Thursday, March 31, 2011

China urges political solution in Libya



Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu

Source: Press TV
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/172466.html

China has urged immediate cessation of US-led military airstrikes against Libya and stated that crisis in the North African country must be solved through peaceful means.

"Given the current situation, we believe that it is urgent to stop armed conflicts and solve the Libya crisis as soon as possible with peaceful means," Xinhua quoted Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu as saying at a regular news briefing in Beijing on Thursday.

The Chinese official stressed that Beijing supports the United Nations, the African Union, the Arab League and other international and regional organizations in their efforts to come up with a political and diplomatic solution to the Libyan issue.

Jiang Yu added, "We believe that the affairs and future of Libya should be decided by Libyans themselves."

The remarks come as the top Vatican official in Libya says that at least 40 civilians have been killed following airstrikes launched by US and its allies on the capital Tripoli.

“The so-called humanitarian raids have killed dozens of civilian victims in some neighborhoods of Tripoli,” the Apostolic Vicar of Tripoli, Giovanni Innocenzo Martinelli, said on Thursday.

He added, “I have collected several witness accounts from reliable people. In particular, in the Buslim neighborhood, due to the bombardments, a civilian building collapsed, causing the death of 40 people."

Libyan state TV has announced that at least 114 people, including several civilians, have been killed and 445 others injured in US-led aerial attacks in the oil-rich country.

"From March 20 to March 23, the attacks have killed 114 people and injured 445 people," the network quoted Libyan Health Minister Khaled Omar as saying at a press conference in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, on Saturday.

According to government figures, 104 people were killed in Tripoli, while another 10 civilians lost their lives in Sirte, the hometown of the Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees says some 351,600 people have fled the crisis-hit Libya for fear of violence and around 1,500 to 2,000 are making their way to Egypt each day.

According to US military officials, more than 350 aircraft are participating in the US-led campaign of military airstrikes against Libya.

Apart from the United States, twelve countries from the European Union are taking part in Operation Odyssey Dawn, which began on March 19 after the UN Security Council imposed a no-fly zone over Libya to "protect civilians" from Gaddafi's attacks.

The rising civilian death toll in Libya has set off a frenzy of speculations about the real motive behind the war in the country with many analysts stating that under the guise of protecting civilians, as enshrined in the UN Security Council resolution 1973, Washington and its Western allies are basically after the North African country's vast oil reserves.

'40 civilians killed in Tripoli strikes'



The Apostolic Vicar of Tripoli, Giovanni Innocenzo Martinelli

Source: Press TV
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/172440.html

The top Vatican official in Libya says at least 40 civilians have been killed following airstrikes launched by US and its allies on the capital Tripoli.

“The so-called humanitarian raids have killed dozens of civilian victims in some neighborhoods of Tripoli,” Reuters quoted the Apostolic Vicar of Tripoli, Giovanni Innocenzo Martinelli, as saying on Thursday.

He added, “I have collected several witness accounts from reliable people. In particular, in the Buslim neighborhood, due to the bombardments, a civilian building collapsed, causing the death of 40 people."

“It's true that the bombardments seem pretty much on target, but it is also true that when they hit military targets, which are in the middle of civilian neighborhoods, the population is also involved," said Martinelli.

“Yesterday I said that bombardments had hit, albeit indirectly, some hospitals. To be precise, one of these hospitals is in Mizda town, located about 145 kilometers (90 miles) southwest of Tripoli.”

Libyan state TV has announced that at least 114 people, including several civilians, have been killed and 445 others injured in US-led military airstrikes in the oil-rich country.

"From March 20 to March 23, the attacks have killed 114 people and injured 445 people," the network quoted Libyan Health Minister Khaled Omar as saying at a press conference in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, on Saturday.

According to government figures, 104 people were killed in Tripoli, while another 10 civilians lost their lives in Sirte, the hometown of the Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees says some 351,600 people have fled the crisis-hit Libya for fear of violence and around 1,500 to 2,000 are making their way to Egypt each day.

According to US military officials, more than 350 aircraft are participating in the US-led campaign of military airstrikes against Libya to protect civilians from Libyan regime's attacks.

Apart from the United States, twelve countries from the European Union are taking part in Operation Odyssey Dawn, which began on March 19 after the UN Security Council imposed a no-fly zone over troubled Libya to "protect civilians" from Gaddafi's attacks.

The rising civilian death toll in Libya has set off a frenzy of speculations about the real motive behind the war in the country, with many analysts saying that under the guise of protecting civilians, as enshrined in the UN Security Council resolution 1973, Washington and its Western allies are basically after the North African country's vast oil reserves.

Japan rejects IAEA's evacuation advice



Police undergo radiation checks after taking part in contamination precautions in Minamisoma City, Fukushima, Japan

Source: Press TV
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/172430.html

Japan has rejected the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) advice to expand the evacuation zone around the quake-striken nuclear plant where radiation hit 4,000 times legal limits in the nearby sea.

"We have advised (Japan) to carefully assess the situation," said Denis Flory, a deputy director general of the IAEA, reiterating warnings that radiation in Litate village, 40 kilometers (25 miles) away from the plant, has reached the evacuation level, Reuters reported on Thursday.

According to the UN body, radiation in the village exceeded a criterion for evacuation.

Japan's own nuclear safety agency has also advised Prime Minister Naoto Kan's government to consider widening the 20-km (12-mile) zone round the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

The latest findings show high radiation was detected at twice that distance away.

Government officials are pleading for the Japanese people, and the world, to avoid overreaction to what they say are still low-risk levels of radiation away from the plant.

Japanese officials say no immediate action is needed to widen the current 20-kilometer exclusion zone.

More than 70,000 people have been evacuated from the 20-km ring. Another 136,000 who live in a 10-km (6-mile) band beyond that have been encouraged to leave or to stay indoors.

Nearly three weeks on from Japan's devastating earthquake and tsunami, the situation at the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant remains unresolved.

Radiation found in sea water around the plant has also reached its highest level since the station was damaged earlier this month.

Japan's premier has said that the entire Fukushima complex should be dismantled to stop the spread of radioactive substance.

Radiation still leaks into Japan sea



Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant

Source: Press TV
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/172460.html

Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency has confirmed the possibility that radiation is still leaking into the sea from the quake-hit Fukushima power plant.

On Thursday Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said radioactive iodine-131 at a concentration of 4,385 times the maximum legal level has been detected in seawater near the plant.

The level of iodine-131 concentration has increased compared to Tuesday's sample taken from the same area, which was 3,355 times the maximum legal limit, indicating that radiation is still leaking from the reactor.

The agency's spokesman Hidehiko Nishiyama confirmed the possibility that radiation is continuing to leak into the sea and said “we must check that (possibility) well.”

Nishiyama added that the agency has decided to add another three areas located 15 kilometers offshore for monitoring.

Data collected by the plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) indicate that radiation leaked from one of the reactors has “somehow” flowed into the sea.

On Monday, TEPCO said highly radioactive water, with the radiation level of more than 1,000 millisieverts per hour, was found in a tunnel near the turbine building of the Number 2 reactor and around 55m from the sea.

A destructive March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan's northern coast set off nuclear problems by knocking out power to cooling systems at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, causing radiation leaks.

The government has ordered the evacuation of about 200,000 people living in a 20-kilometer (12.4-mile) radius around the plant, and told people residing between 20 kilometers and 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) from the plant to remain indoors.

On Wednesday, TEPCO announced that Fukushima's four damaged nuclear reactors would be decommissioned.

