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Rethinking virtual violence

Movies don't kill people, but they make us more likely to do so.
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James Holmes killed 12 people and injured 59 others during his shooting rampage. (RJ Sangosti-Pool/Getty Images)
Some have wrung their hands since last week’s shooting in Colorado about the need to force gun-control laws on our gun-happy society. Much less is said about the glorification of violence in our movies, video games and other pop culture.

Insurgents storm Iraqi police compound

As many as eight insurgents attacked a compound in an area once considered an Al Qaeda stronghold.

California quarry shootings leave three dead

Schools out in Yemen

Students at Sanaa University are boycotting lessons and closing down the campus, saying the revolution must come first.
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University students have closed down their campus in the capital Sanaa under the slogan: "“No education and no study until the president is ousted!” (AFP/Stringer/AFP/Getty Images)

As the uprising in Yemen has ratcheted up a gear and battles between forces loyal to the government and opponents of Yemen's regime rage on the streets of the capital, killing scores of people, students have closed down Sanaa University and are boycotting their lessons.

Protesting at the start of the new academic year, students have staged demonstrations inside campus over the past three days and put chains across the doors of many faculties leaving classrooms and corridors silent.

“We are youth demanding change and will not allow the government to use education as an excuse to end our revolution,” Abdul Nasser Wael, 22, a student at Sanaa University and a youth protester told GlobalPost.

Read GlobalPost: Is Violence Pushing Yemen to the Brink?


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Is violence pushing Yemen to the brink?

The past 24 hours have been the bloodiest since the uprising in Yemen began in January and many fear the once peaceful protests may turn violent.
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As Yemen has witnessed its bloodiest 24 hours since the uprising began nine months ago many fear the country is edging towards civil war. (AFP/Stringer/AFP/Getty Images)

An eyewitness to the unfolding situation in Yemen has spoken of almost civil war like conditions in the country’s capital Sanaa today. Hakim al-Masmari who works for the global campaign organization Avaaz, said that attacks on citizens are taking place in almost every street of the capital and that heavy artillery is being used against protesters.

“All roads are blocked in the capital and bullets are flying everywhere,” he said. “Anyone who is seen walking in the streets is shot instantly.”

At least 50 people have been killed while 650 people were injured in the past 24 hours after security forces indiscriminately shot at protesters calling for the toppling of President Ali Abdullah Saleh. At least 21 people were killed today across Yemen.

“President Saleh knows that he will be forced to sign the GCC power transfer proposal within the next week,” Ali Abdul Jabbar, Director of the Sanaa-based Dar al-Ashraf Research Center told GlobalPost, “and he is seeking to do anything to stay in power, even if it means killing protesters.”

Government forces opened fire on anti-government protesters Sunday using anti-aircraft guns and automatic weapons killing at least 26 people and wounding dozens.


Social media blamed for London riots

A second night of violence has swept London with riots breaking out in different parts of the city, in what has been described as an “organized manner.” Youths gathered in Enfield in North London, some of them responding to calls on Twitter and Facebook to meet. Nick de Bois, Conservative MP for Enfield North, said the disorder in Enfield was encouraged via social media websites:

With neighbors like these….

As tensions rise and the chance of sectarian strife erupting in neighboring Syria increases, Lebanon looks on nervously.
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(JOSEPH BARRAK/Staff/AFP/Getty Images)

As the Syrian regime fights for its life while still greater numbers of people join the popular protests, neighbouring Lebanon looks on anxiously fearing spill over from Syria could spark sectarian clashes in the mosaic and often fractured nation.

U.N. Special Coordinator for Lebanon Michael Williams, recently raised the potential for “confessional clashes in Lebanon” spilling over the border from Syria. “There is a great worry in Lebanon about this,” he said.

The two countries, for better or worse, share a complicated and at times bloody history. Although Syrian forces withdrew from Lebanon in 2005 ending a three decades long occupation, Damascus still wields great influence over its much smaller neighbour.

Accusations are regularly levelled from Beirut that the Syrian regime is interfering in Lebanon’s domestic politics, including smuggling weapons to Syrian-backed armed groups in Lebanon such as Hezbollah. Pro-West Lebanese politicians also accuse Syria of responsibility for the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri, as well as a string of prominent politicians and journalists in 2005.

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