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November 06 2013

Forensics reveal Arafat was killed with polonium, widow says

Forensics reveal Arafat was killed with polonium, widow says

A September 28, 1998 file photo shows Palestinian leader #Yasser_Arafat addressing the 53rd session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. (Photo: AFP - Timothy A. Clary)

Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat was poisoned to death in 2004 with radioactive polonium, his widow Suha said on Wednesday after receiving the results of Swiss forensic tests on her husband’s corpse. “We are revealing a real crime, a political assassination,” she told Reuters in Paris. (...)

#Israel #Palestine #Top_News

October 21 2013

Saudi Arabia's Pointless Theatrics «

Saudi Arabia’s Pointless Theatrics «

by Thomas W. Lippman

Unless the people who run Saudi Arabia know something nobody else does, it’s difficult to see what they hope to achieve by turning down a seat on the United Nations Security Council that the kingdom had worked assiduously to gain. It appears to be the kind of theatrical but pointless gesture the Saudis have always avoided — not on a par with shutting down the U.S. government for no gain, perhaps, but absurd in its own way. The world might have expected this from the late, unlamented Muammar Qadhafi, but not from Saudi Arabia.

Do the Saudis actually believe that the Security Council, chastened by Riyadh’s disapproval, will now force Israel to pull out of the West Bank, or unite to drive Bashar al-Assad out of power in Syria, or head off a possible rapprochement between the United States and Iran? Surely they know better. If they harbor such strong resentment against the Security Council, would they not have more influence over the group’s performance from the inside? And why seek the seat in the first place if they thought the elite group they were trying to join was impotent and feckless, as the statement from the Saudi Foreign Ministry announcing the decision said it was? It is hard to dispute the New York Times’s characterization of the decision as “a self-destructive temper tantrum.”

Saudi Arabia has traditionally pursued its international objectives through quiet diplomacy rather than open confrontation or grand gestures. It may well be that the Saudis would have been uncomfortable on the Security Council, where they might have been forced to take public positions on issues outside their relatively narrow range of interests — on territorial disputes in the Pacific, for example, or peacekeeping deployments in Africa. Did no one in Riyadh think that during the two years the kingdom campaigned for the election to one of the prized non-permanent seats? Apparently not, because the kingdom’s diplomats in Riyadh and New York were celebrating the election as a great success until they were sandbagged on Friday by the Foreign Ministry statement.

October 18 2013

*The Historic Scale of Syria's Refugee Crisis* ❝The Syrian refugee crisis has exploded from about…

The Historic Scale of Syria’s Refugee Crisis

The Syrian refugee crisis has exploded from about 270,000 people a year ago to today’s tally of more than two million who have fled the country. The pace of the diaspora has been characterized by the United Nations as the worst since the Rwandan genocide in 1994. In addition, an estimated 4.25 million Syrians have been displaced within their country, bringing the total number forced into flight to more than six million.

#Syrie #réfugié #photo #photographie #photoreportage #asile #carte #cartographie #visualisation

October 05 2013

Les livres et la lecture, toujours plus embarrassants pour les jeunes

Les livres et la #lecture, toujours plus embarrassants pour les jeunes

Voilà des années que la lecture a perdu de sa cool attitude, et les études se suivent, malheureusement, et se ressemblent sur le sujet. La dernière en date, de la Britannique National Literacy Trust auprès de 34.910 jeunes de 16 ans, fin 2012, n’est guère plus encourageante. Définitivement, pour les djeuns, la lecture n’est pas cool. Voire, embarrassante...(Permalink)


October 01 2013

Sectarian violence in Iraq kills nearly 1,000 in September : UN

Sectarian violence in #Iraq kills nearly 1,000 in September: UN

Iraqi girls mourn the death of a relative, killed in an attack on a mosque in Baghdad’s northern neighborhood of Kasra the previous day, on September 12, 2013. (Photo: AFP - Ahmad al-Rubaye)

Iraq saw a series of bloody sectarian attacks in September the United Nations warned could force more people to flee, as violence rose sharply from the month before, according to figures released Tuesday. Figures compiled by the United Nations, the Iraqi government and AFP all (...)


Chemical experts to begin destroying syria's arsenal

Chemical experts to begin destroying #syria's arsenal

A rebel fighter prepares homemade mortar rounds on September 3, 2013 in the northern Syrian city of Raqqa. (Photo: AFP - Mezar Matar)

A disarmament team is to arrive Tuesday in Damascus on a mission to destroy Syria’s chemical arsenal, a day after UN experts wrapped up their investigation of alleged gas attacks. The team of 20 inspectors from The Hague-based Organization for the Prohibition of #chemical_weapons (OPCW) is implementing a UN resolution that ordered the (...)


