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Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Media War on Libya: Justifying War through Lies and Fabrications

by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya


The War on Libya - PART II
In the first part of this text , the events that led to the conditions that set the backdrop for the present conflict in Libya were discussed.

The present text examines the events which were conducive to the NATO-led war on Libya. Media distortion and misinformation have played a major role in opening the door to war in North Africa. The media has done nothing less than create a justification for war through a series of lies.

The Violence in Benghazi
The starting epicentre of the violence in Libya was Benghazi, which is located within the boundaries of the coastal region of Cyrenaica or Barqa.[1] According to the U.S. government’s own sources:
On the evening of February 15, [2011] the […] demonstrations began when several hundred people gathered in front of the Benghazi police headquarters to protest the arrest of attorney and human rights activist Fethi Tarbel. As the February 17 [2011] “day of rage” neared, protests escalated in Benghazi and other cities despite reported police attempts at dispersion with water cannons, tear gas, rubber bullets, and batons. There were multiple reports of protestors setting police and other government buildings on fire.[2]

Italy 'offers to arm rebels'

Anti-Gaddafi rebels say Italy has offered to arm them with "whatever they need to liberate Libya". A rebel spokesman in the eastern city of Benghazi, declined to specify what kind of weapons would be provided, and last night the Italian foreign ministry denied the claim.
The confusing reports came after Libyan government forces attacked a Misrata oil depot, causing a huge fire. Fuel tanks were still engulfed in flames hours after the early morning attack. The depot contains vital stores of fuel for cars, trucks, ships and generators powering hospitals and other key sites.

Ecuador's president declares referendum win

President says he has gained approval from majority of voters on a host of judicial and media reforms.
Ecuadorean president Rafael Correa has declared victory after two polls showed him winning a referendum on judicial and media reforms that opponents say are a power grab undermining the Andean nation's democracy.
"The Ecuadorean people have triumphed," said Correa on Saturday, claiming an average 62 per cent "Yes" vote on the 10 proposals.

Singapore opposition makes gains in vote

Workers' Party cuts into decades-long dominance of ruling People's Action Party in hotly contested general election.
Singapore's ruling party has won an overwhelming parliamentary majority in elections, but the opposition has made historic gains.

The government's elections department said early on Sunday that partial results showed the People's Action Party (PAP) winning at least 75 of 87 seats in parliament. The opposition Workers' Party won six seats, the most since independence in 1965.

Deaths in Egypt's sectarian clashes

At least six dead as Muslims and Christians clash in neighbourhood near the capital.
At least six people have been killed and 75 others wounded in clashes between Muslims and Christians in the Egyptian capital Cairo, hospital and security officials said.

Saturday's clashes erupted after a group of Muslims attacked the Coptic Saint Mena church in the northwestern district of Imbaba to free a Christian woman they alleged was being held against her will because she wanted to convert to Islam.

An Open Letter from Russian & Ukrainean Medics in Libya to the President of the Russian Federation |

OPEN LETTER
To the President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev
and Prime-Minister Vladimir Putin
from Ukrainians, Russians, and Byelorussians
working or living in Libya
March 24th 2011, Tripoli, Libya
Mr. President,
Mr. Prime-Minister
We all come from the Soviet Union. A whim of fate made us citizens of now separate CIS countries – Ukraine, Russia, or Belarus – but for all of us only Russia is the true successor to the USSR and the ONLY GUARANTOR of our countries’ national interests and our safety as their citizens. That is why we have turned to You for help and justice.
What is going on now, at this very moment, is a blatant MILITARY AGGRESSION on the part of the US and NATO against SOVEREIGN Libya. Some may doubt it, but to us it is an OBVIOUS fact, because the situation is evolving before our eyes. The US and NATO forces are threatening lives not only of Libyans, but of anyone on Libyan soil. We are outraged by the barbarous bombing of Libya performed by the US and NATO led coalition.

Saudi Arabia stops Libyan rebel from visiting ally

Cairo airport officials say Ali al—Issaoui and three other officials from the rebels’ National Transitional Council waited for 20 hours at the airport before flying back to eastern Libya on Saturday.
The acting foreign minister of Libya’s rebel government has cancelled a visit to key ally Qatar after failing to get approval from Saudi Arabia to fly over its airspace.
Cairo airport officials say Ali al—Issaoui and three other officials from the rebels’ National Transitional Council waited for 20 hours at the airport before flying back to eastern Libya on Saturday. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.
They said they did not know the reasons for the Saudi refusal. Saudi officials were not available for comment.
The Gulf nation of Qatar has given the rebels diplomatic recognition and sent warplanes to join the NATO operation in the country. Qatar has also helped rebels controlling oil facilities to sell the crude.
source-AP

'War for Libyan oil planned long ago, no one cares about people'


'Co-ordinated attacks' hit Afghan city

Clashes ongoing as fighters assault provincial governor's office, police buildings and local intelligence headquarters.

Loud explosions and gunfire have been heard in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar, where witnesses say the provincial governor's compound as well as other sites are under a co-ordinated attack.
Sounds of gunfire and explosions were heard coming from near the provincial governor's heavily guarded compound on Saturday, as well as from four other locations in the city. Hospital sources in the city told Al Jazeera that 12 people had been injured in the attacks so far - three of them were members of the police, and the rest were civilians.

Gaddafi planes 'destroy Misurata fuel tanks'

Gaddafi forces used small planes for the overnight attack in Qasr Ahmed close to Misurata port.
Libyan government forces dropped bombs on four large oil storage tanks in the contested western city of Misurata, destroying the tanks and sparking a fire that spread to four more, a rebel spokesman said on Saturday.
Government forces used small, pesticides spraying planes for the overnight attack in Qasr Ahmed close to the port, said spokesman Ahmed Hassan.

Rebels notified NATO about the planes before the attack but there was no response, he said.
Government forces last month flew at least one helicopter reconnaissance mission over Misurata, according to rebels.

Misurata is the last remaining city in the west under rebel control. It has been under siege for more than two months and has witnessed some of the war's fiercest fighting between loyalists and rebels.

