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US Congress returns with just weeks to prevent government shutdown

House Speaker Paul RyanHouse Speaker Paul Ryan Washington DC, Sept.5.─ Congress returns Tuesday from a seven-week recess that has left lawmakers with less than a month to fund the federal government and prevent a shutdown. But the scramble to solve that problem will not stop Republicans from casting votes on other issues designed to register their opposition to the Obama administration.

Federal agencies ranging from the National Park Service to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention could face closures unless lawmakers vote on a stop-gap spending bill to keep the government running past the end of September.

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Venezuela ordered to pay Vancouver-based mining firm more than US$1.2 billion

An international arbitration tribunal has ordered Venezuela to pay for expropriated mines

Vancouver, Aug.23.─ An international arbitration tribunal has ordered Venezuela to pay a Vancouver-based mining company more than US$1.2 billion for expropriating its gold mines.

Venezuela took over Rusoro Mining's investments in the country as part of a nationalization of the gold industry in 2011.

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Africa’s fragile democracies stall

  • Since the end of the cold war, multi-party democracy has flourished. In many countries it is now at risk
  • Democracy advances stall in Africa just as it is happening in Latin America from the very begining of this Century  

Aug.20.─ Some call it Africa’s second liberation. After freedom from European colonisers came freedom from African despots. Since the end of the cold war multi-party democracy has spread far and wide across the continent, often with impressive and moving intensity. Remember 1994, when South Africans queued for hours to bury apartheid and elect Nelson Mandela as president in their country’s first all-race vote.

Many of Africa’s worst Big Men were swept away. Mengistu Haile Mariam fled Ethiopia in 1991; Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) decamped in 1997; a year later Sani Abacha of Nigeria died in office (or, as rumour has it, in the arms of prostitutes).

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Participatory Democracy vibrant in Malaysia

Associate Professor Farish Noor considers, however, that it will be more difficult to predict election results with so many parties in the fray  Panoramic view of Kuala LumpurPanoramic view of Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur, Aug.16.─ The emergence of new political parties in Malaysia suggests participatory democracy is quite vibrant, academic and respected observer Dr Farish A. Noor says.

It shows Malaysians still believe in playing by the rules of constitutional democracy, says the Associate Professor at the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

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New US atomic scandal uncovered in Greenland

Melting ice caps could lead radioactive waste to the ocean
Another disturbing side effect of Global Warming

Camp Century in GreenlandCamp Century in Greenland Nuuk, Aug.15.─ A new scandal involving the US in Greenland has bubbled to the surface following the revelations that radioactive waste from a former top secret military base could find its way to the ocean due to the melting icecaps.

The base in question, Camp Century, was established under the ice east of the Thule Air Base in 1959 by the US Army. It used a mobile atomic reactor as an energy source for the around 200 soldiers and researchers who resided there.

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