Archive for February 26, 2012

Sun Aug 28, 2011

A newly established political front has strongly rejected the notion of establishing permanent US military bases in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan’s Unity Front, which is made up of people from all walks of life, declared its existence on Sunday.

A spokesman for the group has said that the permanent presence of foreign troops in Afghanistan runs counter to the country’s independence and national pride.

The stance comes after several senior congressman called for permanent US military bases in the war-ravaged country.

Moreover, a recently published report said that the US was trying to reach an agreement with the Afghan government that would allow thousands of American forces to remain in the war-torn country at least until 202.

About 150,000 NATO troops are currently fighting in Afghanistan with plans to stay in the country beyond 2014.

This is while US President Barack Obama had pledged a major drawdown from Afghanistan by July 2011. Experts have described the new transition dates as a devastating truth for Americans.

Analysts say the US is looking for an excuse to expand its military operations in the troubled South and central Asian regions to secure bases near Russia and China.

Source: PressTV.

Sun Aug 28, 2011

Yemeni people have held demonstrations in the northern city of Sa’ada to voice their support for the Palestinians as they commemorate the International Quds Day.

Large crowds of people poured in their thousands into the streets of the Houthi stronghold on Friday in a show of solidarity with Palestinians.

The demonstrators condemned Israeli violations of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories and called for an end to what their called Israeli crimes against Palestinians.

The Yemeni protesters shouted slogans against the United States and Israel.

Similar rallies were also held across Yemen, including the capital of Sana’a, where protesters renewed their call for the downfall of Ali Abdullah Saleh’s regime.

Hundreds of thousands of people have turned out for regular demonstrations in Yemen’s major cities since January, calling for an end to corruption and unemployment, and demanding the ouster of Saleh, who has been in power since 1978.

Hundreds of protesters have been killed and many more injured in the regime’s brutal crackdown on Yemen’s popular uprising.

Meanwhile, Saleh is still convalescing in Saudi Arabia, where he travelled for medical treatment for the injuries he sustained in an attack on his presidential palace on June 3.

In August 1979, late Founder of the Islamic Republic Grand Ayatollah Rouhollah Khomeini declared the last Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan as the International Quds Day.

The initiative calls on Muslims across the world to mark the annual occasion by holding street rallies in protest at Israel’s occupation of the Palestinians’ homeland.

Source: PressTV.

Sun Aug 28, 2011

Lebanon has sent its first consignment of humanitarian assistance to famine-hit Somalia as millions are on the brink of starvation.

The consignment, comprising rice, sugar, flour, baby milk, and medical supplies, arrived in the Somali capital Mogadishu on Friday, Lebanon’s The Daily Star reported on Saturday.

The campaign to help Somali famine refugees was launched jointly by the Lebanese government’s Higher Relief Committee, Lebanon’s Health Ministry, and the country’s Dar al-Fatwa Endowment Fund.

Drought and famine have affected more than 11.8 million people across Somalia, Kenya, and Ethiopia. Somalia has been the hardest-hit country in what is being described as the worst drought in the Horn of Africa in 60 years.

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

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

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

“This means that 10 per cent of children under five are dying every 11 weeks. These figures are truly heart-wrenching,” UN representative to Somalia Augustine Mahiga told the UN Security Council on August 10.

Somalia has not had a functioning government since 1991, when warlords overthrew former dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.

Source: PressTV.

Fri Aug 26, 2011

As people across the world rally in support of Palestinians, thousands of anti-Israel protesters have taken to the streets in several Saudi Arabian cities and mark the International Quds Day.

Protesters in the town of Awamiyah in the al-Qatif region in the eastern province of the Middle Eastern country have burned the Israeli flag on Friday, witnesses said.

Protesters in the eastern city of Qatif have called on all citizens of the city to join the international rally.

Anti-Israeli protesters also voiced their support for the people of Bahrain and condemned their government for aiding the Al Khalifa regime’s brutal crackdown on peaceful Bahraini protesters.

Saudi Arabia’s east has been the scene of protests over the past months and authorities have arrested scores of people, including bloggers and writers for taking part in anti-government demonstrations.

According to Human Rights Watch, more than 160 dissidents have been arrested since February in the Saudi crackdown on anti-government protesters.

The last Friday of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan was declared as the International Quds Day by the late founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Rouhollah Khomeini, in August 1979.

Millions of people around the world come out on this day to show support for the people of Palestine and to call for an end to Israel’s illegal occupation of the Palestinian territories.

Source: PressTV.

Baghdad (AFP)
Aug 28, 2011

Iraq’s cabinet approved a draft oil and gas law on Sunday in a bid to finally pass rules regulating the country’s most lucrative sector after years of political deadlock.

The law would govern the sector and divide responsibility between Baghdad and Iraq’s provinces but despite the lack of such guidelines, foreign investors have still poured in, signing 11 contracts to potentially boost the country’s oil output five-fold.

The cabinet “approved the draft oil and gas law and transferred it to parliament,” government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said in a statement, adding the draft law “voids all previous draft laws” on the issue.

