6 بلاگ - صفحه 4 از 105 - جدیدترین اخبار ایران و جهان

UN says Afghan captives held by Taliban subjected to abuse | News

Afghan captives held by the Taliban have been subjected to abuse, ill-treatment and actions that may amount to torture, the UN said.

The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan said on Sunday it interviewed 13 detainees from a group of 53 recently rescued from the Taliban.

The group mainly consisted of members of the Afghan forces but also civilians and government officials.

The group was freed on April 25 when Afghan troops raided a Taliban-run detention facility in the Khas Uruzgan district in southern Uruzgan province.

Most of the captives were held since 2018, with three since 2016, the UNAMA statement said, adding they were kept in poor conditions and subjected to forced labour.

It cites the detainees as saying that the Taliban killed some of their captives.

“I am gravely concerned about these serious allegations of ill-treatment, torture and unlawful killing of civilians and security personnel, as well as the deplorable conditions of detention,” said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the head of UNAMA.

The detainees were shackled while in captivity and almost all said they were beaten.

The Taliban told them it was punishment for supporting the government, working with the US or fighting the armed group.

US-Taliban talks

The UN statement comes as Washington’s peace envoy, Zalmay Khalilzad is pressing ahead with talks with the Taliban, who refuse to negotiate directly with the Kabul government.

The talks so far have focused on a timetable for US troop withdrawal as well as Taliban guarantees that they won’t harbour “terror” groups or allow Afghanistan to be used as a staging ground for global attacks.

As the war approaches its 18th year, 14,000 US troops are still in Afghanistan, and senior US intelligence officials have repeatedly warned that the country remains fragile.

The UN said in its quarterly report in April that between January and March 2019, armed groups killed 227 civilians and injured 736 others.

In contrast, Afghan and international security forces killed 305 people and injured 303, a 39 percent jump from the same period last year.

During the same period, aerial operations by both Afghan and international military forces caused 145 deaths, half of them women and children, UNAMA said.

Al Jazeera and news agencies

Zimbabwe’s opposition MDC party to choose new leader | Zimbabwe News

Zimbabwe’s main opposition Movement for Democratic Change party is set to officially elect a new leader.

The MDC is expected to choose Nelson Chamisa, who has been interim leader since last year.

The party narrowly lost the election in 2018, and analysts say it must overcome internal divisions in order to convince voters next time round.

Al Jazeera’s Haru Mutasa reports from Gweru, Zimbabwe.

Toronto Raptors make history with first NBA final | News

The Toronto Raptors have made history by becoming the first Canadian team to reach the NBA final after rallying past the Milwaukee Bucks 100-94 in Game 6. 

The Raptors came back from a two-game deficit in the best-of-seven basketball series to win the Eastern Conference 4-2 for the first time in franchise history on Saturday night.

They will open the NBA final at home on Thursday night against six-time champions Golden State Warriors.

American Kawhi Leonard scored 27 points, seven in the fourth quarter and finished with a career-best 17 rebounds and seven assists to lead the home side to victory.

“It’s still surreal to me right now,” Leonard said. “But this is what we’ve been striving for all season. It’s not over yet.”

There were jubilant scenes at Toronto’s Yonge-Dundas Square on Saturday night as fans gathered to celebrate.

Pascal Siakam added 18 points, Kyle Lowry had 17 and Fred VanVleet scored 14 for the Raptors.

“Kawhi stays level-headed all the time,” Lowry said. “He brought that pedigree with him.”

“He inspired us tonight with monster rebounds,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse added. “It wasn’t going well for us, it was kind of a frustrating night. … But we kept playing.”

Lowry has been through many playoff failures in seven years with the Raptors.

“It means a lot to me,” Lowry said. “We beat a really good team in Milwaukee. But I’m not satisfied yet. Our goal is to win the NBA championship.”

Most Valuable Player candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 21 points and had 11 rebounds for the Bucks, who had the NBA’s best record (60-22) during the regular season.

Brook Lopez added 18 points with nine rebounds and three blocks, Khris Middleton had 14 points, Ersan Ilyasova 13, and Malcolm Brogdon and George Hill 10 each.

“This hurts,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “But what they did in the playoffs tonight against a really good Toronto Raptors team, and to get to the Eastern Conference finals, the regular season, a special season for us. We feel like we’re just getting started.”

The Warriors had swept the the Portland Trail Blazers 4-0 in the Western Conference to reach their fifth consecutive NBA final.  

Al Jazeera and news agencies

Bolivia’s superfood crop seen as means for food security | Bolivia News

It is tasty, nutritious and is being touted as the next superfood.

Canagua has been grown for generations in one of South America’s most inhospitable regions.

Now the grain is being seen as a possible way to ensure food supplies in the face of climate change.

