“Jasmine Revolution”
Symbol of peace: Flowers placed on the barrel of a tank
in very much calmer protests than in recent days in Tunisia

'The Protester' - Time Person of the Year 2011

'The Protester' - Time Person of the Year 2011
Mannoubia Bouazizi, the mother of Tunisian street vendor Mohammed Bouazizi. "Mohammed suffered a lot. He worked hard. but when he set fire to himself, it wasn’t about his scales being confiscated. It was about his dignity." (Peter Hapak for TIME)

How eyepatches became a symbol of Egypt's revolution - Graffiti depicting a high ranking army officer with an eye patch Photograph: Nasser Nasser/ASSOCIATED PRESS

2 - EGYPT Democratic Change / Freedom of Speech (In Transition)


''17 February Revolution"

3 - LIBYA Democratic Change / Freedom of Speech (In Transition)

5 - SYRIA Democratic Change / Freedom of Speech (In Transition)

"25 January Youth Revolution"
Muslim and Christian shoulder-to-shoulder in Tahrir Square
"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) -
(Subjects: Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" (without a manager hierarchy) managed Businesses, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)
"The End of History" – Nov 20, 2010 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll)
(Subjects:Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Muhammad, Jesus, God, Jews, Arabs, EU, US, Israel, Iran, Russia, Africa, South America, Global Unity,..... etc.) (Text version)

"If an Arab and a Jew can look at one another and see the Akashic lineage and see the one family, there is hope. If they can see that their differences no longer require that they kill one another, then there is a beginning of a change in history. And that's what is happening now. All of humanity, no matter what the spiritual belief, has been guilty of falling into the historic trap of separating instead of unifying. Now it's starting to change. There's a shift happening."


“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013.

They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."



Heads of governments during the opening session of the African Union summit
on January 30, 2014 at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa (AFP, Samuel Gebru)

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela
Few words can describe Nelson Mandela, so we let him speak for himself. Happy birthday, Madiba.
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Monday, July 30, 2012

Namibia judge backs sterilised women

BBC News, 30 July 2012

Related Stories 

The judge said that damages would
be decided at a later date
A judge in Namibia has ruled that three women were sterilised without their informed consent but said there was no evidence this was because they were HIV-positive.

The case was brought by three women who opted to have Caesarean deliveries to reduce the risk of passing Aids to their babies.

Health officials had denied that the women were forcibly sterilised.

The women's lawyers say similar cases have been reported in nearby countries.

Judge Elton Hoff said damages would be decided at a later date.

'Excruciating pain'

The women's lawyers say their clients were told by doctors in Namibia that they would only be eligible for surgery if they agreed to be sterilised at the same time.

The lawyers say coerced consent does not amount to informed consent and that therefore the Namibian authorities violated the women's human rights.

The health ministry denies that it issued a directive for HIV-positive women to be sterilised and said it was unaware of anyone being sterilised without their consent.

Nicole Fritz, from the Southern Africa Litigation Centre, which brought the case, told the BBC the women had been in pain and unclear about what was going to happen.

"One of the women had been in labour for four days, was in excruciating pain. Others among the women didn't know exactly what they were consenting to. They thought that this was part of the Caesarean procedure," Ms Fritz said.

"So to the extent that they can be said to have consented, they did not understand what it was, what the procedure was that they were consenting to - they had no informed consent."

Lawyers say they have evidence that HIV-positive women are being forced to undergo sterilisation in Swaziland and parts of South Africa, which they say is an infringement of the women's constitutional rights.

About 13% of adults in Namibia are HIV-positive, according to UNAids.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Romney: US has moral duty to block Iran nuclear plans

BBC News, 29 July 2012

US Presidential Election 2012 

Mr Romney is hoping the visit
will boost his pro-Israel credentials
 with US voters
US Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has said his country has a "moral imperative" to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

Mr Romney, speaking during a visit to Jerusalem, said Iran was the most destabilising country in the world.

