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Friday, October 7, 2011

Qaddafi warns developing world of similar fate; deposed leader believed to be in south

Deposed leader Muammar Qaddafi said leaders of the developing world who recognized Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC) that ousted him with the aid of NATO firepower would suffer a similar fate.

“If the power of (international) fleets give legitimacy, then let the rulers in the Third World be ready,” he said in an apparent reference to NATO’s military support for NTC forces.

He made the comments in an audio recording obtained by Reuters on Thursday from Syria-based Arrai television. It was not clear when the message was recorded.

“To those who recognize this council, be ready for the creation of transitional councils imposed by the power of fleets to replace you one by one from now on,” he said.

Qaddafi also called on Libyans to take to the streets, saying conditions in Libya were “unbearable.”

“I urge all Libyan people to go out and march in their millions in all the squares, in all the cities and villages and oases,” Qaddafi said.

“Go peacefully ... be courageous, rise up, go to the streets, raise our green flags to the skies,” he added.

Qaddafi has been on the run since NTC forces captured the Libyan capital Tripoli on Aug. 23. Despite several leads as to his whereabouts, he has eluded capture, along with two prominent sons.

The NTC has mounted a manhunt to find Qaddafi that is focusing on the Sahara desert near the borders with Niger and Algeria.

Qaddafi said the NTC was illegitimate. “How did it get its legitimacy? Did the Libyan people elect them? Did the Libyan people appoint them?”

Arrai TV broadcast Qaddafi’s last speech on Sept. 20.

The de facto prime minister, meanwhile, said that Qaddafi was hiding in southern Libya under the protection of tribes, crossing occasionally into Niger, but transitional government forces expect to pinpoint his whereabouts soon.

“The latest report is that he is in southern Libya under the protection of the Tuareg tribe, and from time to time crosses into Niger,” Mahmoud Jibril told Reuters during a visit to Baghdad.

“Security is the most important thing for him. To specify where he is exactly even for ten hours is very difficult. I hope within the coming days we will be able to confirm where he is located exactly,” he said.

Jibril said he was in Iraq to discuss re-establishing diplomatic relations between Tripoli and Baghdad and to ask for the fellow OPEC country’s help in oil development.

The NTC has mounted a manhunt for Gaddafi that focuses on the Sahara desert near the borders with Niger and Algeria.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Wall Street protesters march in New York

Thousands of protesters have marched on New York's financial district, with rallies also held in other US cities.

Powerful unions gave a high-profile boost to the long-running demonstrations, as their members joined the rally in lower Manhattan.

Students at several US colleges walked out of classes in solidarity.

The activists have vented grievances over the 2008 corporate bailouts, high US unemployment and home repossessions, among other things.

Hundreds of demonstrators were arrested last weekend on the Brooklyn Bridge.

'Country upside down'

On Wednesday, smaller protests were held from Boston and Chicago to Los Angeles and San Francisco.

The Occupy Wall Street demonstrations are in their third week

The biggest event took place in New York, where at least 5,000 activists joined forces with members of unions and community organisations to march on Wall Street.

Our workers are excited about this movement," United Federation of Teachers president Michael Mulgrew told Reuters news agency. "The country has been turned upside down. We are fighting for families and children."

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Communications Workers of America and the Amalgamated Transit Union joined the New York march, as did the nation's largest union of nurses, National Nurses United.

The Occupy Wall Street protests started on 17 September with a few dozen demonstrators who tried to pitch tents in front of the New York Stock Exchange.

Since then, hundreds have set up camp nearby in Zuccotti Park and have become increasingly organised, lining up medical aid and legal help and printing their own newspaper.

Protesters in New York City on Wednesday carried signs reading "Jobs Not Cuts" and "Stop Corporate Greed" and chanted "Wall Street is our street".

"We're here to stop corporate greed," Mike Pellegrino, an NYC Transit bus mechanic, told the Associated Press news agency. "They should pay their fair share of taxes. We're just working and looking for decent lives for our families."

Hundreds of college students at New York's public university system walked out of classes on Wednesday afternoon.

At the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, students walked out of their classrooms at noon, holding signs reading "Eat the Elite" and "We Can Do Better than Capitalism".

'I'm the 99%'

In Boston, about 200 Northeastern University students protested against what they called corporate control of government and spiralling education costs.

Occupy Wall Street protester Protests in other US cities have attracted thousands of supporters

In San Francisco, a crowd of several hundred marched in a loop around the financial district, chanting "They got bailed out, we got sold out". Union nurses had a large presence at the protest.

In Chicago, dozens of activists kept up their protest at the heart of the financial district, banging drums and holding up signs.

Protests have also been held recently in the cities of Las Vegas, Baltimore, Philadelphia and Washington; and in the states of Missouri, Ohio and Florida. - a liberal activism website - is encouraging participants to post photos of themselves with the caption, "I'm the 99%" - a reference to those not among the wealthiest 1% of Americans.

