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Updated: 41 min 5 sec ago

Syrian Foreign Ministry Says Israeli Aggression Is Flagrant Violation of Disengagement Agreement and International Law

Wed, 03/19/2014 - 23:41

Lebanese security forces inspect car destroyed by bomb, March 17, 2014 in the Bekaa Valley on the border with Syria. Israel bombed Syria on March 19., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.

Foreign Ministry: Israeli new aggression is flagrant violation of Disengagement agreement and international law rules

Mar 19, 2014

Damascus, (SANA) Foreign and Expatriates Ministry said in a flagrant violation of disengagement agreement of 1974, UN charter and international law rules, Israeli occupation forces perpetrated Tuesday March 18th and Wednesday March 19th, 2014 a new aggression on a site inside Syrian territories under illusive and untrue pretexts that a mine went off to the south of Ain al-Tineh, near Sehita village.

The Israeli aggression claimed the life of one citizen and left 7 others injured causing large material damages and fires to the sites.

Foreign Ministry sent Wednesday two identical letters to UN Secretary General and President of Security Council saying that the Government of Syrian Arab Republic while putting those violations in front of the UN, it calls on Security Council to take necessary procedures to deter Israel from continuing its violations which constitute insolent violation of the Disengagement agreement and a direct support by Israel to the armed terrorist groups present in the disengagement zone and the surroundings.

It added "We affirm that Israel which was used to complain at Security Council even about the infiltration of a shepherd by mistake into the disengagement zone, it offers today direct and indirect support to the armed terrorist groups existing in the region through returning the injured terrorists after treating them to resume the killing and perpetrate crimes against the residents there."

"Syria again calls on Security council to impose implementation of its relevant resolutions particularly resolutions 338 and 497 which reject the Israeli occupation of the Syrian Golan and call upon Israel to withdraw from all occupied Arab lands including Syrian Golan to the line of June 4th 1967" Foreign Ministry said.

"Earlier, General Command of the Army and the Armed Forces said in a statement that this new aggression came in a bid to divert attention from the successive victories achieved by the Syrian Arab Army," particularly the "great achievement" in Yabroud city "which dealt a startling blow to the terrorist organizations and their backers, on top being the Zionist entity". The Command added that the aggression also aimed at "giving a dose of moral support to the terrorist gangs tumbling under the Syrian Arab Army's strikes".

It concluded by saying that while it stresses its resolve and determination to go ahead with its war against the terrorist organizations until eliminating them, "it warns that such desperate attempts at escalation and creating tension under these circumstances through repeating these aggressive acts would jeopardize the region's security and stability and make it vulnerable to all options."

Mazen Eyon

Israeli Warplanes Bomb Syria

Wed, 03/19/2014 - 23:22

Images shown on the Hezbollah Manar Television station said to be the aftermath of an Israeli airstrike on the suburbs of Damascus, Syria. Israel is being backed up by the Obama administration in its aggression against Syria., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.

Israeli airstrikes escalate tensions with Syria

AP 10:20 a.m. EDT
March 19, 2014

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli warplanes unleashed a series of airstrikes on Syrian military posts early Wednesday, killing one soldier and wounding seven in one of the most serious clashes between the countries in the past four decades.

The airstrikes came in retaliation for a roadside bombing a day earlier in the Golan Heights that wounded four Israeli soldiers on patrol along the tense frontier with Syria. The overnight raids marked a sharp escalation of activity for Israel, which largely has stayed on the sidelines during Syrian President Bashar Assad's battle against rebels trying to topple him.

It is unclear which of the many groups fighting in Syria may have planted Tuesday's bomb. But Israel has said it holds Assad responsible for any attacks emanating from his country, and accused his forces of allowing the attack to take place.

"Our policy is clear. We hurt those who hurt us," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said Assad would "regret his actions" if attacks continue.

Israel captured the Golan Heights, a strategic plateau overlooking northern Israel, from Syria in the 1967 Mideast war. It later annexed the area, though that move is not internationally recognized.

Gunfire and mortar shells from the fighting in Syria have occasionally landed in the Golan in recent years. Israel has said much of the fire was errant, but has responded with artillery fire in several cases in which it believed the attacks were intentional. None of those reprisals, however, were as intense as Wednesday's airstrikes.

