Friday, December 16, 2011
Army soldiers and civilians threw stones, glass plates and dishes
Above Parliament's building
Friday 16th December 2011 at 6:30 AM Cairo Time.
- Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity situation Chile 5.2 !More info here.
- Krauthammer: Killing Osama bin Laden Is the Exception that Proves Obama’s Appeasement Rule.(BigPeace).Charles Krauthammer’s latest column in the Washington Post takes on President Barack Obama’s claim that he could not possibly be conducting a foreign policy of appeasement, given that his administration succeeded in killing Osama bin Laden and other Al Qaeda leaders.The charge of appeasement has become a potent theme of recent Republican presidential debates, infuriating the White House and its defenders in the media. Sen. Rick Santorum pointed out, in response to Obama’s bin Laden defense, that the administration was merely continuing the policies of George W. Bush.Krauthammer adds that Obama’s bin Laden defense is little more than question-begging. Killing bin Laden, Krauthammer reminds us, was not a policy question: Barack Obama didn’t appease Osama bin Laden. He killed him. And for ordering the raid and taking the risk, Obama deserves credit. Credit for decisiveness and political courage. However, the bin Laden case was no test of policy. No serious person of either party ever suggested negotiation or concession. Obama demonstrated decisiveness, but forgoing a non-option says nothing about the soundness of one’s foreign policy. That comes into play when there are choices to be made.Krauthammer highlights two of Obama’s worst–and most consequential policy choices: his decision to “reset” relations with Russia, selling out our European allies; and his decision to allow the 2009 protests against the Iranian regime to be crushed.These, Krauthammer suggests, fit the classic definition of “appeasement”–with the expected results.On Russia:
The Russians are back on the warpath about missile defense. They’re denouncing the watered-down Obama substitute. They threaten not only to target any Europe-based U.S. missile defenses but also to install offensive missiles in Kaliningrad. They threaten additionally to withdraw from START, which the administration had touted as a great foreign policy achievement…Finally, adding contempt to mere injury, Vladimir Putin responded to recent anti-government demonstrations by unleashing a crude Soviet-style attack on America as the secret power behind the protests. Putin personally accused Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of sending “a signal” that activated internal spies and other agents of imperial America.
For his exertions, Obama earned (a) continued lethal Iranian assistance to guerrillas killing Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan, (b) a plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador by blowing up a Washington restaurant, (c) the announcement just this week by a member of parliament of Iranian naval exercises to shut down the Strait of Hormuz, and (d) undoubted Chinese and Russian access to a captured U.S. drone for the copying and countering of its high-tech secrets.The killing of Osama bin Laden is not evidence of Obama’s leadership. It is exception that proves the appeasement rule.Read the full story here.
- Russia says it seized radioactive material en route to Iran.(Reuters).The Russian customs service said on Friday it had seized radioactive material found in the luggage of a passenger bound for Tehran at Moscow's Sheremetyevo international airport.The service said in a statement that tests showed the material was a radioactive isotope which could be obtained only "as a result of a nuclear reactor's operations."The statement said the material had triggered an alarm in the airport's radiation control system. The luggage search led to a discovery of 18 pieces of radioactive metal packed in individual steel casings.A Sheremetyevo airport customs spokeswoman said by telephone that the material had been identified as sodium-22 but gave no other details. Sodium-22 is a radioactive isotope of sodium that can be used in medical equipment.Read the full story here.