"Four tanks were totally destroyed and huge fire erupted which spread now to the other four. We cannot extinguish it because we do not have the right tools," Ahmed Hassan said.

"Now the city will face a major problem. Those were the only source of fuel for the city. These tanks could have kept the city for three months with enough fuel," he said by telephone.
Source:
Reuters

Friday, May 6, 2011

Singapore voters head to the ballot box in hotly contested election

More than 2.2 million Singapore voters started to head to the ballot box on Saturday for a general election in which the everruling People’s Action Party (PAP) could face the strongest electoral challenge in its history.
Polling stations close at 8 pm (1200 GMT) and results are expected to be announced late Saturday.
The PAP, with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at its helm, was projected to win the election handsomely.
But six opposition parties have fielded 82 candidates, the highest number in decades, to contest 87 parliamentary seats.
As voters are increasingly concerned about rising costs of living, the influx of foreign workers and other social issues, PAP leaders said during their campaign they found resentment against the government and its policies.
In a surprise gesture of humility, Mr. Lee admitted several mistakes and offered apologies.
“We made mistakes. ... We should apologize, take responsibility, put things right,” he said.
At the last election in 2006, the PAP won 66.6 per cent of the votes and 82 of the current 84 seats.
This time observers expected the PAP to come in with 60 to 63 per cent, saying the opposition could take advantage of the growing political consciousness in the tightly controlled city-state.
The PAP has ruled Singapore with a firm hand for 52 years.
However, especially younger Singaporeans, who voice their dissent in popular internet forums, were increasingly unwilling to accept the PAP’s dominance as an axiomatic fact, analysts said.
“The overwhelming dominance of the PAP is seen as a freakish state of affairs,” said Eugene Tan, assistant law professor at the Singapore Management University.
source-DPA and The Hindu

Leading article: With voters in a mood to punish, the chance of a lifetime has been lost

There was one conspicuous winner and one conspicuous loser from Thursday's elections and the historic referendum.
And the contrasting fortunes say much about the state of politics and the mood of voters one year after the general election produced the UK's first post-war coalition government. There is elation for some, but bitter disappointment for all of us who had hoped for so long for electoral reform.

Libyan Tribes Call for End to Armed Uprising



A meeting of tribal leaders from government-controlled areas of Libya Thursday in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, called for an end to an armed uprising against the Libyan leader, Muammar Al Qathafi and for NATO to halt its airstrikes on the regime’s forces.

The meeting, labelled as the National Conference of the Tribes of Libya, was held under a giant tent in the presence of foreign journalists who were taken on an organised tour on the invitation of government officials. Its aim was to show a nationwide support for the leader. English and Arabic signs on the cloth walls read: "Stop the War," "Libya First," and "No War for Oil."

Buddhadeb: Trinamool must be defeated to defeat the Maoists

‘Trinamool, Maoists and PSBJC are working in cooperation and coordination'

Alleging that the Maoists, the Trinamool Congress, and the Maoist-backed Police Santrash Birodhi Janasadharaner Committee (PSBJC) were working “in political coordination,” West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said here on Friday that it was imperative that the Trinamool be defeated in the ongoing Assembly elections to drive the Maoists out of the State.
“We must defeat the Trinamool Congress in order to defeat the Maoists,” Mr. Bhattacharjee told journalists. He said the three forces — the Trinamool, Maoists and the PSBJC — were “working in cooperation and coordination” in the Maoist-affected regions.
Speaking about the 14 constituencies in the rebel-affected Jangal Mahal region — in parts of Bankura, Purulia and Paschim Medinipur districts, which go to the polls in the last phase of the elections on May 10 — Mr. Bhattacharjee said that “often, the Maoist problem is confused to be a development issue, but lack of development is not the only reason for the situation.”
On whether the January 7 killings in Netai in Paschim Medinipur district, in which several local leaders of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) are accused, will impact the elections in Jangal Mahal, he said the issue was unlikely to have any bearing.

Syria's 'spring' toward democracy

For democratisation to happen in Syria, leadership and unity must be addressed first.
Syria's quest for popular empowerment has now entered critical mass: Multiplication of protests and fatalities with the risk of escalation posing a major obstacle to re-negotiating a genuine social contract between state and society.
The question for which there is no easy answer regards the source of a tipping point for a consensual – not conflictual – tipping point.
For proper 'democratic conversion' to happen, the road to Damascus in search of good government requires sound leadership and addressing the people. But what are the challenges of such a conversion?

At least 26 protesters killed by Assad, EU imposes sanctions on 13 Syrian officials

Syrian security forces killed at least 26 on Friday, most of them in the central city of Homs, a rights group said, as thousands rallied on a “Day of Defiance” against the autocratic regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

Meanwhile, armed gangs killed one officer and four policemen, state news agency SANA reported.
The Syrian rights group, Insan, put the day’s toll at 26 killed but said it expected this to rise.

US drones kill 17 in NW Pakistan; protests over bin Laden


First drone strike since bin Laden’s death

May 6, 2011 1:59 PM | By Reuters

US drone aircraft fired missiles into a house in Pakistan’s North Waziristan region on Friday, killing at least 17 suspected militants as Islamists protested against the killing of Osama bin Laden.