The Israeli military said its warplanes hit a Syrian army training facility, an army headquarters and artillery batteries. Israel also had carried out artillery strikes against Syrian military targets shortly after Tuesday's bombing.

The Syrian military said the raids early Wednesday targeted three army posts near the town of Quneitra, on the edge of the Israeli-occupied part of the Golan. It confirmed the death of one soldier and said seven were wounded.

The Syrian army denounced the airstrikes as Israel's "desperate attempt to escalate and worsen the situation" and to divert attention from Damascus' advances on the battlefront, especially the military's capture last weekend of a key rebel stronghold near the Lebanese border.

"Repeating such hostile acts (airstrikes) would endanger the security and stability of the region and make it open to all possibilities," a Syrian military statement said.

Analysts said they did not expect the situation to deteriorate, since neither Israel nor Syria is interested in a full-fledged war. Assad is focused on his battle against the rebels and Israel has little desire to upset a period of relative quiet. Syria's ally, Hezbollah, possesses tens of thousands of rockets and missiles aimed at Israel.

Even so, the area has seen an increase in tensions in recent weeks.

Last week, a roadside bomb exploded near an Israeli military patrol along the Lebanese border, causing no injuries. Israel responded with tank and artillery fire at suspected Hezbollah targets in southern Lebanon.

Earlier this month, the Israeli army said it killed two militants affiliated with Hezbollah — whose forces are fighting in Syria alongside Assad's troops — as they were trying to plant a bomb along the frontier.

Also, an Israeli airstrike last month reportedly targeted a suspected Hezbollah weapons convoy in northeastern Lebanon, though officials in Israel never confirmed it. Hezbollah said it would retaliate for the airstrike, which killed a Hezbollah official overseeing the operation, according to a senior Lebanese security official speaking on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.

Israel has stopped short of blaming Hezbollah for Tuesday's bombing. Israel and Hezbollah are bitter enemies. They fought a monthlong war in 2006 that ended in a stalemate, and both sides have been gearing up for another confrontation.

Israel has said it will not allow sophisticated weapons to flow from Syria to the Iranian-supported Hezbollah. Since the Syrian war broke out, Israel has carried out a series of airstrikes in Syria that destroyed weapons shipments believed to be headed to Hezbollah.

While the Israel and Syria have largely refrained from direct confrontation since the 1973 Mideast war, Israel has shown a readiness to act.

In 2007, Israeli warplanes bombed a suspected nuclear reactor in Syria, and on two previous occasions, Israeli warplanes buzzed over Assad's palace in a show of strength. In one case, it sought to send a message following a Hezbollah attack that killed an Israeli teenager. In the other, it responded to the capture of an Israeli soldier by Syrian-backed militants who whisked him into the Gaza Strip. In 2003, Israel also bombed a training camp belonging to a Syrian-backed militant group that had carried out a suicide bombing in Israel.

Though relations between the countries remain hostile, the ruling Assad family has kept the frontier with the Israeli-held Golan quiet for most of the past four decades. Israel is concerned that an ouster of Assad could see power in Syria fall to Islamic militants there, particularly al-Qaeda-linked groups, and further destabilize the region.

Israeli soldiers also have brought more than 750 wounded Syrians into the country for treatment.

Israeli analyst Ephraim Kam said neither Syria nor Israel want war, and that Hezbollah and Israel are interested in only limited confrontations.

"What can Israel achieve by going to war?" asked Kam, a researcher at the Israeli Institute for National Security Studies. "Syria is not in a position to go to war now, with civil war taking place."

Nearly Half of Americans Subscribe to Medical Conspiracy Theories

Wed, 03/19/2014 - 23:16

Women wearing surgical masks shop in the downtown Los Angeles Fashion District Wednesday, April 29, 2009. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon), a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.

Nearly half of Americans subscribe to a medical conspiracy theory

Medical conspiracy theories

A cause of autism? One in five Americans believes that of vaccines, and other medical conspiracy theories have attracted even more support, says a new study. (David Fitzgerald)

By Melissa Healy
March 19, 2014, 4:54 p.m.

Is there really a link between vaccine and autism, cellphones and cancer, the HIV virus and the CIA? Almost half of Americans believe the answer is yes for at least one of the many medical conspiracy theories that have circulated in recent years. And the attitudes and behavior of those conspiracists toward standard medical advice reflect that mistrust, says a study out this week.

