The UK government was one of the first to respond and has helped millions of people like those pictured here, by providing shelter, food, seeds, blankets, safe drinking water, toilets, medical care, hygiene kit, and more.
I was born in Poonch (Kashmir) and now I live in Norway. I oppose war and violence and am a firm believer in the peaceful co-existence of all nations and peoples. In my academic work I have tried to espouse the cause of the weak and the oppressed in a world dominated by power politics, misleading propaganda and violations of basic human rights. I also believe that all conscious members of society have a moral duty to stand for and further the cause of peace and human rights throughout the world.
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|Life improved for Pakyarani’s family when the war ended, but then the floods came and washed away their hopes.|
Among those at risk of the impending food crisis is Pakyarani, a 32-year-old farmer’s wife and mother of four. She lives with her family in a remote village in Batticaloa, one of the districts most affected by the floods. She tells her story:
“I live with my husband, Ravicandran, and my four children: Ravikumar is 13, Nivedika is eight, Rujanika is six and Mohana is two.
We own a paddy field and that is the main source of income for our family. My husband also works as a brick-maker and sometimes as a daily labourer. For many years our village was caught up in the war and we often had to run from shelling and hide in the ditch for safety. Once, during the shelling, my husband fell and broke his leg. We were not able to get proper treatment and he has not been able to work properly since.
After the war ended, things got better for us. We were able to start growing crops and we bought two cows. Although some people in our village moved into brick houses, we didn’t. We stayed in our two-roomed clay hut until earlier this month, when the floods came.
|Crowds mass in major cities calling for President Mubarak to step down, as death toll from protests crosses 50.|
Demonstrators gathered in Tahrir Square in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, on Saturday morning, shouting “Go away, go away!”, the Reuters news agency said.
Similar crowds were gathering in the cities of Alexandria and Suez, Al Jazeera’s correspondents reported.
In Alexandria, our correspondent Rawya Rageh reported that dozens of marchers were calling on Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak to step down.
“They are calling for regime change, not cabinet change,” Rageh said.
In Suez, Al Jazeera’s Jamal ElShayyal reported that protesters were gathering, and that the military was not confronting them.
ElShayyal quoted a military officer as saying that troops would “not fire a single bullet on Egyptians”, regardless of where the orders to do so come from.
The latest protests reflected popular discontent with Mubarak’s midnight address, where he announced that he was dismissing his government but remaining in power.
They also repeatedly shouted that their intentions were peaceful.
Reuters reported that the police “fired shots” on the protesters in Cairo. An independent confirmation of that report is awaited.
The road leading from Tahrir Square to the parliament and cabinet buildings has been blocked by the military, the Associated Press news agency reported.
Al Jazeera’s Jane Dutton, reporting from Cairo, said the normally bustling city looked more like a warzone early on Saturday morning.
Tanks have been patrolling the streets of the capital since early in the morning.
Rising death toll
Cities across Egypt witnessed unprecedented protests on Friday, with tens of thousands of protesters taking to the streets after noon prayers calling for an end to Mubarak’s 30-year rule.
The number of people killed in protests is reported to be in the scores, with at least 23 deaths confirmed in Alexandria, and at least 15 confirmed in Suez, with a further 15 deaths in Cairo.
Al Jazeera’s Rageh in Alexandria said that the bodies of 23 protesters had been received at the local morgue, some of them brutally disfigured.
ElShayyal, our correspondent in Suez confirmed 15 bodies were received at the morgue in Suez, while Dan Nolan, our correspondent in Cairo, confirmed that 15 bodies were present at a morgue in Cairo.
More than 1,000 were also wounded in Friday’s violent protests, which occurred in Cairo and Suez, in addition to Alexandria.
|PA, with US encouragement, delayed a UN vote on the Goldstone Report into war crimes committed during Israel’s Gaza war.|
S. Farhan Mustafa, Al Jazeera , 26 Jan 2011
The Palestine Papers reveal the conversations between US and PA officials in the days before the vote [EPA]
The Council instead agreed to delay a vote on the report until March 2010, following major reservations expressed by the Palestinian Authority, the United States and Israel.
A UNHRC endorsement of the report would have brought Israeli officials one step closer to prosecution before a war crimes tribunal, an event many Palestinians were anxious to see.
