Egyptians Rally in Tahrir for Mubarak Retrial and More

REUTERS/Suhaib Salem
Egyptians hold the second million-man march within two days

Al Jazeera - Tahrir Square witnessed a demonstration titled the “Friday of Determination”. Following the verdict of Mubarak and some of his regime’s figureheads, masses took the squares and held spontaneous protests; they were not mobilized by any particular revolutionary or political force. The protests, in which thousands participated, viewed the verdict as a step toward reproducing the former regime. The demands varied throughout the demonstrations, and included the implementation of the disenfranchisement law on candidate Ahmed Shafiq, preventing him from participating in the presidential run-off round, and the re-trial of deposed President Mohamed Hosni Mubarak, and his regime's figureheads.

 

Two Sudans disagree over border of demilitarized zone

Dubai TV - The current African-mediated talks between Sudan and South Sudan have stalled once again since they started four days ago in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. Both sides have failed to establish a demilitarized zone on their shared borders. Observers believe that both sides do not wish to continue fighting in light of their current crises, and the fear of UN sanctions if they fail to resolve their problems.

Benghazi residents protest unequal distribution of Libya's National Council seats

Al Jazeera - Hundreds of people demonstrated in the Libyan city of Benghazi yesterday, demanding a fair redistribution of the Public National Conference's seats among all Libyan regions. The protestors believe the current distribution of seats is prejudice, as it is based on the population density, and may lead to the monopoly of political decisions. In addition, the protestors expressed their intention to boycott the anticipated parliamentary elections, if their demands are not met.

A look back at Naksa Day, or the Day of the Setback

Palestine TV - Tuesday was the 45th anniversary of the June War, known as the Naksa, or the day of the setback, when tens of thousands of Palestinians were displaced. On that day in 1967, Israel launched an attack that targeted a number of Arab countries and occupied the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem. It changed the geographic and demographic reality in what remained of Palestine, in the years following the Nakba, or the catastrophe, when its land was occupied and its people were displaced. And despite the long years of great pain between 1948 and 1967 that hold the history of dark massacres, the refugees have never stopped waiting for their return. Refugee camps and journeys of displacement remain witnesses to the severity of the occupation that has changed and is still changing the map of this region.

Afghan President Karzai condemns NATO air strike as Panetta arrives in Kabul

Al-Alam - Afghan President Hamid Karzai condemned the NATO air strike conducted in the southern province of Logar that resulted in the death of 18 people, assuring that targeting civilians cannot be justified. Meanwhile, US Secretary of Defense Panetta arrived to Afghanistan in a surprise visit. Panetta said the purpose of his visit is to get an assessment from American General John Allen, the commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, of the ability to cope with the Taliban's threats and Haqqani fighters, referring to another network tied to al-Qaeda.

Image: A protester acting as Hosni Mubarak wears a mask depicting the deposed Egyptian president during a mock trial at Tahrir square in Cairo June 8, 2012. Hundreds of activists gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square on Friday to demonstrate against presidential candidate Ahmed Shafik ahead of a run-off vote, saying they did not want to be ruled by another former military man. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem

 
 

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Life in Limbo: The Stories of Burmese Refugees in Thailand

(LinkAsia: February 3, 2012)
Yul Kwon:
This week, Myanmar's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi began campaigning outside Yangon for April's by-elections. The Nobel Laureate will continue her tour around the country to win support for other candidates from her party. If the politics of Burma has become easier, it doesn't matter to the hundreds of thousands of Burmese who fled the country's military government. At least 140,000 live in Thailand. And for most of them, life is brutal. NHK has the story of one young refugee.

