At least four people have been killed and several others injured in a fresh US-led airstrike in the troubled western Afghanistan, security sources say.
Local Afghan security officials said on Wednesday that the attack took place in an area of Herat Province.
There are conflicting reports about the identity of the victims. [...]
In a separate development, the US-led troops also killed a civilian and detained two others during a military operation in southeastern province of Logar. … Full article
I am having a nice chuckle at the latest bit of rubbish promoted by the Telegraph which was recycled through al Jazeera about Iran: that Iran was secretly behind the Pan Am 103 downing, according to a “former Iranian intelligence official.” Of course, this is just a rehash of a claim that is 14 years old.
What the Telegraph — and all the news outlets that repeated the story, often adding their own bit of dramatic flourish to the tale — don’t mention is that the witness in question, Abolghasem Mesbahi, is considered to be a serial fabricator who has a long history of making outrageous claims about secret Iranian shenanigans, which never quite pan out.
This is the same ‘Witness C’ who claimed that Iran was behind the Mykonos assassinations, but then withdrew his testimony, then claimed that Iran was behind the Argentina bombings, and 9-11, and now Pan Am 103 too. I’m sure I forgot a few more in there.
Gareth Porter noted this about Mesbahi:
“But in a November 2006 interview, the former head of the FBI’s Hezbollah Office, James Bernazzani, said that U.S. intelligence officials had concluded Mesbahi did not have the access to Iranian intelligence officials that he had claimed in his affidavits to Argentine officials. Bernazzani said intelligence analysts regarded Mesbahi as someone who was desperate for money and ready to ‘provide testimony to any country on any case involving Iran’.”
Do you think it is entirely a coincidence that this assertion gets rehashed now, along with the capture of yet another “Iranian arms shipment”? I don’t.
By Finian Cunningham | Press TV | March 11, 2014
Comedians say that the art of telling jokes relies on “timing.” Israeli’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the world’s top comic politician, seemed to be proving the point with his “timely” claims about seizing Iranian rockets aboard a cargo ship in the Red Sea.
Standing in front of 40 pointed missiles, each carefully displayed on props (you sense the stilted exhibitionism here), the Israeli leader said the seized cache “showed the true face of Iran” in its support for terrorism. Netanyahu lashed out at Western leaders who are “shaking hands with Iran” and preparing to finalize a political settlement to the long-running nuclear dispute.
Iran swiftly denounced the Israeli allegations as orchestrated, indicating that the capture of munitions on a Panamanian-registered vessel was a set-up.
Even some of the Israeli media have grown weary of such “propaganda stunts,” as the newspaper Haaretz described Netanyahu’s melodramatic display of Iran’s alleged clandestine cargo in the port of Eilat at the weekend. Netanyahu’s corny sensationalist manner, standing in front of the green-colored rockets, was reminiscent of his previous presentation to the United Nations using a cartoon bomb in which he claimed then that Iran was “only months away from building a nuclear weapon.” … continue
By making impossible demands, Netanyahu seeks to paint the Palestinians as intransigent and deflect international pressure
By Samira Shackle | MEMO | March 11, 2014
“Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people, where the civil rights of all citizens, Jews and non-Jews alike, are guaranteed,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at a speech in Washington earlier this month. “The land of Israel is the place where the identity of the Jewish people was forged…We never forget that, but it’s time the Palestinians stopped denying history.”
He went on to make his demand in no uncertain terms: “Just as Israel is prepared to recognize a Palestinian state, the Palestinians must be prepared to recognize a Jewish state.”
It throws a new stumbling block into a peace process that was already struggling to overcome the long-term sticking points of security, borders, the status of Jerusalem, and the plight of refugees. Many observers have suggested that Netanyahu, by making a demand he knows to be impossible, is attempting to paint the Palestinians as intransigent and deflect growing international pressure to reach a peace agreement.
