Monday, August 27, 2012

Egyptian court convicts 76 people for attack last year on Israeli Embassy - The Washington Post

( Associated Press ) - FILE -- In this Saturday, Sept. 10, 2011 file photo, an Egyptian holds documents he snatched from the Israeli embassy after protesters broke into the embassy Friday and dumped documents out of the windows as hundreds more demonstrated in Cairo, Egypt. A Cairo court Sunday, Aug. 26, 2012 has convicted 76 Egyptians on charges linked to last year’s attack by protesters on the Israeli Embassy with seventy-five of the defendants receiving suspended one-year sentences, while one defendant tried in absentia was given a five-year prison term.

CAIRO — A Cairo court has convicted 76 Egyptians on charges linked to last year’s attack by protesters on the Israeli Embassy.
Seventy-five of the defendants received suspended one-year sentences Sunday, while one defendant tried in absentia was given a five-year prison term.
Fire rises over the Amuay refinery near Punto Fijo, Venezuela, Saturday, Aug. 25, 2012. A huge explosion rocked Venezuela's biggest oil refinery, killing at least 24 people and injuring dozens, an official said. (AP Photo/Daniela Primera)

Images from around the world

Here is a look at some of the week’s best photographs from around the globe.

China’s arms flooding sub-Saharan Africa

China’s arms flooding sub-Saharan Africa
China has stood apart from other major arms exporters for its assertive challenge to U.N. authority, routinely refusing to cooperate with U.N. arms experts and flexing its diplomatic muscle to protect its allies.

As Paralympics start, Britain’s disabled decry cuts

As Paralympics start, Britain’s disabled decry cuts
Hundreds of thousands of disabled Britons are seeing their benefits cut or facing the prospect of diminished or eliminated aid under the Conservative-led coalition government.

Syrian refugees top 200,000

Syrian refugees top 200,000
The total reflects an increase of about 30,000 in the past week to Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan.

The court listed eight charges, including “an assault against diplomatic missions” and “sabotage.”
In September, thousands of protesters tore down a security wall around a high rise building housing the Israeli Embassy in Cairo and then trashed its offices. The embassy’s storming followed the killing of six Egyptian soldiers by Israeli troops who were pursuing Palestinian militants near the Egyptian border.
The attack prompted nearly the entire embassy staff to evacuate in the one of the worst crises to hit the two countries’ relations since their 1979 peace treaty.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Dallas police believe man accused of killing the owners of a Greenville area restaurant has fled the state | Crime Blog

The couple was slain on the front porch of their home off Lower Greenville. (Ron Baselice/Staff Photographer)
Dallas police believe a man wanted on an arrest warrant in connection with the shooting deaths of a couple who owned an Ethiopian restaurant has fled the state.
Police continue to look for Abey Belette Girma who is accused of capital murder.
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Fri Aug 17 09:58:25 PDT 2012

Dallas police issue warrant in M Streets murder case

Police say they know who killed a couple outside their home in Dallas’ M Street neighborhood early Tuesday morning. Investigators believe Abey Girma fled to Kansas, and he remains at large

Yayehyirad “Yared” Lemma, 40, and Yenenesh “Yenni” Desta, 31, shot to death about midnight Wednesday in front of their Lower Greenville home. The couple was returning home from Desta, the Ethiopian restaurant they operated on Greenville Avenue near Forest Lane.
According to an arrest warrant, Girma approached both of them on the front porch and shot them before running away.

Abey Girma
A co-worker of Girma’s told police that Girma told him he had killed the couple because they had “disrespected him.” He said Girma told him that he followed them from their restaurant to their home where he confronted Lemma on the front porch of his home.
“Suspect Girma told witness … that the complainant continued to disrespect him so he shot him,” police records state. “Suspect Girma stated he next shot complainant Yenenesh because she had also disrespected him.”
The co-worker told police that Girma showed him a pistol that he used to kill the couple.
He also told police that Girma intimidated him into driving to 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Row in Italy over memorial to Fascist hero Graziani-BBC News -

Italian Fascist commander Field Marshal Rodolfo Graziani (left) with German Field Marshal Albert Kesselring in northern Italy, 29 October 1944Graziani (left) is seen here with German Field Marshal Albert Kesselring in October 1944

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A political row has erupted in Italy after a memorial was opened to Fascist commander Field Marshal Rodolfo Graziani, a convicted war criminal.
Graziani was honoured with a mausoleum and memorial park, built at taxpayers' expense, in a village south of Rome.
He was notorious as Benito Mussolini's military commander in colonial wars in Ethiopia and Libya where he carried out massacres and used chemical weapons.
Italy's main leftist party has protested against the commemoration.
"Is it possible to allow, accept or simply tolerate that, in 2012, we dedicate a park and a museum to the fascist general and minister Rodolfo Graziani?" asked Esterino Montino, head of the Democratic Party in the Lazio region.
He pointed to the "crimes against humanity committed by Graziani in Ethiopia in the 1930s", La Repubblica newspaper reports.
Graziani was sentenced to 19 years' imprisonment for war crimes in 1948 but was released from jail after serving only two years, and died in 1955.
The cult of Fascist heroes remains alive in certain parts of Italy despite the outlawing of the Fascist party in the country's post-war constitution, BBC Rome correspondent David Willey reports.
'Butcher of Fezzan'

