Showing posts from March 16, 2014

Journalist among 24 killed in Iraq attacks

Twenty four people, including a journalist, were killed and 53 wounded in separate attacks in central Iraq Saturday, police said. In Baghdad, Mohammed Bdiewi, a journalist, was shot by Kurdish security forces near a presidential site, Xinhua reported citing police. Bdiewi, also a teacher in the media college at Baghdad's Mustansriyah University, was shot dead in Baghdad's central district of Karrada. Bdiewi was heading to his office at Free Iraq Radio station when he had a dispute with soldiers guarding a presidential site belonging to Iraq's Kurdish President Jalal Talabani. Talabani has been in Germany recovering from a stroke since the end of 2012. Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki ordered the arrest of the officer who is believed to have shot Bdiewi dead, local media reported. In a statement, the Iraqi Journalists' Syndicate condemned the incident and said "this disgraceful act which was perpetrated against an Iraqi journalist by the checkpoint indicates lack

Sri Lanka army admits torture of women recruits

Colombo:   Sri Lanka's military admitted on Saturday soldiers had abused and tortured female recruits, a rare admission of guilt after years of allegations over its personnel's treatment of Tamil rebels during an uprising. A military spokesman said it accepted the authenticity of a video leaked on a dissident website that appeared to show soldiers torturing women soldiers, adding instructors had overstepped their authority for an undisclosed act of violating "military discipline". "The investigation which is being carried out by the Sri Lanka Army Corps of Military Police has so far revealed that the video in question is an authentic one," military spokesman Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya said in a statement. "According to a preliminary report, the instructors (the troops) have punished the recruits for an act in violation of military discipline," Wanigasooriya added. "However, the method adopted is not in accordance with standard procedures,&q

12 killed as Yemen army clashes with Shiite rebels

SANAA: Twelve people were killed Saturday in clashes between Yemeni forces and Shiite rebels on the outskirts of the northern city of Amran, a local official and tribal sources said.    The rebels, known as Huthis or Ansarullah, had travelled to Amran to take  part in a demonstration, but shooting erupted when they insisted on crossing a  checkpoint to the northern entrance to the city with their weapons, an official  said.    Eight rebels were among the dead, as well as two soldiers and two  civilians, a local official and tribal sources said.    A senior security official in Sanaa said orders have been given to prevent  Huthis from entering Amran, as the army dispatched reinforcements from the  310nd armoured brigade.    The military also set up more checkpoints around the city as rebels  attempted to enter from the east and west, local sources said.    Last week, Huthis armed with assault rifles paraded through Amran along  with vehicles fitted with rocket launchers, demanding the s

Tamil women want info on Sri Lanka's war missing

MANNAR, Sri Lanka (AP) Hundreds of ethnic Tamil women demanded information on Friday about relatives who have been missing since Sri Lanka's civil war, defying widespread military surveillance, threats and the possibility of arrest. The protesters held a peaceful rally in the northern town of Mannar and issued a 10-point memorandum to the United Nations high commissioner for human rights. The letter asked the commissioner to help obtain information about their relatives and determine who was responsible if they are dead. It also called for an independent international inquiry into allegations of war crimes during the civil war between government troops and defeated Tamil Tiger rebels, and the release of private land and homes occupied by the military. The women say they have received no information about sons and husbands who surrendered to the military at the end of the fighting in 2009. The protest came days after police arrested a mother and daughter who campaigned for the relea

Damaging NYT report

Carlotta Gall covered Afghanistan and Pakistan for The New York Times (NYT) from 2001 to 2013. Amongst her other accomplishments, she was deported from Pakistan for being ‘undesirable’. Now Ms Gall has written a book, The Wrong Enemy: America in Afghanistan, 2001-2014. Excerpts from the book have been published by the NYT, some of which make sensational reading. For example, the article alleges that ex-president Pervez Musharraf and ISI chief Lt-General Ahmed Shuja Pasha knew of the presence in Pakistan of Osama bin Laden (OBL) at his sprawling compound in Abbottabad. Further, that the ISI had established a special desk to handle OBL, manned by an officer who was empowered to make his own decisions and did not report to a superior. He allegedly handled only one person: OBL. The report cites an unnamed Pakistani official alleging that the US had direct evidence implicating Pasha. The report goes on to allege that evidence found in OBL’s residence in Abbottabad showed he was in correspon

