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World Peace Update

Have those devoted to religion and football learnt how to deal with disappointment yet?

Last week, terrorists and Paraguayan farmers were mostly to blame for the merry-go-round of violence that constituted another complete failure at world peace. This week, a ragtag collection of striking cops, religious nutjobs, racists and English football fans are to blame. Come on Lionhearts, you could have it so much worse. You could live in…


The above video shows what has become a pretty rare occurence in Sudan – people getting tired of the oppressive regime and venting. Many foreign commentators thought the country would be dragged into the Arab Spring last year, but General Omar al-Bashir's regime held firm.


At least until last Wednesday that is, when protests by students in Khartoum against tough austerity measures exploded into rioting. The regime responded swiftly, by firing tear gas and sending in machete-armed militias to attack the protesters. The violence carried on for six days, with flaming barricades set up all across the city and protests spreading to other towns. This has been a tough year for the Sudanese, who've had to put up with sweeping austerity measures after South Sudan's secession, which took two thirds of oil production with it. Since then, the price of petrol has skyrocketed and war has broken out between the two nations, forcing the government to divert more public money towards the military. All of which brings Sudan to two popular revolutions in the past 50 years, an ongoing and seemingly endless war with South Sudan, widespread famine and a violent rebel uprising in the South. Things aren't looking great.


Do not fuck with Bolivian cops! On Thursday, Bolivian police went on strike in a bid to get their wages raised to the same as soldiers of similar rank. They started by taking over an elite police unit's barracks in the capital La Paz and kicking out their superiors. The strike has spread across the country, with other barracks in other cities being taken over, and there were clashes on Tuesday when the striking cops were confronted by pro-government supporters who were forced to flee after being tear-gassed. President Evo Morales has rejected their demands and accused them of being tools of the right-wing opposition, who he believes are setting the stage for a coup.


Either way, there are no signs of these rank-and-file cops standing down any time soon, and they have yet to be sufficiently challenged or placated by the government. Although the army is now standing in for the cops, so if we're lucky, the scene could be set for the ultimate throwdown.


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The civil war in Syria took an interesting turn this week, when on Thursday a Syrian air force colonel, Hassan Hammadeh, flew his MiG-21 attack jet into neighbouring Jordan and announced his defection. He was granted asylum by the Jordanian government and immediately branded a traitor by Syria. This is the first defection of its kind, as so far the air force has been fiercely loyal to the regime.

The very next day, there was another incident involving fighter jets, as Syrian air defence forces shot down a Turkish F-4 jet over international waters. Its two pilots still missing, the Syrian army then fired at rescue planes searching for the pilots. The incident has threatened to escalate Syria's civil war into a regional conflict, with Turkey calling on its NATO allies for support.

After a NATO meeting on Tuesday where a military response by the alliance was ruled out, Turkish president, Recep Erdogan, warned Syria that Turkey's rules of engagement had now changed after the incident. "Every military element approaching Turkey from the Syrian border and representing a security risk and danger will be assessed as a military threat and will be treated as a military target." Which makes Syrian operations to halt the FSA rebels from crossing over from Turkey very difficult and paves the way for a safe zone inside Syria.


The media and foreign commentators are wondering why Syria would commit such a risky act knowing that Turkey has NATO's second largest army and is fiercely protective of its territory. Is Syria trying to call NATO's bluff and put the intervention question to bed? Or is it hoping to provoke Turkey into an invasion which would in turn drag in Russia to defend its ally?


Kashmir, the volatile region shared by India, Pakistan and Led Zeppelin, has been more or less out of the news for a number of years now, with Afghanistan and Pakistan leeching the local limelight. This changed briefly on Monday, when a fire at a 200-year-old shrine to Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jeelani in a city in Indian-administered Kashmir raged out of control, as fire crews were, according to locals, slow to respond. Thousands of distraught Muslim worshippers quickly gathered around the shrine, growing increasingly angry as the fire tore through the building unhindered. In response, the mostly Hindi police and army set up razor-wire blockades, but the crowds began attacking police and fire vehicles, leading the police to start firing tear gas.

None of which you imagine benefitted the attempts to put out the fire.


This week's world peace effort was put to bed by the oafish, drunken uncles of football, English hooligans. Although in previous updates it's been England's Eastern European disciples who've smashed each other around the Euros, this week the English were showing them how it's done. After England were predictably dumped out of Euro 2012 by Italy on penalties, 150 England fans in Bedford confronted a group of celebrating Italian fans in the Embankment area of town, causing a number of minor injuries and damaging cars. I guess a harmless bit of ABH is better than a bunch of dickheads blaming the loss on the colour of Ashley Cole and Ashley Young's skin.

Check back next week to see whether or not the human race has been managing to listen to its inner peace.

Follow Henry on Twitter: @Henry_Langston