Yemeni citizens, rights groups and lawmakers have vehemently condemned the presence of US Marine troops on Yemeni soil and the transformation of a five-star hotel in the capital, Sana’a, into a US military base, Press TV reports.
In interviews with Press TV, the legislators and human rights activists harshly criticized the conversion of the capital’s Sheraton Hotel into a military building and said they considered the presence of American forces as an occupation of their country.
The Yemenis argued that the US move to bring in the Marines for the protection of its diplomatic mission is merely a pretext for US domination on the ground.
“American Marines entered the country before the revolution and their numbers have increased… it’s similar to what happened when Britain occupied southern Yemen decades ago. The presence of Marine forces in the large number can only be described as an occupation,” political activist Abdu Ahmed said.
The US embassy in Sana’a reportedly booked all the rooms in the Sheraton Hotel, firing 200 members of the hotel’s staff after paying them a severance payment equal to six months of salary.
“We feel insecure. Anyone who goes up on the rooftop of his building will be targeted with a red light pointed to his chest. So if we can’t feel safe in our own country where can we find security and peace of mind?” said a Yemeni citizen.
The growing US domination has sparked numerous mass demonstrations, particularly in the Sada’a governorate to the north of the capital Sana’a.
The protesters in these demonstrations expressed the peoples’ total rejection of foreign intervention in their country’s affairs.
The increasing number of US assassination drone attacks, which mostly target innocent civilians, were also lambasted by the human rights groups.
The activists said the growing US interference in Yemen’s affairs is considered a flagrant violation of the Middle Eastern country’s sovereignty.
“Giving [approval to] US Marines to violate the country’s sovereignty is treason and those giving approval must be prosecuted. The assassinations are carried out right after the US intelligence apparatus received names of people suspected of being involved in al-Qaeda. There are a number of normal people on these lists, who can be easily arrested and brought to justice if found guilty,” human rights activist Abdulrahaman Barman noted.
Washington uses its assassination drones in Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Somalia, claiming that they target the terrorists. The attacks, however, have mostly led to massive civilian casualties.
- Thousands of Yemenis hold anti-US, anti-Israeli Protest in Sana’a (jafrianews.com)
The Venezuelan Supreme Court says President Hugo Chavez can legally postpone the Thursday inauguration as the current government remains in power.
On Wednesday, Supreme Court President Luisa Estella Morales, following a unanimous decision by the panel, also ruled out medical checks for the president’s scheduled inauguration ceremony.
“The oath-taking of the re-elected president can be carried out at a time after January 10 before the Supreme Court, if it is not done on the said day before the National Assembly,” the ruling said.
As the president has been recovering from an illness and the government would be renewing its term, Morales said, “there is not even a temporary absence” of Chavez from taking the oath.
Until Chavez recovers, current government officials “will continue fully exercising their functions under the principle of administrative continuity,” it said.
Opposition groups of the government earlier on Wednesday requested the Supreme Court to decide on the ruling.
The ruling comes as government officials pointed out the constitution allows the court to swear in a new president without a time limitation for a leave of absence, which the congress voted for on Tuesday.
The Supreme Court’s decision comes as Chavez continues to gain support from South American allies.
Foreign Policy Advisor to the Brazilian President, Marco Aurelio Garcia, on Tuesday said that — on behalf of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff — Brazil supports the postponing of the inaugural ceremony.
Chavez, who first came to power in 1999, was re-elected to a new six-year term in October, 2012. However, a month before the planned inauguration he underwent a fourth round of cancer surgery in Cuba’s capital Havana.
The full text of the Supreme Court decision can be read here (in Spanish).
- Venezuelans Continue to Defy the Washington Post
- Exposing Five Key Media Myths about Chavez’s Health and Swearing-in
- Venezuela Among the Most Positive Countries, Gallup Says
- Venezuela’s Economy Grows by 5.5 Percent in 2012
- There is an alternative: what Venezuela can teach us about the banking sector
- Economic BS in Rich Countries is Reinforced by BS about Venezuela
- The Achievements of Hugo Chavez
The Washington Post has never been fond of left-wing Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. As serious questions mount about the state of Chavez’s health, the paper’s editorial page (1/5/13) found it a good time to take another swipe:
Venezuelans are bracing themselves for the death of the caudillo who has ruled them–and wrecked their once-prosperous country–over the past 13 years.
Since Hugo Chávez first took office, he and his party have won 13 of 14 national elections, mainly because they greatly improved the living standards of the majority of voters in Venezuela. Since 2004, after the economy recovered from the devastating opposition oil strike, poverty has been cut by half and extreme poverty by more than 70 percent.
Weisbrot goes on to show some of the other ways Venezuelans’ lives have improved in the Chavez years, adding:
These numbers are not really in dispute among economists or international statistical agencies. If you follow Venezuela and haven’t heard any of this, it’s because the news media is giving you the equivalent of a “tea party” view of the country.
So there’s maybe a chance that Venezuelans don’t think Chavez “wrecked” their country at all–unless you think reducing poverty and income inequality are bad things. To the Post, the fear seems to be that Venezuelans will remember this after Chavez’s passing:
Sadly, the economic pain caused by Mr. Chavez could, after his death, help create a political movement that will revere his memory.
