Archive for the ‘riots’ Category

Pakistan’s Police Losing Terrorism Fight

December 4, 2008

If India’s reaction to the revelation that Pakistan was involved in the Mumbai terrorism didn’t get your attention; this headline might.  Pakistan is roiling from the impact of a widespread terror insurgency, combined with total financial bankruptcy of the nation and internal disputes and rivalries added to decades of unrest with India.  Pakistan’s Army is pinned down in the tribal areas on the border with Afghanistan; trying to wrestle control and influence from the Taliban and al-Qaeda.  And last weekend, in Pakistan’s largest city, Karachi, rival groups went on a riotous rampage…..

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Brothers Mushtaq and Ishaq Ali left the police force a month ago, terrified of dying as their colleagues had — beheaded by militants on a rutted village road before a shocked crowd.

They went straight to the local Urdu-language newspaper to announce their resignation. They were too poor to pay for a personal ad, so the editor of The Daily Moon, Rasheed Iqbal, published a news story instead. He has run dozens like it.

“They just want to get the word out to the Taliban that they are not with the police anymore so they won’t kill them,” said Iqbal. “They know that no one can protect them, and especially not their fellow policemen.”

Pakistani police officers launch an operation against criminals ... 
Pakistani police officers launch an operation against criminals in Karachi’s troubled area of Lyari, Pakistan, on Thursday, Dec. 4, 2008. Criminals and police exchanged fire during the action that killed one person and injured three, local police said.(AP Photo/Fareed Khan)

Outgunned and out-financed, police in volatile northwestern Pakistan are fighting a losing battle against insurgents, dozens of interviews by The Associated Press show. They are dying in large numbers, and many survivors are leaving the force.

Kathy Gannon, Associated Press Writer

The number of terrorist attacks against police has gone up from 113 in 2005 to 1,820 last year, according to National Police Bureau. The death toll for policemen in that time has increased from nine to 575. In the northwestern area alone, 127 policemen have died so far this year in suicide bombings and assassinations, and another 260 have been wounded.

The crisis means the police cannot do the nuts-and-bolts work needed to stave off an insurgency fueled by the Taliban and al-Qaida. While the military can pound mountain hideouts, analysts and local officials say it is the police who should hunt down insurgents, win over the people, and restore order.

A Pakistani police officers seen outside the heavily guarded ...
A Pakistani police officers seen outside the heavily guarded Badaber police station at outskirt of Peshawar, Pakistan, Tuesday Nov 4, 2008. Police officers left the police force a month ago, terrified of dying as their colleagues had — beheaded by militants on a rutted village road before a shocked crowd.(AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad)

“The only way to save Pakistan is to think of extremism and insurgency in North West Frontier Province as a law enforcement issue,” said Hassan Abbas, a South Asia expert at Harvard University’s Belfer Center Project for Science. “Rather than buying more F-16s, Pakistan should invest in modernizing its police.”

In the Swat Valley, militants have turned a once-idyllic mountain getaway into a nightmare of bombings and beheadings despite a six-month military operation to root them out. About 300 policemen have fled the force already.

On a recent evening in Mardan, Akhtar Ali Shah had just slipped out of his deputy police inspector’s uniform to head home. In an escort vehicle, a half-dozen of his guards had inched outside the giant white gates of the police station for a routine security check.

The bomb exploded minutes later. Through a cloud of dust and dirt, Shah saw five of his six guards lying dead near the blood-smeared gate. The head of the suicide bomber rested nearby.

“We are the ones who are getting killed by the terrorists that we are facing,” Shah said later.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081204/ap_on_re_as/as_pakistan_police_under_fire

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Calm returns to Bangkok after bloody rioting

October 8, 2008

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) — Soldiers stood guard on street corners Wednesday as an uneasy calm returned to Bangkok a day after fierce clashes between anti-government protesters and police left at least two killed and more than 400 injured.

Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat sought to reassure foreign diplomats about the country’s deepening political crisis, telling them “my government is still able to run the country,” he told reporters afterward. He justified the use of tear gas against protesters as the “international standard” for restoring civil order.

There was no sign of renewed street clashes Wednesday between police and urban-based protesters who want sweeping electoral changes to prevent what they say are corrupt politicians exploiting the rural majority to take power. But Thailand‘s heated political crisis was far from over.

