[An Nahar] South Sudanese soldiers have killed, raped and tortured civilians in the troubled eastern state of Jonglei, threatening to derail already fragile peace efforts there, the United Nations warned Friday.
"The majority of the victims are women, and in some cases children," the U.N. peacekeeping mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) said in a statement, calling for "immediate action to safeguard recent gains in the peace process".
The United Nations "is wringing its hands concerned by the recent increase in serious human rights violations allegedly committed by some undisciplined elements within the South Sudanese Army," it added.
Mursi is moving right along with making himself the head cheese.
CAIRO: Egypt's president intervened to release a newspaper editor jailed over accusations of insulting him on Thursday, issuing a law for the first time since he assumed legislative powers earlier this month.
President Muhammad Mursi's ban on detention for journalists accused of publishing-related offenses overrides a court decision earlier in the day ordering newspaper editor Islam Afifi to remain in prison pending trial in September. The court's decision and case against Afifi, accused of slandering the president and undermining public interest, has caused uproar in Egypt among journalists and intellectuals, with dozens holding a protest Thursday night in Cairo demanding the protection of free speech.
The decree affecting those awaiting trial for offenses such as libel, defamation and slander is the first law Mursi issued since taking over legislative authorities in the absence of a parliament, and following a decision to retire a cadre of generals with whom he had shared power earlier this month.
Mursi, who was sworn in as president in late June, issued the law just hours after a Cairo court ordered the imprisonment of Afifi, editor of the privately-owned el-Dustour daily. Egypt's official news agency reported shortly thereafter that the attorney general had ordered Afifi's release.
Afifi will now have to show the proper gratitude...
The case is one of several lawsuits brought mainly by Islamists against journalists in Egypt, accusing them of inflammatory coverage and inciting the public against the Muslim Brotherhood, Mursi's own movement and the country's most powerful political force.
El-Dustour regularly runs articles warning of alleged Brotherhood plots and conspiracies to turn Egypt into a fundamentalist Islamic state. It also has promoted an anti-Brotherhood demonstration for Friday, initially calling for the torching of Brotherhood offices but later toning down its call to peaceful rallies in Cairo.
Rights groups had expressed indignation at the court's decision to imprison Afifi, saying it betrayed the values of last year's revolt that deposed Hosni Mubarak, Egypt's longtime authoritarian president.
"This is a sad day for media freedom in Egypt because, for the first time since the January 2011 revolution, a professional journalist has been jailed for what he has written," the Paris-based Reporters Without Borders wrote in a statement. "The judicial authorities are trampling on the desire for freedom that the Egyptian people expressed during the 2011 and 2012 protests."
Youth activist Wael Ghonim, a former Google executive who played a key role in Egypt's uprising last year, wrote on Twitter that "insulting the president is a vague accusation that can be easily politicized."
Precisely, old boy, that's the point...
"Tomorrow, when someone writes his opinion and calls Mursi a weak president ... he will be prosecuted for insulting the president," he added.
In the noisy court session earlier on Thursday, the head prosecutor from Cairo's Criminal Court had ordered Afifi held in custody and scheduled his trial for mid-September. He read out a long list of defamation charges including "insulting the president via a publication" and "spreading rumors that could disturb public safety and harm public interest."
Supporters of the defendant shouted in protest as the decision was read to the packed courtroom.
Pro-democracy activists have shown mixed reactions to the court cases. Many defend the right of freedom of expression and deem the Islamists' practices as repressive. Others side with the Islamists and accuse journalists facing trial of spreading propaganda in the service of former regime loyalists.
Another prominent case is that of TV presenter Tawfiq Okasha, who was accused of suggesting the murder of Mursi during a talk show aired on the private el-Faraeen TV station earlier this month. The network was taken off the air and Okasha was banned from travel pending his trial in early September. Lawsuits have also been brought against chief editors of el-Fagr and Sawt el-Umma weeklies on similar accusations.
The Islamists, and especially the Brotherhood, have intensified their campaign against media they perceive as in their wayagainst them antagonistic, claiming they follow the former regime's agenda. The group feels empowered after Mursi became Egypt's first elected civilian president in modern history.
The call for protests against the Brotherhood on Friday has spurred public debate, especially after a Brotherhood cleric issued a religious edict, known as a fatwa, saying that killing anti-Islamist protesters was permissible.