Iran: Bahrain invaders playing with fire



The Iranian Parliament (Majlis)

Source: Press TV
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/172427.html

The National Security and Foreign Policy Commission of the Iranian Parliament (Majlis) has warned against Saudi Arabia's invasion of Bahrain, calling on Riyadh to leave the Persian Gulf state.

“Saudi Arabia knows better than any other country that playing with fire in the sensitive Middle East region will not be in their interests,” said the commission in a Thursday statement regarding the ongoing developments in the region.

“Instead of pursuing US policies in the region, Saudi Arabia had better think about its own interests and the Muslim world and take steps to pull out its forces from Bahrain in order to establish peace and security in the region and refrain from adding to complications,” it added.

The Majlis commission warned that the regional developments would get the United States and its allies bugged down, irrespective of all their mobilized efforts.

The Iranian lawmakers noted that the deployment of Saudi and United Arab Emirates (UAE) troops, backed by the US, in Bahrain would complicate the situation in the region and strengthen the resolve of Bahrainis to counter the 'occupiers.'

Backed by forces deployed by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the Bahraini government has launched indiscriminate armed attacks on peaceful anti-government protesters.

At least 24 people have been killed and about 1,000 others injured during the Manama-sanctioned violence.

Bahraini demonstrators maintain that they will hold their ground until their demands for freedom, constitutional monarchy as well as a proportional voice in the government are met.

The statement announced that the Libyan, Yemeni and Bahraini governments are killing their own people, adding that it would be a 'stigma' for officials of these countries.

It pointed to the role of the US, which claims to defend human rights in the world, and said the United States has demonstrated that it only thinks of its own interests.

It questioned Washington's silence on the brutal killings of people in Libya and emphasized that member states of the UN Security Council passed a hasty draft resolution when “they feel that people are likely to take control of affairs and a popular government may be established in the (African) country which will undermine their dominance over oil resources.”

“They launched their military operations with the purpose of maintaining their dominance over energy resources of another Muslim country,” the commission said.

It pointed out that the US and Israel are the main enemies of the world and stressed that they continue to hatch plots in an attempt to achieve domination over the Muslim world.

The statement pointed to the plots of colonial powers, particularly Britain, to cause a rift between Shia and Sunni Muslims and called on Muslims in the region to strengthen their unity and solidarity in order to counter such 'ominous conspiracies.'

Libya says at least 114 people -- many of them civilians -- have been killed since US-led forces launched aerial and sea attacks on the North African country.

Libyan troops have also killed thousands of civilians since the revolution started against Colonel Muammar Gaddafi in mid-February.

Olmert says Gaza war inevitable



Former Israeli PM Ehud Olmert

Source: Press TV
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/172432.html

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has said that an all-out war against the Gaza Strip is inevitable.

"If there's one thing I regret -- it's that we didn't finish the job back then -- we cannot avoid the need to complete the job," Olmert said on Wednesday, referring to the Gaza war while he was in office.

"Israel cannot accept the presence of a terror entity in Gaza, which threatens the citizens of Israel, without taking action. Not random action, but controlled, precise and organized action with enough force to bring a change to the reality in Gaza," Olmert was quoted as saying by Ynetnews.

Israeli forces have carried out large numbers of ground and air attacks on Gaza since the end of Operation Cast Lead against the Gaza Strip at the turn of 2009.

More than 1,400 Palestinians were killed during the three-week Israeli land, sea and air offensive in the impoverished coastal enclave. The offensive also inflicted USD 1.6 billion damage to the Gazan economy.

Israel laid an economic siege on the Gaza Strip in June 2007, after Hamas took control of the enclave.

The blockade has had a disastrous impact on the humanitarian and economic situation in the Gaza Strip.

Some 1.5 million people are being denied their basic rights, including freedom of movement, and the right to appropriate living conditions, work, health and education.

Britain praises ties with the despot



Source: Press TV
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/172311.html

Despite the Bahraini regime's violent suppression of pro-democracy protestors, the British ambassador to the Persian Gulf kingdom is calling for even closer ties with the regime.

The ambassador, Jamie Brown, introduces visitors of the website of the British embassy in Bahrain to the “long history of… friendship” between London and Manama regardless of the ongoing bloody crackdown on Bahraini demonstrators.

The Human Rights Watch in its latest report into the crisis in the Persian Gulf state confirmed that Bahraini regime loyalists have killed at least 11 people injuring more than 1,000 since the crackdown began.

The right body also stressed most of the victims were targeted by “security forces using excessive force, namely crowd-control equipment at extremely close range and live gunfire”.

Bahraini people have been calling for reforms to the autocratic system of the government and the adoption of constitutional monarchy in the country.

They also demanded an end to state corruption and fairer distribution of jobs for the ordinary people.

The regime answered their calls with a declaration of “a state of National Safety”, or emergency law, launching violent attacks on peaceful protestors who had gathered in the capital Manama's Pearl Roundabout on March 16.

The regime even went as far as preventing hospitals from admitting those injured in the clashes with the security forces.

London's only reaction to the Bahraini regime's suppression of protestors was advising its nationals in the Arab country to be on high alert and avoid large crowds.

The post on the British embassy in Bahrain remains a confirmation of London's support for the brutal treatment of peaceful demonstrators by Bahraini government forces.

“Our relationship now is as strong and warm as ever and continues to flourish,” Brown said in the 'about us' section of the website.

“There are always new opportunities to strengthen further any relationship, and we will be looking out for them,” he added.

'Corporations bleed oil rich nations dry'



Is President Obama an alliance for the US people or to Israel and its foreign policy?

Source: Press TV
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/172411.html

Corporations seek to keep their tentacles sunk in the petro-industry businesses; hence, the post-petro era has been intentionally retarded from evolving for the benefit of financial institutes.

Press TV has interviewed writer and co-founder of the Crescent and Cross Solidarity Movement, Mark Glenn, who has also authored "No Beauty in the Beast: Israel without Her Massacre."

Glenn shares his insights on how the US lies consistently about its plans in regards to foreign policy, and that the US politicians could never be taken seriously.

Press TV: Mr. Glenn, let's begin with Libya. There is a new UN resolution under the pretext of saving civilian lives with forty nations involved. One billion dollars has been spent and still counting. What makes Libya different from other countries?

Glenn: Put simply it is in the United States' interests and other western powers to intervene in this thing militarily we should not make a mistake for a second. I'm assuming this has to do with humanitarianism, or the desire to see democracy and human rights spread throughout the region. This is simply a move aimed at maintaining the decade long hegemony over the area that the west has enjoyed now for some time. It could be 40 nations or 40,000 nations and it wouldn't make any differences. These numbers are just delusions and are just part of the stagecraft the west is using in order to try to maintain some Arab legitimacy about this.

However, in general it's no different in its basic substance as the invasion and destruction of Iraq, Afghanistan or even Israel's destruction of Gaza back 2 years ago in Operation Cast Led 2006. There are also flimsy excuses the aggressors use to justify mass murder with high-sounding phrases such as humanitarian of course trying to legitimate all of this through the United Nations. However, in general it's just plan brute mafia type tactics and thug behaviors.

Press TV: How much longer can the United States afford to do this. Let's concentrate on what Mr. Barack Obama said on how the military is focused on saving lives. We look at Libya, which belongs not to a dictator but to its people. This balance of democratic ideas, we can also talk about Egypt and Tunisia in that case with military interests. How much longer can use US use this balance especially in a case like Bahrain where human rights violations are taking place?