Recognising the right of Israel to exist is not the same as recognizing Israel’s right to be a Jewish state. Netanyahu’s demand is untenable for Palestinian leaders because of the political implications. Accepting Israel’s definition of itself as a Jewish state would be to indirectly forgo the right of return for at least five million Palestinian refugees. (In his speech, Netanyahu advised Abbas to tell “Palestinians to abandon their fantasy of flooding Israel with refugees”). … continue
By Tamar Fleishman | Palestine Chronicle | March 11, 2014
“Women shall be especially protected against any attack on their honor…or any form of indecent assault” – (Article 27 of the Geneva Convention)
Nadia didn’t have a permit and she wasn’t about to request one.
Nadia, a Palestinian resident, knew that being married to Imad, who as his father, his grandfather and his great grandfather was born in Jerusalem, isn’t reason enough for her to be able to live under the same roof with her husband in his home. She knew she doesn’t fit the “criterion” of the ‘temporary’ Citizenship Law.
Nadia and Imad also knew that according to the laws of the occupation, Nadia can’t cross Hizme Checkpoint (which is exclusively a checkpoint for owners of blue IDs). And in spite the prohibition and their fear, they decided to try driving together to Imad’s parents’ home in East Jerusalem. Perhaps they hoped the soldiers wouldn’t be sticklers, which sometimes happens at Hizme Checkpoint.
But the soldiers were sticklers and the “offenders” were caught and separated. Naida was placed inside a BP vehicle, Imad was told to move over to the seat beside the driver, a BP officer drove his car and the two vehicles headed to a military base not far from the checkpoint.
The gate to the base was closed. The officer driving Imad’s car wanted to stop but made a mistake and instead of pressing on the breaks he pressed the gas pedal. The car accelerated, it hit the gate so forcefully that the front of the car crashed and Imad sustained most of the blow. … continue
It has been one year since five teenage Palestinians were kidnapped and imprisoned for alleged stone-throwing, following a settler car accident that took place close to their village of Hares in Salfit district, West Bank.
Ali Shamlawi, Mohammed Kleib, Mohammed Suleiman, Ammar Souf, and Tamer Souf, who were 15-17-years-old at the time of their disappearance between March 15 and 17, 2013, were incarcerated despite there being no hard evidence of a crime or eyewitness accounts that link them to the accident.
Following the car accident, in which the driver’s child was severely injured, local media branded the five teenagers – now known as the Hares Boys – “Arab terrorists”. They are being charged with 20 counts of attempted murder each and face long prison sentences.
The teens “confessed” to stone-throwing under torture, psychological pressure and after spending up to two weeks in solitary confinement. The group were placed in G4S-equipped adult prisons and interrogation centres of Al-Jalame and Megiddo, all located in Israel, in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention
It is feared that a conviction against the Hares Boys will set a precedent in the Israeli military court system, whereby any Palestinian child accused of throwing stones could be sentenced to long years in prison, currently the average sentence is 3-6 months.
JERUSALEM – Israeli bulldozers early Wednesday demolished a residential building, a car wash, and a shop in an East Jerusalem village, a popular committee spokesman said.
Hani Halabiyya, a spokesman for East Jerusalem’s popular resistance committees, told Ma’an that a large number of Israeli troops and military vehicles raided the Jabal al-Baba area of al-Eizariya village early Wednesday.
Bulldozers then proceeded to demolish a house owned by Suleiman Jahalin, a blind man who says he has been living in the Jabal al-Baba area since 1967.
Before starting the demolition, Israeli troops forcefully removed Jahalin and ten of his family members from their home, he told Ma’an. … Full article
BETHLEHEM — A Jewish settler in a speeding car ran over a Palestinian boy in Husan village to the west of Bethlehem on Tuesday evening then sped away.
Local sources told the PIC reporter that the 16-year-old boy Hani Shusha was injured in the accident and was hospitalized.
The sources pointed out that Israeli occupation forces stormed the village after the incident in ten army jeeps spreading tension among the inhabitants.
Two International Solidarity Movement activists walking on Shudaha Street area were brutally attacked by French Zionist tourists who were visiting to attend the weekly settler tour of the Palestinian part of Hebron.
