Showing posts from April 28, 2013

Syrians flee coastal 'massacres'

Hundreds of Syrians have fled coastal areas where activists accuse government forces of carrying out massacres in a campaign of sectarian cleansing. Footage of mutilated and burned bodies, allegedly from the town of Baniyas, have been posted online. Activists said at least 77 people - 20 from the same family - were killed, a day after 72 died in nearby al-Bayda. The government said it had fought back "terrorist groups" and restored peace and security to the area. President Assad was shown on state TV unveiling a statue to "martyred students" Meanwhile, Israel has said its warplanes carried out an air strike on Syria targeting weapons heading to Lebanon's Hezbollah. It is the second time this year that the Israelis have carried out such strikes. 'Militia involved' Activists have reported two massacres in two days in the coastal area of central Syria. They say the first was at the Sunni village of al-Bayda, which was overrun by regime forc

Maduro alleges assassination plot

Nicolas Maduro won April's election by a narrow margin, official results show Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has accused former Colombian leader Alvaro Uribe of plotting to assassinate him. Mr Maduro said he had evidence that right-wing Venezuelan poluticians had been involved in the plot. He has alleged conspiracies against him since taking over from the late President Hugo Chavez and winning disputed elections last month. Mr Uribe - a fierce critic of President Chavez - dismissed Mr Maduro's accusation as "immature". On Friday, Mr Maduro said: "Uribe is behind a plot to kill me. Uribe is a killer. "I have enough evidence of who is conspiring, and there are sectors of the Venezuelan right involved," Mr Maduro added. Hours later, Mr Uribe responded by saying: "To the immature accusation by the dictatorship... just one response: repeat the elections." Alvaro Uribe has repeatedly criticised Venezuela's government Mr Mad

Anti-Jewish rally in Hungary capital

Hungary's far-right Jobbik party has staged a rally in central Budapest in protest at the capital's hosting of the World Jewish Congress (WJC) on Sunday. Several hundred supporters took part, despite attempts by the government to prevent it going ahead. Jobbik said the rally was a protest against what it said was a Jewish attempt to buy up Hungary. The party, which says it aims to protect Hungarian values and interests, is the third largest in parliament. It regularly issues anti-Semitic statements. The event in Budapest on Saturday was billed as a tribute to what organisers called the victims of Bolshevism and Zionism. "The Israeli conquerors, these investors, should look for another country in the world for themselves because Hungary is not for sale," party chairman Gabor Vona told the rally, according to Reuters news agency. Marton Gyongyosi said Hungary had "become subjugated to Zionism, it has become a target of colonisation while we, the indig

20 killed in sectarian violence in Nigeria: aid worker

Agence France-Presse | Kano, Nigeria: At least 20 people were killed in violent clashes between Christian and Muslim mobs in central Nigeria's Taraba state on Friday, prompting a round-the-clock curfew, an aid worker has told AFP. "We have recovered 20 bodies from the violence so far," the source said Saturday, adding that the unrest had occurred in the town of Wukari, some 200 kilometres (125 miles) from the state capital Jalingo. "We are still going round the town in search of more bodies," he said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media about death tolls. Authorities have imposed a curfew in the area following the bloody clashes, officials said. Local residents said Friday's violence erupted when the funeral procession of a traditional chief from the predominantly Christian Jukun ethnic group marched through a Muslim neighbourhood chanting slogans, which Muslims viewed as an act of provocation. Tensions ha

Five US troops killed in Afghan roadside blast: officials

Kabul: Five members of the US-led international military coalition were killed on Saturday by a roadside bomb in southern Afghanistan, the latest deadly attack against foreign troops since the Taliban announced the start of their spring offensive this week. The renewed violence came as Afghan President Hamid Karzai acknowledged that his government has been receiving funds from CIA for more than a decade as part of regular monthly assistance from the US government. Karzai told reporters at a news conference that the CIA's station chief in Kabul has assured him that regular funding the US intelligence agency gives his government will not be cut off. Karzai had earlier confirmed that his government had received such payments following a story published in The New York Times that said the CIA had given the Afghan National Security Council tens of millions of dollars in monthly payments delivered in suitcases, backpacks and plastic shopping bags. "The help and assistance f

