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
Jordanian protestors demand a change in policies instead of governments
BBC Arabic - Demonstrations were held in several Jordanian governorates with a variety of slogans and chants, and diverse affiliations and demands. But they were united in their call for accelerating the reform process and combating corruption. The protestors also sharply criticized the council of ministers, and the way in which governments are formed in Jordan. In the capital Amman, the Islamic Action Front had a prominent presence in the protests and participated alongside different popular and youth movements. The protests come one day after the Awn al-Khasawneh's government resigned, and after the Jordanian king, Abdullah II, appointed Fayez al-Tarawneh to form a new government.
Deadly bombing rocks Syrian capital
New TV - A suicide bombing shook the neighborhood of al-Midan in the center of the Syrian capital Damascus. At least nine people were killed as a result, and dozens were injured with body parts seen scattered across two medical centers. The same site had witnessed a similar explosion in January that led to the killing of 27 people. The official news agency SANA described the blast as a terrorist operation carried out by a suicide bomber. Syrian TV raised the death toll to 11, adding that 28 civilians and members of the security forces were injured, broadcasting videos of the explosion site under al-Midan's bridge, near Zein al-Abidin Mosque.
Humanitarian crises in Sudan and Yemen
Dubai TV - The war between Khartoum and the northern command of the People's Movement, the armed confrontations between rebel movements in Darfur, and the Heglig battles are all factors that have contributed to the humanitarian crisis raging in the regions witnessing an armed conflict. According to a new UN report, nearly four million displaced people are at risk of starvation, due to a sharp shortage of food supplies and the difficulty of delivering aid to the famine-stricken because of the violence. The humanitarian situation is far worse in the region of Darfur, especially at the refugee camps scattered along both sides of the Sudanese-Chadian border.
Al Jazeera - Many Yemenis are facing a food crisis due to the high prices and food shortages, especially since the spark of the revolution more than a year ago. Yemeni children are suffering from a number of diseases due to a sharp shortage in food and poor medical care. When a child gets sick and requires hospitalization in the city, transportation is a real challenge due to the shortage of fuel. The bumpy roads and the high cost of medical care pose another challenge.
Egypt announces list of presidential candidates
BBC Arabic - The Presidential Electoral Committee in Egypt announced a list of candidates running in the presidential elections, which are expected to be held next month. There are now 13 candidates, the most prominent of which are Amr Moussa, the former secretary general of the Arab League and a former foreign minister, and Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, the former leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. The committee's surprise decision was allowing Ahmed Shafiq, the last prime minister during Mubarak's era, back into the presidential race after accepting his appeal. He was initially disqualified by the disenfranchisement law.
Today, Press TV reported that thousands of Islamists rallied in Tahrir Square against an attempt to revive the Mubarak era. They also demanded that the remnants of the former regime be banned from running for president.
Palestinians rally in solidarity with hunger strikers, clash with Israeli troops
Al Jazeera - The area near Ofer Prison, located west of Ramallah, witnessed clashes between Palestinian youth and Israeli occupation forces. Israeli soldiers fired large amounts of tear gas at the protestors who organized a sit-in in solidarity with the prisoners waging a hunger strike in the occupation's prisons. Meanwhile, over 1,600 Palestinian prisoners are continuing their open-ended hunger strike for the 10th consecutive day.
Image: BBC Arabic
Bahraini activists demand a 'stop to bloody Formula One'
BBC Arabic - The Bahraini opposition escalated its protests, in a number of Shiite villages in and around al-Manama, on the eve of the opening of the Formula One car race. The demonstrations that started Wednesday night continued until Thursday morning. The authorities are heightening the security measures ahead of the event, but denying they expect the protests to impact the sporting event. Eyewitnesses say security forces were forced to use teargas and stun grenades to disperse protesters who threw Molotov cocktails and stones at the police in confrontations that left dozens injured.
Egypt rises against military rule on the 'Friday of self-determination'
Press TV reports that earlier this week, Egypt's electoral body rejected appeals filed by candidates disqualified from running for the May presidential election. Three main disqualified candidates are Egypt's former main intelligence chief Omar Suleiman, Khairat al-Shater from the Muslim Brotherhood, and the ultra-conservative Salafist, Hazem Abu Ismail.