He said the US recognised Israel's right to defend itself and that it was right for the US to stand with Israel.

US President Barack Obama has focused on using sanctions to contain Iran's nuclear ambitions.

In his speech in front of Jerusalem's Old City, Mr Romney said Iran's leading ayatollahs were "testing our moral defences".

"They want to know who will object and who will look the other way. We will not look away nor will our country ever look away from our passion and commitment to Israel."

He said Iran was "the most destabilising nation in the world" and that the US had "a solemn duty and a moral imperative to deny Iran's leaders the means to follow through on their malevolent intentions".

'All measures'

Earlier, one of Mr Romney's top advisers, Dan Senor, had said the presidential candidate would respect any decision by Israel to use military force against Iran.

While not directly addressing this, Mr Romney said the US should "employ any and all measures to dissuade the Iranian regime from its nuclear course."

"It is our fervent hope that diplomatic and economic measures will do so. In the final analysis, of course, no option should be excluded."

Earlier on Sunday, Mr Romney held talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres.

He told Mr Peres he shared Israel's concern about the development of Iran's nuclear capabilities, saying: "The threat it would pose to Israel, the region and the world is incomparable and unacceptable."

After his meetings with Israeli officials, he went to Jerusalem's Western Wall, one of Judaism's holy sites.

Mr Romney will be hoping that burnishing his pro-Israel credentials will help him among key constituencies in a tight race with Mr Obama, analysts say.

Mr Romney says Mr Obama has undermined Israel and supported its enemies.

The Republican presidential hopeful also met Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, though not Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

'Islamist winter' fears

While not explicitly ruling out military intervention, President Barack Obama's policy has emphasised non-military means of putting pressure on Iran.

The BBC's North America editor Mark Mardell says Mr Romney is highly critical of the international talks taking place which might lead to Iran being allowed to enrich some uranium. Mr Romney wants zero enrichment.

The first leg of Mr Romney's trip, in London, was marred by controversy.

After talking of "disconcerting" signs in London's preparations for the Olympic Games, Mr Romney backtracked and predicted a "very successful" Olympics.

In a photo opportunity before his talks with Mr Fayyad, Mr Romney said the opening ceremony had been "spectacular" and praised the face that for the first time, every country has sent women to compete.




9. It can be no other way—simply, this is the physics that governs life in this universe. As Earth continues apace into successively higher planes, nothing with low vibrations in any form—physical bodies, subversive plans, theft, dishonesty, unjust laws and imprisonment, bigotry, cruel customs and deeds—can survive.

10. Moving on, no, it will not be quite like religions being “totally discarded and replaced by universal laws in the Golden Age.” When the truths come forth that science and spirit are one and the same and that religious dogmas were originated by early leaders of church and state to control the masses, people whose consciousness has risen beyond the constraints of third density will adhere to the spiritual aspects of their respective religions and the devised, controlling aspects will fall by the wayside.

11. One of the truths to come forth is that Zionism, which by dark intent has been made synonymous with Judaism, actually is a bellicose political movement within the Illuminati, and its aim for more than six decades has been to create conflict and instability in the entire Middle East. Zionists, who have wielded powerful influence within and behind major governments and their military forces, do NOT represent the Jewish peoples in Israel or anywhere else. And, like all other Illuminati factions, they have been committed to that cabal’s goal of global domination.

12. Although Semites are of diverse national origins and religions, the Zionists have been successful in convincing many that “anti-Semitic” is exclusively prejudice against the Jewish peoples and opposition to Israel’s right to defend itself from its “enemies.” By means of that blatant distortion, they obtained not only world sympathy, but also massive defense funding from Israel’s allies, most especially the United States, all of which served to increase the Illuminati’s vast profits from their industrial-military machine.