--

NHK World NEWSLINE
Airdate: January 30, 2012

Reporter:
Mae Sot marks the border between Myanmar and Thailand. The far side is Myanmar. Every day people cross from Myanmar, often illegally, to look for work. They total around 20,000 a year. They expect a better life, but often they find reality is tough. This garbage dump is close to the river. I'm standing at a garbage mountain in the town on the Thai border with Myanmar. The scene is really terrible. Here people from Myanmar make a living by collecting garbage. The mountain of trash is dotted with people. They are searching for scraps of steel and plastic to sell. Thirteen-year-old Zimintu came here with his family five years ago. He earns about a dollar a day, too little to feed his family of four. Picking vegetables out of the garbage is sometimes the only way to get enough to eat.

Zimintu:
My father is sick, so I have no choice but to do this.

Reporter:
A local NGO has built a school near the garbage site to help the children. About 150 students attend the school. They all live at the dorm, but they get medical check-ups and free meals through the school. Zimintu's younger brother studied at the school two years ago. After Zimintu finishes his day collecting garbage, he goes to the school to pick up his brother. He wishes he was also playing with his friends. But he has to support his family.

Zimintu:
Put the sweets in your bag. Let's go home.

Reporter:
He hopes that one day, he too will go to school and become a doctor.

Zimintu:
Working at the dump site is no fun at all. It's just that there's no alternative job. I want to return to my hometown someday.

Reporter:
Zimintu endures a tough job to support his family, but that doesn't stop him from dreaming that one day things will get better. Khemmapat Rojwanichkun, NHK World, Northern Thailand. 

 
 

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Does the Road to Jerusalem Run Through New York City?

In a May 16, 2011, op-ed published by the New York Times, de facto Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas made the case for the "long overdue Palestinian state," explaining his intention to present a formal request for full UN membership for a state of Palestine based on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.

A chair with the word 'Palestine' embroidered on it stands next to the grave of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in the West Bank city of Ramallah September 5, 2011, during a launch by Palestinian campaigners of a tour of the chair. The chair will be sent to the United States after making stops in other countries as part of a world-wide effort to gain support for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' attempt to upgrade the Palestinians' status at the United Nations to statehood.

 

On September 4, a blue chair, dubbed the flying chair, started touring UN Security Council member states, before landed at the UN headquarters in New York ahead of the opening of the UN’s 66th general assembly. Citing failed peace negotiations with Israel and a right to self-determination, the Palestinian delegation's diplomatic efforts to rally votes for statehood were launched and continued unabated despite the US' threat to veto the bid and Israel's warnings of "dire consequences."

 

The US and Israel maintain the Palestinian Authority's unilateral move undermines negotiations towards a two-state solution, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pressing for the resumptions of talks with no preconditions. On September 16, the PM's office tweeted: "When the PA will abandon its futile steps, such as going to the UN, it will find Israel as a partner for direct negotiations for peace."

 

The Palestinian Authority managed to unify Arab governments in support of its initiative, gathered the conditional support of a divided European Union, and the endorsement of Russia and China, but the reality is that nothing will change on the ground for Palestinians who will remain under the occupation and control of Israel as the expansion of illegal settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem continues.

 

Furthermore, Abbas admitted that even more "difficult times" await the Palestinians with possible financial retaliation and punitive action expected from both the US and Israel, with the latter threatening to annex parts of the West Bank.

 

However, state-run media across the Middle East has shied away from discussing opposition to the PA's gamble with the Palestinian people's rights but the online community has vehemently expressed its dismay at what it views as the irresponsible action of an illegitimate authority. 

 

The Palestinian Youth Movement issued a harsh statement against the proposal, accusing it to be "a mechanism for rescuing the faulty peace framework and depoliticizing the struggle for Palestine by removing the struggle from its historical colonial context."

 

 

A Palestinian scout marching band plays at Manger Square in front of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem

On Facebook, a page titled "Palestinians against the so-called September Statehood" garnered almost 3,500 supporters while the "Palestine poster" page featured pleas to stop the "State of September," since Abbas was "going to the UN to demand [his] right and relinquish what remains of yours."

 

On Twitter, critics of the UN initiative lashed out using hashtag #fakestatehood. Palestinian-American journalist Ali Abunimah expressed pride for having "been one of the first to expose the Abbas PA #fakestatehood bid for the anti-Palestinian deception and fraud that it is." 