Troops armed with batons and helmets were stationed at the Bangkok police headquarters near Parliament. A day earlier, anti-government protesters barricaded the building and trapped lawmakers inside for several hours as police outside fired countless volleys of tear gas trying to clear the area.

“We will continue to fight until Somchai resigns,” one of the protest leaders Pipop Thongchai told reporters. “He has lost the credibility to run the country, he has to take responsibility for the dead and injured.”

Read the rest:
http://edition.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/10/08/
thailand.political.unrest.ap/index.html

Global Food Crisis: Hungry in Egypt

April 21, 2008

By Jackson Diehl
The Washington Post
Monday, April 21, 2008; Page A15

….For more than half a century, the Arab world’s most populous country has been run by a military-backed dictatorship that has supplied its millions of poor with subsidized bread. Consequently, Egypt consumes more bread per capita than France, and the only time the regime’s power was seriously challenged came in 1977, when Anwar Sadat‘s attempt to cut bread subsidies provoked bloody riots.

Thirty years later, Egypt still has subsidized bread but also a free market, which siphons much of the bread away through corruption. As global prices have soared in the past year, cheap bread has been disappearing from Egyptian shops, and free-market prices have risen 48 percent. The predictable result came on April 6, when workers at the country’s largest textile factory, in the city of Mahalla el-Kubra, attempted to strike, only to be blocked by a massive deployment of security forces. Angry crowds took to the streets for two days. Schools and shops were burned, a huge billboard of President Hosni Mubarak was torn down and at least two people were killed when police opened fire.

Mubarak responded to the trouble the way the regime always has. His prime minister and a host of other officials rushed to the smoldering city to purchase peace. The textile workers were promised a month’s bonus pay and new health-care facilities for their town. Mubarak ordered the army to begin baking and distributing more bread and lifted tariffs on some food imports. Meanwhile, his prosecutors brought charges against some 150 people blamed for the unrest….

Egyptians buy government subsidized bread from a bakery in Cairo, ...
Egyptians buy government subsidized bread from a bakery in Cairo, Egypt Wednesday, April 16, 2008. Egypt’s government is struggling to contain a political crisis sparked by rising world food prices. Violent clashes have broken out at long lines for subsidized bread, and the president, worried about unrest, has ordered the army to step in to provide more.(AP Photo/Hossam Ali)

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 http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/20/
AR2008042001752.html

Rice Grain Could Change Your Life by Badong
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RICE!

Perils in The Price Of Each Grain of Rice

April 3, 2008

By David Ignatius
The Washington Post
Thursday, April 3, 2008; Page A17

You may have missed the front-page article in the New York Times last Saturday, with the one-column headline written in clipped newspaperese: “High Rice Cost Creating Fears of Asia Unrest.” But this little story could be an early warning of another big economic problem that’s sneaking up on us.

The new danger is global inflation — most worryingly in food prices, but also in prices for commodities, raw materials and products that require petroleum energy, which includes almost everything. Prices for these goods have been skyrocketing in international markets — at the same time the Federal Reserve and other central banks have been hosing the world with new money in their efforts to avoid a financial crisis.

That’s an explosive mixture. It risks a kind of inflation that would trigger panic buying, hoarding and fears of mass political protest. Actually, this is already happening in Asia, according to the Times.

The price of rice in global markets has nearly doubled in the last three months, reports the Times’s Keith Bradsher.
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Fearing shortages, some major rice producers — including Vietnam, India, Egypt and Cambodia — have sharply limited their rice exports so they can be sure they can feed their own people.

Bradsher summarizes the evidence that food shortages and inflation are fueling political unrest: “Since January, thousands of troops have been deployed in Pakistan to guard trucks carrying wheat and flour. Protests have erupted in Indonesia over soybean shortage, and China has put price controls on cooking oil, grain, meat, milk and eggs. Food riots have erupted in recent months in Guinea, Mauritania, Mexico, Morocco, Senegal, Uzbekistan and Yemen.”

World Bank President Robert Zoellick rang the alarm bell in a speech yesterday. He noted that since 2005, the prices of staples have risen 80 percent. The real price of rice rose to a 19-year high last month, he said, while the real price of wheat hit a 28-year high.