Future TV - Under the banner of self-determination, tens of thousands of Egyptians gathered in Tahrir Square, in the center of Cairo, to demand the protection of the revolution that toppled President Hosni Mubarak over a year ago. This Friday's protest also demanded the transfer of power, and the unification of all political and revolutionary factions. Activists called for the protest today to demand that those who worked with the former president be prevented from running in the presidential elections, the first round of which will be held next month.
However, the Islamists joined the demonstration under the banner "protecting the revolution." And, as an indication that protesters are intent on pushing the ruling military council to fulfill the promise of transferring power to an elected president, the stage set up by the Muslim Brotherhood in the square included a banner that read, "power-transfer on June 30th."
Sudan declares 'liberation' of Heglig as Juba pulls out
Dubai TV - The Sudanese defense minister has announced that Heglig was "liberated" from the grips of Juba's army, confirming the region was recaptured by force, ten days after South Sudan seized control of the area. This announcement was intended to refute a South Sudanese army statement claiming that its forces voluntarily withdrew from Heglig. Meanwhile, demonstrations broke out in a number of northern cities to celebrate the North's victory in the battle. President Omar al-Bashir stressed the victory marks the beginning of a war to liberate the South from the rule of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement.
UN chief calls for an expanded monitoring mission in Syria
New TV - On the fourth day of the international observers' presence in Syria, Damascus signed an initial agreement with the United Nations on the terms of the team's work. And in a closed-door meeting, the Security Council discussed sending an expanded monitoring mission to Syria, consisting of 300 observers, for three months. The team will monitor and encourage the halt of armed aggression in all its forms and from all parties, and comes as part of the Annan plan. The Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed this agreement comes within Syrian efforts aimed at ensuring the success of Annan's plan, and facilitating the observers' mission within the context of Syrian sovereignty and commitment to the concerned parties. The spokesman for UN envoy Kofi Annan announced that his office is holding similar negotiations with representatives from the opposition on the obligations and responsibilities of the armed opposition.
Hunger Striker Khader Adnan's hometown celebrates his release
Palestine TV - It was "a national wedding," "a massive popular festival," "the festival of the dawn of freedom." These were the names given to the celebration in Jenin organized in honor of freed prisoner Khader Adnan, who underwent an open-ended hunger strike that lasted 66 days in protest of his administrative detention in an Israeli jail. Thousands of citizens from all provinces and political factions, both official and popular, attended the festival to honor him.
1,200 Palestinian Prisoners begin an open-ended hunger strike in Israeli jails
Al-Alam - In occupied Palestine, events were held to mark the Prisoners' Day. 1,200 Palestinian detainees in the Israeli prisons began an open-ended hunger strike in protest of their maltreatment and continual detention. Participants in the events demanded to release the prisoners. At the Prisoners' Day festival, speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council called for escalating the armed resistance to free the prisoners.
Image: Protesters chant slogans after police used a flashbang stun grenade during an anti-government rally in Manama April 19, 2012. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah
There are currently over 300 Palestinians in administrative detention. This means that prisoners are being held with no charge and without being tried. Hana al-Shalabi, a 29 year old from a village near Jenin enters her 15th consecutive day of hunger strike, protesting her administrative detention in the Hasharon Israeli prison. Hana took on the same method to peacefully protest her unjustified detention; similar to Khader Adnan, who successfully drew international attention to his case, and the case of many other Palestinian administrative prisoners. Adnan recently ended his hunger strike, which lasted for 66 days, after Israel agreed to release him on April 17th.
Although she was previously arrested in 2009, with no charge or trial and was freed in the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange in 2011, after 30 months in captivity, she was not exempt from being rearrested. She is currently sentenced to six months in prison, and her sentence can be renewed indefinitely.
Many former female detainees gathered outside the Red Cross in Tulkarm this week to stand in solidarity with Hana and other administrative detainees, inside Israeli prisons. Solidarity campaigns and sit-ins in front of the Red Cross are continuing amid warnings of her deteriorating health condition, and the escalating situations inside the occupation prisons.
Israeli court officials say that Hana is a threat to Israeli security and they claim that she participated in planning actions after her release. The defense called for Hana's prompt release and held Israel accountable for her health.
On Thursday Hana al-Shalabi said that she will continue her hunger strike and that she will remain patient and steadfast despite her detention in the cold, her fatigue and weakness. Hana maintains high spirits and thanked people who support her and she assured that her hunger strike is open until her demands are met.