- At least 5 killed in Egypt cabinet violence, including 14-year-old.(BikyaMasr).CAIRO: At least five protesters have been killed on Friday by the military and security forces as clashes at the country’s Cabinet continue, medical sources said.Among the dead is a 14-year-old boy, activists said. Another four reportedly died en route to hospitals.The ministry of health reported early Friday evening that 99 people have been injured in the all-day violence that began in the early morning hours. They have not reported any deaths.Earlier in the day, protesters told Bikyamasr.com that at least three people were killed.“The first dead, the first dead,” said one protester as the young man was taken away, bloodied, into an ambulance.The violence began around two in the morning after an Ultra – a hardcore football fan – was allegedly abducted by security near the nearly three-week old sit-in in front of the Egyptian cabinet building.The man was reportedly beaten up and tortured by his captors.Protesters told Bikyamasr.com that a potential prisoner exchange was discussed, a defected soldier for the Ultra fan.Eventually, the Ultra fan was released, his face swollen twice the size after being punched repeatedly.Upon his release, fellow Ultras began chanting and then rock throwing ensued.“The military started throwing rocks first,” one protester told Bikyamasr.com.A number of tents were set ablaze inside the sit-in area. The military then opened water hoses directed toward the protesters, not the tents. At around 10 AM in the morning, smoke was still rising from the area, as broken rocks lined the ground around the area.Protesters, braving the barrage of rocks being thrown, had picked up plywood planks and were covering their heads from the rocks being thrown, in an attempt to get close enough to throw their own rocks back at the around 10 men high up on the building.At around 6 AM, security opened fire on the protesters. By then, the protesters had moved from the Magles el-Shaab to the main Qasr el-Aini street. It is unknown if the bullets used were live ammunition, but Bikyamasr.com did take an image of what appears to be a live round.Since then, it has turned into a stand-off between protesters and the plainclothes men above, with rock throwing persisting by the minute.The events of Friday morning follow last month’s violent clashes only a few streets away on Mohamed Mahmoud street, where protesters and security – police and military – fought brutal battles for 6 days.At least 70 people were killed in the street fighting, which galvanized hundreds of thousands of Egyptians to take to the iconic Tahrir Square nearby, medical sources told Bikyamasr.com.Now, Cairo is in the midst of a new round of clashes after the military invaded the peaceful sit-in and violently removed the protesters from the area. Streets are closed and shops remain unopened on Friday.“We are waiting to see what happens next. When people wake up today, they will come and we will not stop this in the face of military,” Amr, a protester with rock in hand, told Bikyamasr.com.Read the full story here.
- American Freedoms and Values stifled under current Obama Administration.(DocsTalk).Washington D.C. (December 15th, 2011) -- Traditional Values Coalition (TVC) president Andrea Lafferty was targeted and detained by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s security personnel this Wednesday during the closing event capping the three day closed-door conference advancing the implementation of U.N. Resolution 16/18.“For weeks we have been asking whether the true aims of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and U.N. Resolution 16/18 would be used to apply “old fashioned techniques of peer pressure and shaming” to chill and coerce those critical of the Islamist agenda,” said Lafferty. “Hillary Clinton was as good as her word,” said Lafferty.Lafferty was circled by several members of Secretary Clinton’s staff before being approached by a member of the security detail, demanding Lafferty follow him. When asked why she was being removed from the reception hall, the security detail announced that a phone call had identified Lafferty as a “security threat” to Secretary Clinton. “I was shocked and angry at the pressure and shameful intimidation tactics our State Department put on, even to the point of identifying me as a threat to Hillary Clinton.”Secretary Clinton in a June 2011 conference in Istanbul, Turkey remarked how certain comments from those concerned about Islamic fanaticism have been deemed as “incendiary” and looked to sympathize with efforts that would criminalize certain speech that is “an incitement to imminent violence.”“This language -- “incitement to imminent violence” -- has been used time and time again to close events here in the United States concerning the impact of Islamic shariah law, detain law-abiding Christians elsewhere, and now even target and detain as security threats people from State Department events,” said Lafferty.“The very restriction on free speech the UN Resolution was pushing is exactly what they used against me,” said Lafferty.“I had warned previously how members of the U.S. State Department and Hillary Clinton have pointedly remarked that part of the implementation of U.N. Resolution 16/18 will be an effort to utilize “techniques of peer pressure and shaming” to silence critics of Islamic shariah,” said Lafferty. “Little did I realize how quickly Clinton and her Islamist friends were set to make examples out of law-abiding Americans.”Hmmm......I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes. ~ Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776.Read the full story here.
- Violence against female protesters in Egypt by military continues.(BikyaMasr).CAIRO: More female protesters are reporting being hit and abused by military police during the ongoing clashes on Qasr al-Aini street on Friday.Military police dispersed the sit-in outside the Egyptian cabinet by attacking protesters and burning their tents down. Scores have been reportedly injured as soldiers continue to throw rocks and other objects from the rooftop of the cabinet building.Several photographs emerging from the violence show women being beaten by the military police.One fully-covered woman, wearing the niqab, was cornered and hit by batons on her head by three soldiers.Activists reported that another niqab woman was detained and soldiers tore her clothes off while beating and insulting her.The military arrested dozens of women protesters, including Samira Ibrahim, the only girl to file a lawsuit against the military council for the virginity tests earlier this year.Other female activists reported widespread violence. Two protesters were dragged by their hair while being detained and several others were beaten badly by police.Ghada Kamal, a member of the April 6 Youth Movement was reportedly beaten on the head with sticks and taken to a local hospital for treatment.Police also arrested Sanaa and Mona Seif, activists part of the No Military Trials group and sisters of detained blogger Alaa Abdel Fattah.Read the full story here.