13. In addition to controlling the masses through dogmatic teachings, religions have served the dark purpose of divisiveness to such an extent that it resulted in centuries of trauma and bloodshed. Witness the Crusades, wars between Catholics and Protestants, pogroms against Jews, executions of “blasphemous” individuals who refused to “recant.”  (Read More …)

Friday, July 27, 2012

Saudi Arabia protest followed by arrests in Qatif

BBC News, 27 July 2012

Related Stories 

Security forces have detained a number of protesters in eastern Saudi Arabia, state media report.

The arrests took place in the city of Qatif after "rioters" set tyres on fire during an overnight demonstration, an interior ministry statement said.

It said there were no casualties, but witnesses said several people were wounded when police opened fire.

Among those detained was Mohammed al-Shakouri, described by the interior ministry as a wanted fugitive.

In January, he was among 23 men named as suspects in connection with the disturbances in Eastern Province.

They were accused of possessing illegal weapons, opening fire on the public and police, and of serving "foreign agendas".

The demonstration in Qatif was organised to demand the release of political detainees, including the Shia cleric, Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr.

Two people were killed at a rally against his arrest earlier this month. Witnesses said they were protesters who had been shot dead by police, but the interior ministry denied that there had been any clashes.

The oil-rich Eastern Province is home to a Shia majority that has long complained of marginalisation at the hands of the Sunni ruling family.

Protests erupted in the region in March 2011 when a popular uprising in neighbouring Bahrain, which has a Shia majority and a Sunni royal family, was crushed with the assistance of Saudi and other Gulf troops.

'A golden age for Saudi women'

Deutsche Welle, 27 July 2012



Gabriela Keseberg Dávalos recently visited Saudi Arabia on a UN fellowship. What she encountered there surprised her and completely changed her views on the lives of women in the kingdom.

For the first time this summer, women from Saudi Arabia will be allowed to take part in the Olympic Games.The fact that this subject is even being debated in the 21st century is a sign of just how closed the Gulf kingdom has been. Indeed, before I went there recently on a fellowship from the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, I had never heard anything good about the place. Nothing, niente, nada.

Oppressed women, gruesome beheadings, human rights violations: you name it. The fact that one of our fellows was denied a visa and we had to say good-bye to him in Amman did not improve my opinion. To top it all off, the women in our group had to spend the first evening "locked" up in a hotel, as we didn't have black head-to-toe abayas to cover up with. Needless to say, after that great start, we weren't exactly looking forward to our visit.

But then things turned around 180 degrees; not just because we, the women of the group, finally got abayas and could leave our "gilded cage," but also because we were lucky enough to visit the Dar al-Hekma College for women. Dar al-Hekma means "the House of Wisdom" and that is just what we encountered. We met impressive young women and their female professors, who explained the college's ideology and introduced us to some extraordinary young ladies.

Teaching women to be confident

It may not appear so on the surface but Saudi society is opening up

At the college, they teach women to be confident about their knowledge, cultural background and roots. When the students designed affordable houses for a project, they not only took into account the fact that the houses needed a maid's room, something normal in Saudi Arabia, but also that the kitchen must be constructed so that women can move around freely without being seen from other rooms.

Our next stop was a working lunch with Arab News. One of the first questions we were asked was about our perception of Saudi women. That answer was simple enough. Throughout our entire trip, which also took us to Morocco and Jordan, the women in our group connected very easily to the local women, but especially so in Saudi Arabia. There are certain values, concerns, challenges and experiences that are universal among women. It does not matter what culture we come from, there are more similarities than differences between us.

We were impressed by all the women we met, but the Saudi ones impressed us the most. They were nothing like the stereotypes we had expected. Far from being oppressed, silent and shy, they were confident, intelligent and outspoken. They were brave enough to take on challenges and fight for their dreams.

Saudi women driving change

Change in this Gulf country is well underway, and Saudi women are a driving force. It is not a quick and violent revolution, but rather a smart, tactical one. "Always evaluate the impact and timing of changes," we were counselled. At the college, they are breeding a new kind of woman, one who is comfortable meeting heads of state and discussing issues on the same level. How much we in the West can learn from this approach, especially when it comes to women's education.

