Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Time out

I'm sorry. I'am on a vacation and on the move during a week. Till the 24th of July there will be very little blogging if at all. After that I hope to see all of you again.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Nadine Gordimer, writer and outspoken critic of Apartheid, 1923-2014

Nadine  Gordimer
 Nadine Gordimer, South Africa's ''first lady of letters'' and a laureate of the Nobel prize for Literature has died at the age of 90.
Gordimer wrote 15 novels as well as several volumes of short stories, non-fiction and other works. The South African Mail and Guardian mentions that she was published in 40 languages around the world.
  “She cared most deeply about South Africa, its culture, its people, and its on-going struggle to realise its new democracy, '' Her family bsais in a statement.''Her proudest days were not only when she was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1991, but also when she testified at the Delmas Trial in 1986, to contribute to saving the lives of 22 ANC members.''
Gordimer was an unwavering critic of apartheid and an outspoken advocate of black majority rule, the Guardian and Mail writes. Her fiction, which she saw as part of the struggle against apartheid, documented the havoc that institutionalised racism wrought on private lives. Three of her works were banned by the government for varying periods because of their outspoken messages.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Kurds take over oil fields near Kirkuk, row with Maliki deepens

Bai Hassan production facility near Kirkuk. (Photo EPA)

Kurdish forces seized two oilfields in northern Iraq and took over operations from a state-run oil company on Friday, while Kurdish politicians formally suspended their participation in Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's government.
The moves escalated a feud between the Shi'ite-led central government and the autonomous Kurdish region.
The Kurdish forces took over production facilities at the Bai Hassan and Kirkuk oilfields near the city of Kirkuk, the oil ministry in Baghdad said. It called on the Kurds to withdraw immediately to avoid "dire consequences".

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Horror in Gaza-city as a house for the handicapped is destroyed without warning

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The body of 38 year old Suha Abu Saada, a disabled woman, killed in an Israeli air attack that hit a shelter for disabled adults, has been pieced together in the morgue. (Photo Ayman Mohieldin via Twitter).

A story by AFP, via Ma'an News: 
Twenty-year-old Palestinian Sally Saqr lies in a hospital bed in Gaza's Shifa hospital with burns that have turned her cheeks an angry pink beneath her ventilation tube. She survived an Israeli strike in the early hours of Saturday morning that hit a care home for Palestinians with special needs.Two of her fellow residents were not so lucky. Thirty-year-old Ola Washahi and 47-year-old Suha Abu Saada were killed when the rocket slammed into the home, destroying it.The two women's body parts were still being pulled from the rubble hours later, causing initial confusion over whether another person had been killed.
The facility's director, Jamila Alaywa, is unable to contain her fury as she describes the tragedy that has befallen the center she set up in 1994. "Both Ola and Suha had severe mental and physical handicaps, and had been living at the center since it was founded," she told AFP. The building in northern Gaza's Beit Lahiya housed 13 residents, including some who were on weekend visits at their family homes when the strike hit. Five residents and a helper were inside, screaming in terror as the building collapsed around them.
"They didn't understand what was happening and they were so frightened," Alaywa said. "They fired the rocket and it hit us without any warning. There was no warning strike with an empty rocket," she said.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Wave of arrests among Israeli Palestinians reaches 378 people in Galilea and the Negev

The protests in Israels Palestinian areas continue. Hundreds protested on Wednesday 9 July in Nazareth against the ongoing killing of Palestinians in Gaza. (Photo Arab 48)

The number of  Israeli Palestinians, the Palestinians inside Israel proper, whom Isarel has arrested  in relation to a wave of demonstrations and clashes in East-Jerusalem and about all of Israels Arab cities, towns has risen to 370, the site Arab 48 reports. Of these 44 were arrested overnight or in the course of today,  Thursday. As I, the writer of the blog, heard from arrests that are not mentioned in the report, it is possible that the number is even higher than 378.
The ''demonstrations of anger'' in the Palestinian areas started on 5 July (link in Dutch) in East-Jerusalem, as a protest against the murder on the boy Muhammad Abu Khdeir and the situation of the Palestinians in general. They quickly spread out to the cities and towns in what Israel calls the ''Triangle'' and the north of Galilea. Later on also the Bedouin areas in the Negev joined in the protests.   
On 7 July  the site Arab 48  reported that Israel arrested 110 Palestinians across Israel, among whom were Murad Haddad of the politburo of the Balad (Tagammu) party and Rajaa Aghbariyye, the secretary-general of the Abnaa al-Balad (Sons/daughters of the Land) Movement (Aghbariyye later on got a week house arrest).
Now the same site reports that the number of people arrested as off today has risen to 378. Of these 122 were arrested in the Jerusalem area (including 28 minors) , 63 in the Negev (including 11 who are under 18), 122 in the north of Galilea (including 29 minors), and 81 in what the site calls the Sahel, which includes the Wadi Ara (here the number of minors is seven).
The wave of arrests is unprecedented among the Palestinian population, at least since 2000 when thousands of them demonstrated against the harsh way Israel reacted to the Second intifada and Israel killed 13 of them in a demonstration in Umm al Fahm. Arab 48 mentions that a number of the 378 detainees are in several stages of procedures that the state brought against them.

