10.01.2011 Suicide bomber strikes again and alliances shoot each other
NATO officials had to send investigation teams to Central Afghanistan where troops thought they were battling militants but instead probably exchanged gunfire with the Afghan police. The operation took place on Sunday in Daykundi province where three Afghan police was killed and three others wounded.
NATO troops were conducting a patrol in a village when their eye caught nine armed people sitting in an “ambush position”, the force told in a statement. Later when the damage already was done, the troops determined that the air strike “may” have been carried out against the Afghan police team. U.S. Army Col. Rafael Torres said:”While we take extraordinary precaution while conducting operations to avoid friendly casualties, it appears innocent people may have been mistakenly targeted”. I’m sure the Afghan people feel secure now after this statement.
Then in the south, yet another suicide attack killed three when the bomber drew his car with explosives targeting a police vehicle on patrol in Spin Boldak. If the civilians want to avoid losing their lives or limbs, they should avoid contact with the police.
11.01.2011 Two French executed in Niger
The two Frenchmen were shot in Niger by their captors during a failed rescue and their bodies were found after the operation on the Niger-Mali border. The two men, both 25, were abducted by four gunmen from a restaurant in the capital Niamey on Friday night and several of the kidnappers were killed in the mission. France has defended the action were French forces and helicopters were involved in the mission and Defense Minister Alain Juppe flew to Niger to speak to the authorities about the situation. French anti terror police have already arrived to Niger to investigate the deaths and the relatives have asked to see the bodies. President Nicolas Sarkozy has condemned the incident as a “cowardly and barbaric act” but said it would reinforce France’s commitment to “fight terrorist barbarism without respite”. The deaths came at a time where other French citizens in Niger have been kidnapped, rising suspicions that Al-Qaida has been carrying out in North Africa. The militant group is also believed to be keeping another 5 French hostages who were seized in September. France has warned its citizens against all travel in the Sahel region while the Foreign Ministry said that the threat in the region, from Africa’s western Atlantic Coast to the Red Sea in the east meant that no area can be considered safe any longer.
Kabul, Afghanistan – Biden in Kabul
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden arrived Monday night in Kabul on an unannounced visit to meet with top U.S. and Afghan personnel before of July’s planned start of the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan.
Biden was met by U.S. Ambassador Karl Eikenberry, Gen. David Petraeus and three Afghan officials, including First Vice President Marshal Mohammad Qasim Fahim so that Biden could get “an update from them on the situation on the ground.”
The purpose of the visit is to speak about the progress to transfer the power to the Afghan forces and to demonstrate the commitment to a long-term partnership with Afghanistan. It is Biden’s first visit as vice President in Afghanistan.
Pakistan – Life in jail for two Pakistani Muslim blasphemers
The controversial blasphemy law in Pakistan has been in focus recently and now a court in Pakistan has sentenced a Muslim prayer leader and his son to life in jail for blasphemy. The background for the arrest in Punjab province was that the father, Mohammed Shafi, 45 and his son, Mohammad Aslam, 20 had ripped down a poster of a gathering to mark the birthday of Prophet Muhammad and trampled it, but they both deny blasphemy. The conviction of father and son on Tuesday was the first after the controversial killing of Punjab’s governor Salman Taseer. The sentence was handed down by an anti-terrorism court in the city of Dera Ghazi Khan in eastern Punjab province, based on a complaint from April 2010. The lawyer said they would appeal against the sentence in the high court.
12.01.2011 Afghanistan’s bloody day
The blast happened when a suicide attacker drew his motorcycle into a bus killing 6 people and injuring more than 30 in the Afghan capital Kabul, but the doctors said that the death toll will probably increase. Security sources have told that the bus was carrying members of the Afghan intelligence agency. The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the blast which also shattered the windows of buildings nearby in the western part of Kabul which is near to the Afghan parliament and offices run by foreign companies.
Meanwhile about an hour later, a remote-controlled roadside bomb went off in the eastern province of Kunar killing another Afghan intelligence service officer Col Sahib Zada and his driver on the way to the office. Col Zada was known to be a powerful intelligence chief who had managed to capture a dozen of key militant officers.
