(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TASNIM NEWS AGENCY OF IRAN)
France Adopting Biased Stance on Regional Crises: Iran
News ID: 1576462 Service: Politics
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi slammed French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian for his recent anti-Tehran remarks and said the western European country has a “one-sided and biased” stance on crises facing the Middle East region.
Qassemi made the remarks on Thursday in response to comments made by Le Drian, who earlier in the day expressed concern about what he called Iran’s “hegemonic” intentions in the Middle East.
At a joint press conference with his Saudi counterpart Adel al-Jubeir during a trip to Saudi Arabia, Le Drian said, “I’m thinking specifically about Iran’s ballistic program.”
In reply, Qassemi said, “Unfortunately, it seems that France has a one-sided and biased view of the crises and humanitarian catastrophes in the Middle East.”
This view only exacerbates regional conflicts, “whether intentionally or unintentionally,” he added.
The Iranian spokesman also stressed the need for stability and security in the region and advised leaders of France and other nations to take a “realistic and responsible” stance on the conflicts.
Qassemi also pointed to arms sales by “trans-regional countries” to Middle Eastern governments, including those used in Saudi Arabia’s ongoing military aggression against Yemen and said the western support has only led to “more instability and insecurity” in the region.
Yemen’s defenseless people have been under massive attacks by the coalition for more than two years but Riyadh has reached none of its objectives in Yemen so far.
Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia and some of its Arab allies have been carrying out deadly airstrikes against the Houthi Ansarullah movement in an attempt to restore power to fugitive former President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, a close ally of Riyadh.
Over 14,000 Yemenis, including thousands of women and children, have lost their lives in the deadly military campaign.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE MIDDLE EAST MONITOR)
The UAE and Israel are like brothers, said one of Abu Dhabi’s senior military general.
During an interview with an American news agency Defence & Aerospace Report, Staff Major General, Pilot Abdullah Al-Hashmi, answered questions about UAE military capability.
Al-Hashmi said that that US should have no concerns about arming the UAE because the Emirates seeks to become not just an ally but “the strategic ally” of the US. Relations between the two countries is a “win-win situation …. because when you build the UAE capability you are building the USA capability,” he explained
Later in the interview, Al-Hashmi was asked if increasing UAE military capability was a threat to Israel is any way. The General implied that the two countries are like brothers and that the USA was like the “older brother” who can oversee any differences the two countries may have.
“If there is a solution between Israel and Arab, or Palestine, it’s going to be done on the table because I don’t think we are a threat to Israel nor we think Israel is a threat on UAE.”
He continued to explain: “Because we understand that like we are allies of the United State, Israel is an ally of the United States and we have like a big brother.”
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(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CATHOLIC NEWS AGENCY)
Nov 16, 2017 / 02:42 am (CNA/EWTN News).- When Pope Francis visits Burma, also known as Myanmar, later this month, his visit will come at one of the most contentious periods of the country’s history.
In recent months, state-supported violence against Burma’s Rohingya Muslim community – an ethnic and religious minority– has reached staggering levels, causing the United Nations to declare the situation “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”
“The scope of the humanitarian crisis is enormous and it’s ongoing,” said Daniel Mark, Chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, in an interview with CNA at the end of September. “Once again we unfortunately have another terrible crisis that’s focusing people’s attention on something that’s already a terrible situation.”
“This is a deep and longstanding problem that we’ve been trying to call attention to for a long time, but it’s going to need an extremely long and concerted effort to address,” Mark told CNA. “Even addressing the immediate humanitarian crisis is not going to solve this profound underlying issue of the Rohingya Muslims in Burma.”
For years, the Rohingya, an ethnic group whose main religion is Islam, have faced grave persecution in the Burmese state of Rakhine, where the majority of them live. An estimated 1.1 million Rohingya live within the majority-Buddhist country. Members of the group have been denied citizenship since the foundation of Burma in 1948, and have suffered violence, and lack the freedom to move or access clean water since a military coup d’etat in 1962.
After a different military regime took control in 1988, with even harsher military crackdowns throughout the country, the country has been referred to as Myanmar.
Pope Francis will visit the country at the end of November, following stories of horrifying human rights abuses and a mass exodus of Rohingya civilians from Burma.