- Egypt health ministry says 36 injured, activists say many more, including possibly 2 dead.(BikyaMasr).CAIRO: Egypt’s Ministry of health said early Friday afternoon that 36 people from the Egyptian cabinet sit-in were injured in the clashes that broke out in the early hours of the day.Adel Adawei, deputy minister, said 10 of those injured were treated on site in ambulances and makeshift field hospitals, while 20 were taken to Qasr al-Aini hospital and two to Munira hospital.He said one protester was transferred to the Coptic hospital in the Ramsis neighborhood of Cairo. The deputy minister said that the majority of the injuries were a result of stone.Activists and protesters told Bikyamasr.com that the number of injured is “much higher,” and claimed that at least two people have been killed, one by a rock being thrown from a high building next to the cabinet, and another as a result of military police violence.Protesters said that the military police started attacking the sit-in around 2 AM.The military cleared the street in front of the cabinet building and torched their tents, forcing the protesters to flee.Police however, chased after the protesters, beating them severely, activists reported. A makeshift hospital was erected in a side street on the opposite side of the now gone tent city, and tens of protesters are being treated.Egyptian activists say the number of the injuries is far higher than the official numbers.They also accused the police of using live ammunition on them, as one of them was hit in the thigh with a bullet.Bikyamasr.com photographer on the scene in the early morning hours also took a picture of what appears to be a shell.Several leading activists have been detained, but shortly released. Activist Nour Ayman Nour reported that he was released, but after he and others received a beating at the hands of security forces.“Was beaten and detained but being released now with everyone with me,” wrote the activist on his personal Twitter account.Mona Seif and Sanaa Seif, jailed blogger Alaa Abdel Fattah’s sisters and activists in the “No Military Trials” organization, were also detained, but Mona was released soon after. The sister, Sanaa, reportedly suffered head wounds during her detainment, but has been released from custody.Many female activists reported that the police were violent with women, adding that an army policeman slapped an elderly woman in the street. Other women reported that they were hit in the head and on the back with wooden sticks.The sit-in began in opposition of the newly formed government, led by Kamal al-Ganzoury, a former prime minister from the ousted regime. They vowed to stay at the cabinet and prevent the new ministers from entering.The new minister of interior, Mohamed Ibrahim said the sit-in would not be dispersed using force, but the military police seems to disagree.Online video posted by activists soon after the violence erupted shows military soldiers throwing stones, pieces of glass and random objects from the roof of the cabinet building at the protesters below.Among the injuries, a young child had his lip cut open and had to have stitches in his forehead after being hit with a rock from above.Read the full story here.
- Turkish journalist jailed for publishing quotes regarding mass graves.(NewsAZ).Journalist Ilkem Ezgi Asham has been sentenced to a year in prison for publishing a four-sentence quote in daily BirGun.An Istanbul court passed down the verdict yesterday, punishing Asham for publishing a four-sentence quote regarding mass graves in the southeastern province of Bitlis.Conveying others’ opinions in news piece is a journalist’s most democratic right, Asham said in court. The court’s verdict first has to be ratified by the Supreme Court of Appeals, however. If convicted, Asham will become the 67th journalist behind bars in Turkey. The article entitled “Religious Community General in the Mutki excavations,” included a quotation from Hasan Ceylan, the Bitlis representative of the Human Rights Association (İHD), which drew a connection between Korkmaz Tagma, a senior army commander, and the killings in the southeastern region. Tagma later filed the suit that led to Asham’s one-year sentence. Meanwhile, Menderes Oner, the license holder of the Kurdish language daily Azadiya Welat, was taken into custody by law enforcement officials yesterday. Oner was detained while he was visiting an acquintance in prison and sent to court to testify, according to reports. Azadiya Welat has been under the government’s watch since it first began publishing in 2006. Forcibly shut down nine times, 13 of its journalists are currently behind bars, including four of its former chief editors.Read the full story here.