The rallies have been largely peaceful apart from occasional scuffles, including the arrests of more than 700 protesters on the Brooklyn Bridge on Saturday.

Several Democratic lawmakers have expressed support for the protesters, but some Republican presidential candidates have lambasted them.

Herman Cain called the activists "jealous" and "un-American" on Wednesday at a book signing in Florida.

On Tuesday, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney was quoted as calling the protest "class warfare" while campaigning in Florida.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Apple’s visionary Steve Jobs dead at 56

Steve Jobs, the transcendent Silicon Valley entrepreneur who reinvented the world’s computing, music and mobile phone industries and changed the daily habits of millions around the globe, died on Wednesday at the age of 56.

His death after a years-long battle with pancreatic cancer sparked an immediate outpouring of tributes as world leaders, business rivals and fans alike lamented the tragedy of his premature passing and celebrated his monumental achievements.

“The world has lost a visionary. And there may be no greater tribute to Steve’s success than the fact that much of the world learned of his passing on a device he invented,” U.S. President Barack Obama said in a statement.

Fans paid homage to Jobs outside Apple stores around the world, from Los Angeles to Sydney. Outside one store in New York City, mourners laid candles, bouquets of flowers, an apple and an iPod Touch in a makeshift memorial. In San Francisco, they held up black-and-white portraits of Jobs on their iPads.

Many websites, including Apple’s own, were transformed into online memorials, a testament to the digital creativity that Jobs inspired.

“For those of us lucky enough to get to work with him, it’s been an insanely great honor,” said Microsoft’s Bill Gates, who once triumphed over Jobs but has seen his legendary status overtaken by the Apple co-founder in recent years.

Jobs was surrounded by his wife and immediate family when he died in Palo Alto, California, Apple said late on Wednesday. Other details were not immediately available.

Jobs stepped down as CEO in August and handed the reins to long-time operations chief Tim Cook. With a passion for minimalist design and a genius for marketing, Jobs laid the groundwork for the company to continue to flourish after his death, most analysts and investors say.

But Apple still faces challenges in the absence of the man who was its chief product designer, marketing guru and salesman nonpareil. Phones running Google’s Android software are gaining share in the smartphone market, and there are questions over what the next big thing is in Apple's product line.

Legendary entrepreneur

A college drop-out and the son of adoptive parents, Jobs changed the technology world in the late 1970s, when the Apple II became the first personal computer to gain a wide following. He did it again in 1984 with the Macintosh, which built on the breakthrough technologies developed at Xerox Parc and elsewhere to create the personal computing experience as we know it today.

The rebel streak that’s central to his persona got him tossed out of the company in 1985, but he returned in 1997 and after a few years began the rollout of a troika of products − the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad− that again upended the established order in major industries.

A diagnosis of a rare form of pancreatic cancer in 2004 initially cast only a mild shadow over Jobs and Apple, with the CEO asserting that the disease was treatable. But his health deteriorated rapidly over the past several years, and after two temporary leaves of absence he stepped down as chief executive and became Apple's chairman in August.

Jobs’ death came just one day after Cook presented a new iPhone at the kind of gala event that became Jobs' trademark. Perhaps coincidentally, the new device got lukewarm reviews, with many saying that it wasn't a big enough improvement over the existing version of one of the most successful consumer products in history.

Apple on Wednesday paid homage to its visionary leader by changing its website to a big black-and-white photograph of him with the caption “Steve Jobs: 1955-2011.”

The flags outside the company’s headquarters at 1 Infinite Loop flew at half mast. Employees left flowers on a bench and a mourner played music on bagpipes in an impromptu tribute.

Cook said in a statement that Apple planned to hold a celebration of Jobs' life for employees “soon.”

“Steve’s brilliance, passion and energy were the source of countless innovations that enrich and improve all of our lives. The world is immeasurably better because of Steve,” Apple said in a statement.

“His greatest love was for his wife, Laurene, and his family. Our hearts go out to them and to all who were touched by his extraordinary gifts.”

The announcement of Jobs’ death came after almost all trading in U.S. stocks had finished for the day. Apple’s stock was last quoted at $377.22, a tad lower than its Nasdaq close of $378.25.

Outside Jobs’ house in Palo Alto, neighbors and friends left flowers and drew messages with markers on the sidewalk. “Thanks for changing the world,” read one.

A low fence surrounded a lawn filled with apple trees.

“He was special for the area, like part of the family,” said Robert Blum, who brought flowers with his eight-year-old son, Daniel.

Net worth $ 7 billion

Jobs, in his trademark uniform of black mock-turtleneck and blue jeans, was deemed the heart and soul of a company that rivals Exxon Mobil as the most valuable in America.

Forbes estimates Jobs’ net worth at $7 billion. It was not immediately known how his estate would be handled.

His health had been a controversial topic for years and a deep concern to Apple fans and investors. Even board members have in past years confided to friends their concern that Jobs, in his quest for privacy, was not being forthcoming enough with directors about the true condition of his health.

