Mortar Rounds Fired Into S. Ossetia, Russia Issues Warning

Russia warns Georgia as South Ossetia tension rises

Today, 15:59 | Reuters

TBILISI, Aug 1 (Reuters) – South Ossetia accused Georgian forces of firing mortars at the rebel territory on Saturday and Russia warned Tbilisi it reserved the right to use force to defend civilians a year after their five-day war.

Georgia denied any shooting took place and, amid rising tension ahead of the Aug 7 anniversary of the war, said the Russian statement suggested “aggressive intent”. Analysts warn of the risk of skirmishes boiling over into renewed hostilities.

South Ossetia said two mortar rounds were fired at a military observation post from the village of Ditsi on the Georgian side of the de facto border, which runs a few hundred metres from the southern edge of the rebel capital Tskhinvali.

South Ossetia made a similar accusation on Thursday, and a Reuters reporter heard two loud blasts from the rebel capital Tskhinvali but could not identify the cause.

“In the event of further acts of provocation threatening the population of the republic and the Russian military contingent based in the territory of South Ossetia, the Russian Defence Ministry reserves the right to use all available force and means to defend the citizens of the republic of South Ossetia and Russian servicemen,” the ministry said in a statement, Russia’s Interfax news agency reported.

Russia crushed a Georgian assault on South Ossetia last August after months of escalating tension, sending tanks deep into Georgia proper and shaking Western confidence in oil and gas routes running through the volatile South Caucasus.

The Georgian Interior Ministry said there had been no shooting from either side of the boundary. The Russian statement “clearly shows very aggressive intent,” said ministry spokesman Shota Utiashvili. He urged the West to pay attention.

“The international community should not allow Russia to fool itself,” he told Reuters.

Like the rebel Black Sea region of Abkhazia, South Ossetia threw off Georgian rule in wars in the early 1990s during the collapse of the Soviet Union.

In an interview with Reuters, South Ossetia’s self-styled president Eduard Kokoity said he wanted Russia to send in more troops and “more serious weaponry”, and that his goal was to unite his people with Russia.

The West accused Russia of a “disproportionate” response during last year’s war, and the European Union brokered a ceasefire and sent in monitors.

Russia recognised the rebel territories as independent states, backed by thousands of Russian troops, although the ceasefire called for a withdrawal to pre-war positions.

The EU monitors are denied access to either rebel region.

Russia trumps U.S. with new Central Asia army base

Russia trumps U.S. with new Central Asia army base

Today, 17:57 | Reuters

MOSCOW, Aug 1 (Reuters) – Kyrgyzstan allowed Russia to open a second military base on its territory on Saturday, expanding Moscow’s military reach to balance against the U.S. presence in the Central Asian country.

The struggle for influence in the region intensified last month — days after U.S. President Barack Obama completed his visit to Moscow — as senior Russian officials travelled to Bishkek to press for the creation of a new Russian base.

The pressure from Moscow came after Kyrgyzstan allowed the United States to keep its air base at Manas, which is vital for supplying U.S. forces fighting in Afghanistan.

Kyrgyzstan had said in February that it was closing down the U.S. air base after receiving a promise of $2 billion in crisis aid from Russia earlier in the year. But Washington responded with a payment of $180 million to keep the base open.

On Saturday, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev laid out the framework for the new base’s creation in an agreement that will be valid for 49 years with a possible 25-year extension.

The agreement, posted on the Kyrgyz president’s Web site, said up to one battalion of Russian troops and a training centre for Russian and Kyrgyz personnel will be housed at the base.

But Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who travelled to Bishkek with Medvedev, suggested that these parameters may change when a more detailed agreement is hammered out by November 1.

“The total numbers will be decided by military specialists based on what is needed to ensure security in the region,” Lavrov said, Interfax reported.

He added that the two sides had agreed on “the expansion of the Russian military presence mainly in the southern regions of Kyrgyzstan.”

Russia’s existing base lies in the town of Kant in Kyrgyzstan’s far north, near the border with Kazakhstan. The U.S. air base in Manas is also in the north of the country, near the capital, Bishkek.

Saturday’s agreement comes three days after Medvedev endorsed Bakiyev’s re-election last week in a poll that caused opposition protests and was condemned by Western observers as undemocratic.

KEY VICTORY

Getting Bishkek to reverse its February decision to close the Manas air base was a crucial victory for Washington, which is seeking to more than double its presence in Afghanistan by year’s end to fight the Taliban insurgency.