- Turkey to withdraw envoy if France passes genocide bill.(TodaysZaman).Turkey will withdraw its ambassador in Paris if French Parliament passes a bill that criminalizes denial of Armenian claims that their ancestors were subject to genocide in Anatolia in the First World War years.Turkish Ambassador Tahsin Burcuoğlu will be recalled to Ankara for consultations for an indefinite period of time, Engin Solakoğlu, undersecretary of the Turkish Embassy in Paris, told semi-official Anatolia news agency. “Passage of the measure will lead to irreparable damage in Turkish-French ties,” Solakoğlu also said.The French parliament readies to vote next week a legislation that could make denying the 1915 events that took place in Turkey as genocide punishable by up to one year in prison and a fine of 45,000 euros. The voting is not the first time France has mulled over criminalizing the denial of the events as genocide, as the French National Assembly adopted a bill in 2006, proposing that anyone who denied the “Armenian genocide,” would be punished, but the bill was dropped the same year before coming to the senate.Since France officially recognized the genocide in 2001, stirring up heated but short-lived tension between France and Turkey, French governments have attempted to introduce penalties for denying the alleged Armenian genocide several times, all of which were turned down before gaining full force.The debate was most recently revived in October, when French President Nicholas Sarkozy urged Turkey during a visit to Armenia to recognize the killing of Armenians at the onset of World War I as genocide and threatened to pass a legislation that would criminalize its denial if the country failed to do so. The president’s remarks, which drew instant and sharp criticism from top Turkish officials, were claimed to have been “misunderstood,” as his aide, Jean David Levitte, told the Turkish Embassy in Paris a few days after the incident.Hmmmm........Erdogan:Muslims don't commit genocide".Read the full story here.
- What’s Islam Got to Do with It?(NationalReview).By Clifford D. May.Is there anything Islamic about Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps? On what basis does Ayman al-Zawahiri, now al-Qaeda’s leader, formerly the head of Egyptian Islamic Jihad, claim to be a jihadi — an Islamic warrior? Do groups that justify terrorism on the basis of Islam have a doctrinal leg to stand on?Let’s not start by answering these questions. Let’s start by agreeing that such questions need to be asked — not suppressed. Yet right now suppression seems to be the goal of senior officials in the Obama administration. A report by the Westminster Institute’s Katharine C. Gorka notes: “Key national security documents have already excised all terminology that associates terrorism with Islam or Islamic concepts such as jihad.” She cites evidence that those who persist in using such terminology are being blacklisted — disqualified from working with federal agencies. Gorka asks: “If counter-terrorism professionals are not allowed to acknowledge that a person motivated by jihadist ideology, or by such Islamist ideologues as Sayyid Qutb or Abu’l-A’la Mawdudi, may be inclined towards acts of violence against Americans, how will they be able to identify and deter potential attackers?”Qutb, of course, was the “intellectual godfather” of modern Islamism. He proclaimed that “a Muslim has no nationality except his belief,” and that Islam is “not a ‘religion’ in the sense this term is commonly understood.” Instead, Islam is meant to encompass “all fields of living,” emphatically including politics and economics. He opposed democratic systems of governance because they replace God’s laws with man’s laws, thereby blasphemously diminishing the former and elevating the latter. A member of the Muslim Brotherhood, Qutb was executed in Egypt in 1966.Mawdudi was a Pakistani who argued that “the aim of Islam is to bring about a universal revolution.” He advocated that Muslims begin by transforming the states in which they live into “Islamic states.” Once those Islamic states have “power and resources,” their obligation is to “fight and destroy non-Islamic governments and establish Islamic states in their place. . . . Their ultimate objective is none other than world revolution.” It’s worth noting that while Mawdudi did not suffer most infidels gladly, he wrote admiringly of the “ingenious and mighty leadership of Hitler and his comrades.”I have encountered senior government officials who were unfamiliar with Qutb, Mawdudi, and other radical Muslim voices. That’s disturbing. But how much worse if it has now become the policy of the U.S. government to demand ignorance, to insist upon it as a matter of principle and strategy?During a hearing earlier this month, Rep. Dan Lungren (R., Calif.) repeatedly