30 Nov 2015
29 Nov 2015
Protests erupted in several Turkish cities after a well-known Kurdish lawyer and human rights activist was killed along with two police officers on Saturday in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir. Tahir Elci, who was president of Diyarbakir Bar Association, died when gunmen clashed with security forces following a press conference. At least 10 people were injured, including journalists. The exact circumstances of the shooting remain unclear. Video footage from the scene shows Elci, wearing a grey suit, crouching as plain-clothed policemen fire pistols and take cover behind a car. Seconds later, a presumed attacker sprints past as the officers shoot at him. Elci is then seen lying face down on the pavement with blood coming from his head.
An initial forensic report said he had died when a single bullet fired from long range hit him in the back of the neck. One policeman was killed at the scene and another died from his injuries after being taken to hospital. Interior Minister Efkan Ala said in a press briefing that the shootout began when attackers fired on security forces from inside a car. But some opposition figures alleged that Elci had been deliberately targeted by the state. The Diyarbakir Bar Association described his death as a "cowardly assassination" in a press statement, while the pro-Kurdish HDP party said he had been "viciously murdered," and urged supporters to "raise their voice" in protest.
28 Nov 2015
Woodstock 1969, Richie Havens was the festivals first performer, he held the crowd for nearly three hours (in part because he was told to perform a lengthy set because many artists were delayed in reaching the festival location), and he was called back for several encores. Having run out of tunes, he improvised a song based on the old spiritual "Motherless Child" that became "Freedom".
Anger over the arrest of two prominent journalists is gathering steam in Turkey. Police used pepper spray to push back protesters in Ankara rallying in their support... while in Istanbul, hundreds also gathered outside the newspaper's headquarters in a show of solidarity. RT's Ilya Petrenko was at the newspaper's headquarters on what's been dubbed the black day of the press in Turkey. (But who is RT to say..)
27 Nov 2015
25 Nov 2015
Leading international cultural figures have joined human rights campaigners in calling for the release of Ashraf Fayadh, the Palestinian poet and artist facing execution in Saudi Arabia.
Chris Dercon, the director of Tate Modern, British poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy, historian Simon Schama, playwright David Hare, and Egyptian novelist and commentator Ahdaf Soueif are among the those calling for the death sentence imposed on Fayadh by a Saudi court last week to be overturned.
More than a dozen organisations for artists, writers, musicians and freedom of expression from the UK, North America and Africa – including Index on Censorship, literary association PEN International and the International Association of Art Critics – have also signed a joint statement condemning Fayadh’s conviction for renouncing Islam, a charge which he denies. The statement, which will be delivered to the Saudi embassy in London by English PEN on Friday, says: “We believe that all charges against him should have been dropped entirely, and are appalled that Fayadh has instead been sentenced to death for apostasy, simply for exercising his rights to freedom of expression and freedom of belief.”
24 Nov 2015
In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, media coverage has seen familiar patterns: uncritically repeat government claims, defend expansive state power, and blame the Muslim community for the acts of a few. We discuss media fearmongering, anti-Muslim scapegoating, ISIL’s roots, and war profiteering with Glenn Greenwald, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and co-founder of The Intercept. "Every time there’s a terrorist attack, Western leaders exploit that attack to do more wars," Greenwald says. "Which in turn means they transfer huge amounts of taxpayer money to these corporations that sell arms. And so investors are fully aware that the main people who are going to benefit from this escalation as a result of Paris are not the American people or the people of the West —-— and certainly not the people of Syria — it is essentially the military-industrial complex."
23 Nov 2015
22 Nov 2015
A Ukrainian nationalist, leader of the “Brotherhood,” Dmitry Korchinsky proposed to offer asylum to ISIS terrorists in Kiev, the former head of UNA-UNSO [Ukrainian National Assembly – Ukrainian People’s Self-defense] wrote on his social network page. According to Korchinsky, SSU (Security Service of Ukraine) must see ISIS as “allies in the struggle with Russia.”
“At the G20 summit leaders of Western countries were talking to the Moscow terrorist, like he’s a human, asking him to bomb ISIS positions. That is, their attitude towards the terrorists is pragmatic. Ukrainian security services also has to be pragmatic, and therefore, effective. It is not our business to arrest the enemies of Moscow – Islamists. We should only ask them to shoot accurately at Moscow’s terrorists in the Caucasus and in Syria.
20 Nov 2015
More than one in four children in Europe are at risk of poverty and social exclusion, which will have repercussions for them throughout life.
Under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, all children should be guaranteed the right to education, health care services, housing, leisure and a balanced diet. Yet in Europe things look rather different. According to Eurostat, about 26 million children (anyone under 18) were at risk of poverty and social exclusion in 2014. This represents 27.7% of all children in the EU. Children living in poverty can be found in every EU country, even if percentages vary. Children are at greatest risk of poverty in Romania (51%), Bulgaria (45.2%) and Hungary (41.4%), whereas the percentage is much lower in countries such as Denmark (14.5%), Finland (15.6%), Sweden (16.7%). UK and Ireland are doing worse than the EU average of 27.7% with 31.3% and 33.9% (figure for 2013) respectively.
The problem of malnutrition among children is also growing in Europe. According to Unicef, the percentage of children who cannot afford to eat meat or fish every second day has doubled in Estonia, Greece and Italy since 2008.
19 Nov 2015
The regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has been bombing hospitals and civilian targets, a situation made worse recently by the arrival of Russian warplanes. Russian airstrikes hit medical facilities at least 10 times during their first month of bombing in Syria, making matters even worse for doctors, nurses, and patients who have already endured repeated bombardment from Syrian government forces, according to a report from the non-profit group Physicians for Human Rights (PHR).
PHR said the Russian strikes, which began on September 30, included several in the vicinity of Aleppo, where 45 healthcare facilities have been hit in the past three years. According PHR, almost all of the city's doctors — 95 percent — have been killed, detained, or fled the area. The group said it documented 329 attacks on Syrian medical facilities through October, leading to the deaths of 687 medical personnel across the country. It attributed 90 percent of those incidents to the Syrian government. "Each attack, whether the bombing of a hospital or the detention and torture of a doctor for providing health care, is a war crime," said the report's authors.