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Tuesday, 22 May


High stakes for Northern Ireland in abortion referendum "IndyWatch Feed"

The Republic of Irelands referendum on whether to overturn its near-total constitutional abortion ban is already having an impact in Northern Irish politics, and the outcome on Friday is crucial.

Thats the takeaway from Slugger OToole deputy editor David McCann in a special episode of The Irish Passport podcast from Belfast.

Have a listen here.



When Harry weds Meghan "IndyWatch Feed"

Some bashed the monarchy and called the royal wedding a non-event. A minority voice claimed that the wedding was no big deal. (He was wrong).

lead lead Prince Harry and Meghan Markle walk down the steps after their wedding at St. George's Chapel, Windsor. Saturday, May 19, 2018. Ben BirchHall/Press Association. All right reserved.Why does V S Naipaul go to Africa to record mass hysteria? He could witness it in his adopted land during every royal wedding and funeral. That is when the long-suppressed emotions of the reserved Britons find a release. The un-British act of crying in public with joy or sorrow is there for all to see.

Prince Harry married Meghan and Britons came out to dance with joy. Nothing else mattered to the revellers forming a sea of Union Jacks.

The young royals, when they marry or produce babies, also serve the Queen! Every such event increases the longevity of the monarchy. The carefully choreographed spectacle enhances the monarchys magic and mystique.

The British monarchy is criticised for not becoming as modern as the bicycling kings of northern Europe. In Britain, royal traditions are hard to discard. Even then the monarchy keeps trying to reinvent itself in order to remain relevant.

Prince Harry lent a helping hand by marrying Meghan Markle. She is a commoner from a former colony, daughter of a black mother and white father, product of a broken home, an actress with a record of social activism and of saying things that are not said in Britains palaces. The pet phrases of the British aristocracy such as simply not done or simply not said are as foreign to Harrys new wife as light to a coal mine. Prince Harry lent a helping hand by marrying Meghan Markle.

Harry made a powerful social and cultural statement by picking Meghan as his wife and magically transforming her into the Duchess of Sussex. He brought Buckingham Palace closer to Balti Britain and showed that he had grown up since the days when he used to utter words such as Paki and raghead.

What could be more modern than marrying...


Crece (otra vez) la milicia en Rio de Janeiro "IndyWatch Feed"

Inicialmente, las milicias aseguraron territorio, garantizaron la ley y el orden, y lograron cierta legitimidad. Pero se han convertido en bandas criminales despiadadas, que compiten con las de narcotraficantes. English

Rio de Janeiro. Mike Egerton/PA Wire/PA Images. Todos os derechos reservados.

A mediados de mayo de 2008, un periodista, un fotgrafo y un conductor fueron secuestrados y torturados en Batn, una favela  en la zona oeste de Rio de Janeiro. 

Cuando se public la noticia del incidente, inflam a la nacin entera y caus conmocin en todo el mundo. El equipo estaba armando un reportaje sobre la poco conocida milicia de la ciudad: los autoproclamados vigilantes, que mandaban sobre las comunidades pobres a punta de pistola. A diferencia de las famosas bandas de narcotraficantes, la milicia inclua a ex soldados, policas, bomberos y guardias de prisiones.

Avancemos rpido hasta el presente, y la milicia vuelve a ocupar los titulares. Esta vez son los principales sospechosos del asesinato selectivo de Marielle Franco, concejala negra de la ciudad y de su conductor, Anderson Gomes. Marielle haba sido consejera del congresista del mismo estado de Ro  - Marcelo Freixo, que es ahora el lder del partido izquierdista PSOL que investig a la milicia hace una dcada. Sin embargo, y a pesar de sus heroicos esfuerzos para frenar el poder de los gnsteres de Ro, la milicia es hoy ms fuerte que nunca.

La milicia restringi inicialmente sus actividades a la expulsin de los gnsteres y a defender del narcotrfico a los barrios pobres.

Existen ciertas dudas sobre cundo o dnde surgieron los primeros grupos de milicias. Algunos analistas creen que la ...


China in Africa "IndyWatch Feed"

China in AfricaIn the 1880s, the European powers divided up Africa into their mutually recognised colonial spheres and the borders of most African states still reflect the lines drawn on the map then. In the 20th Century, two new big players became involved in Africa: the United States and the Soviet Union, sometimes facing each other off in proxy wars and militarising much of the continent in the process. In comparison, China was a late entrant into the evolving scramble for Africa, these days as much about access to markets as control of raw materials.



FP May 22 "IndyWatch Feed"

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Pro-choice activists at Londons Saint Patrick's Day parade, March 2017. Photo: Dmitry Dzhus/Flickr. CC-BY-2.0 Some rights reserved.


Rio de Janeiro's militia on the rise (again) "IndyWatch Feed"

Initially, the militias secured territory, guaranteed law and order, and achieved some legitimacy. But they have become ruthless criminal gangs, competing with those of drug traffickers. Espaol

Rio de Janeiro. Mike Egerton/PA Wire/PA Images. All rights reserved.In mid-May 2008, a journalist, photographer and driver were kidnapped and tortured in Batan, a favela in Rio de Janeiro's west zone. When the news of the incident emerged, it electrified the nation and sent shockwaves around the world. The team was assembling a story on the city's little known militia - self-styled vigilantes who ruled poor communities at gunpoint. Unlike the notorious drug gangs, the militia included former soldiers, police, firefighters, and prison guards.

Fast-forward to the present, and the militia are again making headlines. This time they are the chief suspects of a targeted assassination of Marielle Franco, a black city councilwoman and her driver, Anderson Gomes. Marielle was a former advisor to the very same state congressman - Marcelo Freixo, now the leader of the left-wing PSOL party - who investigated the militia a decade earlier. Yet despite their heroic efforts to curb the power of Rio's gangsters, the militia are stronger than ever.

There is some uncertainty about when or where the first militia groups first emerged. Some analysts believe that the militia were first founded in the 1990s by military police living in gang-infested communities. The militia first made headlines in early 2000, when a string of media stories reported on their illegal activities that included charging businesses and civilians for "security services". Unlike social cleansing and extermination groups, which had existed in Brazil for decades, the militia initially restricted their activities to expelling gangst...

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