The most recent wave of violence began on Aug. 25, 2017, after which the Burmese military and local Buddhist vigilantes enacted a campaign of burning Rohingya villages and massacring the civilians within them. It is still unclear exactly how many people have been killed in the violence, but aid agencies estimate that thousands are dead and more than 600,000 people have been displaced since late August. Neighboring Bangladesh has accepted the majority of those refugees, and more people have been internally displaced within the country.
The military claims the violence is a response to attacks by a small group of Rohingya against border agents in the Rakhine province, which left 12 officers dead. However, the violence – which includes arson, sexual violence, and internal displacement – long precedes those attacks, and other demonstrations within Rohingya communities, said Olivia Enos, a policy analyst in the Asian Studies Center at The Heritage Foundation, who specializes in human rights.
“Maybe some individual Rohingya are acting out in self-defense, but to place blame on Rohingya is misleading,” Enos said.
“The military has a long, long history of burning homes and villages, raping women and children. The track record is so long that to place the blame on any kind of radical agents within the Rohingya would be really inaccurate.”
While violence and discrimination against the Rohingya people at the hands of Burmese authorities have been ongoing since the 1960s, with increases in persecution in 2012 and 2015, the current crisis is of particular concern, Enos said. She explained that the high levels of displacement and increased incidents of violence and destruction set this conflict apart from the ones that have come before.
Also concerning, she said, is the fact this conflict is occurring after democratic reforms which took place between 2011-2015. While the nation is becoming more democratic, she said, the military still maintains significant control within Burma. Furthermore, the country’s leader – Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi– has remained silent when asked about the persecution of the group within her country.
To add to the worries, Enos fears that by focusing on the ethnic element of the conflict, Western leaders may overlook its religious aspect. “The vast majority of people in Burma are Buddhist and they view the Muslim minority group Rohingya as a threat to the native Burman society,” she said. “It’s a religious conflict.”
Mark stated that the religious element of the conflict has been a concern of the Commission since its founding in 1998. “As a result of this, we’ve been following this very, very carefully and for a long time,” he said We’ve recommended Burma is designated as a Country of Particular Concern every year,” a recommendation the U.S. Department of State has followed each year it’s made such designations.
The long history of the conflict means that while there are immediate steps that need to be taken to address the humanitarian situation, work to end the conflict will need to look at the long-term solution.
“This is all a result of the systematic exclusion of these people from Burmese society,” Mark explained. “All the things we’re saying now about the treatment of Rohingya Muslims going forward are the thing that we have been saying all along,” he continued.
“It’s been a tinderbox and that needs to be addressed.”
In the short term, Mark advocated for immediate humanitarian aid and assurance that humanitarian goods will get to those in need of them. He also called for accountability for human rights violations and a cessation of violence.
He noted the need for the international community to help support Bangladesh as it takes in tens of thousands of people a day, so a secondary crisis is not created there.
“Attacks need to stop and aid needs to start.”
An earlier version of this article was published Sept. 28, 2017.
RIYADH: The recent introduction of driving licenses for women is a major boost to the female empowerment program in the Kingdom, according to a Saudi businesswoman who was a panelist in a session of the Misk Global Forum, which concluded on Thursday.
Nouf Al-Rakan, CEO of Educational Initiatives, was speaking at a panel discussion on “Women’s empowerment: Everyone’s duty.”
The panel was attended by National Digitization Program Secretary-General Deemah Al-Yahya, Sabrina Gonzalez Pasterski, a physicist at Harvard University, and Sandy Sein Thein, CEO of Digital Kaway Myanmar.
Al-Rakan said the lifting of the ban on women driving came as a pleasant surprise to most females, including her. “I simply jumped when my father told me about it,” she said.
She recalled that at last year’s Misk Forum, the audience was 75 percent men, and this year it is 50 percent, which shows women in the Kingdom have come forward to the mainstream of society.
Al-Yahya said more women should come forward to work with confidence.
She stressed that men should recognize the capabilities of women and give them their due place.
She said if a man goes for an interview, he will be selected if he has satisfied 60 percent of the requirements, while a woman has to prove her capabilities 100 percent to get selected.
Thein said that female CEOs should always be called simply CEOs, never “women CEOs.”
She stressed that women should be treated and viewed at par with men without any discrimination.