Manas serves as a key refuelling point for aircraft used in Afghanistan, and supply routes through Pakistan have proven less secure due to persistent militant attacks.

Moscow has denied being behind the initial decision to close Manas, though it has made no secret of seeking to check U.S. interests in the former Soviet Union, which it regards as its sphere of influence.

During Obama’s first visit to Moscow as president last month, defence issues were at the top of the agenda, and a deal was reached to let U.S. troops and military hardware fly across Russia to Afghanistan. [ID:nL6567315]

Medvedev and Bakiyev signed the deal in the Kyrgyz resort of Cholpon Ata during an informal summit of the Russian-dominated Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO), whose members also include Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Armenia.

Lavrov said the new military training facility would be available to all members of the CSTO, which is also known by its Russian acronym as ODKB.

Six Christians Die in Riots with Muslims

Six Christians die in riots with Muslims

Christians chant slogans behind a banner reading, ‘Provincial government immediately take steps to arrest the culprits,’ during a rally to condemn the attacks on Christians by Sunni Muslims, in Lahore . -AP Photo

ISLAMABAD: Days of rioting between Christians and Muslims in eastern Pakistan following allegations that a Quran was defiled escalated Saturday, leaving six Christians dead, including a child, authorities said.

Members of a banned Muslim organization began torching Christian homes in the Punjabi city of Gora on Thursday after accusing them of desecrating pages from Islam’s holy book, Federal Minister for Minorities Shahbaz Bhatti said.

‘There is no truth in the allegation,’ he told The Associated Press, adding that he had himself visited Gojra on Friday and asked police to provide protection to Christians who were facing threats.

He accused the police of ignoring his instructions and said hundreds of radical Muslims on Saturday burned more Christians homes and killed six, including four women and a child.

Television footage from the scene showed houses burning and streets strewn with debris and blackened furniture as mobs ran at each other. Local media also reported gunfights had broken out between Christian and Muslim communities and that rioters had blocked the local railway line.

Pakistan is predominantly a Sunni Muslim state where Christians are a tiny minority. Although the two sides generally live peacefully, since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the US, pro-Taliban militants have periodically targeted churches and Christians, suspecting them of sympathizing with Washington.

Bhatti said the attackers belonged to the banned Sipah-e-Sahaba group, which is accused of launching attacks against the security forces and carrying out bombs attacks at public places in the country in recent years.

Punjab law minister Rana Sanaullah said authorities had investigated the allegation of a Quran being defaced ‘and our initial reports say that there has not been any incident of desecration.’

Sanaullah said that although the situation had calmed down by Friday, ‘some miscreants and extremists entered the city today and pushed people toward armed clashes.’

Another minister, Dost Mohammad Khosa, said the issue of the alleged desecration had been settled.

‘Today, somebody opened fire at a peaceful rally that was passing by a Christian neighborhood. That made things worse. We are sure some miscreant elements have tried to exploit the situation,’ he said.

Faislabad Commissioner Tahir Hussain told local television that representatives of the two communities were to meet later Saturday in an effort to calm the situation.

‘Let’s hope for the best. The emotions of the Muslims are very high,’ he said. ‘And the Christians again they have faced the wrath and they have faced the casualties, and their emotions are also very high.’ -AP

Christians’ homes burnt over ‘desecration’

Christians’ homes burnt over ‘desecration’

By Tariq Saeed

A burnt house of a Christian family in Azafi Abadi at Chak 95-JB on Gojra-Faisalabad Road. –Photo by White Star

TOBA TEK SINGH: A mob burnt 75 houses of Christians over the alleged desecration of the Holy Quran in Azafi Abadi at Chak 95-JB on Gojra-Faisalabad Road, 32 kilometres from here, late on Thursday, Christian leaders said.

Christian leaders Atif Jamil Pagaan and Ashfaq Fateh told a press conference that 75 houses were burnt and two churches ransacked by the residents of a neighboring village over reports that Mukhtar Maseeh, Talib Maseeh and his son Imran Maseeh had desecrated the papers inscribed with Holy Quran verses at a wedding ceremony.

Dawn learnt from sources that 50 houses were damaged when the mob in a frenzy of rage held a jury where Talib Maseeh was asked to offer apology over the incident.

Talib, however, denied the incident and refused to offer apology. In the ensuing developments, hundreds of the people attacked Azafi Basti.