A path from 'social butterfly' to suspect's widow in hijab

Michael Cooper, Serge F. Kovaleski, Richard A. Oppel Jr. and John Eligon, The New York Times | Updated: May 04, 2013 20:15 IST When Katherine Russell arrived as a freshman at Suffolk University just over five years ago, she seemed to bond so well with her new roommates in their lively dorm opposite Boston Common that one classmate likened them to sitcom characters. "They reminded me of the show 'Sex and the City,"' he recalled. "Two of them were free-spirited, one was materialistic and Katherine was the social butterfly." Then Russell began dating Tamerlan Tsarnaev, a boxer from Cambridge, Mass., known for his flashy clothes, and her life began to change. As he became a steadily more religious Muslim, Russell converted to Islam. She started to cover her head with a hijab in public, startling some classmates. She dropped out of college in 2010, the year they got married and had a daughter. She moved into his family's run-down apartment in Cambridge,

At least 62 bodies found in Syria's Banias: watchdog

Agence France-Presse Beirut: The bodies of at least 62 murdered residents have been found in a Sunni neighbourhood of the Syrian city of Banias, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Saturday. The latest incident was condemned by the opposition Syrian National Coalition, which said reports of several mass killings in the area raised the spectre of a campaign of ethnic cleansing. "The bodies of dozens of citizens killed on Friday during an assault by the army and Alawite members of the National Defence Forces in the Sunni neighbourhood of Banias were discovered on Saturday," the Observatory said. "We have identified 62 citizens by their names, photos, or videos, including 14 children, and the number could rise because there are dozens of citizens who are still missing." The mass killing is the second "massacre" to be reported in the Banias area this week. On Thursday, the Observatory said at least 50 people had been killed in the Sun

Hamid Karzai urges Taliban to fight Afghan enemies after Pakistan clash

Reuters Kabul: Afghan President Hamid Karzai called on the Taliban on Saturday to fight Afghanistan's enemies in what was widely seen as a swipe against Pakistan days after the neighbors' security forces clashed on their border. Karzai's remarks are likely to unsettle already shaky ties with Pakistan and come as the United States wants Pakistan to help Afghanistan persuade the Taliban to engage in peace talks ahead of the withdrawal of most foreign troops by the end of next year. "Instead of destroying their own country, they should turn their weapons against places where plots are made against Afghan prosperity," Karzai told reporters in the capital, Kabul, saying this was "a reminder for the Taliban". "They should stand with this young man who was martyred and defend their soil," he said, referring to an Afghan border policeman who was killed in the Wednesday night clash on eastern Afghanistan's border with Pakistan. Two Pakistan

'Tsarnaev innocent' leaflets pasted in Kyrgyzstan

Agence France-Presse | Bishkek: Kyrgyzstan special services on Friday said they were looking for people who pasted up leaflets proclaiming the innocence of alleged Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who spent his early childhood in the ex-Soviet state. Black-and-white leaflets were pasted in central Bishkek in underpasses and outside the central department store with images of Tsarnaev at various ages and the caption "Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is innocent, pray for Dzhokhar," local media reported. The Kyrgyz special services "are trying to find the distributors of these leaflets," their press office told AFP. Tsarnaev, who has been charged over the deadly bombings after his brother Tamerlan was shot dead, spent his early years in a town outside Bishkek before his family moved to Dagestan in Russia and later to the United States. His father is a Chechen whose family was forced to move to Central Asia in the 1940s when the entire Chechen people was deported from the

Grenade blast in Manipur injures five

Press Trust of India | Updated: May 04, 2013 11:31 IST Imphal: Five persons were injured when a powerful grenade exploded at a bakery shop in Imphal West district of Manipur, police said today. According to police, suspected militants hurled the grenade at the shop in Chingmeirong area last night. All five injured were non-Manipuris, police said. Source

Taliban threatening Sarabjit Singh's lawyer, says Pakistan Human Rights Commission