Hebrew had ceased to be an everyday spoken language somewhere between 200 and 400 CE, declining since the aftermath of the Bar Kokhba revolt.[note 3]Aramaic and to a lesser extent, Greek was already in use as international languages, especially among elites and immigrants. It survived into the medieval period as the language of Jewish liturgy, rabbinic literature, intra-Jewish commerce, and poetry. Then, in the 19th century, it was revived as a spoken and literary language. It became the lingua franca of Palestine’s Jews, and subsequently of the State of Israel. According to Ethnologue, in 1998, it was the language of 5 million people worldwide. After Israel, the United States has the second largest Hebrew-speaking population, with 220,000 fluent speakers, mostly from Israel.
Modern Hebrew is one of the two official languages of the State of Israel (the other being Modern Standard Arabic), while pre-modern Hebrew is used for prayer or study in Jewish communities around the world today. Ancient Hebrew is also the liturgical tongue of the Samaritans, while modern Hebrew or Arabic is their vernacular. As a foreign language, it is studied mostly by Jews and students of Judaism and Israel, and by archaeologists and linguists specializing in the Middle East and its civilizations, as well as by theologians in Christian seminaries.
The Torah (the first five books), and most of the rest of the Hebrew Bible is written in Biblical Hebrew, with much of its present form specifically in the dialect that scholars believe flourished around the 6th century BCE, around the time of the Babylonian captivity. For this reason, Hebrew has been referred to by Jews as Leshon Hakodesh (לשון הקדש), “the Holy Language”, since ancient times.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE GUARDIAN NEWS AND THE NORTH KOREAN NEWS ‘DPRK’)
North Korea and China announce visit by Xi Jinping envoy
Unclear if illegal nuclear program is on the agenda after Donald Trump asked Chinese president to put pressure on neighbor
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Reuters in Beijing
A senior Chinese diplomat will visit North Korea from Friday as a special envoy of Chinese President Xi Jinping, Beijing has said, without revealing whether it is about North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.
China has pushed for a diplomatic solution to the crisis but in recent months has had only limited high-level exchanges with North Korea. The last time China’s special envoy for North Korea visited the country was in February 2016.
In a brief dispatch, the official Xinhua news agency said Song Tao, who heads the Communist party’s external affairs department, would “inform the DPRK of the 19th CPC National Congress and visit the DPRK”. CPC refers to China’s recently concluded Communist party congress at which Xi further cemented his power.
North Korea’s KCNA news agency confirmed the visit but said only that it would take place “soon”.
The trip will come a week after Donald Trump visited Beijing as part of a lengthy Asia tour where he pressed for greater action to rein in North Korea, especially from China, with which North Korea does 90% of its trade.
It is not clear how long Song could stay but he has already visited Vietnam and Laos to inform them of the results of the Congress, a typical courtesy China extends other communist countries after such important meetings.
It is also unclear where Song will meet the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un.
Kim and Xi exchanged messages of congratulations and thanks to the Chinese party congress but neither has visited the other’s country since assuming power.
Song’s department is in charge of the party’s relations with foreign political parties and has traditionally served as a conduit for Chinese diplomacy with North Korea.
A department official said in October that China’s Communist party continued to hold talks and maintain contacts with its North Korean counterpart, describing the two countries’ friendship as important for regional stability.
China’s new special envoy for North Korea, Kong Xuanyou, who took up his position in August, is not believed to have visited the country yet.
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As most folks know by now there has been a lot of attention being paid to sexual abuse of women in the media lately and the call sign for this movement is #Me-Too. I am by no means a person who pays any attention to the Hollywood scene so I do not know who the movers and shakers are in that ‘world’, nor do I care to be. Evidently a couple of weeks ago a bigwig male Producer was accused by several women of sexually abusing them and this started the conversation about powerful men who have been sexually abusing ladies for many decades. If I had been asked a month ago what was meant by sexual abuse I would have thought they were talking about rape or attempted rape. Reality is sexual abuse goes much further than just trying to have sex with a lady who did not want to have sex with you. I would have thought that sexual abuse would have been along the line of the ‘Directors couch’ where if you wanted to get the part in one of their movies, you had to give out sexual favors. In the business world, I would have equated it to if a woman wanted to get the promotion they had to spread their legs or get on their knees. Reality is ladies getting their butts slapped or their tits grabbed is definitely sexual abuse/harassment also. But this article today is not about sexual harassment, but it is about another (Me Too), concerning women, and some men, and not just gay men.
