Sunday, January 31, 2016

Latest Hate Crime in Stockholm

Hundreds of masked men marched through Stockholm's main train station on Friday evening, beating up refugees and anyone who didn't appear to be ethnically Swedish. Wearing all-black balaclavas and armbands, the men "gathered with the purpose of attacking refugee children," Stockholm police spokesperson Towe Hagg said. Before the attacks, the mob handed out leaflets with the slogan "It is enough now!" which threatened to give "the North African street children who are roaming around" the "punishment they deserve".
After the attack, the Swedish Resistance Movement, a neo-Nazi group, released a statement claiming the attack had "cleaned up criminal immigrants from North Africa that are housed in the area around the Central Station".

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Rape is simply unacceptable

Is rape acceptable? No, and it has never been. However, if you look at the statistics around the world, you would draw the conclusion that rape crimes are growing everywhere. For our purpose here, let’s focus on South Asia.

Rape is becoming more like an epidemic in India. According to India's National Crime Record Bureau, crimes against women have increased by 7.1 percent since 2010. The number of rapes reported has also risen.  Nearly one in three rape victims in India is under the age of 18.  One in 10 is under 14. Every 20 minutes in India, a woman is raped. That is a huge number for a country that has been socially conservative!
Many of the culprits, sadly, are policemen and members of the armed forces, i.e., people in authority with guns - the very people that are supposed to come to the aid of or defend victims.

Last week on Thursday, in Chhattisgarh, a 21-year-old woman, who was gang raped over a period of six months by two police constables and a doctor, committed suicide at her home in Bhilai. Her suicide note suggested she did not think she would get justice, police said.

A case had been filed in January 2015 against doctor Gautam Pandit and constables Saurabh Bhakta and Chadraprakash Pandey for allegedly gang raping the woman on multiple occasions. The police had, at the time, filed an FIR under sections of rape and arrested the two constables, while the doctor had surrendered. The three are currently in jail.

The incident first came to light in January 2015, six months after the woman was gang raped when she was admitted to Lal Bahadur Shastri Hospital in Supela. “The woman, a college student at the time, had gone for treatment for her face in June 2014. She was allegedly administered a drug and raped by the three accused over a period of days. They allegedly filmed the act and blackmailed her even after she left the hospital, gang raping her on several other occasions,” a senior police officer said. Last Thursday morning, the victim was found hanging in a room at her home when policemen arrived to deliver summons in the case. The next hearing was on February 2. 

A month ago, a 14-year-old girl, a resident of Dumdum of Kolkata in India setting out to meet her Facebook friend without informing her parents, was raped by three Army men in Amritsar-bound Howrah Amritsar Express on December 28, 2015, Monday morning. The class nine girl (equivalent to a freshman student in high school in the USA) had boarded the train at Howrah at 1.50 pm on Sunday.

Police arrested an Army man, Mandrish Tripathi, who had allegedly forced the girl to take alcohol and then raped her with her other colleagues. The victim told the police that she was raped six times after being threatened.

Even the toddlers are vulnerable being attacked by rapists. Three months ago, a toddler and a five-year-old girl were gang raped in separate attacks in India’s capital city of Delhi. The toddler - a two-and-a-half year old girl - was abducted in west Delhi on Friday night, October 16, 2015, by two men. She was sexually assaulted before being dumped in a park near her home. According to police reports, she was bleeding profusely when she was found. Tests showed she had been raped at least once. In a separate incident, a five-year-old girl was gang-raped by three men in the east of the city. Police say she was lured to a neighbor's house where she was repeatedly raped.

Those rape incidents came a week after a four-year-old girl was allegedly raped before being abandoned near a railway track in the capital. The girl, who was found near her home in a poor neighborhood in the north of the city, had been slashed with a sharp object and had severe internal injuries. 

You may also recall the much publicized news coverage on the rape of a 23-year-old physiotherapy student ‘Jyoti’ on December 16, 2012 who died of horrific injuries two weeks after being assaulted by six men as she travelled home from the cinema with a male friend. Jyoti and her friend were thrown naked and bleeding from the moving bus and 13 days of extensive medical treatment could not save her.

In an interview from the prison with the BBC, Mukesh Singh, one of the rapists, who claims he was driving the bus during the incident, referred to the Jyoti’s murder as “an accident” caused by her being out at night. “A decent girl won't roam around at nine o'clock at night,” he said. “A girl is far more responsible for rape than a boy. Boys and girls are not equal.” He criticized Jyoti for resisting her attackers, saying: “When being raped, she shouldn't fight back.” “She should just be silent and allow the rape. Then they'd have dropped her off after doing her and only hit the boy.”

Singh was sentenced to death by hanging for Jyoti’s rape and murder, along with four others. Singh claimed that executing him and the other convicted rapists would endanger future rape victims. “Now when they rape, they won't leave the girl like we did - they will kill her,” he said.

As to the rape of disadvantaged minorities – economic or religious, the least said the better! Indian military has often used rape as a weapon of war against the Kashmiris who desire self-rule in their occupied territories. When a member of a lower caste, e.g., Dalit, dares to marry or elope with a member of the higher caste, often times the family members of the Dalit must pay very dearly for such ‘audacious crimes.’ Based on the rulings of the village elders, the home of the ‘offender’ can get burned down or ransacked, the Dalit women members of the family raped and paraded naked before being lynched to death. It is worth noting here that India’s Supreme Court has ruled that the village court’s decrees are not legally binding, but that hasn’t fully eliminated the ‘revenge rape’ system that is prevalent in many parts of Hindu caste-ridden India.

According to an Amnesty International report of last year, “Revenge rape” is traditionally seen as a way to ruin a family’s worth, by tarnishing its honor and ruining a daughter’s chances for marriage. In 2014, a 22-year-old woman was left in critical condition after village elders ordered 13 men to rape her as punishment for her relationship with a man outside the community. 

It is really sickening to see the prevalence of such gross crimes all across India, the so-called largest democracy on earth, where even a toddler can be sexually molested. It is shameful and must be stopped at any cost.

Sadly, Bangladesh is not impervious to such abuses either. I remember meeting a young 17 year old girl in Chittagong a couple of years ago who had narrowly escaped from being raped by a police officer. The girl was strolling with her boy friend - a class mate - in a public garden near Foy's Lake before sunset when they were picked up by a police officer-in-charge (O.C.) Mizan (posted in Kasbah). The boy was mercilessly beaten by him, and the girl locked up in a hotel room where he intended to rape her. The hotel manager knew about such crimes of the O.C. Mizan and had become a partner in crime by letting such criminal activities go unhindered without reporting to higher authorities. The girl's loud screams eventually helped her to be rescued and the police officer arrested. 

