Japan Honors Citizens Killed in Algeria Hostage Crisis
(LinkAsia: January 25, 2012)
Thuy Vu:
Japan was shocked to learn that at least nine of its nationals were killed in Algeria last week. They died during a battle between the Algerian army and Islamist militants at a gas factory in the Sahara desert. Thirty-nine foreigners and dozens of Algerians died after the militants took over the gas plant and the army stormed it. With a tribute to two of the Japanese victims here's NHK.


Airdate: January 23, 2013

Rokuro Fuchida ran building sites around the world. He was 64 years old and retired. Then his former bosses asked him to lead one more project in Algeria. He wrote about it on Facebook before he left: "I am working all over the world to see the twinkling star-lit sky. Next I will see the stars from the desert in Algeria." His brother, Mitsunobu, heard about the hostage taking, then waited, day after day for a call from Rokuro. It never came.

Mitsunobu Fuchida, Brother:
Rokuro was kind, and a good brother. I just want to hug him. That's the only thing I want
to do.

Fumihiro Ito worked near Fuchida in Algeria. He had spent years developing energy resources. He led a project to develop gas fields in Sahara desert. Ito came from Minamisanriku, a town devastated in the tsunami two years ago. Now, his 82-year-old mother lives alone in temporary housing. She says, she has no mementos to remember her son. He and his former classmates were planning to get together next month to celebrate their 60th birthdays.

Takaaki Yokuyama, Former Classmate:
Ito said he would join the party, but would not stay overnight, because he wanted to visit his mother and stay with her. I want the news to be a mistake. I still think Ito will show up at the party.

Yokoyama was looking forward to seeing his old friend. Instead, he and the others will take a moment to remember.

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Major Events in Syria and the Rest of the Middle East

People run carrying a burnt body at the site of an explosion in Damascus May 10, 2012. Dozens of people were killed or wounded in two "terrorist explosions" which struck a southern district of the Syrian capital Damascus on Thursday, state television said. REUTERS/Sana/Handout

Devastating bombings hit Syrian capital as the blame game continues


New TV - Two terrorist bombings rocked the Qazzaz area in the southern part of the capital as workers, students and employees were heading to their schools, universities and workplaces. Syria's Interior Ministry confirmed the two bombings were carried out by two suicide bombers driving two booby-trapped vehicles carrying a large amount of explosive materials, estimated at over 1,000 kg. The preliminary outcome of this terrorist act is 55 martyrs, and 372 injured civilians and soldiers.

BBC Arabic - Tens of thousands participated in demonstrations across different parts of Syria on Friday to demand the downfall of President Bashar al-Assad's regime despite the heavy security deployment of regime forces, according to activists and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Meanwhile, condemnations and international reactions to Thursday's two explosions in Damascus continue.

Algeria holds parliamentary elections amid voter apathy

BBC Arabic - Voters in Algeria are headed to the ballot boxes to cast their votes in parliamentary elections described as "fateful" by the authorities. Over 21 million people are registered to vote to elect 462 candidates affiliated with 44 political parties, and a large of number of independent candidates. However, the election campaign that looked weak did not attract much attention from many people.

Al Jazeera - Algeria's interior minister, Dahu Ould Kablia, announced the results of the parliamentary elections, saying the ruling National Liberation Front won 220 of the 462 seats. The National Democratic Rally received 68 seats, and the Islamists received almost 60 seats, including 48 for the Green Algeria alliance, which came in third place.

Israeli settlers burn hundreds of olive trees in West Bank

Palestine TV - Jewish settlers burned hundreds of trees in the villages of Bureen and Jamaeen in Nablus province with the goal of seizing more land from the Palestinians. It is an expression of their deep hatred for the Palestinian land and people. Over 100 trees were burnt in this area, located three kilometers southeast of the town of Jamaeen. The area between the town and the two settlements of Ariel and Tafuh has witnessed torching operations targeting fruit trees. The two settlements have seized vast areas of Palestinian villages in this region.

Egyptian ex-pats begin voting in Egypt's first post revolution presidential elections

Press TV - Egyptian ex-pats in several countries began voting in Egypt's first post revolution presidential elections.  Ex-pats have until May 17th to cast their ballots in Egyptian embassies and consulates.  The election's front runners took part in the country's frist ever presidential debate.  Former member of the Muslim Brotherhood Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh faced former Arab League cheif Amr Moussa over issues regarding Israel and the principles of Sharia law as the main source of legislation.


