Showing posts from March 17, 2013

Greek neo-Nazi party protests Cyprus bailout proposal

Nearly a thousand supporters of the Greek neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn protested at the German embassy in central Athens Friday over proposed EU-IMF bailout terms to rescue debt-hit Cyprus. Demonstrators dressed in black and with shaven heads brandished banners that read "Get out Germany" and "Get out Merkel" in protest at the EU -- and the eurozone's biggest economy in particular -- for strict austerity measures imposed first on Greece, and potentially now on its ally Cyprus, in exchange for bailout funds. Cyprus has until Monday to raise 5.8 billion euros ($7.47 billion) to unlock loans worth 10 billion euros or risk exiting the eurozone. Golden Dawn, formerly on the fringe of Greek politics, has seen its ratings soar since last year in a country weary of austerity and political corruption. The party saw 18 deputies elected to parliament in June for the first time in its history. A separate protest in the Greek capital drew left-wing supporters holding

Dropkick Murphys Receive Threats from Neo-Nazis After St. Patrick’s Day Incident

After a band member beat up a man who made a nazi-related gesture at a New York show, someone threatened the group members. Ever since a band member from the Dropkick Murphys strong-armed a concert-goer who made a Nazi gesture on stage at a pre-St. Patrick’s Day show in New York City, the group has received threats from neo-nazis in Australia. A photo tweeted to more than 64,000 followers from the Boston band’s official account early Friday morning showed an email the Murphys’ management received, warning the band not to show up in Australia unless they wanted to be assaulted by a group of neo-nazis. The angry email came just days after video of bassist Ken Casey punching a man with a shaved head who made the “heil Hitler” gesture on stage surfaced from the St. Patrick’s Day concert and was circulated online. According to a report from, the band invited people onto the stage for a few songs, including the tune “Skinhead on the MBTA.” As the Dropkick Murphy’s began p

Pith I-Team Investigation: The Mystery of the Shelbyville E-Bomb Explosion

Did one of those scary electromagnetic pulse bombs really go off outside Shelbyville a couple of years ago? That’s the question that’s captivated all of us here at Pith in the Wind World Headquarters since state Rep. Rick Womick made that claim during a House subcommittee meeting this week. Womick thinks terrorists have targeted Tennessee state lawmakers, and he was explaining why the state Office of Homeland Security ought to obtain top-secret security clearances for certain special members of the legislature, presumably including Womick, so they can prepare themselves to go to undisclosed secure locations to survive an attack. “How many of you have ever heard of an electromagnetic pulse bomb?” Womick asked the subcommittee nonchalantly as if he were introducing a resolution honoring Miss Mule Day. “An electromagnetic pulse bomb is similar to a nuclear bomb that goes off,” he explained to his puzzled colleagues. “It wipes out everything electronically. We had one go off just down

Abu Sayyaf militants free Australian hostage

Al-Qaeda-linked militants in the southern Philippines on Saturday released an emaciated-looking Australian man, Warren Richard Rodwell, near a coastal town where they kidnapped him for ransom 15 months ago. Mr. Rodwell was brought to police by residents of Pagadian city who saw him walking before dawn near the fishing port, where his abductors dropped him off, said local police chief Julius Munez. Mr. Rodwell “looked OK, just tired. But he looked like he lost a lot of weight,” Mr. Munez said. In Washington where he is on a visit, Foreign Minister Bob Carr welcomed the news, saying the release was a joint effort by authorities in both countries, and that the focus now was on Mr. Rodwell’s speedy recovery. Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard praised Mr. Rodwell’s family for showing “a great deal of courage and stoicism in what has been a tremendously difficult situation.” “I think all Australians will be very pleased to hear this news and delighted on behalf of the Rodwell