September 30 2013

AIDS : News from the front | The Economist

AIDS: News from the front | The Economist

NO NEWS is often good news. AIDS has dropped out of the headlines in recent years, and that is because, in the battle between virus and people, people are winning.

This year’s campaign report by UNAIDS, the United Nations agency charged with combating the disease, confirms that optimistic picture. Though AIDS is not beaten (it still kills 1.6m people a year), this number is down from a peak of 2.3m in 2005. And the number of new infections per year has fallen by a third, to 2.3m, since 2001. Paradoxically, the number of those infected is rising. But this is because they are living longer.

#santé #sida

September 29 2013

UN_inspectors back in syria for new chemical probes

#UN_inspectors back in #syria for new chemical probes

A UN convoy of vehicles carrying inspectors investigating a chemical weapons attack in Syria, drives through the Lebanese village of Taanayel after crossing into Lebanon from Syria on 31 August 2013. (Photo: AFP - Anwar Amro)

UN chemical weapons experts, in Syria to investigate alleged use of the banned arms, on Sunday left their Damascus hotel to carry out a new mission, an AFP photographer said. The experts, who arrived in the Syrian capital last Wednesday on (...)

#chemical_attack #Top_News

September 27 2013

IAEA says talks with Iran « very constructive »

#IAEA says talks with #Iran “very constructive”

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief inspector Herman Nackaerts, right, and Iran’s ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Reza Najafi speak to journalists at the Iranian permanent mission to the United Nations and other international organizations in Vienna on 27 September 2013. (Photo: AFP - Alexander Klein)

The UN atomic agency said on Friday it held “very constructive” talks with Iran, announcing a future meeting between the two (...)


September 24 2013

Twitter / AnneRenaut : Poignée de main historique ...

Twitter / AnneRenaut : Poignée de main historique ...

Poignée de main historique France-Iran #UNGA via @franceonu

tandis que

Israeli Diplomats Mock Iran’s President Online

On a day when President Obama told delegates at the United Nations that he welcomed the opportunity posed by diplomatic overtures from Iran’s new president, Israeli diplomats in Washington sounded a very different note online, mocking the moderate cleric as scarcely different from his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

A message posted on the official Twitter page of the Israeli Embassy on Tuesday morning drew attention to a parody LinkedIn account for President Hassan Rouhani. The mock résumé of Mr. Rouhani’s career, filled with sarcastic asides, described him as “President of Iran, Expert Salesman, PR Professional, Nuclear Proliferation Advocate.”

September 23 2013

Lethal Profiling of Afghan Men

Lethal Profiling of Afghan Men

The evidence suggests that US and coalition forces have not been taking “extraordinary care” in Afghanistan and that, as a result, civilian men and boys have paid a grave price. Hard numbers are impossible to come by, and even anecdotal reports are generally limited to cases in which women and children — who can less readily be cast as dead insurgents — were killed alongside males. “We were always disagreeing with ISAF on the number of civilians killed,” a former UN human rights official told The Nation. “There was the whole question of adult males — for [ISAF], they were always insurgents. And we were getting testimony from the families that they were farmers.”

From the president of the United States to the troops on the ground in Afghanistan, to the military personnel conducting drone strikes from bases in America, a mindset that equates military-age males with insurgents seems to prevail, making the killing of innocents all but inevitable. Nor is there any evidence that this situation will abate so long as US-led coalition forces remain in the country.

#drones #victimes_civiles

September 17 2013

Lavrov : Russia convinced syria chemical attack a « provocation »

Lavrov: #Russia convinced #syria chemical attack a “provocation”

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (R) speaks with his French counterpart Laurent Fabius during their meeting in Moscow on 17 September 2013. Photo: AFP - Alexander Nemenov)

Russia remains convinced that the August 21 poison gas attack in Syria was a provocation by rebel forces and says a report by UN inspectors does not answer all of its questions about the attack, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday. Speaking at a press conference alongside French (...)