At around 1:30 PM the activists were walking in the direction of Shuhada Street when the 6 young men rounded the corner, upon seeing the activists they spread across the road. Within seconds, the group attacked the ISM activists, chasing one back in the direction of the Ibrahim Mosque and continued to attack while soldiers leveled their weapons at the attacker.
The other activist was chased, tripped and kicked in the body and face by the Zionist assailant until he was chased away by the two soldiers. On gaining his feet, the activist was punched in the face by the man who had just chased his companion away. The activist ran and the army stopped his pursuer.
The incident was reported to the police, who found two of the attackers in Shuhada Street and took their details. They were not detained as it was the Sabbath when religious Jews are rarely arrested. The activists were taken to a local Police station to make a statement and overheard aggressive integration of a Palestinian prisoner.
We also received a report that an Italian tourist was attacked by 10 religious Zionists in the city on the same day of the attack. After his beating, was told that if he wants to come back he must wear a Kippah.
GAZA CITY – The Israeli navy on Tuesday detained two fishermen off the coast of the Gaza Strip, a union official said.
Nizar Ayyash, head of the union of Gaza fishermen, told Ma’an that Israeli warships confiscated a fishing boat and forced two fishermen to sail to Israel’s Ashdod Port, without providing further details.
Washington’s decision to provide financial aid to the coup-appointed government of Ukraine goes against US laws, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said, urging American politicians to think about the consequences of supporting the radicals in Kiev.
Ukraine’s ousted president, Viktor Yanukovich, said on Tuesday that the US plans to loan $1 billion to the country’s new authorities are illegal.
“Indeed, in accordance with the amendments introduced to the 1961 law (Foreign Assistance Act) a few years ago the provision of foreign assistance is prohibited to ‘the government of any country whose duly elected head of government is deposed by military coup or decree.’ The relevant provision is contained in 22 US Code § 8422,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
“Thus, by all criteria the provision of funds to the illegitimate [Kiev] regime, which seized power by force, is unlawful and goes beyond the boundaries of the US legal system,” the statement added.
However, the ministry said it realizes that the American side “would hardly recognize this obvious fact” due to the stance it has already taken in the Ukrainian crisis. [...]
US Code § 8422 saw the US Congress freezing financial aid to Egypt, following the 2013 military coup, which resulted in the ousting of president Mohamed Morsi. However, this January senators authorized President Obama to send about $1 billion in aid to the Northern African state. … Full article
Iran has categorically dismissed the allegation that the Islamic Republic was involved in the 1988 attack on a PanAm flight over Lockerbie in Scotland, in which dozens of people lost their lives.
Speaking in her weekly press briefing on Tuesday, Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham expressed Iran’s strong opposition to any “act of terror,” adding that bringing up this issue of the 1988 bombing again raises ambiguities.
In a Monday interview with an Al Jazeera documentary, Abolghassem Mesbahi, who claims to be a former Iranian official, now living in Germany, claimed that the bombing was ordered by Tehran and carried out by the Syrian-based Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC). … Full article
Contaminated water at the battered Fukushima plant has taken precedence over everything else. As the larger cleanup effort continues and storage space for the water is rapidly running out, scientists suggest dumping it into the Pacific Ocean.
The plant’s chief, Akira Ono, has testified to the seriousness of the situation during a Monday visit by international media, saying that “the most pressing issue for us is the contaminated water, rather than decommissioning. Unless we resolve the problem, fear of the community continues and the evacuees cannot return home,” the AP cited him as saying.
The massive amount used to cool the melted cores of three reactors has been wreaking havoc with onsite radiation, which also began to seep into the ground a while back, with TEPCO having tried different techniques for stalling or containing it. But it has repeatedly been finding its way into the Pacific as well.
Four hundred and thirty-six tons of contaminated water is stored in 1,200 tanks suspended above ground all over the site. TEPCO has made progress with water treatment units to filter out strontium and cesium from the water and make it safer for storage.