France confirms death of al-Qaeda leader Abou Zeid

The al-Qaeda-linked North African warlord Abou Zeid was killed in combat with French troops in Mali in February, France said on Saturday, ending weeks of uncertainty about whether one of the group’s leading commanders was dead. In a statement Saturday the office of French President Francois Hollande said the death was “definitively confirmed” and that Abou Zeid’s death “marks an important step in the fight against terrorism in the Sahel.” Chad’s President had said earlier this month that Chadian troops had killed Abou Zeid while fighting to dislodge an al-Qaeda affiliate in northern Mali. French officials have maintained for weeks that Abou Zeid was “probably” dead but waited to conduct DNA tests to verify. Abdelhamid Abou Zeid, thought to be 47, was a pillar of the southern realm of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM, responsible for the death of at least two European hostages and a leader of the extremist takeover of northern Mali. The French military moved into Mali o

Taliban calls on voters to reject democracy

DPA/Islamabad The Taliban has called on Pakistani voters to rebel against democratic rule, amid warnings of possible attacks on political gatherings ahead of a national election. Pakistan celebrated the first completion of the full five-year term of a National Assembly, the lower house of the parliament, at the weekend. The tenure of the Pakistan People’s Party-led ruling coalition was marked by significant unpopularity due to alleged bad governance, economic and energy crises, violence and accusations of rampant corruption. Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan, in a video sent to reporters late Monday, described the government’s term as a period of atrocity and iniquity, adding that “the dark night of brutality” would continue if people did not reject the system. “We are making a humble appeal to the public to boycott every step under this secular, democratic system,” Ehsan said. “More so, they should stay away from gatherings of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement

Motorbike bomb blast kills six

AFP/Quetta A bomb planted on a motorbike killed six people and wounded another 15 yesterday in a crowded Pakistani market in troubled southwestern province Baluchistan, police said. The bomb, detonated by remote control, exploded near a bus station in the remote town of Dera Allah Yar, around 170 miles (270km) southeast of Quetta, the provincial capital. “At least six people have been killed and more than 15 injured. The bomb was planted on a motorcycle,” police official Qamar Ul Hasan said. “The bomb also badly damaged around five to six shops and destroyed some motorbikes and other vehicles,” he said. Baluchistan, which borders Afghanistan and Iran, is plagued by Islamist militancy, attacks on the Shias and a separatist Baluch insurgency. Zulfiqar Ali, a second police official, confirmed the attack and warned that the death toll could rise further. “All those killed were civilians,” Ali said. Source

Spiralling violence: Bomb tears through Dera Allah Yar Bazaar

QUETTA: At least nine people were killed and nearly two dozen wounded in a bomb explosion in Dera Allah Yar town of Jaffarabad district in Balochistan on Friday. The bomb was planted in an auto rickshaw which was parked near a hotel in the main bazaar of Dera Allah Yar, police said. Police cordoned off the area, as rescuers shifted the casualties to the District Headquarters Hospital. Seven people were killed on the spot and 26 others received injuries. Some of the injured – with life-threatening wounds – were referred to hospitals in neighbouring Jacobabad and Larkana districts. Zafar Bukhari, the deputy commissioner of Jaffarabad, told The Express Tribune that the death toll rose to nine in the afternoon after two critically injured persons expired in hospital. According to Bukhari, around eight shops, a car and two motorcycles were destroyed in the blast. “Most of the victims are passersby,” he said, adding that since it was Friday, most of the shops were closed; otherwise

Suicide car bomb blast at Miranshah checkpost

: March 23, 2013 PESHAWAR: At least three security officials were injured when a suicide bomber targetted the Esha checkpost in Miranshah , North Waziristan on Saturday evening. Sources said that a suspected suicide bomber had exploded his vehicle near the checkpost. Earlier in March, five officials of the Frontier Works Organization (FWO) were injured when a roadside remote-controlled bomb planted by unidentified militants exploded in Ghulam Khan tehsil on Saturday. An official of the security forces said an explosion occurred near a vehicle carrying the workers around 10:30am, injuring all five. He explained the workers were constructing the Ghulam Khan Highway and were on their way to the site. Miranshah is a hotbed of militant activity. US drones have also repeatedly targetted militants in the area. Source

