Category Archives: Violence & Human Right

Barcelona truck attack reportedly leaves at least 12 dead and 80 injured

Thanks;

Published: Aug 17, 2017 4:27 p.m. ET

MW-FS548_barcel_20170817131833_ZHPeople move from the scene after a van crashed into pedestrians near the pedestrianized central thoroughfare Las Ramblas in Barcelona

Officials embark on terrorism investigation

MADRID (MarketWatch) — A popular promenade in Barcelona, Spain, became a scene of panic and devastation on Thursday after a van rammed pedestrians, leaving a dozen people dead and dozens more injured.

The incident took place on Las Ramblas, a long, tree-lined street that is typically packed with tourists and locals, around 5 p.m. local time (11 a.m. Eastern time).

Local media were at one point reporting that hostages were being held at a bar near the scene of the attack by other assailants, but later reports cast doubt on the matter. The Associated Press cited the regional president in reporting that two suspects had been arrested.

The Wall Street Journal, citing the jidahist-activity-monitoring organization SITE Intelligence Group, reported that Islamic State had claimed responsibility for the attack. Spain’s prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, tweeted that terrorists would never defeat a united people who love freedom.

The seaside city was on lockdown in the immediate wake of the attack, with residents told to not leave their homes and many reported to be sheltering inside stores and restaurants and bars that closed the moment news of the attack reached them.

Media reports in Spain and the U.S. indicated the police were treating the incident as a terrorist attack. The police presence on streets in the Spanish capital Madrid, some 600 kilometers southwest of Barcelona, was sharply escalated in the wake of the Barcelona attack.

Nathalie Lezcano Sticchi, a 28-year-old resident of Barcelona who lives near the area, told MarketWatch she had passed the scene of the attack just five minutes before, stepping off the Ramblas to go into a Zara clothing store on a side street.

“When I was on the first floor, one of the guys who was working [at Zara] said, ‘You have to go outside, we are going to close because something is happening at the Ramblas,’ ” Sticchi said in a telephone interview. She said a friend had forwarded her a message from his mother, who had been at Las Ramblas and seen a truck crashing into people.

Sticchi ran to her house, as stores drew their shutters all around her. “People were running everywhere, and no one understood what was going on,” she said, “and I started hearing ambulances.”

Several metro lines were closed in Barcelona, and the area remained sealed off into the evening. Police were urging individuals not to share images of the crash site on social media. They also thanked the media for pixellating images they had chose to use of victims:

India celebrates 71st Independence Day – peacefully

Thanks;Asia NEWS network

published:16 Aug 2017 13:42

                        NEW DELHI (The Statesman/ANN News Desk) – Millions poured out of their homes to take part in Independence Day related events across the country. 

India on Tuesday celebrated its 71st Independence Day peacefully, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi declaring that “goli” (bullet) and “gaali” (abuse) cannot resolve the Kashmir problem.

Millions poured out of their homes to take part in events big and small across the country. A shutdown called by separatists affected life in the Kashmir Valley and in some parts of the northeast.

The highlight of the day was Modi’s fourth speech from the 17th century Red Fort where he unfurled the national flag and vowed to build a “New India” minus corruption and terrorism by 2022.

“Security of the country is our priority. Internal security is our priority. Whether it is our oceans or borders, cyber world or space, for all kinds of security India is capable of defeating all such inimical forces,” Modi said amid a dragging border row with China.

He said “bullets” and “abuses” cannot solve Jammu and Kashmir’s problem but love can, urging people to embrace Kashmiris and asking the militants to take to the mainstream.

Beyond India, the day was also celebrated by Indians living abroad. Even the Indian cricket team got into the act at its hotel in Colombo.

Amid clear weather, thousands thronged the Red Fort to listen to Modi. Similar scenes were seen in almost all major venue across the country.

From tricolour marks on cheeks to flag designs printed on T-shirts, from tricolour caps to suits, the Indian flag could be seen everywhere.