But as it happens too often in many parts of South Asia, the criminal O.C. was able to get bail in the court. Free on bail, he even beat up the girl's father for suing him in the court. Just imagine the audacity! He has since been posted in another town where he seemingly must be victimizing other women.

While Bangladesh is quite unique as a state where two women have ruled the country more than half its life, almost a quarter of a century (and may continue to do so for a foreseeable future), sadly, rape crimes have only been climbing up over the years! Power at the top has not translated into safety for the females.

Traditionally, South Asia has been quite conservative socially and thus, such horrendous crimes were quite rare. But not any more! With the advent of the Internet technology, hundreds of millions of people, mostly the youngsters, now have access to it. And some of these Internet sites are vulgar, sharing pornographic materials, which are confusing many and pushing some to the edges to commit horrendous crimes. To add salt to injury, many of the victims often find the judicial system more hostile to them than their violators.

As I have noted above, what is also very disturbing is that many of the rape crimes in South Asia are seemingly committed by people who have access to deadly weapons, e.g., members of the police and armed forces.  Even when they are caught, because of serious flaws within the entire judicial system, these criminals come out free and abuse their power or authority to prey upon vulnerable girls and women.

It is worth noting here that in spite of the fact that while every 20 minutes in India a woman is raped such criminal incidents are not unique to India. India only ranks third for the number of rapes reported each year. The USA ranks first. 

In India, a country of over 1.25 billion people, 24,206 rapes were reported in 2011.  The same year in the United States, a nation of 330 million, with roughly a quarter of India’s population, 83,425 rapes were reported. In the United Statesevery 6.2 minutes a woman is raped. Even if sexual assault in India is dramatically underreported, which most likely it is, especially in rural villages, where victims of rape are often subject to shaming and considered unfit for marriage  the statistical difference is still striking.

The encouraging fact is that while the U.S. still ranks first in the world for reported rapes, the number is declining here while statistics suggest India is moving in the other direction. In the U.S. the rate of reported rapes decreased by over 12 percent between 2002 and 2011 while it is climbing steeply in Narendra Modi's India. This is a very worrying sign for India to ponder upon! At this rate, it won’t take too long for India to lead the pack, superseding the USA.

Many raped victims in India (and other parts of South Asia) don’t report such matters to police for a plethora of reasons. They don’t trust the judicial system. The sad experience of other victims have taught them a bitter lesson that they may never see justice, and only tarnish their family’s honor and ruin any chance for marriage. In some rare cases, while reporting rape crimes, the victims were reportedly sexually violated by the very police who were supposed to create a FIR and investigate the crime. It’s really sad! And, when men in uniform are themselves involved in such gruesome crimes, the victim’s chance of getting a fair trial incriminating the perpetrator is rather very slim. In utter frustration, many raped victims are pushed to the edge to commit suicide so as to erase the pains and sufferings of their family members.

So, I am not surprised learning that the Chhattisgarh female student had committed suicide ending her life. It is sad, and could have been avoided, if the system around her had not failed and felt so hopeless, and promoted a culture in which the crimes against the weak – women, vulnerable minorities and lower caste Dalits are tolerated. [Studies have shown that rape feeds off other forms of prejudice.] She wouldn’t have probably killed herself if India had not perpetuated a culture of misogyny where people accepted the degradation of women and uncontrollable hyper-sexuality of men as the norm.

Violence against women is a global pandemic, which needs to be stopped. It is becoming an uphill battle though in our time where sex sells, and media promote women as sex symbols.

As much as the government has a major role to stop this crime by making sure that every one’s life and honor are safe and secure and not violated by anyone and that the criminals, if any, are given exemplary punishments, the society at large must exemplify moral teachings and ethics by ensuring that children are taught at a very early stage to respect and honor everyone, and ensuring zero-tolerance against gender-based violence. Just blaming the victim that she should not have gone out or roam around so late or wear ‘provocative’ clothes won’t stop this pandemic. Rather we should ask,  “What made the rapist think that rape is acceptable?” 

Let's stop this pandemic by every means possible.

Nonviolent Resistance in the South Hebron Hills

"The worst worries of a child’s school day should be homework. Maybe a lost book, or an argument with a friend. No child’s walk to school should routinely involve armed soldiers and fear of sometimes being chased and assaulted by angry adults. But for the Palestinian children who live with their families in the small rural villages that make up the South Hebron Hills, this is how the school day begins. Illegal settlements and outposts isolate and separate their villages and soldiers are a constant in their lives," Cassandra Dixon writes.
She bemoans, "U.S. people bear some responsibility for the interruption of their childhoods. The U.S. subsidizes about 25% of Israel’s military budget, at a cost to US taxpayers conservatively estimated at $3.1 billion a year."
Here is a link to her article on non-violent resistance to Israeli occupation in south Hebron.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Morrocan King Mohammed VI’s Message to Conference on ‘Rights of Religious Minorities in Muslim Countries'

King Mohammed VI’s Message to Conference on ‘Rights of Religious Minorities in Muslim Countries', January 25, 2016 • 