They say the remaining tritium is much safer to dump into the ocean later.
A plan to build an underground frozen wall around the four damaged reactors has been in the works for a while, but experts insist this this measure, worth billions in government funding, is as temporary as others have been. … continue
By Glenn Alcalay | CounterPunch | March 11, 2014
” . . . protect the inhabitants against the loss of their lands and resources; protect the health of the inhabitants . . .” (1)
According to Marshallese folklore a half-bad and half-good god named Etao was associated with slyness and trickery. When bad things happened people knew that Etao was behind it. “He’s dangerous, that Etao,” some people said. “He does bad things to people and then laughs at them.”(2) Many in the Marshall Islands now view their United States patron as a latter day Etao.
Sixty years ago this month the American Etao unleashed its unprecedented fury at Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands. It was nine years after the searing and indelible images of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that the world first learned about the dangers of radioactive fallout from hydrogen bombs that use atomic Hiroshima-sized bombs as triggers.
Castle-Bravo, the first in a series of megaton-range hydrogen bomb tests at Bikini Atoll on March first of 1954, was nicknamed “the shrimp” by its designer – Edward Teller – because it was the first deliverable thermonuclear weapon in the megaton range in the U.S. nuclear holster. We had beaten the Soviets in this key area of nuclear weapons miniaturization when the Cold War was hot and the United States did not need to seek approval from anybody, especially the Marshallese entrusted to them through the U.N. … continue
Dancing to the festive sounds of cumbia and ska music, thousands of Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) supporters celebrated the expected victory of their candidate, Salvador Sánchez Cerén, as the vote counts poured in on election night. After waiting until the preliminary results had reached an “irreversible trend,” Sánchez Cerén took the stage to address the hopeful, exhausted crowd. Though he did not declare himself president, he celebrated that, “We won in the first round and we’ve returned to win in the second.” Sánchez Cerén, El Salvador’s Vice-President and former Minister of Education, is the first union leader and first commander of guerrilla forces that joined the FMLN to be elected president of El Salvador.
But his was not the only victory rally to take place on Sunday night. Across town, Norman Quijano, the mayor of San Salvador and candidate for the right-wing Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA) party, was exhorting supporters to defend his victory. Quijano declared his refusal to respect the decision of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE), whose preliminary results gave a narrow but decisive margin of victory to the FMLN. With 99.9% of voting tables counted, the FMLN led right-wing opponents by a 50.11 to 49.89%.
Quijano incited the crowd not to “allow this victory to be stolen from us like it was in Venezuela.” He declared that ARENA was “prepared for war” and called on the international community and the Salvadoran armed forced to “defend the country’s democracy” in the face of the supposed fraud carried out against them.
Several hours earlier, with only about 70% of the polling places reporting and trailing the FMLN by over 7000 votes, the leadership of the ARENA party had declared victory, in violation of the Tribunal’s call that all parties refrain from announcing victory until the official vote count was finalized.
Even the set-up, a premature declaration of victory to derail the FMLN’s momentum and cast doubt on the legitimacy of their win, reads like a page out of the Venezuelan right-wing’s playbook. The maneuver comes as no surprise considering that J.J. Rendón, former campaign manager for right-wing opposition candidate in Venezuela Henrique Captriles, was brought on a year ago to help salvage ARENA’s struggling campaign. … Full article
By Jason Hirthler | CounterPunch | March 11, 2014
Some things never change. The petulant and undemocratic Venezuelan opposition is at it again, with the full backing and check-writing support of the U.S. government. Recent protests have inflamed the streets of Caracas, as opposition groups, as they have in the Ukraine, called for the ouster of the sitting president. I suppose it’s needless to note that Nicolás Maduro is Venezuela’s democratically elected president, and that he won by a higher victory margin in a cleaner election than did Barack Obama in 2012. Nor is it worth asking, one supposes, that if the entire country is engulfed by dissent, as The New York Times insidiously suggested by claiming the “The protests are expressing the widespread discontent with the government of President Nicolás Maduro, a socialist…”, then why did Maduro’s party, Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela (PSUV), claim wide majorities in municipal elections in December? … continue
RT | March 11, 2014
A resolution passed by the Crimean parliament guarantees proportional representation in the republic’s legislative and executive bodies for the Crimean Tatar ethnic minority and grants their language official status, among other things.