Start Quote

Europe is our answer to the crimes of the last century - it is also our best chance for the future”
Martin SchulzSpeaker of the European Parliament
The mayor of the village of Affile attended the opening ceremony on Saturday, together with a representative from the Vatican.
Although almost unknown to modern generations of Italians, the Fascist military officer was known as the Butcher of Fezzan for the executions of Libyans he ordered while military governor of Cyrenaica in North Africa, our correspondent says.
He used poison gas and chemical weapons against Ethiopian tribesmen during Italy's colonial war in what was then called Abyssinia.
Towards the end of the war, Graziani was appointed defence minister by Mussolini in the short-lived Fascist Republic of Salo.
He commanded Italian troops alongside the Germans at the Battle of Garfagnana in December 1944, one of the last military victories of the Axis forces.
BBC map
According to La Repubblica, the mausoleum in Affile cost 127,000 euros (£100,000; $157,000).
About 100 people attended its inauguration, the paper adds.
Mayor Ercole Viri was quoted as saying the memorial was of national importance and dismissing criticism as "idle chatter".
Photos of the opening ceremony were posted in a gallery on the village's website, which lists Graziani as one of the village's "famous sons". Engraved on the mausoleum are the words "Fatherland" and "Honour".
Nazi victims remembered
There is another side to Italy's often schizophrenic attitude to its recent history, our correspondent adds.
Another ceremony was held the same weekend marking the anniversary of a tragic massacre of 560 Italian men women and children by German SS troops as a reprisal in a small town near Lucca, in Tuscany.
Martin Schulz, the German Social Democrat and president of the European Parliament, was present in Sant'Anna di Stazzema on Sunday.
He said: "I am a German and the language I speak is the same of those who committed those crimes. I shall not forget that."
Writing on Twitter, he added: "Europe is our answer to the crimes of the last century - it is also our best chance for the future."

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Monday, August 6, 2012

World Food Programme driver shot dead in Sudan - Times LIVE

Machine gun ammunition. File photo.

A Sudanese driver for the World Food Programme has been shot dead in war-torn South Kordofan state, the UN agency says..

The killing came as officials announced an agreement on aid access to South Kordofan and Blue Nile, where the UN has described a worsening humanitarian crisis but has been severely restricted in its movement.
"Our driver was killed yesterday in an armed attack in an area some 80 kilometres (50 miles) north of Kadugli," WFP spokeswoman Amor Almagro told AFP.
Jamal Al Fadil Farag Allah, married with five children, is the first WFP employee to be killed in Sudan, she said.
"He was driving fellow staff member Saad Yousif when their vehicle was attacked by two unknown assailants," Almagro said.
They were travelling on a main road in a marked UN vehicle on official business, she added.
Yousif was wounded but survived and was to be airlifted to Khartoum later on Sunday.
More than 200,000 refugees have fled a worsening humanitarian situation in South Kordofan and nearby Blue Nile states since fighting between government and rebel forces from the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) began in June last year, the United Nations says.
Ethnic minority insurgents of the SPLM-N fought alongside southern rebels during Sudan's 22-year civil war, which ended in a 2005 peace deal and South Sudan's independence in July last year.
There are no figures for how many people have died since the war in South Kordofan and Blue Nile began.
The government of Sudan has cited security concerns in placing tight restrictions on the operations of foreign relief agencies in the warzone.
After African Union-led talks in Ethiopia, AU mediator Thabo Mbeki on Saturday announced an agreement between Sudan, the United Nations, the AU and the Arab League to allow for humanitarian access in South Kordofan and Blue Nile.
Sudan has agreed to allow an independent assessment of the humanitarian needs, as well as internationally-monitored delivery of aid throughout the war zone, a foreign analyst said.
However, a ceasefire will be required to implement the measures, he added.
Progress on aid is unlikely until the political side is addressed as well, "including a possible ceasefire", a humanitarian source said.
The European Union's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said she was encouraged that Sudan had reportedly agreed on "modalities" for delivering aid to all civilians affected by the conflict.
She urged immediate implementation of the deal which "needs to be accompanied by a cessation of hostilities and political negotiations between the government of Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North."
The WFP worker's death came two days after armed men in another part of the country spent about 12 hours looting and ransacking a WFP compound, Almagro said.
The incident began at about mid-day Thursday and continued until early Friday at the compound in Kutum town, North Darfur, she said.
"Our office and guest house were looted," with furniture, fuel, computers and other items stolen, Almagro said. WFP staff hid during the incident and were unhurt.
"Since the security situation remains tense and unpredictable we have decided to suspend our operation until the situation calms down," she said.
WFP recently completed a food distribution to about 70,000 people in the area, meaning the suspension will not have an immediate impact on their food supply.
The attack against the WFP office came a day after a district chief died from gunshot wounds suffered in an ambush of his car in Kutum, raising tensions.
A Briton who worked for WFP in Nyala, South Darfur, was kidnapped earlier this year and spent nearly three months in custody before his release in May.
Banditry, inter-ethnic fighting and clashes between rebel groups and government forces continue in Darfur, in Sudan's far-west, although violence is much lower than at its peak in 2003 and 2004 after non-Arab ethnic groups rose up against the Khartoum regime.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Fighting racism - JPost -

