Showing posts from March 7, 2021

Pirates kidnap 15 seafarers from product tanker offshore Nigeria

  Fifteen seafarers have been taken hostage by pirates from a Maltese-flagged products tanker Davide B offshore Nigeria. According to reports the 19,800 dwt product tanker with a crew of 21 onboard was sailing from Latvia to Delta State was boarded by nine armed pirates some 220 nm south of Lagos, Nigeria on 11 March at 15-12 hrs UTC. The vessel had crew of 21 comprising Ukrainian, Romanian and Philippine nationals, 15 of whom were taken hostage. The nationalities of those taken hostage is not known. The Davide B is managed De Poli Shipmanagement in the Netherlands “The area where the incident occurred has seen an increased number of incidents between the end of Q4 2020 and beginning of Q1 2021. During the same time PAGs have shown an increased interest in targeting areas freque

Measuring the global impact of destructive and illegal fishing on maritime piracy: A spatial analysis

 This paper was originally published by PLOS ONE . Abstract Maritime piracy constitutes a major threat to global shipping and international trade. We argue that fishers turn to piracy to smooth expected income losses and to deter illegal foreign fishing fleets. Previous investigations have generally focused on cross-national determinants of the incidence of piracy in territorial waters. These investigations neglect piracy in international waters and ignore its spatial dependence, whereby pirate attacks cluster in certain locations due to neighborhood and spillover effects. We conduct a geographically disaggregated analysis using geo-referenced data of piracy and its covariates between 2005 and 2014. We demonstrate that the incidence of piracy in a particular location is associated with higher catch volumes from high-bycatch and habitat-destroying fishing, even when controlling for conditions in proximate coastal areas. We find, additionally, that illegal,

15 crew abducted from chemical tanker by pirates off Benin

 A 2016-built chemical tanker was boarded by pirates off Cotonou, Benin on Thursday with 15 crewmembers kidnapped. According to maritime safety consultancy Dryad Global, the 2016-built 19,800 dwt tanker Davide B , operated by Dutch company De Poli Shipmanagement, was boarded by nine armed men. The vessel has a crew of 21 personnel consisting of Ukrainian, Romanian, and Philippine nationals. De Poli confirmed that 15 members have been taken from the ship and the remaining six are safe and remain onboard. “De Poli Shipmanagement are greatly concerned about the attack on its vessel and seafarers. The company’s main priority now is to establish contact with the missing crew in order to secure their earliest and safe release. De Poli Shipmanagement’s Emergency Response Team are liaising with all relevant authorities who have been notified immediately after the incident which occurred at appx. 15.00 UTC on Thursday. The company are in close contact with the families of the seafarer

India lauds efforts of Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe for countering terrorism

  India's Deputy Permanent Representative to UN, K Nagaraj Naidu  |  Photo Credit: Twitter New York: India on Wednesday (local time) lauded the efforts of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) for countering terrorism and stressed that it will continue to fight against other new and emerging threats. Speaking during a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) open briefing, India's Deputy Permanent Representative to UN, K Nagaraj Naidu said: "OSCE was among the first regional organizations to strongly condemn the terrorist attack on the Indian Parliament in 2001. We believe that OSCE has an important role to play in our continued fight against terrorism and other new and emerging threats." Talking about the eight-point action plan on counter-terrorism proposed by India's External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on January 11 that called for member nations to fulfill

Germany quits surveillance in Horn of Africa as piracy threats decline

 Germany's only maritime surveillance plane is to leave Djibouti, where it has been conducting counter-piracy missions around the Horn of Africa alongside its European allies as part of Operation Atalanta. The aircraft may be redeployed to the Mediterranean to watch over Libyan waters Source:,109649905-gra

Piracy in Gulf of Guinea poses “serious” trade threat

 The number and severity of attacks on vessels by pirates in the Gulf of Guinea are increasing, posing a threat to global trade and the safety of seafarers working in the region, according to the International Maritime Organization (IMO). In a letter to all agencies of the United Nations (UN) dated February 10, IMO secretary-general Kitack Lim writes that piracy in the gulf presents a “serious and immediate threat” to crews and vessels operating in West African waters. He calls for better co-ordination between stakeholders and regional organisations to improve safety for ships and their operatives, while also highlighting a fatal incident involving a container ship in late January as the catalyst for action. Mozart, a Liberian-flagged vessel, had been on its way from Lagos to Cape Town when it became the target of a pirate attack that resulted in the death of one Azerbaijani seafarer and the kidnapping of 15 Turkish crew members. On February 12, the Turkish government s