Q&A: A New Book's Explosive Claims About Pakistan and Osama Bin Laden

Carlotta Gall's   blockbuster story   in The New York Times Magazine   this week claims that the Pakistani intelligence service (ISI) had knowledge of Osama Bin Laden's hiding place in Abbottabad. According to Gall, the ISI and Pakistan's military establishment also supported the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto. The piece is an excerpt from her new book,  The Wrong Enemy: American in Afghanistan, 2001-2014 , which argues that the failing American mission in Afghanistan is largely the result of Pakistani duplicity, which has consisted of the country taking American aid dollars while still covertly supporting the Taliban and other extremist groups. Gall has reported extensively from Pakistan and Afghanistan for  The New York Times , and is currently the newspaper's North Africa correspondent. We spoke by phone this week about the details of Pakistan's relationship to Bin Laden, the war in Afghanistan, and the long, depressing history of U.S.-Paki

What Pakistan Knew About Bin Laden

Shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks, I went to live and report for The New York Times in Afghanistan. I would spend most of the next 12 years there, following the overthrow of the Taliban, feeling the excitement of the freedom and prosperity that was promised in its wake and then watching the gradual dissolution of that hope. A new Constitution and two rounds of elections did not improve the lives of ordinary Afghans; the Taliban regrouped and found increasing numbers of supporters for their guerrilla actions; by 2006, as they mounted an ambitious offensive to retake southern Afghanistan and unleashed more than a hundred suicide bombers, it was clear that a deadly and determined opponent was growing in strength, not losing it. As I toured the bomb sites and battlegrounds of the Taliban resurgence, Afghans kept telling me the same thing: The organizers of the insurgency were in Pakistan, specifically in the western district of Quetta. Police investigators were finding that many of the bo

Violent video games fuel racial aggression: Study

What happens when white video game players see themselves as black characters in a violent game? A study shows that it makes the white players act more aggressively after the  video game  is over, have stronger explicit negative attitudes toward blacks and display stronger implicit attitudes linking blacks to weapons. "These results are the first to link avatar race in violent video games to later aggression," said Brad Bushman, professor of communication and psychology at Ohio State University. It raises another troubling impact that violent video games can have on players, he said. Playing a violent video game as a black character reinforces harmful stereotypes that blacks are violent. "We found there are real consequences to having these stereotypes - it can lead to more aggressive behaviour," Bushman noted. In the study, 126 white university students (60 percent males) played the violent game 'Saints Row 2'. They were randomly assigned to play the game e

Pope Francis denounces 'evil, blood-stained' mafia

The pope was uncompromising in his criticism of the mafia as he met family members bereaved by organised crime Pope Francis has launched a stinging attack on the mafia, warning gangsters that they will go to hell unless they repent and stop doing evil. "Blood-stained money, blood-stained power, you can't bring it with you to your next life. Repent," he said. He was speaking at a prayer vigil for relatives of those killed by the mafia. The Pope has spoken out frequently about the evils of corruption and wrote a booklet on the subject in 2005 when he was archbishop of Buenos Aires. 'No joy' The meeting near Rome on Friday - organised by a citizens' group called Libera - was aimed at demonstrating the Roman Catholic Church's opposition to organised crime, rejecting historic ties with mafia bosses claiming to be good Catholics. The vigil is held every year, but this was the first time that it was attended by the pope The pope told told Italy's mobsters to

14-year-old boy shoots man dead on bus in US

New York:   New York police say a 14-year-old boy opened fire on a city bus in Brooklyn, fatally shooting a Dominican man in the head. The shooting happened at about 6:20 pm yesterday on a bus in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. The boy was taken into custody and a firearm was recovered. No charges were immediately filed. Police say 39-year-old Angel Rojas of Brooklyn was pronounced dead at the hospital. They say he was not the intended target. According to reports, the shooting erupted during an argument among a group of teenagers. The newspaper reports that more than one shot was fired. Relatives say Rojas came to the United States four years ago from the Dominican Republic with his wife and two children. Source

Who is delaying unification of maoist parties ?