Afghan and coalition forces found and safely cleared IEDs

BAGRAM, Afghanistan (March 23, 2013) - Afghan and coalition forces found and safely cleared an improvised explosive device and detained 12 suspected insurgents during operations in eastern Afghanistan throughout the past 24 hours, March 22. Ghazni Province Afghan and coalition forces detained three suspected insurgents during operations in the Gelan District. The suspected insurgents were taken to a base for questioning. Afghan National Security Forces found and safely cleared an IED during operations in the Ghazni District. Afghan and coalition forces detained two suspected insurgents during operations in the Qarah Bagh District. The suspected insurgents were taken to a base for questioning. Khowst Province Afghan and coalition forces detained six suspected insurgents during operations in the Bak District. The suspected insurgents were taken to a base for questioning. Paktiya Province Afghan and coalition forces detained one suspected insurgent during operations in the Ga

Afghan Region Makes Name For Drug Mules, Tragedy

TAKHAR -- Residents of this remote district of northeast Afghanistan are finding that desperate times call for desperate measures. With few options to make an honest living, many locals in the Kalafgan district of Takhar Province are taking jobs as drug mules for local drug cartels. As couriers, locals smuggle packages of illicit narcotics to neighboring Tajikistan and Iran. The work is high-risk and often rewarded with prison or even death. Those dangers hit home recently as locals buried the bodies of 10 men from Kalafgan who were hanged in Iran, reportedly for drug smuggling. Residents say that in the past six months they have buried 80 villagers who were executed in Iran. As many as 400 other residents, locals say, are serving lengthy jail sentences in the Islamic republic. Work, Passports 'In A Week' The high concentration of drug couriers in Kalafgan has forced a light on the booming illicit drug trade in the area. When funerals for the 10 men were held on Febr

Independent Media Windows Into Uzbekistan Face Financial Facts

Despite formidable obstacles, independent media has for years managed to maintain an on-the-ground presence in Uzbekistan. But that rare window into a country of 30 million renowned for its suppression of the media is in danger of being closed. It is not pressure by the Uzbek state -- which cultivates a press and Internet environment ranked "not free" by the media watchdog Freedom House -- that is threatening independent outlets. This time, it is simply a matter of money. Abdurahmon Tashanov, the Tashkent-based editor of the website, says independent and opposition media in Uzbekistan suffer from "drastically waning financial support by international organizations." "We haven't received funding from our international donors in recent years, and have to rely on individual activists and readers' donations," Tashanov says. Their dependence on foreign funding, often in the form of financial grants, has hampered the ability of man

Baku Leans On NGOs As Presidential Election Nears

Harsh suppression of opposition protests. A crackdown on foreign-funded NGOs. And a formal request to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to downgrade its Baku office. The government of Azerbaijan has been on the offensive in recent weeks, an effort that activists say is intended to seize control of the political landscape ahead of the October presidential election. OSCE Secretary-General Lamberto Zannier discussed Baku’s request to downgrade its mission with President Ilham Aliyev during a visit on March 15. The Azerbaijani government’s letter says the request to reduce its status from a “mission” to a “project-coordination office” was made because of the country’s “significant progress” over the 13 years since the office was opened. Vafa Guluzadeh, a former government adviser, sees the move as an effort to cut off anticipated OSCE criticism of the upcoming election. In the past, the OSCE has consistently rated Azerbaijan’s elections as not free and u

Special Forces Officer Killed in Dagestan Shootout

MAKHACHKALA, March 21 (RIA Novosti) – A special forces officer has been killed and two other officers injured during a shootout with suspected militants near Makhachkala, the capital of Russia’s North Caucasus republic of Dagestan, police said on Wednesday. A police spokesman said the “bandits” had been holed up in a house in the village of Semender since Wednesday, and had begun shooting after five women and a child left the building. The counterterrorism operation in Semender began early on Wednesday, after security forces entered the village to search for a suspected member of an illegal armed group. Mainly Muslim Dagestan, which neighbors Chechnya, is home to a low-level Islamist insurgency and sees frequent attacks on police and other officials. Source