Current Font Size:

A supporter of the Pakistani religious party Jamiat-e-ulema-e-Islam holds an image of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden during an anti-U.S. rally on the outskirts of Quetta May 6, 2011. About 1,500 Pakistani Islamists protested on Friday against the killing of bin Laden, saying more figures like him would arise to wage holy war against the United States.
A supporter of the Pakistani religious party Jamiat-e-ulema-e-Islam holds an image of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden during an anti-U.S. rally on the outskirts of Quetta May 6, 2011. About 1,500 Pakistani Islamists protested on Friday against the killing of bin Laden, saying more figures like him would arise to wage holy war against the United States.
Photograph by: STRINGER/PAKISTAN
Credit: REUTERS
Four drones took part in the first such attack since US
special forces killed the al Qaeda leader on Monday not far from Islamabad, further straining ties between the strategic allies whose cooperation is needed to stabilise neighbouring Afghanistan.
Facing relentless suicide bombings by Islamic militants and struggling with a stagnant economy, Pakistan’s leaders now face criticism from all sides on bin Laden.
Both Islamists and ordinary Pakistanis are questioning how their leaders can just stand by while the United States sends commandos deep inside the country into a garrison city to eliminate the al Qaeda chief.
At the same time, suspicions that some Pakistani security forces might have known he was hiding in the country threaten to strain already uneasy ties with Washington.
“The country’s political and military leadership should immediately resign as they have failed to ensure the country’s integrity,” said Fareed Ahmed Paracha, a senior leader of the biggest Islamist political party, Jamaat-e-Islami, at a rally in the eastern city of Lahore.
“This is an attack on Pakistan’s sovereignty,” said Paracha of the raid by US Navy SEALS that ended one of the most extensive manhunts in history.
Pre-dominantly Muslim Pakistan has yet to see any major backlash since bin Laden’s killing, but is death has angered Islamists.
About 1,500 Islamists demonstrated near the city of Quetta, capital of Baluchistan province in the southwest, saying more figures like bin Laden would arise to wage holy war against the United States.
“Jihad (holy war) against America will not stop with the death of Osama,” Fazal Mohammad Baraich, a cleric, said amid shouts of “Down with America”.
“Osama bin Laden is a shaheed (martyr). The blood of Osama will give birth to thousands of other Osamas.”
In Abbottabad, where the US operation took place, dozens of Islamists marched through streets calling on the United States to stay out of Pakistan and Afghanistan.
“America is the world’s biggest terrorist,” read one placard.
Small protests were also held in the cities of Multan, Hyderabad and Abbottabad.
Anti-American sentiment runs high here, despite billions of dollars in US aid for nuclear-armed, Pakistan.
Pakistan’s religious parties have not traditionally done well at the ballot box, but they wield considerable influence on the streets of a country where Islam is becoming more radicalised.
The US war on militancy is unpopular in Pakistan because of the perception of high civilian deaths from drone attacks against suspected militants along the Afghan border and the feeling they are a violation of the country’s sovereignty.
The Pakistani government said bin Laden’s death was a milestone in the fight against militancy although it objected to the raid as a violation of sovereignty.
Pakistan has denied any knowledge of his whereabouts and the army threatened on Thursday to cut intelligence and military cooperation with the United States if it mounted more attacks.
Some Pakistanis are too overwhelmed by the daily grind in a politically and economically unstable nation that offers poor government services and education, to react to the fact that the world’s most wanted man was living here for years undetected.
“This is just another instance of us becoming insensitive to all the chaos around us as a nation, and Osama’s death is just another day, another incident for us,” said Jibran Jawaid, a film producer in Pakistan’s biggest city, Karachi.
“Frankly, when people are so worried about high food prices, no power, security and everything, they cannot be blamed for being insensitive. A roti (bread) costs so much, bombs go off every now and then, people are robbed daily, so should they worry about that or the US raid?”

Separatists win in Scotland, Lib Dems sink in UK

Associated Press= EDINBURGH, Scotland (AP) — The Scottish National Party won a majority in Scotland's parliamentary election and its leader promised Friday to hold a vote on independence from the U.K., while in Britain, the Liberal Democrats suffered a massive defeat.
Voters in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland elected members of regional legislatures on Thursday and hundreds of local council seats were at stake around Britain. A national referendum was also held on whether to change Britain's parliamentary election system.
While results were still incomplete Friday, the SNP became the first party since Scotland's regional government was formed in 1999 to win a majority of the 129 seats in the Scottish Parliament. By midafternoon, the SNP had won 65 seats, a bare majority; Labour had 29, Conservatives nine and others five.
Voters appeared to approve how the Scottish National Party has led a coalition government over the past four years and also backed programs to preserve free university tuition and to give the elderly free personal care.
In local elections across Britain, the Liberal Democrats lost 450 council seats even as ballot counting continued. That was a massive defeat for the junior partner in Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative-led coalition government, and sparked fresh calls for the resignation of party leader Nick Clegg, who is also Cameron's deputy.
The Liberal Democrats lost control of six local councils including Sheffield, Clegg's own town.
"We have taken a real knock last night. But we need to get up, dust ourselves down and move on," said Clegg.
The Conservatives gained nearly a hundred council seats. Cameron, who marked his first year in office on Friday, said his party had "fought a strong campaign explaining why we took difficult decisions to sort out the mess we inherited from Labour."
Inflation has been surging in Britain, despite sluggish growth and harsh spending cuts that are slashing government jobs and hiking university tuition fees.
The parliamentary election system votes were still being counted Friday, but earlier polls suggested that voters would reject changing the system in which the candidate with the most votes wins the seat.
The Liberal Democrats had supported the Alternate Vote system, where voters rank candidates in order of preference. The winner is the first candidate to secure a majority, either in the first round of counting or in succeeding rounds by picking up votes as the lowest-ranked candidates are eliminated.
Despite its worst showing in 80 years in Scotland, the Labour Party just missed a majority in the Welsh Assembly, winning 30 of the 60 seats.
Elsewhere, votes were being counted Friday to determine whether Northern Ireland is led by a British Protestant as usual or by an Irish Catholic for the first time. Final results expected Saturday.
Analysts said Labour's campaign theme that a vote for the Scottish National Party was a vote for independence had backfired.
"I voted for the SNP this time, but I'm not in favor of independence." said Alex Burns, 44, from Edinburgh. "Scotland would have gone bankrupt if it had been outside the U.K. during this economic crisis."
Opinion polls since the 1990s have found support for independence hovering at around 30 percent.
"The SNP have been shown trust by the people in a way no party ever has before in a Scottish election," party leader Alex Salmond said, promising to bring an independence vote in the next four-year term. "We'll take it forward to increase the powers of our parliament."
One question likely to be asked is how Scotland would have fared by itself with the near collapse of two gigantic banks based in Edinburgh: the Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking Group, which were both part-nationalized following the worldwide credit crisis in 2008.
Professor Susan Deacon, a former Labour minister, welcomed the prospect of a referendum.
"It is a nonsense to say that a vote for the SNP is a vote for independence, Labour overplayed that and lost over that point," she said.
guardian.co.uk

Saleh defiant as GCC exit deal stalls

GCC-brokered exit deal on hold as Saleh resists calls to quit and pro- and anti-government crowds return to the streets.
Yemeni opposition leaders have dismissed the country's president's stance on a revised Gulf-backed plan to ease him out of power, as massive demonstrations keep up pressure on Ali Abullah Saleh to resign.

