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No flipping the bird

The week's news at a glance.

Harare, Zimbabwe

The government of the increasingly unpopular President Robert Mugabe has declared it a crime to make any “abusive, indecent, or obscene” gesture at the president’s motorcade. Mugabe tends to barrel through the streets in a convoy of limousines and 4x4s filled with soldiers, which locals call “Bob and the Wailers” because of the screaming sirens. Pedestrians are supposed to stand aside respectfully so the motorcade can pass. But as the state’s disastrous policy of confiscating white-owned farms spreads famine across the country, angry activists have been demonstrating in the streets. The new laws could send such people to jail. “If anything is an admission that your subjects dislike you,” said David Coltart of the Movement for Democratic Change, “it’s these regulations.”

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