Flanked by his wife and about 200 cheering supporters, Lopez declared he would not shrink from the Supreme Court’s ruling that he can run for office but not serve if he wins due to past but unproven allegations of corruption.”I can and will be a candidate for the president of Venezuela,” the charismatic 40-year-old said.On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled against implementing a decision last month by the Costa Rica-based Inter-American Court of Human Rights that said Lopez’s disqualification from politics over graft charges was unjustified.”The decision (to elect a president) is not for the IACHR or the Supreme Court, that’s only for the Venezuelan people to determine,” he shouted.”They’re wrong if they think we are just going to kneel down.”The baby-faced Lopez — who is running third in polls ahead of a February opposition primary to choose a challenger for the October presidential vote — made his name as mayor of the wealthy Chacao district in Caracas.He was favored to win the race for mayor of the whole city in 2008, but he and scores of other politicians — mostly the opposition — were blocked by Chavez’s comptroller general.Accused of but not tried for corruption, Lopez was barred from seeking public office until 2014.OPPOSITION RACELopez is part of a new wave of young opposition leaders who have wrested initiative away from an old guard opposition whose past in-fighting and associations with big political machines turned off voters and gave Chavez a relatively easy ride.He will now vie with two young state governors, Henrique Capriles Radonski of Miranda and Pablo Perez of Zulia, for the opposition ticket while also trying to maintain the coalition’s new-found unity seen as essential to hopes of beating Chavez.”This decision to go forward does not jeopardize the (opposition) unity, it strengthens it … They cannot break the unity that is being built in Venezuela,” Lopez added.Should Lopez win the primary and beat the leftist Chavez, the situation would be complicated, with political experts divided on whether that expression of popular will should overrule the court.Venezuela’s judiciary is, however, packed with Chavez supporters at its high echelons. And Comptroller-General Adelina Gonzalez warned that Lopez may be committing fraud if he runs a presidential campaign given the measure against him.But Lopez was upbeat: “There is no way that once the people express their will, that decision cannot be respected.”
* Experts say leaderless growth proves attractionBy Ben BerkowitzNEW YORK, Oct 17 (Reuters) - It all started innocuously enough with a July 13 blog post urging people to #OccupyWallStreet, as though such a thing (Twitter hashtag and all) were possible.It turns out, with enough momentum and a keen sense of how to use social media, it actually is.The Occupy movement, decentralized and leaderless, has mobilized thousands of people around the world almost exclusively via the Internet. To a large degree through Twitter, and also with platforms like Facebook and Meetup, crowds have connected and gathered.As with any movement, a spark is needed to start word spreading. SocialFlow, a social media marketing company, did an analysis for Reuters of the history of the Occupy hashtag on Twitter and the ways it spread and took root.The first apparent mention was that July 13 blog post by activist group Adbusters (r.reuters.com/suc54s) but the idea was slow to get traction.The next Twitter mention was on July 20 (r.reuters.com/tuc54s) from a Costa Rican film producer named Francisco Guerrero, linking to a blog post on a site called Wake Up from Your Slumber that reiterated the Adbusters call to action (r.reuters.com/vuc54s).The site, founded in 2006 “to expose America’s fraudulent monetary system and the evil of charging interest on money loaned,” is a reference to the biblical verse Romans 13:11 that reads in part: “The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.”Guerrero’s post was retweeted once and then there was silence until two July 23 tweets — one from the Spanish user Gurzbo (r.reuters.com/wuc54s) and one from a retired high school chemistry teacher in Long Island, New York named Cindy tweeting as gemswinc. (r.reuters.com/xuc54s)Gurzbo’s post was not passed along by anyone but Cindy’s was, by eight people, including a Delaware-based opponent of the Federal Reserve, a vegan information rights supporter, a Washington-based environmentalist and an Alabama-based progressive blogger.Again, there was relative silence for nearly two weeks, until LazyBookworm tweeted the Occupy hashtag again on Aug. 5. (r.reuters.com/zuc54s) That got seven retweets, largely from a crowd of organic food supporters and poets.HASHTAG REVOLTThe notion of Occupy Wall Street was out there but it was not gaining much attention — until, of course, it did, suddenly and with force.Social media experts trace the expansion to hyper-local tweeters, people who cover the pulse of communities at a level of detail not even local papers can match.In New York, credit goes to the Twitter account of Newyorkist, whose more than 11,000 tweets chronicle the city in block-by-block detail. His was one of the first well-followed accounts to mention the protests in mid-September.Trendistic, which tracks hashtag trends on Twitter, shows that OccupyWallStreet first showed up in any volume around 11 p.m. on Sept. 16, the evening before the occupation of lower Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park began. Within 24 hours, the tag represented nearly 1 of every 500 uses of a hashtag.The first two weeks of the movement were slow, media coverage was slim and little happened beyond the taking of the concrete park itself. But then a demonstration on the Brooklyn Bridge prompted hundreds of arrests and the spark was ignited.On Oct. 1, #OccupyBoston started to show up on Twitter. Within a couple of weeks, #OccupyDenver and #OccupySD and others appeared.The Occupy Wall Street page on Facebook started on Sept. 19 with a YouTube video of the early protests. By Sept. 22, it reached critical mass.”Newcomers today, welcome! Feel free to post. Advertise your own pages of resistance. Network until it works,” read one posting meant to inspire protests elsewhere.For young activists around the world, who grew up with the Internet and the smartphone, Facebook and Twitter have become crucial in expanding the movement.They are