The resolution provides for constitutional reform that would amend several key provisions of Crimea’s basic law. Under the amended constitution, the Crimean Tatar language would be granted official status, on a par with Russian and Ukrainian in Crimea.
It stipulates proportional representation in future parliaments and provides for at least 20 percent of seats in the republic’s executive for Crimean Tatars. They would have guaranteed representation in the lower levels of government as well.
The parliament also wants to recognize as official the self-governance bodies of the Crimean Tatars, starting with the Kurultai, a general assembly of the Tatars. … continue
RT | March 11, 2014
Recent reports from Western media say Russian troops have allegedly seized control of the naval base near the Crimean city of Bakhchisaray on Monday, with “shots being fired in the air.” However, the sailors at the base deny all these reports.
“We were never ambushed or beaten. That’s just nonsense,” Aleksandr Gubenko, a seaman at the Crimean naval base, told Crimea-based journalist Ryan O’Neill.
According to Gubenko, the sailors at the base were told to come to the security checkpoints because “someone was trying to get in.”
“When we got there, these men asked us who we want to align ourselves with,” said Gubenko, “I am leaning towards Crimea because that’s where I’m from, same as 80 percent of other people at this base, and they all know they won’t go fighting their own people.”
It’s not only sailors that have denied the reports of an ambush. The members of the Crimean self-defense squads also say there was “no fighting or shooting” at the Bakhchisaray base “like they are reporting it on TV.” … continue
US Border Patrol Given New Deadly Force Guidelines After Report Shows Officers Created Dangerous Situations To Justify Opening Fire
By Tim Cushing | Techdirt | March 10, 2014
The US Border Patrol has handed down new guidelines for use of deadly force after its agents killed 19 people in 67 shooting incidents between 2010-2012.
The U.S. Border Patrol has restricted border agents’ authority to shoot at moving vehicles or at people throwing rocks, changing a controversial policy that has contributed to at least 19 deaths since 2010…
The new rules would bring the Border Patrol’s practices closer to those used routinely by the nation’s major urban police departments. They are a response, in part, to widespread complaints from immigrant advocates that border agents have shot and killed people in some cases when deadly force was not necessary to protect the lives of agents or the public.
Why did the CBP open fire on so many people? Well, it’s because agents feared for their safety. Why did they fear for their safety? Because they put themselves deliberately in that position, according to a report commissioned by the CBP and written by law enforcement experts. … continue
Al-Akhbar | March 11, 2014
A Palestinian died and a second was injured Tuesday after Israeli occupation forces fired on their car near Tulkarem in the northern West Bank, Palestinian security sources said.
The sources told AFP that the car then veered off the road, and it was not clear whether the gunfire or the subsequent crash led to the casualties.
There was no immediate comment from the Israeli army.
Abdullah Kamil, Tulkarem governor, identified the man who died as Fidaa Muhye Addin Majadlah, and his passenger as Ibrahim Adnan Shukri, both from the Tulkarem village of Attil, according to Palestinian news agency Ma’an.
The latter was reported to have suffered moderate to serious wounds, and is in Israeli custody. Occupation authorities are also holding Majadlah’s body, the Ma’an report added
The death comes one day after occupation forces shot dead two Palestinians in separate incidents in the West Bank.
In the first of Monday’s killings, a Jordanian-Palestinian judge was shot dead by Israeli troops at the Jordan border, with the Israelis claiming that he tried to snatch a weapon and “strangle” a soldier.
But Palestinian witnesses said the man was shot following an argument over a cigarette in an incident which prompted a furious response from the Palestinian Authority and Amman. … Full article
Ma’an – 11/03/2014
JERICHO – A man who was with Raed Zeiter, who was shot dead Monday by Israeli troops at the Allenby Bridge crossing with Jordan, says he suffered three gunshot wounds to the chest.