Rabat – King Mohammed VI addressed a message to the participants in the conference on “The rights of religious minorities in Islamic lands”, which kicked off Monday morning in Marrakech.
Here follows the full text of the Royal message, read by Minister of Endowments and Islamic Affairs, Ahmed Toufiq.
Praise be to God
May peace and blessings be upon all Prophets and Messengers
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to send this message to your Conference and to welcome you to Marrakesh, the city of interaction and cultural dialogue. I wish you a pleasant stay and pray that Almighty God grant you every success in your endeavors to bring the truth to light and to dispel unfounded opinions.
In normal circumstances, there would have been no need to address a theme such as the one chosen for this conference, “The rights of religious minorities in Islamic lands”, given the unambiguous position and principles of Islam as well as its legacy in this regard. Nevertheless, there are events which have rendered the discussion of such a theme necessary in the current circumstances, and Muslims must show that these events have no basis or justification in Islam’s frame of reference. Muslims have to show that certain events which are happening under the guise of Islam are driven or prompted by considerations which have nothing to do with religion.
I am therefore pleased to see that this conference has been convened, both to spotlight the true values advocated by religions and to make sure we uphold those values so that peace and solidarity may prevail for the benefit of humankind.
Furthermore, I have every reason to believe that this conference will be a success as it has brought together a fine selection of international figures and decision-makers representing various bodies and religious institutions, as well as influential thinkers and media experts.
I should like to take this opportunity to praise the Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs for the organization and preparations for this Conference, which is being held under my high patronage. I am pleased with the measures taken by the Ministry to ensure this event’s success. My thanks also go to the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies, which is presided over by Sheikh Abdullah Bin Bayyah and is supported by the State of the United Arab Emirates.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We, in the Kingdom of Morocco, see no reason for denying religious minorities any of their rights. We do not tolerate a violation of this kind being perpetrated in the name of Islam, nor do we tolerate any Muslim being involved in such an infringement. This firm belief is rooted in the proper understanding of religious principles, in our cultural heritage and in the history of this time-honored Kingdom; this explains the way Moroccan Muslims interact with each other and with followers of other religions.
The first reference source underpinning the principles to which we are committed is the Quran. In it, the Almighty says He has honored Man as a human being. Therefore, and as confirmation of this honor bestowed on Man, it was the Almighty’s will to create people who were as different in their religious beliefs as they were in the color of their skin, the language they spoke and the ethnic group they belonged to. For this reason, Muslims are naturally inclined to accept diversity.
There are many references in the Quran to Ahl al-Kitab – the People of the Book. In fact, the Almighty instructed Muslims to believe in all Prophets and Messengers and to honor and respect them. He also said that the People of the Book were not to be provoked, and that Muslims were to argue with them only in ways that are best and most gracious. The Almighty also ordered that the People of the Book were to be treated fairly, in all circumstances, and that hatred, which can influence the way one behaves towards them, was to be renounced. In this regard, Islam prescribed jihad only for self-defense, or to protect sanctities, when necessary. In no way is jihad authorized to compel people to embrace Islam.
The second reference source on which our principles are based is the Sunna of my revered ancestor, Prophet Muhammad – may peace be upon Him. His practical teachings came to explain the Quran. Through them, He recommended that Jews and Christians were to be treated well, and that no monk, rabbi or person found praying in a place of worship could be killed in a time of war. He made transactions with the Jews, laid the foundations for treaties and for the protection of churches, decreed that people believing in other faiths were not to be harassed and authorized marriage with women who were from the People of the Book. The many facets of Islam’s peaceful coexistence with believers in other religions have had beneficial effects in all spheres, including business, trade, industry and the exchange of ideas. Therefore, as far as Islam is concerned, peace and security are the norm for interaction between faiths.
The Caliphs who came after Prophet Muhammad – may peace be upon Him – remained committed to the same approach. Even with regard to the Jizya tax – whose amount was, most of the time, less than the zekat imposed on Muslims – it should be pointed out that the second Caliph, Omar bin al-Khattab, exempted the needy from paying it, and even included non-Muslim needy people among its recipients. This Caliph also gave Jews and Christians guarantees regarding the protection of their places of worship and their money, assuring them that no Jew or Christian would be coerced into giving up his religion, and this in compliance with the words of the Almighty: “Let there be no compulsion in religion”: this Caliph is famous for asking: “Since when do you enslave people whereas they were born free?”.
From these two sources – the Quran and the Sunnah – Muslims developed the Sharia system, whose provisions determine the way Muslims deal with believers in other faiths. It is on the basis of these provisions that religious minorities in Islamic lands have widely enjoyed their rights and the protection of their lives and their honor. In particular, they have enjoyed the right to practice their religion, along with the rites and rituals it involves, and to comply with the requirements of their faith. These rights and entitlements are the result of Islam’s equal treatment of Muslims and non-Muslims when it comes to the preservation of sanctities, lives and property.
This is true not only with regard to rights, but also to feelings and empathy shown through proper behavior towards the People of the Book in the event of illness, death and compassion for those in need, by means of either charity or endowment.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Morocco has always been an outstanding model of cultural coexistence and interaction between Islam and other religions, particularly Judaism and Christianity. One of the glorious pages in this history was the emergence of the Moroccan-Andalusian civilization, which brought together various communities and led to the development of trade, industry and the arts, as well as to fruitful exchange in the areas of knowledge, wisdom, philosophy and science.
This was especially the case when large numbers of Muslims moved from Andalusia to Morocco in particularly difficult conditions. With them, there were also Jews, who joined a Jewish community, which had existed in the country since the pre-Islamic era. The Jewish community in Morocco was never treated by Muslims as a minority. Its members were involved in all fields of activity and were present at all levels of society. They contributed to shaping society, were entrusted with public sector jobs and missions and were people of great culture. Had it not been for the serenity they enjoyed and the rights they had, they would never have been able to earn the reputation they still have today in the areas of religious studies and outstanding research on the Jewish heritage worldwide.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As Commander of the Faithful and defender of the faith, I am committed to protecting the rights of Muslims and non-Muslims alike. The religious rights of Muslims and non-Muslims are protected in accordance with the aforementioned immutable principles, and their rights as citizens are guaranteed by the Constitution; there is no difference or distinction as far as the ultimate goals are concerned. In doing so, I am following in the footsteps of my glorious ancestors. My great grandfather Moulay El Hassan, for instance, donated the land in Tangier on which the Anglican Church was built, and which still stands there to this day. My grandfather, His Late Majesty King Mohammed V, protected Moroccan Jews against the tyranny of the pro-Nazi Vichy regime. My father, His Late Majesty King Hassan II, received Pope John Paul II, on what was his first visit to a Muslim country.
I am following the same approach in terms of enabling Christians of all denominations, who reside legally in Morocco, to perform their religious rites, according to the church to which they belong. Moroccan Jews enjoy the same constitutional rights as their fellow Muslim citizens. They join political parties, participate in elections, set up associations and play a key role in the economy. They are represented in my circle of advisors as well as in the diplomatic field. Moroccan Jews, even second generation children of Jews who chose to migrate elsewhere in the world, have close bonds with the rest of society.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Morocco has played a leading role in interfaith dialogue. Indeed, shortly after the country’s independence in 1956, Morocco organized meetings, in the summer, in the Benedictine Monastery of Toumliline, situated in the mountains in the Fes region. They were attended by renowned Christian and Muslim intellectuals, cultural figures and scholars like Louis Massignon. These are some of the facets of my country’s legacy in this respect which I am sure, most of you already know. Therefore, it is hardly surprising that you should feel a need to meet here, in this land which has long been committed to the time-honored traditions of tolerance and openness in order to adopt, by the grace of the Almighty, a strong declaration on the theme of your conference as well as on other equally important issues for the future.
Our management of the religious domain in Morocco focuses on preventing any distorted interpretation of the revealed texts, particularly what relates to jihad- a question on which our Ulema issued an unequivocal statement a few weeks ago.
The more I ponder the various crises threatening humanity, the more firmly I believe that interfaith cooperation is necessary, inevitable and urgent. This cooperation between believers for the development of a common fundamental platform is not to be restricted to tolerance and respect only; it should also involve a commitment to the rights and freedoms that should be enshrined in – and enforced by – each country’s legislation. It is not enough to lay down laws and codes of conduct. We need to adopt a civilized code of behavior that bans all forms of coercion, fanaticism and arrogance.
The world we live in today needs religious values because they embody the virtues we should uphold before the Creator. We also need them because they consolidate our propensity for tolerance, love and cooperation in promoting righteousness and piety. We need common values not just to nurture tolerance, but also to derive from them the energy and fortitude that will enable Man to take a long hard look at himself; we need them because they can help us to rally together in order to enjoy a life free from war, greed, extremism and hatred – a life in which crises and human suffering can be reduced as a prelude to the elimination of the risk of religious conflict.
I wish your conference every success. I believe what people are expecting you to say, through your final declaration, is that religion must not be manipulated to justify any infringement or denial of the rights of religious minorities in Islamic countries.
Thank you
Wassalamu alaikum warahmalu lah wabarakatuh