Later, during a visit to the King Abuldaziz Center for World Culture, yet another bright, young lady said: "This is a golden age for Saudi women. Whatever we do, we will always be 'the first Saudi woman who did this or that.'" She said that there are more opportunities to succeed in Saudi Arabia than in the West, even though life might not necessarily be easier. We congratulated them for being so active. In contrast, the men in the meeting said very little. "We have been shoved aside for so long, now it's our turn to speak up," the young woman said.

Women are gaining more rights
It might be easy to think that I was brainwashed and remain ignorant about the problems that persist. But Saudi women themselves pointed out that they still need permission from a male guardian to take up a job or travel, that they are not allowed to drive or openly take part in sports. Their challenges are many and complex.

Still, my perception of this country has changed entirely, having seen it from the ground. Saudi women are inspiring, and Western women can learn from them: learn that change is possible, even in the most closed and patriarchal societies. Who knows, some of these brave women may even inspire in the sporting arena in London this summer.

© Qantara.de 2012

Gabriela Keseberg Dávalos is a Bolivian/German journalist, co-founder and board member of the International Young Women Partnership in Brussels and UNAOC Fellow 2012.

Netherlands cuts Rwanda aid over alleged rebel support

BBC News, 27 July 2012

The UN is helping in an offensive against the M23 rebels

DR Congo Seeks Democracy 

The Netherlands has suspended $6.15m (£3.9m) in aid to Rwanda over its alleged backing of rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The money was being used to improving Rwanda's judicial system, Reuters quotes the foreign ministry as saying.

Rwanda has rejected reports made by UN experts that it is supporting the M23 movement rebels in eastern DR Congo.

The rebels mutinied from the army in April and some 200,000 people have fled their homes as a result of fighting.

The move comes as a senior UN official told the BBC that defecting Congolese rebels have confirmed that they were recruited in Rwanda.

On Thursday, the UN reported that its forces helped the Congolese army push the rebels out of two towns north of Goma using helicopter gunships and armoured vehicle.



Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Madgascan coup leader meets president he sent into exile

Deutsche Welle, 25 July 2012



Madagascan leader Andry Rajoelina and the man he toppled three years ago, Mark Ravalomanana have met face-to-face in the Seychelles for the first time. Ravalomanana has tried twice to return from exile, in vain.

A Seychelles government official confirmed that Andry Rajoelina, the Madagascan transitional president and his predecessor Marc Ravalomanana had met alongside South African president Jacob Zuma. The South African president is a key mediator in the talks on the remote beach island of Desroches

The 15 national Southern African Development Community (SADC), has given the two rivals a July 31 deadline to settle their differences.

Both South Africa and the Seychelles are members of SADC. Madagascar's membership has been suspended.

The Seychelles meeting revolves around a crisis that has engulfed Africa's largest island since Rajoelina ejected Ravalomanana in March 2009.

Omer Beriziky, prime minister of Madgascar's transitional government told DW the meeting of the two protaganists in the crisis was a "good thing." All Madagascans, he added "were expecting a solution to the current crisis."

September roadmap for Ravalomanana's return

Rajoelina, a former disc jockey, led demonstrations against Ravalomanana following the closure of his Viva TV station three years ago. The protests gained momentum when he gained the backing of the army. As a leader, he has failed to acquire broad international backing.

Marc Ravalomanana has tried
twice to return home.
The two men have already held talks among the country's main political groups since the ouster. Their subordinates have inked in several pacts.

A road map signed in September provides for Ravalomanana's return home with no conditions.

But parliament has passed a law barring people with criminal records from running for office. It demands that any presidential aspirants must have paid their taxes in full, effectively excluding Ravalomanana from any presidential race.

Andry Rajoelina came to power
with the backing of the army
In 2010, Ravalomanana was sentenced in absentia to life in prison and hard labor for the murders of around 30 demonstrators. They had been killed by his presidential guards in the protests in 2009 which led to his overthrow.