Europe marks day of remembrance of victims of terrorism

  People pay their respects at the site of a deadly shooting in Vienna, November 4, 2020. The attacker had tried to travel to Syria to join the ISIL a few years ago, but he was arrested and sentenced to prison in Austria, before being released in December 2019. /Reuters People pay their respects at the site of a deadly shooting in Vienna, November 4, 2020. The attacker had tried to travel to Syria to join the ISIL a few years ago, but he was arrested and sentenced to prison in Austria, before being released in December 2019. /Reuters Europe on Thursday commemorated those who lost their life to terrorism with a ceremony in Madrid, the capital of Spain. In an event organized by the European Commission, the 17th European Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Terrorism brought together victims of terrorism, victims' associations and first responders to share their stories and experiences. This year,

There's profit in letting go, says AU ambassador, ex-child soldier Emmanuel Jal

 'My desire as a kid was to kill as many enemies as possible. I wanted revenge for my family. I wanted my enemies to feel that fire that they put in me when they burnt and tore down my home. And that has been the path that I've been on, but there's also a part of me that wanted to be a part of the solution. I wanted to be among the people who can stop this." These are the words of actor and hip-hop star Emmanuel Jal, who says he was once driven by hatred and revenge. The former child soldier was inspired as an adult by the examples of Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King jnr to put aside the bitterness that drove him. He become a musician and a global campaigner for peace after realising that revenge is temporary but there is permanent healing in forgiveness. Jal grew up in a village in South Sudan. He was three years old when civil war broke out in 1983, thwarting his childhood hopes of getting an education and making something good out of his

War crimes court orders record $30 million compensation for Congo victims

THE HAGUE (Reuters) - Child soldiers and other victims of convicted Congolese militia leader Bosco Ntaganda should get a total of $30 million compensation, International Criminal Court judges ruled on Monday, in their highest ever reparation order. The judges said Ntaganda did not have the resources to pay the compensation himself. Instead they asked the tribunal’s own Trust Fund to help set up and finance vocational and other programmes to support victims of his crimes. Ntaganda was sentenced to 30 years in prison in 2019 for murder, rape and other atrocities committed when he was military chief of the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC) militia in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo in 2002-2003. Hundreds of civilians were killed and many thousands forced to flee during the fighting. “The chamber hereby unanimously issues an order for reparations against mister Ntaganda (and) assesses mister Ntaganda’s liability for these reparations at 30 million US dollars,” judge Chang

Syria: 90% Of Children Need Urgent Help, UNICEF Says

 It represents an increase of 20% in the last year, according to the charity. The charity UNICEF says 90% of Syrian children need urgent humanitarian aid, an increase of 20% in the last year. It comes as the conflict in the country nears its tenth anniversary. Fear, poverty and starvation have become realities of growing up in the war zone. Speaking in 2016, one child called Saja said: "Before the war, it was safe to go out. We wouldn’t worry if something was going to happen to us. "Life was really beautiful. "My friends lost their lives when we were bombed. My friends Fatima, Zahra, Cedra, and Wala'a. "And me, I lost my leg." The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) recently released a report about the impact of war on a generation of young Syrians and the human cost of the fighting. A total of 12,000 children have been killed or injured in the conflict. Five and a half thousand children, including some as youn

1993 Mumbai Blasts: 5 Indian Movies Based on Terrorism

 Today is the 28th anniversary of the Mumbai serial blasts that took the lives of 257 people and injured thousands in 1993. The Supreme Court of India, in 2013, passed the final judgement on the case and upheld an earlier death sentence for Yakub Memon. His brother Tiger Memon is the prime accused in the blasts and is believed to have conspired with Dawood Ibrahim. Below we take a look at five movies based on serial blasts and terrorist activities in India. 1. A Wednesday (2008) The story is a fictional one, inspired by the Mumbai train bombings of 2006 and their aftermath. An individual, known only as “The Common Man,” threatens to cause blasts across Mumbai unless four apprehended terrorists are freed. Anupam Kher and Naseeruddin Shah star as the policeman and “The Common Man” respectively. Neeraj Pandey won a National Film Award for his direction. 2. Aamir (2008) RELATED NEWS