#sarin #Top_News

September 13 2013

Raquel Rolnik is an USP urbanist, a major academic figure in Brazilian urban studies... called a…

Raquel Rolnik is an USP urbanist, a major academic figure in Brazilian urban studies... called a loopy leftist in the british press

Via la la liste de géographie critique

Outrage as ’loopy’ UN inspector lectures Britain: She’s from violent, slum-ridden Brazil, yet still attacks us on housing and human rights | Mail Online

Outrage as ’loopy’ UN inspector lectures Britain: She’s from violent, slum-ridden Brazil, yet still attacks us on housing and human rights

Iain Duncan Smith said Raquel Rolnik undermined impartiality of the UN
Work and Pensions Secretary wants UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon to investigate
Tory MP Stewart Jackson said Miss Rolnick was a ‘loopy Brazilian leftie’
Her country has 54million living without clean water or sanitation
There are an estimated 30million homeless in the city of Sao Paulo and 625,000 live below the poverty line

Raquel Rolnik: A dabbler in witchcraft who offered an animal sacrifice to Marx | Mail Online

Raquel Rolnik: A dabbler in witchcraft who offered an animal sacrifice to Marx

Academic brought up a Marxist and offered an animal sacrifice to Karl Marx
The architect appears to follow Candomble, an African-Brazilian religion that originated during the slave trade

Libby Porter, Senior Lecturer in Human Geography at the School of Geography and Environmental Science in Monash University, Australia

"Well, these are outrageously disgusting and insulting media reports of a highly respected activist and voice for housing rights for the poor. We should note in particular, the use of ’loony leftie’, ’raised in violent slums’ and ’witchcraft’ as a means to denigrate and undermine Rolnick along class, gender and political lines. Rolnick is quite right to launch a significant attack on Britain’s housing policy, because that policy is frankly appalling, just as she mounts similar cogent arguments and critiques in countless other places and has done so for years"

#racisme #royaume-uni #arrogance

Black Mauritanians suffer 'slavery-like' conditions, says UN | Global development |

Black Mauritanians suffer ’slavery-like’ conditions, says UN | Global development |

Black Mauritanians are still subject to slavery-like practices, including sexual violence and discrimination, a UN human rights expert has said.

The UN special rapporteur on racism, Mutuma Ruteere, told the Guardian that generations of people, particularly women and girls, were still living with families in a “slavery-like” relationship, and were being forced into sex with male relatives, in some cases with their fathers.

“You have situations where people still live with and are working for certain families, and where women are forced to have sexual relations with family members – fathers and sons,” said Ruteere, speaking from Kenya. “And there are situations where children, particularly the girls who are the products of those relations, are then forced to have sexual relations with the same family members.”

“This kind of relationship is going on over generations. There is a lot of sexual violence against these women and girls, I met individuals who are subjected to this. It’s a situation that is slavery-like.”

#esclavage #viol #culture_du_viol #racisme #impunité #Mauritanie #femmes #filles #inceste

September 06 2013

GM crops : African opposition is a farce, says group led by Kofi Annan

GM crops: African opposition is a farce, says group led by Kofi Annan

Concern in Africa over genetically modified crops has been dismissed as fear of the unknown by an environmental group chaired by Kofi Annan, the former UN secretary general.

“This report clearly indicates their full support for GM crops, and their intention to use their influence to open African doors for Monsanto’s and Syngenta’s patented GM crops,” said Teresa Anderson, international advocacy co-ordinator for the Gaia foundation, an advocate of food sovereignty that asserts the right of people to define their own food systems.

“Characterising the refusal of most African countries to commercialise GM crops … as ’fear of the unknown’ is patronising and shallow. Agra has wilfully chosen to insult farmers’ concerns in their aim to expand corporate agribusiness into Africa.”

#ogm #lobbying #corruption

September 02 2013

Syrie : les « preuves » de Paris déclassifiées, Al-Assad menace « les intérêts de la France »

Syrie : les « preuves » de Paris déclassifiées, Al-Assad menace « les intérêts de la France »

La première partie introduit le document déclassifié de l’Élysée (cf. ) la deuxième rend compte de l’interview d’Assad par Georges Malbrunot pour le Figaro. Ça donne :

La publication de la note confidentielle des services du renseignement par le gouvernement semblait répondre par anticipation aux déclarations du président syrien, Bachar Al-Assad, dans une interview publiée par Le Figaro mardi. « Quiconque accuse doit donner des preuves, a-t-il déclaré, niant une nouvelle fois sa responsabilité dans l’attaque du 21 août. Nous avons défié les Etats-Unis et la France d’avancer une seule preuve. MM. Obama et Hollande en ont été incapables, y compris devant leurs peuples. » M. Assad a prévenu qu’en « contribu[ant] au renforcement financier et militaire des terroristes », Paris était devenu un ennemi de Damas, mettant en garde contre les « répercussions, négatives bien entendu, sur les intérêts de la France ».