On July 24, a Jewish woman of Ethiopian origin reported that she was subject to racist abuse while trying to help an elderly Ethiopian immigrant couple board a bus in Beersheba.

The elderly couple did not have the small change that the driver demanded and when the woman tried to help negotiate she reported that he called her a “stinking Ethiopian” and cursed her.

The Metrodan bus company defended the driver. “What’s baffling is that the driver allowed the elderly couple to board the bus, so why would he go through all the trouble?” Metrodan operates buses under a state license to provide public transport to people in the Beersheba. Under Israeli law people do not have to have exact or small change to board a bus. It is not uncommon, as many Israelis or visitors to the country can attest, that bus drivers get into altercations with the public that result in cursing and shouting. However this incident, if the accusations are accurate, is part of a wider pattern of racist abuse that is all too common in our country.

Israel’s social activists should embrace anti-racism, not only regarding immigrants but also Ethiopian citizens, as a cause.

Ethiopian Israelis demonstrate outside PMO in J'le

In a 2011 case, an Egged bus driver was accused of racially abusing an Ethiopian Jewish student by telling her he didn’t let blacks ride the bus. “Ethiopians are stupid people who don’t belong in Israel,” he told Yadena Varka. Luckily in this case the Rishon Magistrate’s Court found in favor of the victim and ordered her to receive NIS 60,000 in compensation.

Egged roundly condemned the racist comments.

In 2009, an Egged bus driver was fired after telling an Ethiopian security guard at the Hebrew University’s Mount Scopus campus, “Perhaps you should drink milk and be white like me.”

In 2005, another driver at Mount Scopus refused to let an Ethiopian security guard enter the bus, saying, “Hey, cushi [a pejorative term for blacks], you’re nothing, who put you here?” The abuse directed at Ethiopians by bus drivers crosses ethnic and religious lines. The bus driver accused in the Beersheba incident is a Beduin and one of the bus drivers at Mount Scopus was an Arab. This points to a wide pattern of acceptance of racist attacks on the public and security workers. The list of incidents is longer than presented here and it can be assumed that many other incidents go unreported because the victims either do not know the verbal attacks could result in legal actions against the perpetrators or choose not to speak up.

Bus companies, such as Egged, and courts are starting to take notice and punish this kind of racism. But more can be done.

In January, thousands of Ethiopians took to the streets in amass anti-racism rally after it became known that a group of homeowners in Kiryat Malachi had signed a letter not to rent to Ethiopians. However, this protest was never supported by the mainstream Israeli public.

Elias Inbar, an activist, said at the time that “the [social justice] protests were very middle class and they don’t want to reach down into the lowest layers of society, where Ethiopians are.”

In May, when anti-African-immigrant protests and attacks broke out in south Tel Aviv, some of the public was mobilized against racism, but they were interested only in the racism directed at immigrants. The local Ethiopian community exists in a public blind spot. When Ethiopians set up a tent protest outside the Prime Ministers Residence it was ignored for months.

Organizing the Israeli public also demands educating the public about what the Ethiopian community finds offensive. It is still incredibly common to hear the word “cushi” on television and in the street, despite the fact that Ethiopians find it highly offensive.

Ziva Mekonen Degu of the Israel Association for Ethiopian Jews says that the term can be considered like the n-word for African-Americans, “it derides people as if they are slaves and harms them grievously.”

On the reality singing show The Voice Israel, judge Shlomi Shabat, who since apologized, described one of the contestants as singing “like an American cushi from Harlem.”

In the Hebrew subtitles to the film Scary Movie broadcast last week on YES, the word “black man” is translated as cushi. This mainstreaming of offensiveness demeans Israeli society.

Israel’s social activists should embrace anti-racism, not only regarding immigrants but also Ethiopian citizens, as a cause. Legal aid organizations that help Ethiopians, such as Tebeka, should be encouraged through government and private financial support to provide more tools and awareness for members of the Ethiopian community, particularly the elderly who often cannot read and sometimes may not know Hebrew well.

As the civil rights movement learned in the American South, recourse to the courts can be as effective as public mobilization.