Activists demand Mursi to take a strong stance against such statements. Presidential Spokesman Yasser Ali on Wednesday said the president supports the right to hold protests and said "it is unhealthy" to spread fears about protesters' safety.
Concerns of a possible showdown in Cairo have escalated. The Brotherhood asked its members to protect the group's offices from opposition protesters on Friday. Security authorities warned in a statement that they would "confront with all firmness ... riots or chaos that harms citizens' interests."
Leading pro-democracy advocate Mohamed ElBaradei said the developments in Egypt are "as if no revolution has taken place."
Although the lower house of parliament, which drafts laws, was dissolved this year, the Brotherhood-led upper chamber of parliament known as the Shoura Council continues to function. The council controls state-owned newspapers and last month ordered the dismissal of 50 chief editors, many viewed as regime loyalists.
The appointment of new editors, who are either sympathizers of the Islamists or members of the Brotherhood, sparked a wave of protests by journalists both within and outside state media. The national journalist association known as The Press Syndicate accused the Brotherhood of trying to monopolize the media and turn it into its mouthpiece.
ION AEGYPTUS, DEFENCE.PK/FORUMS > [RT.com = Michael Hughes] "IRAN AND EGYPT [+ China] GOING TO OFFSET/COUNTER SAUDIS AND US IN MIDDLE EAST", vee Egyptian President Morsi.
Methinks Hughes is underestimating the significance to regional Muslims of the KSA's role of Defender of the Faith + Islamic Holy Places, a mistake which has affected Cold War-era US-SOviet Superpower politics times before.
TRIPOLI: Late Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam Gaddafi will go on trial next month, a government source said on Thursday, in the most high-profile prosecution of a figure from the fallen regime.
"The trial of Saif al-Islam is to start next month, probably the second week of the month," the source said.
Saif al-Islam will have to respond to charges which include financial corruption, murder and rape, according to a statement from Justice Minister Ali Ashour in April.
Saif al-Islam's lawyers have voiced concern that their client, viewed by many Libyans as a central power figure in the Gaddafi regime, will not get a fair trial in Libya.
He'd only get a fair trial in Europe, and only if Carla del Ponte prosecutes him for the next elebenteenth years...
Before he was captured in November by anti-Gaddafi militias, the International Criminal Court (ICC) had issued a warrant for his arrest for crimes against humanity during the uprising that brought down his father.
Libya's new rulers are keen to try Gaddafi's family members and loyalists at home, but human rights activists worry that a weak central government and a lack of rule of law mean legal proceedings will not meet international standards.
Did the trial of Slobodan Milosevic meet 'international standards', or can we not tell because he died of old age prior to the end of the prosecution's case?
Libya has been resisting attempts to transfer Saif al-Islam to The Hague-based ICC. Libya is not a member of the court, but the ICC was granted jurisdiction by the U.N. Security Council last November.
Another check the U.N. can't cash...
Ahmed Jihani, Libya's representative at the ICC, said he doubted that the proceedings against Saif al-Islam would run to schedule. "Before the trial starts, the prosecution will need to interrogate Saif al-Islam and this may take until October," Jihani told Reuters.
North Korea has spent at least US$40 million on the personality cult surrounding ex-leader Kim Jong-il since he died in December last year. With yet more statues to be built, the figure is likely to keep growing. The money would buy the impoverished country 130,000 tons of maize, which could feed the entire population of 24 million for 13 days.
According to an informed source, the North Korean government started repair work on the Towers of Eternal Life that are found at all major crossroads nationwide after Kim's death. It was to change the slogan "Our great leader Kim Il-sung is eternally with us" to "Our great leader Kim Il-sung and dear leader Kim Jong-il are eternally with us."
There are over 3,000 such towers across North Korea. The one in Pyongyang's Kumsong Street stands 92.5 m tall. The source said the cost of removing the towers' granite stone tablets and replacing them is $25 million, or an average of W9.3 million per tower (US$1=W1,131).
A 23-m-tall statue of Kim Jong-il erected in Mansudae on April 13 is estimated to have cost $10 million, which includes the repair cost of the statue of Kim Il-sung which already stood there, the source said. Kim Il-sung is now dressed in a suit, not in party uniform, and sports glasses.
A Unification Ministry official said the aim was to depict age difference between father and son. Such work is being carried out across the nation. There are some 80 large statues of Kim Il-sung and over 20,000 smaller ones nationwide.
