6 بلاگ - صفحه 10 از 105 - جدیدترین اخبار ایران و جهان

Nicaragua: General strike anger over political prisoners | Mexico News

Thousands of people in Nicaragua have gone on strike as opposition supporters demand the release of political prisoners.

Human Rights activists say about 800 people have been arrested since anti-government protests began last year.

Al Jazeera’s Manuel Rapalo reports from Mexico City.

Istanbul’s election rerun: A blow to democracy in Turkey? | Elections 2018

On June 23, people will head to the polls in Istanbul to vote for their mayor. But this is no ordinary vote. This is a rerun, one steeped in controversy, and widely characterised as a power grab by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The first election on March 31 was won by the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) but with a razor-thin majority.

Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AK Party) complained of “irregularities” and won the right to a rerun, a decision which the opposition says is undemocratic, and which even former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has criticised.

But Senior AK Party member Harun Armagan defended the move, describing it as the right decision.

“[There] were unauthorised people appointed as ballot box officers … there were irregularities in vote counting sheets, which in the law clearly says that in these sorts of cases, if it’s impacting the final result of the election, it goes to a rerun.”

Mustafa Akyol, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute’s Centre for Global Liberty and Prosperity described the rerun as a stain on Turkey’s democracy.

He said the fact that some people at the ballot box were not government officials doesn’t prove any misdeed.

“There are independent scholars who don’t see any reason, any legitimate reason for the cancellation of the elections … it’s just a technicality, and that technicality is not used to cancel other elections across Turkey,” Akyol said.

In this week’s Arena, we debate democracy in Turkey.

Follow UpFront on Twitter @AJUpFront and Facebook.

Source: Al Jazeera

Netherlands FM demands international tribunal to try ISIL members | Netherlands 2017 News

The Foreign Minister of the Netherlands Stef Blok, has called for an international tribunal to be established to investigate the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS).

He proposed that the tribunal should look into the claims that the armed group committed genocide during its so-called “caliphate” across Syria and Iraq.

Al Jazeera’s James Bays reports from the United Nations.

Eritreans have peace, now they want freedom | Africa

Today, Eritrea is celebrating its hard-won independence, a victory earned after 30 years of fierce and deadly armed struggle, followed by 20 years of deadlock with neighbouring Ethiopia, after the border conflict of 1998-2000.

Like previous years, the Eritrean authorities have made extensive preparations to mark the anniversary with a major festival in the streets of Asmara. But this year, the celebrations will also feature a new element: two mannequins representing Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who in a landmark move last year opened the common border for the first time in 20 years.

The regime clearly wants to celebrate the peace agreement and rapprochement with Ethiopia, still brandishing it as a major achievement. However, it will do so under tight security. While round-ups, patrols and checkpoints have been routine features of Independence Day security, they have reportedly been significantly boosted this year as a clear warning to the general population.

The Eritrean people, who initially also rejoiced at the peace agreement, hoping that the resolution of the cold conflict could bring them much-desired relief, are yet to see any change in their daily lives.

For two decades, they had been told that they have to live under a virtual state of emergency because Ethiopia is still posing an “existential threat” to their country and their freedom. All possible justifications for the continuing repression and austerity the regime could manufacture ended with the peace deal, the lifting of UN sanctions and the country’s admission to the UN Human Rights Council.

Today, Ethiopia is no longer a threat, given all the documents signed and all the official visits exchanged.

Yet the Eritrean president has clearly demonstrated that he will not relax the chokehold he has had the country in for so many years. As a result, little has changed for most Eritreans since last year.

After the border with Ethiopia was opened in September 2018, which allowed free movement of goods, the Eritrean market, which had suffered from an acute shortage of goods for years, briefly enjoyed stability and the sharp decline of prices.

But over the next eight months, Asmara gradually shut down all border crossings unilaterally without giving an official reason for doing so and put an end to the short-lived trade boom.

Having their hopes for economic opening and prosperity quashed, Eritreans have continued to flee the country, resorting to alternative routes to bypass the closed border crossings. Those who make it to neighbouring countries abroad are facing a precarious situation and the risk of having no valid documents, as some Eritrean consular offices have started rejecting requests for issuing passports to nationals who have left illegally after the peace deal with Ethiopia. 

Meanwhile, mandatory military conscription continues both for the regular army and the “popular army”. Conscripts to the latter, both men and women, are required to attend military drills, carry guns, and guard government buildings in night shifts after they are done with their regular government jobs.