Photo: Badeeah Shalabi holds a placard depicting her daughter, Palestinian detainee Hana Shalabi, in the West Bank village of Birqin, near Jenin February 27, 2012. REUTERS/Abed Omar Qusini
Palestinians rejoiced today in Gaza and the West Bank as 477 prisoners were released in the first phase of the exchange deal for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. But in an op-ed titled "Thousands Are Left Behind by the Shalit Prisoner Exchange," the general director of al-Haq, Shawan Jabarin, warned that the release of 1,000 should not mean forgetting the 6,000 political prisoners still languishing behind bars.
The release of a total 1,027 Palestinian prisoners will be completed within two months. However, 163 detainees will be exiled to Gaza and another 40 will be deported from their homeland to Turkey, Syria, Qatar and Jordan.
For detainees staying behind, worsening conditions in Israeli prisons had pushed over 2,000 Palestinian prisoners to take part in a three-week hunger strike to protest the poor conditions and lack of basic rights. According to Amnesty International, "consistent allegations of torture and other ill-treatment, including of children, were frequently reported. Among the most commonly cited methods were beatings, threats to the detainee or their family, sleep deprivation, and being subjected to painful stress positions for long periods. Confessions allegedly obtained under duress were accepted as evidence in Israeli military and civilian courts."
In an article titled "How Israel takes its revenge on boys who throw stones," Catrina Stewart offers a glimpse into the brutal treatment of Palestinian children in Israeli jails. She reports that children as young as 12 are taken from their homes at night, deprived of food and sleep, physically and psychologically abused, and forced to sign a confession they often can't even read. The article states that "Israel's policy has been successful in one sense, sowing fear among children and deterring them from future demonstrations. But the children are left traumatised, prone to nightmares and bed-wetting." And yet Palestinian minors were excluded from the first round of the prisoners' release, leading UNICEF to appeal for the release of Palestinian child detainees.
Amidst joyous celebrations in Gaza City, one Palestinian wrote that she "didn't know whether to be happy or sad…We will never stop singing for the freedom of Palestinian detainees until the Israeli prisons are emptied."
(Press TV: 0243 PT, May 12, 2011) This pro-military rally, apparently urged by the government, was aimed at easing the pressure over the controversy surrounding the death of Osama bin Laden. But the mood was different at a meeting of the country's main opposition party, which was discussing the fallout of the Abbottabad operation that killed Bin Laden. Press TV's Kamran Yousaf reports from Islamabad
(Channel 4 News: 0740 PT, May 12, 2011) Eric Holder, United States Attorney General, tells Channel 4 News that US drone strikes in Pakistan are consistent with international law.
(Euronews: 0726 PT, May 11, 2011) Greece is once again in the grip of a general strike as people protest against the governments raft of harsh austerity measures aimed to keep the debt-ridden the country solvent. Athens is currently planning further measures to save an extra 23 billion euros by 2015, but ordinary Greeks are outraged.
(ITN News: 0431 PT, May 11, 2011) Police in Athens have arrested ten people during a violent march against economic austerity measures.
(Euronews: 0742 PT, May 10, 2011) NATO aircraft conducted raids over Tripoli overnight with government buildings bearing the brunt of the attacks. Libyan officials escorted journalists to the High Commission for Children, which suffered extensive damage. Witnesses in the capital say NATO planes were trying to hit Gaddafi's compound.
(Al Jazeera English: 2352 PT, May 9, 2011) NATO warplanes launched a new round of airstrikes in Tripoli, the Libyan capital, witnesses said. They told Al Jazeera the attacks targeted several sites, including Muammar Gaddafi's compound. Earlier, the United Nations humanitarian chief called for a break in fighting to allow medical aid into the country. Al Jazeera's Monica Villamizar reports.
(Al Jazeera English: 0701 PST, April 25, 2011) In Libya, NATO forces launched an attack on Muammar Gaddafi's compound in Tripoli as fighting continues between opposition and pro-government forces across the country. Al Jazeera's Omar Al Saleh reports.
(Euronews: 0427 PST, April 25, 2011) Rocket attacks by Libyan government forces on Misrata have killed at least 30 people and wounded 60, a witnesss was quoted by Reuters as saying during a television interview.
Ahmed al-Qadi, an engineer for a dissident radio station, told Al Arabiya that Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's men were carrying out "very intense and random shelling on residential areas." The fresh bombardments come two days after the government announced its withdrawal following an eight-week battle for control of the besieged western city.