The rejection on Friday came a day after Saleh refused to sign the deal until representatives of both the ruling party and the opposition sign it, postponing the signing ceremony indefinitely.

France to Libya envoys: ‘OUT!’ Libya to US: ‘PIRACY!’ in aiding rebels with frozen assets

France has ordered 14 people who served as Libyan diplomats under Colonel Muammar Qaddafi’s regime to leave the country within two days, the French foreign ministry said on Friday, hours after the Libyan government rejected US plans to unblock its frozen assets and give them to protesters.

“France has declared persona non grata 14 Libyan ex-diplomats posted in France,” the ministry said in a statement, indicating that Paris no longer recognized their diplomatic status.

Ivory Coast: Alassane Ouattara to take oath

Alassane Ouattara is due to be sworn in as Ivory Coast's president by the man who earlier denied him of victory in November's presidential election.
In December, the leader of the Constitutional Council ratified Laurent Gbagbo as the winner, leading to a four-month stand-off.
Mr Gbagbo is also expected to be questioned about alleged human rights abuses while he was in power.
However, his French lawyers have reportedly been refused entry.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Several dead in attack on Pakistani Shias

Assailants open fire in park in Quetta amid fears of backlash from al-Qaeda-linked groups after bin Laden's killing.
At least eight Shia Muslims have been killed and 10 others wounded after suspected Sunni extremists opened fire on them in the southwestern Pakistani city of Quetta, police say.
Hamid Shakil, a police official, said the victims were in a neighbourhood park when they were shot at on Friday.

Libya and the Imperial Re-Division of Africa

The Imperialist Powers' Odyssey of “Return” into Africa
 
PART I

Plans to attack Libya have been longstanding. The imperial war machine of the United States, Britain, France, Italy, and their NATO allies is involved in a new military adventure that parallels the events that led to the wars against Yugoslavia and Iraq. The war machine has been mobilized under the cover of “humanitarian intervention.”
In fact what the Pentagon and NATO have done is breach international law by intervening on the side of one of the combating parties in Libya in a civil war that they themselves have encouraged and fuelled. They have not protected civilians, but have launched a war against the Libyan regime in Tripoli and actively assisted the Benghazi-based Transitional Council in fighting the Libyan military.
Before the rapprochement with Colonel Qaddafi, for years the U.S., Britain, France, and their allies worked to destabilize Libya. Confirmed by U.S. government sources, Washington attempted regime change in Tripoli several times.[1] According to General Wesley Clark, former NATO commander, the Pentagon had active plans for launching a war against Libya.
The U.S. and its NATO allies are now embroiled in a new war which has the patented characteristics of the wars and invasions of Iraq and the former Yugoslavia.

A large naval armada off the shores of Libya has been bombing Libya for weeks with the declared objective of ousting the Libyan regime. At the same time, Libyan internal divisions are being fuelled.

Go beyond SIT report on Jaffrey case, court tells amicus curiae

The Supreme Court on Thursday empowered the amicus curiae in the Zakia Jafri case to go beyond the report submitted by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) and, if necessary, to conduct a further probe on the role of Gujarat Chief Minister Chief Minister Narendra Modi in the 2002 riots.
A three-judge Bench of Justices D.K. Jain, P. Sathasivam and Aftab Alam asked the amicus, Raju Ramachandran, to analyse and examine the SIT’s report and give his comments in the light of the statements of the witnesses filed along with the report.

Pakistan warns India against 'misadventure'

Pakistan warns against more raids by any country similar to the recent U.S. covert operation for killing Osama bin Laden
Taking a serious view of assertions made by the Indian military leadership since the U.S. operation in Pakistan to nab al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, the Pakistan Army on Thursday warned that any “misadventure of this kind will be responded to very strongly.” Earlier in the day, Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir said mimicking U.S. unilateral action in Pakistan would result in a “terrible catastrophe.”
Responding to questions on statements suggesting that India had the capability to enter Pakistani territory undetected like the U.S. did on May 2, Mr. Bashir described these remarks by senior members of India's political and military leadership as symptomatic of trends and tendencies within the Indian establishment and armed forces which were trying to subvert the agenda of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. At the same time, he added that it was his understanding that the Indian leadership did not subscribe to such a view.
Battling the bad press that Pakistan has got all week because of the U.S. operation that has thrown up questions about Pakistan's ability to defend itself and its intent to deal with terrorists, Mr. Bashir sought to dispel notions of Pakistan quietly accepting such unilateral action from any other quarter. Without making any direct reference to India, he said: “Any other country that would ever act on the assumption that it has the might and mimic unilateralism of any sort will find it has made a basic miscalculation.”

GCC-backed Yemen deal 'postponed'

President Ali Abdullah Saleh reportedly refuses to personally sign deal backed by six Gulf Arab nations.
The signing ceremony for a deal to end Yemen's political crisis has been postponed indefinitely after the country's president refused to sign it personally, the Associated Press has reported.

Ahmed Khalifa al-Kaabi, a media official for Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the six Gulf Arab nations sponsoring the agreement, said their foreign ministers would meet in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, on Sunday to try to find a way to salvage a deal.

Al-Kaabi's citing of Saleh's refusal to personally sign the deal indicated the GCC blamed him for the deadlock.

