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The Syrian Ceasefire: Saviour or a Sham?

The UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, has outlined his peace plans for Syria and has received word from the Syrian Government that it agrees to the peace plans. But has President Assad kept his word? According to the Free Syrian Army Militants, troops from the Syrian Army are still on the streets of cities like Homs, together with tanks and artillery batteries. This was confirmed when journalists from the BBC shot secret footage of Syrian Army tanks still on the streets of rebel-held cities.

Free Syrian Army

Free Syrian Army (Photo credit: FreedomHouse)

Assad has decreed that the tanks are there purely for security measures and to fight the Free Syrian Army, which the Syrian government has branded ‘Armed Terrorists.’ The Free Syrians say they are fighting for a just cause but have refused to listen to Kofi Annan’s peace plan as they believe that the government will not respect it. For the time being they may be right.

The UN have sent monitors to Syria to see that Assad removes all tanks and soldiers from Syrian cities and that a democratic voting process is introduced. It has refused to take any military action, but will issue sanctions on Syria if the ceasefire is not acted upon properly by the Syrian Government.

However, the Free Syrians have committed  atrocities as well as Assad’s Army. A UN truck was blown up by a Free Syrian bomb in the capital Damascus, wounding the truck’s occupants. The Free Syrians have said that this was simply a mistake, but the government and the UN are wary of the Free Syrians motives.

After more bombing was reported in Homs and Damascus, the UN issued a final warning to President Assad and the Free Syrian Army, that if they did not make peace and form a coalition government, more sanctions would be appplied. The UN even threatened to use force to remove the government and install a democratic constitution, but Russia and China have vetoed this, causing outrage throughout the UN General Assembly.

Recently, it has been reported that the Syrian Army have been kidnapping children and torturing them to find out if their parents support the Free Syrians, and then tying them to their tanks to use as a human shield. Large-scale massacres in villages have also taken place. This has forced the UN to brand President Assad as a war criminal, even though the country isn’t officially at war!

As has been clearly shown, the Syrian ceasefire clearly hasn’t worked and the UN fear that if action is not taken immediately  the country will slide into full-scale civil war.

 

 

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The Conflict between Sudan and South Sudan: Two Nations, One Conflict

The tensions between Sudan and its neighbour South Sudan are increasing after clashes along the border between the two countries.

South Sudan, which became the world’s most recent independent nation on the 9th July 2011, is demanding control over several key oil fields on the border with Sudan, and also the disputed region of Abyei. Both countries have appealed to the UN and the Foreign Ministers from the two nations have held talks to discuss a peace programme, but both the appeals and the talks came to nothing. Both nations are now launching attacks at each other across the border, and this looks set to continue for many months. The more experienced Sudanese Army, however, have the edge.

The South Sudanese have many other problems as well as the growing threat from the Sudanese Army. Over five million people in South Sudan are currently starving as a result of famine, and many are dying as a result. Aid agencies are sending food out to South Sudan, but it doesn’t seem to be enough.

Religion may also play a part in these problems. The population of Sudan is largely Muslim, while the population of South Sudan is largely Christian. While the two countries were united, Christians suffered massive persecution from the Muslim government. This was most apparent in the region of Darfur, where thousands of Christians were, and still are, killed and forced to leave their homes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The New Series of Doctor Who: What You need to Know

Although no specific date has been given, the new series of the hit science-fiction programme Doctor Who is expected to start broadcasting in the autumn of 2012. The series is again going to be split into two halves. There will be a Christmas Special in December and another eight episodes in 2013, which will lead up to the series’ climatic 50th anniversary. Matt Smith is returning to play the Doctor, while Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill are also returning to play Amy and Rory for the first five episodes. A new companion is going to appear in the Christmas Special. This companion will be played by Jenna-Louise Coleman.

