By Alan Duke, CNN
segunda-feira, 26 de abril de 2010
By Sahra Abdi
NAIROBI (Reuters) - A group of Islamic clerics in northeastern Kenya said on Monday it was cracking down on public broadcasts of soccer and films because it feared young Kenyan Muslims were shunning Islamic traditions.
The group based in the town of Mandera on the border with Somalia said it had also put pressure on local administrators to back their television bans in a soccer-mad nation eagerly awaiting the World Cup in South Africa.
"If we come to a place where movies or watching football goes on we simply take everything and destroy the disc and repay the owners. We have now succeeded in 10 places," Sheikh Daud Sheikh Mahmud, head of the group, told Reuters.
"We will not stop until we have destroyed totally all the cinemas showing movies and football in this area," he said by phone from Mandera.
Kenya said such bans could never be enforced legally.
"This is a secular country so our people have the freedom to do whatever they want within the law, which includes watching football," government spokesman Alfred Mutua told Reuters.
"On our side of the border is a nation of law and order where there is no legal restriction on showing football".
The region of Somalia that borders Kenya is largely controlled by the al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab group, a rebel militia which enforces a harsh version of sharia law that includes banning school bells and music on radios.
The Kenyan group denied any link to al Shabaab.
Sheikh Daud Sheikh Mahmud said they were worried youths in the predominantly Muslim region were being distracted by television broadcasts in bars and cafes.
"We realized that our children were spending the whole night in those misleading places ... this is something against our Islamic religion and we are the leaders of the people," he said.
Many Kenyan Muslim leaders support a more moderate interpretation of Islam, although one said restrictions on television were possible if young Muslims were indeed spending too much time transfixed by light entertainment.
"Our religion isn't against football as it is also healthy exercise," Sheikh Nor Barud Gurhan, a Nairobi-based Muslim scholar, told Reuters.
"We could ban it if the people are busy only watching and playing football without doing the obligatory actions of Islam like praying," he said.
The northern Kenyan group pledged to step up its anti-soccer drive in Kenya as Africa waits to hosts its first World Cup in June, a point of great pride for many Kenyans.
Writing by Jeremy Clarke; Editing by David Clarke
The Washington Post
By Aziza Musa, Daily Texan Staff
By Camillus Eboh
ABUJA (Reuters) - A crisis in Nigeria's ruling party deepened on Monday as a group of rebel members won the right to appeal against their suspension and corruption charges were filed against the party chairman.
Disagreement over who the People's Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in next year's presidential elections should be risks tearing apart the grouping that has dominated Nigeria's politics since the country returned to democracy just over a decade ago.
A split could radically alter the political landscape in Africa's most populous nation, raising the prospect of more than one candidate credibly contesting next year's polls.
The PDP suspended a group of 19 senior members last week after they launched an open rebellion calling for reforms which could break the stranglehold of a small elite over the party and throw the presidential race wide open.
The group, known as the PDP Reform Forum, on Monday won an appeal allowing them to challenge their suspension in court and preventing the party from holding a key meeting due on Tuesday to approve rules for the presidential primaries.
"I am of the view that it is in the interest of justice to grant the application and the application is hereby granted," Justice Abubakar Talba told a high court in Abuja.
The Reform Forum had argued that should Tuesday's meeting go ahead in their absence, their interests as party members would not be represented.
The ruling dealt a second blow to party chairman Vincent Ogbulafor, hours after another Abuja court charged him and four others with 16 counts of "conspiracy and fraud" relating to his time as a government minister in 2001.
The charges filed by Nigeria's anti-fraud agency the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (IPCP) accuse Ogbulafor of conspiring to siphon off 233 million naira in public funds.
"The prosecution is at liberty to apply for an arrest warrant if there is any likelihood that any of the accused may decide not to come that day," Justice Ishaq Bello said, setting Ogbulafor's arraignment for May 3.
The rift in the PDP centres around who should stand as the party candidate in next year's presidential race.
The sickness of President Umaru Yar'Adua, who returned from a Saudi hospital in February but remains too ill to rule, had already raised the prospect of rifts within the PDP if it struggled to agree on who his successor should be.
Ogbulafor said last month that the PDP candidate in 2011 should be from Yar'Adua's Muslim north, abiding by the terms of an unwritten agreement that power rotates between north and the mostly Christian south every two terms.
But Acting President Goodluck Jonathan, a southern Christian, has not ruled himself out of the race and some northerners have said they would support him.
Posters backing his candidacy appeared around Abuja over the weekend, although they appeared to have been posted by a little-known northern youth group.
Twice in recent weeks, a Chinese navy ship-based helicopter veered dangerously close to a Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyer engaged in patrol and surveillance activity.
On both occasions, the chopper could have struck the ship, but China expressed no regret for the incidents.
Instead, Beijing appeared to be watching to see how Tokyo would react. It was an unacceptable attitude.
If China keeps up with these provocations, it will risk harming relations with Japan by creating concern about its intentions among the Japanese public.
The Japanese government failed to respond adequately to China's provocative behavior. Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama didn't bring up the issue at his recent meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao in Washington.
With this, Hatoyama sent the wrong signal to Beijing that Tokyo had no intention of making the incident into a diplomatic issue. That's deeply regrettable.
One big security challenge facing Japan is how to respond to the rapid expansion of China's naval activities.
Ten warships of China's East Sea Fleet including two destroyers and two submarines carried out drills involving ship-based helicopters in the East China Sea. Then the flotilla passed through international waters between Okinawa's main island and Miyakojima island as it sailed into the Pacific on the night of April 10.
The number of warships was larger than in similar maneuvers in the past, and unusually, the submarines traveled on the surface.
It was obvious saber-rattling.
On April 8, a Chinese ship-based helicopter buzzed an MSDF destroyer, coming within about 90 meters horizontally. Despite Japan's request to China for an examination of the facts concerning the helicopter's actions, a similar incident happened again April 21.
The Chinese government claimed these actions were necessary defensive measures in response to Japan's surveillance activities.
In addition, the International Herald Leader, a publication affiliated with the state-run Xinhua News Agency, commented that Japan, a seafaring country, is sensitive to and nervous about the Chinese navy's operations.
The publication went so far as to say, in an admonishing tone, that Japan should become accustomed to Chinese warships sailing frequently on to the high seas.
The PLA Daily of the People's Liberation Army described the maritime drills as "exercises on a rare scale and in a complicated environment aimed at enhancing (China's) comprehensive defense capabilities."
The daily also reported that China will carry out exercises for "three wars"--the war for public opinion, in which media are employed to establish faits accomplis; the psychological war to demoralize the enemy; and the legal war to win international support by making effective use of international law.
There is good reason to believe that the Chinese navy fully anticipated the series of events and that the drills were partly designed to test Japan's reaction.
If so, China's disregard for Japan's request for information is all the more unacceptable. The situation is testing Japan's diplomatic ability to deal with an increasingly assertive China.
Japan and China have set a common goal of building strategic, mutually beneficial bilateral relations. On the security front, the two countries have agreed to make cooperative efforts to secure regional stability through defense dialogue and exchanges.
Tokyo and Beijing are also working together to create a communications system to avoid accidental clashes.
The Hatoyama administration, however, has not been pouring enough energy into talks between the two governments over crisis management and military issues.
China's navy, which is expanding the scope of its operations in the Pacific and other oceans, should behave in a way that doesn't provoke negative reactions from the rest of the world.
The Japanese government, for its part, should put more pressure on China to take steps to strengthen mutual trust through diplomatic efforts anchored by its security alliance with the United States.
The Asahi Shimbun