Lahore: The Pakistan Human Rights Commission has said that Sarabjit Singh's lawyer, Awais Sheikh, and his family have been receiving threatening letters and calls from the Taliban. The commission has urged chief minister of Pakistan's Punjab province to provide security to Mr Sheikh. The panel also said that a CID official tried to kidnap Mr Sheikh in Pakistan a day before Sarabjit's death, when he had accompanied his family to Wagah border to see them off. Sarabjit Singh, 49, was a death row convict at the Kot Lakhpat Jail in Lahore, Pakistan. On Friday last, a group of other prisoners had hit him on his head with bricks. He was taken to the Jinnah hospital in Lahore in a comatose state and was on ventilator support till he died early on Thursday. Sarabjit's body was brought back to India on Thursday and he was cremated yesterday in Bhikhiwind, his ancestral village in Punjab. Doctors who conducted an autopsy on his body near Amritsar said that the injuries s

Tsarnaev suspected of links to Canadian jihadi and Russian rebel recruiter

Russian investigators became concerned about Tsarnaev after he had made contact with Islamic radicals Plotnikov and Nidal  Rebel fighter William Plotnikov reads the Koran in this undated photo released by Dagestani branch of the Russian Federal Security Service. The hunt for who or what radicalised alleged Boston bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev is focussing on two young men who were in the Russian region of Dagestan during his visit there last year, and who were killed by security forces shortly before his sudden return to the US. Russian media reports say anti-terrorism investigators became concerned about Tsarnaev, who was killed in a shoot-out with Boston police four days after the April 15th bombings, when they discovered he had made contact with Islamic radicals William Plotnikov and Mahmoud Nidal . Tsarnaev travelled from the US to Dagestan in January 2012, and for about six months stayed with relatives in the regional capital, Makh

Bhutto murder prosecutor shot dead

Prosecutor Chaudhry Zulfikar talks to journalists outside the anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Rawalpindi, last month. Photograph: Faisal Mahmood/Reuters Gunmen have killed Pakistan’s lead prosecutor investigating the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto , throwing the case that also involves former ruler Pervez Musharraf into disarray. Chaudhry Zulfikar was at the helm of a number of controversial cases, including the 2007 Bhutto assassination in which Mr Musharraf is accused of involvement. He was also prosecuting militants linked to the 2008 terror attack in the Indian city of Mumbai. Mr Zulfikar was driving to a court in the capital Islamabad when gunmen fired at him from a taxi, hitting him in the head, shoulder and chest, said a police spokesman. He then lost control of his car, which hit a woman passer-by and killed her, said another polic

Dutch government to allow police to tap conversations on Skype

Legislation an effort to close ‘massive technical loophole’  ’  The Netherlands recently raised its alert level for terrorist attacks from “limited” to the second highest level, “substantial”, as a result of increasing links between Islamic militants here and in Syria – and the domestic intelligence service, AIVD, has increased its surveillance of suspect networks. The National Counterterrorism Co-ordinator revealed that as many as 100 young men had recently travelled to Africa and the Middle East, particularly Syria, and said: “These jihadist travellers can return highly radicalised, traumatised, and with a strong desire to commit violence, thus posing a significant threat to this country.” The proposal to allow the tapping of Skype and other VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocols) services is contained in draft legislation which will look at computer-related crime in general, following a string of DDos (distributed denial-of-service) attacks la

Northern peace process a stalemate between enemies who loathe each other

Opinion: Progress requires an unambiguous understanding that the future is shared  Union flags being waved in front of Belfast’s City Hall last December during protests over the decision by Belfast City Council to limit the number of days the flag is flown from the building. Photograph: Cathal McNaughton/Reuters Fifteen years after the Belfast Agreement and more than six years into devolution, the storm clouds are gathering. Austerity has robbed Northern Ireland of the “happy shiny people” rhetoric of 1998. But the malaise is deeper. In spite of huge efforts, there is a gaping hole where there should be answers to the question, “where next?” The peace process has seen things that seemed unthinkable become commonplace. It was as if the long night had ended. So why, if things are so good, do things feel so bad? And what should be done? The answers take us into the heart of the carefully worked “non-agreements” at the heart of the peace process: no a