Mohammad Zayd told Ma’an that about 8 a.m. he, Zeiter and another woman were late to return to the bus after the first Israeli inspection point.
When they were returning, an Israeli soldier pushed Zeiter, they started scuffling and Zeiter was brought to the floor. Zeiter then stood up and shoved the soldier, who in turn fired a shot that barely missed Zeiter, Zayd said.
The soldier then proceeded to fire three shots that hit Zeiter in the chest, leaving him dead on the floor, Zayd added, explaining that he tried to resuscitate Zeiter to no avail.
Zayd added that medics arrived almost an hour later, and covered Zeiter’s body, while Israeli police closed the scene and unloaded passengers off the bus and ordered them to the ground in order to search them. … continue
The armed wing of the Islamic Resistance Movement revealed on Tuesday that it has recovered an Israeli drone which crashed in the southern Gaza Strip. Members of the Izzudeen Al-Qassem Brigades found the wreckage of the unmanned aircraft near the Sufa crossing to the east of Rafah. It was taken to an unknown destination.
An Israeli military spokesperson said that a Skylark surveillance aircraft crashed on Tuesday morning due to a technical malfunction. However, the Israeli media reported that the drone was an unmanned fourth generation Heron 1 model which was developed by the Israeli Aerospace Industries Corporation.
This is the fourth Israeli drone found by Hamas. In previous years, the Israeli authorities have accused Hamas of testing their own drones.
Ma’an – 11/03/2014
GAZA CITY – An Israeli airstrike killed three Palestinians in the southern Gaza Strip on Tuesday, an official said.
Gaza Ministry of Health spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra told Ma’an that three Palestinian resistance fighters were killed by the airstrike in southeast Khan Younis near the Sufa crossing.
Al-Qidra identified the victims as Ismail Abu Judah, 23, Shahir Abu Shanab, 24, and 33-year-old Abd al-Shafi Muammar. The bodies were taken to the European Hospital in Khan Younis, al-Qidra said.
Al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of the Islamic Jihad movement, said in a statement that the victims were militants affiliated to the group.
“They were in confrontation with the occupation trying to stop the progress of Israeli military vehicles which were approaching the area,” the statement said. … continue
Press TV – March 11, 2014
Russia says proposals by the United States on finding a solution to the crisis in Ukraine are “not suitable.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in a televised briefing with President Vladimir Putin on Monday that the proposals made by US Secretary of State John Kerry are inappropriate as they take the “situation created by the coup as a starting point”, in an apparent reference to the ouster of Ukraine president, Viktor Yanukovich by the parliament on February 23.
The Russian foreign minister said the document he received from Kerry on Washington’s recommendations to end the crisis in Ukraine “raises many questions.”
“Everything was stated in terms of allegedly having a conflict between Russia and Ukraine, and in terms of accepting the fait accompli,” Lavrov said.
He also commented on Kerry’s delay in a visit to Moscow for talks on the Ukraine crisis. Lavrov said the Kremlin had decided to draft counter proposals to resolve the situation on the basis of international law. … continue
RT | March 10, 2014
The parliament of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea has sent an official invitation to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to send a mission to observe the referendum on the region’s future, slated for March 16.
The Supreme Council has handed over the invitation to Switzerland, the country that holds the rotating presidency of the OSCE. Crimean authorities invited observers from both individual OSCE member-countries and the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) to come to Crimea.
“I am confident that the parliament of Crimea will make it possible for them to be present at polling stations. This process is underway now and the referendum itself will be as transparent as possible,” Crimean Prime Minister Sergey Aksyonov said, as quoted by Itar-Tass. … continue
RT | March 10, 2014
Emails obtained by journalists at NBC News reveal that officials at the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission — the government agency that oversees reactor safety and security — purposely misled the media after the Fukushima, Japan disaster in 2011.
