Showing posts from January 8, 2017

Protests Shutdown Far-Right Speaker at UC Davis

Speeches by far-right commentator Milo Yiannopoulos (yuh-NAH'-poh-lihs) and former pharmaceutical executive  Martin Shkreli  were canceled Friday night after heated protests erupted at the University of  California , Davis. University police put up barricades as protesters shouting "shut it down" grew increasingly rowdy in the hours leading up to the talks. The UC Davis College Republicans, who sponsored the event, chose to cancel about a half-hour before the event began. Yiannopoulos, who writes for right-wing Breitbart News and is permanently banned from Twitter after leading a harassment campaign against "Ghostbusters" actress Leslie Jones, said on his Facebook page that the event was canceled after "violence from left-wing protesters." But campus police said there was no violence or property destruction, and no arrests were made. UC Davis Interim Chancellor Ralph J. Hexter, who had staunchly defended allowing the event, said he was &qu

2017 Will Test The Rise Of Europe’s Populist Far-Right

Europe is still reeling from a tumultuous year after the fractious Brexit vote, multiple terror attacks and an ongoing refugee crisis. On the heels of this turmoil, Germany, the Netherlands and France are all set to hold elections in 2017 ― three states where populist far-right parties look set to make significant gains. The past year has been a boost to these anti-EU, anti-immigration parties, which have rushed to capitalize on economic, political and ethno-nationalist frustrations. In the months ahead, some of the most well-known populist far-right politicians will see if their rising public support can actually translate into political power. Although these parties are promoting a narrative of a surging silent majority that will upend “elite” politicians and return power to their narrowly defined version of “the people,” there is nothing inevitable about the populist far-right’s rise. This was evident last month when Austria’s Freedom Party candidate Norbert Hofer lost

Israeli rocket hits major air base in Damascus, says Syrian army

Friday 13 January 2017 The Syrian army has accused  Israel of firing rockets that hit a major military airport in a “flagrant” attack outside  Damascus , warning  Tel Aviv  of severe repercussions. The explosions were heard in the capital, and a large plume of smoke could be seen rising from the area, while  video footage  circulated online showing flames leaping from parts of the Mezzah air base compound. Syrian state television quoted the army as saying several rockets were fired from an area near Lake Tiberias in northern Israel just after midnight, before landing in the compound of the air base used by President  Bashar  al-Assad 's elite Republican Guards. “Syrian army command and armed forces warn Israel of the repercussions of the flagrant attack and stresses its continued fight against [this] terrorism and amputate the arms of the perpetrators,” the army command said in a statement. President Assad has repeatedly vowed to take the country back from "ter

Al-Qaeda leader denounces Isis 'madness and lies' as two terrorist groups compete for dominance

Friday 13 January 2017 The leader of  al-Qaeda  has attacked  Isis  for “madness” and “exceeding the limits of extremism” as the two terror groups  continue to compete  for territory and supporters around the world. Ayman al-Zawahiri, who succeeded Osama bin Laden when he was killed in 2011, criticised Isis for killing and “slandering” his own jihadis. In an audio message, he branded the rival group’s members “cowards” and liars with a “thirsty desire for authority”. “Isis was struck with madness in  takfir  [declaring other Muslims to be apostates] and exceeded the limits of extremism,” al-Zawahiri said. Ayman   al-Zawahiri  has been criticising Isis’s leaders for more than a decade “They make  takfir  on the basis of lies, fabrications and even good deeds of obedience...[it is] is political, convenient and opportunistic.” The extremist, who has had a $25m (£20m) bounty on his head since 9/11 and is under global sanctions due to his links to global terror attac

Bangladesh police arrests 'mastermind' behind Dhaka cafe siege

DHAKA: Bangladesh police on Saturday said they have arrested a top Islamist militant accused of being one of the "masterminds" of the country's worst terror attack at a popular  Dhaka  cafe and plotting murders of religious minorities including two Hindu priests.  ISIS-linked outlawed Neo-Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen recruiter  Jahangir Alam  alias Rajib alias Gandhi was arrested Friday night from Elenga, some 120 kms north of Dhaka, Counter-Terrorism and Transnational police unit chief Monirul Islam told media.  He said that Alam was one of the "key players" of the July attack on  Holey Artisan  restaurant who were captured alive so far as "13 of the 17 militants who were presumed to have plotted the attack were killed in encounters so far".  "During the initial interrogation he has admitted to his direct link to plot of staging the attack on Gulshan's Holey Artisan and the subsequent Eid congregation in Sholakia," Islam said.  The official