So Ravalomanana's return from exile in South Africa remains a highly complex issue.

Seychelles claim return to stability in Madagascar crucial

The talks in the Seychelles come three days after the army put down a mutiny at a military base near Madagascar's main airport, leaving three people dead. It was not immediately clear whether the mutiny was linked to the broader political turmoil.

Seychelles President James Michel said a return to stability was crucial for all countries in southern and eastern African as well as in the Indian Ocean region. "Millions of people in Madagascar are sinking into extreme poverty. We have to act quickly before the political crisis becomes as social catastrophe," he said.

Gorillas Seen Dismantling Deadly Poacher Traps

ABC News, by Bazi Kanani, Jul 25, 2012  

Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund

Staff at a gorilla research center are getting some unexpected help to save the lives of the critically endangered animals: Gorilla youngsters are jumping in to disable poachers’ traps.

Staff at the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund’s Karisoke Research Center in Rwanda recently witnessed two 4-year-olds and a teenage mountain gorilla work together to destroy the types of snares that have killed at least two young gorillas this year.  It was also the first time staff members have been able to see up close exactly how gorillas dismantle the snares.

“We knew that gorillas do this, but all of the reported cases in the past were carried out by adult gorillas, mostly silverbacks,” said gorilla program coordinator Veronica Vecellio.  “How they did it demonstrated an impressive cognitive skill.”

The discovery that younger gorillas are also learning to recognize and disable the dangerous snares was especially heartening to research center staff because it came while they were still grieving over the death just two days earlier of an infant gorilla named Ngwino who was caught in a snare.

On July 17 field staff and some tourists in the Virunga volcanoes conservation area that is home to more than half of the world’s 790 remaining mountain gorillas witnessed a group of gorillas getting close to a snare.

One of the staff members reported he moved to dismantle the snare when a silverback (adult male) in the group grunted at him warning him to stay back.  Then two youngsters named Dukore and Rwema and a blackback (teen male) named Tetero ran toward the snare.

 Together they jumped on the taught branch attached to a rope noose and removed the rope.  They then ran over to another nearby snare and destroyed it the same way.  Pictures the staff members took show the young gorillas then examining broken sticks used to camouflage the noose on the ground.

Every year, Fossey Fund field staff remove more than a thousand such simple but deadly snares set by bush-meat hunters.  They speculate the younger gorillas learned to destroy snares by watching the older silverbacks do so.

Fossey Fund staff cannot teach gorillas how to dismantle snares because it is against their policy to intentionally change gorillas’ natural behavior, but they are pleased to know the gorillas are apparently teaching each other to protect themselves.

“Our battle to detect and destroy snares from the park is far from over,” said Vecellio.  “Today we can proudly confirm the gorillas are doing their part, too.”

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Ghana's President John Atta Mills dies

BBC News, 24 July 2012

Related Stories 

President Atta Mills came to
power in 2009
Ghana's President John Atta Mills, who was suffering from throat cancer, has died in the capital, Accra.

A statement from his office said the 68-year-old died a few hours after being taken ill, but did not give details.

"It is with a heavy heart...that we announce the sudden and untimely death of the president of the Republic of Ghana," the statement said.

Mr Atta Mills has ruled the West African country since 2009.

The BBC's Sammy Darko, who is at the military hospital in Accra, says Mr Atta Mill's voice has been degenerating in the last few months.

A presidential aide said the leader had complained of suffering pains on Monday evening and he died on Tuesday afternoon, Reuters reports.

He had returned to Ghana after visiting the US for medical checks, the news agency says.

Mr Atta Mills came to power after narrowly winning against a candidate from the then governing New Patriotic Party, Nana Akufo-Addo, in polls in December 2008.

He was to run for a second term in December.



Monday, July 23, 2012

EU to suspend Zimbabwe sanctions 'after referendum'

BBC News, 23 July 2012

Zimbabwe - New Era? 