Born in San Francisco, the Buddhist and son of adoptive parents started Apple Computer with friend Steve Wozniak in his parent’s garage 1976.

Six years ago, Jobs had talked about how a sense of his mortality was a major driver behind that vision.

“Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life,” Jobs said during a Stanford commencement ceremony in 2005.

“Because almost everything − all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure − these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.”

“Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”


Greece hit by new 24-hour general strike over austerity

A 24-hour general strike is under way in Greece in protest at the nation's austerity measures.

Flights and ferry services have been cancelled, schools, government offices and tourist sites closed, and hospitals are working with reduced staff.

At least 16,000 people have joined protests organised by the main unions in central Athens.

The European Commission is discussing ways of propping up banks in Europe to protect them from the Greek crisis.

Meanwhile, in its latest report on the European economy, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned that economic growth is in danger of petering out and a global recession in the coming year cannot be ruled out.

Start Quote

We believe, as workers, that patriotism is to respond with actions”

End Quote Dimitris Kizilis Protester

Global financial markets have been in turmoil over fears that Greece could default on its debt, most of which is held by European banks. In other developments:

The general strike is the first since the Greek government announced an emergency property tax and the suspension of 30,000 public sector staff last month.

'Lives ruined'

The government says the stringent austerity measures cannot be avoided if the country is to reduce its deficit of 8.5%, a key requirement in securing a second instalment of bailout cash pledged by the EU.

At the scene

It is a very noisy demonstration indeed here, certainly the biggest demonstration by Greece's public sector in several weeks. The country has ground to a halt.

All of these people are extremely angry at the austerity measures that the government is desperately trying to push through to qualify for the next instalment of its international bailout, in order to stave off bankruptcy and avoid defaulting on its debts.

The government says it is in a very difficult position, because it must pursue its austerity drive to meet its fiscal targets and reduce the budget deficit to avoid bankruptcy within the next few weeks.

But this wave of social unrest is growing by people who say the measures are deepening the recession, stagnating the economy and stunting Greece's growth.

But the measures are hugely unpopular and have led to a wave of strikes and protests.

Tens of thousands of people have stayed away from work across Greece, including air traffic controllers, tax workers, teachers, hospital staff, public transport workers, police and other emergency workers.

Thousands of people have gathered in central Athens to march towards Syntagma Square and stage a demonstration outside parliament. Protests were also planned for other cities.

Police have fired tear gas at small groups of protesters who were throwing stones.

Critics of the austerity drive say it is deepening the recession, stunting Greece's growth - the economy will shrink 5.5% this year - and stopping Greece from being able to reduce its government debt itself.

Protesters also say they are unfairly bearing the burden of the country's debt.

"This is an opportunity for the Greek people, whether in the public or in the private sector, to fight this, to deny this logic that we must bow our heads all the time to save the country and show patriotism," said 37-year-old protester Dimitris Kizilis.

"We believe, as workers, that patriotism is to respond with actions."

Stathis Anestis, a spokesman for Greece's main union GSEE, said the new measures were "just extending the unfair and barbaric policies which suck dry workers' rights and revenues and push the economy deeper into recession and debt".

"With this strike, the government, the EU and the IMF will be forced to reconsider these disastrous policies," he told Reuters.

Greek civil servant and trade unionist Tiana Andreou told the BBC that people's lives had been ruined.

"We have decided that we're going to stop this."

Some militant civil servants are promising to sabotage the moves. On Tuesday, protesters again blocked the entrance to several government departments including the finance and transport ministries.

The government says it has enough cash to pay pensions, salaries and bondholders until mid-November, having previously said it needed more money by mid-October to avoid a default.

Empty railway station during Greece's general strike

Inspectors from the IMF, European Central Bank and European Commission - known collectively as the troika - have been in Greece this week to assess its financial situation.

But eurozone finance ministers have delayed a decision on handing over the money, after Greece said it would not meet this year's deficit-cutting plan.

The government admitted that the budget deficit will stand at 8.5% this year, rather than the 7.5% target.

On Wednesday, the IMF's European chief Antonio Borges said there was no rush for the second bailout, and that he was "confident negotiations will come to a positive conclusion".


Russia, China veto U.N. council call for Syria action; U.S. urges ‘targeted sanctions’

Russia and China early Wednesday vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution threatening action against Syria’s deadly crackdown on protests, opening up bitter international divisions over the Arab Spring.

Amid new deaths in Syria and new threats of individual sanctions, the veto sparked the outrage of European nations, which proposed the resolution, and the United States, which said the council had “utterly failed to address an urgent moral challenge.”

Nine countries voted for the text which had called for “targeted measures” if President Bashar al-Assad pursues his clampdown, which the UN says has left at least 2,700 dead.