Their point is that Chavez’s policies will force the next government to oversee harsh austerity policies to correct Chavez’s supposed mistakes. But Venezuelans might actually “revere” Chavez for the same reason they voted for him: His policies worked for the majority of the population. And that doesn’t sit well with the Washington Post.
New data shows Spain’s jobless rate hit a new record high of 26.6 percent for the month of November 2012, amounting to 6.157 million Spaniards.
The European Union’s statistics office, Eurostat, released the new data on Tuesday, which showed an increase of 0.4 percent from October’s reading of 26.2 percent.
The EU’s Employment Commissioner Laszlo Andor urged Spain’s government to find a political strategy to decrease the number of people without work
Andor said he is extremely worried about the unemployment rate for the country’s youth under 25, which was reported at 56.5 percent in November 2012, a 0.7 percent increase from 55.8 in October last year.
Spain accounts for about a third of the 18.82 million EU citizens looking for work.
On Tuesday, Eurostat also presented a new record high jobless rate for the eurozone, at 11.8 percent in November 2012, up from 11.7 in October the same year, marking the 19th consecutive month with increasing jobless rates.
Europe plunged into financial crisis in early 2008. The worsening debt crisis has forced the EU governments to adopt harsh austerity measures, which have triggered incidents of social unrest and massive protests in many European countries.
Al Ayn Refugee Camp, Occupied Palestine – Hundreds of Israeli soldiers in 27 military jeeps violently broke in and ransacked five homes in the Al Ayn refugee camp, Nablus. They caused widespread destruction in the houses involved in the raid. No arrests were made.
Weam Reda Khaled, a woman whose house was ransacked, recounted how forty soldiers with dogs broke open the door of her home at three this morning. They came into the living-room and bedroom, shouting and intimidating her and her children. The family was forced to stay in the doorway while soldiers searched the house and broke everything that came to their hands. One of her sons was blindfolded, handcuffed and interrogated for two hours under the staircase. In the meantime, the army smashed furniture and electronic appliances in the kitchen, living-room and bedroom. They threw the television and some furniture on the roof, under the rain. Weam described how her four year old son was terrorised by the scene of the military violently breaking in and searching their house. Initially, soldiers even refused to let him go to the bathroom. This is the second time in the last eight months that Weam received such a visit. In May, soldiers broke into her home and arrested her husband, who is still being held in administrative detention without any charge brought against him.
Four other families in the Al Ayn camp suffered the same fate of Weam. In one case, a family of eight was forced to stay outside in shivering cold and heavy rain for four hours. Here, soldiers raided the store of the family and ruined the food kept there by throwing bread and flour on the ground and spilling oil all over the floor. Most of the furniture and appliances of the home were damaged or completely broken. In another case a man and his son were tied and locked in one room while soldiers ransacked the house, damaged the sofa, broke the TV and washing machine. A 70-year old man with a heart condition had to be hospitalised because of the shock suffered from the army’s invasion of his house.
The Al Ayn Camp, home to 5,000 refugees from the 1948 Zionist massacres, is known for its fierce resistance to Israeli occupation and for its resilience during the second intifada. During this raid the Israeli army told the families that they were searching for weapons. However, none were found in Al Ayn Camp during yesterday night’s ransacking.
- 500 Israeli soldiers ransack homes in Burqa (palsolidarity.org)
- Israeli soldiers vandalise Hebron home and arrest a student (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Soldiers Kidnap Four Palestinians (imemc.org)
- Ransacking and arrests in Sarra and Tell (palsolidarity.org)
Iran has officially begun pumping crude from an oil field it shares with it western neighbor Iraq, the managing director of the Iranian Central Oil Fields Company (ICOFC) says.
Speaking in a press conference on Tuesday, Mehdi Fakour said development and crude oil production from the Aban oil field has started.
Iran shares oil and gas fields with most of its neighbors, including Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar as well as Oman and Turkmenistan.
The official noted that Iran has not lagged behind its neighboring countries in developing the fields it shares, adding, “Currently, ten drilling rigs are operating simultaneously in the country’s joint oil fields.”
Fakour also stated that since the beginning of the current Iranian calendar year [March 20, 2012], USD1.2 billion of funds have been supplied by companies other than the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) for investment in Iran’s oil and gas projects.
Iran holds the world’s third-largest proven oil reserves and the second-largest natural gas reserves.
The country’s total in-place oil reserves have been estimated at more than 560 billion barrels, with about 140 billion barrels of extractable oil. Moreover, heavy and extra heavy varieties of crude oil account for roughly 70-100 billion barrels of the total reserves.
Iranian energy officials said in July 2011 that as much as 35 percent of the country’s energy development budget would go towards the development of the shared oil fields.
Forty-eight Iranians held hostage by armed groups in Syria since August, were released on Wednesday.48 Iranian abductees
State television reported on Wednesday that the Iranians, who were threatened with execution, were released, but without saying further details.
Iran has appealed to Turkey and Qatar, both with close relations with Syria militants, for help in securing the release of the pilgrims who were visiting the Sayyida Zeinab shrine, a holy site in the southeastern suburbs of Damascus.
- 48 Iranians released in first prisoner swap by Syrian rebels (thehimalayantimes.com)