President Robert Mugabe has been in a
 power-sharing deal following disputed
elections in 2008
The European Union is to suspend most sanctions against Zimbabwe once it has held a credible referendum on a new constitution, EU foreign ministers say.

This would make an "important milestone" towards holding democratic elections, their statement said.

More than a 100 key individuals have been covered under an EU travel ban and assets freeze imposed in 2002.

But sanctions would remain against President Robert Mugabe, UK Foreign Secretary William Hague said.

The sanctions were originally imposed a decade ago in response to human rights abuses and political violence.

Mr Mugabe and his rival, Prime Minster Morgan Tsvangirai, have been sharing power since disputed elections marred by violence in 2008.

Fresh elections are expected to be held sometime next year, after the referendum on the new constitution.

Allies of Mr Mugabe have long argued that the sanctions should be unconditionally removed and that they have had a negative impact on Zimbabwe's economy.

'Important step-change'

"The EU agrees that a peaceful and credible constitutional referendum would represent an important milestone in the preparation of democratic elections that would justify a suspension of the majority of all EU targeted restrictive measures against individuals and entities," the EU foreign ministers' statement said.

It also welcomed the commitment of regional bloc the Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) to resolving the political crisis in Zimbabwe.

Mr Hague said the decision was an "important step-change in the EU's approach to Zimbabwe".

"This approach will demonstrate to reformers across the political spectrum that the EU is serious about responding to concrete progress on the ground," he said.

"It also puts the onus on the government of Zimbabwe to live up to their commitments. These decisions will be kept under constant review and if the situation deteriorates, we will of course not hesitate to respond appropriately."

In February, the EU lifted some of its sanctions against top Zimbabwean officials, to support what it said was the power-sharing government's "significant progress" on tackling the country's economic crisis.

The BBC's Africa correspondent Andrew Harding says the new constitution should make it much harder for President Mugabe's supporters - or anyone else - to rig elections.

But there is still a great deal of concern that hardliners in Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party may try to derail the entire process, he says.

For years they have blamed Western sanctions for Zimbabwe's economic collapse; if those sanctions vanish - they lose one of their main rallying cries, our reporter says.



Sunday, July 22, 2012

Israeli disabled IDF veteran sets himself on fire

Man in his 40s rushed to hospital in critical condition after he set himself aflame in Yahud bus stop; just two days after death of man who set himself on fire in TA rally

Ynet News, Raanan Ben-Zur, Israel News, Jul 22, 2012 

A disabled IDF veteran set himself on fire Sunday at a bus stop in Yahud, in central Israel.

Related stories:

The man, 45, was rushed to the
Chaim Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer in serious condition. Medical sources said he was suffering from burns over more than 80% of his body.

According to available details, people who were standing near the man were able to extinguish the flames.

The victim (Photo: Amnon Sadeh, News 24)

An Magen David Adom spokesman said that, "We received a call about a man who set himself on fire at around 11:55 am. Paramedics scrambled to the scene found a man, lying on the ground, with apparent burns over 80% of his body. He was treated on site and then rushed to hospital."

Medical sources said that the man was in a drug-induced coma and on respiratory support.

Dr. Yossi Hayek, of the Shiba Burn Unit, which is considered the most advance burn treatments center in Israel, added that the man's medical history made his condition even more precarious.

Asked how his team was handling the difficult cases of the recent weeks, he said: "First, we hope that this 'trend' comes to a rapid end because no good can come of it.

"These cases are very difficult. Right now, they're in the news but for us – it's a sad daily reality."

'Don't follow acts of desperation'

David Gilboa of the Disabled IDF Veterans' Association told that that his organization is familiar with the man's plight: "The circumstances that brought him to execute this act of desperation are financial. He has serious financial hardships.

"The bodies that are supposed to support him, i.e. the Defense Ministry and National Insurance Institute failed. This is exactly what we have been protesting – the disregard and the abhorrent treatment of disabled IDF veterans, people who have given life and limb for this country.