Despite persistent tensions, border guards of India and Pakistan exchanged sweets along the International Border in Punjab.

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s unfurling the Indian tricolour at a government-aided school in Kerala’s capital Thiruvananthapuram even after being told by authorities that political personalities are not allowed to do so triggered a row.

Days after over 60 children died in a Gorakhpur hospital, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath termed the tragedy an “eye-opener” and sought to blame it on encephalitis.

In neighbouring Bihar, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar pledged to provide good governance and not to compromise with corruption.

In Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti asked the young to give up guns and stones and also vowed to fight for the state’s special Constitutional status.

Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar ordered a crackdown on rave parties and late-night music events in remote areas of his state.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee unfurled the tricolour and oversaw a colourful parade at the arterial Indira Gandhi Sarani.

In Bhubaneswar, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik suddenly felt unwell while addressing the gathering. Aides later said he was fine.

Independence Day celebrations were also reported from Hyderabad, Shimla, Thiruvananthapuram, Dehradun, Chandigarh, Gurugram, Gurdaspur, Aizwal and other state capitals and major cities.Tulips.jpg

Clooneys to help 3,000 Syrian refugees go to school in Lebanon

Thanks;Riham Alkousaa

Published;AUGUST 1, 2017 / 5:37 AM / 2 DAYS AGO


Cast member George Clooney and his wife Amal leave the Festival Palace after the screening of the film “Money Monster” out of competition at the 69th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, May 12, 2016.

Regis Duvignau

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – George and Amal Clooney said on Monday they would help 3,000 Syrian refugee children go to school this year in Lebanon, where the United Nations says 200,000 children are not receiving an education after fleeing the war in neighboring Syria.
The Clooney Foundation for Justice said it has teamed up with Google (GOOGL.O) and HP Inc (HPQ.N) to help the U.N. children’s agency UNICEF and the Lebanese Ministry of Education open seven so-called “second shift” schools for Syrian refugee children.
Lebanon has more than 1 million Syrian refugees, including nearly 500,000 children. It is educating Syrian children in public schools through a “second shift” system of additional afternoon classes exclusively for them.
“We don’t want to lose an entire generation because they had the bad luck of being born in the wrong place at the wrong time,” said Oscar-winning actor George Clooney and international human rights lawyer Amal Clooney, who gave birth to twins last month.
“Thousands of young Syrian refugees are at risk – the risk of never being a productive part of society,” the couple said in a statement. “Formal education can help change that.”
A $3.25 million donation from the Clooney Foundation for Justice, Google and HP will pay for transportation, school supplies, computers, content, curriculum and teacher training.
A spokesman for the Clooneys’ foundation, Max Gleischman, said the organization had decided to support education for Syrian refugees through the public school system, instead of investing in private schools operated by SABIS, an international company which has prepared students for college and high school exams.
The foundation had announced last year that it would work to enroll thousands of children in SABIS schools.
A crackdown by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on pro-democracy protesters in 2011 led to civil war, and Islamic State militants used the chaos to seize territory in Syria and Iraq. Half of Syria’s 22 million people have been uprooted and more than 400,000 killed.
*Reporting by Riham Alkousaa; Editing by Jonathan Oatis

6 Victims and 3 Suspects Killed in London ‘Terrorist Incident’

Thanks;Danica Kirka and Jill Lawless / AP


Updated: 11:47 PM ET | Originally published: 6:24 PM ET

LONDON (AP) — Terrorism struck at the heart of London, police said Sunday, after a vehicle veered off the road and mowed down pedestrians on London Bridge and witnesses told of men with large knives stabbing passersby at nearby Borough Market.

Police said six people died and 20 were injured in the attacks, while police shot dead three suspects. The Metropolitan Police head of counter-terrorism, Mark Rowley, said police believe all of the attackers were killed, but investigations are underway to ensure there are no more.