I am a straight man so I can only relay my personal experiences from this angle. I have been married now for 18 years and I have not touched another woman in a sexual manner even once since we first got together back in 1999. What I am writing this article about is women being the brunt of physical abuse as in being punched and kicked, beaten. In my life, I was blessed to know many women and there was one thing that I came across over and over again and that was that every single woman that I have ever got to know had been physically beaten by a man, and usually more than one in their life. I was raised to respect women, I loved women and I definitely enjoyed the sex, but I never struck a lady for saying no. There were a few times in my life when a lady and I were well on the path to having sex when the woman for whatever her reason changed her mind and wanted to stop. Each of those times I put my hands up and did not touch her again, at all.
Think about guys who rape women, or even men. To me this is stupid, there are plenty of women everywhere who like to have sex just as much as the guys do. But, if you are so scummy or ugly that you can’t get a knothole in a tree to play with you then its time to find a woman or a guy if that is your persuasion, who excepts cash or credit cards. What I am getting at is, there is no reason for anyone to sexually force themselves onto a person who is telling you no! Then comes the physical aggression bit, why does anyone think that they have the right to rape, punch or kick another person? Machoism is the only thing that I can think of. Think of the situation of prisons where a person thinks they are such a bad ass that they will physically beat another person up, then rape them, you know, showing everyone else ‘who the man is’. These are the same ‘men’ who will say, hell no, I ain’t gay. All I have to say to that is, really. If you are willing to touch another person of the same sex as yourself in a sexual manner, guess what, your gay! But really this article isn’t about being gay or not being gay. This article is about physical aggression that is put upon women by men. To me, I was always taught that only a coward physically strikes a woman, not a man.
Think about it, my personal experience with women in my lifetime that I have gotten to know well enough where we could just talk as friends and every single one of them had been beaten by a ‘man’. This even applies to my wife and to my x-wife. Folks, this is sickening, there is no excuse for this to exist in our society, yet it does. What is it going to take to get this monster brought out of the closet, the President beating up the First Lady, in public? We need to have a movement called #Me-Too in regards to the physical beatings women are having to face in our society. How can we honestly say we have a civilized society with all this violence toward women, both sexually, or with the fist?
HARARE, Zimbabwe — Zimbabwe’s governing party moved on Friday to expel President Robert Mugabe from its ranks, taking the first step in legally ousting the 93-year-old leader following a military intervention two days earlier.
A majority of the leaders of the party, ZANU-PF, recommended Mr. Mugabe’s expulsion from the very organization that he had controlled with an iron grip since independence in 1980, according to ZBC, the state broadcaster.
Military officers have insisted that their takeover was not a coup, but the party’s leaders appeared on Friday to be providing political cover for the intervention. The party’s central committee, Parliament, and Mr. Mugabe’s cabinet could now take steps to officially end his presidency if he does not resign.
The military arrested Mr. Mugabe early Wednesday, effectively ending his 37-year rule, although it allowed him to appear in public on Friday to address a university graduation.
Later on Friday, party members endorsed the military’s efforts to stabilize the economy and defuse political instability. They echoed military commanders in arguing that the intervention was aimed at rooting out a cabal of corrupt interlopers who had clouded Mr. Mugabe’s judgment and his ability to govern.
“Many of us had watched with pain as the party and government were being reduced to the personal property of a few infiltrators with traitorous histories and questionable commitment to the people of Zimbabwe,” the party leaders said in a resolution. “Clearly, the country was going down the wrong path.”
The resolution recommended that Mr. Mugabe be removed for taking the advice of “counterrevolutionaries and agents of neo-imperialism”; for mistreating his vice president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, whom Mr. Mugabe abruptly dismissed last week; and for encouraging “factionalism.” It urged the “immediate and unconditional reinstatement” of Mr. Mnangagwa, who appears poised to succeed Mr. Mugabe, at least until national elections scheduled for next year.
Party members also moved to schedule a march for Saturday in support of the military.
Over the past few days, the military has been in negotiations to find a peaceful and face-saving way for Mr. Mugabe to exit the scene, in talks mediated by South Africa and other countries in the region, and by the Roman Catholic Church.
The military has insisted that its intervention was not a coup. The Herald, the state-run newspaper, said the military “had taken action to pacify the degenerating political, social and economic situation in the country,” which “if left unchecked would have resulted in violent conflict,” and said the action was intended “to flush out reactionary and criminal elements around the president.”
Mr. Mugabe, 93, has dominated his country since independence from Britain 37 years ago, surviving through a blend of political skill, brutality, manipulation and patronage dispensed among a corrupt elite.