Syrian forces tighten grip ahead of protests

Tanks and troops are reported to have been deployed in central Syria and coastal areas in bid to quell protests.
Syrian security forces have moved into central and coastal areas ahead of Friday prayers in a test of will for demonstrators determined to maintain protests against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad, Reuters news agency reported.
Tanks have taken up positions near the urban centres of Homs, Rastan and Baniyas in the past two day, as activists vowed a "Day of Defiance" on Friday to press a seven-week-old anti-regime campaign in which rights groups say 607 people were died, while 8,000 people were jailed or gone missing.

Purulia: CPI (M) demands ‘unambiguous’ answer from Cong., BJP

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) on Thursday demanded a judicial inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the 1995 the Purulia arms-drop case, saying both the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party have a lot to explain in the matter and said the Trinamool Congress was a member of the Union Cabinet when Peter Bleach was released on Presidential pardon.
“Both the Congress and the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance have in one way or the other allowed this mystery to remain unexplained. This, in itself, gives credence to (key accused) Kim Davy’s allegations,” CPI (M) Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury said.
In an editorial in the party organ People’s Democracy, he said while the Congress was “in its typically petty manner crying hoarse that these revelations have come at this time to damage the prospects of its alliance with Trinamool Congress”, Mamata Banerjee herself “was then a member of this cabinet” when Mr. Bleach was released.
“It is absolutely essential in the interests of India’s security to ensure that this extradition happens and Davy is produced before the Indian courts and is duly punished.
“It is equally important that various lapses that have occurred must be investigated and all questions concerning the complicity of the then Congress central government and the circumstances leading to the presidential pardon to Peter Bleach by the then BJP led NDA government, must be unambiguously answered in the interests of Indian democracy,” Mr. Yechury said.
He said this must be done by immediately constituting a judicial enquiry into all these circumstances. “No attempt to undermine our Constitutional scheme of things can be allowed or permitted,” he said.
Terming it as “bizarre and unexplained” the decision by the NDA government to release Mr. Bleach under a Presidential pardon, he said, “Incidentally, the Trinamool Congress chief (Mamata Banerjee) was then a member of this Cabinet when this decision was taken.
“This decision by the NDA government came in the background of a series of statements made earlier that there was no question of any acceptance of Bleach’s plea for clemency,” he said. 
source-PTI and The Hindu

Gujarat riots: Supreme Court orders further probe on Modi's role

The Supreme Court on Thursday empowered the amicus curiae in the Zakia Jafri case to go beyond the report submitted by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) and, if necessary, to conduct a further probe on the role of Gujarat Chief Minister Chief Minister Narendra Modi in the 2002 riots.
A three-judge Bench of Justices D.K. Jain, P. Sathasivam and Aftab Alam asked the amicus, Raju Ramachandran, to analyse and examine the SIT’s report and give his comments in the light of the statements of the witnesses filed along with the report.
The Bench in its order said, “If the amicus curiae, on the basis of evidence on record, finds that any offence is made out against any person, he shall mention the same in the report.”
When Mr. Ramachandran informed the court that he had received a copy of the affidavit filed by senior police officer Sanjeev Bhatt — in which he states that he was present in the meeting convened by Mr. Modi on February 27, 2002 where instructions were given to teach Muslims a lesson — the Bench said he could interact with any one of the witnesses, including the police officer concerned, to give an objective assessment of the evidence.
Justice Jain said, “At present we are not commenting on the affidavit [of Mr. Bhat].
In its order, the Bench noted that the Chairman of the SIT, R.K. Raghavan, had furnished his comments on the investigation conducted by his team along with the report of further investigation. The statements of witnesses had also been filed.

A media bubble called Mamata?





Every other day we have Mamata eulogies camouflaged as news. She is the mainstream media’s candidate and she is also the industry’s favourite as the next chief minister.
 ave had it this bad in 34 years of its rule – in terms of the full-fledged, adverse media campaign against it (mainstream English and regional language media, almost all of it). Some of the print
The Left Front in West Bengal could not hmedia has taken this to almost bizarre limits. For instance, one English paper (Telegraph, which has appointed itself the election manager of Mamata Banerjee / Trinamool) carried nearly banner sized front page headlines on a “tsunami” called Mamata while describing the speed with which she walks, covering more kilometers on foot than Buddhadeb Bhattacharya does in his jeep; and what she eats in order to walk that much – and her entire day’s diet is mentioned. Mamata seems more like a media candidate than that of a party. The mainstream media here seems to have put her up as the Chief Minister candidate; or the industry lobby working through the media. One candidate occupies front page banner-size headlines, and several pages within one single newspaper, including its city supplement pages.  

Iraq car bomb hits police headquarters

At least 15 people killed as suicide bomber rams car into police building in Hilla
A car bomb has killed at least 15 people and wounded 25 in the predominantly Shia city of Hilla, according to medical and police sources.
A suicide bomber rammed his car into the entrance of a police headquarters on Thursday in Hilla, 100km (60 miles) south of Baghdad, during a shift change when many police officers were outside the building, the sources said.
An interior ministry source in Baghdad put the toll at 16 killed and 50 wounded.
Iraqi security forces went on high alert for revenge attacks after US forces killed the al-Qaida leader, Osama bin Laden.
Iraq has been a battlefield for the Islamist militant group since the 2003 US-led invasion that toppled Sunni dictator Saddam Hussein.
US and Iraqi officials claim al-Qaida in Iraq has been severely weakened in recent years.
But eight years after Saddam's overthrow, Iraq still faces a lethal insurgency that carries out dozens of bombings and other attacks each month, many of them on Iraqi police, soldiers and government officials.
Hilla was hit by one of the deadliest attacks in Iraq in May last year when two suicide car bombers drove into the entrance of a textile factory as workers were ending a shift, killing at least 35 people and wounding 135. A third bomb exploded as police and medics rushed to the scene.
On Monday, four people were wounded when a bomb attached to a car in a car park exploded in Hilla.
guardian.co.uk

Portugal recession 'will last two years'

Portugal will sink into recession this year and next due to the terms of its 78bn euro ($116bn; £70bn) rescue deal, its finance minister has said.
Fernando Teixeira dos Santos said austerity measures required as a condition of the funds would see the economy shrink by 2% in 2011 and 2012.
Tax rises and privatisations will form part of a major economic restructuring.
The head of the European mission said the terms of the bail-out were "tough" but "necessary and fair".
But a key unknown area of the package is what interest rate Portugal will pay to borrow the money. This is expected to be hammered out a meeting of European finance ministers on 16 May.