But, as The Palestine Papers reveal, the Palestinian Authority apparently sacrificed a potential victory for Palestinian victims in exchange for favorable assurances on negotiations from the United States and, they hoped, from Israel.
Quid pro quoThe Goldstone Report, formally known as the Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, was released in mid-September 2009 amid calls for a review of Israel’s wartime practices. The probe was led by Richard Goldstone, a former South African judge; it identified war crimes committed overwhelmingly by Israeli forces, but also by Hamas, during Israel’s war on Gaza.
Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas has already admitted that the PA asked for the postponement; he said at the time it was to secure more international support before the vote.
“Since we felt we would not be able to gather enough support we asked for the postponement,” Abbas said in October 2009. “We wanted to reach mechanisms that would ensure the implementation of the decision and punish the perpetrators of crimes against our people.”
What The Palestine Papers demonstrate is that, in the weeks preceding the vote, the United States apparently urged the PA to stall the report as a means of restarting negotiations with Israel.
Thousands of people rallied on Sunday in Mir Ali, a town in Pakistan’s North Waziristan tribal agency, and in Peshawar, the capital of the country’s north-west Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, in furious protest against a wave of US Predator missile strikes on homes and vehicles inside Pakistan.Hundreds of Pashtun tribesmen spontaneously assembled for the Mir Ali demonstration. Just hours before, a Predator had stalked a car allegedly carrying four anti-US militants and incinerated it with Hellfire missiles when it parked in the village of Doga Madakhel. All the occupants were killed.
Two other Predator strikes followed. A motorcycle rider and two others were killed not far from Doga Madakhel, then at least six people were killed by another missile strike on a house near Miranshah, the largest town in North Waziristan.
Sunday’s demonstration in Peshawar highlighted the growing fury in Pakistan over the US operations inside the country—which are gross violations of Pakistani sovereignty and war crimes under the Geneva Convention, which bans extrajudicial assassinations and the targeting of civilian housing and vehicles.
My thanks to an eagle-eyed supporter for pointing out that, on January 11, the Voice of the Cape radio station in South Africa interviewed Elaine Whitfield Sharp, the lawyer for Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, the Pakistani neuroscientist whose 86-year sentence in a New York courtroom last September — for allegedly trying and failing to shoot at her US captors in Afghanistan, and her imprisonment in Carswell, a notorious psychiatric facility in Texas — have seemed to her supporters to crown, in a typically lawless, brutal and overblown manner, the long story of her presumed detention in a US-run “black site” for five years and four months before her alleged reappearance in Afghanistan, the encounter with US soldiers that prompted her rendition to justice in the US, and her trial last year in which all mention of her missing years was suppressed.
I have written at length about Dr. Siddiqui’s case before, and encourage anyone interested in her story to check out my archive of articles, and also to visit the website of the Justice for Aafia Coalition, and I’m delighted to add Elaine Whitfield Sharp’s interview with Voice of the Cape radio (cross-posted below, with minor corrections), because of her open declaration that Dr. Siddiqui was not a terrorist, and that, after her capture in Karachi in March 2003, by Pakistani forces and the CIA, she was “taken to some off-site country — a third-world nation, possibly Jordan or Afghanistan — where she was detained for five years in a black site or secret prison. Here she was forced to create documents to incriminate herself to support what we see in this war on terror. She was then dumped in Afghanistan with a bag that conveniently had incriminating documents.”
|Ex-IAEA chief urges Mubarak not to seek another term in office when his mandate expires in September.|
|Middle East Online, January 23, 2011|
BERLIN – Opponents of Egypt’s long-running regime should be able to follow the lead set by the toppling of Tunisia’s veteran president, leading opposition figure Mohamed ElBaradei said in comments released Saturday.
“If the Tunisians have done it, Egyptians should get there too,” the former UN nuclear watchdog chief told Der Spiegel for an interview to be published Monday.
Protests in Tunisia against president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali led to his ouster last week after 23 years in power.
There is much debate in the region as to how contagious the Tunisian “Jasmine Revolution” will prove to be.
While Egypt is suffering social problems and has seen a number of people set themselves on fire in an echo of the protest which sparked the Tunisia unrest, ElBaradei pointed to major differences between the two north African nations.