A Maltese Journalist Who Reported on the Panama Papers Has Been Killed by a Car Bomb

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME.COM)

 

A Maltese Journalist Who Reported on the Panama Papers Has Been Killed by a Car Bomb

Oct 16, 2017

(VALLETTA, Malta) — A Maltese investigative journalist who exposed the island nation’s links to offshore tax havens through the leaked Panama Papers was killed Monday when a bomb exploded in her car, the prime minister said.

Daphne Caruana Galizia, 53, had just driven away from her home in Mosta, a large town on Malta’s main island, when the bomb went off, sending the vehicle’s wreckage spiraling over a wall and into a field, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said.

Caruana Galizia’s death resulted from a “barbaric attack” that also amounted to an assault on freedom of expression, Muscat said. He described her as “was one of my harshest critics, on a political and personal level” as he denounced her slaying.

One of the topics the veteran reporter examined was what the documents from the 2016 leak said about Malta. She wrote that Muscat’s wife, the country’s energy minister and the government’s chief-of-staff had offshore holdings in Panama to receive money from Azerbaijan.

Muscat and his wife, Michelle, denied they had companies in Panama.

Caruana Galizia filed a police report two weeks ago saying she was receiving threats, law enforcement officials told Malta news outlets on Monday.

The slain journalist had been a regular columnist for The Malta Independent, writing twice weekly for the newspaper since 1996. She also wrote a blog called “Running Commentary,” which was followed by in Malta.

A half hour before she was killed, she posted to her web site an item about a libel claim the prime minister’s chief of staff had brought against a former opposition over comments the latter made about corruption.

Caruana Galizia herself had been sued for libel over articles she wrote for her blog. Opposition leader Adrian Delia sued her over a series of stories linking him to a prostitution racket in London. Economy Minister Chris Cardona claimed libel when she wrote that he visited a brothel while in Germany on government business.

Monday evening’s Parliament session was scrapped, except for briefings about the bombing given by Muscat and Delia, who called the reporter’s slaying a “political murder.”

Muscat said he has asked the U.S. government and the FBI for help investigating the car bombing.

Caruana Galizia is survived by her husband and three sons. One son, Matthew, was on the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists team that won the Pulitzer Prize for its work on the Panama Papers scandal.

The leak exposed the identities of rich and powerful people around the world who allegedly had offshore holdings in Panama.

Caruana Galizia’s family has asked the Courts of Malta to have the magistrate assigned to conduct the inquiry into the journalist’s death replaced.

The family said the magistrate, Consuelo Scerri Herrera, “in her personal capacity, had launched judicial procedures against (Caruana Galizia) regarding comments she had written.”

Caruana Galizia for many years was a harsh critic of Malta’s Labor party and government. More recently she had expanded her criticism to include the opposition Nationalist Party.

Her slaying drew swift denunciations in the tiny EU nation.

“Daphne played a vitally important role in unearthing serious allegations of money laundering and corruption in Malta, including those involving senior figures in the Maltese government,” said Sven Giegold, a Greens member in the European Parliament.

Italian newsweekly L’Espresso, which has also written about alleged corruption linked to Malta, said the reporter’s murder demonstrated that a well-documented expose’ “is perceived as a danger by the powerful and by organized crime.”

European Parliament President Antonio Tajani in a tweet called the development a “tragic example of a journalist who sacrificed her life to search for the truth.”

King Salman Stresses That Science And Knowledge Promote Coexistence

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Moscow – Asharq Al-Awsat

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz stressed that science and knowledge are the basis for the renaissance of nations.

Tthey factor in through the formation of educated generations leading communities, promotion of tolerance and coexistence among peoples, and preservation of achievements of civilization.

In a speech delivered after receiving an honorary doctorate from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO), King Salman said that education and knowledge are the key promoting tolerance and coexistence.

“I am honored today to be with the scientists and scholars of the Russian Federation and I would like to express appreciation to the institute for granting me this doctorate,” he said.

“We proudly commend the efforts of our Islamic nation in different scientific fields. In the Kingdom, we give a lot of importance toward raising new generations capable of facing today’s challenges. I call on universities and scientific institutes in the two countries to communicate and cooperate in order to serve the Russian and Saudi people, and the whole world.”

MGIMO granted the king the doctorate in honor of his role in promoting peace and stability, and strengthening Saudi-Russian relations.

The celebration was attended by the king’s Saudi delegation, and Russian academics and officials presided over by the institute’s rector, Anatoly Torkunov, and Russian Minister of Education Olga Vasileva.

The institute is one of the most important educational institutes in Russia, and is internationally known in the diplomatic and international relations fields. In 1944, it was founded on the basis of the recently established School of International Relations of the Lomonosov Moscow State University.

In 2016, MGIMO signed a cooperation agreement with the Prince Saud Al-Faisal Institute for Diplomatic Studies at the Saudi Foreign Ministry.

The Guinness Book of World Records acknowledged MGIMO for the number of languages it teaches — 53.

Since its establishment, the institute has graduated more than 40,000 students in all fields, including 5,500 foreign students and some well-known politicians and journalists.

The institute was dubbed the “Harvard of Russia” by former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger because it educates so many of Russia’s political, economic and intellectual elite. It has the lowest acceptance rate and highest test scores of any university in Russia.