After the peace deal and following Ethiopia’s announcement of amnesty for political prisoners, Eritreans were hopeful that their government would follow suit. But they were again disappointed. Repression continues against the population at large and specific targeted groups.

In May, around 140 followers of banned Christian denominations, including minors, were rounded up and taken into custody in Asmara. Since 2002, all religious groups that are not affiliated with the Orthodox, Roman Catholic or Lutheran Protestant churches or Sunni Islam have had to undergo mandatory registration, including giving up personal information of their members. Those who have failed to do so have been persecuted.

At the same time, the Eritrean president continues to keep not only the general population in the dark about the peace deal with Ethiopia but also members of his regime.

While the agreement was signed on July 9, 2018, in Asmara, Afwerki didn’t bother to conduct his first interview with local media until November 3, 2018. The president took 80 minutes to respond to a few preapproved questions and only addressed regional geopolitics and emphasised that Eritrea is still under threat from its many enemies. Yet neither he nor any regime officials ever addressed any of the domestic implications of the deal.

The most important issues for Eritrea’s general public remain unaddressed: when the indefinite national service will be suspended, the demarcation of border finalised, the rule of law restored and the ban on trade and construction lifted.

At the same time, the regime has sought to limit other sources of information Eritreans have been trying to access. In the past few months, the authorities have started trying to jam certain TV channels broadcast from abroadm, including opposition satellite TV Assenna.

Since early May, social media has also been blocked in Eritrea with the exception of selected officials and cadres, according to recent reports. Sources within the country have confirmed to me that certain websites are also being blocked, while most internet cafes – where a majority of Eritreans access the internet through a very slow connection (kept so intentionally) – instruct their customers to use proxy servers and VPN.

Having seen no improvements in their lives since the peace agreement was signed, Eritreans inside the country are growing increasingly frustrated. There may not have been protests – for those put down almost immediately by security forces – but public anger seems palpable. People who have visited the country recently have shared with me their impression that many citizens are openly voicing their criticism in public places. This was unheard of a year ago. “People are waiting for change more than ever,” a contact from inside Eritrea told me.

The revolution in neighbouring Sudan has certainly left its mark. Eritreans have watched carefully the events in Khartoum and have rejoiced at the show of solidarity by Sudanese protesters with their suffering.

Meanwhile, the diaspora has become increasingly active. In January, a social media campaign was launched under the hashtag #EnoughIsEnough which aimed to encourage Eritreans to talk openly about their post-peace-deal demands.

The campaign gradually spread across the world and recently resulted in various Eritrean communities holding official meetings to discuss how to bring lasting change to their motherland. Bigger public events in the United States and Canada have also been organised. In Washington, DC, for example, a two-day event is under way that includes public demonstration, seminars, and concerts.

Never have the Eritrean diaspora been so united. Until the recent past, regular meetings among the Eritrean opposition, let alone such festivals, were impossible. The turnout was always small, as many feared retaliation against family members back at home. Today, not only there is an unprecedented activity, but also an open conversation about a post-Afwerki Eritrea.

Up to now, the regime has ruled by fear, violence and endless excuses. Slowly but surely, all justifications for keeping the country in deliberate isolation and austerity are crumbling, while the population is growing increasingly bold in the face of extreme repression.

While it is impossible to guess how this anger will express itself, it seems certain now that political change is inevitable in Eritrea. Today, more than ever before, Eritreans are dreaming of celebrating their true liberation.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.

Climate change aiding hurricanes in Atlantic, say US scientists | USA News

Scientists in the United States say the approaching Atlantic hurricane season could bring as many as eight storms.

They say the hurricanes have been getting stronger over the years because of climate change.

Al Jazeera’s Andy Gallacher reports from Miami.

India elections: What next for Rahul Gandhi and his Congress? | India News

A second straight landslide election defeat for opposition Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has raised serious questions about his leadership and cast a damaging shadow over one of the world’s most prominent political dynasties.

Rahul, who even lost the family constituency seat of Amethi in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, will have to face the music at a meeting of party leaders in coming days.

Rahul lost Amethi, a seat he represented since 2004 and which was a Congress stronghold since the 1960s, to the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Smriti Irani – the most stunning upset in the Indian election, which saw Prime Minister Narendra Modi storm back to power.