asked Assistant Defense Secretary for Homeland Defense Paul Stockton whether America is “at war with violent Islamist extremism.” Stockton repeatedly insisted that America is at war only with “al-Qaeda and its allies” and “violent extremism.” An exasperated Lungren stressed that he understood — that he was making a distinction between “violent Islamist extremism” and Islam. Stockton replied: “Sir, with great respect, I don’t believe it’s helpful to frame our adversary as Islamic with any set of qualifiers that we might add, because we are not at war with Islam.”Gorka comments: “The Obama administration is right to assert that America is not at war with Islam, but to deny that a violent strain of Islam is inspiring a wave of terrorist attacks against Americans and American targets is to invite disaster.”I’d add this: Those who tar all Muslims with a single brush make a serious mistake, unwittingly assisting not just bin Ladenists, but also Iran’s theocrats. Muslim liberals and reformers should be our allies in the war that must be waged against totalitarianism and supremacism in their contemporary manifestations.But combining sensitivity and intellectual honesty is not so difficult. To acknowledge that Nazism was a German ideology hardly makes one a Germanophobe. You can love Italy while recognizing that Fascism was deeply rooted in Italian soil. Russia gave the world Tolstoy and Tchaikovsky. It also gave us Leninism and Stalinism. And can you imagine the U.S. government banning any linkage of the Spanish Inquisition with the Vatican — lest it offend Roman Catholics?The radical ideologies that today most threaten America, Israel, and Europe arise from within the Muslim world and are justified by fundamentalist interpretations of Islamic scripture. Those who lead movements and regimes based on these ideologies have been inspired by the Islamic conquests of centuries past. They believe a second age of Islamic power and glory is achievable — if Muslims are willing to fight for it as did Mohammad, his companions, and the “Soldiers of Allah” (a phrase, you may recall, that the “violent extremist” Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan proudly printed on his calling cards).Muslim liberals and reformers do not deny this. Those who do deny it are not Muslim liberals or reformers — but they are exerting influence at the highest levels of the U.S. government.That can be explained in part by the fact that in the Middle East there is an enormous amount of money — nearly every penny of it derived from the sale of oil to the West — backing those who seek to revive Islamic imperialism and colonialism.To forbid American officials and those who work with them from even discussing such matters is either an attempt at appeasement that is sure to fail or a manifestation of madness that, if not checked, can only contribute to the West’s decline and, ultimately, submission.— Clifford D. May is president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a policy institute focusing on national security and foreign policy.Read the full story here.
- Turkey made Israel 'kneel down', says foreign minister.(NewsAZ).Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has said Turkey's recent polices in the Middle East "have made Israel kneel down" before Turkey.Speaking during budget talks in the Turkish parliament, Davutoglu responded to claims by the opposition that Turkey's foreign policy is dependent on Western countries and that there is a shift of axis in Turkey's foreign policy towards the East.Noting that Turkey has been acting independently with regard to recent uprisings against authoritarian regimes in Middle Eastern and North African countries, Davutoglu said Turkey had never remained silent in the face of “oppression”. “It is our policies which made Israel kneel down in the region before us. We have always sided with people who demand democracy, not with authoritarian and oppressive regimes,” he said.Relations between Turkey and Israel, two close US allies in the region, have soured since Israeli forces boarded the Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara aid ship in May 2010. Ankara downgraded ties and vowed to boost naval patrols in the eastern Mediterranean in the escalating row. Turkey has demanded compensation and an apology from Israel regarding the deadly flotilla attack, but Israel refuses to comply.Stating that those who strongly criticized Turkey's “zero problems with neighbours” policy last year as being unrealistic now support this policy, Davutoglu said the government is determined to go ahead with the policy. “But we cannot remain silent if one of our neighbours oppresses its people,” he added in an apparent reference to Syria.Hmmmm......'Empty barrels make the most noise'?I'm sure Assad agrees on this .Read the full story here.