China boosts foreign investment in Latin America

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Foreign investment in Latin America grew by about 40% in 2010 to $113bn (£69bn), a UN study has said.
The fastest growing investor in the region was China, which barely registered between 2006 and 2009, but now accounts for 9% of the total.
The report was released by the UN's Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).
Brazil received the most foreign direct investment (FDI), gaining $48.5bn, followed by Mexico, with $17.7bn.
Commodity search Alicia Barcena, executive secretary of ECLAC, said the figures highlighted the growing involvement of Latin America and the Caribbean in economic globalisation.

GDP will come down if oil prices increases: Pranab

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday projected India’s economic growth at 8 per cent for the current fiscal, lower than the budgetary estimate of 9 per cent, due to measures taken to rein in high inflation.
“If oil prices continue to rise, it would be difficult to achieve higher GDP. GDP may come down to 8 per cent from [the projected] 9 per cent,” Mr. Mukherjee told reporters on the sidelines of Asian Development Bank annual meeting here.
The government’s primary concern now is to manage inflation while sustaining high growth rate. Hardening of global commodity prices, particularly oil prices has accelerated inflation, he said adding “our projection is 7.5-8 per cent inflation during the year.”
Earlier this week, Reserve Bank of India too had lowered economic growth projection to 8 per cent due to measures taken to tackle high inflation especially food prices.
India’s economy is estimated to have clocked 8.6 per cent growth in 2010-11.
Mr. Mukherjee said inflation, particularly the increase in food prices, is a major concern for India as well as other developing countries. “We are trying to reduce it through supply and demand side management.

Pakistan gives warning against further raids

Foreign minister says any country seeking future raids such as the one on bin Laden will face "disastrous consequences".

Pakistan has warned the US and other countries against future raids on suspected fighters, saying they will face consequences from the military.

Salman Bashir, Pakistan's foreign minister, said "there shall no be any doubt that any repetition of such an act will have disastrous consequences", referring to the raid on Monday that killed Osama bin Laden, the head of al-Qaeda.

"We feel that that sort of misadventure or miscalculation would result in a terrible catastrophe," he said on Thursday in Islamabad, the Pakistani capital.

Coalition to create fund for Libya rebels

Countries involved in military campaign pledge money to provide food, medicine and supplies to opponents of Gaddafi.
The NATO-backed coalition in Libya has said it will create a fund for rebels fighting the government of Muammar Gaddafi.

The Transitional National Council (TNC), based in Benghazi, has appealed for loans of up to $3bn, saying they need around half of that for food, medicine and other basic supplies.

Italy, host of Thursday's meeting in Rome of the Contact Group on Libya, said the temporary special fund would aim to channel cash to the opposition administration in its eastern Libyan stronghold.

Franco Frattini, Italy's foreign minister, said $250m were already available, while his French counterpart said the fund could be up and running within weeks.

Libya faces fuel crisis as oil supplies dwindle

Oil-producing country has limited refining capacity
• Bread and cash supplies running low
• International community accused of 'trying to starve people

Police officers in riot gear and armed with wooden staves have been manning fuel pumps at a petrol station in Tripoli as long queues of cars caused traffic chaos in western Libya, amid fears that the Gaddafi regime is running out of its most precious commodity.
Queues of vehicles, sometimes five or six deep, stretched up to half a kilometre from some petrol stations last week, most of which are shut behind makeshift barriers. Two men in a queue near the city of Zuwara said they had been waiting for five days in the hope of a fresh delivery.

Pakistan reacts angrily to tone of U.S. questions

Washington (CNN) -- The United States is pressing Pakistani authorities for answers about how Osama bin Laden could have lived close to a major military base near Pakistan's capital without the government knowing, two senior U.S. officials said Wednesday.
The al Qaeda leader was living in a walled compound in Abbottabad, about 50 km (31 miles) north of Islamabad, when he was gunned down by American commandos in a pre-dawn raid Monday. The killing has left Pakistani officials facing sharp questions from Washington -- and in some cases, from their own people -- and exacerbated an already rocky relationship between the two nations.

Our Freedom and Independence, Fight for Libya - SAVE AFRICA !

Photos from Fight for Your Country, for Our Freedom and Independence, Fight for Libya - SAVE AFRICA !

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Fight for Your Country, for Our Freedom and Independence, Fight for Libya - SAVE AFRICA !

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Added April 22

Singapore leaders admit faults, face strongest electoral challenge

The prime minister is admitting mistakes and even apologizing. It’s a sign that the party that has dominated Singapore and told the island state what’s best for a half-century could be facing its strongest electoral challenge.
The People’s Action Party, with the son of Singapore founding father Lee Kwan Yew at the helm, is still expected to overwhelmingly win Saturday’s parliamentary election and remain in power for at least the next decade.

Court warns Centre, Chhattisgarh against appointing SPOs

Even as the Centre and the Chhattisgarh government justified the appointment of Special Police Officers (SPOs) to tackle naxalites, the Supreme Court warned them that a dangerous situation would arise if these officers turned against the State.
During the last hearing, a Bench of Justices B. Sudershan Reddy and S.S. Nijjar disapproved of the appointment of the SPOs taking shelter under the colonial 1861 Police Act, which provides for such appointments for a short period.