It is believed that the insurgents are stepping up the attacks as US forces prepares to reduce the troop numbers from July this year and the violence has increased making the Afghan security officials a frequent target of bombings and shootings. The attacks these week and especially on Wednesday happened also because of the US Vice President Joe Biden who later on left to Pakistan the Wednesday morning. President Hamid Karzai condemned the attacks as inhuman and un-Islamic while Taliban claimed responsibility for both attacks.
Islamabad, Pakistan – Biden in Pakistan to discuss anti-terrorism
Joe Biden arrived in Islamabad on Wednesday morning to discuss anti-terrorism measures with President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani. The purpose for the visit was clearly to discuss the efforts to combat terrorism and how Pakistan and Afghanistan can work towards peace and stability.
Istanbul, Turkey – Doctor Frankenstein captured in Istanbul
A Turkish doctor was arrested in an ongoing investigation about an alleged human organ smuggling ring as he protested his innocence while being escorted by the police.”There is no such crime. There is no organ trade,” Yusuf Ercin Sönmez told reporters outside the courthouse. “There can’t be evidence for something that doesn’t exist,” he added. Sönmez, 53, was the subject of an Interpol arrest warrant issued by the District Court of Pristina in Kosovo. The offenses were listed by Interpol as crimes against life and health, people smuggling, trafficking and illegal immigration.
Sönmez was questioned by a prosecutor for about two hours on Wednesday and then sent to a criminal court “with the prosecutor’s demand for his arrest for ‘organized organ trading.’ Sönmez was then released by the court pending trial.
Last month, European authorities charged in a report that executives who control Kosovo may have stolen organs when the Kosovo Liberation Army was fighting Serbian forces in the late 1990s. Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci called it “a political accusation based on no facts or proof” and “pure fabrication.”
The report also said that Thaci, a former leader of the Kosovo Liberation Army, was the “boss” of a prominent faction in the militia that “wrested control” of “illicit criminal enterprises” from rivals across the border in Albania. The report also says that organs were removed from some prisoners to be taken abroad for transplantation. The 1,900 people who disappeared during the war have still not been found and also another 500 disappeared after NATO troops arrived in June 1999. The report is based partially on investigations by European Union officials and was written for the Council of Europe’s Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights. Kosovo was a province of Serbia but declared independence in 2008. About 70 countries have recognized the declaration, but Serbia does not, and international organizations including the United Nations and the European Union continue to have administrators in Kosovo.
13.01.2011 Explosion in Northwest Pakistan
An explosive packed vehicle rammed into a police station Wednesday as it was targeting a police van patrolling a village, killing at least 18 people. The incident occurred in Meeryan village, about 20km (12.4miles) southwest of Bannu city. Muhammad Iftikhar, senior police official of Bannu district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa told that the casualties were a combination of security force personnel, policemen and civilians. The district of Bannu is located next to North Waziristan and a stronghold of the Pakistani Taliban and the area has been the site of US drone missile attacks targeting suspected militants.
Colombo, Sri Lanka – Flood in Sri Lanka kills and destroys
Thousands of Sri Lankan troops launched a massive operation to rescue almost a million people who has been affected by floods in the central, north and eastern provinces, making 195,000 displaced and housed in camps. So far the flooding has killed 13 people according to the officials. More than 28,000 troops rescued victims by transporting helicopters and navy boats and delivering food and baby food. About 125,000 acres of paddy they used to grow rice have been destroyed by the floods.
Cairo, Egypt – Christian Coptic’s clash with police
Chaos filled the streets when hundreds of Christian Coptic’s clashed with 1,000 police officers in Cairo’s Mansheyit Nasr district. Rocks and bottles flew in the air as polices with helmet carrying riot shields and nightsticks stood guard. Journalists had been restricted from entering the area for their safety and wounded officers got help to get out of the area. Injuries were reported on both sides but an estimated number couldn’t be confirmed.
Baghdad, Iraq – Explosion in three neighborhoods
Two people were killed and 14 injured when three roadside bombs exploded in three different neighborhoods in Baghdad on Thursday morning. The attacks came the same day as US Vice President Joe Biden arrived on an unannounced visit. “I’m here to help the Iraqis celebrate the progress they made. They formed a government. And that’s a good thing. They have a long way to go,” Biden said. The 1st explosion killed one civilian and wounded four others outside a Shiite mosque in Karrada districts in central Baghdad. The second explosion was outside a Sunni mosque in Adhamiya neighborhood in northeastern Baghdad wounding three people. The third and last explosion happened nearby al-Hadhra al Qaderiya Sunni shrine in central Baghdad killing one person and wounded five others.
