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SOF World Report

China Tightens Internet Restrictions

China has tightened its controls on Internet use, requiring anyone who wants to set up a Web site to meet directly with government regulators. The new rules, published by the Technology Ministry this week, also require Web site owners to submit their identity cards and personal photos. A ministry statement says the measures will help the country deal with online pornography.  But human rights defenders say the regulations are just a new form of government censorship. China has about 380 million Internet users, the world's biggest online population.  The government carefully censors th

Zimbabweans Bid to Amend Draconian Security Law

For the first time since an inclusive government was sworn into power a year ago, steps have been taken to amend security legislation that enabled the previous government to detain thousands of people.  Since the government of national unity came to power, the Cabinet made up of ministers from ZANU-PF and the Movement for Democratic Change has not repealed any repressive legislation.  Nor has it been able to agree on a program to change the security and media laws that have long been criticized by pro-democracy groups. But proposed legislation will soon be put to parliament to amend secu

Tymoshenko: Ukraine Threatened by Dictatorship

Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko is refusing to recognize Viktor Yanukovych as the next president of Ukraine, claiming that he is seeking to establish an anti-Ukrainian dictatorship.  In a televised address to the nation on Monday, Ms. Tymoshenko issued a call for a coalition of patriotic and democratic forces to oppose the man who defeated her in the February 7th presidential election.

Thai Political Uncertainty Causes Investor Concern

Thailand's finance minister says the political uncertainty gripping the country could damage economic growth and investor confidence.  Some investors are concerned a Thai Supreme Court verdict against former Thai Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, due later this week could lead to protests that could destabilize the fragile economy. Thai Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij warned Monday that political uncertainties in the country could adversely affect economic growth. Korn's comments come just ahead of a Friday Supreme Court verdict on whether former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra is

Kenya's Two Leaders Fail to Meet to End Impasse

Kenya's two warring leaders failed to meet Sunday, despite an earlier pronouncement that they would, as the nation's political impasse drags on. Prime Minister Raila Odinga returned to Kenya on Sunday.  His office had earlier announced he would meet with President Mwai Kibaki to discuss a resolution to the country's weeklong political spat, but Mr. Kibaki's aides later denied the meeting had been set. Instead, Mr.

Ukraine Prime Minister Withdraws Election Complaint

Ukraine's Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, a losing candidate in the recent presidential election, has withdrawn her legal challenge from the court where she went to claim that voting results were rigged.  The decision clears the way for opposition leader Viktor Yanukovych to become the president of Ukraine. According to the original claim by Ukraine's Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, more than one million votes in the February 7th poll were falsified or miscounted. Ms. Tymoshenko lost the election to opposition leader Viktor Yanukovych by 3.5 percentage points. Until recently, Ms.

Civil affairs teams help displaced citizens in Haiti

Citizens living in a sprawling tent city in north Port-au-Prince were visited by members of a U.S. Special Operations civil affairs team Feb.

Soldiers Name New Leader in Niger, International Community Opposes Coup

Soldiers in Niger have named a new military leader following Thursday's coup against  President Mamadou Tandja. Squadron chief Salou Djibo leads Niger's new Supreme Council for the Restoration of Democracy. He commands a heavy artillery unit that played a key role in Thursday's attack on the presidential palace. President Tandja was detained while holding a cabinet meeting.