Ant Group publishes financial self-discipline rules amid tougher Chinese scrutiny: Chinese persecution

 BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s Ant Group flagged a set of financial self-discipline rules on Friday amid intense scrutiny on its activities by authorities and the country’s overall tightening of financial technology regulations. The rules, the first of their kind released publicly by the financial technology giant, comes some four months after China suspended the group’s $37 billion plan for a share listing in both Shanghai and Hong Kong. Chinese regulators have tightened their grip on fintech companies, amid concerns over systemic financial risks brought by the financial empire affiliated to China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba Group. In response to the intense regulatory pressure, the group has been reining in some of its operations, taking steps to bring its capital requirements in line with those of banks, and revamping itself into a financial holding firm. In a statement, Ant said its consumer loan platforms should not issue loans to minors, and must prevent small business

42 Terrorist Outfits Banned In India, Says Government

  New Delhi: A total of 42 terrorist organisations like the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Jaish-e-Mohammed have been banned by the government for their involvement in various acts of terrorism, which is largely been sponsored from across the border, Lok Sabha was informed on Tuesday. Union Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy also said that 635 terrorists were killed by security forces in Jammu and Kashmir between 2018 and 2020, while 115 civilians lost their lives to terror violence in the Union Territory during the period. Three civilians were also killed in the hinterland due to the terrorist violence in last three years, he said. "The government has declared 42 organisations as terrorist organisations and listed their names in the First Schedule of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967. Terrorism in India has largely been sponsored from across the border," he said in a written reply to a question. In response to a separate question, Union Minister of S

Armenian Relief Society Supports Children of Fallen Heroes

  ARS has renamed its Orphan’s Sponsorship program as “Children of Fallen Heroes” sponsorship program. After the devastation and losses caused by the Artsakh War last fall, the Armenian Relief Society has renamed its Orphan’s Sponsorship program as “Children of Fallen Heroes” sponsorship program. The ARS Orphan’s Sponsorship program is one of the most significant programs of the ARS. Established in 1992, the program aimed at financially assisting both the children orphaned due to the devastating 1988 earthquake and those of fallen soldiers as a result of the first Artsakh war and the continuous clashes in bordering villages. For over 20 years, the ARS program has sponsored more than 7,400 orphans through the generous donations of over 4,900 sponsors. In 2012, the 20th anniversary of this project was celebrated leading it to the next phase. Total allocated funds to orphans surpasses $5,300,000. With an annual contribution of only $330, sponsors can make an impact

SRSG for Children and Armed Conflict: Statement to the 46th Session of the Human Rights Council - World

  Statement by Ms. Virginia Gamba Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict to the 46th Session of the Human Rights Council Please check against delivery Madam President, Excellencies, Dear colleagues, Ladies and gentlemen, It is an honour to address the Human Rights Council as we commemorate the 25th anniversary of the creation of the children and armed conflict mandate by the General Assembly. Two thousand and twenty has been a challenging year and, it is important to take stock of the challenges we have faced, but also of the progress we have made. The number of grave violations against children remained unacceptably high while respect for international humanitarian law, international human rights law and children’s rights continued to erode. Of great concern has been the increase in cases of abduction of children. This violation, together with sexual violence including rape and attacks on schools and hos

Catalan separatist returns from Belgium to face Spanish law

  One of the leaders of Catalonia's failed 2017 secession bid has returned to Spain to face up to justice Spain Catalonia (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.) Former Catalan government member Meritxell Serret handed herself into Spain’s Supreme Court on Thursday, three years after she fled to Belgium along with other associates who led Catalonia’s failed secession attempt. A statement issued by judge Pablo Llarena said that Serret was released without bail after she turned herself into the Madrid-based court upon coming back to Spain from Brussels where she had resided since October 2017. Llarena set a hearing for Serret to be questioned on April 8. Serret, 45, fled from Spain to Belgium in 2017 along with other members of the regional government of northeast Catalonia, including regional president Carles Puigdemont following his ineffective declaration of independence. “We thought it was the best moment to take this step and send the message t