Zoellick warned that this inflation is having political repercussions: “The World Bank Group estimates that 33 countries around the world face potential political and social unrest because of the acute hike in food and energy prices.” To cope with the topsy-turvy economy, Zoellick made an innovative proposal that countries running a surplus, such as Saudi Arabia and China, devote 1 percent of their “sovereign wealth” funds to investment in Africa‘s poor countries. That could yield up to $30 billion in development spending.

Now, cut to the Federal Reserve. At a time when global inflation is raging, you might expect that the central bank’s first priority would be to dampen inflationary expectations in the United States. But because of its worries about a financial meltdown, the Fed has been doing the opposite — drastically cutting interest rates in an effort to unclog the financial markets. The cheap money didn’t stop the Wall Street bank run — it was the Fed’s bold plan to absorb subprime debt that did that — but it may well add fuel to the inflation fire.

Related:
Lowly Rice Grain Impacts Global Economy

Vietnam and India move to limit rice exports

Inflation and Food Shortages?

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/02/AR2008040202997.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

China arrests suspects in Tibetan riots

March 31, 2008
By TINI TRAN, Associated Press Writer 

BEIJING – China lashed out at the Dalai Lama on Monday, accusing him of being a hypocrite who has deceived the west about his political agenda as authorities announced they had detained suspects in four deadly arson cases in Tibet.

Jiang Zaiping, the vice chief of the Public Security Bureau in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa, said investigators have taken into custody suspects responsible for arson attacks on three shops — including a clothing outlet where five young women were burned to death — and one in nearby Dagze county, the Tibet Daily newspaper reported Monday.

The fires killed a total of 12 people, state media has reported.

Authorities have taken 414 suspects into custody in connection with the anti-government riots, Jiang was quoted as saying. Another 298 people have turned themselves in, he said.

The Tibetan regional government also announced that the families of two of the women killed were given compensation of $28,170, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

It did not say how many suspects were involved in the four arson cases or give any other details.

An official who answered the telephone at the Lhasa Public Security Bureau said no senior officials were available to give details. He refused to give his name. It was unclear how many suspects had been directly involved in the four arson cases.

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080331/ap_on_re_as/china_tibet_247

China offers its own version of protests

March 23, 2008
By CARA ANNA, Associated Press Writer Sat Mar 22, 7:09 PM ET

CHENGDU, China – With restive Tibetan areas swarming with troops and closed to scrutiny from the outside world, China’s government turned up efforts Saturday to put its own version of the unrest before the international public.

Paramilitary police march in a street in Zhongdian, in a Tibetan ...
Paramilitary police march in a street in Zhongdian, in a Tibetan area known as Shangri-La, in China’s southwest Yunnan province Saturday March 22, 2008. Thousands of troops have moved into Tibetan areas of western China following last week’s anti-government riots in Tibet’s capital, Lhasa.(AP Photo/Greg Baker)

Information barely trickled out of the Tibetan capital Lhasa and other far-flung Tibetan communities, where foreign media were banned and thousands of troops dispatched to quell the most widespread demonstrations against Chinese rule in nearly five decades.

The Chinese government was attempting to fill the vacuum with its own message. It disseminated footage of Tibetan protesters attacking Chinese and accusations of biased reporting by Western media via TV, the Internet, e-mail and YouTube, which is blocked in China. The communist government’s leading newspaper called to “resolutely crush” the Tibetan demonstrations.

The media barrage underscored that the government campaign is moving into a new phase of damage control ahead of the much-anticipated Beijing Olympics in August.

While China’s rigorous policing of the Internet is far from foolproof, its official Internet is pervasive and there is no easy access to an alternative in the country. The difficulty of confirming what is going on inside Tibet may also be hindering a stronger world reaction.

“They’ve successfully managed the messages available to the average Chinese citizen, and this has fueled broad public support for a heavy-handed approach to controlling unrest,” said David Bandurski, a Hong Kong University expert on Chinese media. “There will be no nuances to Tibet coverage.”

CNN’s bureau in Beijing has been deluged in recent days by a barrage of harassing phone calls and faxes that accuse the organization of unfair coverage. An e-mail to United Nations-based reporters purportedly from China’s U.N. mission sent an Internet link to a 15-minute state television program showing Tibetans attacking Chinese in Lhasa.

A slideshow posted on YouTube accused CNN, Germany‘s Der Spiegel and other media of cropping pictures to show Chinese military while screening out Tibetan rioters or putting pictures of Indian and Nepalese police wrestling Tibetan protesters with captions about China’s crackdown.