"I'm afraid over 50,000 IDF veterans share his frustration. But I urge all of them – do not follow this desperate act. Nothing is worth your life." 

On Friday, Moshe Silman, the protestor who set himself on fire during a Tel Aviv social justice rally, died of his injuries. Silman, 57, suffered third-degree burns over 95% of his body. He was hospitalized at the Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer, which houses Israel's most advanced burn unit, where doctors fought for six days to save his life.

A statement by the Silman family issued after his death urged others against mimicking the act: "Human lives are sacred to the family and we urge those who face similar plights not to follow Moshe's path.

"What he did was grim and the family does not condone it – he was expressing his own unmet pain. We urge the government to consider this horrifying case and do everything within its power to help Israelis who are in need of (financial) assistance."

Shahar Chai and Carmit Reuven contributed to this report  


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Spain's king ousted as WWF honorary president

Associated Press, Jul 21, 2012 

MADRID (AP) — The World Wildlife Fund's branch in Spain says it has ousted King Juan Carlos as its honorary president — a title he'd held since 1968 — because the monarch's recent elephant hunting safari was incompatible with the group's goal of conserving endangered species.

The fund said in a statement that "although such hunting is legal and regulated" it had "received many expressions of distress from its members and society in general." It says members voted in a meeting in Madrid on Saturday to "to get rid of the honorary President."

News of the king's April elephant hunting trip in Botswana upset many Spaniards who considered it an opulent extravagance at a time of economic distress in the country.

The Royal Palace declined immediate comment on the WWF announcement.

Related Articles:


King Juan Carlos on his €10,000-a-day hunting safari in Botswana, which
had  been hushed up before he fell and broke his hip. Photograph: Target
Press/Barcroft Media

Zimbabwe Finalizes Draft Charter Curbing President's Powers

Jakarta Globe, July 21, 2012

Related articles

Harare. Zimbabwe lawmakers have finalized a draft constitution that curtails presidential powers and limits terms to 10 years, part of key reforms ahead of elections, a minister said on Friday.

The proposed document, which will be subject to a referendum, was crafted by experts from the main political parties to a power-sharing government that has been in place since a violence-marred 2008 election.

President Robert Mugabe — one of Africa’s longest-ruling leaders, in power for 32 years — was forced into the power-sharing deal with arch rival Morgan Tsvangirai to avoid a descent into bloody conflict.

Mugabe, 88, trying to get out of the power-sharing deal, in recent months tried to push for new elections without a new constitution.

But the southern African regional leaders who brokered the post-electoral peace deal appeared to have impressed on him at a June summit that elections had to take place under a new constitution.

Eric Matinenga, a minister from the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) responsible for constitutional affairs, told reporters on Friday: “We have had one president since 1980, and it is the feeling of most people that this has been the biggest weakness of the country.”

He added: “The draft recognizes that gone are the days when governance was entrusted in the hand of the ‘strong man.’ ”

The draft constitution would require the head of state to consult parliament and the cabinet on key appointments.

The new draft charter also “proposes term limits for the presidency, the executive and independent institutions in the public sector and other state-controlled entities, including the security services,” said Matinenga.

It also protects a serving president from prosecution, but the immunity falls away when the president leaves office.

The draft constitution also provides for compensation for white farmers who were forced off their land under Mugabe’s controversial land reforms and protects the property rights of the new farmers.

It also provides for a new national peace and reconciliation commission that would be “encouraging people to tell the truth about the past, facilitating the making of amends,” said the document seen by AFP on Friday.

The new document which has been worked on for three years, will be put to a public conference at the end of August and then to a referendum at a date yet to be announced.

European Union ministers, hoping to encourage the reform process, meet next Monday and are planning to offer to resume aid and suspend most sanctions against Zimbabwe once a referendum on the new constitution has been organized, diplomatic sources said on condition of anonymity.

They would, however, maintain sanctions against a “small core” of people including Mugabe.

