Archive for January, 2008

China shirking Olympic pledge, pressure needed

January 31, 2008

NEW YORK (AFP) – China is shirking its pledge to improve human rights for the Olympic Games and world pressure is needed to force Beijing to comply, Human Rights Watch said Thursday.

The New York-based rights group said that rather than improve human rights, China’s preparation for the Games had actually brought about new violations, such as the eviction of residents for Olympic construction, appalling working conditions at Games venues and tighter controls on government critics.

“Despite China’s official assurances that hosting the 2008 Olympic Games will help to strengthen the development of human rights in the country, the Chinese government continues to deny or restrict its citizens’ fundamental rights,” the group said in a statement as it issued its World Report for 2008.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080131/wl_asia_
afp/rightschina_080131192128

China is shirking its pledge to improve human rights for the ...

Top Qaeda Afghanistan operative Libi killed

January 31, 2008

DUBAI (Reuters) – A leading al Qaeda member in Afghanistan, Abu Laith al-Libi, has been killed, a Web site often used by the group and other Islamists said on Thursday.

A banner on the Ekhlaas.org site said Libi had fallen as a martyr, without giving further details.

It was not immediately clear if Libi’s death was linked to a suspected U.S. missile strike that killed up to 13 foreign militants in Pakistan‘s North Waziristan region this week.

The attack had targeted second or third tier al Qaeda leaders, according to residents in the tribal area.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080131/ts_nm/qaeda_libi_dc;_ylt=AjInF21
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Peace and Freedom has also verified the report above with people in the tribal areas.

Polish minister says Russia threatening over missile defense

January 31, 2008
By DESMOND BUTLER, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON – Poland‘s foreign minister Radek Sikorski on Thursday accused Russia of blackmail for making threats aimed at derailing plans to allow the U.S. to install missile defense interceptors on Polish territory.
Sikorski said any deal with the United States must include additional help in bolstering Poland’s security.

Russia has stridently opposed the missile defense plan and has threatened to retarget nuclear missiles at Poland to counter what it sees as….

Read the rest:
 http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080131/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/us_poland_1

Pakistan: Muhammad Reports from Tribal Areas, February 1, 2008

January 31, 2008

Dear John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom

Dear Sir,

I hope that you and your team at the Peace and Freedom will be alright.

Situation in tribal areas have been worsening with each passing day. Now the terrorists have spreaded their activities to the whole country. Reports said that a bomb exploded near a military truck on a main highway in Pakistan. No one was hurt in the remote-controlled bombing in Akora Khattak, about 120 kilometers northwest of Islamabad, a local police official said. Three air force personnel in the truck escaped harm, he said.

An air force official confirmed the bombing and “slight” damage to the truck.

Other reports said that security forces found on Wednesday bodies of 13 missing soldiers in a vehicle parked in the Tor Chappar area of Darra Adamkhel.

The soldiers were captured by militants after they had taken control of a checkpoint at the Friendship Tunnel on Friday last.“”It appears that the soldiers were killed last week but their bodies were found on Wednesday,” a security official told newsmen.

Sources said the vehicle was found in Tor Chappar on Tuesday morning but nobody was allowed to go near it for fear that it might be a booby trap.

A bomb disposal squad cleared the vehicle before security officials checked it.

The bodies were taken to the combined military hospital in Kohat in the afternoon.

It is believed that militants executed the soldiers when security forces regained control over the tunnel on Tuesday.

The soldiers had been on duty at a PTCL communication tower on the hill above the tunnel.

Bodies of five other soldiers were found on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the Kohat-Peshawar road has been reopened after six days.

About 200 vehicles escorted by troops left for Darra Adamkhel and Peshawar in convoys through the hilly track, officials said.

The military operation in the area was suspended on Wednesday evening and is likely to resume on Thursday morning.District Coordination Officer Kamran Zeb said that the tunnel would remain open to traffic from 6am to 7pm on Thursday and only south-bound vehicles coming from Peshawar would be allowed to go through.

Meanwhile, people who had fled Darra Adamkhel because of the military operation have started returning to their homes.Militants retrieved and buried on Wednesday the bodies of 12 foreigners who had been killed in a missile attack on a residential compound in the Khushali Toorikhel area of North Waziristan on Monday night.

Local people said the identity of the militants killed in the attack remained unknown but according to unconfirmed reports seven of them were Arabs while the other five from central Asian.

The compound, located about three kilometres south of Mirali town, is owned by Abdus Sattar, a driver, who survived the attack.A large number of militants had surrounded the site to get the bodies which the later buried in a local graveyard.“”Militants are still keeping the local people away from the place,” a villager told on phone. He said that unmanned air vehicles had hovered over the area on Wednesday.