Some countries submitted a draft resolution to blindly impose pressure and even threatened sanctions against Syria. This would not help to ease the situation
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu

Russia and China voted against, killing the resolution because of their veto power as permanent council members. South Africa, India, Brazil and Lebanon abstained, reaffirming a divide in the 15-member body since NATO launched air strikes in Libya using U.N. resolutions to justify the action.

China said Wednesday that a U.N. Security Council resolution against Syria would have “blindly” pressured the Arab nation without easing the situation.

“Some countries submitted a draft resolution to blindly impose pressure and even threatened sanctions against Syria. This would not help to ease the situation,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said in a statement, according to AFP.

Russia’'s UN envoy, Vitaly Churkin, said the European resolution was “based on a philosophy of confrontation.” The threat of action was “unacceptable,” he added.

France, meanwhile, said the decision by Russia and China to veto the U.N. Security Council resolution targeting Syria marked a “sad day for the Syrian people” and for the council itself.

“The Security Council should not remain silent in the face of the Syrian tragedy,” Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said in a statement.

“The failure of the Syria resolution is very regrettable. The U.N. Security Council has not lived up to its responsibility for peace and security in the world,” said Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle in a statement from Berlin.

“Germany will continue to push, both internationally and especially within the European Union, for a clear position and pressure on the Syrian regime,” added the minister.

Many opponents raised the air strikes in Libya and fears that it could be renewed in Syria to justify their votes.

Tough and targeted sanctions

United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice
United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice

U.S. ambassador Susan Rice called the comments a “cheap ruse by those who would rather sell arms to the Syrian regime than stand with the Syrian people.”

Rice called on the council to impose “tough, targeted sanctions” and an arms embargo against Syria.

“The United States is outraged that this council has utterly failed to address an urgent moral challenge and a growing threat to regional peace and security,” she said.

The U.S. ambassador later led her delegation out of the council chamber after Syria’s ambassador Bashar Jaafari accused the United States of “genocide” in a long attack on the western countries.

Russia has proposed an alternative resolution, which condemns the opposition violence as well as that of the government and calls for dialogue to end the crisis. The European nations vowed however that it would not come to a vote.

The double veto by Russia and China was a “vote against the Arab Spring,” France’s U.N. envoy Gerard Araud said outside the council chamber.

“This veto will not stop us. No veto can give carte blanche to the Syrian authorities,” Araud told the 15-nation council, Reuters reported.

Western governments and human rights watchdogs have expressed mounting criticism of the council’s failure to adopt any resolution on Syria, which has since mid-March been shaken by an unprecedented protest movement Assad has sought to crush using deadly force.

Assad still in control

The United States is outraged that this council has utterly failed to address an urgent moral challenge and a growing threat to regional peace and security
U.S. ambassador Susan Rice

Assad had managed to maneuver Syria into being courted by the West while maintaining an alliance with Iran and backing militant groups, but the crackdown -- he has sent tanks and troops into towns and cities across the country to crush demonstrations -- have left him with few stalwart allies.

The Syrian economy is reeling from U.S. and European Union sanction on the small but key oil sector, which is linked to the Assad family and ruling elites, according to Reuters.

Foreign currency reserves are under pressure, forcing the state last month to impose a sweeping ban on imports in a effort to maintain the reserves. But the ban was rescinded on Tuesday, after a spike in prices and disquiet among an influential merchant class that has been backing Assad.

Canada announced new sanctions against Syrian oil exports and investment in its oil fields. The government also added 27 people said to be close to Assad and 12 entities linked to the government to a list of people or companies facing a travel ban and assets freeze.

Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan voiced support for the proposed U.N. resolution and said he would soon announce sanctions against neighboring Syria.

At least 2,700 civilians have been killed in Syria, by a United Nations count. Assad has said any other country would have responded to the uprising by using similar tactics.

The authorities blame “armed terrorist groups” backed by unspecified foreign powers for violence and say that 800 security-force members have been killed.

After months of peaceful protests, some army deserters and dissidents have taken up arms, prompting military operations against them, especially in areas bordering Turkey and Jordan.

Army defectors safe in Turkey

Leader of the so-called Syrian Free Army, Col. Riyadh al-Asaad. (File photo)
Leader of the so-called Syrian Free Army, Col. Riyadh al-Asaad. (File photo)

Turkey’s Anatolian news agency quoted Colonel Riad al-Asaad, the most senior Syrian officer to defect to the opposition since the popular revolt erupted in March, as saying he was safe in Turkey.

The agency’s report was datelined Hatay in southern Turkey, where 7,000 Syrians have fled to escape Assad’s crackdown on protesters.

Syrian opposition groups meeting in Istanbul on Sunday appealed for international action to stop what they called indiscriminate killings of civilians by the Syrian authorities, but rejected any Libya-style military intervention.

Syria for the most part has closed its doors to independent media, making it hard to verify events, but a trickle of desertions appears to have gathered pace in the last several weeks.

Amnesty International meanwhile highlighted cases where Syrian activists had been attacked in other countries and called for stronger action against “Syrian embassies” behind such intimidation.