 

A Palestinian law student equated the occupation and its collaborators. She tweeted: "We will never end the Israeli occupation if we cannot revolt against the local authorities that enforce it. While the Alan Dershowitz parody account promised his "100,000th follower will get a relatively new blue swivel chair signifying nothing and representing no one."

 

Across different online platforms, the recurring theme was objection to an initiative whose content has not been disclosed to the people it impacts, likening it to the Oslo Accords that were reached without public knowledge of the agreement's terms. 

 

Another essential issue was raised by many, including a blogger in the UK, who used hashtag #IOpposeSeptemberBid to send the message that "Palestine is not just Gaza & the West Bank - but all those living in the 'Diaspora' & refugee camps."  This raises the question of who is entitled to represent the Palestinian people. 

 

A legal opinion by Oxford University professor, Guy Goodwin-Gill, challenged the legitimacy of the PA and warned that the interests of the Palestinian people are at "risk of prejudice and fragmentation."

 

A report from the International Crisis Group titled "Curb your enthusiam: Israel and Palestine after the UN", describes the path to the UN as "a tale of collective mismanagement," indicating that if the Palestinians "choose to rise up, it will be because of the entrenched and seemingly unmoveable realities of occupation, not because of what happens or not as a result of a UN vote," pointing to the irrelevant if not "counterproductive" bid. 

 

So without a unified national strategy and with pending questions about the future of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the refugees' right of return, will the PA's symbolic action jeopardize the Palestinian people's struggle and rights? And in the aftermath of the Palestine Papers that unveiled how quickly the PA is willing to simply give away its people's rights, are Abbas' political theatrics an attempt to hold on to his own chair in light of the popular intifada rocking the region?

 
 

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Tonight on Mosaic: 18 Egyptian parties form an unprecedented electoral alliance

Egypt: Eighteen Egyptian political blocs have joined forces under a unified coalition named the Democratic Alliance of Egypt. The new alliance has brought together liberal, national, and Islamic parties. The alliance announced its presence by introducing a draft bill to the People's Assembly calling for a wider representation of political parties and a ban on the use of money and favoritism in the electoral process. However, the blocs disagree over whether drafting a new constitution or elections should take place first. 

 

Syria: According to a UN report, nearly 11,000 Syrian refugees, most of whom are women and children, have crossed the Turkish border and are facing severe shortages of water and food. Villagers near the Turkish border continue to flee the ongoing violence. The Syrian opposition has called for a nationwide strike today and demonstrations tomorrow under the title “Friday of the Fall of Legitimacy.” 

 

Yemen: US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman called on the government in Sanaa to immediately and peacefully transfer power in Yemen. President Ali Abdullah Saleh is being treated in Saudi Arabia for injuries sustained in an explosion on June 3. Saleh’s health condition is uncertain, as he has not made any appearances in three weeks. However, those close to the president say he is in good health and that the presidential plane has landed in Riyadh to take him back to Yemen. Demonstrators, who have been camped out in Sanaa for almost five months, insist that he can only return for his prosecution.

 

 

 
 

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Tonight on Mosaic: Libya Contact Group pledges additional support for the rebels

Libya: The United Arab Emirates hosted the third meeting of the Libya Contact Group today with delegations from 40 countries and representatives from international and regional organizations in attendance. The Contact Group met in an attempt to activate a financial mechanism, which will help fund humanitarian aid to Libya and support the opposition’s National Transitional Council. UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah Bin Zayed called on Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi to resign and expressed support for NATO's military operations in Libya. 

 

Yemen: The opposition continues to celebrate President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s departure from Yemen, considering it a victory for their revolution. Meanwhile, Saleh’s supporters celebrated news that he was released from the intensive care unit of the Saudi Arabian hospital where he recently underwent surgery. The respective celebrations got carried away when clashes erupted and several people from both sides were killed and injured. 