In North Caucasus, Lawyers 'Under Attack'

Sapiyat Magomedova says a brutal assault by police three years ago, despite leaving her deeply shaken, has not broken her resolve to work as a lawyer in Russia's troubled North Caucasus. In 2010, police officers assaulted her as she tried to visit a client detained at a police station in her native Daghestan, painfully twisting her arms before hurling her out of the building. She says her attempt to retrieve her documents and mobile phone, dropped during the incident, only sparked more violence. "They grabbed me from each side and threw me to the ground," Magomedova says, adding that she sustained numerous cuts and bruises in addition to a wound to her chin. She briefly lost consciousness and, when she came to, she says, "I asked the officers to give me their names and said I would file a complaint. As a result, one of their bosses grabbed me by the hair and ordered them to take me back inside." The young lawyer was then locked in a detention cell along

Islamic Party Of Turkestan Cell Leader Arrested In Russia

March 11 2013 Moscow police have arrested an alleged leader of the Islamic Party of Turkestan. Russia's Interior Ministry said on March 11 that Uzbek citizen Abdulkhofiz Kholmurodov was arrested on March 1 and is suspected of leading the party's cell in Moscow. Ministry officials say Kholmurodov and his associates have been recruiting Muslims in Moscow for military training camps abroad. Kholmurodov is reportedly wanted in Uzbekistan, where he faces charges of terrorism, extremism, and attempts to overthrow the government. Russia's Interior Ministry says his possible extradition to Tashkent will be decided later. The Islamic Party of Turkestan, also known as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, is believed to have links with Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants. Its leaders have announced in the past that their goal is to establish an Islamic caliphate in Central Asia. Based on reporting by ITAR-TASS and Source

Tibet: Three Activists Jailed For “State Subversion”

March 22, 2013 Three Tibetans have been sentenced in a Chinese court in Amdho region of Tibet to long prison term on charges of "state subversion", after they allegedly "spread text and images" related to Tibetan independence. Below is an article published by The Tibet Post International : On March 18, 2013, the so called Chinese 'Intermediate People's Court' in eastern Tso-ngon in Amdho region of Tibet (Haidong Prefecture in Qinghai Province) sentenced Jigmey Thabkhe to five years in prison, his civil and political rights deprived for three years. Kalsang Dhondup had his rights removed four years and a six year jail term, Lobsang to 4 years, his civil and political rights deprived for two year on charges of "state subversion." According to Chinese state controlled media the "three Tibetan men have been charges of subversion and "splitting" the country- China and given harsh sentences for allegedly "spread text and im

East Turkestan: Chinese Flags Hung At Uyghur Mosques

March 21, 2013 The Chinese Administration has issued a new ruling which makes it compulsory for mosques of the the Uyghur community to erect flagpoles and hang the Chinese flag. Below is an article published by World Bulletin: As the Chinese government increases its repressive regulations on East Turkestan, a new regulation has further increased tension. The administration has lately issued a circulation decreeing that Chinese flags be hung at mosques and that the flags be protected by the mosque imams tied to the Communist Party. As mandated in the circulars, flagpoles were erected at all mosques and flags were hung. According to the statements of eyewitnesses, at the beginning of March [2013], unidentified persons in the Colpan Yiza village of the Yenihisar town burnt a Chinese flag that was hung at the neighborhood mosque. After being informed of the news, the Chinese occupation forces blockaded entry into and exit from the village and questioned everyone who resided there