The violence turned a summery Saturday night in an area packed with bars and restaurants into a scene of panic and chaos, with officers running through crowded streets screaming for people to flee and lifeboats drafted to help clear the area.

The Metropolitan Police force declared the attacks “terrorist incidents.”

Hours after the attacks began, a large area of central London remained cordoned off and police told people to avoid the area, leaving tourists and revelers struggling to get home. It was unclear whether any of the attackers was on the run.

Bursts of gunfire echoed through the streets — likely from armed police — and at least three blasts rang out as police performed controlled explosions. One image taken by a witness showed a man on the ground surrounded by police; he appeared to be wearing a vest with canisters attached to it.

Gerard Vowls told The Guardian newspaper that he saw a woman being stabbed by three men at the south end of London Bridge. He said he threw chairs, glasses and bottles at the attackers in a bid to stop them.

“They kept coming to try to stab me . they were stabbing everyone. Evil, evil people,” he told the newspaper. “I want to know if this girl is still alive. I’ve been walking around for an hour and a half crying my eyes out. I don’t know what to do.”

Bartender Alex Martinez said he hid in a garbage bin for a half hour when a man stormed the restaurant where he worked, which was nearly full.

“I saw that man with a knife in his hand and after that a man started screaming so I knew something wrong was happening,” he said.

Medics treated the injured near the market as shocked people cried and shouted around them. Police officers yelled at people to run from the area.

Simon Thompson told Sky News that he was just outside Borough Market when he saw crowds fleeing.

“We ran for like 100 meters and then saw loads of police cars turned up and there was kind of a period of quite intense gunfire,” he said. “I hid in a restaurant basement for about an hour. … Police told us to get out and then there was more gunfire.”

The mayhem began just after 10 p.m. (2100GMT), when police responded to reports of a vehicle hitting pedestrians on London Bridge, which crosses the River Thames in central London. Multiple witnesses reported a vehicle veering off the road and hitting as many as six pedestrians.

“We saw injured people on the road, injured people on the pavement,” witness Will Heaven told Sky News.

Soon after, reports started coming in of stabbings at Borough Market, a nearby area full of bars and restaurants surrounding a popular food market. Witnesses reported seeing as many as three attackers with knives.

Police initially said officers were also responding to a third incident, in the Vauxhall neighborhood, but later said that turned out to be an unrelated stabbing.

Police tweeted a warning telling people in the area to run to safety, hide and then call police if it is safe to do so. They asked Londoners to “remain calm but be alert and vigilant.”

Prime Minister Theresa May confirmed the attack “is being treated as a potential act of terrorism” and said her thoughts were with “those who are caught up in these dreadful events.” May’s office said she would chair a meeting of the government’s COBRA emergency committee on Sunday.

As thousands of people flooded from the area of the attacks — many unable to get home with nearby subway stations shut — locals were quick to offer assistance.

The Royal Oak pub, near the area of the attacks, opened its doors to people evacuated from hotels. At least one taxi company offered free rides to people stranded in the area. Phaldip Singh, who describes himself as an entrepreneur and youth activist, tweeted that Sikh temples were open to provide food and shelter for those affected.

If confirmed as terrorism, this would be the third attack to hit Britain in as many months.

In March, a British convert to Islam ran down people with a vehicle on Westminster Bridge, killing four, then stabbed a policeman to death outside Parliament.

On May 22, a British suicide bomber killed 22 people and injured dozens at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester. After that attack, Britain’s official threat level from terrorism was raised to “critical,” meaning an attack may be imminent. Several days later it was lowered to “severe,” meaning an attack is highly likely.

A charity concert for victims of the Manchester attack, featuring Grande and other stars, is due to be held in the northwest English city on Sunday.

Russia has reawakened 3 mystery satellites — and no one knows what they are for

Thanks;Daniel Brown

Published;May 20, 2017, 6:29 AM 1,583

An illustration of the SES-10 telecommunications satellite.

Three Russian satellites that were sent into low orbit in 2013 are on the move again, and no one knows what they are for, The Daily Beast reports.