Though of uncertain origin, the piece at least had official blessing, with excerpts appearing on the official English-language China Daily and on state TV.

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080322/ap_on_re_
as/china_tibet;_ylt=Aij1
CjWC6LlLVn_765DN.bus0NUE

China Gives Tibetan Rioters Deadline

March 15, 2008
By Chris Buckley and Benjamin Kang Lim

BEIJING (Reuters) – China set a “surrender” deadline after riots in Lhasa that it said killed 10 innocent people, launching a crackdown on Saturday after the worst unrest in Tibet for two decades.
A Tibetan protester pleads for mercy as the police arrested ... 
A Tibetan protester pleads for mercy as the police arrested them during anti-China protests in front of the United Nations office in Kathmandu March 15, 2008. Nepal has effectively closed Mount Everest to climbers until after May 10 to allow the Olympic flame to be carried to the top without being troubled by Tibetan protesters, a senior minister said on Friday.
REUTERS/Deepa Shrestha (NEPAL) 

The response came after torrid protests on Friday which flew in the face of official claims the region was immune from unrest as Beijing readies to hold the Olympic Games in August.

Xinhua news agency said 10 “innocent civilians” were shot or burnt to death in fires that accompanied street clashes in the remote, mountain capital on Friday. It said no foreigners died, and the dead included two people killed with shotguns.

Tibetan law-and-order departments offered leniency for rioters who turned themselves in by Monday midnight.

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080315/wl_nm/china_tibet_dc_38

Protests In Tibet Turn Violent

March 14, 2008
By TINI TRAN, Associated Press Writer

BEIJING – Angry protesters set shops ablaze and gunfire was reported in Tibet’s regional capital Friday as the largest demonstrations in two decades against Chinese rule turned violent just months ahead of the Beijing Olympics.

In this photo released by the International Campaign for Tibet, ...
In this photo released by the International Campaign for Tibet, police are seen in Jokhang Square in Lhasa, Tibet, where protests broke out Monday March 10, 2008. Angry protesters set police and army cars on fire in the center of Lhasa Friday March 14, 2008, as the latest protest by monks against Chinese rule in Tibet turned violent, witnesses said.(AP Photo/International Campaign For Tibet)

The protests, in their fifth day and led by monks supporting Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, threatened to cast a shadow over China‘s efforts to portray a unified and prosperous nation in the run-up to the games.

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080314/ap_on_re_as/china_tibet;_ylt=AgtDVocIy1
v9g3sdVMDJy_2s0NUE

Bhutto’s homeland smolders with rage

December 30, 2007
By ASHRAF KHAN, Associated Press Writer

ALONG THE LARKANA-KARACHI HIGHWAY – Three days after Benazir Bhutto‘s killing, driving through her home province is a perilous experience. Charred vehicles, felled trees and rocks litter the highway, and nervous travelers paste her portrait to their cars to appease prowling mobs.

Bhutto’s killing in a gun and suicide bomb attack on Thursday plunged Pakistan deeper into political crisis and triggered an orgy of violence that has killed more than 40 people and left hundreds of banks, shops, gasoline stations, railway stations and offices torched.

Sindh, an agricultural region in the south of the country where Bhutto grew up, has seen the worst of the unrest.

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071230/ap_on_re_as/pakistan_road_rage;_
ylt=AsYMQxKg5NKGQomxR9QlGeGs0NUE

Pakistan Says Al-Qaida Behind Bhutto Killing; Riots Continue

December 28, 2007
By MUNIR AHMED, Associated Press Writer

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – Pakistan‘s government announced it had evidence that an al-Qaida operative was behind the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, who was laid to rest Friday as the army tried to quell a frenzy of rioting that left 27 people dead less than two weeks before national elections.

The government, led by President Pervez Musharraf, also said Bhutto was not killed by gunshots or shrapnel as originally claimed. Instead, it said her skull was shattered by the force of a suicide bomb blast that slammed her against a lever in her car’s sunroof.

The new explanations by the government in the death of Bhutto, Musharraf’s most powerful foe in the elections, were part of a rapidly evolving political crisis. The rioting by Bhutto’s furious supporters raised concerns ….

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071228/ap_on_re_as/pakistan;_ylt=
AjtQC8cVYZLyNRTxEMv6LcKs0NUE