India at its worst. Stay away from Uttar Pradesh!

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दूर उत्तर प्रदेश से दूर रहो!   “Stay away from Uttar Pradesh!”

by Alan Simons

The picture below was published yesterday by OneIndia News. I thought carefully about whether to publish it, or remain silent.  Then, I remembered the quote made famous by Helen Keller: “Science may have found a cure for most evils; but it has found no remedy for the worst of them all — the apathy of human beings.”

“On an average 10 rapes are reported everyday in Uttar Pradesh, a senior police official said today quoting National Crime Record Bureau data.”

These days too many of us lower our eyes and remain silent on issues that we would prefer to remain at arm’s length, especially those which occur in a part of the world far away from our cultural abode. Yet, sometimes something shakes us up and awakens us. Be it in lawless Pakistan – Tarek Fatah, the Canadian author, has coined it “Darkistan” –  at the stoning of a bride by her own family and then finding out the bride’s husband had killed his first wife to marry her. Or now in Badaun, India, at the gang rape and hangings of two teenage girls, in a state most of us have never heard of called Uttar Pradesh. Yet, although these two stories reflect societies that value nothing of life as I know it, reading the news report below disturbed me so much that I felt the need to share my anguish.

Here’s some of what the Press Association had to say about the murdered teenage girls:

Two police officers who failed to investigate the disappearance of two teenage girls in India who were gang-raped and later found hanging from a tree have been fired.

The firings came as the top official in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, where the incident took place, mocked journalists for asking about the attack.

“Aren’t you safe? You’re not facing any danger, are you?” Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav said in Lucknow, the state capital. “Then why are you worried? What’s it to you?”

The gang rape, with video of the cousins’ bodies hanging from a mango tree, was the top story on India’s 24-hour news stations. But over the past few days, Uttar Pradesh has also seen the mother of a rape victim attacked and a 17-year-old girl gang-raped by four men…

Official statistics say about 25,000 rapes are committed every year in India, a nation of 1.2 billion people. But activists say that number is very low, since women are often pressed by family or police to stay quiet about sexual assaults.

While sexual assaults are reported across India, there have been a string of high-profile attacks in just the past few days in Uttar Pradesh. Uttar Pradesh is a state located in northern India. It was created on 1 April 1937 as the United Provinces, and was renamed Uttar Pradesh in 1950.

On Thursday, police arrested three men for brutally attacking the mother of a rape victim after she refused to withdraw her complaint.

The attack, in the town of Etawah, followed the May 11 rape of the woman’s teenage daughter. A local man was arrested after the mother filed a complaint with authorities.

Five men, including the father, a brother and a cousin of the man accused in the rape, followed the victim’s mother away from her house on Monday and beat her, demanding she drop the accusation, said Dinesh Kumar, the town’s police superintendent. The mother was in critical condition in a hospital, with numerous broken bones and internal injuries.

Police arrested three men on Thursday for the attack and were looking for two others.

On Wednesday, a 17-year-old woman was attacked in a field and raped by four men in southwestern Uttar Pradesh. One man has been arrested.

(Credit of content, in part: PA | Photo: One India News)

Thank God there’s an Israel!

بفضل الله، هناك إسرائيل

 

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BBC excludes Israel, CNN fabricates, Christian Zionists lobby +++

What Others Are Saying. The Week In Review

BBC report conceals Israel’s part in Kenya’s forensic team 

BBC, UK: Kenya’s investigation into a bloody siege by Islamist militants in Nairobi has been joined by experts from the US, UK, Germany, Canada and Interpol. Forensic experts are combing the Westgate shopping complex for DNA, fingerprints and ballistic clues, said Interior Minister Joseph Ole Lenku.