Having been idle for more than a year, one of the satellites went hundreds of meters off its orbit last month to within 1,200 meters of a piece of a Chinese weather satellite that China smashed in a 2007 anti-satellite rocket test.

The maneuver, which is pretty impressive for such a small spacecraft, is also rather close by orbital standards.

No one quite knows what the satellites are for, but some experts say they could be “technology-demonstrators” or even “precursors to orbital weapons,” according to The Daily Beast.

Code named Kosmos-2491, Kosmos-2499 and Kosmos-2504, the three satellites maneuvered several times in the last three years to within a few dozen feet of their old booster shells.

This means that they could be inspection satellites that can scan and match the orbit of other spacecraft, possibly even interact with it physically for repairs, modifications or to dismantle it.

It’s also possible that these satellites could be used for warfare. “You can probably equip them with lasers, maybe put some explosives on them,” Anatoly Zak, an independent expert on Russian spacecraft, told The Beast in 2015. “If [one] comes very close to some military satellite, it probably can do some harm.”

In 2012, US intelligence completed a report analyzing “the growing vulnerability of US satellites that provide secure military communications, warn about enemy missile launches, and provide precise targeting coordinates,” anonymous sources told Reuters.

The report raised many concerns about China’s ability to disrupt satellites in higher orbits, possibly putting sensitive U.S. spacecraft at risk, the sources told Reuters.

But Russian space agency chief Oleg Ostapenko claimed in 2014 that the satellites were for peaceful purposes.

China sparks human rights outcry by ramping up DNA testing in Muslim-dominated region

Thanks;Matthew Brown 

Published ; Wednesday 17 May 2017 07:34 
Police in Xinjiang purchase $8.7m of equipment to analyse genetic material from citizens, prompting fears of state security crackdown

Ethnic Uighurs sit near a statue of China’s late Chairman Mao Zedong in Kashgar, Xinjiang Thomas Peter/Reuters 

China appears to be laying the groundwork for the mass collection of DNA samples from residents of a restive, largely Muslim region that’s been under a security crackdown, rights observers and independent experts said Tuesday.

Police in western China’s Xinjiang region confirmed to The Associated Press that they are in the process of purchasing at least $8.7 million in equipment to analyse DNA samples.
Observers from Human Rights Watch said they’ve seen evidence of almost $3 million in additional purchases related to DNA testing. They warned such a collection programme could be used as a way for authorities to beef up their political control.
The move comes after Chinese authorities last year reportedly required Xinjiang residents to submit DNA samples, fingerprints and voice records to obtain passports or travel abroad.

Xinjiang borders several unstable Central Asian countries, including Afghanistan. It’s experienced numerous bombings and vehicle and knife attacks blamed on ethnic separatists from the native Uighur Islamic minority.

In one of the most recent attacks, eight people, including three assailants, were killed in a February knife attack in southern Xinjiang’s Pishan County, which borders Pakistan.

Chinese authorities seeking to counter religious extremism among the Uighurs have taken increasingly aggressive steps to quell the unrest. Those have included mandatory satellite tracking systems for vehicles in some areas, rewards for terror-related tips and prohibitions against women wearing veils and men growing beards.

The purchases of DNA testing equipment in Xinjiang were confirmed by an official at the regional Public Security Bureau. The official, who gave only her surname, Huang, said a supplier already had been found. In Xinjiang’s Sheche County, suppliers were being sought for voiceprint collection systems and 3-D portrait systems, according to a security official surnamed Yin, who declined to give further details.
If used at full capacity, the new equipment could be used to profile up to 10,000 DNA samples a day and several million a year, said Yves Moreau, a computational biologist specialising in genome analysis and DNA privacy at the University of Leuven in Belgium.
The scale of the purchases raises “a legitimate concern that Chinese authorities could be planning to DNA profile a large fraction, or even all” of the Uighur people in Xinjiang, Moreau said.