“We think now is a critical moment to encourage the process of reform and incentify the reformers,” a diplomatic source in Brussels said. “It is time for the European Union to shift its positions.”

The European Union in May said it was involved in a “re-engagement” process with Zimbabwe after the country’s leaders agreed to draft the new constitution.

The ministers will offer to lift sanctions against most of the 112 Zimbabweans still under an EU asset freeze and travel ban decided in 2002, sources said.

Agence France-Presse

Friday, July 20, 2012

Israel urged to treat Palestinian child detainees in accordance with rights law – UN

UN News Centre, 20 July 2012

Special Rapporteur Richard Falk. UN Photo/Jess Hoffman

20 July 2012 – A United Nations independent human rights expert today condemned Israel’s use of solitary confinement against Palestinian children, and urged the Israeli Government to treat such detainees in accordance with international human rights laws.

“Israel’s use of solitary confinement against children flagrantly violates international human rights standards,” the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, Richard Falk, said in a news release.

“However, using solitary confinement as a punishment for Palestinian children who wish to peacefully protest their situation, including by commencing a hunger strike against conditions of detention, is an appalling abuse of child prisoners,” he added. “I again condemn Israel’s harsh arrest operations and procedures.”

Mr. Falk’s comments came in the wake of earlier concerns on the issue, raised today by the UN Special Committee on Israeli practices in the Occupied Territories, at the end of a fact-finding mission to Jordan, Egypt and the Gaza Strip.

“According to testimony received, Israel uses solitary confinement against 12 per cent of Palestinian child detainees,” the Special Committee’s Chairperson, Ambassador Palitha T.B. Kohona of Sri Lanka, said in a news release. “This is especially troubling when one considers that Israel arrests about 500 to 700 Palestinian children every year.”

The Special Committee also warned that a pattern of detaining and mistreating children “links to broader, longstanding concerns regarding Israel detention of Palestinians generally.”

“Witnesses informed the Committee that mistreatment of Palestinian children starts from the moment of detention,” Mr. Kohona said. “Large numbers are routinely detained. Children’s homes are surrounded by Israeli soldiers late at night, sound grenades are fired into the houses, doors are broken down, live shots are often fired; no warrant is presented. Children are tightly bound, blindfolded and forced into the backs of military vehicles.”

The Special Committee head said that parents are not allowed to accompany the detainees, and that family members are insulted, intimidated and at times physically assaulted. According to witnesses, the detention and transfer of children can last for hours, and can often include stops in Israeli settlements, Israeli checkpoints and police or military bases.

“This pattern of abuse by Israel is grave,” said Special Rapporteur Falk. “It is inhumane, cruel, degrading, and unlawful, and, most worryingly, it is likely to adversely affect the mental and physical health of underage detainees.”

The Special Rapporteur appealed to the Government of Israel to take urgent steps to bring their treatment of Palestinian children detainees into line with international human rights laws, in particular the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which spells out the basic human rights that children everywhere have.

In its preliminary observations in the wake of its fact-finding mission, the Special Committee drew attention to two further areas of immediate concern in the West bank, including East Jerusalem: the Israeli practice of demolishing Palestinian homes, and violence by Israeli settlers against Palestinians.

The Special Committee also assessed the economic impact of the Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip.

“These Israeli practices lead the Special Committee to one over-arching and deeply troubling conclusion,” Mr. Kohona said. “The mass imprisonment of Palestinians; the routine demolition of homes and the displacement of Palestinians; the widespread violence by Israeli settlers against Palestinians; and the blockade and resultant reliance on illegal smuggling to survive; these practices amount to a strategy to either force the Palestinian people off their land or so severely marginalize them as to establish and maintain a system of permanent oppression.”

The Special Committee will present a mission report to the UN General Assembly in November, with its observations and recommendations to improve the human rights situation.

Independent experts, or special rapporteurs, are appointed by the Geneva-based Council to examine and report back on a country situation or a specific human rights theme. The positions are honorary and the experts are not United Nations staff, nor are they paid for their work.