The election results made grim reading for Congress barons who have relied for generations on the talismanic Nehru-Gandhi name – which rivals the Kennedy clan in the United States and the Bhuttos in Pakistan – to provide electoral success.

The Congress won 52 seats in India’s lower house of parliament, barely improving the historic low of 44 it won in Modi’s last landslide in 2014. The party failed to get a single seat in 13 of the country’s 29 states.

When asked about responsibility for the loss, Rahul Gandhi told a press conference late on Thursday: “This is between my party and me. Between me and the Congress Working Committee.”

Party spokesmen have insisted the 48-year-old son, grandson and great-grandson of Indian prime ministers would not resign and that strategy was to blame for the defeat.

“We have to go back to the drawing board,” Congress spokesman Salman Soz told AFP news agency.

Congress in denial?

But experts say the party and its ruling family is in denial.

“The Congress leadership has clearly failed. It is a discredited and bankrupt leadership,” Kanchan Gupta, a politics expert at the New Delhi-based Observer Research Foundation think-tank, told AFP.

Congress has been a virtual one-family party for the last century. India has been mesmerised by the twists and turns of its successes and frequent tragedies.

Pro-independence leader Motilal Nehru served as party president twice between 1919 and 1929.

His son Jawaharlal Nehru took over and became India’s first prime minister after independence, ruling until his death in 1964. His daughter Indira Gandhi and then her son Rajiv Gandhi – Rahul’s father – followed as premiers. Both were assassinated in office.

Rajiv’s widow Sonia Gandhi won two elections as party leader but did not become prime minister, fearing her Italian origins would fuel a backlash.

Party fortunes had dwindled since she started to hand the reins to Rahul ahead of the 2014 vote and as Modi turned the BJP into a formidable vote machine, seizing on corruption scandals that hit Congress.

Rahul failed this time to connect with voters in the way that Modi did, critics said. The Nehru-Gandhi name that was once Congress’s biggest asset is now a liability.

The Congress “campaign was a disaster and now their very existence is under question. The more it staggers, the more it helps the BJP,” Hartosh Singh Bal, political editor of Caravan magazine, told AFP.

Modi made hay mocking Rahul’s lineage, calling him “shehzada” (prince), which contrasted sharply with his humble origins as a tea seller. Modi also attacked Rahul’s father, Rajiv, describing him as India’s most corrupt premier.

The use of Rahul’s sister Priyanka on the campaign trail did not galvanise Congress votes as expected.

“Rahul’s party may have mobilised crowds for him but he simply couldn’t connect,” said Gupta, adding that the Congress’s age-old policy of offering welfare handouts to the poor no longer resonates with an “aspirational India”.

What next?

“It is pretty much over to the Congress to decide if it wants to shield Rahul Gandhi, like they have done other times,” said Nistula Hebbar, political editor of The Hindu newspaper.

“If they do, the going gets much tougher for the party to revive from its present situation,” she told AFP.

Several big-hitting Indian politicians have defected from Congress over the years because of the Gandhis’ refusal to give up power.

Sharad Pawar, who formed the Nationalist Congress Party, and Trinamool Congress Party leader Mamata Banerjee, quit long before Rahul took charge.

Commentators say there is young talent in the party that should be promoted but they cannot see the Gandhis giving up power.

“It will be very tough for the Gandhis to rebuild from here on,” said Hemant Kumar Malviya, associate professor of political science at the Banaras Hindu University.

“But I don’t think it’s the end of the road for them,” he added.

Deadly explosion hits mosque in Afghanistan’s Kabul | News

Two people, including a senior muslim preacher, were killed and at least 16 wounded after an explosion in a mosque during Friday prayers in the Afghan capital.

The explosion took place around 1:20pm (0850 GMT) and targeted the Al-Taqwa mosque at a time when dozens had gathered for afternoon prayers.

Jan Agha, a district police official, said the bomb was planted in the microphone used by the prayer leader, Mawlawi Samiullah Raihan, during Friday prayers.

“Unfortunately in the blast, Mawlawi Raihan has been martyred and 16 other worshippers were wounded,” said Nasrat Rahimi, spokesperson for the interior ministry.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack but the Taliban and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group regularly stage attacks in the country’s capital.

Earlier this month, the Taliban attacked the offices of Counterpart International in Kabul, an NGO headquartered in the United States that has been operating in Afghanistan since 2005.

The Taliban has stepped up attacks across the country, even as it holds direct negotiations with officials from the United States to end the 17-year war in Afghanistan.