- Violation of Iran's airspace act of war - Iranian MP.(NewsAZ).A senior Iranian lawmaker says the recent violation of Iran's airspace by an American spy drone amounts to an “act of war,” a report says.On Thursday, Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh, a member of the Majlis (parliament) Committee on National Security and Foreign Policy said that the issue of the US spy drone was in fact an act of aggression against Iran since, based on the UN Charter, the intrusion into another country's territory by a reconnaissance aircraft constitutes an act of war. Falahatpisheh added that the intrusion by the American spy craft provides the most significant evidence pointing to persisting US efforts to hatch plots against the Islamic Republic. He urged international organizations and bodies to accurately probe the incident and take measures to counter such aggressive US conduct. Falahatpisheh called on Iranian officials to collect legal proofs on the latest US violation and submit them to international authorities for appropriate measures against the anti-Iran plot. The lawmaker also pointed to the recent US demand for the return of the sophisticated spy drone and emphasized that the RQ-170 Sentinel stealth aircraft is a “valuable war trophy” that Iran acquired in the process of its “Cold War” with the United States. This war trophy will serve as a deterrent leverage against the US, he pointed out. Falahatpisheh said the US and the West should be mindful that the outcome of taking military measures against the Islamic Republic would be far different than other countries due to Iran's growing power and advances in scientific and military fields.Read the full story here.
- France will pioneer return of Middle Ages mindset to Europe - Davutoglu.(NewsAZ).Turkey's Foreign Minister has blasted France for promulgating a "Middle Ages" mentality ahead of a French Parliament debate on a proposal to criminalize the denial of the "genocide" of Armenians, referring to events that took place in 1915."If this proposal is legislated, France will pioneer the return of a Middle Ages mindset to Europe," Ahmet Davutoglu told the Turkish parliament late Wednesday, Anatolia news agency reported.France's move would "create a new dogma about understanding history, to forbid alternative thoughts. This is the mentality of the Middle Ages. The adoption of this mindset in France is the greatest danger for Europe," Davutoğlu said.Armenians say up to 1.5 million of their people were killed during World War I by forces belonging to Turkey's erstwhile Ottoman Empire. Turkey refuses to call the 1915-16 killings a genocide and says 300,000 to 500,000 Armenians, and at least as many Turks, died when Armenians rose up and sided with invading Russian forces.The French National Assembly will on Thursday next week debate a proposed law that would punish the denial of "genocide" with penalties of a year in jail and a fine of 45,000 euros ($58,000).Ahead of the debate, Turkey's Parliament will send a delegation, led by its foreign affairs committee chief Volkan Bozkır, to Paris from Monday to Wednesday, to explain the damage the law would cause for bilateral ties, said a Turkish parliamentary source.Davutoglu told Turkish lawmakers it was "out of the question to leave unanswered an attempt by any country leader, government or parliament to dishonour our country and nation." French President Nicolas Sarkozy has called on Turkey to recognize the killings as 'genocide' and in the past promised his country's large Armenian community to support a law criminalizing the denial of a 'genocide'.Hmmmmm........I've got news 1915 was not Medieval times.Read the full story here.
- Muslim Man Cuts off Wife's Fingers to Keep Her from Pursuing an Education.(BBC).BANGLADESH--Human rights groups in Bangladesh have demanded a severe punishment for the husband of a young wife who allegedly cut off most of her right hand.Police say Rafiqul Islam, 30, attacked her because she pursued higher education without his permission.They say Mr Islam, a migrant worker, admitted to the crime shortly after returning home from the Gulf.However there has been no independent confirmation from the suspect that he carried out the attack.The incident is one of a number of acts of domestic violence targeting educated women in recent months.Police say that Mr Islam, who works in the United Arab Emirates, tied up his 21-year-old wife, Hawa Akther Jui, earlier this month. He then taped her mouth and cut off the five fingers.Doctors say the fingers cannot be re-attached and it appears that Ms Akther will have to live with permanent disfigurement."After he came back to Bangladesh, he wanted to have a discussion with me. Suddenly, he blindfolded me and tied my hand," Ms Akther told the BBC's Anbarasan Ethirajan from the town of Narsingdi."He also taped my mouth saying that he would give me some surprise gifts. But, instead he cut off my fingers."She said her husband, who is not well educated, did not approve of her enrolling in a college for higher studies.During their earlier telephone conversations, she said, he warned her of "severe consequences" if she went against his word."Doctors said my fingers could be re-attached within six hours but he refused to give them. After that time, another relative of my husband threw the fingers in a dustbin. "We finally recovered them but it was too late," said Ms Akther, who is still recovering at her parents' house.She said that she did not want to live with her husband - who is now in police custody - any more. Ms Akther - who is eager to continue her studies - said that she wanted her husband to be severely punished for the attack. "I have now started practising writing with my left hand. I want to see how far I can go. I never imagined that my fingers would be chopped off like this because of my studies."Read the full story here.