Mukesh Ambani Security Scare: Phone Traced To Tihar Cell Of IM Terrorist

  New Delhi: A Telegram channel used to claim responsibility for placing an explosives-laden SUV near industrialist Mukesh Ambani's home in Mumbai, was created from inside a barrack in Delhi's Tihar jail where an Indian Mujahideen terrorist is being kept, police sources have told NDTV. This was revealed following a raid by the special team of the Delhi Police at the barrack housing Tehseen Akhtar, during which a mobile phone used to create the Telegram channel was found. Tehseen Akhtar was arrested following the 2014 serial blasts in Patna targeting Narendra Modi's rally; he is also linked to the serial blasts in Hyderabad and Bodh Gaya. The police officials said that a virtual number was created using Tor browser to create an account in Telegram messaging app, through which a message claiming responsibility for placing an explosives-laden SUV near the industrialist's residence was sent. The police is planning to take remand of Tehseen Akhtar to question hi

Factbox: Ten facts about child soldiers around the world

  (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Fallout from the coronavirus pandemic could lead to more children being recruited by armed groups, the United Nations warned on Friday as the world marked the International Day Against the Use of Child Soldiers - also known as Red Hand Day. Despite global efforts to end the use of child soldiers, girls and boys are still forced into combat - as fighters and in other roles - in at least 14 countries including the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and Somalia. Here are 10 facts about child soldiers: 1. Tens of thousands of children are estimated to be recruited and used by armed groups. In 2019 alone, more than 7,740 children, some as young as six, were recruited and used as soldiers around the world, according to the United Nations. Most are recruited by non-state groups. 2. The Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, Syria and Yemen currently have the largest number of child soldiers. 3. Children are not only recruited by armed forces and groups

The Biden administration, on behalf of the U.S., must commit to doing no more harm in Yemen

  Thank you to President Biden for announcing an end to the United States’ six years of aiding and abetting the Saudi coalition’s devastating military attacks on Yemen. On Feb. 4, President Biden said “this war has to end” and called the suffering of the Yemeni people “unendurable.” He said the U.S. would no longer support Saudi offensive military attacks on Yemen and ordered a freeze on arms sales to Saudi Arabia and a pause on arms sales to the United Arab Emirates. Since that announcement, his administration has rescinded the Trump administration’s designation of the Houthis as a Foreign Terrorist Organization and has initiated diplomatic talks with many of the parties involved. All of these changes are welcome, yet they highlight the awful tragedy of the past six years and also the desperate need for more immediate progress. The victims of this six-year war have been largely Yemeni civilians. Yemen, with a population of 30 million, was already the poorest count

Morocco extends security wall in Sahara

  Morocco is tightening the noose on Polisario separatists by further narrowing the area east of the berm after satellite images showed that a new wall was built 3km away from the Algerian border. Equipped with state-of-the-art radars and motion detectors, Morocco’s security wall was completed in late 1980s and has put an end to the hit-and-run tactics of the Polisario militias. The new wall extension is now only 3 kilometres away from the Algerian borders in the area of de Touizgui in the region of Guelmim Oued Noun, Moroccan media reported. The wall destroys the propaganda of the Polisario and its mentor Algeria regarding what they call “liberated territories” east of the berm, Morocco’s defensive apparatus. The new wall comes after Morocco extended the berm to the Mauritanian border barring once and for all the provocations of the Polisario in the Guerguarat border crossing. Recently, the UN has exposed the lies of the Polisario and Algeria regarding an imaginary wa

Cannabis legalisation divides PJD Islamists

  A bill elaborated by the Interior Ministry to legalize cannabis for medical and industrial use was put off twice by the government council as rifts widen within the Islamist PJD party regarding the legalization of the drug. The PJD Islamists, who lead the current government, seem reluctant to back the bill after the party’s former leader Abdelilah Benkirane threatened to leave the party if it approves the bill. The law will only enter into force after approval of the parliament and after it is published in the official bulletin. In its latest meeting, the PJD party issued a statement saying that it continues to examine the bill and that it was necessary to open a larger public debate on the matter and carry out a study on the impact of legalization. Observers said this language shows the unwillingness of the PJD to back the project and that it was seeking to postpone the approval of the bill till after elections. Legalization of cannabis has always been a hot issue as

