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Direct Democracy in the Making in the Dolomites

The Dolomites are a mountain range located in north-eastern Italy nearly equally shared between the italian provinces of Belluno, South Tyrol and TrentinoThe Dolomites & Trentino Province

Sept. 5.─ The civic committee "Più Democrazia in Trentino" has achieved tangible results with their initiative to introduce more and better direct democracy in Trentino, an autonomous province in Northern Italy, renowned for the Dolomites that form part of the Alps. This month, the first permanent legislative commission of Trentino has accepted the citizens' initiative for implementing direct democracy in the province.

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Maritime disputes: Make law, not war

How to solve spats over sea bordersTerritorial and exclusive maritime zones

Aug.25.─ Like toddlers scrapping over rubber ducks in a bathtub, countries are again quarrelling about the control of islets in the seas between them. The latest spat has blown up between Japan and China over an uninhabited archipelago. If ownership were to change, it would create a new sea border between the countries.

Maritime disputes are unlikely to go away soon. More than half the world's sea borders—imaginary lines where countries meet—remain undrawn. Luckily, not all disputes end up triggering nationalist emotions or worse. Rather, a slow-motion scramble to fill in the gaps pushes on, with highly paid lawyers debating old maps, analysing treaties and thrashing out deals.

Once defined by the range of a cannon shot from the shore, sovereignty over coastal waters has since 1982 been guided by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

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Muslim Brotherhood fully in Charge in Egypt

  • "The sacking of a clutch of top generals is a welcome step to securing Egypt's nascent democracy", according to The Economist
  • Pres. Morsi most immediate test is the writing of a new constitution

Abdel Fattah al-Sisi meets Pres. Morsi

Aug.25.─ At the height of the Arab spring in 2011, protesters in Cairo's Tahrir Square sought to overthrow the country's military rulers of six decades. They paid a heavy price in blood—and did not wholly succeed. Hosni Mubarak, the president (and a former air-force commander), was ousted and jailed. But many of the uniformed men around him stayed in power, coexisting uneasily with a gaggle of strutting revolutionaries.

That coexistence is now over. With a cool, calm announcement on August 12th, the army has been effectively sidelined by Muhammad Morsi, the newly elected president, who comes from the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist group (see article). His scalps include Field-Marshal Muhammad Tantawi, the longtime defence minister who became Egypt's de facto ruler after Mr Mubarak's fall, his deputy on the secretive Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) and several other ancient generals.

This move has not stripped the armed forces of all their power. As in many Arab and African countries, they will retain political clout.

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Cuban academic Calls for "Participatory Democracy" in Cuba

MalecnHabaneroHavana, Aug.17.─ Cuban academic Camila Piñeira, daughter of the late guerilla commander Manuel "Red Beard" Pineiro, on Wednesday called for "participatory democracy" on the island, while basing this on the economic reforms of President Raul Castro, reports AFP.

"If the changes are concentrated only on 'improving the economy', not only will we fail to achieve the objective of improving the material conditions of the Cuban population, but the social cohesion that has sustained the revolution will be affected," said Pineira, who is also the daughter of the Chilean leftist theoretical Marta Harnecker.


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US - Independent State Senate candidate unveils direct democracy experiment

  • "I, Jeremy Hansen, pledge online democracy... if you elect me as Vermont State Senator for Washington County" [ See Website ]
  • Phil Dodds joins Hansen's online pledge as candidate for the US House of Representatives from Florida Disctict 3 [ See Website ]

VT State Senate candidate Jeremy HansenVermont, Aug.8.─ Independent state Senate candidate Jeremy Hansen (photo), running in Washington County, today demonstrated a sophisticated beta website where voters can comment, weigh pros and cons, and direct Hansen's potential Statehouse vote.

Hansen pledges, if elected, to make policy decisions solely based on his constituents' online input. He says he will state his own opinion on matters, but will otherwise vote according to the information gathered by this interactive platform.


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