En fait, Bachar El-Assad répond à une question. Tel que dans Le Figaro :
La mise en garde d’Assad à la France

La France est-elle devenue un pays ennemi de la Syrie ?
Quiconque contribue au renforcement financier et militaire des terroristes est l’ennemi du peuple syrien. Quiconque œuvre contre les intérêts de la Syrie et de ses citoyens est un ennemi. Le peuple français n’est pas notre ennemi, mais la politique de son État est hostile au peuple syrien. Dans la mesure où la politique de l’État français est hostile au peuple syrien, cet État sera son ennemi. Cette hostilité prendra fin lorsque l’État français changera de politique. Il y aura des répercussions, négatives bien entendu, sur les intérêts de la France.

Le reste (au Figaro) derrière #paywall

August 31 2013

Hitting Syria to deter Iran ? | Al Jazeera America

Hitting Syria to deter Iran ? | Al Jazeera America

Barbara Slavin voit des signes en faveur d’une solution diplomatique par le fait que les Etats-Unis semblent accepter l’Iran dans la table de négociations.

Proponents of tougher action against Tehran have long argued that muscular U.S. intervention to remove the regime of President Bashar al-Assad would deal a heavy blow to Iranian influence in the region. Syria, after all, is Iran’s only durable ally among Arab nation states — it was the only Arab country that sided with Iran during the 1980-88 war with Iraq. Syria is also the conduit for Tehran’s delivery of weapons and money to Hezbollah, the most powerful pro-Iranian organization in the Arab world.
As the civil war has dragged on, however, the notion that removing Assad would be a pure strategic win for the United States and its allies has become muddied. Ironically, if Assad were to be removed now, the biggest beneficiaries would likely be Sunni Muslim radicals who hate Iran as passionately as they do Syria’s Alawite minority, Israelis and the U.S.

Then there’s the fact that Iran is one of only two foreign countries with real leverage over the Assad regime — the other is Russia. For the past two years, the U.S. has resisted calls to include Iran in multilateral talks on Syria’s future, but that position appears to be changing as the Syrian crisis deepens and a less confrontational government has taken office in Iran.
Russia and the United Nations have insisted for months that Iran, as a key outside player in the conflict, must be invited to any new peace talks in Geneva if there is to be any chance of progress toward a political solution. The Obama administration refused but later hedged, noting that the U.N. would be the one to issue invitations.
In his interview with the PBS Newshour on Aug. 28, Obama appeared to open the door a bit wider to participation by Tehran. “We hope that, in fact, ultimately, a political transition can take place inside of Syria, and we’re prepared to work with anybody — the Russians and others — to try to bring the parties together to resolve the conflict,” he said.
While Obama did not clarify whether “others” included Iran, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for the Near East Jeffrey Feltman was in Tehran a day earlier meeting with Iran’s new Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. Feltman is currently U.N. Undersecretary General for political affairs, but the Iranian press identified him as a “senior U.S. official.”
 "Mr. Feltman shared the U.N. position that Iran, given its influence and leadership in the region, has an important role to play and a responsibility in helping to bring the Syrian parties to the negotiating table," U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq said.

It’s a safe bet that Feltman would have informed his old bosses in Washington of Zarif’s response. Sultan Qaboos of Oman, a long-time intermediary between the U.S. and Iran, was also in Tehran this week, and Syria was almost certainly discussed.

Reposted byiranelection iranelection

August 29 2013

Hier au Conseil de sécurité, les Russes et les Chinois n'ont pas simplement menacé d'opposer leur…

Hier au Conseil de sécurité, les Russes et les Chinois n’ont pas simplement menacé d’opposer leur veto : ils ont carrément quitté la salle du Conseil de sécurité. C’est fréquent, ce genre de chose ?

Les ambassadeurs russe et chinois ont quitté la salle où se tenaient ces consultations à huis clos au bout d’une heure et quart. Les représentants des trois autres pays sont restés un peu plus longtemps mais sont sortis sans faire de déclaration.

August 28 2013

Syrian Chemical Weapons Attack Carried Out by Rebels, Says UN (UPDATE) | Las Vegas Guardian Express

Syrian Chemical Weapons Attack Carried Out by Rebels, Says UN (UPDATE) | Las Vegas Guardian Express

As the Syrian revolt continues to tear the country apart, the international community has been eager to condemn Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, even as it became clear that the rebels do not, in fact, represent a popular uprising against the oppression of the Assad regime. According to UN diplomat Carla del Ponte, however, it appears that the recent chemical weapons attack, in April, was carried out by the Syrian rebels and not the regime, as it had been widely assumed. Speaking to a Swiss television channel, del Ponte said that there were “strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof,” that rebels had carried out the attack. She also said UN investigators had seen no evidence of the Syrian army using chemical weapons, but that further investigation was needed.

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