The attack is a mystery because it is still not known who had fired the missile.Some local people claimed that a drone had fired the missile but officials have been keeping quiet. “I heard the sound of a plane just before the explosion,” said the man who identified himself as Zaheer Gul.Several places in the North Waziristan have come under attack in the recent past.

A house was attacked in Mosaki village in Mirali tehsil in December 2005 in which Al Qaeda’s operational commander Hamza Rabia was killed.Meanwhile, militants attacked a security base in the Razmak sub-division of North Waziristan on Wednesday.

According to sources, two army soldiers were killed while another was injured in the afternoon attack.They said that the militants had sneaked into Razmak from the adjacent Makin area where security forces had launched an operation against supporters of Baitullah Mehsud.

Dear Sir, I want to present my thank and gratitude to you for your positive role during the struggle against terrorism.

We will never forget your kindness and love.

Again thank you very much,

Yours sincerely,

Muhammad Khurshid
Khar, Bajaur Agency,Tribal Areas Pakistan

US questions China’s commitment to economic reforms

January 31, 2008
By P. Parameswaran

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The United States accused China Wednesday of discriminating against foreign investors and taking short cuts to address serious concerns over safety of its products, amid new concerns over Beijing‘s trade and economic policies.

“China has been more open than many developing countries, but there are increasing signs of policies that seek to direct markets rather than opening them,” said US under secretary of commerce for international trade Christopher Padilla.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080131/pl_afp/uschinaeconomy_080131014755

For Vietnam Members of Congress Stand Up For Human Rights

January 31, 2008

January 23, 2008

The Honorable Michael Chertoff
Secretary
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Washington, D.C. 20528

Dear Secretary Chertoff:

We are extremely concerned that thousands of Vietnamese nationals currently living in the United States may be forcibly returned to the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, a country with an extensive and continuing record of human rights violations. It is appalling and unbelievable that this Administration would even consider returning those who escaped Communism back to the clutches of the very Communists that they escaped.

According to an ICE press release, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the government of Vietnam today. This MOU will apparently permit the deportation of Vietnamese nationals who entered the United States on or after July 12, 1995.

In the 2006 Country Report on Human Rights Practices, the U.S. State Department described the human rights situation in Vietnam as “unsatisfactory”. The March 6, 2007 report documented a litany of human rights violations, including:

• Abuses by government officials for exercise of religious freedom;
• Prohibition of political opposition movements;
• Arbitrary arrest and detention for political activities;
• Governmental control over the press and the internet;
• Abuse of suspects during arrest, detention, and interrogation;
• Denial of fair and expeditious trials;
• Limitation of citizens’ privacy rights and freedom of speech, press, assembly, movement, and association;
• Prohibition of independent human rights organizations;
• Violence and discrimination against women, including limited child prostitution and trafficking in women and children;
• Societal discrimination of some ethnic minority groups; and
• Limitation of workers’ rights, especially to organize independently.

Likewise, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) reported that “Vietnam has initiated a severe crackdown on human rights defenders and advocates for the freedoms of speech, association, and assembly, including many religious leaders.” In particular, USCIRF found that “[t]he Vietnamese government continues to remain suspicious of ethnic minority religious groups, such as Montagnard and Hmong Protestants and Khmer Buddhists; those who seek to establish independent religious organizations, such as the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam, Hao Hoa, and Cao Dai; and those it considers to pose a threat to national solidarity or security, such as ‘Dega’ Protestants and individual Mennonite, Catholic, Buddhist, and house church Protestant leaders.”

In addition, respected non-governmental entities such as Amnesty International also documented wide-spread human rights violations in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam:
Restrictions on freedom of expression and association continued. Members of unauthorized churches seen as opposing state policies faced harassment. Dissidents using the Internet were harassed, threatened and imprisoned. Small groups of ethnic minority Montagnards continued to flee human rights violations in the Central Highlands and seek asylum in neighbouring Cambodia; at least 250 remained imprisoned after unfair trials in Viet Nam.

Given the rampant violations of human rights committed by the Socialist Republic of Vietnam as documented by our own State Department and other governmental and non-governmental experts, we are very troubled that ICE has entered into an agreement to deport Vietnamese nationals living in the United States into such conditions. We ask that you brief us personally on the MOU. In particular, we would like to know the process by which the agreement was reached, including whether ICE was aware of and considered the Socialist Republic of Vietnam’s human rights record in reaching the agreement. Furthermore, we insist that no implementation of this agreement take place until agreed to by Congress. We would appreciate your response no later than close of business on Friday, January 25, 2008.