Al Jazeera’s Daniel Schweimler reports from Toledo in Bolivia.

Iranian FM visits Baghdad to discuss rising tensions with the US | Iran News

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has arrived in Baghdad for talks with Iraqi officials amid heightened tensions between his country and the United States. 

His Saturday visit comes a day after the US announced the deployment of an additional 1,500 troops to the Middle East, a development that Zarif described as “dangerous”.

In Baghdad, Zarif was due to meet senior officials including Prime Minister Adel Abdel-Mahdi to discuss the crisis with the US and its regional consequences, sources in the Iraqi government said, without giving further details.

“Iraq is in a very delicate position because of the great influence that Iran has on this country. It is by far the largest regional ally of Iraq, be it economically, politically or militarily,” said Al Jazeera’s Charles Stratford, reporting from Iraq. 

Stratford however added that some leaders like Iraqi scholar Muqtada al-Sadr are “saying that anybody that tries to instigate any kind of political conflict or instability in this country will become an enemy of the Iraqi people”.

Meanwhile, Iraq’s Parliament Speaker Mohamad al-Halbousi said on Saturday that Baghdad is ready to mediate between the US and Iran if asked to do so.

Al-Halbousi’s comments came just days after Abdel-Mahdi revealed that Iraq will dispatch delegations to the US and Iran in an effort to ease tensions between the two countries. Iraq maintains close ties with both countries.

Tensions between the US and Iran have escalated ever since the Trump administration withdrew last year from the 2015 nuclear deal between the Islamic Republic and world powers, and reinstated American sanctions that have badly damaged the Iranian economy.

President Donald Trump has argued that the nuclear deal failed to sufficiently curb Iran’s ability to develop nuclear weapons or halt its support for militias throughout the Middle East that the US argues destabilise the region.

“We are ready to mediate to solve the crisis between Washington and Tehran if we are asked for that,” al-Halbousi said. He added that there has been “no official request for such mediation.”

On May 19, a rocket was fired into Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone, landing less than a mile from the sprawling US Embassy.

There were no injuries and no group claimed responsibility, but the rocket was believed to have been fired from east Baghdad – which is home to Iran-backed Shia militias.

During his visit to Baghdad, Zarif will meet his Iraqi counterpart Mohamed al-Hakim, Iraqi President Barham Salih, and Abdul-Mahdi, according to Iran’s state news agency.

Iraq’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmad Sahhaf said Zarif will discuss the situation in the region and ways of finding common ground.

Al Jazeera and news agencies

Uganda protests Rwandan military’s ‘violation of territory’ | Rwanda News

Uganda has protested an incursion by Rwandan soldiers on its territory that it said resulted in two deaths, a development that could inflame already tense relations between the neighbours.

Two Rwandan soldiers entered Ugandan territory in the southwestern district of Rukiga on Friday in pursuit of a suspected smuggler, the Ugandan Foreign Affairs Ministry said on Saturday.

They shot dead a Rwandan and a Ugandan, it added.

“Uganda protests in the strongest terms the violation of its territorial integrity by Rwandan soldiers and the criminal, brutal and violent act by the Rwandan soldiers, on Ugandan territory against unarmed civilians,” the ministry said in a statement.

It described the incident as being of “serious concern,” calling it an “incident of murder.”

“The ministry demands that action be taken against the perpetrators of this attack.”

Rwanda dismisses allegation

Rwanda Foreign Minister Richard Sezibera, however, denied that any such incident took place.

“Fake news: no such thing happened,” he said on Twitter, adding that a detailed response would be forthcoming.

Relations between the countries have been strained since February over economic and political disagreements.

At the end of February, Rwanda started blocking Ugandan cargo trucks from entering at Katuna, the busiest crossing on the two nations’ border. Authorities in Kigali also started stopping the country’s nationals from travelling to Uganda.

Kigali accused Kampala of supporting rebel groups opposed to President Paul Kagame’s government, including the Rwanda National Congress (RNC) and the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR).

Kampala has in turn accused Rwanda of effectively imposing a trade embargo on Uganda.

Rwanda depends for much of its imports on a trade route through Uganda to Kenya’s Indian Ocean seaport of Mombasa. The same transport artery is also a pipeline for goods from Kenya and Uganda to Burundi and parts of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Opposition rallies to ‘save’ Israel from Netanyahu | Israel News

Thousands of Israelis have gathered in Tel Aviv on Saturday night to protest Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s emerging coalition agreements, which opposition leaders said would constitute the end of the country’s democracy.

Netanyahu, who has until Wednesday night to form a new coalition following the April 9 elections, has so far failed to accommodate the clashing demands of his future government partners, primarily over the issue of drafting ultra-Orthodox men into the military.