CNN Fabricates Iranian President’s Remarks about Holocaust

Fars News Agency, Iran:  American news channel CNN fabricated the remarks made by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in response to the network’s question about the Holocaust. The CNN aired its interview with Rouhani on Tuesday but the news channel added to or changed parts of his remarks when Christiane Amanpour asked him about the Holocaust. Here is the exact English translation of President Rouhani’s remarks: 

“I have said before that I am not a historian and historians should specify, state and explain the aspects of historical events, but generally we fully condemn any kind of crime committed against humanity throughout the history, including the crime committed by the Nazis both against the Jews and non-Jews, the same way that if today any crime is committed against any nation or any religion or any people or any belief, we condemn that crime and genocide. Therefore, what the Nazis did is condemned, (but) the aspects that you talk about, clarification of these aspects is a duty of the historians and researchers, I am not a history scholar.”

Syria: Govt has ‘sophisticated’ arms that could ‘blind’ Israel claims Assad

AKI, Italy: The Syrian government possesses non-chemical weapons that are so sophisticated they they could “blind” neighbouring Israel, authoritarian president Bashar al-Assad was cited as saying on Thursday. “During the 1980s, we manufactured chemical weapons as a deterrent to nuclear-armed Israel,” Assad told al-Akhbar daily. “Now these are no longer a deterrent. Today, we have more important and sophisticated weapons capable of blinding Israel in an instant,” he claimed. The real objective of the United States and its allies is not Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal but to alter the regional balance of power and protect Israel, Assad argued. Syria’s decision to hand over its chemical weapons to the international community to be destroyed is has caused Washington and other capitals “embarrassment” he stated. “Now the ball is in their court,” Assad said, adding that western powers would save Syria considerable funds by collecting and destroying its chemical arms. “We have thousands of tonnes of chemical weapons, which are a burden for us. Destroying them would cost us a huge amount of money and time.”

The Christian Zionists Lobby Has Returned

Palestine Chronicle:  Jerusalemites have no doubt witnessed an increased Christian Zionist presence on the streets in the last few days. Indeed, more than 6,000 Christian Zionists have returned to Israel for their annul “Feast of Tabernacles Conference.” This is the largest non-Jewish and non-Islamic conference in Jerusalem, and is organized by the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem (ICEJ). These ICEJ Christian Zionists have descended upon Jerusalem from over 60 international states. They follow a foundationally American version of Pentecostalism and Evangelicalism, sects whose missionaries have penetrated the four corners of the Earth to become the fastest growing religious movement in the world. Many Palestinians are familiar with the Christian Zionists’ central prophecies: (1) an imminent return of Christ; (2) the war to end all wars at Tel Megiddo; and (3) the millennial reign of Christ from the Third Temple.

Twin terror strike in Jammu [India] kills 10

Hindustan Times, India:  Three terrorists believed to have freshly infiltrated from Pakistan on Thursday stormed a police station and then an army camp in Jammu, killing 10 people, before being shot dead by elite army forces, three days ahead of a dialogue between Indian and Pakistani prime ministers. Director general of police Ashok Prasad said the terrorists wearing army fatigues boarded an auto-rickshaw at gun point from Hariya Chuk graveyard in village Jhandi, barely a kilometer from the international border, and asked the driver Roshan Lal to take them to the army camp at Hiranagar. Unable to locate the camp, the militants first hurled grenades and then stormed the police station – close to the international border with Pakistan – killing four officials. They also gunned down the owner of a PCO nearby.

Nuns, orphans trapped in Maalula, Syria

Arab News, Saudi Arabia: Nearly 40 nuns and orphans are trapped inside a convent in the Syrian Christian town of Maalula, where regime troops are battling rebel forces, the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate said Tuesday. The famed town, where residents still speak Aramaic, the language Jesus Christ is thought to have spoken, has been the scene of clashes since earlier this month. “The Mar Takla convent is living through painful days because it is in the middle of the zone where fire is being exchanged, which makes getting supplies difficult and dangerous,” the Damascus-based Patriarchate said in a statement. “The generator has gone out because of the fighting, halting the supply of water to the convent and threatening the lives of those inside,” the statement added. It issued an “urgent appeal” to humanitarian groups to “ensure the necessary supplies to residents of the convent, nuns and orphans who number close 40 people.”