Assad 'dropped 13,000 barrel bombs on Syria in 2016', watchdog claims

Wednesday 11 January 2017 ​ A UK-based  Syrian  war watchdog has published data tallying the number of violent incidents targeting civilians carried out by all parties in the bloody conflict for last year. The  report  from the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) found that Syrian regime helicopters dropped 12,958 barrel bombs in 2016 in total. The strikes resulted in the deaths of 653 civilians, SNHR found, including 166 children and 86 women. Most were dropped on rebel-held suburbs of Damascus, followed by Aleppo, Hama, Idlib, Daraa, and Homs. November - when the  battle to retake Aleppo  intensified - saw the highest number of barrel bombs dropped Barrel bombs are among several particularly damage-inflicting types of bombs that have been dropped on rebel held areas by the Syrian government, with the help of the Russian air force. They are illegal under international law because they have too ‘indiscriminate’ a target area, putting civilians at risk. Since t

Turkish court arrests two Uighurs in relation to Istanbul nightclub attack

Source Turkish court arrests two Uighurs in relation to Istanbul nightclub attack Two Chinese nationals of Uighur origin were arrested on Friday for suspected links to the mass shooting in an Istanbul night club on New Year's Eve, state-run Anadolu agency said. Two suspects, Omar Asim and Abuliezi Abuduhamiti, who are Chinese citizens, were remanded in custody on charges of being members of an armed terrorist organisation, and aiding in 39 counts of murder. Turkish authorities said the man who killed 39 people in an attack on an Istanbul nightclub was probably an ethnic Uighur. Islamic State (ISIS) has claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was revenge for Turkish military involvement in Syria. Anadolu  news agency also said 35 people had been detained so far in relation to the attack. Uighurs were among those detained, local med

Mosul battle: Iraqi forces clash with IS at university

Reuters Iraqi troops are reported to have taken more ground Iraqi forces have met heavy resistance after launching an attack to recapture Mosul University from so-called Islamic State (IS), military officials say. Elite troops entered the compound on Friday in an attempt to secure the area in the last major IS stronghold in Iraq. It comes amid reports that Iraqi forces have reached a second bridge in the city. The latest phase of a push to retake Mosul was launched last month. Friday's operation to capture the university, in the eastern part of the city, has seen government forces gain control of several buildings in the area, local media report. The complex has been used by IS militants as a base. Iraqi officials have also said that the group has used the site's chemistry laboratories to produce chemical weapons. Read more Mosul: Satellite images reveal city damage Iraq gaining momentum against IS Meanwhile, the Iraqi military said in a statement t

Mali's Persistent Jihadist Problem

Four years ago, French forces intervened in Mali, successfully averting an al Qaeda-backed thrust toward the capital of Bamako. The French operation went a long way toward reducing the threat that multiple jihadist groups posed to this West Africa nation. The situation in Mali today remains tenuous, however, and the last 18 months have seen a gradual erosion of France's impressive, initial gains. To ensure a significant new threat does not materialize in Mali again, France will need staying power — and support from other countries, including the United States. The 2013 French intervention in Mali rid the country of what French security experts referred to as “Malistan” — a huge al Qaeda safe haven in the northern half of the country that had grown increasingly reminiscent of Afghanistan on the eve of the 9/11 attacks. Over the course of the first few months of that year, French Special Forces, operating in close coordination with traditional French army and air force and w

Pashtunistan liberation army launched for liberation from Pakistan, activists request global support

By Srividhya Iyer on Sat, January 14, 2017 10:41am Residents claim that Pakistan is purposefully using the region to cultivate terrorists and are demanding to be freed from the clutches of the failing state.  Pakistan, January 14: Pakistan seems to be increasingly teetering on the verge of a split once again. After the Balochistan and Sindh, the Islamic republic is now seeing another armed group being set up in the North West frontier province of the country. The region, vastly inhabited by Pashtuns, has demanded that they be set free from Pakistan so as to set up their own country 'Pashtunistan'. Pakistan has long contested the issue of citizenship of Pashtuns with the neighbouring country of Afghanistan. Pashtuns remain divided between Pakistan and Afghanistan. However, Pakistan has long claimed them in their entirety even contesting the Durand line that divides the two countries. The line, cuts the Pashtun-inhabited areas between the two countries, something that is una

Digital Activists Are Disappearing in Pakistan

Ahmad Waqass Goraya, with his wife and son. Goraya went missing in Lahore on January 4 , 2017. Photo shared on Facebook by Mescha Saeed. In a troubling start to the new year, reports are emerging from families and civil rights organizations that as many as nine Pakistani bloggers went missing within the first week of 2017.  Four of the missing activists  are known for their secular and left-leaning views. Ahmad Waqass Goraya  and Asim Saeed — both of whom were visiting Pakistan from abroad — were reportedly abducted on January 4 from the city of Lahore, according to Goraya's wife who spoke with Global Voices from the Netherlands. Goraya, a medical anthropologist and resident of Netherlands, was picked up along with his cousin Abdur Rahman Cheema. Asim Saeed is an IT specialist who lives in Singapore. In an interview, his father told Global Voices: “Asim was carrying his two smart phones and laptop when they abducted him. These people were plain cloth [sic] and the car