- Egyptian child maid gets US citizenship after years of abuse.(BikyaMasr).LOS ANGELES: A former child maid, brought to Southern California by a wealthy Egyptian family and spent years in captivity, forced to work inside their home, became an American citizen on Thursday.Shyima Hall, who hopes to one day become a police officer or immigration officer, was forced to sleep in the Egyptian couple’s garage at night and spend the day working as a house maid.For two years, the then 10-year-old Hall was the slave of the Egyptian couple, ironing clothes, washing dishes and doing the domestic chores.She was finally freed from the bondage after authorities discovered the situation.On Thursday, she met with officials again but this time she took the oath of allegiance to America as a new US citizen.She wants to help others who have been put in similar situations.“Now I can move on with my career and start my life the way I want it,” the 22-year-old said, her eyes sparkling after the ceremony on Thursday in Montebello. “It’s just something I’ve waited for for a long time.”Hall was sent to work for an Egyptian couple as a domestic servant in Cairo when she was 9. The following year, Abdel Nasser Youssef Ibrahim and his then-wife Amal Ahmed Ewis-abd El Motelib arranged for someone to apply for a tourist visa on her behalf and brought her to the US, court records show.In 2000, Hall set foot in California – but only inside the spacious home where Ibrahim and Motelib lived with their five children in Irvine. She was not allowed to play outside the house or with the other children, but rather slept in the garage without electricity and manually washed her clothes in a bucket, the documents show, the Sacramento Bee reported.She has since bounced around foster care, before being welcomed by a Beumont family and was able to receive her green card before now getting her citizenship.Read the full story here.
- Israel establishes new ‘depth’ command for long-range military operations.(haaretz).On December 15th Israel’s defense minister Ehud Barak approved the formation of a new operations force oriented to multidisciplinary missions far from Israel’s borders.The new authority will be commanded by a military officer at the rank of Major General, and will be headed by the former chief of the elite Sayeret Matkal special forces unit Shai Avital, who will return to military serivce to fill the position.Onoing concerns with Iran's contentious nuclear program serve as the backdrop for the IDF's annoucement, with both U.S. and Israeli officials noting that, while diplomatic efforts were the preferred tool with attempting to thwart Iran's nuclear ambitions, no options were "off the table." On Wednesday, diplomatic sources said that Iran could soon launch sensitive atomic activities in an underground facility deep inside a mountain, a development likely to add to tension between Tehran and the West. Iranian experts have carried out the necessary preparations at Fordow near the holy city of Qom, paving the way for the Islamic state to begin higher-grade uranium enrichment at the site on a former military base.Hmmmm....."Pour les vaincre, messieurs, il nous faut de l'audace, encore de l'audace, et toujours de l'audace et la Patrie sera sauvée!" ~ Danton. Read the full story here.
- Pakistani Muslims Mutilate Women, Trade Food for Sex.(AM).ISLAMABAD--Pakistani Taliban fighters cut the breasts of a woman who was breastfeeding her child and asked other women to eat the pieces, in a gory incident highlighted in a report on the abuse of women in the militancy-hit tribal belt bordering Afghanistan.The incident occurred when five militants walked into a house and saw the woman breastfeeding her child, The Express Tribune quoted the report titled ‘Impact of crisis on women and girls in FATA’ as saying.The report, released by the human rights organisation “Khwendo Kor” (Sisters’ Home in Pashto) with financial support from the UN, is based on case studies of women from the tribal belt living in camps set up in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa for people displaced by militancy.Women in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas are more susceptible to abuse in a post-conflict scenario, whether or not they are part of the conflict, the report says.Another revelation is that women in camps were forced to have sex in exchange for food and non-food items. Girls and widows were at greater risk of such abuse.“A security officer forced me to have sex in exchange for cooking oil and pulses when I was collecting food at the main entrance of the camp,” a 22-year-old woman in Jalozai camp is quoted as saying.The surveys conducted at relief camps at Nahqai and Jalozai showed that women were uncomfortable going to toilets because men constantly lurked around.The report said there was also an increase in “honour killings” in which women who were raped were murdered because rape was considered a disgrace to the family.Forced marriages, honour killings, exchange of women between tribes and marriages with first cousins resulting in disabilities among offspring have made women very dependent, the report said.Hmmmm.......Welcome to AD 620?Read the full story here.