The rights watchdog said it had documented cases of attacks and intimidation against 30 Syrian activists in Britain, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Spain, Sweden and the United States.

France confirmed it had launched an investigation after thugs attacked a protest in Paris.

A foreign ministry spokesman said arrests had been made and extra police protection assigned to Syrian opposition protests after the Aug. 26 attack.

In Sweden, Foreign Minister Carl Bildt warned: “If there are diplomats who engage in activities in this country that are not compatible with their diplomatic status they are not welcome in Sweden.”


Tuesday, October 4, 2011


If our Nobel laureate is deluding himself, something that is still to be proven, perhaps that explains the incredible contradictions in his thinking and the confusion sown among his listeners.
There is not one shred of ethics, and not even of politics, in his attempt to justify his announced decision to veto any resolution to recognize Palestine as an independent State and member of the United Nations. Even politicians, who in no way share socialist philosophy and lead parties that were closely allied with Augusto Pinochet, are proclaiming Palestine’s right to be a member of the UN.
Barack Obama’s words on the principal matter that is being debated today in the General Assembly of that organization can only be applauded by NATO cannon, rockets and bombers.
The remainder of his speech are empty phrases, lacking any moral authority and meaning. Let us observe, for example, how these words were devoid of ideas when in the world, starved and pillaged by the transnationals and the consumerism of developed capitalist countries, Obama announces:
“To stop disease that spreads across borders, we must strengthen our system of public health. We will continue the fight against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. We will focus on the health of mothers and of children. And we must come together to prevent, and detect, and fight every kind of biological danger -- whether it’s a pandemic like H1N1, or a terrorist threat, or a […] disease.”
“We must not put off action that climate change demands. We have to tap the power of science to save those resources that are scarce. And together, we must continue our work to build on the progress made in Copenhagen and Cancun, so that all the major economies here today follow through on the commitments that were made. Together, we must work to transform the energy that powers our economies, and support others as they move down that path. That is what our commitment to the next generation demands. And to make sure our societies reach their potential, we must allow our citizens to reach theirs”
Everyone knows that the United States was not a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol and that it has sabotaged all efforts to preserve humankind from the terrible consequences of climate change, in spite of being the country which consumes a considerable and disproportionate part of fuel and world resources.
Let us put on the record the idyllic words with which he would like to cajole the men of State meeting there:
“I know there’s no straight line to that progress, no single path to success. We come from different cultures, and carry with us different histories. But let us never forget that even as we gather here as heads of different governments, we represent citizens who share the same basic aspirations -- to live with dignity and freedom; to get an education and pursue opportunity; to love our families, and love and worship our God; to live in the kind of peace that makes life worth living. It is the nature of our imperfect world that we are forced to learn these lessons over and over again.”
“…because those who came before us believed that peace is preferable to war, and freedom is preferable to suppression, and prosperity is preferable to poverty. That’s the message that comes not from capitals, but from citizens, from our people. And when the cornerstone of this very building was put in place, President Truman came here to New York and said, “The United Nations is essentially an expression of the moral nature of man’s aspirations.” As we live in a world that is changing at a breathtaking pace, that’s a lesson that we must never forget. Peace is hard, but we know that it is possible. So, together, let us be resolved to see that it is defined by our hopes and not by our fears. Together, let us make peace, but a peace, most importantly, that will last.”
“Thank you very much.”