The oil and gas, or hydrocarbons, law has been repeatedly delayed since it was first submitted to parliament in 2007. It has been held up due to disagreements between MPs from the country’s many different communities.

Despite the lack of such a law, foreign firms have signed multiple deals to develop Iraq’s oil fields.

Iraq currently produces around 2.7 million barrels of oil per day (bpd), and domestic authorities are targeting a capacity of 12 million bpd by 2017, although the IMF has voiced doubts over whether that target is obtainable.

Oil accounts for the lion’s share of government income, with Iraq exporting around 2.2 million bpd.

Source: Energy-Daily.


Up to 1,000 male and female expatriates have converted to Islam since start of the holy month of Ramadan, said the Director General of the Islamic Presentation Committee on Sunday.

Jamal Al-Shatti, in a statement to KUNA, said the conversion of this large number of people to Islam “was a dream that has come true.

“We have exerted tremendous efforts to make this dream turn into reality, and this has been accomplished as a result of the support of the natives of Kuwait.” The committee offers a variety of religious educational services for new advocates of Islam; such as religious and Arabic language curricula.

The Kuwaiti authority seeks to promote Islam through dialogue, persuasion and logic.
The committee has succeeded in persuading up to 53,000 non-Muslims to convert to the religion since its launch in 1978.

Al-Shatti urged all nationals to support the committee.

Source: Indians in Kuwait.

Sun, 28/08/2011

Jordan’s energy czar says his country will sign an agreement with Egypt next month to resume natural gas supplies.

Energy Minister Khaled Toukan says several attacks this year on Egypt’s pipeline delivering the fuel may prompt Jordan to look for alternatives, but Jordan will now try to use Egyptian gas to meet its energy needs.

Toukan said Sunday the agreement stipulates higher costs, but declined to say how much.

Jordan depends on Egyptian gas to generate 80 percent of its electricity. The resource-poor country has resorted to heavy fuel and diesel to keep national power plants running. The shift cost Jordan $4.2 million a day.

Source: Egypt Independent.

Mon Aug 29, 2011

Bahraini anti-regime protesters have rejected King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa’s decision to pardon the demonstrators who were arrested during the country’s popular uprising.

The protesters took to the streets immediately after the king’s televised speech on Sunday, blaming him for the brutal crackdown on the peaceful demonstrations.

King Hamad said in his speech that he would “dismiss charges against some of the detained protesters and allow compensation to prisoners abused by security forces.”

He also promised to reinstate employees and students who have been dismissed for participating in anti-regime protests.

Thousands of employees lost their jobs in punishment for supporting the protests. Some of the students were denied scholarships to study abroad.

The Bahraini king’s remarks come more than six months after his regime launched a Saudi-backed crackdown on peaceful demonstrations.

Meanwhile, a special security court on Sunday resumed the trial of 20 doctors and nurses accused of treating injured anti-government protesters. The court adjourned until September 7, when it will begin hearing defense witnesses.

Thousands of anti-government protesters in Bahrain have been holding peaceful demonstrations since mid-February, demanding an end to the Al Khalifa dynasty.

Source: PressTV.

Mon Aug 29, 2011

Saudi-backed Bahraini forces have attacked anti-government protesters after the demonstrators took to the streets across the Persian Gulf sheikdom to protest a speech by the Bahraini king.

Thousands of anti-regime protesters took to the streets across Bahrain on Sunday shortly after the country’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa delivered a televised speech calling for national unity in a bid to bring normality back to the country.

The protesters rejected the king’s decision announced by him during his speech to pardon some of the anti-government protesters detained during the popular uprising in the country.

The anti-government protesters also accused the Bahraini king of ordering the brutal crackdown on the peaceful demonstrations in Bahrain, demanding an end to the rule of Al Khalifa dynasty.

Activists said the protests lasted into Monday morning and that regime forces fired tear gas and stun grenades to disperse the crowds in several regions including Sitra, where several people were also injured by the forces.

During his Sunday speech, the Bahraini king also said that he would “allow compensation to prisoners abused by security forces.”

The Bahraini ruler promised to reinstate employees and students who were dismissed for taking part in anti-regime protests.

He said, however, that the protest-related trials will continue in the tiny Persian Gulf sheikdom.

King Hamad’s remarks come more than six months after the Manama regime launched a brutal Saudi-backed crackdown on protests, killing scores of demonstrators and injuring hundreds far.

Source: PressTV.

Mon Aug 29, 2011

Over 10,000 out of an estimated 50,000 plus political prisoners held in fugitive Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi’s jails have been freed by fighters since the collapse of the capital Tripoli, an official says.

Ahmed Omar Bani, spokesman for the revolutionary forces, expressed deep concerns about the remaining tens of thousands the whereabouts of whom is not known yet, AFP reported.

“Many people in Tripoli are now discovering mass graves around former detention centers and Abu Salim prison,” said Bani.

The spokesperson also urged people to come forward with any information on prisoners, “or they will be considered complicit in these crimes.”

Abu Salim prison is a top security prison in the Libyan capital, which has often been described as “notorious.”

Source: PressTV.