Showing posts from January 4, 2015

Clearing Land Mines Becomes Women's Work in Mozambique and Beyond

Women have moved from sidelines to front line in effort to rid war-torn country of mines by year's end. MAPUTO, Mozambique—When Biatriz Hernesto was a child, she and her school friends longed to pick fruit in the bush behind her grandparents' house. They knew that's where the best marula fruits and other wild treats grew. But they also knew the area contained  land mines , so they seldom ventured there. Hernesto grew up in Maxixe, in southern Mozambique , in the aftermath of a brutal civil war that lasted from 1977 to 1992 and left the southern African country riddled with deadly, unexploded ordnance. When she saw people coming to clear the land of mines, she hid. "We thought the de-miners were soldiers who would kill us," says Hernesto, now 25. Many of them were, in fact, former fighters. Traditionally, mine-clearing efforts in Mozambique, and globally, have employed ex-soldiers as a way to provide them with work and integrate them back into society, sa

UN report reveals 343 killed in South Sudan massacres in 2014

Hundreds of civilians were massacred in two separate incidents in South Sudan last year in which victims were targeted for their ethnicity, nationality or political views, possibly amounting to war crimes, the United Nations said in a report on Friday. The 33-page report comes after the UN Security Council called for an investigation of April 2014 killings in South Sudan's oil hub, Bentiu. The UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan, which carried out the probe, also looked at an incident in the same month in the town of Bor. "UNMISS Human Rights Division finds that there are reasonable grounds to believe that at least 353 civilians were killed, and at least 250 wounded, in the attacks on Bentiu and Bor," the report said. The Bentiu killings, it said, included at least 19 deaths at a Bentiu hospital and roughly 287 at a mosque in Kalibalek. In Bor, at least 47 civilians were killed at an UNMISS base where they were seeking protection. "Perpetrators intentionally t

Fight terror with justice

The recent carnage in Pakistan targeting innocent children at an army school in Peshawar shocked and shook one to the core. Indeed, 'shock and anger' are inadequate words to capture the universal outrage and revulsion expressed over the Taliban horror show. Understandably, everyone, in and outside Pakistan, wants swift and effective response to terror.  And the redoubtable Pakistan Army--perhaps the only institution that all Pakistanis take seriously--and the  government  have indeed promptly responded to the national mood.  While the Army lost little time in unleashing overwhelming force on the militants in the tribal region, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has come up with a 'National  Action  Plan' to tackle the challenge.  Meanwhile even before the NAP could be exhaustively debated and put into play, the government  went ahead and promptly executed a number of militants.  The summary executions, denying the condemned men a final appeal before the Supreme Court  and the

Life-Saving Boot Can Detect Active Landmines from 6.5 Feet Away

Bogota-based design firm Lemur Studio has designed a life-saving boot insert which can detect landmines from a distance of 6.5 feet. SaveOneLife was created with soldiers in mind, but civilians and farmers living in areas littered with active mines can also benefit from this groundbreaking technology. The boot sole acts as a metal detector with a built-in radio transmitter and processor which pick up electromagnetic fields produced by large metal objects. Colombia’s fields and jungles are full of active landmines which have, in the last 24 years, killed 2,000 people and injured about 10,000 more. With the goal of saving both soldiers and innocent civilians, Lemur Studio created a boot sole that detects land mines within a radius of 6.5 feet, and alerts the wearer of danger. Embedded within the soles are microprocessors and radio transmitters that send a signal to a wristband interface, which shows the mine’s exact location. Lemur Studio’s designers have received numerous awards f

Two bombings kill 8 people in Iraq

Baghdad: Iraqi authorities say two separate bombings on commercial streets have killed eight people in and around Baghdad. Police officials say a bomb exploded today at a wholesale market in Baghdad's western district of Baiyaa, killing five people and wounding 11 others. Later on, a bomb blast inside on a commercial street killed three people and wounded nine others in the town of Madian, about 20 kilometers southeast of the capital. Medics confirmed the casualty figures. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the blast. Iraq is facing its worst crisis since the 2011 withdrawal of US troops as the Islamic State group is in control of about a third of the country. Source

The time bomb that could destroy Lebanon

The continued presence of Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon helps explain why the Lebanese are loath to establish camps for Syrians fleeing the civil war. Hussein Hazuri begins his report in Lebanon’s Al-Nahar newspaper by asking his readers if they remember Hamra Street. “Do you remember the Champs-Élysées of Beirut? The crowds at the cafés, the theaters and the nighttime parties? Nothing is left of them. Hamra Street has lost its people. Today, ‘the brothers’ and ‘the foreigners’ [a reference to refugees from Syria] have turned the street into a site for tourism, work and begging.” Hazuri complains that the thoroughfare, which had once been a symbol of Beirut’s wild cultural scene, has been taken over by establishments sporting signs with Syrian names and where all the employees are Syrian. The vehicles on the street even bear Syrian license plates. “What else is missing to make you feel like you’re in Syria?” Hazuri asks. He interviews café and restaurant owners, who comp

Blast in market of Nigeria’s Maiduguri kills at least 12

MAIDUGURI , Nigeria (Reuters) – An explosion in a market in Nigeria’s northeastern city of Maiduguri killed at least 12 people and injured more than 20 people, a security source and witnesses said on Saturday.  Source