A pair of University of Chicago social scientists set out to determine the extent of "medical conspiracism" among the U.S. public and conducted a nationally representative online survey. They gauged knowledge of and beliefs about six widely discussed medical conspiracy theories and explored how belief in those theories influenced individuals' behavior when it came to matters of health.

Their results appeared as a letter published online this week in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

Fully 37% of those surveyed endorsed the belief that the Food and Drug Administration, under pressure from pharmaceutical companies, is suppressing natural cures for cancer and other diseases, and 31% said they "neither agree nor disagree" with that idea, the researchers found.

One in five of those surveyed said they agreed that physicians and the government "still want to vaccinate children even though they know these vaccines cause autism and other psychological disorders." And 36% were on the fence, saying they neither agreed nor disagreed that there may be truth in the much-studied and widely discredited contention that vaccines cause autism.

Similarly, 20% said they believed that cellphones had been found to cause cancer but that the government had bowed to large corporations and would do nothing to address the health hazard. Though 40% disagreed, the remaining 40% withheld judgment on the idea that the government has been silenced about a known link between cellphones and cancer.

Less widely recognized medical conspiracy theories concerned genetically modified foods, HIV and water fluoridation, and they were not without adherents.

Just 12% of respondents said they agreed with a widely discussed theory that genetically modified foods have been widely disseminated by Monsanto Inc. as part of a secret program called Agenda 21, launched by the Ford Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation to shrink the world's population. While 42% disagreed, 46% stayed on the fence.

Just over half of Americans rejected outright a widely circulated theory alleging that the CIA deliberately infected African Americans with the HIV virus under the guise of a hepatitis inoculation program. But 12% agreed, and 37% said they neither agreed nor disagreed.

The authors of the letter, J. Eric Oliver and Thomas Weed, said the conspiracy believers spanned the political spectrum and tended to espouse conspiracy theories outside of medicine as well. But they found that the more conspiracy theories a person endorsed, the more likely he or she was to take vitamins and herbal supplements and buy mostly organic food, and the less likely he or she was to get an annual physical, wear sunscreen, visit a dentist or get a flu shot.

Given that medical conspiracy theories are so widely known and embraced, said Oliver and Weed, it would be unwise to dismiss all those who believe them as a "delusional fringe of paranoid cranks." Instead, they suggested, "we can recognize that most individuals who endorse these narratives are otherwise normal" but use a sort of cognitive shortcut to explain complex and confusing events. Physicians can also glean a bit more about their patients -- and their readiness to accept medical counsel -- when they know that a conspiracy adherent has come for the occasional doctor visit.

African Workers, Youth Strike Against Economic Crises Engendered by World Capitalism

Wed, 03/19/2014 - 03:50

Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, speaking in Cleveland on March 13, 2010 at a public forum on the history of U.S. foreign policy towards Haiti., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.

African Workers, Youth Strike Against Economic Crises Engendered by World Capitalism

From the CAR, Egypt to Kenya and South Africa the masses demand better pay and living conditions

By Abayomi Azikiwe
Editor, Pan-African News Wire

Workers and youth through their unions and mass organizations have been expressing profound discontent with the impact of the world capitalist crisis which has its origins in the western imperialist states. Although the escalating instability and threats of civil war have dominated the corporate media coverage of the African continent, the trade unions and student organizations are raising issues that involve the work place and educational institutions.

In the Central African Republic (CAR) where France has 2,000 troops occupying the mineral-rich state along with forces from several African Union member-states, peace and stability has eluded the country. Now France is supporting the intervention of another 2,000 troops from European Union (EU) governments along with an additional 12,000 so-called United Nations peacekeeping forces to ostensibly bring order to the country which is a former colony of Paris.

With the French escalation in the CAR the overall security situation has worsened. The new caretaker government of President Catherine Samba-Panza and Prime Minister Andre Nzapayeke does not have full control of the CAR’s police and military forces. Widespread violence is being systematically leveled against the minority Muslim population many of whom have fled the capital of Bangui and other areas in the country.

Since the Muslim population only constitutes 15% of the people in the CAR, it raises the question as to whether the French and their allied states are actually there to bring peace and stability. Many within the Islamic community and a growing number of Christians are rapidly turning against France and its indefinite military presence.