While no agreements have been presented thus far, there was speculation that coalition members would have to agree to measures that would weaken the judiciary, which is seeking to put Netanyahu on trial.

Netanyahu has until October to face a pre-trial hearing, after Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit announced in February his intention to indict the leader on charges of fraud, breach of trust and bribery.

Thousands of people on Saturday night waved Israeli flags and signs with slogans such as “One people, one law”.

“We won’t let you turn democratic Israel into the private court of a royal family or a sultanate,” said Benny Gantz, head of the Blue and White alliance, which is set to be the largest opposition party.

“You’re not above the law, we won’t let you be a dictator,” said Yair Lapid, also of Blue and White.

Tamar Zandberg of the left-wing Meretz party said that “we’re here to fight for our country”.

“Netanyahu is going to crush the supreme court to prevent justice from taking its course with a fugitive criminal,” she said, as protesters chanted “Bibi go home!”

Organisers said tens of thousands of people participated in the event, which took place in front of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art.

Police estimated fewer than 10,000 protesters were present.

If Netanyahu fails to present a coalition by Wednesday, President Reuven Rivlin could assign the mission to another member of parliament.

In a Facebook post Saturday, former defence minister Avigdor Lieberman stressed that he would only enter a coalition committed to passing his proposed draft law.

While having recommended that Netanyahu form the coalition, Lieberman warned that if his demands were not met, “we’ll go to re-elections”.

Targeted by a Text | Fault Lines

India elections: Modi to be formally elected by MPs | India News

India’s newly elected MPs from the governing Bharatiya Janata Party will gather in the capital to select Prime Minister Narendra Modi as their leader.

The vote follows a landslide victory following the six-week elections.

The win gives Modi a powerful mandate to implement his nationalist vision.

Al Jazeera’s Sohail Rahman reports from New Delhi.

Years of war and poverty take toll on Afghanistan’s healthcare | Afghanistan News

Kabul, Afghanistan – In a recent address to Afghanistan’s healthcare providers, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah said, “With what we spend on a single day of war, we could build a state-of-the-art hospital.”

With that statement, Abdullah – a medical doctor himself – summed up the state of healthcare in the country plagued by limited resources and an ongoing war.

Health facilities in Afghanistan have come under attack from armed groups. According to the World Health Organization, there were 34 reported attacks on healthcare facilities in the first quarter of 2019, killing at least nine workers and patients and causing the closure of at least 87 medical facilities.

War and poverty

Najmusama Shefajo, an obstetrician-gynaecologist who has worked in public hospitals and private clinics in Kabul and Helmand provinces, said it boils down to two issues: war and poverty.

“Four decades of war has led to increasing poverty, which has a clear effect on health,” said Shefajo.

“If a mother doesn’t have the money to eat properly or for proper medicines, then she can’t bring a healthy baby into the world and if her baby is unhealthy, it affects the entire community.”

In her eight years of practice, Shefajo said she has come across only a handful of patients with reliable access to healthy, nutritious foods and quality medications.

This lack of access to nutritious foods and media reports of low-quality, fake or expired Pakistani and Iranian drugs have put more pressure on overworked and underpaid hospital staff. 

Bariz Ahmadi, who has been working with government-run hospitals for the last three-and-a-half years, said a majority of doctors are forced to supplement their income by working after-hours at private clinics.

“On a single day, there will be at least 1,500 patients coming into a public hospital and at least 50 of them will be admitted to stay overnight. Yet a doctor’s salary is still not enough to cover their basic expenses.”

On average, a doctor working in government hospitals makes between 12,000-15,000 Afghanis ($151-$189) a month even as the Afghani continues to decline in value. 

Ahmadi said while the Maiwand Teaching Hospital was only meant to admit enough patients to ensure that the staff could study different illnesses and treatments, a growing need forced them to admit more patients.

The hospital, which opened in the 1960s, was set up to treat between 300-400 patients a day, but the daily patient load often surpasses 1,000. This means doctors who are meant to treat an average of 30 patients a day end up seeing three times as many.

Afghanistan health

Two brothers from Tagab district of Kapisa province are treated in Kabul after they suffered adverse reactions from wrongly-prescribed medicines [Ali M Latifi/Al Jazeera] 

Need for structural change

Afghan health workers say an overall structural change is needed in the sector. The doctors say they are often forced to use sub-standard equipment and even medicines for treatment.

“An Afghan doctor and a foreign doctor both studied the same thing, but the difference is in the equipment at their disposal … We have to do the most difficult procedures using some of the most basic tools,” said Shefajo.

One doctor, speaking on condition of anonymity, said since most of his patients were unable to afford their prescriptions, he collected expired medicines for them.

The doctor said even though he was aware of the adverse effects of expired medicines, he was left with little choice. “They need the medicines. So I tell them to be careful while taking them. It’s better than nothing.”