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Inter-religious harmony faces serious challenges in Myanmar

Here is an article on problem with inter-religious harmony in today's Myanmar.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Minority Status in India

Can a minority group have its own university? Probably, not, if it is in today's India where a religious minority is debarred from establishing a university inasmuch as a university can only be established by a legislature. The case in point is with the status of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), which was established during the British rule for the educational advancement of Muslims of India. In this regard, one may recall the remark of Tara Chand, an eminent historian of modern India, who once succinctly said, “it will be a falsification of the history of India if it is asserted from any quarter that the AMU was not established by the Muslims and primarily for the educational advancement of the Muslims of India”. 
Prof. Aftab Alam of AMU has written an article on this subject. He writes, "It is the duty of the government to ensure that the rights guaranteed to minorities are not turned into a “teasing illusion and promise of unreality”."
To find out more about the controversy click here

Prof. Al-Arian speaks out about Jeb Bush

John F. Kennedy once said, “Mothers all want their sons to grow up to be president, but they don’t want them to become politicians in the process.” Jeb Bush is a politician. He is trailing major contenders in the Republican party for the top national spot. As a governor, he abused his authority that led not only to dismissal of Prof. Sami Al-Arian from the South Florida university where he had been teaching since 1986 but also his highly politicized indictment. [Because of his long activism for the Palestinian cause and defending human and civil rights, he was a political prisoner in the U.S. and spent over a decade in prison and under house arrest until the charges were dropped in 2014. He now lives in Turkey.]
"Unfortunately, politicians have generally acquired a reputation for being dishonest, deceitful, hypocritical, and power hungry. Perhaps most, but not all," Dr. Al-Arian writes. He opines that the very reason that public are dumping seasoned politicians like Jeb Bush is because of the distrust that they feel about them.  He says, "Indeed, a direct consequence of the dark side of politics that seeks power by any means is the destruction of democracy itself, as citizens shun and discredit established politicians in favor of novices and demagogues as demonstrated by the likely Republican primary voters in this election season. Exercising real power could be a noble thing when its practitioner values truth, honesty and humility over vanity." 
To read more, click here.

Denmark's daylight robbery of refugees

Denmark is defying international outrage and pressing ahead with plans to force refugees to hand over valuables in return for providing sanctuary. The measures, seen by some critics as comparable to systematic Nazi robbery from Jews, and designed to dissuade migrants from seeking asylum in Denmark, are due to be ratified by parliament in Copenhagen on Tuesday. Danish politicians have been unmoved by fierce criticism. Minister Støjberg, widely regarded as a racist and bigot, and a hardliner on integration and migrant matters, has been unrepentant.
Trine Villemann has rightly called the measure daylight robbery. I can't agree more.
Here is news report you can link.

False report on a veteran landed him in prison

Saadiq Long, the Muslim U.S. Air Force veteran who was secretly placed on the no-fly list in 2012 and then smeared by a fabricated news report last December claiming he was arrested in Turkey “as a member of an ISIS cell,” left Turkey last week and has now returned to the U.S. The U.S. government, which worked to secure Long’s release from a Turkish deportation center, gave him a waiver from the no-fly list to enable him to fly back home. Along with his wife and daughter, Long, as the Washington Post reported, arrived Wednesday night at JFK Airport in New York. After questioning by immigration officials, the family cleared customs and immigration and was admitted into the country. 
Needless to say, that Long was able to leave Turkey and freely enter the U.S. further demonstrates that the December report that he was arrested as an “ISIS fighter” was a complete fabrication.
You can read the news report about Sadiq by clicking here.

Reports on Genocide in Myanmar Highlight the Need for Change

Ronan Lee is a PhD Candidate at Deakin University researching the impact of Myanmar’s political and economic liberalisation on the Muslim Rohingya. Ronan’s professional background is in politics, where he was formerly a Queensland State Member of Parliament and has worked as a policy and campaigns advisor. 
He has written a good article on the above subject title, which can be accessed by clicking here.

Myanmar's Government Is Persecuting Muslims Through Court Convictions

There has been continued persecution of the Muslim community in Myanmar – particularly against the Rohingya. 
Last month, human rights group Fortify Rights called on the Myanmar government to drop charges against Muslim men on discriminatory grounds. There has been continued persecution of the Muslim community in the country – particularly against the Rohingya, who are subject to arbitrary arrest, institutional discrimination, detention, harassment, and killings.
‘Rohingya Calendar’
The recent injustice against Muslims in Myanmar involves six men charged for publishing a calendar that described the country’s persecuted Muslim Rohingya as a recognized ethnic minority. According to Fortify Rights, on November 24, police chief Major Khin Maung Lat arrested the men and they were charged under Section 505(b) of the Myanmar Penal Code for creating material with the intent to cause “fear or alarm to the public.” The law has historically been used by the Myanmar junta as a tool to silence and arrest political dissidents.
“It’s a blatant violation of freedom of expression and a flagrant example of anti-Rohingya discrimination that cannot be permitted to stand – so the courts should dismiss these charges, and the prosecutors and other government officials involved in bringing this case should be severely disciplined,” Phil Robertson, the deputy director of Human Rights Watch in Asia told The Diplomat in Bangkok.
To read more, please, click here.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

A cursory look at this year’s WEF

The World Economic Forum (WEF) is a Swiss nonprofit foundation, based in Cologny, Geneva. As a state recognized international institution for public-private cooperation, its mission is cited as "committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic, and other leaders of society to shape global, regional, and industry agendas".

The Forum is best known for its annual winter meeting in Davos, a mountain resort in Graubünden, in the eastern Alps region of Switzerland. The meeting brings together some 2,500 top business leaders, international political leaders, selected intellectuals, and journalists to discuss the most pressing issues facing the world. The organization also convenes some six to eight regional meetings. Beside meetings, the foundation produces a series of research reports and engages its members in sector specific initiatives.