Glenn: Well in the first case involving Bahrain I think that I would have to disagree with my colleague here. I think the United States continues to allow a change to take place in Bahrain. The system will remain the same even if the dictator goes. They are not necessarily worried about getting rid of one compliment dictator as long as the system remains the same. Therefore, the fact that the United States at this moment is not backing the rebels in Bahrain or in Yemen or other places does not mean they will not be tomorrow. Keep in mind that two weeks ago Syria wasn't even being discussed. Now it's on the front burner, the United States is already making the same kinds of noises and reminiscing about possibly, what may come of Syria, and how we may deal with it, and even if the Secretary of State at this point says, we have no plans to invade Libya.

Nonetheless, we have some very mouths in Congress namely Senator Joseph Lieberman saying the US should do to Syria with what it is now doing to Libya. Regarding the balance question you asked, the United States could go on a semi-indefinite mode in this regard as far as applying military cohesion to Libya. Syria is martially in the resources of several other nations whereas we are not necessarily US burdened with the overwhelming responsibility militarily as we are when speaking of places such as Afghanistan and Iraq.

So the fact that this is a coalition where the efforts are being dispersed out. Even if the United States does take a complete rule in this, the fact of the matter is we are getting help. That certainly would add to the idea that the United States can prolong this situation. We have to keep in mind that Libya population wise is a small country. We are talking only about 6 million people here as opposed to Iraq, which was upward to 40million. Overthrowing the existing government in Libya is not going to be a difficult job as it was with Iraq. Therefore, I think we could see the US and these others countries going on for some time. I would like to address one thing though that was mentioned earlier. Whatever the United States says we have to take this with more than just a grain of salt.

The United States has said certain things and then it does the other. Therefore, when the United States is talking about not going after Gaddafi and not seeking regime change such as from an official position through Hilary Clinton or even the President the fact of the matter is we have to understand that if the United States government is opening its mouth and moving its lips it's probably lying. The latest development with this National Council that is being now talked about. The meeting that is taking place in London. This has been in the works for a long time.

They planned on getting rid of Gaddafi for not just weeks and months but probably for years and possibly even decades. I would caution the people particularly those who are letting their optimism get the best of them in regards to these revolutions that this is the same kind of optimism that the people of Iraq were holding themselves to during the US invasion of that country. They believed they were going to be free if this tyrant and dictator. I guarantee today if you were to poll the average Iraqi, he would say he had it good under Saddam Husain.

US Congressmen: Libya attack illegal



Republican Congressman, Justin Amash

Source: Press TV
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/172328.html

Two US Republican congressmen have submitted a draft bill that seeks to put an end to the US military intervention in Libya before the operations receive authorization by the Congress.

On Tuesday, Representatives Timothy Johnson of Illinois and Justin Amash of Michigan introduced the draft legislation that aims to suspend all fundings to measures involving US President Barack Obama's decision to intervene in Libya, Xinhua reported.

"Constitutionally, it is indisputable that Congress must be consulted prior to an act of war unless there is an imminent threat against this country. The President has not done so," said Rep. Johnson.

"The President cannot constitutionally order an offensive military operation without Congress's authorization. The argument is not about 'consultation' with Congress. It's more fundamental than that. It's about whether the president by himself can order an attack on another country when that country has not attacked or is not about to attack the U.S. The Constitution plainly forbids such action,” Amash said.

The Pentagon has said that the Libyan intervention has cost US taxpayers nearly 550 million dollars so far. These costs are expected to remain at 40 million dollars per month from now on.

Obama has also declared that he is considering plans to supply arms to Libyan opposition forces in their fight against Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has claimed that the UN sanctions prohibiting the delivery of arms to Libya do not apply to the anti-government forces.

Experts say the main motive behind the Western attack on Libya is the vast oil reserves of the North African country.

'Obama more belligerent than Bush'



US President Barack Obama (L) and his predecessor George W. Bush

Source: Press TV
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/172414.html

An American author says Barack Obama is even more of a warmonger than his predecessor George W. Bush, following the US President's speech on the crisis-stricken Libya.

“Obama actually is worse than George Bush. Bush was fighting two wars directly. Obama is fighting four besides waging proxy wars and doing much, much more damage,” Stephen Lendman said in an interview with Press TV's US Desk on Wednesday.

"We more or less knew what we might be getting when Bush became president. Obama painted himself as an entirely different kind of a leader so the more progressive elements in America backed him strongly,” he said.

Commenting on the idea that Obama “wanted to end the wars,” Lendman said “It is hard to believe but he outdid George W. Bush.”

"We finally got rid of George W. Bush and what did we get? We got something worse.”

Obama had earlier said in his speech over Libya that “We are naturally reluctant to use force to solve the world's many challenges. But when our interests and values are at stake, we have a responsibility to act.”

The Libyan crisis broke out in mid-February following a popular uprising that turned into a revolution, having reportedly left more than 6,000 people dead so far.

According to a recent poll in the United States, the Obama administration's intervention in Libya's crisis has failed to win the approval of a majority of the American people and has earned the lowest public approval rating of any US military operation polled by the Gallup organization over the past four decades.

The least popular US military intervention polled by Gallup, before the Libyan crisis, was President Clinton's 1999 intervention in the Balkan conflict over Kosovo

Muslims warn Obama of prosecution


US President Barack Obama

Source: Press TV
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/172406.html

The Union of Islamic Students Associations in Europe has warned US President Barack Obama of prosecution by the world's oppressed nations over Washington's support for authoritarian regimes.

“Unless there is fundamental change [in US policies], you will soon be brought to justice at an international court of law by the very nations you have tyrannized over,” the Muslim students cautioned Obama in an open letter.

The students called on the US chief executive to assume responsibility for the US government's violations and make up for its crimes in an immediate and honest manner, ISNA reported on Wednesday.

“You have long been trialed in the world's public opinion and [now] witness the outcome in the world nations' hatred towards you,” the letter said.

It also made a reference to the US support for dictatorial regimes across the Middle East and the Arab World, pointing out “If it was not for your covert and overt support for them (autocratic regimes), they would sure have been toppled by their people much sooner.”

The students pointed to some cases of US intervention in Iran, including, the 1953 coup against the democratic government of Dr. Mohammad Mosaddeq, backing the former dictatorial regime of Shah, freezing of Tehran's assets and supporting terrorist groups such as the Mujahidin Khalq Organization (MKO) and Jundallah as examples of the US aggressive policies against Iran.

The letter has been written amid the recent wave of revolutions and anti-government uprisings sweeping the Arab world.

Since January, Tunisia and Egypt have been hit by popular revolutions.

Other revolutions and anti-government protests have also flourished in Libya, Bahrain, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Jordan and Oman and other Arab countries are expected to witness similar popular revolts.

Bahraini forces target patients: HRW



Salmaniya Medical Complex in the Bahraini capital, Manama

Source: Press TV
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/172409.html

The Human Rights Watch (HRW) has announced that Bahraini forces are hunting down patients who have been injured by rubber bullets, tear gas and live ammunition during anti-government protests.

"There is absolutely no justification for arresting someone solely because the person might have been wounded in a protest-related incident," Middle East Deputy Director at HRW Joe Stork said in a statement on Wednesday.

"It is against every tenet of humanity to deprive patients of critical and sometimes life-saving medical treatment, causing them grave suffering and perhaps irreparable harm," he noted.

Stork made the remarks after Bahraini security forces took over Salmaniya Medical Complex on March 16 and have ever since used it to identify and arrest the anti-government protesters.

Patients injured by rubber bullets and live ammunition during clashes with government forces are the target of the military.

On Tuesday, the organization also called on the Bahraini government to urgently probe the deaths of people during the crackdown on the anti-regime protests.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay described the seizure of the medical complex as "shocking and an illegal conduct," adding that she was deeply alarmed by the escalation of violence in the crisis-hit country.