On Monday this week — one day shy of the third anniversary of the Fukushima meltdown — NBC published emails obtained through a Freedom of Information Act that for the first time exposes on a major scale the efforts that NRC officials undertook in order to diminish the severity of the event in the hours and days after it began to unfold.
“In the tense days after a powerful earthquake and tsunami crippled the Fukushima Daiichi power plant in Japan on March 11, 2011, staff at the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission made a concerted effort to play down the risk of earthquakes and tsunamis to America’s aging nuclear plants,” Bill Dedman wrote for NBC. … continue
RT | March 10, 2014
The British government has “disrespected” Scotland by keeping quiet about a nuclear leak at a Scottish-based reactor for two years, believes nationalist minister, Alex Salmond, all at a time of high tensions ahead of a referendum on independence.
Salmond, the Scottish National Party’s First Minister, is now demanding an apology and an explanation from British Prime Minister David Cameron that an internal leak, found all the way back in January 2012 at the Dounreay site in Scotland, which houses an MoD test reactor identical to the one used by the British nuclear submarine fleet, was kept under wraps all this time with little excuse, the Herald Scotland reports.
“This shocking turn of events leaves Philip Hammond with some very serious questions to answer. Not only does it look as if he has misled parliament – he has misled it on the extremely serious matter of nuclear emissions– which will send a shiver down the spine of everyone in Scotland. It has taken nearly two years for the Westminster government to even tell the Scottish government about problems at the nuclear facility – now it looks as if there is a cover up and the full facts are still not known,” the first minister said. … continue
MEMO | March 10, 2014
Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) has issued an unprecedented attack on a Christian conference taking place in Bethlehem this week, accusing organisers of “using religion for the purpose of incitement”.
Christ at the Checkpoint (CATC), hosted by Bethlehem Bible College, is the third such gathering following successful conferences in 2010 and 2012. Delegates predominantly hail from Protestant communities in Europe and North America, and in particular from evangelical churches and organisations.
As such, the Israeli government and its lobby groups see CATC as threatening the pro-Israel support long characteristic of much of the evangelical community. As an Israel MFA official told Christian Zionist publication Israel Today, the conference “is particularly problematic, because it is designed for the evangelical Christian leadership – an extremely important audience to us.”
The Israeli government statement released to Israel Today reads as follows:
The attempt to use religious motifs in order to mobilize political propaganda and agitate the feelings of the faithful through the manipulation of religion and politics is an unacceptable and shameful act. Using religion for the purpose of incitement in the service of political interests stains the person who does it with a stain of indelible infamy.
In addition, the Israeli government claimed to have “already actively targeted specific participants in the conference… continue
GAZA — Minister of Housing and Public Works in Gaza, Dr. Yousef al-Ghraiz, said that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) had suspended funding the housing project allocated for Palestinian liberated detainees in Gaza city.
The minister told ALRAY news agency on Sunday that the UAE had recently informed Gaza government of its decision to halt implementing the housing project without giving any reasons, adding that his government made contacts with UAE officials in order to revoke their decision.
Al-Ghraiz said the project team has completed 70% of design processes; however they were surprised by the UAE decision to suspend the project.
In January 2013, the UAE donated $50 million to build “Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan City project on an area of 100 dunums in favor of Palestinian detainees released from Israeli jails.
BETHLEHEM – Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian man at the Allenby Bridge crossing with Jordan on Monday, Israel’s army and witnesses said.
An Israeli army spokeswoman said “a Palestinian attempted to the seize the weapon of an Israeli soldier at the Allenby Bridge crossing with Jordan. Israeli soldiers opened fire and a hit was identified.”
The victim was identified as Raed Alaa Addin Zieter, 38, from Nablus, who had reportedly left the occupied West Bank in 2011 and had not returned since.
