United Nations: weak leaders wanted

Extracts from the editorial of The Guardian (see full article here ): The myopia of powerful governments is clearly shown in their preference for weak candidates for UN secretary-general. Occasionally they misjudge their man, with interesting results. With Dag Hammarskjöld, it was peacekeeping. Kofi Annan's staff devised the millennium development goals. This time – with the quiet reappointment of secretary-general Ban Ki-moon this summer – they got what they wanted. Mr Ban presides over the slow decay of the UN secretariat, an institution that should be working, as Hammarskjöld said, on the...

US search for Korean War dead continues

Almost 60 years after an armistice ended the Korean war, the United States has resumed its efforts to bring home the remains of more than 2000 American soldiers. The US has written to North Korea on the matter, the Pentagon said. Despite the complete absence of diplomatic ties and particularly frosty ties over recent attacks on South Korea, the US has long sought cooperation with North Korea over the repatriation of soldiers’ remains. North Korea has reportedly received several millions of dollars in exchange for cooperation. Speaking at this year’s Korean War Armistice Day, war veteran and Democratic congressman, Charles Rangal, called upon Americans to remember the fallen. "As we pay tribute to the nearly two million Americans who answered the call to defend the freedom of Korea, we should not forget about those who never returned” he said.

The myth of sports and repressive regimes

David Clay Large , professor of history at Montana State University, writes in the New York Times (see full article here ): Few Olympics are as famous as the 1936 Berlin Games, whose 75th anniversary falls this month. The publicity that accompanied the competition, held under the watchful eye of Adolf Hitler, supposedly tamed the Nazi regime. But much of that story is myth. Indeed, the Olympics gave the Nazis a lesson in how to hide their vicious racism and anti-Semitism, and should offer today’s International Olympic Committee a cautionary tale when considering the location of future events...

Israel to extradite citizen over Srebrenica genocide

A court in Jerusalem has ruled that an Israeli citizen who took part in Srebrenica massacre of 1995, be extradited to Bosnia to face charges of genocide. The AFP reported that Aleksandar Cvetkovic, a Bosnian Serb who obtained Israeli citizenship through his Jewish wife, is accused of "involvement in the offence of genocide during the massacre carried out in 1995 at Branjevo farm in the vicinity of the town of Srebrenica." The massacre, which was the worst on European soil since World War Two, involved the execution of almost 8,000 Muslim men and boys by Serbian troops. After his arrest in January , the state prosecutor's office called the extradition process, part of "an international legal action that investigates and prosecutes those responsible for planning and carrying out genocide."

The unspeakable truth about Israel’s social crisis

As mass demonstrations, marches and occupations of public spaces extend into a third week, Israel is seeing the rise of a new social movement. In recent weeks hundreds of thousands have been marching in cities throughout Israel, demanding action against the sharply rising cost of housing. Since mid-July, growing numbers of Israelis have been taking to the streets, outraged at the rapid increase in Israel’s property prices over the past few years. The protests have become the largest in the country’s history. However, amid the popular support from the Israeli people, discussion of a key issue underpinning it has been avoided: Israel’s massive state funding for settlement in the Palestinian territories.

Pakistan prosecutes its paramilitary soldiers for extrajudicial killing

A Pakistan court prosecuted six paramilitary soldiers and one civilian security guard for the shooting of an unarmed teenager in Karachi two months ago. A video of the killing, recorded by a local cameraman, showed the young boy begging for mercy, before being shot, twice. The video was widely broadcast across television channels and internet sites. The killing was severely condemned by human rights groups and politicians, whipping up public outrage at the incident. President Asif Ali Zardari swiftly launched an inquiry into the incident. The defendants were brought to the courts and tried in...

US Senators urge Clinton to act on Burma rapes

Thirteen female US Senators have written to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, urging her to take action against Burma’s military-backed regime for its alleged use of rape by government troops. "Given the Burmese regime's unabated use of rape as a weapon of war , we urge you to call on the regime to end this practice and pursue our shared goal of establishing an international commission of inquiry into war crimes and crimes against humanity ," the group wrote in a letter to Clinton. The letter went on to cite Noble Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who said that “rape is used as a weapon by (...

Communist China?

So much for China’s communism. The editorial by Xinhua, China’s official news agency, in response to the downgrading of the United States’ debt rating reads like a neoliberal manifesto. Extracts: “The days when the debt-ridden Uncle Sam could leisurely squander unlimited overseas borrowing appeared to be numbered. “China, the largest creditor of the world's sole superpower, has every right now to demand the United States to address its structural debt problems “To cure its addiction to debts, the United States has to reestablish the common sense principle that one should live within its means...

Iraqi parliament recognises past persecution of Kurds as genocide

Extracts from niqash.org (see the full text here ): "At the beginning of this month the Iraqi parliament voted to recognize what had been done to the Fayli Kurds under former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein as genocide . From 1980 onwards, the ethnic minority was horribly persecuted by Hussein’s regime. The Fayli Kurds, who are an ethnic subgroup of Kurds and mostly Shiite Muslims, were subjected to all kinds of hardships under Hussein’s Sunni Muslim dominated government: imprisonment, torture, rape and deportation among them. The recognition that genocide was committed has given the Fayli Kurds...

Nokia Siemens' Chennai facility to become biggest in Asia

Nokia Siemens Networks, one of the biggest telecommunications companies in the world, is to expand its manufacturing facility in Chennai, making it the firm’s biggest in Asia. NSN’s head of operations, Herbert Merz, said the factory in China is currently the company's largest in Asia, but the Chennai facility could overtake it in a year. The Chennai facility has played a key role in enabling Indian operators to roll out their 3G networks quickly, Ashish Chowdhary, head of India and customer operations East said . "The expansion will strengthen India's position as one of our major...

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