Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sunday Push -- Quiz Time

There is a lot going on out there, and a lot that deserves attention and some 'blog threads here, but matters mundane leave me unable to do them justice.

So, rather than just a Sunday Open Thread, here's a little fun for you who like to research stories yourselves... focusing on some things we've discussed here previously:

. Madagascar's constitutional crisis is back in the news, and has a new twist. What happened?

.. Former President M. Zelaya is still in the Brazilian Embassy in Tegucigalpa, but what was the story on his supposed departure this last week? What did actually happen?

... Uganda's parliament just passed two astounding pieces of legislation, on the basis of making law regarding two societal matters. What were they? Are either reasonable laws?

.... Mauritania arrested 3 "bankers". How does that relate to the constitutional crisis there that was recently resolved? Is this important?

..... Another arms trafficking scandal just happened in Thailand. What was it, and who all got arrested and for what?

...... Speaking of arms trafficking, it looks like H. Chavez of Venezuela is ramping up arms deliveries and talking tough again. Why, and what of it?

....... and for bonus points: A 727 was found burned near an improvised airfield in what West African nation eariler this month? What happened (what do the authorities think, at least), and what reason was the aircraft out there in the middle of nowhere in the first place?

I'll give this a day or so, and then post up some answers (or confirm yours) in the comments to this thread.


1 comment:

L.Douglas Garrett said...

Oh bother...

All right, just for completeness sake, here are the answers:

1) Rajoelina closed the airports after a round of talks (on the mainland) went against his interests, locking several "unity" government members out of the country.

2) Mexico offered to have him visit as "a guest". The government-in-being offered a safe conduct to "private citizen Zelaya". M. Zelaya then refused to go for no clearly comprehensible reason... yet this week he supposedly left for COP15 in Copenhagen... no explanation as to how he did without being arrested has not been publicized.

3) Uganda passed legislation banning (in practice, if not intent) almost all homosexual activity and a seperate law banning female genital mutilation.

The first, while consistant with a cultural opposition to homosexuality, was poorly done; in an effort to criminalize predatory acts, it sensely bans almost anything vaguely homosexual and has very strict punishments for said "crimes".

The second is a long-sought legal definition of FGM as a criminal act, but provoked outrage in those communities that still (mis-)interpret religious guidance as justification for performing FGM.

Of the two laws, only this second law is legally defensible as just.

4) The government says it arrested them as part of an anti-corruption campaign. The Oppos says it is yet another crackdown on Opposition supporters. It relates to the fierce and divisive factionalism in Mauratanian politics that led to the coup. It is important in that it breathes new life into what were waning movements in the Oppos to bring down the recently elected government.

5) An aircraft, carrying North Korean-made armamments (in violation of the sanctions regime), made an unscheduled stop in Thailand after "in-flight troubles". The inspectors had been tipped by Western intelligence agencies to be on alert, and found 35 tons of armaments on board. The crew played stupid and said they had nothing important on-board. So they were arrested on two counts: trafficking arms and lying to authorities.

6) Almost everything that can go wrong with the Venezuelan economy is happening these days, and Hugo needs a distraction. Cue the "Imperialists are going to attack us" rhetoric, and grab more weapons suitable for a foray into Colombia (on some pretext) as a distraction. The problem is, those kind of distractions get a lot of people killed.

7, The Bonus) It was a Venezuela-origin cargo flight, but almost certainly carrying between 3 and 10 tons of cocaine for distribution into the smuggling routes up through North Africa and on to Europe. That is just a huge amount of blow for any one run, which means the traffickers believed the route was secure all the way.

The aircraft either crashed on take-off after delivering its load, or more likely was abandoned and set afire to destroy evidence once the cargo was long gone (narco-traffickers rarely use round-trip runs, for various reasons).

There you have it.