The theme for this year’s WEF, held January 20-23 at its usual home in Davos, Switzerland, was “Mastering the Fourth Industrial Revolution.” If you are unfamiliar with the term the 4th industrial revolution includes developments in previously disjointed fields such as artificial intelligence and machine-learning, robotics, nanotechnology, 3-D printing, and genetics and biotechnology.

Forum report, The Future of Jobs, released at the start of the meeting predicted that this 4th industrial revolution will cause widespread disruption not only to business models but also to labor markets over the next five years, with enormous change predicted in the skill sets needed to thrive in the new landscape.
As usual, the world’s rulers from Prime ministers to high government officials to top business men were in attendance at this biggest bash of the year.

From published reports, even from the WEF website, it seems that the mood of the participants were somber. “There has never been a time of greater promise, or greater peril,” Professor Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of WEF, said. “As a society, we are entering uncharted territory,” Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff told participants on the last day of the meeting.

Less clear, however, is the impact this revolution will have on entire industries, regions and societies around the world. Will it be a force for good or evil? Will it provide new opportunities for all, or will it exacerbate inequalities?

Social media, for all the benefits it brings, makes it easier than ever before for terrorist organizations to spread their hateful messages, Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook told participants. We have already seen how the hateful and highly provocative messages in the Internet discussion groups and blogs could lead to the death of hateful preachers, founders and writers.

Perhaps, more frightening than a terrorist organization or a hateful website that spreads hatred around the globe with a global reach is the idea that the technology could one day lead to humanity’s demise. Already world-known experts are warning about the artificial intelligence (AI). Consider, e.g., Professor Stephen Hawking who warned last year that artificially intelligent machines could kill us because they are too clever. Such computers could become so competent that they kill us by accident, Hawking has warned. According to Angela Kane, Sr. Fellow of Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation, “The monopoly of the conduct of war could soon be taken out of the hands of humans.”

On the employment front, although the WEF has predicted that some 5 million jobs may be lost other experts paint a gloomier picture that there would be a global loss of 7.1 million jobs between 2015 and 2020.

How much is a contributing factor like economic inequality for such loss of jobs? You may recall my articleA Second Look at Pareto Principle – that was based on Oxfam report of last year. In that I shared the fact that in 2010, it took 388 billionaires to match the wealth of the bottom half of the earth’s population; by 2013, the figure had fallen to just 92 billionaires. It fell to 80 in 2014.

The latest report from Oxfam, “An Economy for the 1%”, now says that the richest 62 people have as much wealth as the bottom 50 percent of humanity — 3.6 billion people. The world’s wealthiest 62 people added US$542 billion to their net worth to raise it to $1.76 trillion from 2010 to 2015, an increase in their composite wealth of 44 percent. Meanwhile, the bottom half of humanity in terms of wealth lost $1 trillion from 2010 to 2015, a drop of 41 percent. The share of the global wealth increase since 2000 that has gone to the top 1% is 50 percent. The richest 1% now have more wealth than the rest (99%) of the world combined.

So, what was 80 last year has now shrunk to 62! Nothing probably illustrates the world’s incredible inequality better than this latest Oxfam report.

Are you aware that the CEO pay averaged 303 times that of the average worker in 2014? CEOs at the top US firms have seen their salaries increase by more than half (by 54.3%) since 2009, while ordinary wages have barely moved. The CEO of India’s top information technology firm makes 416 times the salary of a typical employee there. Although down from the 376-to-1 ratio of the peak stock-market bubble year of 2000 the current ratio is far bigger than earlier decades. Another way of putting all this in perspective is that CEO pay has risen 1,000 percent since 1979, while typical employee pay has risen 11 percent.

The average annual income of the poorest 10% of people in the world has risen by less than $3 each year in almost a quarter of a century. Their daily income has risen by less than a single cent every year. “Growing economic inequality is bad for us all – it undermines growth and social cohesion. Yet the consequences for the world’s poorest people are particularly severe,” the Oxfam report says. The fight against poverty will not be won until the inequality crisis is tackled. 

Power and privilege is being used to skew the economic system to increase the gap between the richest and the rest. A global network of tax havens further enables the richest individuals to hide $7.6 trillion, which is more than the combined GDP of the UK and Germany. Another estimate is $8.9 trillion. And this not limited to the global North — Oxfam calculates that Africa’s wealthiest have stashed $500 billion in tax havens: “Almost a third (30%) of rich Africans’ wealth … is held offshore in tax havens. It is estimated that this costs African countries $14bn a year in lost tax revenues. This is enough money to pay for healthcare that could save the lives of 4 million children and employ enough teachers to get every African child into school.”

Oxfam analyzed 200 companies, including the world’s biggest and the World Economic Forum’s strategic partners, and has found that 9 out of 10 companies analyzed have a presence in at least one tax haven. In 2014, corporate investment in these tax havens was almost four times bigger than it was in 2001.

The banking sector remains at the heart of the tax haven system; the majority of offshore wealth is managed by just 50 big banks.

Tax avoidance has rightly been described as ‘an abuse of human rights’ and ‘a form of corruption that hurts the poor’. “There will be no end to the inequality crisis until world leaders end the era of tax havens once and for all,” Oxfam recommends.

As taxes go unpaid due to widespread avoidance, government budgets feel the pinch, which in turn leads to cuts in vital public services. It also means governments increasingly rely on indirect taxation, like VAT, which falls disproportionately on the poorest people. Tax avoidance is a problem that is rapidly getting worse.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently found that countries with higher income inequality also tend to have larger gaps between women and men in terms of health, education, labor market participation, and representation in institutions like parliaments. The gender pay gap was also found to be higher in more unequal societies. It is worth noting that 53 of the world’s richest 62 people are men. Women hold just 24 of the CEO positions at Fortune 500 companies. 

Inequality is also compounded by the power of companies to use monopoly and intellectual property to skew the market in their favor, forcing out competitors and driving up prices for ordinary people. Pharmaceutical companies spent more than $228 million in 2014 on lobbying in Washington.

The report further states that the financial sector has grown most rapidly in recent decades, and now accounts for one in five billionaires. In this sector, the gap between salaries and rewards, and actual value added to the economy is larger than in any other.

In the garment sector, firms are consistently using their dominant position to insist on poverty wages. Between 2001 and 2011, wages for garment workers in most of the world’s 15 leading apparel-exporting countries, including Bangladesh, fell in real terms.