Listening to them right up to the end deserves something more than gratitude; it deserves a prize.
As I have already stated, early in the afternoon, Evo Morales Ayma, president of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, took to the podium; he swiftly went into the essential topics.
“…there is a clear difference in the culture of life as opposed to the culture of death; there is a clear difference in truth as opposed to falsehood, a profound difference between peace and war.”
“…I think that it will be difficult to understand each other with economic policies that concentrate capital in just a few hands. Information shows us that 1% of the world population concentrates 50% of the wealth. If such profound differences exist, how can poverty be resolved? And if we do not abolish poverty, how can a long-lasting peace be guaranteed?”
“As a child, I remember perfectly well that earlier, whenever there was a rebellion by the people against a capitalist system, against the economic models of the permanent pillage of our natural resources, the labour union leaders, the left-leaning political leaders, were accused of being communists in order to arrest them; the social forces were under military intervention: confinement, exile, massacres, persecution, imprisonment, accusations of being communist, socialist, Maoist, Marxist-Leninist. I think this has now stopped; now they no longer accuse us of being Marxist-Leninist, now they have other instruments such as drug-trafficking and terrorism …”
“…they prepare interventions when their presidents, when their governments, when their peoples are not pro-capitalist or pro-imperialist.”
“…we speak of long-lasting peace. How can there be long-lasting peace with American military bases? How can there be long-lasting peace with military interventions?”
“What is the use of this UN when a group of countries decide on interventions, on massacres?”
“If we were to want this organization, the United Nations, to have the authority to cause resolutions to be respected, then we have to start thinking about re-founding the United Nations …”
“Every year, at the United Nations decisions are made—by almost one hundred percent of the nations, except the US and Israel— to unblock, to end the economic embargo on Cuba. And who causes that to be respected? Of course, the Security Council is never going to cause that UN resolution to be respected […] I cannot understand how in an organization made up of all the countries in the world, their resolutions are not respected. What is the UN?”
“I would like to tell you that Bolivia is not turning its back on the recognition of Palestine in the United Nations. Our position is that Bolivia welcomes Palestine to the United Nations.”
“You know, dear listeners, that I come from the Indigenous Peasant Movement, and when our families talk about a company, we think that the company has a lot of money, it deals with a lot of money, that they are millionaires, and they couldn’t understand how a company asks a State to loan them money for corresponding investment.
“Therefore I say that these international financial bodies are the ones doing business through the private companies; but who has to pay for that? It is exactly the peoples, the States.”
“…Bolivia has a historic case against Chile for the return to the sea, with sovereignty to the Pacific Ocean, with sovereignty. Therefore, Bolivia has made the decision to turn to international courts in order to sue for a useful sovereign exit to the Pacific Ocean.
“The UN General Assembly Resolution 37/10 of November 15, 1982, establishes that ‘turning to an International Court of Justice to resolve litigation between States should not be considered a non-friendly act.’
“Bolivia is protected by the right and the reason of turning to an International Court because having been cut off is the product of an unfair war, an invasion. Suing for a solution on the international stage, represents for Bolivia reparation of a historical injustice.
“Bolivia is a pacifist State that favours dialogue with neighbouring countries, and therefore it keeps the channels of bilateral negotiation with Chile open, without that meaning a renunciation of its right to turn to an International Court …”
“Peoples are not responsible for cutting off Bolivia from the coast; the causes are the oligarchies, the transnationals, who took over the natural resources as they always do.
“The 1904 Treaty brought neither peace nor friendship; it resulted in the fact that for more than a century Bolivia had no access to a sovereign port.”
“…in the region of the Americas, another movement of Latin American and Caribbean countries is being born, I should call it a new OAS without the US, to free ourselves from certain impositions, fortunately, with the bit of experience we have in UNASUR. […] we no longer need, whenever a conflict between countries arises […] for them to come down from the north and from the outside to establish order.”
“I would also like to take this opportunity on a central issue: the fight against drug trafficking. The fight against drug trafficking is being used by US imperialism for clearly political aims. In Bolivia, the United States’ DEA did not fight against drug-trafficking; it controlled drug trafficking for political purposes. If there was some trade union leader, or some anti-imperialist political leader, that’s what the DEA was for: to involve them. Many leaders, many of us politicians, saved ourselves from those dirty imperialist jobs to involve us in drug trafficking. They are still trying to do that, until the present.”
“In past weeks some of the media from the United States was saying that the presidential plane was detained in the US with traces of cocaine. What a lie! They attempt to confuse the population; they try to create a dirty campaign against the government, even against the State. Nevertheless, what does the US do? It decertifies Bolivia and Venezuela. What moral authority does the US have to certify or decertify countries in South or Latin America, when the United States is the number one consumer of drugs in the world, when the United States is one of the world marihuana producers, the number one producer of marihuana in the world […] With what authority can it certify or decertify? It is another way of frightening or intimidating countries, teaching them a lesson. However Bolivia, with great responsibility, goes on fighting against drug trafficking.
“In the same report from the United States, I mean, from the US State Department, a net decrease in the production of coca growing is acknowledged; that has improved the indictment.
“But where is the market? The market is the origin of drug trafficking and the market is here. And who decertifies the US because the market hasn’t dried up?
“This morning, President Calderón of Mexico was saying that the drug market keeps on growing and why there are no responsibilities to eradicate the market […] Let’s wage the war under a shared co-responsibility […] In Bolivia we are not afraid and we must terminate the banking secret if we want to wage frontal war against drug trafficking.”
“…One of the crisis, besides the crisis of capitalism, is the food crisis. […] we have a little experience in Bolivia: we give loans to rice, corn, wheat and soy growers, with zero percent interest, and they can even pay back their debt with their products; we are talking about food; or soft loans to encourage production. Nevertheless, international banks never take into account the small producers, they never take into account the associations, cooperatives, who can really contribute well if given the opportunity. […] We must put an end to competitive business.
“In a competition, who wins? The most powerful, the one having the most advantages, always the transnationals. And what about the small producers? And what about that family that wants to get ahead with their own efforts? […] With competition policy we are surely never going to resolve the issue of poverty.
“But finally, to conclude this speech I would like to tell you that the crisis of capitalism can no longer be paid […] The economic crisis of capitalism is not just critical, it is structural. And what do the capitalist or imperialist countries do? They look for any excuse to intervene in a country and to take over their natural resources.
“This morning the president of the United States was saying that now Iraq was liberated, they are going to govern themselves. The Iraqis may govern themselves, but in whose hands has Iraqi oil now fallen?
“They said that autocracy has ended in Libya, that now they have a democracy; it may be a democracy, but in whose hands will Libyan oil now be? […] the bombing cannot be blamed on Gaddafi, the fault of some rebels, but it is because of the search for Libyan oil.”
“…Therefore, its crisis, the crisis of capitalism, they want to get over it, they want to fix it by taking over our natural resources, on the basis of our oil, our gas, our natural resources.
“…we have a huge responsibility: to defend the rights of Mother Earth.”
“…the best way of defending human rights is now to defend the rights of Mother Earth […] herein we have our huge responsibility to pass the rights of Mother Earth. Just 60 years ago they passed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Just 60 years ago they realized in the UN that the human being has rights. After political rights, economic rights, the rights of the indigenous peoples, now we have the huge responsibility of knowing how to defend the rights of Mother Earth.
“We are also convinced that the infinite growth of the planet is unsustainable and impossible, the limit for growth is the degenerative capacity of the Earth’s ecosystems […] we make a call for […] a new decalogue of social vindications: in financial systems, over natural resources, over basic services, over production, over dignity and sovereignty, and on this basis to re-found the United Nations so that the United Nations may be the supreme authority for solving the problems of peace, poverty and the dignity and sovereignty of the peoples of the world.”
“We hope that this experience as President can be of some good for all of us, just as I am learning from many of you in order to go on working for the equality and dignity of the Bolivian people.
“Thank you very much.”
Following Evo Morales’ convincing concepts, President Mahmud Abbas of the National Palestinian Authority, who took to the podium two days later, laid out the dramatic suffering of the inhabitants of Palestine: “…the crass historical injustice perpetrated on our people, therefore it was agreed to set up the State of Palestine on just 22% of Palestine’s territory and, above all, Palestinian territory occupied by Israel in 1967. Taking that historic step, applauded by the States of the world, allowed for exceeding acquiescence in order to reach a historical compromise, that would permit peace to be achieved in the land of peace.”
“[…] Our people shall continue with their peaceful popular resistance to the Israeli occupation, their settlements and their policy of apartheid, as well as the building of the wall of racist annexation […] armed with dreams, courage, hope and slogans in the face of tanks, tear gas, bulldozers and bullets.”
“…we would like to extend our hand to the government and people of Israel for peace to be imposed, and I say to you: let us build together, in an urgent manner, a future for our children where they may enjoy freedom, security and prosperity. […] Let us build relationships of cooperation that are based on the parity, equality and friendship between two neighbour States, Palestine and Israel, instead of policies of occupation, settlements, war and the elimination of the other side.”
Almost half a century has gone by since that brutal occupation promoted and supported by the United States. However, it is barely a day since the wall was erected, monstrous mechanical machinery is destroying Palestinian homes and some young person, and even a Palestinian teenager, is wounded or killed.
What profound truths Evo’s words hold!