Christians protest in Pakistan streets after mass murder

Church Times, UK: Crosses were held aloft, tires were burned, and roads were blocked in cities across Pakistan this week, as Christians demanded better protection from the government, in the wake of the one of the worst attacks ever on the country’s Christians. Eighty-five people were killed in a suicide bombing at All Saints’, Peshawar, part of the United Church of Pakistan, on Sunday. Victims included 34 women and seven children. More than 100 have been wounded. On Tuesday, the Archbishop of Canterbury described the dead as “martyrs”. Security sources have reported that two suicide bombers carried out the attack as worshipers left the church after the service for refreshments on the lawn outside.

 Hamas clarifies Egypt’s threat to Gaza

Shanghai DailyIsmail Haneya, head of the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip, said he received assurance from Egypt on Wednesday that Egypt will not cause any harm to the Palestinian coastal enclave. Senior Egyptian security officials told Haneya in a telephone conversation that Egypt will not cause any harm to the people in the Gaza Strip, according to a statement released by the Hamas government. On Tuesday, the Hamas government slammed remarks of Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmi that Egypt may use force against Hamas. Egypt will respond “harshly if we felt that some parties in Hamas or other sides are trying to harm the Egyptian national security,” Fahmi was quoted Tuesday by the London-based Arabic newspaper Al-Hayat as saying in an interview at the sideline of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. The Hamas government said Fahmi’s words would cause “serious escalation” in regional situation.

Turkish police target medics during Gezi protests: Report

Hürriyet Daily News, Turkey: Turkey’s security forces directly targeted medical facilities and confined spaces while systematically using tear gas as a weapon during the Gezi protests, the Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) organization stated in a report released on Sept. 24. “Police and other law enforcement officials attacked clearly identifiable, independent medical personnel and medical facilities with tear gas, water cannons and rubber bullets. Police beat and detained dozens of physicians and other medical personnel for providing emergency medical care to those injured during the demonstrations,” the report from the New York-based NGO stated.

Lebanon issues warrants for Nusra Front members

The Daily Star, Lebanon:  Military Investigative Judge Imad al-Zein issued arrest warrants Thursday against four Palestinians accused of belonging to the radical Islamist group Jabhat al-Nusra. The four are accused of belonging to the al-Qaeda-affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra, one of the strongest rebel groups fighting in Syria, and operating in Lebanon with the aim of carrying out terrorist attacks, collecting funds and recruiting members for the group. The judge issued one warrant against a Palestinian identified by his initials S.H. and three warrants in absentia against Palestinians identified as H.M. M.M. and A.SH. Several members of Jabhat al-Nusra have been charged in Lebanon courts and some politicians argue that the group has training camps and bases in the country.

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Weekend News in Brief. For February 9-10, 2013

What Others Are Saying

Second assault attempt on Ahmadinejad in Cairo

An Egyptian citizen attempted to assault Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Thursday evening. The assault occurred at the residence the residence of Mojtaba Amani, the acting Iranian ambassador in Cairo, during a ceremony commemorating the anniversary of the Iranian Islamic Revolution. The attacker attempted to physically assault Ahmadinejad as he chanted, “Down with Iran, he must leave,” Al-Masry Al-Youm reported… This is the second attempted attack on the Iranian president during his stay in Cairo to participate in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation summit, which concluded its activities on Thursday afternoon. Earlier this week, a young Syrian man tried to assault Ahmadeinjad as he was coming out of the Hussein Mosque and threw his shoe at him.The Egypt Independent