Here are some other important findings. Oxfam has recently demonstrated that while the poorest people live in areas most vulnerable to climate change, the poorest half of the global population are responsible for only around 10% of total global emissions. The average footprint of the richest 1% globally could be as much as 175 times that of the poorest 10%.

Bottom line: our current economic system – the economy for the 1% – is broken, says the Oxfam report. “The current system did not come about by accident; it is the result of deliberate policy choices, of our leaders listening to the 1% and their supporters rather than acting in the interests of the majority. It is time to reject this broken economic model.”

How to fix this broken system? Oxfam suggests that our world leaders come to the side of the majority and not the super rich, and bring a halt to the inequality crisis. Its recommendations are:
  • Pay workers a living wage and close the gap with executive rewards;
  • Promote women’s economic equality and women’s rights;
  • Keep the influence of powerful elites in check;
  • Change the global system for R&D and the pricing of medicines so that everyone has access to appropriate and affordable medicines;
  • Share the tax burden fairly to level the playing field;
  • Use progressive public spending to tackle inequality;
  • As a priority, Oxfam is calling on all world leaders to agree a global approach to end the era of tax havens.

How serious are our world leaders to fix our broken economic system that is widening the inequality and creating global problems in all sectors from migration to climate? Or, more importantly, are they prepared for the job? After all, what we will require is a "holistic" style of leadership, which views today's global challenges as inherently connected, as rightly pointed out by Professor Klaus Schwab. 

Leadership in the fourth industrial revolution needs to be bold, brave and based on real action and not empty slogans. As long as we fail on that account the annual WEF meetings in Davos will only be viewed as a forum for the rich and not the silent majority.

Myanmar’s ethnic cleansing leaves the world’s hands filthy

Nicholas Kristof has written several times over the years about the brutalization of the Rohingya. For some readers the Rohingya people and their sufferings seem obscure and remote. Why worry about a distant people when there are so many crises in our own backyard? Kristof shares the story of Jano Begum, 22, and her husband, Robi Alom, 30, who are among the more than 1 million Muslims who belong to the Rohingya minority in Myanmar, subjected to an ethnic cleansing that a Yale study suggests may amount to genocide. He wants us to put ourselves in Jano’s situation, as she sits in a hut in a concentration camp here, and think how far you would go to save your spouse. "How much should you sacrifice to save your husband’s life?," asks Kristof. "And how much hardship do you inflict on your son to rescue your husband?"
Those are the questions Jano Begum faced. 
You can read Kristof's article by clicking here.

Interview of Wai Wai Nu - a Rohingya woman of courage against Buddhist fascism

Wai Wai Nu was an 18-year-old girl studying law when the Burmese authorities took her, her mom, and her sister to a private place where authorities could question them about the activities of her father Kyaw Min, who they had taken to jail two months prior. Kyaw Min was a Rohingya politician who had won 1990 election from the Rakhine (Arakan) state. The results of those elections, successfully led by Aung San Suu Kyi of the National League for Democracy, however, were ignored by the military that ruled Myanmar. Shortly thereafter, Min faced harassment so fierce it forced him to move his family from their home in Western Myanmar’s Rakhine State to Yangon, the former capital and the country’s largest city.
Wai Wai would spend the next seven years in the prison. Her crime? She and her family are Rohingya, an ethnic Muslim minority in a country, which I have been calling the worst den of hatred and intolerance in our time - with many Buddhist leaders who wield a military-backed, anti-Muslim Theravada Buddhism perhaps best described as a form of ethno-religious fascism.
Wai Wai was recently interviewed by a reporter from the WNN, which was supported by the Daniel Pearl Investigative Journalism Initiative. Like many hopefuls, she believes that she would see a change for the better under Suu Kyi's rule. 
Is it going to be a wishful dream or a reality in 2016? 
I pray and hope for the latter.
You can read the full text of the interview by clicking here.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Pete Dolack on World Economic Forum in Davos

Pete Dolack writes the Systemic Disorder blog. He has written a must-read article on the Davos World Economic Forum. This article can be accessed by clicking here. Here below are some salient points he argues about.

The world’s rulers are getting together at their biggest bash of the year, the World Economic Forum. Prime ministers and other high government officials will also be in attendance.
The theme for this year’s Forum, which began on January 20 at its usual home in Davos, Switzerland, is said to be “Mastering the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”
It  is expected that there would be a global loss of 7.1 million jobs between 2015 and 2020. How much is a contributing factor like economic inequality for such loss of jobs? You may recall my article based on Oxfam report. Nothing illustrates the world’s incredible inequality better than the Oxfam report, “An Economy for the 1%.” Oxfam researchers calculate that the richest 62 people have as much wealth as the bottom 50 percent of humanity — 3.6 billion people! Among other conclusions, Oxfam reports:
  • The world’s wealthiest 62 people added US$542 billion to their net worth from 2010 to 2015, an increase in their composite wealth of 44 percent.
  • The bottom half of humanity in terms of wealth lost $1 trillion from 2010 to 2015, a drop of 41 percent.
  • The share of the global wealth increase since 2000 that has gone to the top 1% is 50 percent.
Are you aware that the CEO pay averaged 303 times that of the average worker in 2014? Although down from the 376-to-1 ratio of the peak stock-market bubble year of 2000, the current ratio is far bigger than earlier decades. Another way of putting all this in perspective is that CEO pay has risen 1,000 percent since 1979, while typical employee pay has risen 11 percent.
The financial industry acts as both a whip and a parasite in relation to productive capital (producers and merchants of tangible goods and services). It is a “whip” because its institutions bid up or drive down prices, and do so strictly according to their own interests. The financial industry is also a “parasite” because its ownership of stocks, bonds and other instruments entitles it to skim off massive amounts of money as its share of the profits. Financial speculators don’t make tangible products; they trade, buy and sell stocks, bonds, currencies and other securities, continually inventing new instruments to profit off virtually every aspect of commercial activity. An International Labour Organization paper found that the financial industry’s share of corporate profits doubled over the course of the 1990s and 2000s, reaching 44 percent of all corporate profits in 2002.
Consider also the fact that one of the most important reasons for increasing disparity is the use of tax havens. One estimate of the amount of money that is stashed in tax havens was $7.6 trillion at the end of 2014 — more than the combined gross domestic product of Britain and Germany. Another estimate is $8.9 trillion. And this not limited to the global North — Oxfam calculates that Africa’s wealthiest have stashed $500 billion in tax havens:
“Almost a third (30%) of rich Africans’ wealth … is held offshore in tax havens. It is estimated that this costs African countries $14bn a year in lost tax revenues. This is enough money to pay for healthcare that could save the lives of 4 million children and employ enough teachers to get every African child into school.”
Dolack concludes: “Let no billionaire be unheard” would seem to be a far more accurate slogan for the World Economic Forum to adopt."

