Monday, January 7, 2019

Coup in Gabon

The military is attempting to take control of the African nation of Gabon.

Gabon is a country along the Atlantic coast of Central Africa.

The military maintains it's doing this to return democracy to the nation.

The national radio station has been taken over and an announcement was made denouncing the president and the establishment of what they're calling a ''restoration council."

Shots have been heard fired in Liberville, the nation's capital.

The coup attempt is taking place as the nation's ailing president, Ali Bongo Ondimba, is out of the country, in Morocco, recovering from a stroke.

Ondimba is the son of Omar Bongo, who was dictator of Gabon from 1967 until his death in 2009.. The now 59-year-old took over as president after his father's death. He was re-elected in 2016.

There are reports that the internet has been taken down. It's not known at the time of this posting how many members of the military are participating.

Life's not exactly a bowl of cherries for women in Saudi Arabia

Several years ago while administrating an international online chat program a woman in Saudi Arabia came to me in tears.

She was afraid she was about to be kicked off the program for a transgression (she wasn't but she didn't know that) and was extremely distraught.

I thought, why would anyone be so upset over being kicked off a chat program? But as I learned her story, I understood.

She told me she was was forced to marry her cousin and she'd been physically abused.

She claimed she couldn't leave the house without his permission. Could have no male friends. And few women friends.

Basically she was a prisoner in her own house.

And she told me how he had hurt her. She even defied the norms of cultural modesty to show me cigarette burns on her body.

So to her, the chat program I was administering was more than just a technology. For her it was freedom. It permitted her to go on line when her husband wasn't home and make friends around the world. It was her lifeline. 

I, of course, assured her she was not in danger of being banned from the program. And there was no further contact from her after this brief encounter. Still, whenever the issue of women's rights comes up in Saudi Arabia, I think of her.

That's why I'm thinking of her today. And writing about her. As a story is breaking from Thailand. About an 18-year-old Saudi woman who, as of this posting, is barricaded in her hotel room. Refusing to leave. Because she doesn't want to go back to Saudi Arabia.

The subjugation of women in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is nothing new. As recently as this past October 19 Filipinas working in Saudi Arabia were arrested for violating Sharia Law by attending a Halloween party.

Also in October, a Kenyan woman working in Saudi Arabia managed to release a video in which she tearfully pleads for rescue from the servitude and abuse she says she is suffering at the hands of her employers.

And about a month later, some charities claimed that women human right's activists were tortured in a Saudi prison.

Life's not exactly a bed of roses for women in Saudi Arabia

Several years ago while administrating an international online chat program a woman in Saudi Arabia came to me in tears.

She was afraid she was about to be kicked off the program for a transgression (she wasn't but she didn't know that) and was extremely distraught.

I thought, why would anyone be so upset over being kicked off a chat program? But as I learned her story, I understood.

She told me she was was forced to marry her cousin and she'd been physically abused.

She claimed she couldn't leave the house without his permission. Could have no male friends. And few women friends.

Basically she was a prisoner in her own house.

And she told me how he had hurt her. She even defied the norms of cultural modesty to show me cigarette burns on her body.

So to her, the chat program I was administering was more than just a technology. For her it was freedom. It permitted her to go on line when her husband wasn't home and make friends around the world. It was her lifeline. 

I, of course, assured her she was not in danger of being banned from the program. And there was no further contact from her after this brief encounter. Still, whenever the issue of women's rights comes up in Saudi Arabia, I think of her.

That's why I'm thinking of her today. And writing about her. As a story is breaking from Thailand. About an 18-year-old Saudi woman who, as of this posting, is barricaded in her hotel room. Refusing to leave. Because she doesn't want to go back to Saudi Arabia.

The subjugation of women in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is nothing new. As recently as this past October 19 Filipinas working in Saudi Arabia were arrested for violating Sharia Law by attending a Halloween party.

Also in October, a Kenyan woman working in Saudi Arabia managed to release a video in which she tearfully pleads for rescue from the servitude and abuse she says she is suffering at the hands of her employers.

And about a month later, some charities claimed that women human right's activists were tortured in a Saudi prison.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Did you know federal employees affected by the shutdown haven't missed a paycheck yet?

There have been a lot of stories lately about federal employees affected by the partial shutdown having a hard time making ends meet during the partial government shutdown. 

For example, some federal employees have started Go Fund Me drives to help make ends meet. So you might be surprised to learn that they haven't missed a paycheck. Yet.

The first paycheck the workers would miss is January 15th. The last time they got paid was New Year's Eve.

As the partial shutdown drags on, it's interesting to also note that this is not the longest shutdown in history. At least not yet. It's now the third longest in history.


Palestinian terrorists shoot up Israeli passenger bus

An Israeli passenger bus traveling through the West Bank was shot up by Palestinians overnight.

This happened near the settlement of Beit El, an Orthodox Jewish town.

The driver was slightly wounded.

Drivers for the bus company Egged say they will strike tomorrow in the wake of the shooting over safety concerns.

Tensions have been running high since the shooting deaths last month of two Israelis at a bus stop in the West Bank. And on Friday, Israeli troops arrested the brother of two Palestinian men in the West Bank suspected of two terrorist attacks

Saturday, January 5, 2019

A suspect is in custody in the killing of a 7-year-old black girl in Houston

The killing of Jazmine Barnes took on racial overtones for several reasons.

She was in the car with her mother and sisters near a Houston Walmart store. When a white man in a red pick up truck opened fire, according to witnesses. Killing her.

It was in the same area where two other black people were shot in their car in 2017. And some community leaders believed the incidents were connected and racially motivated.

A composite sketch of a suspect was released. But now, the Harris County Sheriff's Department is tweeting the investigation has taken a new direction.

Some local media are reporting that the person they are questioning does not match the description of the person in the composite.

The arrest comes just hours after 1,000 people packed an emotional "Justice for Jazmine" rally in Houston.

And in today's opening game of the NFL playoff season, Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins took the field in Jazmine's honor.

Earlier this week the sheriff refused to speculate on a motive for the shooting. Saying until a person is in custody they will not know for certain.