KATHMANDU: The unification process of the two Maoist political parties prompted by the joint statement issued by both parties seems to have been held up for the differences among their top leaders. The leaders have started questioning whether senior leader Baburam Bhattarai was the major reason behind the delay in the unification process. After being crushed by the major parties, the two Maoist parties have realised that divided they would fall.  The leaders of both parties have been claiming that unification is a must despite huge differences, but still there has been no visible progress on that front. Former All Nepal National Independent Students Union-Revolutionary (ANNISU-R) Chairman Lekhnath Neupane said the only binding thread for leaders of two Maoist parties was the doctrine of necessity. The leaders must learn from the fallout of past splits in Nepali Congress and CPN-UML and the increased attempts to indict their cadres for their perceived role in war era cases.  There are s

Operation to flush out Maoists in Palamu

DALTONGANJ: Palamu police are on a drive to curb Maoist activity ahead of the April 10 Lok Sabha election here. Maoist hideouts are being busted in combing operations across the district. To counter this, the rebels are not staying put at one place for a long time, not even beyond two hours, said police. Sources said, "The main outfit of Maoists is facing an acute shortage of manpower owing to the tepid response to their recruitment drive. In such a scenario, these left-wing extremists can ill-afford to incur the wrath of the villagers by doing anything against their will." Police said, "Villagers have expressed their willingness to vote. Any wall writing by Maoists asking the villagers to boycott polls has not been reported so far." Anil Minz, commandant of the 134th battalion of CRPF, conceded that rebel outfits here are not getting fresh hands and this has put them under tremendous pressure. He also said rebels are constantly on the move to dodge police. A well-p

Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda’s wife Mili Panda makes political debut in Odisha

BHUBANESHAR: Her husband is on the run, somewhere in the forests of south-west Odisha, with a bullet in his thigh and the police in close pursuit. Meanwhile, Subhashree or Mili Panda , wife of Maoist Sabyasachi Panda, is all set to make her debut in mainstream politics with the new party Ama Odisha.   Sabyasachi Panda, son of a freedom fighter and three-time CPI(M) MLA from Ranpur, has caused the state government much embarrassment. He is alleged to be involved in the murder of Lakshmanananda Saraswati that led to the Kandhamal riots in 2008 and more recently with the abduction of an Italian tourist.  "I have spent two years working in Ranpur (in Nayagarh) with my outfit Janamanch Odisha. This is our chance to leverage the work we have done for two years," said Panda's wife. "My followers are sympathetic to my situation (the possibility of her husband been killed in an encounter) and it's certainly a pressure, but I hope to live up to the challenge."  Ama Od

Heavy fighting in north Lebanon leaves 3 dead

The Syrian conflict has increasingly pulled neighboring countries such as Lebanon into the three-year-old civil war. (photo courtesy: Gunbattles between supporters and opponents of Syrian President  Bashar Assad  subsided in Tripoli, north Lebanon, Friday after heavy fighting over the last 24 hours left three people dead. Security sources said three civilians succumbed to wounds sustained in clashes that erupted Thursday between the warring neighborhoods of Jabal Mohsen and Bab al-Tabbaneh. The latest deaths brought the toll in clashes that broke out last week to 22 killed, including a 10-year-old girl, and 152 wounded. At least eight Lebanese Army soldiers were wounded in fresh hostilities that broke out Thursday and continued until Friday morning. Fighting intensified after midnight as the warring sides traded mortar bombs, rocket-propelled grenades and B-10 recoilless rifles. One B-10 rocket hit Street 33, which is famous for its restaurants, causing material damage o