One nation’s hero is another’s villain

One man’s meat is another man’s poison, according to an old adage. A different twist to that would be “One nation’s hero is another’s villain” or the more popular refrain these , “One country’s freedom fighter is another’s terrorist”. I was starkly made aware of this on a recent visit to Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, which was for centuries the cross-roads of the famed Silk Route from China to Europe. In India, Uzbekistan is not so well known for this attribute but for two historical characters from that distant land. One of them is regarded with repugnance in India as the embodiment of terror and cruelty. He is known in India as Timur -i - Lang ( Timur the Lame ) and in history books as Tamerlane, though his real name was Tarmashirin KhanBarlas. Timur got his nickname when he seriously injured his right leg during his youth in a campaign in Afghanistan as a mercenary for the Khan of Sistan. Despite his infirmity, Timur was an extremely successful warrior leader and foun

Iraq to revive cultural life to heal war wounds

BAGHDAD -- Sewing machines buzz inside the Iraq Fashion House as dressmakers work late into the night behind concrete blast walls readying intricately embroidered costumes. Models rehearse for an upcoming show upstairs. The energetic atmosphere is in stark contrast to the nearby Iraqi National Museum, which remains closed to the public a decade after it was looted along with other government buildings following the U.S.-led invasion. On Saturday, the Iraqi capital becomes this year's Arab Capital of Culture, and organizers are hoping to use the title to quicken the pulse of Baghdad's ailing cultural life. Manama, Bahrain, was the last capital to hold the honor bestowed by the Arab League under a program set up in 1995 with the help of the U.N. Education, Science and Culture Organization program. AP Photo - In this Tuesday, March 12, 2013 photo, dancers practice at the state-run Iraq Fashion House for an operetta that will display Iraq’s art, culture and history in Bag

Pakistan Taliban say they will send former president Pervez Musharraf to "hell" when he returns home

Reuters | Updated: March 23, 2013 12:58 IST Islamabad: Pakistan's Taliban have threatened, in a video released on Saturday, to use suicide bombers and snipers to kill former President Pervez Musharraf when he returns home from exile. In a Taliban video obtained by Reuters, Adnan Rasheed, who took part in a previous attempt to assassinate Musharraf, said: "The mujahideen of Islam have prepared a special squad to send Musharraf to hell. There are suicide bombers, snipers, a special assault unit and a close combat team." Musharraf angered the Taliban and other groups by joining the U.S. war on terror following the September 11 attacks and later launching a major crackdown on militancy in Pakistan. He is due to return home on Sunday from Dubai, after nearly four years of self-imposed exile, in time to take part in parliamentary elections on May 11. Musharraf seized power in a 1999 coup and resigned in 2008 when his allies lost a vote and a new government threaten

Egypt: Muslim Brotherhood supporters and opponents clash in Cairo - video Supporters and opponents of Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood clash on the streets of Cairo on Friday. Riot police fire tear gas as the rival groups tussle near the Brotherhood headquarters. Although nationwide protests have dwindled since the end of last year, Egypt still remains deeply divided under Morsi's presidency Source

Nigeria in mourning for Chinua Achebe

Internationally celebrated Nigerian author, Chinua Achebe, pictured at his home in Warwick, Rhode Island. From Nobel laureates to roadside booksellers, Nigerians expressed their grief and shock at the death at 82 of Chinua Achebe, the literary giant whose works made him a household name and national hero. Many who had worked alongside him wept as they paid tribute, and bookstores in downtown Lagos said his books sold out as news of his death trickled in. Despite his age and distance from his homeland– he died in Boston, where he had lived for years – Achebe's frequent and often barbed pronouncements against an oil-fed Nigerian elite kept him very much in the national psyche. He further endeared himself to a younger generation of Nigerians weary of corruption, when he twice turned down a national honour in 2004 and 2011. African literature burst onto the world stage with Achebe's 1958 novel Things Fall Apart, which portrays an Igbo yam farmer's fatal struggle to come

