Evidence Aziz has lost popular support in Mauritania. Exhibit 1

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This photo, from a pro-government festival in Ksar today, 7 May 2012, is more damning than any crowded square or street thronging with protesters.

Compare the above to these photos of  a protest today arranged by a bunch of high school kids. They are not demanding the overthrow of the regime, they just want a response to their legitimate demands and an end to the lies and empty promises.

Thousands of students protesting against the marginalization of the studentPolice fail to dissuade students from organizing the march

March in the yard near the building of the state cousinsYoung students who were defending their right to education

Misery Awaits Refugees from Mali in Mauritania

Malian refugees walk at Mbere refugee camp, near Bassiknou, southern Mauritania. Photo: ABDELHAK SENNA, Getty Images / 2012 AFP
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Malian refugees walk at Mbere refugee camp, near Bassiknou, southern Mauritania. Photo: ABDELHAK SENNA, Getty Images / 2012 AFP

Tens of thousands of Malian refugees who took shelter in neighbouring Mauritania are now marooned in the desert, trying to survive in extremely difficult conditions.

An Anadolu Agency (AA) correspondent recently visited the Mberra refugee camp for 62,000 Malian refugees, established three months ago some 1,460 kilometres away from the Mauritanian capital city of Nouakchott, and provided some grim details to Turkish Weekly.

Living in tents erected in the middle of the desert, most of the refugees spend their time by sleeping in their tents, protecting themselves from the heat and wind-blown sand.

Water needs of the refugees is met by tankers and, although the summer season only just began, temperature at the camp is already around 40 degrees Centigrade during day time.

Kitchen equipment, medicines and food items are among the most needed items in the camp.

Clashes Following The End of Gadhafi Rule

The clashes in Mali erupted in January 2012, following the return of Tuareg MNLA militants, who had served in the late Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi’s special forces, who then  began fighting for the independence of the Azawad region, with weapons assumed to have been brought with them from Libya.

In April 2012, a section of the Malian army conducted a coup and took control of the government, claiming that the former government of Mali was not effectively dealing with Tuareg militants.

Capitalising on the coup, Tuareg militants were able to swiftly gain control of large northern cities of Timbuktu, Kidal and Gao.

Hundreds of thousands of people are said to have been displaced due to clashes between Tuareg militants and the Malian army, but details on what threats they are escaping, why they choose to leave the country instead of heading for the south, and the logistics of their movements, are difficult to determine. That anyone would select Mauritania, with its food shortages, drought and other issues, defies rational explanation. In any event, now they are here, willingly or not, and they are suffering. Soon most will be too weak to contemplate moving again, and where would they go: back to Mali, to be used as pawns in an internal power struggle?

UN sources have told the AA that 56,000 Malians fled to Burkina Faso, 39,000 to Niger and 62,000 to Mauritania. A United Nations (UN) official in the region has told the AA that the number of refugees in the camp may significantly increase in the near future, without explaining why this might be. The official made a call on all international organizations to send assistance to the camp.

Mains source: Turkish Weekly.

NMA TV’s Take on Hollande’s France Election Win

Auf wiedersehen, Merkozy
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Francois Hollande was elected president of France in the 2012 French presidential election Sunday, becoming France’s first Socialist president in 17 years. Hollande defeated incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy on promises to reassess austerity deals aimed at solving Europe’s financial crisis in favor of pro-growth remedies, and to increase taxes for the rich.

The results of the French presidential election were echoed in Greece, where voters also punished pro-austerity parties in the polls, and are a major rejection for Franco-German led belt-tightening under former French president Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Is the end of “Merkozy,” the Franco-German partnership that has enforced the austerity regime, a good thing?

The Euro hit a three and a half year low against the pound as financial markets reacted to the election results in France and Greece. What is the austerity backlash at the polls going to mean for the Eurozone?

Whither Eurozone?

Auf wiedersehen, Merkozy

#Yemen: Seriously Hopeless or Hopelessly Serious?

Yemen Revolutionary Nobel Laureate Tawakkol Karman
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Yemen Revolutionary Nobel Laureate Tawakkol Karman

As protests which began in February 2011 seeking change, morphed through demanding the ouster of Saleh’s regime, and now demand transparent justice continue, Al Jazeera interviews Prime Minister Mohammed Salim Basindawa and Nobel Laureate activist Tawakkol Karman to review the situation in Yemen.

Basindawa seems woefully unprepared for the questions about the GCC deal, meeting protesters’ demands, foreign policy and the Al Qaeda issue. When it gets to the Houthi unrest in the north, he abruptly ends the discussion. It seems very much as though Basindawa had agreed to the interview in the expectation he would be promoting the work of the government rather than responding to criticism.

Yemen Prime Minister Mohammed Salim Basindawa

Ms Karman is as usual unequivocal about the situation in Yemen: protesters are resolute in their decision to continue the revolution, and to monitor the new government throughout its two-year probation. She reminds us that, while supportive of the transitional government, the GCC deal was never accepted by the people, and they will not yield on the need to address a multitude of social and political issues. The activist also highlights the responsibility of the international community to lend their support.

The continued influence of Saleh and his network clearly casts a long shadow over the future of Yemen: Tawakkol Karman believes Saleh is deliberately stirring instability and trying make good on his promise to turn the country into another Somalia, and Basindawa admitted that Saleh still has strong influence, especially through his family’s control of sections of the military and security.