Dozens massacred as Syrian forces storm coastal village

Human rights group says women and children among at least 50 people executed but warns final death toll may exceed 100  A Free Syrian Army commander reacts after they failed to capture a Syrian Amry tank during clashes with forces loyal to Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad in Aleppo’s neighbourhood of Salaheddine. Photograph: Ammar Abdullah/Reuters State forces and militias loyal to Syrian president Bashar al-Assad stormed the coastal village of Baida today, killing at least 50 people including women and children, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. The pro-opposition monitoring group said the final death toll was likely to exceed 100. Many of those killed appeared to have been executed by shooting or stabbing, it said, and other bodies were found burned. Activist reports on the killings could not be independently verified as the Syrian government res

Peace process is work of 11 years, says Turkish deputy prime minister

Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay speaks at the Arab-Turkish Congress of Social Sciences (ATCOSS) on May 2. AA photo Dilara Sarı The ongoing peace process is an evolved stage of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) progress that has been going on for the past 11 years, Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay said today during his speech at the Arab-Turkish Congress of Social Sciences (ATCOSS). “The solution process today is a new stage of the work we have been doing for the past 11 years. If you see the AKP party program from 11 years ago you will find the main framework of what we are doing today,” Atalay said. AKP did not conduct “daily politics,” Atalay added, stating that his party always aimed at “deep rooted changes.” AKP had to mostly lead these changes on its own, Atalay said, directing criticism a

India cremates convicted spy with full state honors

NEW DELHI, May 3 — India on Friday cremated with full state honors convicted spy Sarabjit Singh in his hometown in the northern state of Punjab amid mass outrage over the fatal attack on him by his fellow inmates in a Pakistani jail last Friday. Police gave a 21-gun salute as a mark of last respect to the 49- year-old, who succumbed to his injuries at a hospital in Lahore in the wee hours of Thursday, before the funeral pyre was lit by his sister Dalbir Kaur in the presence of his wife Sukhpreet Kaur, and daughters Swapandeep and Poonam at Bhikhiwind village in Punjab’s Tarn Taran district. Several Indian ministers, including Minister of State for External Affairs Preneet Kaur, and Punjab’s Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal attended Singh’s funeral, apart from the ruling Congress party’s Vice-President Rahul Gandhi, as local TV channels beamed live footage of the emotional event. Earlier this morning, Singh’s body was kept inside a coffin at a local school, draped

At least 18 killed, 36 wounded in attacks in Iraq

BAGHDAD, May 3 — At least 18 people were killed and 36 others injured in attacks on Friday in Iraq, including a car bombing near a mosque in the capital of Baghdad, Interior Ministry and police sources said. The car bomb exploded near the Sunni mosque in northern Baghdad as worshipers were leaving Friday Prayers. At least five of them were killed and 30 others wounded, an Interior Ministry source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity. The blast also damaged several cars nearby, he added. Meanwhile, a total of nine policemen were killed and six others wounded in clashes between armed men and police in Mosul, some 400 km northwest of Baghdad, a local police source told Xinhua. The armed men had attacked several police checkpoints around the city, he said. Moreover, four gunmen were killed when they attacked a checkpoint belonging to the Iraqi army in western Mosul, the source added. Violence is still common in Iraq despite the dramatic decrease since its peak in 2

Press Freedom Day: the challenges facing journalists today

  Find out the facts about journalism today in our infographic The role of journalists as democracy's watchdogs is proving increasingly hazardous. Not only have thousands of them lost their job due to the crisis, but they are also at risk of being arrested, kidnapped or even killed in the line of duty. To ensure the freedom of the press and access to information, Parliament is currently working on new initiatives. As today we mark Freedom of the Press Day, find out about the challenges facing journalism in our infographic. Parliament is currently working on two reports regarding media freedom to ensure greater transparency and freedom of information at a time when more than half of Europeans see television and the written press as untrustworthy, according to a Eurobarometer survey.   A report on freedom of press and media in the world was drafted by Marietje Schaake,

First woman on FBI most wanted terror list

Share on linkedin Joanne Deborah Chesimard is seen in a combination of undated Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) handout photos. Chesimard has been named a Most Wanted Terrorist by the FBI -- the first woman ever to make the list, the FBI announced at a news conference in Newark, New Jersey May 2, 2013. REUTERS/FBI/Handout via Reuters A woman who killed a police officer 40 years ago and later fled to Cuba has been placed on the FBI’s list of “most wanted terrorists,” U.S. officials said May 2. Law enforcement officials said Joanne Chesimard is the first woman ever to make the list, and one of only two to make the list accused of crimes carried out on U.S. soil. “Joanne Chesimard is a domestic terrorist who murdered a law enforcement officer execution-style,” said FBI agent Aaron Ford, in