Thousands of Mauritanians declare readiness to kick out President Aziz

Al Alam - The Mauritanian opposition organized a festival in Nouakchott to demand the departure of President Mohammad Ould Abdel Aziz’s regime. The ruling party's deputy chairman, Oumar Ould Matallah, said the people placed their trust in Ould Abdel Aziz, and the president is continuing the path of reforms and combating corruption. The opposition considered the turnout a new referendum on the legitimacy of the regime. The majority says the only way to topple the president is through the ballot box in about two and a half years. Former Mauritania president, Ely Mohamed Vall, who is one of the most prominent figures supporting this movement, described the regime as a failure and finished.


Image: People run carrying a burnt body at the site of an explosion in Damascus May 10, 2012. Dozens of people were killed or wounded in two "terrorist explosions" which struck a southern district of the Syrian capital Damascus on Thursday, state television said. REUTERS/Sana/Handout


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This Week's Headlines 4/13/12


South Sudan refuses to withdraw troops from oil-rich town

Al Jazeera - South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Mayardit refused to withdraw his forces,from the oil-rich region Heglig, and threatened to take over Abyei if the Sudanese forces do not retreat from the area. Sudan announced it will mobilize its forces to recover the Heglig region. Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir said the Sudanese army is capable of resolving any aggression on his country,in a response to South Sudan's People's Liberation Army's taking over Heglig. The UN Security Council called on Sudan and South Sudan to halt the border battles, and return to negotiations, in order to avoid further deterioration of the situation by the border.

Bahrain protestors rally to demand realse of dying activist al-Khawaja

Al-Alam - Bahraini regime forces crushed demonstrations, held across various provinces, in solidarity with detained activist, Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, who has been on a hunger strike for more than two months. Fourteen international organizations called for mounting pressure on al-Manama to release al-Khawaja. The rights groups said that the court's ruling against al-Khawajah, and other activists, is a blatant violation of their rights to freedom of expression, and the freedom to hold public gatherings and assemblies, under the provisions of the international law. Bahraini protestors are demanding the downfall of the regime, which has failed to bring about a solution to the political crisis in the country and are vowing to continue their mobilization, until all of their rights and demands are attained.

Clashes near Turkish border on second day of fragile Syria truce

BBC Arabic - Two days after a ceasefire took place in Syria,the Syrian Revolution's General Commission said eight civilians were killed in different parts of Syria. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said clashes erupted in the morning between Syrian forces and members of the Free Syrian Army in Idlib province, near the Syrian-Turkish border. Damascus said what happened near the border is part of the implementation of Annan’s plan, and a redeployment of its forces. As for the breach, it said it was caused by yesterday’s attack on a military vehicle.

Egyptians rally against former regime candidates

Al-Alam - Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians demonstrated in a million-man march to protect the revolution in Tahrir Square in the center of the Egyptian capital Cairo. This comes in response to a call by the country's Islamist parties and groups. The protestors affirmed the revolution is still continuing against anyone who tries to steal it, and they expressed their rejection to the idea of boycotting the presidential elections. They also stressed the Egyptian people will overthrow the regime's remnants through the ballot box.

Arab Hero Ahmed Ben Bella dies at 96

New TV - Ahmed Ben Bella was a figure more esteemed than a revolutionary hero, and seen as a prisoner with a will stronger than his warden's. He lives in the Arab consciousness as one of the most important figures of this nation’s recent history. Soaring from his position as a fighter in the Algerian million-martyr revolution, and reaching his destination as the first president of the republic established following the country's victory. He restored Algeria's natural status in the heart of the nation's struggle, and restored his people's stolen identity. Ben Bella departed the world as a history maker, and he goes down in history as one of the most glorious leaders of this nation. 