Those days “are numbered,” though, said Chris Mutsvangwa, the leader of Zimbabwe’s influential war veterans’ movement, which was founded to represent those who fought in the seven-year liberation war in the 1970s but has emerged as a powerful political force.
At a news conference, Mr. Mutsvangwa cranked up pressure on Mr. Mugabe, saying the longtime leader would face huge calls for his ouster at a rally on Saturday.
At his news conference, Mr. Mutsvangwa said several key regions in Zimbabwe’s Shona-speaking heartlands — the base of ZANU-PF’s support — had approved calls for the president’s expulsion. Mr. Mugabe himself has in the past used orchestrated maneuvering in the provinces to undermine national figures in Harare.
The talks involving the Catholic Church and South African mediators are intended to devise some form of transition that would have the appearance of constitutional legitimacy while providing a decorous departure for a leader whose role in the pre-independence liberation struggle is central to the national narrative.
The military’s ultimate intention has apparently been to effect a transfer of power without the appearance of illegality that might draw further opprobrium from outside Zimbabwe or frighten off potential investors.
“The army is trying to keep people guessing” while talks continue, said Frank Chikowore, a Zimbabwean journalist.
The ZANU-PF resolution on Friday singled out the G-40, a faction of politicians aligned with Mr. Mugabe’s wife, Grace Mugabe. It denounced four of them as “criminals and counterrevolutionaries”: Jonathan N. Moyo, the minister of higher education; Ignatius M. Chombo, the finance minister; Saviour Kasukuwere, minister for local government; and Patrick Zhuwao, the minister for public services, labor and social welfare.
The party did not, however, explicitly condemn Mrs. Mugabe, whose recent aspirations to succeed her husband appear to have been a trigger for his downfall.
Outside the main cities on Friday, the military set up roadblocks on main highways, apparently to thwart any attempt at organized resistance. Buses traveling from Bulawayo, the second city, to Harare, the capital, were pulled over and boarded by soldiers who checked documents and asked passengers about their business. Sometimes, travelers reported, the soldiers ordered passengers off the buses for inspection. Some were asked if they were carrying weapons.
Such was the official concern to maintain an appearance of normalcy that the state broadcaster devoted the first 10 minutes of its news bulletin on Thursday to interviews with people across the land — traders in Bulawayo, tourists at Victoria Falls on the Zambezi River — and, as if scripted, all repeated the same refrain: “It’s business as usual.” Mr. Mugabe’s appearance at the graduation ceremony — however surreal — seemed to be part of the same stratagem.
Some Zimbabweans suggested that the officers’ calculation might offer Mr. Mugabe a chance to play hardball in closed-door talks.
In the annals of Africa’s many uprisings and coups, the script often involves the strongman fleeing into exile or being imprisoned or even shot.
Instead, Zimbabwe’s military allowed Mr. Mugabe to return to State House, his official residence, and on Friday, he appeared in a bright blue cap and gown, under tight security, to oversee the graduation ceremony in Harare. At one point, he appeared to doze, his head lolling.
By appearing at the ceremony, Mr. Mugabe wanted to give “the impression that he is still in charge,” Mr. Mutsvangwa said. “He is finished.”
“He is defying the population, trying to give a semblance of normality when things are not normal,” Mr. Mutsvangwa said. “That’s why we are saying: Don’t lie to yourself; it’s a delusion. You know he has been deluding himself — he is deluded.”
Mr. Mugabe — in official portrayals at least — has maintained power as an enduring emblem of the fight to expunge colonial influence in Africa.
But he has presided over a precipitous economic decline that began with the seizing of white-owned farms starting in 2000. Joblessness has soared, and a shortage of foreign currency has driven up the price of imports. At the same time, a loyal elite around him has amassed villas, farms and high-end automobiles.
Just like last year, International SOS and Control Risks have released a map that shows just how tourist-friendly all countries are, and it’s worth looking at if you’re planning a trip for 2018 to a place you’ve never been before. After all, we all like coming back from a holiday with all of our limbs and other valuables.
Collecting data from the World Health Organization and other institutions, the interactive ‘Travel Risk Map’ reveals just how risky countries are regarding road safety, security and medical matters. According to The Ipsos Mori Business Resilience Trends Watch 2018, 63% of people think travel-related risks have increased during the past year. In the paper, security threats and natural disasters were cited as main reasons for changed travel plans.
Scroll down to check out how countries rank up against each other and let us know what you think about it in the comment section below!