How the West Creates Terrorism

Andre Vltchek is a philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. His latest books are: “Exposing Lies Of The Empire” and Fighting Against Western Imperialism
Discussion with Noam Chomsky: On Western TerrorismPoint of No Return is his critically acclaimed political novel. Oceania – is another book on Western imperialism in the South Pacific. He has posted an article - How the West Creates Terrorism in the, which is worth reading.

Blackmailing the USA!

Remember Jonathan Pollard, the American spy who leaked sensitive defense and national security info to Israel? He was serving a long prison term, until, of course, lately. He has been a free man for a few months. He is well settled now inside Israel. It was done in a hush-hush way. Obama had to cave into Israeli decade-long demand to release him. With friends like that we don't need too many enemies!
Yes, the pariah state knows how to blackmail us too well.  Benjamin Netanyahu was in Davos. There, the Israeli Prime Minister told the World Economic Forum in Davos on Thursday that his country will need more US military aid because of the nuclear deal with Iran. Israel is currently negotiating a new 10-year military aid package with Washington that it says will need to grow beyond the $3.1 billion yearly currently provided by the United States.

The figure excludes US spending on projects including Israel's Iron Dome missile defence system.

Netanyahu, whose country is the sole nuclear power in the Middle East, though it has never declared it, strongly opposed the accord and labelled it a "historic mistake."
With the Israel-first 'Amen Corner' inside the Capitol Hill it does not need too much patting on the shoulder to get what it wants. And I am sure the US government will again comply with Netanyahu's request, esp. coming as it does in an election year.

Well, now the convicted spy Pollard appears to be groomed for delivering a series of speeches in public gatherings inside Israel. Next week, he will wear a Shabbat-friendly electronic monitoring bracelet and will discuss the status of his legal battle with Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish American Organizations.  Here is the latest info on the subject.

Israeli Settlers Seize Key West Bank Buildings

The news report below is shared from Jason Ditz.
Though aides to Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon insisted that the “purchases” were almost certainly illegal, Israeli military forces were deployed to the West Bank city of Hebron to crack down on Palestinians who protested the settler takeover of buildings near an important religious site. Several Palestinians were hospitalized.
Dozens of settlers showed up in Hebron this afternoon, breaking into a pair of buildings they claimed to have purchased, and have declared “Beit Rachel” and “Beit Leah.” The apartment buildings were vacant, but there was no indication that the settlers had any permit to buy land in a Palestinian city.
The proximity of the apartments of the Cave of the Patriarchs, also known as al-Ibrahimi Mosque, adds to the tension, as the site is religiously important to both Muslims and Jews. The Israeli Defense Ministry is said to be undecided yet on allowing the occupation of the buildings to continue.
Takeovers of buildings in Palestinian cities by settler groups tend to be extremely onerous for the Defense Ministry, which ends up having to send massive amounts of military force into those cities to defend a handful of settlers with likely dubious legal basis for the property in the first place.
That said, Israel’s far-right government will almost certainly pressure Ya’alon to allow the occupations to continue, with Likud Minister Zeev Elkin cheering the takeovers as “the appropriate answer to murderous Palestinian terrorism.”

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

HRW: Businesses in Israeli settlements 'contribute to rights abuses'

Companies operating in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank contribute to "an inherently unlawful and abusive system" violating Palestinian rights and should halt activity there, Human Rights Watch said Tuesday. The new report from the US-based rights group describes Israeli policies in the West Bank that lead to government support of settlements, the "unlawful confiscation" of Palestinian land and denial of permits to Palestinians.
For the full text of the news, click here.

UKs Terrorism Act violates fundamental rights of free press

A BRITISH APPEALS COURT has ruled that the United Kingdom’s broad counterterrorism laws breach fundamental rights in a case involving the seizure of encrypted documents from David Miranda, the partner of Intercept co-founder Glenn Greenwald, at a London airport in 2013.
For the full text of the news report, click here.

Crimes of the Iraqi Kurdis

With villages on the front lines endlessly changing hands between ISIS and the Kurdish Peshmerga in northern Iraq, the Kurds have at times seen these villages as a liability, forcing them to spread their forces thinner to defend, and widening the front lines.
A new report from Amnesty International, however, suggests the Peshmerga’s “solution” to this problem is increasingly to just burn Arab villages they capture to the ground, expelling the population, and accusing them of being “pro-ISIS.”
If they weren’t pro-ISIS before, burning their villages to ground certainly is going to do the trick, and the Amnesty report suggested thousands of homes have been destroyed to make sure that the displaced have no homes to return to.
Incredibly, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) doesn’t appear to be denying the report at all, insisting simply that in expelling the Arabs “we are taking back some of what was ours,” with officials openly talking about chasing enough Arabs out of the area around Sinjar to ensure that after the war it is dominated by Kurds and Yazidis exclusively.
Of course, the mass destruction of civilian homes and the forcible transfer of populations are both huge violations of international law, but the KRG appears to believe that, so long as they are at the fore of the ISIS war, they can get away with about anything.
The ISIS war has served as an opportunity for the KRG to dramatically expand its territory across Iraq. In the wake of the fall of Mosul to ISIS, the Peshmerga quickly moved in to oil-rich Tikrit, and KRG officials have ruled out ever returning the city to Iraq.
The expansion of the KRG’s territory seems to be setting the stage for the Kurds to secede outright from Iraq after the war, and with the US throwing an ever-growing array of weapons at the KRG “to fight ISIS,” they are also laying the foundation for an independent Kurdistan, and one which seems to be increasingly centered on the notion of ethnic cleansing.
Click here for the original news source.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Suu Kyi will be measured for her willingness to tackle the Rohingya issue

When Suu Kyi's NLD takes control of the central government of Myanmar, it has many pressing issues to tackle. Some insincere advisers and analysts have tried to belittle the Rohingya suffering. But as Nicholas Kristof and other more conscientious analysts and reporters have suggested the Rohingya crisis should be high in her agenda. Suzanne Nossel has written an article in the FP where she echoes Kristof's views: "Having done nothing to challenge analysts who have chalked up her silence on the Rohingya question to a pre-election political calculus, Aung San Suu Kyi will be measured — particularly by the West — for her willingness to tackle it now that the polling is past. This will involve speaking frankly about the conflicts in the state of Rakhine, where most of the Rohingya live, mobilizing a range of stakeholders — including the Rakhine population and leaders from Rohingya communities — to contribute to a solution, becoming more outspoken in rejecting Buddhist extremism, and working to connect with and mobilize moderate Buddhist voices."
In spite of her inexcusable moral failure to stand up in support of the Rohingya people, deemed rightly as the most persecuted people in our time, Aung San Suu Kyi remains a singular figure whose popularity transcends politics and policy.
When such popular political figures are exposed to a grave crisis as her country now faces after half a century of military dictatorship, history shows that they either have passed the test of leadership by becoming leaders like Nelson Mandela or  have failed the test by destroying their image as Lech Walesa.
The coming days will show what path Suu Kyi follows. I personally hope that she chooses to become a Mandela and not a Walesa.
You can read her article by clicking here.