The source said the regime spent more than $1 million embalming Kim Jong-il's body because it had to fly in embalmers from Russia and import a special glass casket. Regular maintenance -- the body needs to be retrieved every two weeks to apply antiseptic -- is expected to cost $2.5 million a year.
New leader Fat Boy Kim Jong-un also ordered massive renovation work on the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun when he changed its name from Kumsusan Memorial Palace, where the bodies of the older two Kims lie in state. A new marble floor was laid and grass was planted in the square in front of the palace, which cost $4.5 million, according to the source.
The Worker Party Politburo on Jan. 12, two weeks after Kim Jong-il's funeral, announced four major measures to commemorate Kim Jong-il: preserve his body, erect statues, re-name his birthday "Kwangmyongsong Day," and build more towers of eternal life across the country.
North Korea has reportedly spent another $500,000 on new badges with the faces of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il, and is creating mosaic murals portraying the first two leaders throughout the country.
INTERNATIONAL momentum for limited military intervention in Syria gathered pace yesterday amid opposition reports that 4000 people have been killed this month, the deadliest since the uprising began.
France signalled it would be willing to participate in a limited no-fly zone and suggested for the first time that such an operation could be mounted without reference to the UN Security Council, where Russia and China wield a veto.
The United States and Turkey have already discussed the possibility although Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, has said ''greater in-depth analysis'' was needed.
But Jean-Yves Le Drian, the French Defence Minister called for the establishment of an ''international coalition'' to implement a no-fly zone - a choice of wording that suggests action outside the United Nations is being considered for the first time.
Mr Le Drian ruled out a no-fly zone over the whole of the country, saying such a step would be tantamount to war.
Instead, a coalition of Western states, Turkey and Arab powers could close Syrian airspace between Aleppo and the Turkish border, he told France 24 television.
Remember, all senior General Officers [that includes Admirals] are selected and nominated for their positions by the White House and Secretary of the respective services. In other words, they're all political appointees. When was the last time any of them resigned/retired in protest to a political decision?
Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas will boycott the Non-Aligned Movement summit in Iran if his Islamist rival Ismail Haniya of Hamas attends, a minister told AFP on Saturday.
"President Abbas will not take part in the Non-Aligned summit if Haniya is present, no matter what form his attendance takes," foreign minister Riyad al-Malki said in Ramallah, headquarters of the Palestinian Authority.
A Hamas spokesman earlier on Saturday said Haniya would attend the August 30-31 conference in Tehran "in accordance with the invitation from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad."
The statement from Taher al-Nunu, a spokesman for the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip, did not say when Haniya would leave the Palestinian enclave for the conference or give any further details.
In Iran, foreign ministry spokesman Rahmin Mehmanparast said Haniya had been invited to the gathering as a "special guest."
Abbas heads a rival West Bank-based administration, and said last month that he had accepted an invitation to attend the NAM summit and make his first visit to the Islamic republic.
"At a time when (Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor) Lieberman is waging an aggressive political campaign, the invitation to Haniya to attend the NAM summit indicates that Tehran has joined the hostile Israeli chorus," the Palestine Liberation Organisation executive committee said in a statement.
On Thursday, Lieberman said Abbas was waging a form of "diplomatic terror" against Israel that was as dangerous as the violent threat posed by Hamas.
The U.S. Marine Corps has ordered 12,000 .45 (11.4mm) caliber pistols (for $1,900 each), mainly for use by its SOCOM (Special Operations Command) and recon troops. These MARSOC (Marine Special Operations Command) troops have, like the army, navy and air force components of SOCOM quietly replaced most of their 9mm pistols with .45s. For the last few years the marines have been supplying their special operations troops with older M1911 model .45s, refurbished (or built from scrounged up parts) in a marine-run facility. The M1911 .45 caliber ACP is a 1.2 kg (2.45 pound) 210mm (8.25 inch) long weapon with a 127mm (5 inch) barrel and a 7 round magazine. Compared to the current American M9 9mm pistol the .45s have more hitting power, while the M9 is a bit more accurate at up to about 50 meters. $1900 each? Ouchie. That's a pricey pistol.
The new marine .45s are not the old M1911A1 model, but the more modern Colt CQBP (Close Quarter Battle Pistol) which uses the same ammo as the M1911A1 but has a number of improvements that make the weapon more reliable, flexible and accurate. The CQBP holds eight rounds, is built to resist salt water corrosion, accept rail mounted accessories and so on. Looks just like the classic .45, too.