Before the arrival of the mob, the residents had fled which gave a walkover to the mob which put on fire 50 houses. The ablaze also burnt a few cattle.

District Police Officer (DPO) Inkisar Khan fielded MPA Bilal Asghar Warraich and Maulana Noor Ahmad to calm down the mob. The DPO also suspended the Gojra Sadar station house officer at the demand of the mob.

The mob blocked Gojra-Faisalabad Road to block the entrance of fire brigades to the village. Federal Minister for Minorities Shahbaz Bhatti and Punjab Minorities and Human Rights Minister Kamran Michael visited the locality on Friday and urged both sides to remain peaceful.

They said the Christians would be compensated for their loss. Minority MPAs Rafiq Pervaiz and Khalil Tahir Sandhu also visited the village.

DPO Inkisar Khan said a case has been registered under section 295-B of the Pakistan Penal Code against Mukhtar Maseeh, Talib Maseeh and Imran Maseeh without any arrest.

Local ulema and traders demanded the arrest of the accused and announced a complete strike on Saturday (today). Former MNA M Hamza condemned the violence against Christians as well as the alleged desecration act. In a press statement, he demanded a judicial probe into the incident.

Labour Party leader Tariq Mahmood, National Workers’ Party Punjab Secretary Rana Azam, Labour Qaumi Movement’s Shabbir Ahmad and Kissan Committee President Chaudhry Fateh Muhammad condemned the violence.

Interfaith League

Expressing his anguish over the violence perpetrated by communal forces against Christian minorities, Interfaith League chairman Sajid Ishaq says it is condemnable to make religion a basis for committing violent acts against humanity.

He said that nation was trying to build a peaceful and stable society in Pakistan and such attacks hindered any progress in this regard.

He demanded that the thugs who carried out the attacks be strictly punished so that no one could dare again to commit such a crime.

WORLD’S WORST TERRORISM

WORLD’S WORST TERRORISM

~ A Holocaust Every Six Months ~

~ Ten 9/11’s Every Day ~

Dead children today:

Dead children this year:

Every day, 30,000 children under the age of five die around the world from hunger and/or preventable diseases.  That’s 11,000,000 children a year (2002 figures). Why do these children continue to die even as you read this? Injustice and the extreme poverty it causes: the global economic system designed and enforced by the United States (Bretton Woods, World Bank, IMF, GATT, WTO) ensures that 25% of the world’s people receive 75% of the income, and 20% of the world’s people own 86% of the wealth.

There’s simply not enough left over for the world’s other 4-5 billion people to survive.

This is deliberate mass murder on an unprecedented scale: true hyper-terrorism compared to which any other terrorist acts — however notorious — pale into insignificance.

Dead children since you
started reading this page:

Where are our religious leaders on this issue?!

The world hunger problem: Facts, figures and statistics


The world hunger problem: Facts, figures and statistics

  • In the Asian, African and Latin American countries, well over 500 million people are living in what the World Bank has called “absolute poverty”

  • Every year 15 million children die of hunger

  • For the price of one missile, a school full of hungry children could eat lunch every day for 5 years

  • Throughout the 1990’s more than 100 million children will die from illness and starvation. Those 100 million deaths could be prevented for the price of ten Stealth bombers, or what the world spends on its military in two days!

  • The World Health Organization estimates that one-third of the world is well-fed, one-third is under-fed one-third is starving- Since you’ve entered this site at least 200 people have died of starvation. Over 4 million will die this year.

  • One in twelve people worldwide is malnourished, including 160 million children under the age of 5. United Nations Food and Agriculture

  • The Indian subcontinent has nearly half the world’s hungry people. Africa and the rest of Asia together have approximately 40%, and the remaining hungry people are found in Latin America and other parts of the world. Hunger in Global Economy

  • Nearly one in four people, 1.3 billion – a majority of humanity – live on less than $1 per day, while the world’s 358 billionaires have assets exceeding the combined annual incomes of countries with 45 percent of the world’s people. UNICEF

  • 3 billion people in the world today struggle to survive on US$2/day.

  • In 1994 the Urban Institute in Washington DC estimated that one out of 6 elderly people in the U.S. has an inadequate diet.

  • In the U.S. hunger and race are related. In 1991 46% of African-American children were chronically hungry, and 40% of Latino children were chronically hungry compared to 16% of white children.