Meanwhile, witnesses said Bahraini troops, backed by Saudi forces, attacked the protesters in Diraz, Sanabis, Nuwaidrat and Belad al-Qadeem on Wednesday.

The security forces in the Persian Gulf state have launched a massive crackdown against the anti-government protesters since the uprising began in the country in mid-February.

Bahrain steps up crackdown



Anti-government protesters flee after riot police fire rounds of tear gas to disperse them in the village of Diraz, west of Manama

Source: Press TV
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/172380.html

Bahrain is expanding the crackdown on the opposition as security forces open fire on anti-government protesters in the capital Manama and several other towns nearby.

On Wednesday, Bahraini troops, backed by Saudi forces, attacked protesters in Diraz, Sanabis, Nuwaidrat and Belad al-Qadeem, UPI quoted witnesses as saying.

Security forces have also managed to disperse the protesters in Manama.

Witnesses say a 15-year-old boy was killed in the village of Saar.

Bahrain's main opposition bloc, the Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, said on Tuesday that 250 people have been detained and 44 others gone missing since martial-type laws were introduced two weeks ago to contain the anti-government protests in the Persian Gulf state.

Meanwhile, the Human Rights Watch (HRW) said that government forces are targeting patients shot with rubber bullets, tear gas and live ammunition during anti-government protests and are denying them crucial medical care.

“There is absolutely no justification for arresting someone solely because the person might have been wounded in a protest-related incident,” said Joe Stork, Middle East deputy director at HRW, in a statement.

“It is against every tenet of humanity to deprive patients of critical and sometimes life-saving medical treatment, causing them grave suffering and perhaps irreparable harm,” he said.

The organization also said that security forces took over Salmaniya Medical Complex on March 16 and have ever since used it to identify and arrest anti-government protesters.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay described the seizure of the medical complex as “shocking and illegal conduct” and added that she was deeply alarmed by the escalation of violence in the country.

Facebook shuts pro-Palestinian page



Source: Press TV
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/172313.html

US-based social networking website Facebook has obliterated a page that advocated a 'third Intifada (uprising)' in reaction to Israel's persisting measures to trample on the rights of the Palestinian people.

The Tuesday move came after 350,000 people endorsed the campaign by 'liking' the page and many of its entries received thousands of comments, reported Ynetnews, the website for the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth.

The move came after Israel's Minister of Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Yuli Edelstein addressed Facebook's creator Mark Zuckerberg in a letter, pleading with him to remove the page.

The Facebook campaign had stated that "Palestine will be freed and we will free it," advocating the uprising against Tel Aviv's occupation of the Palestinian lands and its continued suppression of the Palestinian population.

A total of 6,200 Palestinians died during their first Intifada between 1987 and 1993 and the second one in the 2000s -- both fiercely confronted by Israel.

The page had also called for a march towards Palestine on May 15, which marks the anniversary of Israel's occupation of the Palestinian homelands in 1948.

The year witnessed the Israeli regime fabricating its existence, mainly backed by the US, Britain and France, in a full-scale military offensives against Arab nations in the region.

The operations forced over 711,000 Palestinians out of their homeland. A 2008 report estimates the number of Palestinian refugees at over 4.6 million.

UN chief: Israel MUST end occupation



The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon

Source: Press TV
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/172377.html

The UN secretary general has called on Israel to put an end to its occupation of Palestinian territories and its aggression against Palestinians.

Ban Ki-moon said that Israel's construction of illegal settlement on the occupied lands must be halted immediately, stop all forms of violence and provocation and must revert back to its 1967 borders.

“The occupation that started in 1967 is morally and politically unsustainable, and must end,” Ban said in a meeting in Uruguay on Tuesday.

“The target date for completing the Palestinian Authority's two-year State-building program is fast-approaching,” Ynet News quoted Ban as saying.

He added that “the Palestinians have a legitimate right to the establishment of an independent and viable State of their own.”

Ban said that “there must be a just and agreed solution to the prolonged plight of the Palestinian refugees.”

The UN chief also urged Israeli authorities to remove obstacles to freedom of Palestinian movement and cease military operations against them.

Ban further called for the easing of the Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip which has been under an all-out land, aerial and naval Israeli blockade since 2007.

Japan fails to remove its N-plant water



Fukushima Daiichi power plant in Japan

Source: Press TV
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/172369.html

Japanese have failed to remove the radiation-contaminated water at Fukushima power plant that was hit by a destructive earthquake earlier this month.

Operators at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi power plant halted the pumping of the contaminated water at reactor one while at reactor two, the radioactive core appears to have melted through the bottom of its containment vessel onto a concrete floor.

The contaminated water flooding through some parts of the facility has forced directors of the operation to move the water to other parts of the plant to give workers access to the damaged reactors, the Japanese daily paper Asahi Shimbun reported.

Fukushima's operator Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) has decided to decommission four of the six reactors at the site. It is also planning to shift thousands of tons of contaminated water into trenches on the grounds of the plant.

The storage trenches can contain a total amount of 13,300 tons while some 10,000 tons of radioactive water has already poured into them.

Earlier today, Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency announced that radioactive iodine-131 at a concentration of 3,355 times the legal level was detected in a sample taken Tuesday afternoon near Fukushima nuclear plant.

On Monday, TEPCO said highly radioactive water, with the radiation level of more than 1,000 millisieverts per hour, was found in a tunnel near the turbine building of the Number 2 reactor and around 55m from the sea.

A destructive March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan's northern coast set off nuclear problems by knocking out power to cooling systems at the Fukushima nuclear plant, and caused radiation leaks.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

'France ready to discuss arming Libyans'



French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe

Source: Press TV
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/172237.html

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe says France is ready to discuss arming Libyan revolutionaries with its coalition partners although this is not part of the United Nations resolution.

A new political contact group has been created comprising 20 countries and organizations and would meet next in Qatar, then Italy, Reuters quoted Juppe as saying after a meeting of foreign ministers and international organizations to discuss post-Gaddafi Libya in London on Tuesday.

"I remind you it is not part of the UN resolution, which France sticks to, but we are ready to discuss it (arming Libyan revolutionaries) with our partners," Juppe said.

When asked whether embattled Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi should go into exile, the French foreign minister said there was no future for the Libyan leader in his country, but that it was up to the Libyan people to decide his fate.

During the London meeting on Tuesday, some 40 representatives from the UN, NATO, the African Union and the Arab League called on the 68-year-old Gaddafi to cede power.

British Foreign Minister William Hague, who chaired the conference, said the delegates "agreed that Gaddafi and his regime have completely lost legitimacy," as other leaders discussed to chalk out a plan for future of Libya.

The meeting was held against the backdrop of public outcry over the heavy bombings in Libya by French, British and the US warplanes that have reportedly claimed civilian lives in the country.

The Libyan regime says that at least 114 people, mostly civilians, have been killed and 445 others injured in the campaign of US-led military airstrikes in Libya since March 20.

Saudi prince seeks to stop Mubarak trial



Saudi billionaire Prince al-Walid bin Talal

Source: Press TV
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/172265.html

Saudi billionaire Prince al-Walid bin Talal has reportedly offered an exorbitant sum of money in an attempt to collapse the trial brought against Egypt's toppled dictator Hosni Mubarak.

The Saudi mogul has recently met with a number of authorities in the new Egyptian government and proposed to pay them some USD 4 billion. In return, he expects the officials to dismiss charges leveled against the 83-year-old Mubarak, IRNA cited a report published by al-Watan news website.