Lawyer for man dragged from United flight isn’t laughing at viral New Yorker cover

Thanks;Mark DeCambre

Published: May 11, 2017 7:13 p.m. ET

David Dao’s attorney says New Yorker magazine illustration minimizes his clients pain, but acknowledges that it’s ‘very clever’


This New Yorker cover playing on FBI Director James Comey’s firing and David Dao’s removal from a United Airlines flight has gone viral.

The New Yorker published a teaser cover of its issue due out May 22, and so far the illustration — depicting Attorney General Jeff Sessions as a police office forcibly removing former Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey down an airplane aisle — has gone viral, scoring rave reviews on social media.

But there is at least one person who isn’t laughing.
The cover art draws a clear parallel between Comey’s stunning firing by Trump earlier this week and Dr. David Dao, who garnered worldwide attention after scenes of him being dragged from a United Airlines flight — captured on cellphone cameras last month — drew swift rebuke from the public and compelled the airline carrier’s parent United Continental Holdings Inc. UAL, -1.51% to reach a settlement with Dao for an undisclosed sum.

Dao’s attorney, Thomas Demetrio, partner at Chicago law firm Corboy & Demetrio, told MarketWatch that the cover art, although “very clever” minimizes his client’s pain and suffering. Dao lost his teeth and suffered a concussion related to his removal from the United flight, according to his attorney.
“It minimizes the Dao event so that’s collateral damage of a magazine trying to make an editorial point. They must feel that Comey’s exit was Dao-ish when in fact it wasn’t,” Demetrio said. “It was a whole different deal.”
http://www.marketwatch.com/video/united-airlines-passenger-violently-removed-from-flight/27C7D045-7F11-4EDD-84EE-FB21316768A1.html

Demetrio said many people have been fired. “They were not injured, and therein lies the distinction.”

Comey’s firing late Tuesday shocked many, particularly since the FBI director was leading an investigation into whether Trump’s advisers colluded with Russia to win the U.S. presidency in November, which led to a big rally in the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.11% and the S&P 500 index SPX, -0.22% and other global markets. That rally in markets over euphoria about Trump’s pro-business campaign promises has since tapered considerably as investors assess the effect Comey’s firing will have on the president’s ability to get new legislation put in place.

CHILD REFUGEES ‘FORCED TO SELL THEIR BODIES’ TO ENTER EUROPE, RESEARCHERS WARN

THANKS:BY  

Published; 4/19/17 AT 7:29 AM

Smugglers are forcing unaccompanied child refugees to sell their bodies in exchange for money to aid their traveling through Europe, a new report from Harvard University has claimed.

There is a “growing epidemic of sexual exploitation and abuse of migrant children in Greece,” say the report’s co-authors, Dr Vasileia Digidiki and Professor Jacqueline Bhabha, at Harvard University’s center for health and human rights.

Informants in Greek migrant camps told Digidiki and Bhabha that men prey on unsuspecting child refugees, sexually abusing those without proper adult supervision. The actual number of children who have been abused is unknown as many do not report it, fearing reprisal.

A psychologist in one of the camps told the researchers: “[Many children] do not want to report [the incident], because they are afraid that the offender will take revenge on them. They also do not believe that the police can help them.”

Unable to afford exorbitant fees charged by smugglers to help them reach European nations where they can seek asylum, children who have fled conflict in Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan are selling sex to fund their journeys.

child-refugees-lesbos (2)

Child refugees at the Moria migrant camp on the island of Lesbos, Greece, September 20, 2016.REUTERS/GIORGOS MOUTAFIS

The report includes an interview with a child refugee who told a journalist: “I never thought I’d have to do something like this. When the money ran out I had to learn to do this. He said “it was the first time I did this, I had no experience.”

The average price of a sexual transaction between a child and a smuggler is 15 euros, the researchers say, adding that the majority of those forced into prostitution are Syrian, Iraqi and Afghan boys.