Sincerely,

Zoe Lofgren
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
Michael Honda
Lincoln Diaz-Balart
Loretta Sanchez
Mario Diaz-Balart
Linda Sanchez
Keith Ellison
Jim Costa
Dennis Cardoza
Ed Perlmutter
Al Green
Barbara Lee
Jim Costa

cc: Secretary Condolezza Rice, U.S. Department of State

Assistant Secretary Julie Myers, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Latest round of Czech-US of missile defense talks completed

January 31, 2008

PRAGUE, Czech Republic (AP) – Czech and US negotiators completed another round of talks Wednesday on placing part of a missile-defense system in the Czech Republic, the Defense Ministry said.

The latest round of negotiations for placing a US radar base southeast of Prague took place beginning Monday at the defense ministry and focused the legal status of US troops at the base, the ministry said in a statement.

Both sides agreed that the talks will resume soon. Before that experts will hold consultations regarding taxes and penal jurisdiction, it said.

Read the rest:
http://www.kyivpost.com/bn/28284/

China advises millions to abandon travel plans

January 31, 2008

BEIJING, China (CNN) — China has taken the step of asking millions of migrant workers to forego their annual Lunar New Year trip home, saying the worst winter weather in 50 years is expected to pummel the country for at least another three days.
art.trapped.trucks.ap.jpg

Trucks are trapped at the Yunmeihua Exit on the Beijing-Zhuhai Highway in south China’s Guangdong province.
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“For the sake of their safety, and relieving the stress on transport, I advise migrant workers to stay in the cities where they work,” Zheng Guogang, chief of the China Meteorological Administration, told the state newspaper, China Daily.

Read the rest:
http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/01/31/china.weather/index.html?section=cnn_latest

10,000 Workers On Strike In Vietnam Toy Factory

January 31, 2008

HANOI (AFP)–Nearly 10,000 workers went on strike at a Hong Kong-owned Vietnam toy factory, the latest in a rash of labor disputes amid double-digit inflation ahead of the Tet Lunar New Year, state media said.

The workers at the Keyhinge Toy plant in the central city of Danang walked off the job Wednesday, demanding higher bonuses and longer holidays for Tet, the country’s most important festival next week, one of the workers told AFP.

“Many of us live very far away, as far north as Thai Nguyen province,” another worker reportedly told the Lao Dong (Labor) newspaper. “With this low bonus and short holiday, we can’t even manage to go home for Tet.”

Read the rest:
http://www.nasdaq.com/aspxcontent/NewsStory.aspx?cpath=20080131%5cACQDJON200801310523DOWJONESDJONLINE000363.htm&

Britney Spears: “Dangerous to Herself”

January 31, 2008

January 31, 2008

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Britney Spears was taken from her house by ambulance early Thursday, police told The Associated Press.

It was the second time this month that Spears, 26, was taken from her house by ambulance.

US pop star Britney Spears arrives at the Los Angeles County ... 

On Jan. 3, police were called to her Studio City home when she refused to return her two young sons to ex-husband Kevin Federline, who has legal custody.

Officers at the time had paramedics haul Spears to a hospital for undisclosed reasons. She was released after a day and a half in Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

Police on motorcycles and in unmarked cruisers were….

Read the rest:
http://www.usatoday.com/life/people/2008-01-31-britney-ambulance_N.htm?csp=34

Peace and Freedom Note: We will not diagnose Ms. Spears from afar.  That said, there are a few facts we are aware of.

1.  A person that is bi-polar needs intensive medical care.

2.  A person addicted to alcohol and/or drugs also needs intensive care and a lifetime program of recovery.

3.  Media stars have an even harder road toward recovery than “normal” people.

So our prayers and best wishes go with Ms. Spears and her family.  We hope she finds recovery.

J. E. Carey

Related:
Heath Ledger, President Bush, The Addicted and Our Medical Professionals

Britney brouhaha; Dr. Phil Fired

TV News reports on Thursday morning January 31 said Ms Spears was being held as a “5150.”  Section 5150 is a section of California’s Welfare and Institutions Code (specifically, the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act or “LPS”) which allows a qualified officer or clinician to involuntarily confine a person deemed a danger to himself, herself, and/or others[1] and/or gravely disabled. A qualified officer, which includes any California peace officer, as well as any specifically designated county clinician, can request the confinement after signing a written declaration. When used as a term, 5150 can informally refer to the person being confined or to the declaration itself.