Fidel Castro Ruz
September 26, 2011

Hazare puts Cong on notice on Lokpal issue

Anna Hazare on Tuesday put Congress on notice on the Lokpal issue, saying he will campaign against it in election-bound states if the Centre fails to get his version of the anti-corruption bill passed in Parliament’s Winter Session.

To begin with, Mr. Hazare said, he will appeal to voters in Hisar Lok Sabha constituency in Haryana where by polls are scheduled on October 13 not to vote for the Congress candidate as the party was “deliberately” not bringing the Jan Lokpal bill.

“If the Jan Lokpal Bill is not passed in the Winter Session, then I will name the Congress and ask people not to vote for it in the Assembly polls scheduled in five states next year,” he said addressing a press conference in his native village, 50 km from Pune.

He announced that he would begin his tour of five election-bound states of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur between October 13 and 15.

Mr. Hazare, who had withdrawn his 12-day hunger strike in Ramlila Maidan following assurances from the Centre that three of his main demands would be considered, made it clear that his agitation would be intensified across the country in the coming months.

He said he will undertake a fast in Lucknow three days before election commences in Uttar Pradesh if the Centre does not pass the Jan Lokpal Bill in Winter Session of Parliament.

Mr. Hazare said he will try to visit Hisar in the coming days and if he cannot do so, he will send a video message appealing to people “not to vote for Congress as they are deliberately not bringing the Jan Lokpal Bill.”

He said he has got letters from BJP chief Nitin Gadkari and others supporting Jan Lokpal Bill but not any from Congress.

The activist said he will wait for two more days for the letter from Congress and will start his campaign against them if the party fails to do so.

“We will oppose the Congress... They sent me to jail... Does it behove a government to attack innocents in Ramdev’s camp in Ramlila Maidan?” he asked.

He said he will not ask people to vote for any particular candidate but appeal to them to vote for clean candidates.

Asked whether he would support a clean candidate from Congress even if the Jan Lokpal Bill is not passed in the Winter Session, Mr. Hazare said he will appeal to people to vote for candidates other than from Congress.

“What is the purpose of a clean candidate if the party is not right? Is Manmohan Singh not clean? The problem is that he is remote-controlled,” he said.

On if he feared that he would be targeted as a BJP supporter, Hazare said those who raise such allegations should be sent to a mental hospital.

“In my whole life, not a single instance has shown that I had been associated with BJP or RSS. I have never attended a single meeting (of BJP or RSS),” he said.

Replying to a question, he said Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to jail IPS officer Sanjeev Bhatt was wrong. “Bhatt has submitted an affidavit in the Supreme Court.

The matter is before the Supreme Court. Then what is the need for arresting him. This is wrong,” Hazare said.


Discovery of ‘accelarating expansion of the universe’ wins Physics Nobel

Three U.S.-born scientists won the Nobel Prize in physics on Tuesday for a study of exploding stars that discovered that the expansion of the universe is accelerating.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said American Saul Perlmutter would share the 10 million kronor ($1.5 million) award with U.S.-Australian Brian Schmidt and U.S. scientist Adam Riess “for the discovery of the accelerating expansion of the universe through observations of distant supernovae.”

Their discoveries “have helped to unveil a universe that to a large extent is unknown to science,” the citation said.

Mr. Perlmutter, 52, heads the Supernova Cosmology Project at the University of California, Berkeley.

Mr. Schmidt, 44, is the head of the High-z Supernova Search Team at the Australian National University in Weston Creek, Australia.

Mr. Riess, 42, is an astronomy professor at Johns Hopkins University and Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland.

Excerpts from the Nobel

Excerpts from the citation awarding the 2011 Nobel Prize in physics to Mr. Perlmutter, who shared it with Mr. Schmidt and Mr. Riess “for the discovery of the accelerating expansion of the Universe through observations of distant supernovae.”

“They have studied several dozen exploding stars, called supernovae, and discovered that the Universe is expanding at an ever—accelerating rate. The discovery came as a complete surprise even to the Laureates themselves.”

“In 1998, cosmology was shaken at its foundations as two research teams presented their findings. Headed by Saul Perlmutter, one of the teams had set to work in 1988. Brian Schmidt headed another team, launched at the end of 1994, where Adam Riess was to play a crucial role. The research teams raced to map the Universe by locating the most distant supernovae.”

“The teams used a particular kind of supernova, called type Ia supernova. It is an explosion of an old compact star that is as heavy as the Sun but as small as the Earth. A single such supernova can emit as much light as a whole galaxy. All in all, the two research teams found over 50 distant supernovae whose light was weaker than expected — this was a sign that the expansion of the Universe was accelerating. The potential pitfalls had been numerous, and the scientists found reassurance in the fact that both groups had reached the same astonishing conclusion.”

“For almost a century, the Universe has been known to be expanding as a consequence of the Big Bang about 14 billion years ago. However, the discovery that this expansion is accelerating is astounding. If the expansion will continue to speed up the Universe will end in ice. The acceleration is thought to be driven by dark energy, but what that dark energy is remains an enigma — perhaps the greatest in physics today. What is known is that dark energy constitutes about three quarters of the Universe. Therefore the findings of the 2011 Nobel Laureates in Physics have helped to unveil a Universe that to a large extent is unknown to science. And everything is possible again.”



As many as 65 killed, 50 injured in blast near gov’t buildings in Mogadishu

An explosion outside government buildings in Mogadishu on Tuesday killed at least 65 people and wounded 50, the coordinator of the capital’s ambulance service said.

“We have carried 65 dead bodies and 50 injured people," Ali Muse told Reuters. “Some are still lying there. Most of the people have burns.”

He said students, soldiers and civilians were among the dead.

Earlier, witnesses said that Somalia’s Islamist rebels attacked and briefly seized the main stronghold town of a rival militia that backs the country’s transitional government.

The al-Qaeda-linked Shabaab insurgents raided the central town of Dhusamareb, seat of the Ahlu Sunna Wal Jamaa movement, late on Monday, sparking a brief firefight, according to AFP.

The Shabaab raided a radio station and seized equipment in their first attack against their rivals in months.

“The Shabaab made a surprise offensive late Monday and remained in Dhusamareb for hours before they withdrew,” local resident Abdullahi Yasiin said.

Another resident, Hassan Elmi, said the Shabaab left the town before midnight Monday.

“I saw the Shabaab gunmen leaving before and the Ahlu Sunna forces arrived,” he said.

In August, the hardline insurgents pulled out of the capital Mogadishu where they had been fighting to topple the Western-backed transitional government and retreated to southern and central Somali regions under their control.

The Somali government, the Ahlu Sunna Wal-Jamaa and authorities of the breakaway northern Puntland region last month launched a new bid to restore government control in the Horn of African state battered by 20 years of relentless conflict.