Philippine leftist group says agreements with gov’t must be respected

MANILA, May 3 — The joint agreements forged during the over 20 years of negotiations between the leftist rebels and the Philippine government should continue to be in effect and must be respected by both sides until there is formal termination of the peace negotiations, rebel group said Friday. The Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army- National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) said that the joint pacts include the Hague Joint Declaration of 1990, the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law of 1998, and the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees. The group said that other critical agreements “that were forged through difficult negotiations and which serve as hallmarks of the determination of the NDF and past Philippine governments to work through differences and unite on matters of crucial importance to the Filipino people” should also be respected. The Aquino administration recently declared th

Kerry Hosts ‘Peace Process Partner’ Livni to Advance PA Demands

John Kerry and Tzipi Livni have something in common. Both of them want to advance their political careers with the booby prize of an Israeli-Palestinian Authority peace agreement. Tzipi Livni, Israel's de facto 'peace process minister,' with former PA negotiator Ahmed Qureia in July 2010 Photo Credit: Kobi Gideon/Flash90 Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who is Prime Minister Netanyahu’s de facto “peace process minister,” is in Washington for talks with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who is fresh from winning a supposed “concession” from the Arab League for the American-sponsored peace process. Kerry has come up with a proposal to adopt most of the Saudi 2002 Peace Initiative, which is virtually everything that Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has demanded. Kerry’s mission is to make a deal. Getting Israel and the Palestinian Authority to agree on the final status of an independent Arab country

Cyber attack targets drug-selling website Silk Road

Silk Road is an online black market that is accessible on Tor. Silk Road, a “dark website” that is only accessible using special Tor software and which sells drugs and other illegal items, was hacked on April 30 and May 1, according to a BBC report . The site was targeted by a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack, which floods websites with more traffic than it can handle, knocking it offline. Silk Road, which was launched in February 2011, is an online black market that is accessible on Tor. Tor is known as the Deep Web or Dark Web, a service which allows users to browse anonymously online. "Silk Road is open and accessible," the site's administrator announced today, writing under the username Dread Pirate Roberts. Several politicians have called for the anonymous market to be closed. The motive and the perpetrator of the attack remain unknown. Source: http

Interview: Abbas eyes China’s role in peace process with Israel

RAMALLAH, May 3 — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he will let the Chinese leaders know the barriers currently rooted in Palestinians’ talks with Israel, as he expects Beijing’s contribution to the stalled peace process. Abbas, at his office in the West Bank city of Ramallah, told Xinhua Friday that he will update China’s new leadership about ” where we are” in the political track in the Middle East, and “what are the obstacles that block this track and what is the role that some countries like the United States is to be matched.” Abbas is set to pay a state visit to China on May 5-7 at the invitation of Chinese President Xi jinping. Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will also visit China as a guest of Premier Li Keqiang from May 6 to 10. As Abbas spoke to Xinhua, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Friday that China is willing to offer necessary assistance if the leaders of Palestine and Israel have the will to meet in China.

World Press Freedom Day: Bloggers reflect

World Press Freedom Day celebrates its 20th anniversary on Friday. It was first officially proclaimed during the UN General Assembly in 1993. The theme for 2013 is Safe to Speak : Securing Freedom of Expression in All Media, a focus that includes securing a free and open internet. Here bloggers from across the globe reflect on their work in the light of press freedom day. Juanita Leon, Colombia Juanita Leon is a journalist and writer who blogs for the news website she founded - La Silla Vacia (The Empty Chair). I have a blog about politics in Colombia. I blog because I like the freedom provided by the internet to investigate and write what you find, without having to work for someone else. Continue reading the main story “ Start Quote In many areas of Colombia press freedom is still just an aspiration” I care about public issues in Colombia, and specifically how power is exercised. Why? Because I think that part of having power in Co