Prince al-Walid bin Talal also sought immunity from the prosecution of Mubarak's family.

Hundreds of people stage demonstrations on an almost daily basis in Cairo's Liberation Square to demand that Mubarak and his senior associates must be put on trial and held to account for their “crimes” against the Egyptian people.

The anti-government protesters also want assets held abroad by the ousted Egyptian ruler to be recovered.

Corruption was endemic in Mubarak's Egypt where 40 percent of the country's 80 million people lived on USD 2 or less a day, and critics accused officials of usurping the nation's wealth.

There are claims that Mubarak and his sons Gamal and Alaa may have amassed a fortune of up to USD 70 billion.

An Egyptian fact-finding committee has laid charges against the former Egyptian ruler for intentional murder of protesters during January demonstrations that drove him out of power.

Former Egyptian Interior Minister Habib al-Adli is also accused of ordering police to open fire at the demonstrators.

He is already facing trial for misappropriation of national assets and money laundering.

The charges against Mubarak and al-Adli have already been submitted to the Public Prosecutor's office.

Several high-ranking police officers have recently been arrested and are being questioned for ordering the killing of anti-government protesters during the 18- day-long Egyptian revolution.

More than 360 people died in the revolution and thousands were injured, when rubber bullets, live ammunition, water cannon and tear gas were used against peaceful Egyptian demonstrators.

'Bahraini villages besieged by troops'


Source: Press TV
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/172199.html

Bahraini security forces backed by troops from Saudi Arabia have put several villages near the capital city of Manama under siege, Press TV has learned.

Gunshots were also heard in the villages near Manama on Tuesday, a Press TV correspondent reported.

Saudi-backed Bahraini forces fired tear gas to disperse protesters in the village of Tashan on Tuesday, our correspondent added.

On March 13, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar dispatched armed forces to the country to intensify crackdown on anti-government protesters.

At least 24 people have been killed and at least 1,000 others injured since riot police and troops initiated a second round of offensives against the protesters.

The security forces fired live ammunition during security sweeps on March 15, 16, and the subsequent days, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said.

The latest victim of government violence in Bahrain was a 71-year-old man who died of asphyxiation from teargas used against demonstrators in the village of Ma'ameer on March 25.

Witnesses also told HRW that another two people have died of teargas inhalation after security forces attacked protesters at the Pearl Roundabout March 16.

Human Rights Watch, however, could not confirm the identities of the individuals.

'Japan radioactivity hits other countries'



Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant

Source: Press TV
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/172168.html

Traces of radioactive contamination found in different parts of the world are thought to be linked to Japan's malfunctioning nuclear power plant, a report says.

Low levels of radioactive iodine have been detected in the US, the UK, Iceland, Switzerland, South Korea, the Philippines, and China, AP reported.

Chinese authorities have reported the existence of low levels of radioactive iodine-131in the air, as similar traces have been detected in samples of rainwater in the US.

The Philippines' nuclear research agency has said that it has found low levels of radioactive isotopes in parts of the region, while South Korea's Institute of Nuclear Safety says it has found radioactive iodine in Seoul and other areas.

In the UK low levels have also been detected at monitoring stations in Oxfordshire and Glasgow.

Experts, however, say these small amounts of the compound do not threaten the environment and public's health.

People exposed to high levels of radioactive iodine-131, a by-product of nuclear fission, are at risk of thyroid cancer, as well other thyroid related illnesses.

On March 11, a 9.0-magnitude earthquake was followed by gigantic tsunami waves, disabling the generator supplying power to the Fukushima nuclear plant's cooling system, and causing hazardous radiation due to overheating.

Following the earthquake, radioactive leakage is said to have damaged fuel rods in reactors number one, two and three.

The International Atomic Energy Agency is expected to help seek a solution to the country's nuclear crisis.

Japan has announced that nearly 28,000 people have died or are feared dead as a result of the disastrous quake and tsunami.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Bahraini troops close in on protesters


Source: Press TV
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/172152.html

Bahraini army troops have besieged mourning demonstrators in the northeastern village of Ma'ameer as the Persian Gulf state sees more violence against anti-government protests.

Bahrain's main opposition bloc, Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, said on Monday that 250 people have been detained and 44 others gone missing in since a brutal crackdown of protesters earlier in the month.

On March 13, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar dispatched armed forces to crisis-hit Bahrain upon a request by Manama to help quash anti-government protests in the kingdom.

The move highlighted concerns among Arab leaders of a possible spillover of an anti-regime uprising from the country, where month-old protest rallies seek to break the Western-backed government's monopoly on power.

Foreign military interventions in Bahrain raised concerns in the United Nations, where Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called for a meaningful and broad-based national dialogue.

Ban has also urged Bahrain's regional neighbors and the international community to support a dialogue process and an environment conducive to credible reform in Bahrain.

Bahraini demonstrators maintain that they will hold their ground until their demands for freedom, constitutional monarchy as well as a proportional voice in the government are met.

At least 20 people have so far been killed and about 1,000 others have been injured since anti-government protests in the Persian Gulf island nation began in mid-February.

Israel passes 'citizenship loyalty' bill


Source: Press TV
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/172151.html

Israeli lawmakers have approved a law that will allow the revocation of the citizenship of anyone convicted of threatening Tel Aviv's security.

The Israeli parliament (Knesset) passed the law on Monday, enabling Israel's Supreme Court to strip anyone convicted of espionage, treason or aiding the enemy during war of their citizenship, Ha'aretz reported.

The so-called citizenship loyalty law also authorizes the court to revoke the status of any permanent resident convicted of assisting what Tel Aviv deems as a terrorist organization.

"Anyone who betrays the state and carries out acts of terror must know - citizenship and loyalty go together," said Yisrael Beiteinu MP David Rotem, who initiated the bill that passed in its second and third reading.

"There is no citizenship without loyalty," he insisted.

Hawkish foreign minister and Yisrael Beiteinu chairman, Avigdor Lieberman, welcomed Knesset's decision as serving to overcome “the phenomenon of exploiting democracy in order to subvert it."

Under the new law, people with dual citizenship would be stripped of their Israeli citizenship entirely. Others could still lose his Israeli citizenship, but would be given a status equivalent to foreign workers.

The bill also states that someone convicted of posing threats to Israel's security would lose their rights to all allowances, including child allowances or welfare.

On Monday, Israeli MPs also voted 29 to 8 for a bill to block the stipend of fellow lawmaker Azmi Bishara, who fled Israel amid allegations accusing him of a series of crimes against Israel's security.

Syrian government steps down



Syrian Prime Minister Mohammed Naji Otri

Source: Press TV
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/172139.html

Syrian Prime Minister Mohammed Naji Otri's government has decided to leave office and President Bashar al-Assad has accepted the resignations, state television says.

Otri submitted his resignation on Tuesday. Assad, however, appointed him as the caretaker premier pending the formation of a new government, the Syrian Arab news agency (SANA) reported.

The decision to leave office came after weeks of protests calling for reforms, which led to deadly violence in several cities.

The opposition accuses security forces of being behind the killings. But the government denies the allegation and blames armed gangs and foreign powers, especially Israel, for the unrest.

On Tuesday, Syrians held massive popular rallies for the second successive day to voice their support for Assad and a comprehensive reform program led by him.

Large crowds of demonstrators poured into streets across the country to expressed loyalty to the motherland and insisted on preserving national unity, security and stability, SANA said.

They condemned dissident rallies against the government as part of an enemy plot to divide Syrians and denounced attempts to sow sedition and target the coexistence among Syrian people.

On Monday, Vice President Farouk al-Shara announced that President Assad planned to deliver an important speech within the next two days.