Al Jazeera and news agencies

Explosion targets mosque in southwestern Pakistan’s Quetta | Pakistan News

Islamabad, Pakistan – At least two people have been killed and 25 wounded after an explosion at a mosque in the western Pakistani city of Quetta.

The explosion took place inside a mosque ahead of Friday prayers, city police chief Abdul Razzaq Cheema told Al Jazeera by phone, adding that at least three of the wounded were in critical condition.

Local police official Tauseef Farman told Al Jazeera the explosive device went off next to the prayer leader, who was among those killed.

The area was cordoned off by security forces shortly after the explosion, and a bomb disposal unit was conducting investigations, Cheema said.

Video footage from the scene showed debris from the blast strewn within the mosque, with ceiling tiles lying smashed on the floor.

Regular violence

Quetta is the capital of Balochistan, Pakistan’s largest and least populated province that is also rich in mineral and fuel resources.

It has seen regular violence in recent years, with attacks claimed by Baloch separatists, Pakistan Taliban and local affiliates of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIL, also known as ISIS).

The province has been at the centre of a series of recent attacks that have killed at least 10 people.

Last week, at least four policemen were killed when their vehicles were targeted by an explosion as they stood guard outside a mosque during evening prayers.

On May 12, Baloch separatist gunmen stormed a five-star hotel in the southern port city of Gwadar, killing at least five people, including a Navy soldier.

Pakistani security forces engaged in an hours-long gun battle with the attackers, with the siege ending after three attackers were killed.

Balochistan is seeing a number of new infrastructure projects erected, including the port at Gwadar, as part of the $60bn China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, a joint venture between the Pakistani and Chinese governments.

Wildfires rage in Israel during heatwave | News

Firefighters have battled wildfires that scorched swathes of forests in central Israel and forced residents of some small towns to be evacuated.

The wildfires were reported during a sweltering heatwave that brought record temperatures to parts of the country.

Rescue efforts focused on a wooded area between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, where ground teams and airplane tankers fought the flames for hours. By night, the fires were mostly under control, according to police.

Some 3,500 residents of some small towns were evacuated, officials said. More than a dozen houses burned down, local media reported.

Jerusalem, which sits at 754 metres above sea level, recorded a temperatures of 37.5C on Thursday afternoon – its May average is 26C.

Moving west towards the Mediterranean, the heat was even more stifling. One Tel Aviv suburb hit 43.5C, according to the Israel Meteorological Service. Temperatures should be nearer 25C at this time of the year.

The heatwave was expected to continue into Friday, with temperatures nearer 30C in Jerusalem by the weekend. Meanwhile, Tel Aviv should be back down around the average by Saturday afternoon.

With no no rain forecast in the coming days. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been reaching out to nearby countries to see if they ‘could’ help should the wildfires worsen.

Al Jazeera and news agencies

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf responds to allegations of nepotism | Corruption

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf came to power in Liberia in January 2006 following decades of war, violence and coups, and became the first elected woman head of the state in Africa.

She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011 alongside fellow Liberian Leymah Gbowee and Yemeni rights activist Tawakkol Karman for her contribution to peace in Liberia and her work on women’s rights.

She has been hailed for her work both at home and abroad, but her legacy in Liberia is overshadowed by accusations of nepotism and corruption.

When asked to explain why, after pledging in 2005 to tackle corruption, her government failed to take any action against some 20 ministers accused of corruption by an independent watchdog, Sirleaf said it was “because our system is like that”.

“If you want to really understand Liberia, you need to dig a little bit deeper. You need to understand our culture, our values, our systems and the way to tackle it. It’s not always to just make a whole lot of noise about it,” she added.

When asked why she appointed family members, including one of her sons, to top government positions, she said it was because she needed a “specialised skill”.

She denied accusations her son Robert Sirleaf was in any way implicated in the collapse of Liberia’s National Oil Company, and said her other son, Charles Sirleaf who was arrested in March, was “illegally charged” over allegations he unlawfully printed local currency worth tens of millions of dollars.

The former president also defended her record on war-crime prosecutions in Liberia. She has been criticised for ignoring recommendations put forward by Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

“Truth and reconciliation has gone to the courts, it’s left the courts. It has transformed into the Palava Hut. That process has started … and so I don’t care what you say,” she told UpFront.

This week’s Headliner, former President of Liberia and Nobel laureate Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

Source: Al Jazeera

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