univision 19 Sep 2013)http://abcnews.go.com/ABC_Univision/ABC_Univision/colombias-uribe-plans-return-politics-shake-things-bigtime/story?id=20295737
Santos seeks referendum to pave way for peace deal (Reuters 22 Aug 2013)
NIGERIA -- President Goodluck Jonathan plans a three-month dialog on Nigerian unity in Abuja on 10 Mar 2014 -- or as soon as soon as all 492 delegates have been selected from the country’s political parties and myriad ethno-linguistic groups. The effort to buttress the country’s precarious unity depends in part on agreeing on reforms that result in more equitable power-sharing and resource allocation. The meeting comes at a critical time for the major oil producer. Some Nigerians regard as expired a century-old unification agreement forged by British colonial administrator F.D. Lugard, which united the mainly Muslim north and mainly Christian south. Other stressors on unity include an insurgency by Boko Haram Islamists in the north has the country and pending presidential and parliamentary election. Coups in 1966 and 1999 -- with the Biafran civil war of 1967 between -- remind the government of the perils of a National Conference that doesn’t result in tension-mitigating reforms.
F.D. Lugard biography (Encyclopedia Britannica) http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/350925/FD-Lugard
Nigeria: War, denial and corruption (Foreign Policy 24 Feb 2014) http://blogs.cfr.org/campbell/2014/02/24/nigeria-war-denial-and-corruption/
Does Nigeria really need a ‘Sovereign National Conference’? (African Argument 29 Jan 2014)
What next after edict that created Nigeria expires in 2014? (Africa Report 16 Dec 2013)
The scramble for representation (Nigerian Tribune 20 Feb 2014) http://www.tribune.com.ng/news2013/index.php/en/politics/item/33823-confab-the-scramble-for-representation.html
SINGAPORE – By the 49th public meeting of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), in Singapore from 23-27 Mar 2014, international stakeholders will be able to gauge the success of the roll out of the new Generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs). There is near consensus on the opinion that the new gTLDs will change the face of the Internet by opening up a world of domains and opportunities. The earliest suffixes were .com, .net and .org. The new gTLDs allow brand, location or specialty web suffixes, such as .google, .london and .music. Some reports speculate that the roll-out could bury social media as many companies and organizations see superior branding and security prospects in the gTLDs. Success might not lessen the ongoing clamoring for the transfer of the Internet naming system from the United States-based and managed ICANN to international control. Based in Los Angeles, ICANN manages the Internet’s domain-name system under a contract with the US Commerce Department. ICANN holds three public meetings each year in different regions of the globe, and the Singapore is the first of the three in 2014. ICANNwww.icann.org/Companies favour gTLDs over social media: survey (IT ProPortal 18 Nov 2013)http://www.itproportal.com/2013/11/18/companies-favour-gtlds-over-social-media-survey-states/
NETHERLANDS – More than 50 heads of state will address the threat of nuclear terrorism at the third Nuclear Safety Summit on 24-25 Mar 2014 at The Hague. The aims of this third and two previous summits -- Washington in 2010 and Seoul in 2014 – boil down to preventing nuclear materials falling into the wrong hands by strengthening legal and regulatory protections worldwide. The quest has become urgent. In recent years terrorists have demonstrated an unparalleled ability to cause massive destruction, and with weapons-grade fissile material they could diminish life and commerce on a vast scale. At the first International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) meeting at ministerial level to address nuclear security, held in Vienna in Jun 2013, 120 states adopted a declaration warning that more progress must be made to improve nuclear security globally. The March Hague summit will look for ways to reduce the amount of nuclear material and number of radioactive sources; enhance security; tackle smuggling of nuclear material; and improve international cooperation.National Security Summithttps://www.nss2014.com/enInternational Conf. on Nuclear Safety: Enhancing Global Efforts (IAEA 1 Jul 2013)http://www.iaea.org/newscenter/statements/2013/nuclear_security.pdfGovernments warn about nuclear terrorism threat (Reuters 1 Jul 2013)http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/07/01/us-nuclear-security-idUSBRE96010E20130701Stopping Nuclear Terrorism (Moscow Times 13 Oct 2013)http://www.themoscowtimes.com/opinion/article/stopping-nuclear-terrorism/487767.html
THAILAND -- The election for Thailand’s 150–seat Senate on 30 Mar 2014 will brings only 77 senators to the upper house through popular election. The other 73 are appointed by judges and independent government bodies. The ruling Pheu Thai party wants a fully-elected senate, a bid the Thai court rejected in Nov 2013. The bid is seen as a way of boosting the party’s dominance and is another of the grievances fuelling massive anti-government protests in Bangkok. Thailand remains politically divided following a 2006 coup that ousted former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, and the political turmoil courts another military takeover in the coup-prone country.
Over 100,000 participate in anti-govt rally (New Straits Times 10 Dec 2014)
Thai Senate rejects amnesty bill as opposition mounts (Reuters 11 Nov 2013)
Thai Court Rejects Bid for Direct Elections of All Senators (New York Times 21 Nov 2013)
FRANCE– Paris celebrates the 125th anniversary of its landmark Eiffel Tower in 2014.The key celebration dates are 31 Mar 2014, marking the 125th anniversary of theinauguration, and 6 May 2014, marking the anniversary of the opening of thetower to the public at the Universal Exhibition. An American sonic performanceartist and composer, Joseph Bertolozzi, wants to celebrate the 125th birthdaywith a live concert at the tower by using the structure as a percussiveinstrument. For his composition called Tower Music, he has recorded thestructure’s resonances with microphones placed on its surfaces as they werestruck with latex mallets and drumsticks. Organizers said the live show wouldrequire over 100 musicians, with microphones installed all over the towerrelaying sounds to the public below. TheEiffel Tower opened to a plethora of criticism in 1889 -- the critics regardedit as an eyesore. The opinion hasn’t proved enduring or universal -- it hasbecome one of the biggest draws in the world for tourists. Anniversary exhibitions that tell the storyof the designer, Gustav Eiffel, and of the construction of the tower are likelyto run for all of 2014. EiffelTowerhttp://www.eiffeltowerguide.com/Eiffel-Tower-Facts.htmlEiffel tourshttp://www.tour-eiffel.fr/