Image: Supporters of Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) take part in a rally in support of South Sudan taking control of the Heglig oil field, in Juba April 13, 2012. REUTERS/Stringer


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Algerians Mark May Day and Libyans Celebrate Death of Gaddafi's Son

Algerians Mark May Day Amid Tight Security
(Press TV: May 2, 2011, 1200 PST) Following on the success of the students march in April, members of the "Unemployed Rights Defense Committee" gathered at Civil Harmony Square in the Alegrian capital, to proclaim the rights of thousands of unemployed youth:


Libyans Jubilant: Gaddafi's Son Killed
(Press TV: May 2, 2011, 1130 PST) Press TV reports on the latest developments of the Libyan revolution:



Protests Continue as Saleh Refuses to Exit
(Press TV: May 2, 2011, 1130 PST) For the third month running, anti-government protesters took to the streets of Yemen's capital Sanaa calling for President Ali Abdullah Saleh's immediate ouster, as he refused to sign a Persian Gulf-brokered agreement:




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Dozens Injured in Algerian Student Protest

(Euronews: 0504 PST, April 13, 2011) Clashes in Algeria between student protesters and police have left dozens of injured on both sides. Several thousand students took to the streets yesterday for the latest of a number of demonstrations over poor conditions in higher education and unpopular reforms. They want the government to scrap a new law they argue devalues their qualifications. "We've had enough of those in power", they chanted.




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Algeria: The Next Revolution?

(France 24: 0910 PST, March 8, 2011) In Algeria, the authorities are managing to keep a lid on social unrest for now, despite uprisings in neighboring countries. Yet strikes, sit-ins, and attempted protest marches are organized regularly, with young people, who make up the majority of the population, taking center stage. Among their demands: jobs, housing, higher salaries, and political reform.




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200 Dead in Libya As Protests Spread

(Associated Press: 1000 PST, February 20, 2011) Libyan forces fired machine-guns at mourners marching in a funeral for anti-government protesters in Benghazi. The crackdown is shaping up to be the most brutal repression of protests that began with uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt.


Meanwhile, police thwarted a protest rally in neighboring Algeria, demonstrations have taken place in Morocco, and anti-government protests continue in Bahrain and Yemen




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Egypt Uprising Sparks Unrest in Bahrain and Algeria

(France 24: 1000 PST, February 14, 2011) Minor clashes erupted in two villages in the Persian Gulf kingdom of Bahrain Monday after security forces clamped down on Shi'ite-led anti-government protests inspired by recent popular uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia.



(France 24: 1000 PST, February 14, 2011) In Algeria, there have been calls for new protests after weekend unrest. In the capital Algiers, riot police scuffled with anti-government protesters who were defying a ban on demonstrations, inspired by recent historic events in Tunisia and Egypt.




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Algeria's Police Crack Down on Protestors

(Al Jazeera English: 1430 PST, February 12, 2011) About ten thousand people joined an anti-government demonstration in Algiers, the Algerian capital. Police officers attempted to pin the demonstrators into a square, in an effort to separate them from pro-government supporters.



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Protests in Egypt Continue on 14th Day

Protests continue for the 14th day in Egypt. Al Jazeera's Arabic language channel showed protesters saying they will not leave Tahrir Square in Cairo until Mubarak steps down and reported that the army is trying to close off the square.


Iran's Arabic language channel, Al Alam, reported that protest leaders have formed a unified group called the "Youth of the Egyptian Revolution." The group said they will continue protesting until all of their demands are met, including Mubarak's resignation. According to Al Alam, the Muslim Brotherhood said their talks with the regime had failed.


Egyptian state television, Nile TV, reported that Egyptian Prime Minister Dr. Ahmed Shafiq believes it would be "unacceptable" for Mubarak to step down and that the regime was necessary to maintain stability for the next few months. He also said the army is not disturbing the protests and is only there for security. Nile TV also reported that the government approved a draft bill that would increase military and government employee salaries by 15 percent by April.


According to the BBC Arabic channel, U.S. President Barack Obama told Fox News that the Muslim Brotherhood is not the majority in Egypt. Press TV, the English language channel from Iran, showed Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah's first speech since the demonstrations began in Egypt. He supports the Egyptian protesters, saying they are "restoring the dignity of Arab people," and criticized the United States for supporting dictatorships.


Lebanon's New TV looked back at the life of former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. They recount his career and the protests that led up to his 1981 assassination, which left his Vice President Hosni Mubarak in power.


Dubai TV reports that violence has erupted in Tunisia, including in the northwest city of Kef where youth set a police station on fire and the army was deployed in the streets. They also said protests broke out in Algeria, where youth unemployment is 20 percent.


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