pioneering platforms like Vibe that lets people anonymously share text, photos and video over short distances for brief periods of time — perfect for use at rallies.”No one owns a (Twitter) hashtag, it has no leadership, it has no organization, it has no creed but it’s quite appropriate to the architecture of the net. This is a distributed revolt,” said Jeff Jarvis, a journalism professor at City University of New York and author of the well-known blog BuzzMachine.Some reports say the protesters have raised as much as $300,000 in donations to cover everything from pizza to video equipment but others put the figure much lower.The Alliance for Global Justice, which calls itself “the fiscal sponsor for Occupy Wall Street,” has raised $23,200 via WePay.com.OCCUPY EVERYWHEREAs of Monday afternoon, Facebook listed no fewer than 125 Occupy-related pages, from New York to Tulsa and all points in between. Roughly 1 in every 500 hashtags used on Twitter on Monday, all around the world, was the movement’s own #OWS.The websites keep proliferating — We Are the 99 Percent, Parents for Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Together, even the parody Occupy Sesame Street (concerned mostly with the plight of monsters living in garbage cans).Online streaming video has also been a huge resource for the protesters, using cheap cameras and high-speed wireless Internet access.Supporters, opponents and the merely curious got the chance last Saturday to watch the Occupy Wall Street protesters decide whether to occupy a major public park, Washington Square Park, in the Greenwich Village area.They saw warnings the police were about to arrive in riot gear and with horses, vans and buses to take away protesters if there were mass arrests. Local media reported about 10 arrests among the 3,000 or so people in the park.As the seconds to a possible confrontation ticked down, the tension led to various reactions from those watching online.”Anyone arrested is a political prisoner,” said one.”Here comes Tsar Bloomberg’s Cossacks,” said another, in reference to New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg and the appearance of the mounted police.There were “we are watching” messages of support from cities across the United States and some who found it the best entertainment going on a Saturday night.”So much more exciting than a TV show” was one comment.
* Does not expect to reinstate dividends in the near-term* H2 sales volume 960,000 tonnes; selling prices up 15 pctOct 12 (Reuters) - ATH Resources said its full-year profit would fall slightly short of market expectations, as the British coal producer continued to face margin pressure due to higher costs, and it would not reinstate dividend payments in the near term.The Doncaster, South Yorkshire-based company, which recently terminated takeover talks with potential suitors, has been crippled by higher costs of about 6 million pounds ($9.4 million) this year and does not expect the current level of costs to come down in the near future.In June, ATH posted a wider first-half loss and said full-year sales volumes would be lower than expected, two months after the company warned on its full-year profit.The company also raised its provision for future restoration of its sites by about 1.6 million pounds.Analysts on an average are expecting a full-year pretax profit of 200,000 pounds on revenue of 84.6 million pounds, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.Second-half sales volumes were 960,000 tonnes of coal, up from 706,000 tonnes in the first half. The company said average selling prices for the year rose by about 15 percent to over 50 pounds per tonne.ATH shares, which have shed about 18 percent of their value over the past month, were indicated down 2.6 percent pre-market on Wednesday.They closed at 39 pence on Tuesday on the London Stock Exchange, valuing the firm at 15.7 million pounds.
The military leader of a rebel group seeking independence for India’s isolated north-eastern state of Assam earns millions of dollars each year from investments in Bangladesh, a Bangladeshi intelligence report seen by a local news agency revealed. The news could test warming relations between the south Asian neighbours who for years clashed over the issue of rebels finding shelter in Bangladesh. Paresh Barua heads a hardline faction of the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) and is now believed to operate from camps in Myanmar, which borders Assam. The news of his investments sheds light on how he keeps his unit running. The U.S. State Department in 2006 estimated ULFA had several hundred fighters. The report published by the Press Trust of India agency said Barua earns $1.5 million every quarter as remittance from businesses including real estate, shipping, textile and power, and another $500,000 through foreign exchange. Barua invested $14 million in three Dhaka-based real estate firms in the name of a London-based businessman, the reports said. It was not clear where the money came from. In recent years, Bangladesh arrested and deported a number of guerrillas operating from its territory, greatly improving ties with India, which has for decades fought armed groups that want independence in the distant north-eastern states. Funding of multiple small insurgencies in the north-east, which is geographically and culturally isolated from the rest of India, has always been a topic of hot political debate, with fingers often pointed at arch-rival Pakistan. Thousands have died in the violence since ULFA was formed in 1979 to fight for independence, accusing India of plundering mineral and agricultural resources. Once popular, support for the group has sagged lately. Leaders of several ULFA factions have accepted a ceasefire but Barua refuses to back down or negotiate on anything short of sovereignty. ULFA’s chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa, earlier this year dropped demands for independence. India rejects supervised talks. Bangladesh’s intelligence agencies are keeping a close eye on the companies Barua has invested in, and have informed the government about the developments, the reports said. A 2007 report from security think-tank Stratfor describes Barua as “an enormously wealthy racketeer” worth $110 million with assets in the Persian Gulf whose organization generates huge revenues from extorting companies producing Assam’s famous tea.