During the week of March 10 students in the CAR went on strike demanding the payments of their tuition and housing grants. Prime Minister Nzapayeke met with the students but it did not calm their anger.

CAR students set fires and held demonstrations demanding the payment of the grants. The unrest among the students was covered extensively over TVC, the Lagos, Nigeria-based satellite news network that reports on events throughout the continent. (March 13-14)

Kenya Transport Workers and University Lecturers Strike

In the East African state of Kenya, a close ally of the United States, the country has been severely impacted by a nationwide transport workers’ strike which took place on March 5. The buses and other forms of transport in the capital of Nairobi are privately owned and drivers are required to pay for parking costs from their earnings.

A rise in the price of fuel and parking costs has created a crisis for the drivers. They blocked traffic on the major streets and roads creating an intense traffic logjam.

In a report published on March 5 its states that “Kenyan paramilitary police dispersed public-transport drivers who paralyzed traffic by blocking roads in the capital, Nairobi, in a protest against increased parking fees. Operators of buses, commuter vans, known as matatus, and taxi-cab drivers stopped traffic on some of Nairobi’s busiest streets including Thika highway, Jogoo Road and the central business district since early morning as motorists headed to work. (Bloomberg)

This same article continues illustrating that at “Around noon, ground-level shops in the business district locked their doors as armed police carrying batons and shields chased protesters by foot and apprehended motorists and bus drivers as they tried to reclaim their parked vehicles.”

Later on March 14, thousands of college and universities lecturers walked off the jobs effectively closing higher education institutions across the country. Even though the government sought a court order to halt the strike, the lecturers and non-academic staff workers halted work anyway.

On March 17 it was reported that “The Industrial Court in Nairobi has allowed university lecturers and non-academic staff to file their response stating why they are entitled to go on strike. The university teachers and workers appeared before Justice Monicah Mbaru after they boycotted last week’s session, which prompted the court to order that they be served through the media. The court had warned that it would give further orders against them if they failed to show up yesterday. The lecturers asked the court to allow them to file their reply within 14 days.” (Standard Digital, March 17)

Egypt State-run Fashion Company Hit by Strike, Protests

In the North African state of Egypt where a military-backed regime has held power since a coup on July 3, 2013, protests by supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, students and other opponents of the government has resulted in thousands of deaths, injuries and arrests.

The ousted President Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood remains in detention while several scheduled hearings have been adjourned for various reasons. Recently there has been a spate of bomb attacks and the killings of several soldiers and police which the interim government has blamed on the Muslim Brotherhood, an allegation the organization vehemently denies.

Strikes have been taking place in industrial sectors of the economy. The most recent is against the state-run Modern Fashion Company where workers are demanding back pay and accusing the bosses of attempting to privatize the establishment which has been in existence since 1951.

Ahram Online reported on March 16 that “The company was nationalized in the early 1960s by former president Gamal Abdel-Nasser. Ben-Zaion (the firm) currently operates under law 203 from 1991 as a subsidiary of the Holding Company for Tourism, Hotels and Cinema (HOTAC), which owns 100 percent of the company's shares.”

This same article continues saying that “Before 2008, Ben-Zaion was under the state’s Holding Company for Internal Trade. Its 84 retail outlets specialize in goods and consumer durables such as textiles, household appliances, linens and furniture.”

South African Platinum Miners Face Intransigent Bosses

In the Republic of South Africa, which produces 90% of the world’s supply of platinum, workers under the leadership of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) have been on strike for nearly two months. The bosses are seeking to cripple the strike by refusing to negotiate in good faith with the union, which is a breakaway from the more-established National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), an affiliate of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), a close ally of the ruling African National Congress (ANC).

The strike has created hardships for workers in the North West Province. There are shortages of food and violence against people living in the communities has increased.

In a statement issued by COSATU on March 11 revealed the rivalry between the federation and the breakaway AMCU, which now has the majority of platinum workers in this region within its ranks. COSATU called upon AMCU and the bosses to reach an agreement to end the strike.

The statement said that “The Congress of South African Trade Unions in the North West is inundated with calls from workers in the platinum mines who have been on strike for the past seven weeks. The workers, in particular those who are in the Impala area, are indicating that they want to go back to work but they fear for their safety, as there is a lot of violence in the area.”

