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The Last Days of the President’s Pet Parliament

Just days ago, Burkina Faso president Blaise Compaore had instructed his parliament to amend the constitution so he could head toward a fourth decade in power. But as deputies prepared to vote the measure through yesterday, the population turned out en masse to burn down the parliament, and went on to sack the prime minister’s office, the national television and radio offices, and the homes of various authorities for good measure.

Protestors dead or injured, others knocked unconscious. But in spite of it all, the people of Burkina Faso have accomplished something that not a single political analyst would have predicted.

“Ukraine’s Future is in the East”

There are many divides in Ukraine: a Catholic west and an Orthodox east (with a heavy sprinkle of Muslim Tatars in the Crimea). A Ukrainian-speaking west and a Russian-speaking east.Another is economic: the west is rural and underdeveloped, the east industrial and relatively wealthier.

If one looks at the map of the protests, it becomes obvious that the poor western half of the country is rebelling.

Ukraine’s Grim Young Men in Tracksuits

Semi-authoritarian regimes frequently find that beating protestors and members of the opposition is a task best done with hired thugs; they provide a certain amount of deniability and don’t look as bad on television as uniformed policemen. The Mubarak regime was famous for its baltagiyya.

Titushki is a new word from Ukrainians' lexicon that the whole world is now learning.

In Kashmir, a Gathering Storm

Shankracharya, Kashmir. Photo CC: Nihar Ganju.

The past week a spate of violent separatist attacks have rocked Indian-administered Kashmir. In this prescient survey of the region, Hardnews suggests that the relative quiet that has prevailed in recent years marks an evolution but not a lessening of separatist feeling in the Muslim-majority region. When the US finally withdraws from Afghanistan next year, will the Pakistan military establishment’s attention return to Kashmir?

It's May and still cold in Srinagar. "The cool weather is just to help the flowers bloom (phool wali sardi),"