Learning from small island states: Maritime security

 On January 4, the French frigate Nivôse seized 444kg of methamphetamines and heroin worth more than €40 million (US$52,4 million) from a dhow in the Mozambique Channel. This is the latest demonstration of how transnational organised crime is spreading in the Western Indian Ocean. The implications for safety and security along Africa’s long and largely unmonitored coastline are serious. Much of the heroin trafficked between Afghanistan and Europe for example runs across the Indian Ocean along the infamous southern route. Onshore conflicts pose a significant maritime threat too. The Cabo Delgado, Mozambique insurgency has increasingly developed a maritime component, with the potential for future maritime terrorism or piracy. The Western Indian Ocean also suffers from illegal fishing and exploitation of other natural resources at sea, threatening the livelihoods of coastal communities. While all African coastal states are affected, the small island developing states – the

'Hold Pakistan accountable for promoting terrorism': European think tank's plea to UN

 A European think tank recently urged the United Nations to hold Pakistan accountable for promoting terrorism and failing to live up to its moral obligations towards its own people and the international community. During an intervention at the ongoing 46th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, UK PM Boris Johnson noted that following the growing diplomatic pressure from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), Pakistan arrested Hafiz Sayeed and Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, two UN-designated terrorists. However, Johnson called the arrests “sham” and said that Pakistan’s move was not driven by a genuine attempt to combat terrorism.  The UK PM also added that the arrests exemplified Pakistan’s “double-edged approach” towards terrorist activities. He said, “Terrorism is patronised when strategically useful but opposed when it targets Pakistani interests. This is the most apparent in Afghanistan, where Pakistan will now have to adapt to an at least partially Taliban-led

Human Rights Council: LWF calls for protection of children in South Sudan

  Systemic failures and human rights violations must be addressed (LWI) - The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) has raised concerns about the situation of children in South Sudan. “South Sudanese children are inadequately protected against the worst forms of violence,” LWF Regional Program Coordinator and child protection focal point, Lokiru Yohana, said in an oral statement presented at the 46th session of the Human Rights Council. “They are often targeted, abused and exploited physically, sexually and emotionally.” Children “are frequently abducted, forcefully recruited as child soldiers, raped and forced into early and arranged marriages and pregnancies.” Address “systemic failures” “Malnutrition, insufficient vaccination, infant and child mortality rates in South Sudan are among the highest globally, Yohana said in the statement. Children “are frequently abducted, forcefully recruited as child soldiers, raped and forced into early and arranged marriages and

Algeria’s direct responsibility in child soldiers’ recruitment by Polisario denounced in Geneva

Algeria’s direct responsibility in the recruitment of child soldiers by the Polisario was denounced in Geneva Tuesday by International relations expert Matteo Dominici, who deplored that children in the Tindouf camps are used as “cannon fodder”. The international expert made his remarks on behalf of Swiss NGO “Promotion of Economic and Social Development,” at the interactive dialogue with the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence Against Children and Armed Conflicts during the ongoing 46th Session of the Human Rights Council. Matteo Dominici called on the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General and on the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) to shoulder their responsibility by putting pressure on Algeria to stop the recruitment of child soldiers by the polisario in the Tindouf camps, in Algerian territory. He deplored the fate of the children forcibly enrolled in the polisario militias, underlining Algeria’s direct responsibility for the viola

The Child-Soldiers Of Protest

 How did school children in Chennai react to news of the farmers’ protest happening in Punjab and Haryana? How do events mutate as they glide across the vast expanse from Kashmir to Kanyakumari? Student responses to the “leaked” question from the CBSE revision exam in the Chennai school, in the news last month, offer the mirror image of a democracy. A multitude of people, a spectrum of responses. The assignment itself was textbook case of ideological manipulation on part of an education system. The question stated that the farm law protestors "went on a rampage destroying public property and attacking police personnel in broad daylight." It went on to say the event "filled the hearts of the citizens with condemnation and abhorrence." It asked the examinee to write a letter to the editor of a newspaper “condemning such terrible, violent acts of miscreants who fail to realize that country comes before personal needs and gains.” Like many others, I came t