Iran entered the 10th presidential election in difficult socio-economic conditions. Four years of Ahmadinejad's government and the neo-liberal policies it pursued (dictated by the IMF and World Bank) meant that the overwhelming majority of the Iranian working class and working people were suffering from unprecedented hardship and poverty.
Iran’s clerical rulers are maneuvering to contain and suppress massive protests that continue to rock that country. This unprecedented mass uprising was sparked by outrage over the government’s rush to declare Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the absolute winner in the June 12 presidential elections, before votes could have been adequately counted, and despite every indication that his leading opponent, Mir-Hossain Mousavi, was headed either for outright victory or a runoff with Ahmadinejad.
The fact that Iran is not a democracy and that all candidates in the recent presidential election were “cleared” to run by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei should not blind us to the significance of the election outcome and the response of the people to it. As an exercise in mass engagement the 10th presidential election in Iran puts many in the West to shame. It has been clear from the nightly rallies in the major cities across the country that the Iranian population are desperate to make their voices for change heard.
President Obama is back from his trip abroad. It was a remarkable tour, during which he spoke of peace, democracy and progress, and then, in Germany, he confronted some of the greatest crimes against humanity ever perpetrated, crimes that were the direct result of fascism and war.
“Americans have been constantly redefining their national identity from the moment of first contact on the Virginia shore,” historian Ronald Takaki wrote. When our first African American president addressed the Arab and Muslim peoples of the world in Cairo, I think the Japanese American historian would have been deeply moved by the president’s compelling “redefinition” of America’s identity.
Vietnam’s Vaccine and Biomedical Product Company No. 1 (VaBiotech) has developed a new cholera vaccine that is superior to others currently in use. “The new vaccine offers 90 to 100 percent protection after two oral doses in comparison with 60 to 70 percent with the current vaccine,” said Dr. Nguyen Tran Hien, Director of Vietnam’s National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology.
The Obama administration recently proposed resuming semi-annual talks on Cuban migration to the United States. The State Department referred to “commitment to safe, legal and orderly migration” and to President Obama’s desire “to support the Cuban people in fulfilling their desire to live in freedom.”