COSATU goes on to observe “As the federation we believe that the action taken by Impala management of putting all workers on special leave without payment is putting workers under economic challenges which they are facing today. We call on those workers to approach their employer and demand their work back as we prepare to engage the mine management on their request.”

International Women's Day in Africa Focuses on Land, Equality and Class Struggle

Wed, 03/19/2014 - 03:45

Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, at New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit on March 27, 2010. The event was a rally to demand justice in the assassination of Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah by the FBI on Oct. 28, 2009., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.

International Women’s Day in Africa Focuses on Land, Equality and Class Struggle

From Liberia to the sub-continent and the Diaspora debate over the future continues

By Abayomi Azikiwe
Editor, Pan-African News Wire

International Women’s Day on March 8 is an annual commemoration extending back for over a century. In Africa women have been in the forefront of the movements toward national liberation, social and environmental justice as well as gender equality.

A host of events have taken place in March across the African continent and in the Diaspora both recognizing the contributions and advancements of women in society but also examining the ongoing challenges. With African Union (AU) member-states having gone on record calling for full equality for women within governmental and economic affairs, raises serious questions about the pace of change and the commitment of the various states in implementing these goals.

In Liberia a third regional workshop on gender, the environment and land tenure was held. Some 50 women participated in the event from 16 different countries.

After the conclusion of the gathering 150 women from various areas of Liberia held a rally and march to present their findings to President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia, one of only three women heads-of-state on the African continent. Johnson-Sirleaf has promised to institute land reform which benefits the social interests of women who do much of the agricultural work inside the country and throughout the continent.

An article published by The New Dawn newspaper based in the capital of Monrovia, its states that “In Liberia, as in most Central and West African countries, indigenous peoples and local communities do not own the land and forests on which they have lived and cultivated for generations. Instead, government claims ownership instead.” (March 4)

This same article continues noting “As Liberia moves towards adopting a new policy on land ownership, many customary traditions do not yet respect the rights and abilities of women in land governance and, as currently written, Liberia's proposed land reform policy has no safeguards for women. Last year, the publication said, Liberian President Johnson-Sirleaf made an unprecedented promise to Liberian women, stating: ‘Women will have the full right to own their land like anyone else.’"

In its concluding declaration the workshop, which was sponsored by the African Women’s Network for Community Management of Forests (REFACOF), the president of the organization Cecile Ndjebet, posed a challenge to President Johnson-Sirleaf to honor previous pledges to include strong protections for women in the pending land reform legislation in Liberia.

Ndjebet said "For real political and social change to take place, there are three issues that need to be addressed, we need legislation that protects equal rights for women, mechanisms that provide for political and social equity, and a change in social and cultural perceptions of women.” (FrontPageAfrica, March 12)

SADC Region Calls for Gender Parity and Equality

In the Republic of South Africa which has the strongest economy on the continent with the largest industrial and rural working class, the National Assembly passed a new bill mandating gender equality on March 5. The Women Empowerment and Gender Equity Bill represented the continuation of other similar pieces of legislation enacted over the last two decades since the African National Congress (ANC) came to power.

Minister for Women Affairs Lulu Xingwana welcomed the passage of the legislation saying "The women of South Africa have said to us that they cannot wait any longer to share in the fruits of our democracy. It is a precondition for meeting the challenge of reducing poverty, promoting sustainable development and building good governance."(SAPA, March 5)

A spokeswoman for the Department of Women, Children and People With Disabilities, Motalatale Modiba, pointed out that the bill “calls for the progressive realization of at least 50% representation of women in decision-making structures." According to the SAPA “It also aims at improving access to education, training and skills development. The Bill seeks to promote and protect women's reproductive health, and eliminate discrimination and harmful practices, including gender-based violence.” (March 5)

The Bill adds to the Commission on Gender Equality Act (1996), the Skills Development Act (1998), the Employment Equity Act (1998) and the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act (2000).

In the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region despite the adoption of a protocol which mandates that 50% of all decision making positions should be occupied by women only one-third of the member countries are anywhere near approaching these goals. Of the five states which have the most representation by women within the legislative and administrative structures of government only Seychelles and South Africa have achieved levels above 40%.