  • The infant mortality rate is closely linked to inadequate nutrition among pregnant women. The U.S. ranks 23rd among industrial nations in infant mortality. African-American infants die at nearly twice the rate of white infants.

  • One out of every eight children under the age of twelve in the U.S. goes to bed hungry every night.

  • Half of all children under five years of age in South Asia and one third of those in sub-Saharan Africa are malnourished.

  • In 1997 alone, the lives of at least 300,000 young children were saved by vitamin A supplementation programmes in developing countries.

  • Malnutrition is implicated in more than half of all child deaths worldwide – a proportion unmatched by any infectious disease since the Black Death

  • About 183 million children weigh less than they should for their age

  • To satisfy the world’s sanitation and food requirements would cost only US$13 billion- what the people of the United States and the European Union spend on perfume each year.

  • The assets of the world’s three richest men are more than the combined GNP of all the least developed countries on the planet.

  • Every 3.6 seconds someone dies of hunger

  • It is estimated that some 800 million people in the world suffer from hunger and malnutrition, about 100 times as many as those who actually die from it each year.

6 Pakistani Christians die in riots with Muslims

6 Pakistani Christians die in riots with Muslims

By MUNIR AHMED and ASIF SHAHZAD (AP) – 1 hour ago

ISLAMABAD — Days of rioting between Christians and Muslims in eastern Pakistan following allegations that a Quran was defiled escalated Saturday, leaving six Christians dead, including a child, authorities said.

Members of a banned Muslim organization began torching Christian homes in the Punjabi city of Gorja on Thursday after accusing them of desecrating pages from Islam’s holy book, Federal Minister for Minorities Shahbaz Bhatti said.

“There is no truth in the allegation,” he told The Associated Press, adding that he had himself visited Gojra on Friday and asked police to provide protection to Christians who were facing threats.

He accused the police of ignoring his instructions and said hundreds of radical Muslims on Saturday burned more Christians homes and killed six, including four women and a child.

Television footage from the scene showed houses burning and streets strewn with debris and blackened furniture as mobs ran at each other. Local media also reported gunfights had broken out between Christian and Muslim communities and that rioters had blocked the local railway line.

Pakistan is predominantly a Sunni Muslim state where Christians are a tiny minority. Although the two sides generally live peacefully, since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the U.S., pro-Taliban militants have periodically targeted churches and Christians, suspecting them of sympathizing with Washington.

Bhatti said the attackers belonged to the banned Sipah-e-Sahaba group, which is accused of launching attacks against the security forces and carrying out bombs attacks at public places in the country in recent years.

Punjab law minister Rana Sanaullah said authorities had investigated the allegation of a Quran being defaced “and our initial reports say that there has not been any incident of desecration.”

Sanaullah said that although the situation had calmed down by Friday, “some miscreants and extremists entered the city today and pushed people toward armed clashes.”

Another minister, Dost Mohammad Khosa, said the issue of the alleged desecration had been settled.

“Today, somebody opened fire at a peaceful rally that was passing by a Christian neighborhood. That made things worse. We are sure some miscreant elements have tried to exploit the situation,” he said.

Faislabad Commissioner Tahir Hussain told local television that representatives of the two communities were to meet later Saturday in an effort to calm the situation.

Elsewhere, police officials said Saturday they had arrested a member of an outlawed, al-Qaida-linked group that was suspected of involvement in the 2002 beheading of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.

Rao Shakir, a purported member of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, was arrested on the outskirts of Islamabad late Friday, a police official said.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information.

Lashkar-e-Jhangvi is a banned Sunni Muslim militant group linked to both the Taliban and al-Qaida and has been blamed for killing scores of minority Shiites across Pakistan. Its members have been accused of attacks against Westerners in Karachi, including Pearl’s killing and the September 2008 truck bombing of the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad.

The group is also believed responsible for two failed assassination attempts against Pakistan’s former military ruler, Pervez Musharraf, as well as for several suicide bombings, including one that targeted a bus of Pakistan’s premier spy agency, the ISI.

Another investigator, who also spoke on condition of anonymity for the same reason, said police were questioning Shakir over five bombings. He said authorities believe he is also responsible for facilitating other terrorist attacks and that he provided safe houses for militants.

Pearl was abducted from Karachi in 2002 while researching a story on Islamic militancy. His remains were later found in a shallow grave on eastern outskirts of the city.