Turning rubbish into gold

Mostafa Hemdan is making a good living turning rubbish into gold, but success has not come without hurdles. The 25-year-old is founder of Egyptian company Recyclobekia, one of the first businesses in the Middle East to recycle electronic waste. You can read his story by clicking here.

NYT's Double Standard on Iran’s Nuclear Program

New York Times has not always been truthful or unbiased. Esp. when it comes to Iran, its editorial board has been guilty of parroting Netanyahu's talking points. Matt Peppe has written an article on NY Times' double standard, which can be viewed by clicking  here.

Israel has legal double standard in West Bank

U.S. ambassador confesses that Israel has legal double standard in West Bank. Speaking at the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) conference in Tel Aviv, Dan Shapiro said "Too much Israeli vigilantism in the West Bank goes on unchecked," adding that "there is a lack of thorough investigations… at times it seems Israel has two standards of adherence to rule of law in the West Bank - one for Israelis and one for Palestinians."
Shapiro added that the two-state solution is the only way to prevent Israel from turning into a bi-national state, and said a way must be found to preserve its viability. He noted that the American administration is "concerned and perplexed" in wake of the Israeli government's policy on the settlements, "which raise questions about Israeli intentions."
Shapiro's comments are the latest in a string of critical remarks voiced by the U.S at the Israeli government. Two weeks ago, the U.S. said it was "deeply concerned" after Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon approved the establishment of a new settlement inside a church compound in the West Bank, State Department Spokesman John Kirby said during a press briefing.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Refusing to Choose Between Martin Luther King and Malcolm X

"2015 was not only a year of fear, brutality and injustice, it was a year of sustained resistance that honored not only a strong national Black radical politics of organizing, but also helped cultivate a new and thriving, nonviolent international movement for Black Liberation," says Matt Meyer with two co-authors in a recent essay, which can be accessed by clicking Here.

Covering War at Home Costs a Yemeni His Life

Saudi Arabia's bombing campaigns inside Yemen have made the necessary difference for her anti-Houthi power block. Tens of thousands of innocent civilians have died as a result of such reckless bombing campaigns. 
Covering of war fronts is always a very dangerous task. Many journalists and photographers have died trying to cover such stories of human tragedy. 
The latest casualty is a Yemeni journalist Almigdad Mojalli who had documented countless scenes of trauma and destruction, even as the conflict was largely ignored by the outside world. His articles, on homes demolished by airstrikes or hospitals deprived of medicine, were published in American and British media.
On Sunday, while on assignment for Voice of America, Mr. Mojalli traveled with colleagues outside the capital, Sana, to find witnesses to airstrikes that had killed at least 15 civilians last week. But when they arrived, warplanes with the Saudi-led military coalition began circling overhead, according to Abdulbari al-Sumaei, Mr. Mojalli’s driver.
A bomb landed near Mr. Mojalli, spraying shrapnel into his stomach, neck and face, Mr. Sumaei said. After wrapping his wounds with a scarf, Mr. Mojalli’s colleagues tried to get him medical attention, passing poorly stocked clinics that were unable to treat him, until they finally reached a hospital back in Sana. By then, Mr. Mojalli was dead.
He had been among the dwindling number of journalists reporting on a conflict in urgent need of witnesses. Nearly a year after the war began between Houthi rebels and forces allied with the government of President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, more than 80 percent of the country needs some form of humanitarian assistance, according to the United Nations.
You can read the full text of the news by clicking here.

Jewish extremists vandalize Jerusalem's Dormition Abbey in Jerusalem

Jewish vandals, likely religious right-wing extremists, vandalized Jerusalem's Dormition Abbey overnight Saturday. The Benedictine monastery abutting the walls of Jerusalem's Old City has been the target of repeated anti-Christian vandalism and in February 2015. The vandals wrote anti-Christian slogans on the edifice's walls and doors using red and black markers. These included: "Christians to Hell", "May his name be obliterated" (a supposed Hebrew acronym of Jesus' name in Hebrew), "Death to the heathen Christians the enemies of Israel", etc.
Jerusalem's Old City, which Israel captured in the 1967 war and annexed in a move not recognized abroad, has been on heightened security alert during a months-long wave of Palestinian street violence, with wall-to-wall security camera coverage and paramilitary police patrols.
Here is the link to the news. Here is another link.

Israeli weapons aid potential genocides in Myanmar and Burundi

Israel is an apartheid country with different sets of laws for her indigenous Palestinians. Since her illegitimate birth in 1948, she has always been following a colonial plan to expand her territories while dehumanizing the conquered people who now have become a minority as a result of the Zionist state's policy of Jewish influx and Palestinian forced exodus. 
Just like the birds of the same feather, colonial enterprises like to flock together. It was no accident that the rogue state was a major partner of the apartheid state of South Africa, arming her to her teeth, before world sanctions and divestment forced the latter to change its apartheid course. 
So, I am not surprised to find out that the Zionist state has been a major arms supplier to the murderous Myanmar regime since the 1990s. Those weapons have been responsible for much of bloodshed, mayhem and destruction in ethnic/ minority territories of Myanmar. 
According to a 2000 report in the London-based publication Jane’s Intelligence Review, throughout the 1990s Israel sold 9mm Uzi submachine guns and 155mm Soltam towed howitzers to Myanmar.
Meanwhile, Israel’s Mossad espionage and assassination agency provided training to its Myanmar counterparts and former Israeli army officers “provided training to Myanmar’s elite counter-terrorist squad.” Elbit Systems upgraded Myanmar’s F-7 fighter jets.
Israeli military ties with Myanmar continued into the next decade, with Israel reportedly selling 150 Brazilian EE-9 Cascavel tanks to Myanmar in 2005.

Israeli arms sales to the African nation of Burundi have also continued despite that country’s recent descent into violence. Eitay Mack, an Israeli human rights lawyer dedicated to exposing Israel’s weapons exports to abusive regimes, wrote a letter last month urging Israel’s defense ministry to halt the weapons flow to Burundi. “Israel has been involved in events in Burundi for years,” Mack observed. “In the vicious civil war in the 1990s, Israelis both trained forces and supplied weapons.”
You can find out more by clicking here.