Tit-for-tat May See U.S. Media Outlets Banned in Russia

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE MOSCOW TIMES)

 

Oct 6, 2017 — 19:03
— Update: 19:20

stevepb / Pixabay

Russian prosecutors are considering a retaliatory response following Washington’s request that the RT America news channel register as a foreign agent.

The Prosecutor General’s Office is studying the possibility of labeling U.S. media outlets “undesirable,” the Interfax news agency reported Friday, citing an unidentified source knowledgeable of the situation.

Amid concerns over Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential elections, the U.S. Justice Department has requested that the Kremlin-backed RT adhere to a 1930s foreign agent registration law.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has said that “every step toward the Russian media will have a corresponding response.”

The Russian authorities are considering blacklisting U.S. media at the Federation Council committee on state sovereignty’s task force session, according to Interfax.

“This could affect all American media operating in Russia,” Interfax reported, citing an unidentified source. The outlets being considered for the “undesirable” label were not disclosed.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Friday that reciprocal actions cannot be ruled out, but noted that he had no information regarding U.S. outlets being labeled “undesirable,” state-run news agency RIA Novosti reported.

The Interfax report comes a week after Russia’s state media censor Roskomnadzor warned CNN International over alleged media law violations.

Pakistan: Should ‘Urdu’ Be The National Language?

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE PAKISTANI NEWS AGENCY ‘DAWN’)

 

Those who consider introducing Urdu as an official language as a matter of unifying our national identity are mistaken. —Illustration by Khuda Bux Abro/Dawn
Those who consider introducing Urdu as an official language as a matter of unifying our national identity are mistaken. —Illustration by Khuda Bux Abro/Dawn

“I know there is strength in the differences between us. I know there is comfort, where we overlap.” —Ani DiFranco

Through a happy chance last year, I got to be part of a training program in which I was able to spend a few weeks in the company of people from all over Pakistan.

Many of us there were speaking in our mother tongues that others could not understand, but Urdu served as a common denominator. It was fun picking up words of other languages from each other and also learning about the culture and traditions from other parts of the country.

Apart from the things that made us different, there was a lot that connected us as well.

We, the Millenial generation have grown up with the internet. Many of our pop culture references are the same. Our universities follow similar teaching and grading patterns and we have faced similar problems of reconciling our externally influenced values with traditional ones.

Altogether, it was a valuable experience living in what was essentially a microcosm of our society and overall, things went along swimmingly.

As it turns out, we don’t all need to be exactly alike to get along. It’s important to remember this while talking about Pakistani languages, official, national, regional and the effects they have on our individual and common identities.

A decision by the Supreme Court directing the Federal and Provincial governments to adopt Urdu as the official language has once again sparked the debate on which is the most commonly used language in Pakistan and whether it makes sense to declare Urdu as the official language or not?

It does, when you consider the rationale behind it.

Urdu is indeed understood all over the country even though it may not be the language most Pakistanis learn first.

There isn’t anything wrong with trying to simplify our official correspondences and public notices by having them in Urdu. Neither is it a mistake to have our leaders give their speeches abroad in Urdu, plenty of others do.

The concern that English will somehow get supplanted is naïve on the part of those who don’t understand that people are eager to learn English not because they want to understand the Prime Minister’s speeches to the UN but because English is what connects us to international pop culture, news and entertainment. Without English, we are cut off from vast swaths of knowledge unavailable in our own languages so there is no chance of it being replaced anytime soon.

However, those who consider introducing Urdu as an official language as a matter of unifying our national identity are mistaken.

Also read: Language change

Pakistanis are a diverse bunch and the differences in dialect, dress, food and traditions that pop up every few hundred miles are there to be appreciated not suppressed. If the introduction of Urdu as a common medium of communication somehow hinders the presence and growth of regional languages then that is not a desirable outcome.

Pakistan already has enough problems accepting differences. We are not very good at providing equal rights and representation to women and to religious and ethnic minorities. Let’s not add forced cultural and lingual homogeneity to the list of social injustices being inflicted by one part of the population on the other.

If anything, these differences need to be spoken about more often and more positively to teach us all to live with the diversity that surrounds us.

Read on: National language

In ways both large and small, many of us have become adept at looking the other way when confronted with whatever is dissimilar to us.

Things like not responding when a non-Muslim says Salam, choosing only to wed people within our own caste, having stereotypical jokes about the intelligence level of one ethnicity or the other, ignoring news from parts of the country where no one we know lives.

All these things point to a deeper problem that we refuse to acknowledge.

We keep boxing ourselves into smaller and smaller groups and excluding everyone who doesn’t fit in. It’s natural for humans to seek the comfort of the familiar and to fear what is different. But we shouldn’t let these instincts get so out of hand that someone’s religious beliefs drive us to murderous rage or their way of speaking makes us question their intelligence.

Similarity and homogeneity do not necessarily mean superiority.

Once we rise over these baser instincts and decide to explore all that people with their peculiarities have to offer, that is when we discover that beneath the surface we are all not so different after all.

Skin colour, accents, beliefs and languages form parts of our identity but they are not the whole. And if we, Pakistanis, wish to move forward in the world, all together and proud of our national identity then we need to accept its uniqueness and its multiple histories.

One hopes that the acceptance of lingual diversity will be the first step.