Turkey’s Erdoğan slams European countries over terrorism

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said his country will show no more patience over “Europe’s tolerance” towards terror groups that target security forces and civilians in Turkey. Speaking at his party’s Provincial Advisory Council meeting in İstanbul on Saturday, Erdoğan accused EU countries of being “gentle” in the fight against terrorism. “The latest incident in Paris and the attack on the US Embassy, which left a Turkish national dead and another one injured, have led us to question the relationhip between Europe and terror,” Erdoğan said, referring to the killing of three Kurdish women, including a co-founder of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), in Paris on Jan. 9 and a recent suicide bomb attack on the US Embassy in Ankara staged by an ex-convict living in Germany who entered Turkey illegally via Greece. Erdoğan also blamed Europe for failing to show solidarity with Turkey in fighting terrorism, which he said, had cost the country hundreds of billions of dollars in the past three decades. “Some European countries have been protecting murderers sought on international arrest warrants. Leaders of terrorists groups freely walk in Europe and they freely control their terror networks from abroad. In the middle of Berlin, the separatists can erect a tent to collect financial aid for the terrorist organization in millions of euros,” Erdoğan stated. – Sunday’s Zalman, Turkey

Gaza farmers call for boycott of Israeli firms

Hundreds of farmers marched towards Gaza’s border with Israel on Saturday to demand a boycott of Israeli agricultural firms, a local union said. The Union for Agricultural Work Committees in Gaza said in a statement that protestors also gathered in dozens of European cities to protest against Israeli company Mehadrin, which operates in illegal settlements and exports citrus fruits, dates and other produce. “The boycotts of Israeli agriculture companies are so important as the Israeli occupation has destroyed our farming production and denied us the possibility of exporting our own products,” farmer Mustapha Arafat said. “International pressure on Israel is the only way our own economy will be allowed to develop and for us to live normal lives,” he added. Protests took place in cities across France, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg, Sweden, Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands, the Gaza union said. Ma’an News Agency, Palestinian Territories

India not keen on Israel’s Iron Dome missile system

An Israeli missile shield, which created some buzz in the defence ministry last year following its success in Gaza Strip, may not finally come to India, as the armed forces are not satisfied with its utility because of its short range. Known as Iron Dome, it is an air defence system — meant to neutralise rockets and artillery cells fired from a distance of up to 70 km — which emerged as one of the world’s most successful missile shields. As the ministry was scouring the market for an effective missile cover for Delhi and Mumbai, Iron Dome caught its attention. Preliminary discussions were held with Israeli officials, too. But now, questions are being raised by the armed forces over its efficiency. “Our challenges are bigger. We have to cover a bigger distance. – Deccan Herald, India

Jordan. Border calm prevails as Syrian refugee flow continues. Officials say they expect the cost of hosting the rapidly growing refugee community to reach $1 billion in 2013

Some 2,000 Syrians crossed into Jordan on Thursday amid an ongoing lull in violence along the border, according to the UN. The influx raises the total number of new arrivals over the past week to 9,000. Some 80 injured Syrians were among Thursday’s arrivals, most of whom were transferred to public hospitals in the border cities of Ramtha and Mafraq, security sources said… According to Jordanian security sources, brief fire fights erupted between regime and rebel forces late Wednesday near the Syrian border towns of Tal Shihab and Nasib, with no major causalities reported… Rebel forces suspended their 36-hour assault early Tuesday after failing to capture the border crossings, Syria’s main conduits to Jordan, but vowed to resume their offensive as early as next week. Meanwhile, violence continued to intensify across Syria on Thursday, with the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reporting over 100 deaths near the cities of Daraa, Hama, Homs, Idlib and Damascus. As of late Thursday, some 10,000 Syrians had amassed along the border waiting to cross into the Kingdom. Jordan has opened its borders to over 350,000 Syrians since the onset of the conflict in March 2011.The Jordan Times