A combination of lack of funds, equipment and an ongoing war means the health sector continues to be stretched thin as at least 1.9 million people find themselves in need of emergency medical services this year.

This has forced those patients who can afford to travel abroad, to go to Pakistan, India and Turkey for medical care. Afghans spend an estimated $300m a year seeking medical treatment abroad.

Malang, 52, has been coming to a government-run hospital in Wazir Akbar Khan for more than a year after he woke up one night, screaming in pain. But looking back at the cost, he wished he had gone abroad.

Doctors told him his right arm and right leg were paralysed. “I worked as a porter for years, carrying whatever people needed help with.”

While his condition has not yet improved, Malang said shuffling between hospitals cost him at least 40,000 Afghanis (about $500).

Working to feed his family of six girls, but lacking an education or a trade, meant Malang worked odd jobs making a few thousand Afghanis a month when times were good.

“My wife has to work in people’s houses now and I have become saddled with debt and still don’t know what to do.”

Recent advancements

However, some doctors Al Jazeera spoke to said despite the setbacks and resource crunch, Afghan health workers have made the best of a bad situation.

Dr Najib Sediqi, who began his work as an internal medicine specialist in Helmand, said he has seen some improvements.

“I started my practice under the Taliban in Helmand. At that time, there was no difference between a hospital in Sangin [district] and Kabul,” he said.

Wahidullah Mayar, spokesperson for the Ministry of Public Health, said despite the difficulties, there have been advancements in healthcare.

In 2003, Afghanistan had the highest maternal mortality rate in the world – 1,600 of every 100,000 women would die during pregnancy. Today, that number has dropped to less than 300.

The child mortality rate has also been reduced by more than a half, from 160 of every 1,000 children not making it to age five a decade ago to nearly 50 today.

Mayar said these statistics were due to government-led efforts to address the nation’s health concerns, particularly over the last four years. 

In 2018, the Ministry of Public Health signed a $3m agreement with the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority to link 15 provincial hospitals with hospitals in Kabul.

In the last four years, more than 420 health facilities were established in different parts of the country. This includes the nation’s first neurosurgery hospital, inaugurated in Kabul last year.

“There was a time where you could barely find an ultrasound machine in Kabul. Now every private clinic has at least one. People used to travel abroad even for an ECG [electrocardiogram], now we can do that in Kabul,” said Sediqi.

Lebanon denies forcing Syrian refugees back home | Lebanon News

Lebanese security officials on Saturday denied allegations by human rights groups that they have forced Syrian refugees to sign documents saying they agreed to return to their home country, 

Human Rights Watch (HRW) and four other groups alleged in a report on Friday that staff at Lebanon’s General Security Directorate deported at least 16 Syrians after forcing them to sign “voluntarily repatriation forms”.

At least five of the 16 were registered refugees, at least 13 “expressed their fears of torture or persecution if returned to Syria”, the rights groups said in a statement. 

Lebanon’s General Security Directorate said it “categorically denies it forced any Syrian to sign any form”, in a statement carried by the official NNA news agency.

“Any Syrian who arrives in Lebanon and does not meet entry requirements and … wants to go to Syria because they do not wish to remain in their country of residence for a number of reasons, signs a declaration of responsibility for choosing to return voluntarily,” it said.

The statement, however, noted that the agency “has been working and coordinating with all international organisations” to facilitate refugee returns.

The latest deportees said they were “pressured” by the government agency at the airport, HRW said.

“Lebanese authorities shouldn’t deport anyone to Syria without first allowing them a fair opportunity to argue their case for protection and ensuring that they don’t face a real risk of persecution, torture, or other serious harm,” said Lama Fakih, HRW’s acting Middle East director. 

One of the deportees said that the United Nations refugee agency the UNHCR was not notified that he was being deported, and when it did hear of the expulsion, was not able to stop it. 

Lebanon has hosted more than 1.5 million Syrian refugees, a significant burden for a country of some 4.5 million people since the Syrian civil war’s outbreak in 2011.

While fighting has slowed or ended in many areas of Syria, the UN has stressed that all returns should be voluntary.

The rights groups say some 74 percent of Syrians in Lebanon lack legal residency and are at risk of detention.

Local media in Lebanon have reported that the Supreme Defence Council, whose decisions are not made public, recently instructed General Security Directorate to deport all Syrians who have entered the country illegally.

The official NNA news agency, quoting a “security report”, said on Friday that Lebanese authorities had deported 301 Syrians between May 7 and May 20.

Syria’s war has killed more than 370,000 people and displaced millions inside the country and abroad.

The war was triggered in March 2011 by a violent crackdown on anti-government demonstrations.

Al Jazeera and news agencies

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