Syria 'arrests scores' in Damascus suburb

Soldiers reportedly storm Saqba, making several arrests overnight, while tanks and armoured vehicles deploy near Homs.
Hundreds of Syrian soldiers have stormed a suburb of the capital, Damascus, and made arrests, according to local residents and democracy activists.
A resident told the Reuters news agency about the raid which was said to have happened around 1am local time on Thursday.
"They cut off communications before they came in," the resident said. "There is no resistance. The demonstrations in Saqba have been peaceful. Scores of people have been arrested."
Al Jazeera was unable to verify independently the accounts of the crackdown.
In another Damascus suburb, Douma, many men were taken from their houses by security forces making rounds from one house to another, a resident told Al Jazeera, adding that children as young as 14 years old were arrested.
The raids and arrests came as tanks and armoured vehicles deployed around Rastan, a town near Homs, Syria's third largest city. Last Friday security forces shot dead at least 17 demonstrators in Rastan, residents and rights campaigners said, after 50 local members of the governing Baath Party resigned.
Army units have also set up checkpoints in the coastal city of Baniyas.
Activists say at least 1,000 people have been arrested across the country since Saturday, indicating that Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president, is widening the use of the military to crush anti-government demonstrations.
Meanwhile, Al Jazeera urged Syrian authorities to release Dorothy Parvaz, one of the Qatar-based channel's journalists, who has been detained since she flew in to Damascus last week.
Parvaz, who holds American, Canadian and Iranian citizenship, was "detained upon arrival in Damascus six days ago [on Friday]. She has had no contact with the outside world since", Al Jazeera said.
Deraa operation 'to end soon'
On Thursday, AFP news agency quoted General Riad Haddad, director of the military's political department, as saying that troops were to pull back from the southern city of Deraa "in the next few hours".
 "The army has completed its mission in Deraa and is to begin withdrawing its troops in the next few hours," he said.
"This will be done in phases and life will return to normal in this town."
Assad had earlier pledged to end the military operation "very soon" in the flashpoint city, where the army deployed tanks and snipers more than a week ago to crush dissent.
"The mission of the army units that entered Deraa on the 25th of last month will end very soon," he was quoted as saying by the private Al Watan newspaper.


Syrian state television quoted an unnamed military official on Wednesday as saying the army was still "pursuing some armed terrorists" and was overseeing the end of its Deraa operation. The city is under military siege, with electricity and telephone services cut, and activists say there is shortage of water and supplies. About 50 people have been reported killed over the past 10 days.
Activists say more than 500 civilians have been killed since protests erupted in March.
In a phone call on Wednesday, Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, appealed to Assad to end the crackdown, to allow a UN aid team into worst-hit towns and to co-operate with a UN Human Rights Council investigation into the violence, Martin Nesirky, a spokesman, said.
"The secretary-general reiterated his calls for an immediate end to violence against and mass arrests of peaceful demonstrators," he said.
Ban told Assad there had to be "full and early implementation of all the reform measures" promised by his government ", and also emphasised the importance of engaging a genuine inclusive dialogue and a comprehensive reform process".
?
Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies

Workers enter Japan reactor building

Operator of Fukushima Daiichi plant says staff to install pipes that will filter out radioactive material in the air.
Workers have entered the Unit 1 reactor building of Japan's damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant for the first time since a hydrogen explosion hit the facility a day after the devastating March earthquake and tsunami.
Twelve staff members stepped in to install duct pipes to six ventillation machines that will filter out the radioactive material in the air, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the plant operator, said Thursday.
"Groups of four will go in one by one to install the ducts. They'll be working in a narrow space," Junichi Matsumoto, TEPCO's spokesman, said.
High radiation levels inside the plant have kept workers from entering the facility to repair the plant's cooling systems. No one has entered the reactor building since the March 12 explosion.
TEPCO has said it may take a year to bring the nuclear plant back up to speed.
The workers, equipped with protective suits, masks and air tanks, went through a special tent set up at the entrance to prevent radiation leaks.
They will work for 10 minutes inside the building. The operation is expected to take about four or five days.
The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has been releasing radioactive materials since the magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami hit northeast Japan on March 11.
Over 14,000 people have so far been confirmed dead, while another 12,000 remain missing and are presumed dead.
Source:
Agencies

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Robert Fisk: The al-Qa'ida leader knew he was a failure. Now US has turned him into martyr

The West has taught a different lesson to the people of the Middle East: that executing opponents is perfectly acceptable
Bin Laden got his just deserts – those who live by the sword tend to die by the sword – but did he get the "justice" that President Obama talked about? Many Arabs – and this theme was taken up by the Arab press, which spoke of his "execution" – thought he should have been captured, taken to the international court in The Hague and tried.
Of course there will always be those who do and will believe he was a brave martyr ignominiously murdered by the proxy arm of "Zionism". Islamist groups in Lebanon, Hamas in Gaza and many ulema in south-west Asia have said as much already. In reality, needless to say, he was a has-been. His promises of overthrowing the pro-American or non-Islamic Arab dictators were fulfilled by the people of Egypt and Tunisia – and perhaps soon by Libyans and Syrians – not by al-Qa'ida and its violence.
The real problem, however, is that the West, which has constantly preached to the Arab world that legality and non-violence was the way forward in the Middle East, has taught a different lesson to the people of the region: that executing your opponents is perfectly acceptable.

9 officers wounded in attacks in Afghanistan

Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) -- Nine police officers were wounded in two bomb attacks in western Afghanistan, police said Wednesday.
The attacks occurred in Herat province, said Brig. Gen. Esa Iftikhari, a police commander.
The officers were injured after driving near an area where remote-controlled bombs had been placed.
"Still it is too early to tell who would had been behind this attack," Iftikhari said

Libya: Aid ship comes under fire in Misrata

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An international aid ship helping to evacuate people from the besieged Libyan port of Misrata has come under rocket attack from government forces.
Witnesses said at least five people died and there was widespread panic among those trying to board the ferry, the Red Star One.
Amid the chaos about 200 people were left behind when the ship sailed for Benghazi, rebel sources said.
The forces of Col Gaddafi have been pounding Misrata for several weeks.
In that time the port has become a lifeline, allowing in vital supplies and evacuating wounded people and migrant workers fleeing the fighting.