Patriarch Lahham sounds alarm over Syria’s Christians

Greek Catholic Patriarch Gregorius Lahham III voiced alarm Friday about the situation of churches and Christians in Syria and appealed for urgently needed aid. “The news that you follow in the media does not truly reflect the tragic situation that citizens are having to live, particularly at the Homs and Latakia dioceses as well as in Aleppo, Hawran and Damascus,” Lahham said in a letter ahead of the start of Lent. “Many of our sons have been kidnapped and large sums of money have been paid to secure their release. About 100 of our children were killed and martyred along with some 1,000 Christians of all the sects,” he said. “Around 20 churches were destroyed, damaged or evacuated in the area mentioned, and prayers are no longer held there as the faithful and priests have deserted their parishes,” said the prelate, who is based in the Metn town of Rabieh. Earlier this week, the bishop of Aleppo voiced similar concerns, saying that Christians in Syria were being terrorized by kidnappings for ransom.  Concerns over the fate of Christians in Syria have grown amid reports about the rising influence of Islamists among the ranks of anti-regime fighters. – The Daily Star Lebanon

Cyprus upgrade for Palestinians

Cyprus said yesterday it has upgraded its relations with the Palestinians to full diplomatic mission status, one of just eight European Union countries to do so. The decision was announced by Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis during an official visit by her Palestinian counterpart Riyad al-Malki. “I informed my Palestinian counterpart of the decision of the government to upgrade the status of the Palestinian diplomatic representation in Cyprus from that of a diplomatic mission to that of an embassy of the State of Palestine,” Marcoullis told reporters… A Cyprus Representation Office opened in Ramallah in the West Bank in 2009. Malki said the decision sent a “very important message,” adding: “We hope this courageous step taken by Cyprus will be taken by others in the European Union.” –  Gulf Times, Qatar

Palestinians round up alleged Hamas members

Palestinian security forces arrested more than 25 members of the Hamas movement over the past 48 hours, a security official said Thursday on condition of anonymity.  He said that some of those arrested around the West Bank city of Ramallah were in possession of explosives. A Hamas source, however, said that those arrested “were in possession of funds for distribution to prisoners but we are unaware of any possession of explosives or weapons.” The Israeli army said on Monday that it had it arrested 25 Hamas members in overnight raids across the West Bank. Hamas said that three of them were members of the Palestinian parliament. – Khaleej Times, UAE

Mixed reaction from Malmö’s Jewish community following Mayor Ilmar Reepalu’s decision to step down

Reepalu, 69, will bring his 19-year tenure to an end on July 1st. He addressed the anti-Semitism accusations, which have marred his latter years in charge, in a farewell editorial in newspaper Sydsvenskan, saying that his words had been misinterpreted. Rabbi Shneur Kesselman, who has been on the receiving end of several anti-Semitic attacks, told The Local that he wouldn’t miss Reepalu. “This issue was not about somebody stepping down but about taking responsibility. I truly hope that whoever takes his place is more responsible,” Kesselman said. Kesselman, who dresses in traditional Jewish attire, has been physically attacked on the street and had the word Palestina carved into his car since moving to Malmö in 2004. “Reeplau crossed the line on occasion with his comments and I just hope that his successor sees the reality of the situation,” the US native added. “Many Jewish people living in Malmö have lost their sense of security because of his comments. The problem goes much deeper.” – The Local, Sweden

Recovery of looted funds in “Arab Spring” countries

The curtain has been brought down on foreign investments of former regimes in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya.  It has been over two years since the eruption of the so-called “Arab Spring” although this spring has not blossomed yet. And it seems that it will never bloom as things are going from bad to worst. This is clearly manifested in the drastic deterioration in economic conditions and people’s living standards, which have reached rock bottom.  On the political front, the growing differences and clashes between the society’s components in Arab Spring countries make the picture even look more dark and gloomy. In the midst of this chaos and deteriorating economic conditions, there is an important need for stability, otherwise losses will be doubled. The curtain has been brought down on foreign investments of former regimes in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya, which are estimated at more than $250 billion (Dh917.5 billion), according to preliminary data. This despite the fact that it would not be possible to determine the actual volume of these investments and deposits, noting that estimates have varied about the volume and the geographic range of the Yemeni and Syrian funds. – Gulf News, Qatar