 

Syria: The state news agency SANA reported that Damascus has strongly condemned foreign intervention in Syria. Meanwhile, residents of Jisr al-Shughour continue to flee the violence, heading across the border into Turkey. The Turkish Anatolia news agency said that nearly 1,500 people have crossed the border in the past 24 hours. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyib Erdogan said Turkey’s borders will remain open to Syrian refugees at this stage and also urged President Bashar al-Assad to implement real reforms as soon as possible. 

 
 

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Christian Minister Assassinated in Pakistan; Gaddafi Appears on National TV

(ITN News: 0730 PST, March 2, 2011) The only Christian in the Pakistani cabinet has been assassinated in the country's capital Islamabad. ITN News reports:

 

 

Libya leader appears on national television

(Euronews: 0600 PST, March 2, 2011) In a show to the world, Libya's leader Muammar Gaddafi appeared on national television live from Tripoli in front of his supporters. And - in the year marking the 34th anniversary of his power to the masses - his message was that the world doesn't understand his country's system that puts power in the hands of the people.

 

 
 

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140,000 Flee Libyan Clashes; Humanitarian Crisis Builds on Egypt

(Democracy Now! 0930 PST, March 2, 2011) UN Reports have emerged of a dire situation on Libya's borders with Tunisia and Egypt, where tens of thousands have fled to evade the clashes. Democracy Now! speaks with Elizabeth Tan of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the agency working to provide shelter, sanitation, food and transportation at the border of Libya.

 


 

(Democracy Now! 0715 PST, March 2, 2011) Resistance in Libya as Gaddafi forces launch new assaults, and US silent on recent crackdown in Iraq.

 

 

 
 

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Alert Over Refugees at Libya-Tunisia Border

(Euronews: 1157 PST, March 1, 2011) Fighting in Libya is forcing more and more people to flee, with refugee agencies now talking about a humanitarian crisis.

 

It is estimated up to 75,000 people have fled for neighbouring Tunisia. Most of them are Egyptian migrants who had been working in Libya. They are angry at their government for what they call its slow response in evacuating them. They say after the revolution in their country they became the target of attacks in Libya, accused of helping to inspire the Libyan demonstrators.

 

 

Thousands Fleeing Libya Stuck at Border

(Associated Press: 0624 PST, March 1, 2011) Thousands who are fleeing Libya, many of them foreign workers, remain stuck on the Tunisian side of the border as they're having trouble getting back to their home countries.

 

 

Tunisia Asks for Help in Tackling Border Chaos

(Euronews: 0000 PST, March 1, 2011) Tunisia's government has called for help in dealing with the thousands of Egyptian labourers and other foreign workers who have streamed across the border to avoid the turmoil in Libya.

 

With so many people to cope with, most have been given the minimum to sustain them: some milk and bread and perhaps a blanket. "The situation here is almost a catastrophe," said one man. "We call on all the organisations of the world, all governments all humanitarian associations to intervene to help these people return home with dignity."

 

 

 
 

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Fears Over Gaddafi's Next Move, Border Chaos, Yemen Unrest

(Al Jazeera English Headlines: 0635 PST, March 1, 2011) With Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi under mounting pressure, there are fears over his next move.

 

People in the opposition-held city of Nalut report pro-Gaddafi paramilitary forces on the outskirts of the city armed with anti-aircraft guns. In Az Zawiyah, another opposition stronghold, there are reports that food supplies into the city are being blocked.

 

There are also growing tensions and chaotic scenes at the Tunisia-Libya border, where thousands of people are trying to flee the fighting.

 

And Yemen's president Ali Abdullah Saleh has blamed Israel and the U.S. for the unrest taking place in his country and across the Arab world. More protests against his regime are taking place today.

 

 

 
 

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U.S. and Britain Plan Military Action Against Libya

(ITN News: 1430 PST, February 28, 2011) The United States and Britain are actively considering military action against Colonel Gaddafi as his regime battles for its survival.

 

 

 
 

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