Over the last decade American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan discovered, through combat experience, what types of weapons worked best at close range to take down the enemy. It was the same with SWAT teams and commandos all over the world. When conducting a raid and finding yourself up close and personal with someone trying to kill you, there is a need for a heavy caliber pistol or a shotgun (firing 00 shot or slugs). The premier pistol for ensuring you take down someone is still the .45 caliber (11.4mm) or .40 caliber (10mm, but only with a heavy bullet) pistols. These weapons are light and handy, compared to assault rifles or shotguns, and have a long history of quickly taking down an armed and determined foe.
As the U.S. Army Special Forces discovered, if you are well trained and know what you are doing, you should carry a pistol, in addition to your rifle. But not the official issue (since 1985) M9 9mm pistol, but something with a bit more stopping power. The Special Forces prefer new model .45 caliber pistols, although 10mm weapons are also popular. The reason for this is that you are most likely to be using the pistol indoors, where your target is going to be really close. You want to knock him down quickly, before he can get at you with a knife, or even his hands. Many troops are getting their own pistols, and most commanders have been lenient on this issue. The same applies to shotguns. Although the army and marines have bought a lot of them (the Benelli M4 Combat Shotgun is a particular favorite), there never seem to be enough of them for some units (that spend a lot of time raiding buildings in hostile neighborhoods.)
The U.S. military adopted the 9mm pistol in 1985 largely to standardize ammunition. All other NATO states used 9mm for pistols. The U.S. also noted that most 9mm pistols were carried by officers and support personnel, who rarely used them in combat. SOCOM came into being a few years later and immediately began planning to bring back .45 pistols. Actually, many Special Forces and SEAL operators never gave up using the .45, as it was the ideal pistol for many commando operations.
gromky, to get a 45 to shoot like a match gun and stay combat reliable ain't cheap. Hi tech coatings, aftermarket parts (or copies thereof), hand fitting and tuning. It isn't your old rack grade issue 45 from back in the day that grouped 4 inches at 10 feet...
In the Navy, I shot a .45, the bullet was so slow i could see it travel, and also so slow I couldn't hit anything(It moved before the bullet got there)
I prefer the 9MM that shoots straight, I cant see it and is accurate, if you use the 45 I suggest a much larger Magazine, you'll need it.
Try a .357 same bullet as the 9mm but much faster.
Posted by: Redneck Jim ||
No weapons expert here, but I believe standard .45 ball, unlike the 9mm, is subsonic (very slow as you point out RJ). The Colt barrel is easily removed and replaced by a threaded barrel which will accept a sound supressor. Most combat pistol work, as I understand it, is done indoors at close range with lasers, in the hours of darkness or in limited light. The slower .45 round is not as prone to richochet, which is another plus for shooter, his teammates and potential bystanders.
You don't have to center punch a guy with a .45 to take them down. Hit an adversary ANYWHERE with a .45 and they go down.
But crap guys, how hard is it to hit a human sized target that's only 20 to 50 feet away? I carried the .45 the entire time I was in the Army and I think it is more accurate than that freaking popgun M-16. And BTW I shot EXPERT on the .45 every time I qualified and I thought it was an easy weapon to use once you got used to the recoil.
Sappers over ran our fire base and fragged my hooch, I got out of there in my underwear with a .45, spent the entire night in a fire fight with a .45. I tell you for a fact that a VC centerpunched with a .45 with go backwards several feet in the air.
I heard a lot of complaints about the 9 mm only irritating the bad guys from Marines and Army guys who came back from Afghanistan or Iraq. I was wondering when common sense was going to win out in the handgun department. I know the Italians are making a .45 version of the 92F because of the complaints and I know Brits and Poles were scrounging up .45's too.
The 9 mm is a piece of crap worthless weapon best used as a club or an object thrown. Most police departments here in SoCal are going to the .40 S&W or .45...they found out how useless the 9mm was.
Geez guys you found out how worthless the .38 special was and you went BACK to equivalently the same stupid weapon?
Posted by: Bill Clinton ||
> easy weapon to use once you got used to the recoil.
I fired a .33 magnum on holiday. That was like a bomb going off in your hands. I cannot think what firing a .45 is like.
Ok, rifle story. I had a friend on the Weapons Committee at the Special Warfare Center (SWC) at Ft. Bragg in the early 1960's. They were asked to test a replacement for the M-14 rifle. The committee recommended the FN FAL in 7.72 NATO. The recommendation was rejected by big Army. What is SOF transitioning to today (some 50 years later)? The SCAR in 7.72x51 NATO.