The Syrian head of state is expected to reach out to all Syrians in his speech and reassure them of reforms in the country's political system.

New plutonium traces fan fears in Japan



A file photo shows Japanese authorities trying to spray water into the No. 4 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, northeastern Japan.

Source: Press TV
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/172048.html

Authorities have detected plutonium in the soil in five areas of the battered Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant amid soaring environmental fears in the disaster-hit country.

"Of the samples from five locations, we believe that there is a high possibility that at least two of them are directly linked with the current reactor accident," a spokesman for Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) said on Monday, AFP reported.

He, however, stressed that the levels were not “serious enough to harm human health."

Meanwhile, radioactive iodine linked to Japan's nuclear power plant has reached as far as northeast US, where officials reported amounts of radioactive iodine found in rainwater samples in Massachusetts.

The US officials said the radioactive iodine poses no threat to drinking supplies.

Japan is grappled with its worst ever atomic crisis triggered by a huge earthquake and tsunami on March 11 that left more than 28,000 people dead or missing. The deadly disaster that swept through northeast Japan knocked out the cooling systems for the six reactors of the Fukushima plant, which has been leaking radiation into the atmosphere.

The US environmental protection agency said unlike external exposure to plutonium, internal exposure "is an extremely serious health hazard,” as it could stay in the body for decades, exposing organs and tissues to radiation and increasing the risk of cancer.

Earlier on Monday, the Japanese plant operator said a large amount of highly radioactive water had leaked from the number two reactor's turbine building into an underground tunnel and might spread into the ocean.

The radiation in the water was estimated at 1,000 millisieverts an hour -- a dose that can cause temporary radiation sickness with nausea and vomiting for those exposed.

Seawater near the plant has been found to include radioactive iodine more than 1,850 times the legal limit, although it is not exactly clear how the contamination has reached the Pacific Ocean.

Meanwhile, TEPCO has faced criticism over an erranous report that radiation in water at the site had reached 10 million times the normal level. It has also come under fire for an incident last week in which two plant workers were hospitalized after they stepped in radioactive water without proper boots.

Efforts to restore power at reactor two have been disrupted since Sunday because of the danger posed by the radioactive water leaks.

Japanese authorities are trying to drain the highly radioactive water from the turbine room basements -- without releasing it into the environment.

Japan on 'maximum alert' over N-crisis



Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan

Source: Press TV
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/172062.html

Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan says his government is in a "state of maximum alert" over the deepening radiation crisis at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.

Addressing a lower house budget committee, Kan said that the situation "continues to be unpredictable" and that the government "will tackle the problem while in a state of maximum alert," AFP reported.

Kan's remarks come as traces of radioactivity from damaged nuclear facilities in Japan have been detected in rainwater in the northeast United States.

Ohio reported elevated radiation levels in rainwater on Monday, a day after monitors for the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found similar cases in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.

Experts at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio reported small amounts of Iodine 131 from Japan in precipitation on Monday.

"In theory, the Iodine 131 could have come from any radioactive waste processing facility. But we know it's from Japan. The isotope is being seen worldwide," said geology professor Gerald Matisoff, who monitors rainwater carried into Lake Erie for the EPA.

The EPA has been monitoring radiation from the Fukushima nuclear plant, which was battered in the massive March 11 earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan, and had previously detected "very low levels of radioactive material" in the United States.

The agency said that these levels "were expected as a result of the nuclear incident after the events in Japan since radiation is known to travel in the atmosphere," and that "the levels detected are far below levels of public health concern."

The US institute has, however, stepped up its monitoring of precipitation, drinking water, and other potential exposure routes for radiation as a precaution.

Radiation detected in US rainwater



Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was damaged by the earthquake on March 11.

Source: Press TV
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/172000.html

Traces of radioactive iodine linked to quake-hit Japan's nuclear power plant have been found in rainwater samples taken last week in Massachusetts, US.

The low level of radioiodine-131detected in Massachusetts rainwater samples is comparable to the amounts found in California, Washington and Pennsylvania.

However, public health officials say the pollution poses no threat to drinking supplies, Reuters reported on Monday.

"The drinking water supply in Massachusetts is unaffected by this short-term, slight elevation in radiation," said Massachusetts Public Health Commissioner John Auerbach.

"We will carefully monitor the drinking water as we exercise an abundance of caution," he added.

Health officials also say they have found no detectable radiation in air samples examined in Massachusetts.

On March 11, an 8.9-magnitude earthquake, off the northeast coast of Japan's main island, unleashed a 23-foot (7-meter) tsunami and was followed by more than 50 aftershocks for hours.

The quake set off the nuclear problems by knocking out power to cooling systems at the Fukushima Daiichi plant. The incident caused nuclear meltdown and radiation leaks at the facility.

On Saturday, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) officials announced that leaks have been detected at units 1, 2 and 3 of the reactor and there is no timeline in sight to stop the leakage.

Japan's nuclear safety agency said on Sunday that radioactive iodine in the waters off the quake-hit site rose to 1,850 times the usual level.

Japan has ordered a halt in shipment of a range of farm products, as radiation was detected in vegetables from Fukushima Prefecture.

Japan has announced that nearly 28,000 people have died or are feared dead as a result of the disastrous quake and tsunami.

The quake is now considered Japan's deadliest natural disaster since the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake, which claimed the lives of more than 142,000 people.

London set to limit right to protest



Source: Press TV
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/172128.html

The British government has announced controversial plans to ban protestors from taking part in public gatherings following the weekend anti-cuts rallies, which were marred by violence.

Based on a proposal by Home Secretary Theresa May, the police may be given new powers to prevent so-called hooligans from attending rallies and marches while officers will also be authorized to force demonstrators, who do not want to be known, to remove their face-scarves and balaclavas.

The announcement has raised concerns among MPs who say no hasty decision should be made on the issue as the police may abuse the “stop and search” powers to target ordinary people rather than “known hooligans”.

May outlined her plans during an emergency Commons briefing on the violent incidents, which marred the Saturday rally organized by the Trades Union Congress.

May told the MPs that she is considering “banning orders” similar to those used against football hooligans for the demonstrators who police thinks may turn to violence.

She also said officers should force more protestors to remove their masks and balaclavas to help the police quickly identify participants in the rallies.

"Just as the police review their operational tactics, so the Home Office will review the powers available to the police. I have asked the police whether they need further powers to prevent violence before it occurs. I am willing to consider powers which would ban known hooligans from rallies and marches and I will look into the powers the police already have to force the removal of face-coverings and balaclavas,” May said.

While the Metropolitan Police earlier said it has charged 149 people out of more than 200 arrested during the Saturday rallies with various offenses, at least five people have lodged complaints with Scotland Yard about police violence against marchers.

The Met said on Monday that it has charged 138 people in connection with the sit-in at Fortnum & Mason luxury store for charges including aggravated trespass.

However, the UK Uncut, which organized the sit-in dismissed any claims that those participating in the Fortnum & Mason incident resorted to violence.

"This was not a protest by people wearing balaclavas and breaking things. It was a peaceful and mild-mannered gathering by people from all walks of life - teachers, hospital workers, charity workers,” said Tim Matthews, a spokesman for UK Uncut.

"People who took part now find themselves charged with a criminal offence simply for exercising their right to protest," he added.

This come as Tom Brake MP, co-chair of the Liberal Democrat parliamentary policy committee on home affairs, justice and equalities warned the government against “a knee-jerk reaction” to what happened.

"Clearly there was a small minority who were out to cause trouble. We need to look in detail into whether the police have sufficient powers to tackle that, or whether they can be deployed differently to ensure such violent scenes don't happen again," Brake said.