- Belarusian Presidential Candidate's Lawyer Kept From Seeing Him.(Rferl).MINSK -- The lawyer of jailed former Belarusian presidential candidate Andrey Sannikau has again been blocked from seeing her client at a labor camp in the eastern city of Vitsebsk, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports.Sannikau's wife, Iryna Khalip, told RFE/RL that Maryna Kavaleuskaya has been barred from seeing her client for more than one month after being refused access to him on December 15."The labor camp's warden, [Vital] Ahnistykau, has been kindly talking to the lawyer trying to persuade her that there is no need 'to waste time and come here,'" Khalip said.Ahnistykau also told the lawyer, Kavaleuskaya, that the labor camp's "censorship unit" does not allow Sannikau's letters to be sent out, Khalip said, adding that only one letter in which Sannikau wrote that he is doing well was allowed to be sent to his family.On December 14, human rights activist Paval Levinau told RFE/RL that when he visited the labor camp this week and asked Ahnistykau why Sannikau's lawyer is unable to see his client, Ahnistykau said Sannikau wrote a letter to the labor camp's administration when he arrived at the penitentiary stating that his life is under threat."Ahnistykau said that because of that letter, Sannikau has been fully isolated from any contact with other inmates and special inquiries have been sent to all the penitentiaries where [Sannikau] was imprisoned in the past, asking about any problems he faced," Levinau said. "The warden added that the check into Sannikau's security and safety could last at least six more months."When Levinau told the warden that barring Sannikau from meeting with his lawyer is a violation of article 62 of the constitution, which guarantees legal assistance to any Belarusian at any time, Ahnistykau refused to comment.Sannikau was jailed for five years in May for his part in a mass demonstration following a controversial presidential election in December 2010, which returned incumbent Alyaksandr Lukashenka to power.Hmmmm....Lukashenko the last Sovjet dictator,President for life...... friend of the late Gadaffi.Read the full story here.
- INDONESIA - Central Java: statue of the Virgin Mary decapitated.(AsiaNews).Semarang () – Last night, vandals decapitated the statue of the Virgin Mary in a small grotto in Sendag Prawito, Tawangmangu, Semarang Archdiocese (Central Java). A cross was stolen and the aspersorium was badly damaged.“This brutal action has strongly affected the Catholic community,” Mgr Johannes Pujasumarta, archbishop of Semarang, told AsiaNews. “Security Forces must do their duty without showing any preference for Muslims or Christians in a religiously pluralistic country based on the principles of Pancasila, which are still the foundations on which the nation is built,” the prelate said in an appeal to local authorities to provide Christians with security during the Christmas period.In recent years, Christmas has seen several attacks against Indonesia’s Christian communities. In 2000, a series of bombings killed 19 people during Christmas week. On 31 December 2005, seven people died in an attack against a market in a Christian section of Palu (Sulawesi). In both cases, Jemaah Islamyah, which is linked to al Qaeda, was blamed.Hmmmm......Obama:"Indonesia is an example of religious tolerance".Read the full story here.
- And now for something completely different ! Giant plumes of methane bubbling to surface of Arctic Ocean.(Yahoo).Russian scientists have discovered hundreds of plumes of methane gas, some 1,000 meters in diameter, bubbling to the surface of the Arctic Ocean. Scientists are concerned that as the Arctic Shelf recedes, the unprecedented levels of gas released could greatly accelerate global climate change.Igor Semiletov of the Russian Academy of Sciences tells the UK's Independent that the plumes of methane, a gas 20 times as harmful as carbon dioxide, have shocked scientists who have been studying the region for decades. "Earlier we found torch-like structures like this but they were only tens of meters in diameter," he said. "This is the first time that we've found continuous, powerful and impressive seeping structures, more than 1,000 metres in diameter. It's amazing."Semiletov said that while his research team has discovered more than 100 plumes, they estimate there to be "thousands" over the wider area, extending from the Russian mainland to the East Siberian Arctic Shelf."In a very small area, less than 10,000 square miles, we have counted more than 100 fountains, or torch-like structures, bubbling through the water column and injected directly into the atmosphere from the seabed," Semiletov said. "We carried out checks at about 115 stationary points and discovered methane fields of a fantastic scale — I think on a scale not seen before. Some plumes were a kilometer or more wide and the emissions went directly into the atmosphere — the concentration was a hundred times higher than normal."Hmmm.....This is Real bad.Read the full story here.