World View: U.S. to Help France in Central African Republic Military Intervention

This morning's key headlines from

  • Immigrant issues explode over street riots in Singapore
  • U.S. to help France in Central African Republic military intervention
  • Vladimir Putin 'liquidates' Russia's Ria Novosti news agency

Immigrant issues explode over street riots in Singapore

Protester carries 'Singapore for Singaporeans' in large anti-immigrant rally in Singapore in February, 2013 (AFP)
Protester carries 'Singapore for Singaporeans' in large anti-immigrant rally in Singapore in February, 2013 (AFP)

A fatal accident killing a 33-year-old Indian immigrant who was knocked down by a private bus has sparked a spontaneous large riot on Monday in Singapore in the "Little India" section, which is mostly populated by migrants from India and Bangladesh. Police arrested 27 people, mostly Indian nationals, among the 400 people who rioted.

These are the largest immigrant riots since the 1969, since there were massive, bloody riots in Singapore. According to Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean:

"I want to make very clear that the government will not tolerate such lawless behaviour. I have asked the police to investigate the matter thoroughly and deal with all aspects of this incident and all persons involved strictly, firmly and fairly according to our law."

Rioting in Singapore is punishable by up to seven years in prison plus caning. (Yes, caning.)

However, immigration is a continuing issue in the city-state. In February, more than 4,000 indigenous Singaporeans staged a rally, one of Singapore's largest ever. They were angered by a government population white paper that showed that the population of immigrants was growing much faster than the population of Singaporeans, thanks to a rapidly declining birth rate.

According to the January, 2013, white paper:

"Singaporeans form the core of our society and the heart of our nation. To be a strong and cohesive society, we must have a strong Singaporean core.

Strong families are the bedrock of our society, through which we pass on our values and sense of belonging from one generation to the next. We may have diverse geographical and ethnic backgrounds, but we are all Singaporean because we share certain key values and aspirations, including meritocracy, a fair and just society, and respect for one another’s culture within a broad common space where all interact and bond."

Channel News Asia (Singapore) and AFP 17-Feb-2013 and Singapore population white paper (PDF)

U.S. to help France in Central African Republic military intervention

The U.S. military will fly African Union troops into Central African Republic, responding to a request by France. Two U.S. military C-17 aircraft will fly about 850 troops from Burundi into Central African Republic by Tuesday. According to Pentagon spokesman Carl Woog, the U.S. may provide additional military resources:

"The United States is joining the international community in this effort because of our belief that immediate action is required to avert a humanitarian and human rights catastrophe."

The situation in C.A.R. is quickly worsening, according to aid group Mercy Corps which, like all non-governmental organizations, wants more money from the U.S. and other "wealthy" nations:

"The situation in Central African Republic is declining rapidly in terms of security, which is leading to a humanitarian crisis that will continue to augment and become larger in scale unless the international community intervenes now."

More than 400,000 people have been displaced since so-called Séléka militias -- many of them Muslims from neighboring Chad and Sudan -- seized power in March, unleashing a wave of rapes, massacres and looting on the majority Christian population. The Christians have formed so-called anti-Balaka militias and are performing revenge attacks on Muslims. Some 400 people have died since Thursday in the capital Bangui alone. The fear is that the sectarian violence will spread throughout the country, leading a situation like the Rwanda genocide in 1994. Reuters and AFP

Vladimir Putin 'liquidates' Russia's Ria Novosti news agency

Russia's president Vladimir Putin took one more step on Monday to return Russia to a Soviet-style dictatorship, when it was announced that the Ria Novosti news agency would be "liquidated," and merged with the more compliant Russia Today. Ria Novosti is state owned, but it has angered Putin supporters by trying to present a relatively balanced news coverage, occasionally presenting Putin or the Kremlin in a less than favorable light. Ria Novosti presented fairly biased coverage of the 2012 anti-Putin protests in Moscow, and more recently of the pro-Europe protests in Ukraine.

The new news agency will be headed by Dmitry Kiselyov, who is vitriolically anti-American and pro-Putin, and once said that homosexuals people should be banned from giving blood and that when they die, their hearts should be "buried or incinerated as unsuitable to prolong someone's life." Ria Novosti and Telegraph (London)

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