'US, Saudis keep Saleh in power'



Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh

Source: Press TV
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/172099.html

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh has been able to stay in power only by relying on foreign supports and funding, especially from the US and Saudi Arabia, Director of Institute for [Persian] Gulf Affairs (IGA) says.

“I think there is a decision in Washington and in Riyadh not to let Ali Abdullah Saleh fall,” Ale al-Ahmed told Press TV.

“He has been so far able to stay in power, because of the international and regional support and the funding that he has been receiving,” he added.

Ahmed pointed to the fact that none of the US and European leaders have called on Saleh to implement reforms or step down, while they did that with other embattled regional leaders, such as former Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak.

The IGA director argued that the West thinks Saleh is their only guarantee against al-Qaeda, but they ignore the fact that the Yemeni president is using al-Qaeda to blackmail his neighbors and the West to get more aid and support.

Saleh is losing his key internal allies and if he loses the money given to him from outside Yemen, he will lose the support of its loyalists as well, Ahmed pointed out.

Since protests against Saleh's three-decade rule started in mid-February, scores of Yemenis have been killed in the government crackdown.

Dozens of cabinet ministers, lawmakers, diplomats and tribal leaders have also abandoned the Yemeni president and joined the opposition to show solidarity with the people.

However, Saleh has rejected calls to step down immediately, saying he is ready to cede power only to "safe hands."

'Bahrain oil keeps global powers silent'



Bahraini riot police officers checking an ambulance to find injured anti-government protesters

Source: Press TV
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/172115.html

President of Bahrain's Center for Human Rights says the international community keeps silence over the Manama regime's atrocities against its people due to the wealth and massive oil reserves of the kingdom.

“Unfortunately, we are victims for being in a country which has oil. We are victim of being in a region which is influential because of its wealth,” Nabel Rajab told Press TV.

Human rights organizations warn against “dangerous and frightening situation” in Bahrain and “urge the US government to stop supplying weapons to the Bahraini government, but the response so far is not good at all,” he pointed out.

“We have a humanitarian crisis where we have hundreds of injured people being treated at homes and Private hospitals cannot take them [because] security personnel are at the hospitals to kidnap the injured people to unknown places,” Rajab went on to say.

Besides, there are a lot of injured people who have been tortured at Bahraini jails, Rajab added.

“We need help from the international community. We need humanitarian help but so far we do not receive any response from the international community,” Rajab noted.

Demonstrators in the Shia-majority Persian Gulf demand the ouster of the 230-year-old Sunni-led al-Khalifa monarchy as well as constitutional reforms.

At least 24 people have been killed and about 1,000 others injured during the crackdown.

Bahrain is home to the US Fifth Fleet base.

'US-led airstrikes hit Libya civilians'



Western airstrikes hit civilian areas in the Libyan towns of Garyan and Mizdah late on Monday

Source: Press TV
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/172105.html

Western airstrikes have hit civilian areas in the Libyan towns of Garyan and Mizdah, leaving scores of men and women wounded in the cities, reports say.

"Civilian and military areas in Garyan and Mizdah were hit on Monday night by the colonial and crusader aggressors," Libyan television said in a written news flash.

Garyan lies about 100 kilometers south of the Libyan capital, Tripoli, while Mizdah is about 184 kilometers south of the capital.

Western coalition forces have been bombarding strategic cities across the war-hit country to push government forces back.

But Western offensive is coming under intense scrutiny by critics worried about civilian lives in the North African country.

The Libyan regime says over a hundred civilians have already been killed in over 980 US-led air raids over troubled Libya, but the United States denies civilian casualties in the military operation so far.

'US intervenes in Libyan civil war'



Source: Press TV
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/172087.html

Invasion of Libya is a violation of international laws because the US-led forces are intervening and taking sides in the country's civil war, an international lawyer says.

“It is illegal under the American constitution and it is illegitimate under the UN charter,” Franklin Lamb told Press TV.

“It looks like we have joined one side and joining one side is a direct violation of article 27 of the UN charter that says that the UN cannot intervene and interfere in the internal affairs and politics of a country,” he argued.

Lamb went on to say that if the US-led forces have achieved a no-fly zone and Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi is not using aircraft against the people of his country, then “They have got to get out of there tomorrow.”

He also pointed to US President Barack Obama's illegal action in going ahead with engaging America in the Libyan war without obtaining Congress approval.

“The US constitution gives Congress and only Congress the power to declare war. Congress was not considered in this case,” lamb noted.

In his latest remarks on Tuesday, Obama said Washington will help implement a civilian government in Libya after a possible fall of Gaddafi's regime.

Speaking at National Defense University in Washington DC, Obama defended the US-led strikes on Libya, but failed to give any estimation as to when the so-called conflict may end.

American officials claim that although the coalition warplanes have carried out 983 missions over crisis-hit Libya, not one civilian has been killed, despite reports that over 100 civilians have been killed by NATO bombardment alone.

Meanwhile, Libyan troops have also killed thousands of civilians since the revolution started against Colonel Gaddafi in mid-February.

'UN decision, a blank check for NATO'



Libyan revolutionary forces

Source: Press TV
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/172106.html

The Libyan revolution has reached a critical stage, with the westward advancement of revolutionaries which involves the recapturing of some key towns, including Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi's home town of Sirte.

Press TV talks with Bryan Dawning, a military and political analyst, who elaborates on the Libyan developments. The following is the rough transcription of the interview.

Press TV: The resolution 1973 is indicated to be a combination of decade long effort to radically strengthen the bid of the UN to intervene in sovereign nations to what's been called "RtoP"... the responsibility to protect doctrine, and not surprisingly you have national security council advisors Samantha Powers and George Soros that are said to be behind this, if that is the case what is that show of the UN truly represents.

Bryan Dawning: I think the US is added a second clause in that act, which called for protection of civilians. That off course is incredibly ambiguous statement and I think it was intended to be incredibly ambiguous so it would strike fear into the Libyan Generals and Muammar Gaddafi. It is pretty close to a blank check for NATOs and key allies operating in there which it actually include the UAE and Kuwait now. If the members of the Security Council strongly and truly feel that what NATO and other powers doing is well beyond what is called for I think you see them introduce a new debate and perhaps the retraction.

Press TV: Bryan Dawning it is question of concern that is going to come out of the role of the UN in this case of point, might the UN also borrow the US and other western militaries in the future to impose its role on member states that it feels not living up to the role of the UN and idea's of states responsibilities...don't you think that in some ways under the pretext of humanitarian intervention it's going to violate the sovereignty of member states and other countries.

Bryan M Downing: I think there is so much borrowing the UN can do. The UN has borrowed troops for ... certainly Somalia come to mind,Côte-d'Ivoire might be up and coming, I believe in the Negev Desert, the border between Israel and Lebanon ... I do not sense any willingness on the part of American people or any American President who's plausibly is going to be in power for decade or so whose going to be willing to detach large numbers of American troops for peace keeping purposes under UN sanctions. I think the US finding that is little too expensive and little too counterproductive as well.

Press TV: Let me ask you what is wrong with the west, supporting regime change we can see if it is under humanitarian pretext of being some kind of intervention, but when we go in political side and see the US is reaching to the opposition having secret meetings that was held in London recently, and there is one that is going to be held tomorrow with the opposition... at this stage, is that right? Why don't we let the revolutionaries make their advances... and let them have their revolution happen and the toppling of Muammar Gaddafi, why would the West at this point do this political maneuvering by reaching out to the opposition?