Whole Yemeni province of Amran now in the hand of the Houthis


Fighters from the Shiite Houthi militants have taken control of a northwestern Yemeni province after weeks of clashes against the military. The death toll over the last three weeks topped 320.The top military commander was killed by the Houthis after his camp was ambushed.
Top leaders in the pro Muslim Brotherhood Islah party have called its members to withdraw from the government. Following days of intense fighting in Amran, the regional capital city of the northern Yemeni province of Amran, Houthis fighters managed all odds to gain the upper hand, sending thousands of civilians to flee the war zone.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Egypt heading for price hikes after sudden cuts in subsidies of fuel and electricity

El-Sisi meeting
Egypt's president El-Sisi talking to the editors in chief (Al-Ahram) 

Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi says the sudden move to increase fuel prices is a "must" to face the debt plaguing the country, Al-Ahram's Arabic website reported on Sunday. The increase in fuel and electricity prices, issued late on Friday, comes after El-Sisi ratified Egypt's annual budget with energy subsidies in mind.
The new budget managed to trim the country’s deficit by LE48 billion to register LE240 billion – or 10 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) – featuring a LE44 billion cut in energy subsidies.
In a meeting with the editors-in-chief of Egypt's most prominent newspapers on Sunday, the former military chief described a now-or-never situation, arguing that these economic decisions have to be made, despite public opinion, instead of letting the country drown in debt estimated at LE3 trillion.
The government's announcement on Friday triggered fears over likely consequent price hikes on goods and services. The highest increases are in some of the most commonly used petroleum products, ones that will have a direct effect on the cost of transportation of food and goods as well as public transportation, namely diesel and 80-octane gasoline.

Fifth day of protests in Kuwait against arrest of oppostion leader

An image made available by the Kuwaiti Interior Ministry on July 4, 2014, shows supporters of Kuwaiti opposition leader and former parliament member Musallam Al Barrak as they protest late on July 2, 2014 in Kuwait City. AFP Photo
Photo of an earlier day of protest in Kuwait City against the arrest of Al-Barrak (AFP/The National)

Kuwait riot police on Sunday fired tear gas and stun grenades to disperse hundreds of opposition protesters who were demanding the release of a detained opposition leader.Witnesses said riot police in armoured vehicles fired tear gas and stun grenades at the protesters as soon as they marched toward a courts complex in the capital Kuwait City, forcing them to flee.
Police chased them into narrow streets of Kuwait City markets to ensure they do not reach the courts complex, where opposition leader Musallam Al Barrak is scheduled to face trial on Monday.
The interior ministry said a number of protesters had been held while rights activist Mohammad Al Humaidi said around 30 people were arrested. Activists said a number of protesters were wounded with at least one of them hospitalised. It was the fifth night of violence in Kuwait sparked by the arrest of Al Barrak, a former MP.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Barzani determined to hold referendum about Kurdish independence

Kurdish president Massoud Barzani Thursday called on the Kurdish parliament to set a date for the autonomous region's independence vote,  despite Iraqi leadership's discouragement earlier this week, according to Al Arabiya News. Barzani also called on the Kurdish Regional Government "to form an independent electoral commission to carry out a referendum in the Kurdistan region and determine the way forward."
Barzani blames the current crisis in Iraq as the handiwork of Iraq's PM Maliki (File Archive/AFP)
At the same time Barzani said that Kurdistan's Peshmerga forces would maintain their presence in the disputed areas of Kirkuk, Nineveh and Diyalah that have fallen outside the control of Baghdad over the past month.
Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki had sharply criticized the Kurdish plans.

Monday, June 30, 2014

ISIS ''restores caliphate''

Head of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was appointed as
''caliph'' Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
Militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have claimed the formation of an Islamic caliphate or state. In an audio recording distributed on extremist websites on Sunday, ISIS's spokesman, Abu Mohammad al-Adnani declared the group’s leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as “the caliph” and “leader of Muslims everywhere”.
"The Shura (council) of the Islamic State met and discussed this issue... (and) the Islamic State decided to establish an Islamic caliphate and to designate a caliph for the state of the Muslims," said Adnani.
The spokesman added that the caliphate, which is named the Islamic State, will extend from Aleppo in northern Syria to Diyala in Iraq.
On June 10 ISIS gained control of Mosul, the capital of Iraq’s Nineveh Province, which was followed by the fall of Tikrit, located 140 kilometers (87 miles) northwest of Baghdad.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Iraqi army launches new offensive to recapture Tikrit

HRW said up to 190 men were executed by ISIS between 11 and 14 June (File/AFP)
The human rights group Human Rights Watch estimated that ISIS has executed between 160 and 190 men in at least two locations in and around Tikrit between 11 June and 14 June. The estimations are based on the analyses of photographs posted by ISIS itself and satellite images. HRW says that the final count could be higher. (Photo AFP)

The Iraqi military on Sunday launched its greatest offensive to regain lost territory, as troops backed by tanks and air power advanced north from Samarra, the city by the Tigris river where the advance of the  militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) was checked.
 The soldiers, who have been boosted by Sunni tribesmen and Shia militia, are understood to be attacking Tikrit from the south and west. The predominately Sunni city, 90 miles north of the capital, was Saddam Hussein's home town and a center of anti-U.S. insurgency.
Iraqi forces first sought to enter the city, which is the capital of the Salahuddin province, on Thursday when special forces were dropped into a university from four helicopters. One helicopter was shot down and another suffered mechanical failure and had to make an emergency leading, resulting in several Iraqis and a Lebanese pilot reportedly being captured by ISIS. The army however managed to recapture the al-Alam district south of Tikrit. In a similar operation in the city earlier Thursday, the Iraqi army took back control of a strategically located university that had fallen into the hands of ISIS.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Ramadhan Kareem

 بمناسبه شهر رمضان الكريم اتمنى كل المسلمين بين قراءي كل سنه وانتم طيبين