Libya protests: Death toll mounts as unrest spreads

Rights groups say there is a rising death toll from clashes between anti-government protesters and security forces in Libya.

Amnesty said 43 people had died in protests on Thursday, while other reports suggested dozens more were killed on Friday. The government has blocked websites and shut off electricity in some areas. State media outlets have warned of retaliation against anyone criticising Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

The mainstay of the unrest is in regional towns and cities, where many people live in poverty.

Foreign journalists operate under restrictions in Libya, so it has been difficult to independently verify much of the information coming out of the country.

But the BBC has confirmed that several websites – including Facebook and al-Jazeera Arabic – have been blocked.

And the airport in Benghazi, the country’s second largest city, has been closed, amid reports that protesters have taken it over. …

Read more : BBC

The myopia continues – Cyril Almeida

Excerpt:

…..  Well, no less a person than the American president has weighed in on what he thinks ought to be the fate of a piddling employee/contractor of the American government.

Whatever spurred those comments — he was asked a question rather than made a prepared statement — you can be sure the weight and might of the American state machinery will press very, very hard to ensure their president isn’t embarrassed by the self-righteous defiance of some judges and a few politicians in a country surviving on American handouts.

The Americans want their guy back and, by golly, they seem bent on getting their way. Which leaves our response.

By now the cat is out of the bag. When the interior minister, the ex-foreign minister and the all-powerful spy chief met to decide the fate of Raymond Davis, two of those gents were of the opinion that Davis doesn’t enjoy ‘full immunity’.

One of those two has now been fired by Zardari. The other, well, if Zardari tried to fire him, the president might find himself out of a job first.

Which leaves the obvious question: once the government had, surprise, surprise, screwed up, what did the self-appointed custodians of the national interest make of the situation?

Forget all that mishegoss about Vienna conventions and legal minutiae and the like. In its dealings with the US over the past decade, the security establishment’s concern for the letter of the law has been, at best, patchy.

Tongues are wagging in Islamabad that the calculus would have been far simpler: through a stroke of luck, the Pakistani state now has something the Americans desperately want back — Raymond Davis — so what will the Americans be willing to give in return?

The Davis incident has come at a time when by all accounts relations between the US and Pakistan were growing more tense, and worse was expected in the months ahead. All manner of American pressure was expected to be put on Pakistan to further US counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency goals in this country and across the border in Afghanistan.

Some believe the contours of the security establishment’s response had become visible in recent months: discreetly and indirectly encourage anti-American sentiment in the country as a bulwark against American pressure. If/when the Americans leaned too heavily on the security establishment here, the generals would be able to turn around and say, we can’t do what you want, the people won’t let us.

But long after Raymond Davis is back home in the US, hawking his talents in the lucrative private sector there, we here in Pakistan will still be stuck with the fallout.

The security establishment seems to view extremist sentiment like a faucet: turn it off, turn it on, leave it half open, depending on the need of the hour. But in the real world it doesn’t quite work like that.

Once released into society, the poison lingers on, its pernicious effects revealed years and maybe even decades later. Kind of what Pakistan looks like today, 30 years since Zia tried to Islamise this unfortunate land and her luckless people.

The recent evidence is just as harrowing. Hafiz Saeed was trotted out in support of the blasphemy laws, and everyone knows what that fire ended up consuming. Now the right-wing is up in arms again, demanding the head of Raymond Davis, arguing for a swap with Aafia Siddiqui, crying out for the lives of Pakistanis to be treated at par with American lives — with the security establishment passively looking on, possibly counting the benefits.

Who knows, the arrogant Americans may or may not get their way on Raymond Davis. The security establishment may or may not be able to wrest some compromises from the US in return for facilitating the release of Davis.

But Pakistani society will be uglier, more intolerant and a little more vicious as a result — and that surely cannot be worth whatever the short-term tactical advantage which may or may not be gained.

Read more : DAWN

Bahrain uprising

by: Wichaar desk

MANAMA, Bahrain – Troops and tanks locked down the capital of this tiny Gulf kingdom after riot police swinging clubs and firing tear gas smashed into demonstrators, many of them sleeping, in a pre-dawn assault Thursday that uprooted their protest camp demanding political change. Medical officials said four people were killed.

Hours after the attack on Manama’s main Pearl Square, the military announced a ban on gatherings, saying on state TV that it had “key parts” of the capital under its control. …

Read more : Wichaar

Toledo-Hyderabad Sister City

The Honorable Michael. P. Bell, Mayor of Toledo, Ohio; Toledo Sister City International Organization and Toledo-Hyderabad Sister City Committee to celebrate the auspicious occasion of the signing of a Sister City agreement between the two great cities, Toledo, Ohio and Hyderabad, Sindh.

Sister City relationships involve cultural, economic, and educational partnerships. Members of the delegation from Hyderabad want to invest in medicine, alternative energy, media, and other industries in Toledo.

Read more : Toledo

Balochistan: A student leader abducted and four bodies of disappeared persons are found

PAKISTAN: A student leader abducted and four bodies of disappeared persons are found

Case: AHRC-UAC-032-2011 – The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that a student leader from Balochistan was abducted from the check post of the Frontier Corps in Quetta while he was returning from an interview for internship at Pakistan Telecommunications, a public sector company. In the campaign of killings of disappeared persons four more bodies of disappeared were found with bullet and torture marks. No a day goes by in Balochistan province without agitation and ‘shutter-down’ strikes in protest of killings and abductions allegedly by the law enforcement agencies. …

Read more : AHRC

MAULANA FAZLUR REHMAN’S MYSTERIOUS VISIT TO INDIA

B.RAMAN

The Lucknow correspondent of Rediff.com has reported as follows on February 17,2011:

” The two-day India visit by Islamic hardliner and Pakistan’s Jamiat-ul-Islami chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman is believed to be aimed at reinforcing the anti-Vastanvi forces at the Darul-Uloom Deoband seminary in Uttar Pradesh, ….

Read more : Wichaar

Grisly Photos Reveal Genocide by Sri Lankan Government Against Tamil People

by Muthamizh Vendhan for Salem-News.com

(NEW DEHLI) – People from across the globe are condemning the Human Rights violations of the Sri Lankan government, and civilized society is fighting hard to establish a level of justice for the Tamils.

At hand, the killing of too many innocents; war crimes, the ongoing slaughter of journalists, moderates, reformists, artists and others. Having the opposition leader behind bars makes Sri Lanka a criminal and a failed state.

An effort to raise awareness is underway, targeting the President of the United States, the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives. It is important that this horrible treatment of people is brought to the world’s attention. ….

Read more : http://www.salem-news.com/articles/august072010/srilanka-violence-mv.php

Long live the people, fighting for the democracy, freedom and justice

Bahrain protests: Angry mourners bury clashes victims

France announced on Friday it had suspended exports of security equipment bound for Bahrain and Libya, where protests have also been suppressed by the authorities.

The BBC’s Caroline Hawley in Manama: “I saw men with tears in their eyes

Thousands of people have been voicing anger against Bahrain’s authorities at the funerals of victims of Thursday’s clashes which left four dead.

Crowds attending Friday prayers joined the funeral processions, calling for the overthrow of the ruling family. …

Read more : BBC