Sounds familar - didn't the .45 become the standard US Army handgun after the .38 proved ineffective in the Phillipines Moro Insurection?
A case where history doesn't exactly repeat itself but it rhymes.
I'm fine with the switch to .45 cal. They should ahve done this a long time ago.
It's the PRICE that's freaking me out. The 1911 has been in use for over a 100 years. Do we really need to fiddle with minor design changes ... is there anything that really needs to be done now that wasn't needed in all previous wars. I can go to Para Ordnance and buy a nice 1911 with a 5-inch barrel for under $700. So why in Hades is the Marine Corp paying $1900 for these pistols???
"But crap guys, how hard is it to hit a human sized target that's only 20 to 50 feet away?"
Via Instapundit: "As the two officers confronted a gunman in front of the Empire State Building.... From a distance of less than 10 feet, the officers, Craig Matthews and Robert Sinishtaj, answered in unison; one shot nine times and the other seven. Investigators believe at least 7 of those 16 bullets struck the gunman..." (Not counting the 9 bystanders hit.)
My Springfield 1911 was 950 bucks when I bought it. Stainless, ambidextrous safety levers. Great trigger pull, all ground and smoothed in the right places for perfect feed and case ejection. I put a wilson combat one piece spring guide, with wilson springs and a shock buff. That weapon keeps on firing and does not misfire. Put in some good hydro shock type rounds and you can tear something up at close quarters. Tritium sights are nice, too. I do not use a laser.
Posted by: Alaska Paul ||
The Obama administration has proposed to sell air-to-surface guided missiles and related material to equip the growing Indonesian fleet of U.S.-built F-16 fighter aircraft. The sale would be the latest move to boost security ties with allies in a region roused by China's growing clout and assertiveness.
Indonesia has requested 18 AGM-65K2 "Maverick All-Up-Round" missiles, 36 "captive air training missiles" and three maintenance training missiles, plus spares, test equipment and personnel training. The AGM-65 Maverick is designed to attack a wide range of tactical targets, including armor, air defenses, ships, ground transportation and fuel storage facilities.
In a notice to lawmakers, the Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency said, "The Indonesian Air Force needs these missiles to train its F-16 pilots in basic air-to-ground weapons employment."
The United States is giving - not selling - Jakarta two dozen second-hand F-16C/D fighter planes to strengthen ties and foster what the Pentagon called a "much-needed" capability to protect Indonesian air space. The F-16s are decommissioned and no longer part of the U.S. Air Force inventory.
DUBAI: Leading Iranian opposition figure Mirhossein Mousavi, hospitalized for tests on his heart, was taken back to his house yesterday where he has been held by authorities for more than a year, an opposition website said.
"Mirhossein Mousavi was taken back to his home prison today after he underwent some angiogram procedures," the website reported on Friday, adding that the opposition leader was in a stable condition.
Mousavi, his wife Zahra Rahnavard and Karoubi have been held incommunicado since February last year when the two leaders called their supporters onto the streets for a rally in support of uprisings in the Arab world -- the first demonstrations by their pro-reform "Green movement" since street protests were crushed by security forces at the end of 2009. Since then, the two opposition leaders have not been seen in public.
A senior adviser to Mousavi during his presidential campaign and leading exiled opposition figure Ardeshir Amir Arjomand told Reuters on Thursday that Mousavi had fallen sick on Wednesday night but was not taken to any hospital until the day after because security forces "wanted to install cameras there."
Iranian reformist Ali Shakourirad was quoted by Kaleme as saying on Friday that Mousavi was not allowed to see any visitors while he was in hospital.
"He should be under the supervision of his family's trusted doctor. It is not right to taken someone to a place where he does not trust," Shakourirad was quoted as saying.
That's one of the reasons why life sucks in a dictatorship, Ali...
A multi-volume chronology and reference guide set detailing three years of the Mexican Drug War between 2010 and 2012.
Rantburg.com and borderlandbeat.com correspondent and author Chris Covert presents his first non-fiction work detailing
the drug and gang related violence in Mexico.
Chris gives us Mexican press dispatches of drug and gang war violence
over three years, presented in a multi volume set intended to chronicle the death, violence and mayhem which has
dominated Mexico for six years.