Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 16th 2014 Contents A34
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A march against "Islamisation of
the West" is due to take place in Dres-
den, with turnout expected to reach
about 10,000 in the eastern German
A big counter-demonstration is also
being organised, similar in size.
Dresden is the birthplace of a move-
ment called "Patriotic Europeans
Against the Islamisation of the West"
(Pegida), which staged a big rally a week
ago.Justice Minister Heiko Maas called
Pegida s protests "a disgrace." But the
Eurosceptic party AfD is sympathet-
"Most of their demands are legiti-
mate," said Bernd Lucke, leader of the
conservative Alternativ fuer Deutsch-
land (AfD), which has campaigned for
a tougher policy on immigration, as
well as rejection of the euro.
In the western city of Cologne, about
15,000 people attended a demonstration
on Sunday to promote tolerance and
open-mindedness, under the motto:
"You are Cologne---no Nazis here."
Immigration has become a hot topic
in Germany this year, amid a surge in
the numbers of asylum seekers, fuelled
by the wars in Syria and Iraq. Germany
takes in more asylum seekers than any
Germany expects 200,000 asylum
claims for 2014, up from 127,000 in
German media report that Pegida
grew out of a Facebook group launched
by Lutz Bachmann, 41, a chef-turned-
graphic designer. He insists that he is
not racist. He has admitted to past
criminal convictions, including for
drug-dealing. He says he spent two
years in prison.
Police sources, quoted by the Spiegel
online news Web site, said hundreds
of Pegida activists in Dresden were
members of two hooligan groups
regarded as far-right.
Minister Maas said Pegida must be
"unmasked", and he called for a "broad
counter-movement embracing civil
society and all political parties."
President Alexander Lukashenko has run Belarus
virtually unchallenged for 20 years, but he may
face a formidable opponent at next year s elec-
tions---a wizard like Gandalf.
"Gandalf for President!" is the campaign slogan
of the Belarus, My Country opposition group, which
has a 50,000-strong online following, Radio Liberty s
Belarusian service reports.
The organisers know the wizard from JRR Tolkien s
Lord of the Rings and Hobbit novels doesn t qualify
for election, so they re seeking a local candidate with
similar qualities of wisdom and leadership. "It s a
cushy job," they promise, adding that they ve chosen
the character because he s "a good wizard and a
friend to the Hobbits, who as we know are like Belaru-
sians"---an apparent reference to a study which sug-
gested Belarus had a "Shire-like climate."
The group took its cue from the unsuccessful cam-
paign by a "Darth Vader" presidential candidate in
Ukraine, but the stakes are higher in authoritarian
Belarus. President Lukashenko is a close ally of Rus-
sia---a point not lost on the organisers, who quip that
"Gandalf s" main task will be to "confront Mordor,
which lies somewhere near Moscow.".
Belarus Opposition wants Gandalf for president
Germany tense over anti-Islam march
Pegida staged a big
rally in Dresden a
using sponges, shovels and even
spoons worked Friday to clean
up a huge oil spill in a protected
area that is home to rare dolphins,
after environmentalists warned
of an ecological "catastrophe."
Thousands of litres of oil have
spilt into the protected Sundarbans
mangrove area, home to rare
Irrawaddy and Ganges dolphins,
after a tanker collided with another
vessel on Tuesday.
The government has sent a ship
carrying oil dispersants to the area,
which is inside one of three sanc-
tuaries set up for the dolphins.
But environmentalists say the
chemicals could harm the delicate
ecology of the Sundarbans, a
UNESCO world heritage site.
As authorities debated whether
to deploy the dispersants, the com-
pany that owns the stricken oil
tanker said it would buy up the oil
that local villagers have collected.
"It has no commercial value as
it can t be used, but we are using
the offer to encourage people so
that the cleaning up process speeds
up," said Rafiqul Islam Babul of
the Padma Oil Company.
"Villagers including children are
going out onto the river in boats
to collect the oil floating on the
water using sponges, shovels and
spoons," he said.
"Then they are putting it in
small ditches on the river banks
and our employees are buying it."
The head of the local port
authority earlier told reporters that
fishermen would use "sponges and
sacks" to collect the spilt oil, which
has already spread over a 50-mile
Amir Hosain, chief forest official
of the Sundarbans, admitted that
authorities were unsure about the
best course of action.
"This catastrophe is unprece-
dented in the Sundarbans and we
don t know how to tackle this," he
told AFP. (AFP)
Bangladeshis use sponges to clean oil spill
Bangladeshi villagers try to collect oil that spread in the river after an oil tanker sank in the Shela River in
Mongla, in a photo taken on December 11, and received from the World Conservation Society on December 12.
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