Far-right leader denies being Nazi on BBC show

A handful of anti-fascist demonstrators broke into the BBC’s television headquarters but they could not prevent British far-right leader Nick Griffin from taking part in a much publicised political debate.

The British National Party chief and MEP said he had been misquoted over his beliefs:
“I have been relentlessly attacked and demonised over the last few days. The fact is that my father was in the RAF (Royal Air Force) during the Second World War. I am not a Nazi, I never have been,” he said.

Some in the studio audience challenged him. One man said: “You poison the minds of people in this country. The vast majority of this audience find what you stand for to be completely disgusting.”

The BNP leader said European law prevented him from explaining past comments questioning the Holocaust, a claim that brought derision from others in the studio.

After the show, other panellists said his credibility had been damaged and his extremism exposed.

Griffin accused the hundreds of protesters outside the building of attacking the rights of millions to hear his views.

The BBC’s decision to invite the head of the anti-immigration British National Party onto the show has polarised opinion in the country.


Anger in Moscow over local election whitewash

Euronews-Russian riot police quickly broke up a crowd in central Moscow last night as protesters cried foul over local election results.

The landslide victory won by the country’s ruling party “United Russia” which has a near monopoly on power, has angered many voters.

Independent poll watchdog Golos and opposition parties have reported wide spread ballot stuffing and voter intimidation.

Regional, mayoral and district polls were held in 76 of Russia’s 83 regions.

In just about all polls, the Kremlin backed United Russia lead by prime minister Vladimir Putin has emerged the strongest party.

It’s retained power in key locations including the most affluent and populous region Moscow City.

Push to reregulate milk sector

A German-French proposal to reregulate Europe’s milk sector has won support from 14 other countries at a meeting of the European Union’s agriculture ministers.

Around 800 Belgian farmers were demonstrating outside, as the prospect of an EU-wide strike by producers crept closer.

Exposed by reforms to the rigours of the market the milk producers are in trouble with low prices. And quotas which help keep their livelihoods stable are due to disappear compeletely six years from now.

The supportres of the proposal said delaying reaction to the current milk crisis meant running the risk of doing longterm harm to rural areas.

However, the Swedish minister, whose country currently holds the EU’s rotating presidency, rejected outright the French-German proposal.
Other, traditionally liberal, northern member states agreed with him.

The proposal seeks to keep EU provisions for storing milk in times of weak demand, until prices rally. It calls for national fixing of minimum prices, and labelling improvements such as saying ‘French milk’.

Yet even the dairy professionals are divided over how to deal with the problem, the main French farm unionFNSEA, for instance, judging that a milk strike would be an “abberation.”

Xinjiang tense as officials are axed

It is still a far cry from normality. But, amid heavy security after days of ethnic unrest left at least five people dead, China’s restive city of Urumqi has resumed its daily routine. The sacking of two senior officials seems to have partly addressed public complaints about a lack of protection after a spate of mystery syringe attacks. But some Han Chinese think more heads should roll.

One woman in Urumqi demanded the dismissal of the regional Communist Party Secretary Wang Lequan. “We are scared wherever we go and live in fear,” she complained.

“For Wang Lequan to go, it would have to be up to the government,” a Han Chinese man added.

More alleged syringe attacks prompted scenes of panic today. The authorities say hundreds of people have reported needle stabbings which are being blamed on the Xinjiang region’s Uighur community. Ethnic riots in July saw nearly 200 people killed and tension has been simmering between Han Chinese, the country’s majority ethnic group and Uighurs, a largely Muslim people culturally tied to Central Asia and Turkey.

G20 policymakers prepare for summit

G20 policymakers are promising to keep economic support packages in place.

They will also seek to reassure financial markets with credible plans to withdraw stimulus packages when appropriate.

The meeting in London has already attracted protesters linked to various pressure groups like War on Want.

Their message? They’ve had enough of governments saying money is king. They want people to come first.

Representatives from Brazil, China, Russia and India are meeting in the sidelines ahead of the main gathering.

The world’s economy has improved since the last summit in April. But not by much and policymakers are cautious about declaring victory.

Venezuelans protest over schools law

Protests over a controversial new education law have sparked violence on the streets of the Venezuelan capital. Police fired water cannons, tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse government opponents who knocked over a fence marking the end of the authorized route.

The law orders schools to base curricula on the “Bolivarian Doctrine” – a reference to ideals espoused by 19th century independence hero Simon Bolivar, such as national self-determination and Latin American unity.

Critics accuse President Hugo Chavez of trying to win hearts and minds through indoctrination. “This law lays the ground for another law that will indoctrinate people, above all children, and they plan to bring politics into schools,” complained protestor.

Meanwhile, a pro-government rally in support of the new law took place without incident just a few kilometres away.