Obama: post-Assad Syria of Islamist extremism is nightmare scenario

Obama said there was no longer any doubt that Assad would go. 'It's not a question of if, it's when,' he said. Barack Obama delivered a grave warning on Friday about the danger of post-Assad Syria becoming a haven for Islamist extremists. He portrayed a nightmare scenario in which Syrian institutions were destroyed beyond recognition and the country divided by sectarianism, with jihadists filling the gap. "Something has been broken in Syria, and it's not going to be put back together perfectly immediately, even after Assad leaves," Obama said. "But we can begin the process of moving it in a better direction, and having a cohesive opposition is critical to that." He was speaking at a joint press conference with King Abdullah II of Jordan, on the last leg of his Middle East tour. Obama is resisting pressure from some in Congress as well as the new secretary of state John Kerry to become more involved in Syria. A handful of Republican and

Ethnic violence erupts in Burma leaving scores dead

Thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes and shops after three days of ethnic violence in Burma Photograph: Khin Maung Win/AP Burma has issued a state of emergency in the central city of Meikhtila after three days of ethnic violence between Muslims and Buddhists has left scores dead, forced thousands to flee and left local homes and shops reduced to smoking rubble. Rioting began on Wednesday in the now ash-covered town, located 360 miles north of the commercial capital Rangoon, after an argument between a Muslim shopkeeper and his Buddhist customers erupted into a street brawl that ended with the death of a Buddhist monk. Soon after, photos and videos of mobs roaming the streets were circulating online – showing streets littered with burning motorbikes, men armed with sticks and swords destroying property, and buildings set ablaze – with little indication that security forces were putting a stop to it. The violence has called into question Burma's fledgling

Noam Chomsky: 'No individual changes anything alone'

'I grew up during the Depression. People would come to the door trying to sell rags - that was when I was four' … Noam Chomsky. It may have been pouring with rain, water overrunning the gutters and spreading fast and deep across London's Euston Road, but this did not stop a queue forming, and growing until it snaked almost all the way back to Euston station. Inside Friends House, a Quaker-run meeting hall, the excitement was palpable. People searched for friends and seats with thinly disguised anxiety; all watched the stage until, about 15 minutes late, a short, slightly top-heavy old man climbed carefully on to the stage and sat down. The hall filled with cheers and clapping, with whoops and with whistles. Noam Chomsky, said two speakers (one of them Mariam Said, whose late husband, Edward, this lecture honours) "needs no introduction". A tired turn of phrase, but they had a point: in a bookshop down the road the politics section is divided into biography, r

Brazilian riot police evict indigenous people near Rio's Maracanã stadium

A supporter of the indigenous community is arrested outside the Brazilian Indian museum in Rio de Janeiro. Brazilian riot police armed with batons, teargas and pepper spray have forcibly evicted an indigenous community from a dilapidated museum complex next to the Maracanã football stadium. The forced relocation, which led to scuffles, arrests and accusations of brutality, comes amid growing pressure on the hosts of the next World Cup to accelerate preparations that have fallen far behind schedule. Renovation of the stadium, which will host next year's final, was supposed to have been completed at the end of last year, but there are doubts that it will be ready for a friendly between England and Brazil in June. The museum has been the focus of a protracted legal battle between squatters, who claim the site should be used to promote indigenous culture, and the municipal authorities, who want to knock down a graffiti-covered eyesore and modernise the area before the world's

Kurdish families separated by decades of conflict hold their breath for peace

Kurds wave pictures of the PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan as they celebrate the Kurdish new year in Diyarbakir, Turkey. Glued to the TV screen in her small Istanbul home, Fatma watches the Kurdish new year celebrations in faraway Diyarbakir, witnessing a historic ceasefire call that she hopes will one day reunite her with the daughter she has not seen for 20 years. "I am so excited," said the 56-year-old, who prefers not to use her real name, as she listened to a message from Abdullah Öcalan, the jailed Kurdish guerrilla leader. When Fatma's daughter was 15 years old, the Kurdish teenager took to the hills to join Öcalan's Kurdistan Workers' party (PKK), enlisting in their 30-year guerrilla war against the Turkish state. "I have not seen her since," Fatma said. "Sometimes we talk on the phone, sometimes her friends call me. I know that she is now a commander, that she trains fighters. But once the ceasefire is in place, once there is peace, I w