Bryan M Downing: Perhaps...they are looking into a post Gaddafi Libya, or Libya that is partitioned between the Western area under Gaddafi, and eastern area under the revolutionary groups. But I think you have to be concern about just who is going to be in charge of Libya, either in the eastern part or in a post Gaddafi period.

Press TV: Why should the US not let the people do their voting, once they have a constitution they deemed proper and then continue to let their proper voting to take place...If the US is spending all this money, she is going to want back in return from Libya, it's not like the US is going to be hands off? Don't you think?

Bryan M Downing: I think the UN, NATO and just about everybody in the region would want to see some sort of transition regime to handle this sort of election, there is no one there to do it now. Remember Mubarak in Egypt was a dictator a rather brutal one, but he did allow the pretense of democracy there. There were trade association, political parties, and there were professional organizations. Things that are coming together now in Egypt, to build a representative government. There was absolutely nothing like that in Libya, because Gaddafi did not allow any semblance of democracy, neither did the monarchy before him, neither the Italian colonial power before that. But you cannot just leave Libya to its own devices once Gaddafi is gone.

Egypt braces for million-man rally



Egypt's January 25 coalition has called on fellow citizens to participate in another million-man rally.

Source: Press TV
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/172079.html

Egyptians have prepared for another million-man rally to “save the revolution” as officials loyal to the ousted regime of President Hosni Mubarak still hold on to power.

The January 25 coalition called on fellow citizens to participate in the demonstrations on Friday, warning that true reform only comes with the trial of the 'corrupt' officials of the Mubarak regime, a Press TV correspondent reported.

The anti-government protesters will also call on Egyptian officials loyal to beleaguered Mubarak to leave office immediately.

The movement said it is provocative to see officials belonging to the previous regime on TV interviews.

Egyptians, who led the wave of popular protests that overthrew Mubarak on February 11, want a radically new constitution that would break the total control the presidency held over the government during Mubarak's rule.

The announcement for the rally comes as the country's controversial emergency law is to be removed before the parliamentary elections set for September.

The emergency law, in place since former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat was assassinated and Mubarak assumed power, allows authorities unfettered powers to arrest people without charge and ban protests.

It also ended up giving Mubarak powers to crackdown on the opposition.

The Egyptian Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which placed Mubarak and his family under house arrest on Monday, has come under pressure to hand over power to a civilian government.

Activists have demanded the release of political prisoners, the lifting of a 30-year-old state of emergency and the disbandment of military court.

More than 380 protesters were killed during the demonstrations which kicked off on Jan. 25 and ended by forcing Mubarak to abandon power on Feb. 11.

Thousands of demonstrators were also injured during the protests when police forces fired rubber bullets, live ammunition, water cannon and tear gas at peaceful protesters.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Tons of cement awaits entry to Gaza

Palestinians arrive in the Gaza Strip from Egypt after passing through the Rafah border terminal

Source: Press TV
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/171912.html

A number of prominent Egyptian civil activists have pledged to deliver ten tons of cement to the besieged Gaza strip through the Rafah border crossing.

A group called 'Egyptian-International Coalition for lifting the siege and rebuilding Gaza' says trucks carrying cement from Egypt are parked close to the border, a Press TV correspondent reported on Sunday.

A 15-member delegation is expected to accompany the shipment. The delegation consists of prominent lawyers, engineers, politicians and several civil activists.

The development comes weeks after a historic revolution ousted President Hosni Mubarak from power

Egypt has imposed a blockade on Gaza since the democratically elected Hamas government took control of the territory in 2007. Since then Israel has imposed a crippling blockade on the territory triggering what a humanitarian crisis.

A major Egyptian political party, the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), has recently demanded that the country's Supreme Council of the Armed Forces takes action in breaking the siege of Gaza.

In a separate development, an Israeli airstrike has killed at least two Palestinians in the northern Gaza Strip. Three other Palestinians were injured in the attack which took place east of Jabaliya.

Reports say the Israeli aircraft fired at least one missile into the region.

Israeli warplanes have repeatedly targeted the coastal strip during the past week. At least 10 Palestinians including a number of children were killed in the air raids.

Israel has frequently attacked Gaza from air, land and sea since the end of its 22-day war at the turn of 2009.

Germany: Sarkozy remarks dangerous



German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle

Source: Press TV
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/171906.html

Germany has slammed French President Nicolas Sarkozy's comments about the possibility of Europe's military intervention in the Arab world.

"I am very concerned by the latest public remarks, including from European partners, that we are not just talking about Libya but also about other Arab leaders," Germany's Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle told a Berlin radio station on Friday.

Referring to Sarkozy's speech at a European Union summit in Brussels late Thursday, Westerwelle said it was "dangerous" to threaten military action against autocratic Arab leaders other than Gaddafi.

"I warn against having a discussion in Europe about the possibility of military intervention everywhere in North Africa or the Arab world where there is injustice,” he said, adding that "I see this as a really dangerous discussion with difficult consequences for the region and for the Arab world as a whole."

The French president had warned Arab leaders of military intervention in case any similar movements happen in their countries, AFP reported.

"France calls for there to be no violence against protesting civilians, it is their right to demonstrate," Sarkozy said.

"Every leader, and [every] Arab leader in particular, needs to understand that the reaction of the international community will be the same every time."

France is at the forefront of military action against Libyan leader which many believe aims at capturing the vast oil resources of the North African country.

"We do not see it as a solution that we threaten every Arab leader with military intervention by the international community and Europe every time," Westerwelle said.

Last Saturday, France, Britain and the US launched airstrikes on Libya, firing more than 120 Tomahawk Cruise missiles and conducting bombing raids on key Libyan targets.

The United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1973 on Thursday, permitting military measures to be taken in order to implement a no-fly zone in Libya.

The attacks have come under harsh criticism as they have led to the death of scores of civilians.

Arab League Chief Amr Moussa said on Monday that the invasion was in violation of Resolution 1973, which calls for the protection of civilians.

At least 114 people, including civilians, have been killed and 445 others injured in the week-long campaign of US-led military airstrikes, the Libyan state TV quoted Health Minister Khaled Omar as saying at a press conference in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, on Saturday.

'US drops uranium bombs on Libya'



US B-2 bomber

Source: Press TV
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/171881.html

The Stop the War Coalition says the bombs and missiles that the US-led military alliance has dropped on several Libyan cities contain depleted uranium (DU).

The report recently published on the Coalition's website said that in the first 24 hours of the war on Libya, dozens of bombs and cruise missiles were launched by US, British, and French forces -- all with depleted uranium warheads.

US B-2 aircraft dropped forty-five 2,000-pound bombs on key Libyan cities, it added.

DU munitions are controversial because they raise long-term health concerns like kidney damage, cancer, skin disorders and genetic defects.

"[Depleted uranium tipped missiles] fit the description of a dirty bomb in every way... I would say that it is the perfect weapon for killing lots of people," said Marion Falk, chemical physicist (retd.), Lawrence Livermore Lab in California.

The report comes as the Western forces claim the operation in Libya is aimed at protecting civilians.

Director of the US military's Joint Staff Bill Gortney has told reporters at a Pentagon briefing that he is not aware of any use of depleted uranium munitions in Libya.

Libya says at least 114 people -- many of them civilians -- have been killed in US-led airstrikes in the country.

"We are losing many lives, military and civilians," Libyan government Spokesman Mussa Ibrahim said in Tripoli.

Dozens of civilians have been killed in Libya since US-led forces launched aerial and sea attacks on the North African country.

Libyan troops have also killed thousands of civilians since a revolution started against Colonel Gaddafi in mid-February.