Some specific details have been given on the first five episodes of the series. The first episode has been written by Steven Moffat, the current head-writer, and directed by Nick Hurran, who directed last year’s The Girl Who Waited and The God Complex. The episode is going to see the dramatic return of the Daleks. But instead of just the current versions of the Doctor’s deadliest enemies, all of the previous versions of the Daleks are going to be appearing. The BBC has lauched a worldwide search for the White Daleks from the 1960′s and the Grey Daleks from the 1970′s and 1980′s. A selction of Gold Daleks from 2005-2010 are also appearing.

The second episode has been written by Chris Chibnall, whose previous stories include 42 and The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood. This episode has been directed by series newcomer Saul Metzstein. Also we will see the biggest set ever constructed in Doctor Who’s entire history in this episode.

The third episode has been written by Toby Whithouse, who has previously written School Reunion, The Vampires of Venice and The God Complex. The episode has also been directed by Metzstein. Also this episode will have a Western theme, and has been partly shot in Spain, which will double as America’a Wild West. There is also rumoured to be a monster called The Reckoner in this episode.

Very little detail has been given on the fourth episode of the series. We only know that it has been written by Chris Chibnall and directed by Douglas Mackinnon, who previously directed The Sontaran Stratagem/ The Poison Sky.

The fifth episode has been written by Steven Moffat and directed by Nick Hurran. This episode will see the departure of Amy and Rory from the series and also see the return of the Weeping Angels. Alex Kingston is also returning as River Song. The story has been partly shot in New York. Moffat has given some hints to what will make Amy and Rory leave the TARDIS crew, including the fact that Rory will die after been zapped into the past by a Weeping Angel.

Guest stars that are going to be appearing include David Bradley, Rupert Graves, Mark Williams, Garrick Hagon, Ben Browder, Adrian Scarborough, Andrew Brooke, Dominic Kemp, Rob Cavezos, David Gyasi and Michael McShane.

So let’s hope we will see plenty of excitement and adventure in the coming stories later this year!

 

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Syrian Army Continues it’s Attacks

Syrian Army Continues it’s Attacks

The Syrian Army, who are under the orders of President Bashar-Al Assad, are continuing offensives against the main headquarters of the Free Syrian Army.  Lightly armed Free Syrians are so far proving no match for Assad’s troops, who are armed with flamethrowers, rocket launchers, tanks and artillery batteries.

 

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The Russian Foreign Secretary has been meeting President Assad to discuss a resolution to the crisis, but Russia remains a friend of Syria and President Assad. Iran and China have also declared their support for Assad. At a meeting in Geneva, Russia and China vetoed a UN vote to sanction the amount of weapons that are provided for Assad’s army, a stance which has outraged the USA, Britain and France who say that Russia and China are destroying the lives of thousands of innocent Syrian civilians. Russia is therefore still sending weaponry to Assad and his troops.

On the 23rd February 2012, Marie Colvin, a journalist for the Sun newspaper, was killed alongside 20 other foreign journalists and photographers during a bombing raid by the Syrian army. Colvin had been a journalist for the Sun for over 20 years, and had worked in some of the most dangerous conflicts in the world, such as in Kosovo and Sri Lanka. The British government has expressed their condolences, and also said that this is a stark reminder that the conflict should end soon.

 

 

Over 50 world powers, including the USA, Britain and France, have been meeting in Tunis to discuss a resolution to the crisis and to force President Assad to allow aid groups into the city of Homs to treat wounded. Eventually, China agreed to UN plans for allowing aid workers into Homs.

Despite the fact that world powers are discussing an end to the crisis, it is unlikely the conflict will end soon. But the Free Syrians are still confident that the uprising will succed, as they did in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.

 

 

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Year 9 Parents Evening is Coming Up!

The Sixth Form Block

The Year 9 Parents Evening is happening on the 7th February in the 6th Form block and all parents of Year 9 students are welcome. Parents will be able to talk to their child’s subject teachers, and gain helpful information on what subjects their child should choose for GCSE’s. The evening is happening from 4.00-7.00 and there will be a bell at 6.50 to let parents know the evening will be ending soon.

Please come along to learn about your future and see what your teachers have to say about you!

 

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