Pakistan Taliban faction claims reponsibility for Rawalpindi blast

Islamabad, Jan 10: A faction of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) on Saturday claimed responsibility for the imambargah blast in Chitian Hatian area of Rawalpindi, which killed eight people and wounded 20 others, media reported. "We claim responsibility of the attack on the imambargah and vow to continue such attacks against enemies of Islam," The News International quoted spokesperson of Jamat-ul-Ahrar faction of TTP, Ehsanullah Ehsan, as stating in an email. "We want to make it clear to these infidel rulers that we will not be impressed by any of their laws or hangings," he added. The powerful explosion Friday night triggered chaos as dozens of Shias had gathered in the imambargah to distribute alms to mark the birthday of Prophet Mohammed. Read more at:

Paris newspaper attack rallies Islamic extremists, is likely to boost militant recruitment

FILE - In this Wednesday Jan. 7, 2015, file photo, masked gunman fire their weapons outside the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo's office in Paris. Though it is impossible to gauge in any tangible way the effect the deadly attack on a Paris newspaper will have on recruitment by extremist groups - and there is no evidence so far that it is mobilizing large numbers of would-be jihadis - experts believe the perceived professionalism of the brothers' assault and their subsequent showdown with police could rally more supporters to militant ranks. (AP Photo, File) NO SALES  (The Associated Press) BEIRUT –   The militant chatter spread like wildfire. Within minutes of news breaking about the deadly terror attack on a Paris newspaper this week, supporters of extremist Islamic groups extolled the suspects in the massacre as "lions of the caliphate" and praised the killings on social media. Loyalists of al-Qaida and the Islamic State group alike descr

Meet the Women the Paris Gunmen Spared

Like most buildings in Paris, the one that houses Paris’s satirical paper Charlie Hebdo in the city’s 11th district has a security keypad outside, which requires residents to tap in a code before the front door clicks open. That might have been the sole obstacle the masked gunmen faced when they sprang from their car on Wednesday just before midday in the opening seconds of France’s biggest terror attack in generations. Their problem was solved by the arrival at that very moment of one of the paper’s cartoonists Corinne Rey, known by her pen name “Coco”, was racing to attend the weekly editorial meeting. She had just picked up her small daughter from a pre-school center and brought her to the office. “I had gone to fetch my daughter at day-care, and when I arrived at the door of the building of the paper two men, hooded and armed, brutally threatened us,” she said in an interview with the French newspaper L’Humanité, saying they demanded to know the door code. Rey told police the

Images reveal life of ‘most wanted woman in France’

Boumeddienne has been described as an accomplice in the attack by French police. (Al Arabiya) A photo of a bikini-clad Hayat Boumeddiene, suspected to be an assailant in the Paris supermarket attack which left four people dead, surfaced online on Saturday. Boumediene's husband Amedy Coulibaly stormed a kosher supermarket and took in several hostages, killing four people before he was shot by  police. A photo of Boumedienne distributed by French authorities. (AFP) The Daily Mail  reports  he is the man posing with Boumeddiene in the picture. Other photos showed her in a burqa as she posed in a sling shot. In another image, she is seen with Coulibaly. Other photos showed her in a burqa as she posed in a sling shot. In another image, she is seen with Coulibaly. Boumedienne with her husband, the gunman killed as police stormed the supermarket. (Photo courtesy: Twitter) Boumeddienne has been described as an accomplice in the attack by French police, t

Bangladesh sees rise in suspected money laundering, terror financing

:  2015-01-05 23:19:11.0 The bank’s Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU) said in a report published on Monday they received information of 619 suspicious transactions from ‘reporting agencies’ in the 2013-14 FY. The number was 47 percent higher than 420 of the previous FY. Bangladesh Bank Governor Atiur Rahman unveiled the report at the bank’s conference room around noon. BFIU Deputy Head M Mahfuzur Rahman told “The number and efficiency of reporting agencies have increased. Awareness of the people has also grown. That’s why a greater number of suspected transactions has come to light.” Law requires banks and other reporting agencies to bring it to the notice of the BFIU if they suspect any transaction to be linked to money laundering or terror financing. Banks, non-banking financial institutions, insurance and microcredit agencies, money changers, remittance-dealing firms, non-profit organisations, gold traders and several other types of firms act as reporting a

Terror money - Dr Ikramul Haq

The daunting challenge faced by the national and international institutions at present is tackling terror financing. The dangers and implications involved in terrorist financing have direct bearings on our established legal and financial systems. In the absence of a comprehensive study of terrorist financing, which also suggests ways to counter it effectively, it is not possible to uproot terrorism, extremism and militancy that pose a serious threat to the politico-legal systems evolved by humanity over time.  Unlike money laundering, which is always preceded by an unlawful activity, terrorism may be financed from the proceeds of legal activities (humanitarian organisations, various associations, donations etc). This makes detection of terrorist financing very difficult, even more so if we bear in mind the fact that the transaction amounts involved in terrorist financing often tend to be smaller than those that have to be reported to the anti-money laundering office. Since the measures