14.01.2011 Wali Khan Babar shot to death
Wali Khan Babar, reporter of Geo News was shot to death on Thursday by an unidentified gunman in the southern Pakistani port city of Karachi in an incident of targeted killing. The young and aspiring reporter was returning home from work when the motorcycle riding gunman intercepted him in Liaqatabad area and shot him at close range. Babar was hit by at least 4 bullets, including two in the head killing him instantly. This unbelievable execution of this young man who had his whole life in front of him hurt not only his mourning family but his colleagues at Geo News as well who put his photo on his computer screen in front of the empty chair. No group has claimed responsibility for the murder.
Tunis, Tunisia – President fled the country
After a month of protests against the government and riots, Tunisia’s President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled the country on Friday afternoon. Foud Mebazza, the speaker of the parliament was sworn in as interim President and new elections are due within 60 days.
The riots and protests were sparked by the suicide of an unemployed college graduate in December as the man set himself on fire in front of the government building in Sidi Bouzid city after the police had confiscated his fruit cart saying that he was selling without permit. The man died on January 4 from his injuries. Tunisian accuses the ruling government of corruption and nepotism at the same time as Wikileaks revealed growing frustration over the government.
15.01.2011 100 people killed in Southern India
Pilgrims were returning from a Hindu ritual at a temple when a vehicle overturned and prompt the stampede. 100 people died and 14 were injured. The incident occurred about 5 miles from the Sabarimala Temple in Kerala. The bodies were loaded up in large trucks and others gathered around taking pictures and sobbed. Stampede at events has occurred many times before in India because of the large crowds gathered at narrow areas.
Rawalpindi, Pakistan – Pakistan’s protest against Pope Benedict XVI
Thousands had gathered outside Islamabad in a demonstration warning Pope Benedict XVI to keep his nose out of the debate over Pakistan’s blasphemy laws after the Pope called for Pakistan to repeal the controversial law. “If you challenge the prophet, we will take revenge. It doesn’t matter who does it,” shouted a cleric on loudspeakers to thousands of cheering onlookers.
Pakistan’s blasphemy law’s came into focus when a security guard allegedly killed the governor Salman Taseer who criticized the law. At the Friday demonstration, suspect Mumtaz Qadri’s posters were covering a truck. The banner pictured also a cleric who allegedly had inspired Mumtaz Qadri to assassinate Taseer who is also now wanted by the police.
Another incident related to blasphemy happened again as two Christian women were beaten and publically humiliated by an angry mob over allegations of religious sacrilege. The incident was triggered over a trivial dispute between a Muslim woman and her Christian sister-in-law, both living in east Lahore neighborhood. The two women had got into an argument on Tuesday night but even though the case had settled, the Muslim woman walked out on the street on Wednesday morning after her husband had gone to work and started shouting that her sister-in-law had abused Prophet Muhammad.
U.S. Marine shot and killed an Afghan police
This incident happened at a patrol base in Helmand’s Sangin district according to ISAF. THE Marine shot and killed the police officer after a dispute. “After the dispute, the uniformed police officer was reportedly making threatening statements and handling his weapon carelessly,” ISAF said. “After departing his post, the uniformed police member returned with his weapon raised and pointed toward the Marine,” the statement from ISAF said. “The Marine responded with escalation of force procedures, including shouting at the individual to put the weapon down. The individual failed to comply with the instructions, and the Marine fired two rounds, which resulted in the Afghan Uniformed Police member’s death,” the statement continued.
16.01.2011 Two roadside bombs kill 15 Afghan civilians
Nine wedding guests died when their car was destroyed in a blast in the northern province of Baghlan and in Helmand province in the south, a minibus hit a bomb on a dirt road killing six and injuring three. The Taliban uses roadside bombs frequently against NATO and Afghan forces where often civilians pay with their life.
Philippines – Death numbers increases after the flood
47 people have died in the flood that is described as the country’s national disaster. The flood came as a result of heavy rainfall for weeks as a monsoon triggered rains and flooding as it affected 25 provinces. More than 1.5 million people have been affected but the island of Mindanao has the largest number of affected people with more than 600,000. In addition to this, 503 homes have been destroyed and 1,914 have been damaged.