Jordanian media said Zieter held Jordanian citizenship and worked as a judge at Amman Magistrates Court. … Full article
By Yossi Gurvitz | Yesh Din | March 9, 2014
The security forces have a problem with the village of Qaddum. We’re not quite sure why. Perhaps it’s the weekly demonstrations that its residents are holding. What is clear is that they have decided to teach the village a lesson. Recently, a mysterious officer, who according to testimonies of the residents calls himself Captain Sabri, walks around telling people he will come and teach them a lesson. Some of the residents suspect him of being an ISA (Israeli Security Agency, AKA Shin Bet) officer.
Whatever Sabri’s organizational loyalty may be, he keeps his word. The Friday demonstrations are dispersed with an iron fist, and beyond that the residents also report recurring attacks on the village, even on days when no demonstrations are held. These attacks include the throwing of stun grenades and CS gas canisters, CS gas being the more aggressive form of tear gas.
In one case which actually made the Israeli media – of course, under the utilitarian fear that one more person killed by the IDF will make the kettle boil and cook us a new intifada – an old man from Qaddum, Saeed Gasser Nassar Ali, aged 85, died after inhaling gas which seeped into his house following a demonstration. The doctor who treated Ali found it hard to give him the best treatment possible, since he too was suffocating from the gas. Let’s say that again: the man suffocated in his house, and died shortly after in the hospital. Not during a demonstration. In his house.
Three weeks before Ali died, M., a resident of Qaddum, woke up at about 1 AM. His brother warned him that the army was raiding the village, and that all windows must be closed. Soon after, even though he thought he had closed all the windows, gas seeped into the house. The first to feel it was seven year old A., who began screaming that he can’t breathe. Then four year old R. began complaining he was feeling ill. The gas came through the windows of the bathroom, which is close to the children’s room and was forgotten. … continue
Press TV – March 9, 2014
The US says it will not recognize “the annexation of Crimea by Russia” even if residents of the autonomous region vote to separate from Ukraine in a planned referendum next week.
The Crimean parliament has already voted to join Russia. They also voted to hold a referendum on 16 March to validate the decision. A Yes-vote would most likely further heighten the existing tensions in the already divided nation. The region has an ethnic Russian majority.
A top US national security official Tony Blinken said on Sunday that “First, if there is an annexation of Crimea, a referendum that moves Crimea from Ukraine to Russia, we won’t recognize it, nor will most of the world.”
Blinken, who is US President Barack Obama’s deputy national security adviser, told CNN that “Second, the pressure that we’ve already exerted in coordination with our partners and allies will go up. The president made it very clear in announcing our sanctions, as did the Europeans the other day that this is the first step and we’ve put in place a very flexible and very tough mechanism to increase the pressure, to increase the sanctions.” … continue
Twelve Lebanese and Syrian nuns, who were kidnapped from the historic Christian town of Maaloula in December, have now been released and are on their way to Syria, Lebanese security source said.
The nuns were transferred to the village of Arsal, western Lebanon, earlier in the week, the source told Reuters on Sunday.
Their whereabouts and condition remained unknown for over three months, with first reports of the abduction emerging in early December as Islamic rebels seized the ancient quarter of Maaloula, a predominantly Christian town and UNESCO heritage site in eastern Syria.
“What the Syrian army achieved in Yabroud facilitated this process,” Syrian Greek Orthodox Bishop Louka Khoury speaking to reporters at the border.
It is unclear exactly who had held the nuns and why they had been released now. However, the Syrian Observatory for human Rights, a monitoring group that largely sides with the opposition, identified the rebels who took the nuns as militants from the Nusra Front, an affiliate of Al-Qaeda and one of the radical groups fighting President Bashar Assad’s forces. Lebanon’s General Security Chief the head of Qatari intelligence were reported to have played a major role in the negotiations.
Earlier, the Nusra Front had reportedly been demanding the release of 500 militants held in Syria and Lebanon in return for the nuns, according to the Al-Mayadeen satellite channel.
The Observatory, as well as a rebel source, said that the release of the nus had been agreed as part of a prisoner swap with scores of women held in President Bashar al-Assad’s jails.
“The deal is for the release of 138 women from Assad’s prisons,” the rebel source said, Reuters reports. … Full article
March – 2014
February – 2014