Supreme Court reserves verdict in black money case

The Supreme Court on Wednesday reserved its verdict in the petitions filed by the former Union Law Minister, Ram Jethmalani, and others relating to black money stashed away by Indians in foreign banks, even as the Centre strongly opposed the plea to set up a special investigation team (SIT) to track the black money cases.
A Bench of Justices B. Sudershan Reddy and S.S. Nijjar reserved verdict at the conclusion of arguments from senior counsel Anil Divan and Shanti Bhushan for the petitioners and Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam for the Centre.

Speaker has no option: Joshi

Unfazed by the “rejection” of the draft PAC report by a “majority,” BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi on Wednesday said Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar had no option but to accept the report on the 2G scam presented by him.
“There is no other possibility and the Speaker should not reject it,” he told PTI in an interview on the raging controversy surrounding the draft report he submitted last week.
He was replying to a question on what options the Speaker had.
The draft report was sharply critical of the PMO, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the then Finance Minister P. Chidambaram.

Not partisan

Mr. Joshi rejected criticism that he was partisan in the compilation of the report ignoring the views of members belonging to the Congress and the DMK and that the report was outsourced.
“These are serious charges. Anybody can charge anything if it doesn't suit them,” he said.
Replying to queries about the Congress claim that the draft report does not exist because the “majority has rejected it,” he said, “This is absurd.”

No concept of voting

“In PAC there is no vote. There is no concept of voting in the committee and there is no dissent. Only paras are adopted and suggestions are included. In fact, some suggestions have been incorporated,” he said, citing the example of acceptance of amendments given by members, including Yashwant Sinha (BJP) and N.K. Singh (JD-U).
Mr. Joshi refuted allegations about the authenticity of the report.

Report vetted

“The report was vetted by the Comptroller and Auditor General [CAG] after the April 28 meeting. All the amendments suggested and passed by the PAC were incorporated in the report. Even some of the mistakes in the report, which were pointed out by members, were corrected before submission,” he said.
He maintained the PAC had gone through the established procedure before submitting the report to the Speaker on April 30, the last working day of the outgoing PAC.
Asked if the report had been in the making for a long time as alleged by the Congress members, Mr. Joshi said “this is the norm.” 
source-PTI and The Hindu

President Obama ‘reserves the right to act again’ against terror suspects in Pakistan

The White House said Wednesday that President Barack Obama “reserves the right to act again” against top terror suspects inside Pakistan, following the raid which killed Osama bin Laden.

Mr. Obama’s spokesman Jay Carney was asked whether the president would be prepared to target fugitives again if they were on Pakistani soil, despite Islamabad’s complaints that the Bin Laden raid was unauthorized and unilateral, according to Agence-France Presse.

Italy to host Libya coalition talks

Libyan Contact Group meeting will seek a way to give financial support to rebel Transitional National Council.
Ministers from the NATO-backed coalition against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi meet in Rome on Thursday seeking ways to get money to rebels who are desperate to buy food and medicine and shore up their administration.
The meeting of Libya Contact Group will bring together foreign ministers from countries including France, Britain, the United States, Italy and Qatar as well as representatives of the Arab League and the African Union.
As the conflict in Libya has ground into stalemate, the rebel Transitional National Council, which controls the region of eastern Libya around Benghazi and has been recognised by both France and Italy, has appealed for loans of up to $3 billion.
But efforts to unblock state assets frozen in overseas accounts, or to allow the rebels to get past UN sanctions that prevent their selling oil on international markets, have been held up.
"It's not easy. There are Libyan assets that are frozen and for legal reasons unfreezing them is difficult," French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe told France 24 television on Wednesday.
Mahmoud Shammam, chief spokesman for the transitional council, said the rebels urgently needed $1.5 billion to cover immediate running costs.
"We need this for medical supplies, for food supplies, to keep the minimum functions of normal life -- electricity, running hospitals etc," he said.
Other rebels have spoken of needing $2-3 billion to try to shore up an administration created from scratch with no substantial sources of funding, and to pay the state salaries on which most people depend.
The rebels also want to press their cases for better weapons and equipment, Shammam suggested, saying that they are "hungry for basic arms."
Abdul Hafid Ghaug, the rebel government's spokesman, said in Benghazi that no country had sent the arms that the rebel forces say they desperately need.
"Up to this point we have not received any commitments (for weapons) from any friendly nation," he said.
British officials said the Rome meeting would also seek to impose new restrictions on arms smuggling and mercenaries operating within Libya, and hoped the contact group would work on action intended to restrict Gaddafi's exports of crude oil and his ability to import refined oil products.
Humanitarian concern
An aid ship was attacked by forces loyal to Gaddafi while rescuing African and Asian migrant workers from the besieged port of Misurata, forcing it to leave behind hundreds of Libyans desperate to flee the fighting.
The conflict in Libya has grown into a stalemate [AFP]
Aid workers had earlier scrambled to embark the migrants, along with journalists and the wounded, on the ship bound for rebel-held Benghazi as the port came under bombardment on Wednesday.
"The bombing has caused so many casualties among Libyans and people of other nationalities waiting for evacuation," Gemal Salem, a rebel spokesman, told Reuters news agency.
"So far we have five killed and ambulances are rushing to the scene."
The MV Red Star One, sent by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), picked up 800 people caught up in the civil war who had been waiting for days to escape Misurata's worsening humanitarian crisis.
It had hoped to take 1,000 people.
"Hundreds of Libyan civilians had also tried to board the ship in desperation to get out of Misurata. But with a limited capacity, the ramp of the boat had to be pulled up so that the ship could pull away from the dock in safety," the IOM said.
The port is a lifeline for Misurata, where food and medical supplies are low and snipers shoot from rooftops.
Other rescue ships are offshore but there was no news of their movements. About 12,000 people have so far been rescued by 12 ships.
The shelling also hit Misurata's Qasr Ahmad district, a mixed residential and industrial area which houses the iron and steel works in a city that has become one of the bloodiest battlefields in the two-month conflict.
Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies