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Archive for March, 2012

Situation remains tense in Bahrain

MANAMA, Bahrain, Sept. 1 (UPI) — The situation was tense in Bahrain when Shiites erupted in anger after the mysterious death of a 14-year-old boy early this week, witnesses claim.

Ali Jawad al-Sheik collapsed and later died early this week. Witnesses speaking to CNN said he collapsed after getting hit with a tear-gas round fired by police. An autopsy, according to the Bahrain News Agency, showed no sign of tear gas exposure but suggested he did suffer a major spinal cord injury.

Shiite protesters later were reported clashing with security forces and pro-democracy activist Zainad Alkhawaja told the news service the situation on the streets was tense.

“People are more upset and angry than I’ve seen at (a) funeral here before — I think because he was so young,” she was quoted as saying.

Bahrain was criticized for the way it handled a Shiite uprising early this year but was later praised for advancing some reforms.

Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, said his agency was about cases that may involve prisoners of conscience in Bahrain.

Human rights groups have accused the ruling Sunni minority in Bahrain of using state hospitals as torture chambers.

Source: United Press International (UPI).

Indian protests mount over planned hanging

A woman burned herself to death near Chennai in protest at the planned hanging of the killers of Rajiv Ghandi, India’s prime minister, in 1991.

NEW DELHI, Aug. 31 (UPI) — A woman burned herself to death near Chennai, India, in protest at the planned hanging of the killers of Rajiv Gandhi, India’s prime minister, in 1991.

The woman, 27, poured gasoline on herself in front of the local tax office in Kancheepuram, around 70 miles from the Tamil Nadu state capital Chennai.

Witnesses said she shouted, “free Perarivalan, Murugan and Santhan” and then she set herself on fire.

Bystanders and the police doused the flames but she died on the way to hospital, a local newspaper report said.

A note wrapped in plastic found on her body said she was a member of Tamil nationalist group Makkal Manram.

“If my life can save their three lives, I will die happily,” the note reportedly said.

It also urged Tamil Nadu state chief minister J. Jayalalithaa to free the three convicts, who have been in jail for 20 years since receiving death sentences.

Last week the government announced the hanging will take place early Sept. 9 at Tamil Nadu’s Vellore Central Prison in Vellore, around 85 miles north of Chennai.

The planned hanging comes after India’s president rejected mercy pleas from the men found guilty of plotting the assassination of Gandhi by a Tamil Tiger suicide bomber.

All three of the condemned men were members of Sri Lanka’s militant Tamil Tigers group. Murugan and Santhan are from Sri Lanka and Perarivalan is an Indian Tamil.

Immediately after Gandhi’s death, the Tamil Tigers claimed he was assassinated as a protest over what they claimed was India’s interference in the Sri Lankan civil war.

However, in 2006, the Tigers, which by then had stopped its armed struggle for a separate state called Tamil Eelam, expressed “regret” for the murder.

The announcement of the hangings has polarized many people, groups and political parties in the state and across India where the last execution was in August 2004 in the state of West Bengal. A 41-year-old former security guard was hanged for the rape and murder of a 14-year-old schoolgirl. It was the first execution since 1995.

The assassins of India’s independence leader, Mahatma Gandhi, and former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi were among those executed in the past 60 years.

At Vellore jail, where the last hanging was nearly 30 years ago, officials are busy getting the “rusty” gallows back into shape, a report in The Telegraph newspaper in Kolkata said.

The gallows are in “an asbestos-roofed shed over an iron beam and two trap doors. As the last hanging took place 28 years ago, the trap doors’ hinges and lever have become stiff.”

Prison officials are doing the refurbishment themselves because they couldn’t find a contractor that would be associated with the hanging, The Telegraph said.

“Our own staff repaired and lubricated the mechanism. We have now placed an order for the ropes,” a jail official said.

Although the gallows are designed for two simultaneous hangings, the jail plans to carry out the executions separately at 30-minute intervals beginning 4.30 a.m. Prison officials will draw lots to decide the order in which the trio will be hanged.

The situation at Vellore is typical of many jails across India. A 2010 article in New Delhi’s Open magazine said India is a nation that allows capital punishment, is holding in jail many condemned to death but is a country with no hangmen.

The last hangman in the state of Maharashtra retired in 1995 and since then, there have been no takers for the job, the article said.

A hangman is not a full-time government employee but a sanctioned volunteer where his pay — equivalent to a little more than $3 — is a special allowance, the article said.

Prison officials will train a new hangman in things such as tying the noose. But the toughest part of the job isn’t about ropes and levers, it is about conscience, a former inspector general of police prisons said.

“The moment a hangman starts thinking about karma, he should be retired. Till the lever is pulled, the prison officials are on tenterhooks as you cannot say how the hangman will react at the last moment,” he said.

A few months before the death of the hangman Nata Mullick, who conducted India’s last hanging in 2004, Open magazine interviewed him about the job.

Mullick, whose father was a hangman in the British colonial days, died in December 2009 after 25 hangings.

“The preparation of the noose is very important,” he told Open magazine.

“If the noose is right, the person will feel less pain. I used fewer knots when a prisoner was heavy and more knots for a prisoner who weighed less. If the lever is pulled too hard, the head can be severed.”

Source: United Press International (UPI).

الملك يؤكد استعداد الأردن لدعم استقرار ليبيا


خبرني- شارك جلالة الملك عبدالله الثاني إلى جانب عدد من قادة دول العالم في مؤتمر دولي لإعادة إعمار ليبيا (دعم ليبيا الجديدة ) عقد في قصر الاليزيه بالعاصمة الفرنسية باريس مساء الخميس.

وأكد جلالته خلال مشاركته في المؤتمر دعم الأردن للشعب الليبي الشقيق في تحقيق تطلعاته وآماله بمستقبل أفضل ومساندته في مواجهة التحديات والبدء في بناء مؤسسات الدولة الحديثة.

ودعا جلالته المجتمع الدولي إلى تقديم الدعم الكامل للشعب الليبي لرسم مستقبله الديمقراطي والسياسي بنفسه استنادا إلى عملية سياسية شاملة يسودها التسامح والمصالحة والعدالة وسيادة القانون بقيادة المجلس الوطني الانتقالي، ترسيخا لوحدة الشعب الليبي وبما يضمن له سيادته وسلامة أراضيه ويمكنه من استعادة الأمن وتحقيق التنمية بشكل عاجل.

وأكد جلالته خلال المؤتمر، الذي حضره وزير الخارجية ناصر جودة، حرص الأردن على دعم جهود المجلس الوطني الانتقالي لإعادة إعمار ليبيا على أساس راسخ من الانفتاح والديمقراطية والعدالة.

كما أكد جلالته استعداد الأردن للمساهمة في جهود تحقيق الاستقرار وإعادة بناء ليبيا بما في ذلك توفير التدريب الشرطي والعسكري وبناء القدرات في المجالات التعليمية والقضائية والطبية والإنشائية.

وعبر جلالته عن تأييد الأردن للإفراج عن الأرصدة الليببية المجمدة وتأمينها إلى المجلس الانتقالي بما يمكنه من إعادة البناء وتحقيق الأهداف التنموية لليبيا.

وشدد جلالته على أهمية تنسيق مختلف الجهود في المرحلة القادمة الحرجة التي تشهدها ليبيا، لافتا إلى ضرورة أن تنهض الأمم المتحدة بدور قيادي في هذا السياق بالتنسيق مع الدول والمنظمات الإقليمية.

وأشار جلالته إلى أن الأردن كان من أوائل الدول التي أعلنت عن دعمها الكامل للشعب الليبي وحمايته والمساهمة بفاعلية في تقديم المعونة الإنسانية والطبية له وتقديم الدعم اللوجستي في الإطار التنسيقي الهادف إلى تنفيذ قرار مجلس الأمن الدولي رقم 1973، مؤكدا جلالته استعداد الأردن لإرسال مستشفى ميداني إلى ليبيا.

وكانت المملكة اعترفت خلال شهر أيار الماضي بالمجلس الوطني الانتقالي ممثلا للشعب الليبي، وعينت مبعوثا دائما في مدينة بنغازي لتعزيز التنسيق مع المجلس. كما كانت في طليعة الدول التي دانت بشدة استهداف أبناء الشعب الليبي الشقيق، وطالبت بوقف إراقة دماء أبنائه. وأرسل الأردن في شهر نيسان الماضي إلى بنغازي مساعدات طبية وإنسانية. كما استقبلت المستشفيات الأردنية نحو 200 مصاب ليبي منذ اندلاع الأزمة.

وشارك في مؤتمر باريس رئيس المجلس الوطني الانتقالي مصطفى عبد الجليل و رئيس المجلس التنفيذي الليبي محمود جبريل ، والأمين العام للأمم المتحدة بان كي مون برئاسة الرئيس الفرنسي نيكولا ساركوزي ورئيس الوزراء البريطاني ديفيد كاميرون.
ومن قادة الدول وكبار المسؤولين المشاركين في المؤتمر جلالة الملك حمد بن عيسى آل خليفة ملك مملكة البحرين، وسمو الشيخ حمد بن خليفة آل ثاني أمير دولة قطر، والمستشارة الألمانية أنجيلا ميركل، ووزيرة الخارجية الأميركية هيلاري كلنتون، ووزير الخارجية الإماراتي سمو الشيخ عبدالله بن زايد آل نهيان، وأمين عام جامعة الدول العربية الدكتور نبيل العربي، ورئيس المجلس الأوروبي هيرمان فون رومبوي، ورئيس المفوضية الأوروبية خوزيه مانويل باروسو، والممثلة العليا للشؤون الخارجية والسياسة الأمنية في الاتحاد الأوروبي البارونة كاثرين اشتون، ووزير الخارجية المغربي الطيب الفاسي الفهري ووزير الخارجية المصري محمد كامل عمرو.

المصدر: خبرني.

Moscow recongnizes Libya’s TNC

Thu Sep 1, 2011

Moscow has finally recognized the Libyan Transitional National Council (TNC) as the North African country’s legitimate authority while a key summit on Libya is to begin in the French capital Paris.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Thursday that Moscow will continue its “close” diplomatic relations with Tripoli.

“Russia has been in close contact with the Benghazi opposition during the six months of the Libyan conflict,” Russian news agency Ria Novosti quoted Moscow’s envoy to Africa Mikhail Margelov as saying on Thursday.

Margelov said that Russia took the decision “to stop bloodshed and call on political dialogue.”

The development comes as Russia remained a major critic of the NATO military intervention in Libya which is believed to have facilitated the fall of Libya’s fugitive ruler Muammar Gaddafi.

Margelov, heading a Russian delegation, is expected to take part at the international conference of “Friends of Libya” in Paris on Thursday.

More than 60 foreign delegations are to discuss Libya’s future in the post-Gaddafi era during the Paris talks hosted by French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Premier David Cameron.

The TNC will plead for assistance on security, rebuilding and preparing for democracy in the crisis-hit country.

Source: PressTV.

Cholera claims 21 lives in Somalia

Thu Sep 1, 2011

At least 21 Somali children have died and nearly 440 others hospitalized due to cholera in the famine-stricken African country, Press TV reported.

The 21 children lost their lives Thursday morning in southern Mogadishu as their families were unable to provide medicines for them.

Doctors say that within the last three hours more than 440 Somali children affected by cholera were rushed to Banadir hospital for emergency treatment in southern Mogadishu.

Meanwhile, thousands of drought victims have started to abandon south Mogadishu refugee camps after humanitarian aids were stolen by Somali government officials.

Drought and famine have affected millions of people across Somalia, Kenya, and Ethiopia.

Somalia has been the hardest-hit country in what is being described as the worst drought in the Horn of Africa in 60 years.

According to the United Nations, a quarter of Somalia’s 9.9 million population are either internally displaced or living outside the country as refugees.

The UN has declared famine in five regions of Somalia and says that the international humanitarian response to the crisis has been insufficient.

The United Nations says that more than thirteen children out of every 10,000 aged less than five die in the Somalia famine zone every day.

Source: PressTV.

Iran to unveil 1st domestically built plane

Sat Aug 27, 2011

The Islamic Republic of Iran will unveil its first domestically manufactured passenger plane in the next 30 to 60 days, according to a senior Iranian aviation official.

Iranian Defense Ministry Aviation Industries Organization Managing Director Manouchehr Manteqi told the Mehr news agency on Friday that the first totally Iranian plane, with a capacity of 100 passengers, will be unveiled in the Iranian calendar month of Mehr (September 23-October 22).

Manteqi also hailed the country’s achievements in the aviation industries, noting that the Islamic Republic is one of the regional powers in aircraft overhaul and maintenance.

In June, the chairman of the Kiev headquarters of the Antonov Aerospace Company said Iran and Ukraine plan to cooperate on the construction of 78 Antonov-148 aircraft by the end of 2011.

Dmitry Kiva stated that Antonov and the Iran Aircraft Manufacturing Industrial Company have signed a contract to manufacture the planes, adding that Antonov will produce the twin-engine mid-range turboprop for the mid-range jet airliner.

The Iranian Defense Ministry has been manufacturing a licensed version of the Antonov-148 since 2009.

Source: PressTV.

Teen’s death sparks protests in Bahrain

Thu Sep 1, 2011

Angry protesters in Bahrain have taken to the streets in several towns and villages to condemn the killing of a teenager by Saudi-backed regime forces.

On Wednesday, 14-year-old Ali Jawad was killed after he was directly targeted by a tear gas canister during a protest held following Eid al-Fitr prayers in the city of Sitra.

The city’s hospital reportedly refused to admit Jawad, who died shortly afterwards of the severe head injury he had sustained.

Human rights activists have warned about an increase in the number of deaths due to excessive use of force by Saudi-backed regime forces.

Meanwhile, families of detained protesters said Bahraini authorities have cancelled their appointments to meet their jailed relatives without giving any explanation.

Anti-regime protests, in place since mid-February, have seen a new hike in the past few days following a speech by King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa about the months of anti-government protests in the Persian Gulf Sheikhdom.

The remarks outraged many Bahrainis believe that the king’s speech as a futile attempt to restore normalcy to the country which does not address their demands.

On Sunday, the Bahraini king announced in a televised speech that he would pardon some detained anti-regime protesters and called for the reinstatement of a number of employees fired from their jobs and students expelled from their colleges.

He also admitted that security forces had abused the protesters, saying that compensation would be paid to the victims of abuse and the families of those killed during anti-regime demonstrations.

Bahrainis, however, have rejected his speech, accusing him of ordering the brutal crackdown on peaceful demonstrators, which has left scores of people killed and many more injured.

Bahraini protesters have been calling on the ruling Al Khalifa family to release its decades-long grip on power.

Source: PressTV.

Bahraini troops kill 14-year-old protester

Wed Aug 31, 2011

Saudi-backed Bahraini troops have attacked anti-government protesters in the island city of Sitra, killing a 14-year-old boy.

Witnesses say the victim, identified as Ali Jawad, was hit in the head by a tear gas canister fired from close range.

Reports say the city’s hospital refused to admit the critically injured Ali and that the 14-year-old boy died shortly afterwards, Bahraini rights activist Maryam Al-Khawaja wrote in an e-mail to Press TV on Wednesday.

It is widely believed that hospital authorities refused to treat the wounded teenager for fear of being arrested by security forces. Since the beginning of anti-regime protests in Bahrain, hundreds of medical personnel have been detained and tortured over providing medical treatment to injured protesters.

Thousands of Bahraini protesters took to the streets on Tuesday following the Eid al-Fitr Prayers to protest against a recent speech by King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa about the months of anti-government protests in the Persian Gulf Sheikhdom.

Many Bahrainis believe that the king’s speech was a futile attempt aimed at restoring normalcy to the country and does not address their demands.

Activists say in some areas protests had started from the previous night.

On Sunday, the Bahraini king announced in a televised speech that he would pardon some detained anti-regime protesters and called for the reinstatement of a number of employees fired from their jobs and students expelled from their colleges.

He also admitted that security forces had abused the protesters, saying that compensation would be paid to the victims of abuse and the families of those killed during anti-regime demonstrations.

Bahrainis, however, have rejected his speech, accusing him of ordering the brutal crackdown on peaceful demonstrators demanding an end to the rule of the Al Khalifa dynasty.

Source: PressTV.

Scientists use coral for sunscreen pill

Wed Aug 31, 2011

King’s College London scientists are trying to use coral’s natural defense against the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays to make a sunscreen pill.

The team, who studied samples of the endangered Acropora coral in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, found that they could synthetically replicate the key compounds which help corals fight UV rays.

Scientists plan to test a lotion containing the coral compounds before making a tablet version, the state-funded BBC reported.

Led by Dr. Paul Long, the team first will copy the coral’s anti UV genetic code to make the compounds and then replicate it in lab to produce large quantities of it.

“We couldn’t and wouldn’t want to use the coral itself as it is an endangered species,” Dr. Long said.

“Once we recreate the compounds we can put them into a lotion and test them on skin discarded after cosmetic surgery tummy tucks,” he added.

“We will not know how much protection against the sun it might give until we begin testing.

“But there is a need for better sunscreens.”

Scientists knew that corals and some algae could protect themselves against harmful sunrays, but they did not how.

“What we have found is that the algae living within the coral makes a compound that we think is transported to the coral, which then modifies it into a sunscreen for the benefit of both the coral and the algae,” said Dr. Long.

“Not only does this protect them both from UV damage, but we have seen that fish that feed on the coral also benefit from this sunscreen protection, so it is clearly passed up the food chain.”

Researchers are also planning to find out if the processes could be used for developing sustainable agriculture in the Third World.

Source: PressTV.

New monkey species found in Amazon

Sat Aug 27, 2011

World Wildlife Fund (WWF) researchers have discovered a new species of monkey during their expeditions in an unexplored part of the Amazon in mid-western Brazil.

The newly found monkey, which is a type of Callicebus, or titi, was discovered between the Guariba River and the Roosevelt River in northwestern part of Mato Grosso, a state of Brazil known as a center of Amazon destruction.

“This primate has features on its head and tail that have never been observed before in other titi monkey species found in the same area,” said biologist Julio Dalpone who discovered the monkey during the WWF’s Nature-backed expedition.

The discovered species was taken to the Emilio Goeldi Museum of Para State to be studied and formally described, MSNBC reported.

“This incredible discovery shows just how much we still have to learn from the Amazon,” said director of WWF’s Amazon Program Meg Symington.

“WWF has been working with the government of Brazil to increase protection and improve management for the Amazon so that species like this, and thousands of others, don’t disappear before we even know about them,” he added.

The 26-member team traveled the region for 20 days, gathering 48 species of mammals, including armadillos, anteaters, deer and monkeys, as well as 313 species of birds that were previously seen in other South American countries.

They also uncovered two possible new fish species; a catfish and a tetra as well as threatened species, including a giant anteater, giant armadillo, giant otter, jaguar and ocelot.

According to WWF, the area is exposed to environmental and social problems, including illegal deforestation and forest degradation, poaching, expansion of agriculture, lack of health or education services and electricity and illegal fishing.

Source: PressTV.

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