Offenders, primarily men aged 35 or older, target the children who are found in Athens’ Victoria Square and Pedion tou Areos, a park next to departure areas for buses traveling towards Greece’s northern border.

“There is a reason why these two places have been chosen. They have been key centers for the drug and sex trade for years now. The only difference is the age of people involved. Before you wouldn’t see children. Now you do,” one informant said.

Digidiki told The Guardian that the international community cannot ignore the situation of child refugees in Europe: “We can no longer sit idle while migrant children are abused and forced to sell their bodies in broad daylight and plain sight in the heart of Athens simply to survive.”

“It is our responsibility as human beings to face this emergency head on and take immediate action at every level to put an end to this most heinous violation of dignity and human rights,” she said.

 

 

Dozens dead after Coptic Christian churches in Egypt are hit by Palm Sunday blasts

Thanks;Dahlia Kholaif

Published: Apr 9, 2017 9:33 a.m. ET

At least 36 killed in attacks on churches in Tanta and Alexandria

A relative of one of the victims weeps outside church in Tanta, Egypt.

CAIRO—Twin blasts struck Coptic churches in Egypt as worshipers gathered for Palm Sunday services, killing at least 36 people, as violence escalates against the country’s Christian population.

Security officials said an unknown assailant planted a bomb under a seat in the main hall of the Mar Girgis Church in the Nile Delta city of Tanta, some 60 miles north of Cairo, in the morning.

The ensuing explosion killed 25 people and wounded another 69, an adviser to Egypt’s health minister told state media. Footage aired on official television showed blood stains sprayed over the floor of the church hall, shattered furniture and rubble sprayed on wooden benches.
Separately, a suicide bomber attempted to enter Saint Mark’s Church in the center of the coastal city of Alexandria, blowing himself up at the entrance after being stopped by security, state media reported.

GROWING CONFLICT IN ASIA SPARKS MILITARY EXPANSION IN JAPAN

Thanks;CRISTINA SILVA 

Publised; 3/22/17 AT 5:07 PM

Growing Conflict
US Defence Secretary sees no need for US military action in South China Sea

Roughly $5 trillion in global trade passes through the South China Sea each year.

Japan unveiled its second helicopter carrier, the Kaga, Wednesday, sending a message of military strength to China amid growing conflict over the South China Sea and other strategic waterways in Asia. The new vessel is the latest sign of Japan’s ongoing military expansion as it seeks greater international influence. 
Roughly 500 people attended the unveiling ceremony at the Japan Marine United shipyard in Yokohama near Tokyo. The vessel was parked next to Japan’s other helicopter carrier, the Izumo, Japan wasn’t shy about its motivation. Vice Minister of Defense Takayuki Kobayashi said at the ceremony Tokyo was deeply concerned about China’s construction of islands and military bases in the South China Sea waterway, which is claimed by multiple Asian nations. 
“China is attempting to make changes in the South China Sea with bases, and through acts that exert pressure is altering the status quo, raising security concerns among the international community,” he said.
Roughly $5 trillion in global trade passes through the South China Sea each year. Both Japan and the U.S. have urged Beijing to honor open travel in the waterway. Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Brunei also claim the South China Sea, which is known for its fishing and oil and gas deposits. Japan, meanwhile, is engaged in its own territorial dispute with China over the neighboring East China Sea.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has increasingly called for Japan to seek a bigger international role in global military conflicts in recent years and urged lawmakers to reconsider Japan’s pacifist constitution that forbids using force in international disputes. His remarks have alarmed China and many Japanese voters who enjoy the country’s post-World War II pacifism. 
“If Japan persists in taking wrong actions, and even considers military interventions that threaten China’s sovereignty and security… then China will inevitably take firm responsive measures,” China’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a regular press briefing last week.
Japan plans to send its Izumo helicopter carrier through Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines and Sri Lanka starting in May before joint naval exercises with India and the U.S. in the Indian Ocean in July.
China’s and Japan’s economies are the world’s second- and third-largest.