These states within SADC which have the highest number of women within governing structures are Seychelles (43.8%), South Africa (42.3%), Mozambique (39.2%), the United Republic of Tanzania (36%) and Angola (34.1%). Zimbabwe, which introduced a quota system under the 2013 Constitution, now has 31.5% representation in the legislative National Assembly. (Zimbabwe Herald, March 12)

SADC Executive Secretary Dr. Tax Stergomina in a statement issued honoring International Women’s Day applauded the advancement made by women in Southern Africa but also stressed that “Many of our communities, especially women and girls in rural areas continue to face challenges that include harmful traditional /religious practices, and violence against women and children among other concerns. Lack of access to and ownership of resources such as land continues to be a challenge for basic livelihood necessary for poverty eradication, food security and sustainable development among others.” (March 8)

In the Republic of Zimbabwe, Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development Minister Oppah Muchinguri issued a statement on International Women’s Day noting that “We are happy that the new constitution provides for the establishment of Gender Commission which will work as a watchdog in ensuring that all State institutions abide with gender equality provisions. I would like to urge Zimbabwean women to use the new Constitution as a lobbying tool to penetrate key economic sectors such as mining, tourism, and agriculture. (Zimbabwe Herald, March 10)

Muchinguri applauded the provisions in the new constitution which places much stiffer penalties on those convicted of domestic violence and said that more work should be done to further criminalize sexual assault. “We should continue lobbying for deterrent sentences for rape and stiffer penalties for other forms of gender based violence. Specifically Section 25(b) of the Constitution obliges the State to adopt measures for the prevention of domestic violence,” she said.

The Debate Over Race and Gender Politics in the Diaspora

Outside of Africa among women of African and Asian descent in Britain a debate is still ongoing on the role of race in the struggle for gender equality. Many Black women feel that the specific aspects of racism and national oppression are not clearly understood by many white feminists.

In an article published by the Guardian which takes up this issue, writer and activist Armit Wilson noted that “For many of us – Black, Muslim, trans, lesbian, queer and disabled – police harassment is commonplace and specialist refuges and services for women facing violence built over decades by Black feminists are being closed down. Can anyone honestly say that these things do not represent or shape experiences of gender for a vast number of women? And yet the mainstream feminist movement says little (and does less) about these issues. This status quo needs challenging – good luck to the voices who do so.” (March 7)

Another contributor to the Guardian article was Egyptian writer and activist Nawal El Saadawi summed up the intersectional relationships between race, gender and class. She said “There have always been conflicts and disagreements between women belonging to the upper-middle classes in the global west or north and the majority of women in the south or east who belong to working classes. For example, working-class women in the US supported African women when others called us "women of the third world" and we were not happy with that term. Even within countries there have always been different feminisms, and it is really a matter of understanding the links between oppression by gender, by race, class and religion.”

Pan-African Journal: Special Worldwide Radio Broadcast for Sunday March 16, 2014--Hosted by Abayomi Azikiwe

Wed, 03/19/2014 - 03:29

Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, pictured at the Michigan Roundtable Festival on Belle Isle in Detroit during the summer of 2008. Azikiwe has written extensively on Pan-African and world affairs over the years. (Photo: Alan Pollock), a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.For Immediate Release

Media Advisory
Wednesday March 19, 2014

Pan-African Journal: Special Worldwide Radio Broadcast for Sun. March 16, 2014

To listen to this broadcast featuring Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, just click on the website below:
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/panafricanjournal/2014/03/16/pan-african-journal-special-worldwide-radio-broadcast

Our Sunday editions of the Pan-African Journal are usually broadcast beginning at 10:00 a.m. until Noon Eastern Daylight Savings Time (EDT). The two hour program features Pan-African cultural music, a segment of the Pan-African News Wire, commentaries and other feature stories from various press services throughout the world.

Developments in South Sudan, the Central African Republic, Egypt, Libya, Ukraine, Russia, Crimea, the United States and other states and regions of the world are reported on through the Pan-African Journal.

There are often live broadcasts of events that are attended in Detroit as well as other parts of the country.

March is International Women's History Month and throughout this period we have featured special reports examining the role of gender issues in the international community.

We are encouraging our listeners to share this broadcast and other from the archives of the Pan-African Radio Network with other potential audience members.

In addition other broadcasters are more than welcome to utilize the contents of this broadcast in part or in full. We want to get this information out as broadly as possible.

Pan-African Journal: Worldwide Radio Broadcast for Sat. March 15, 2014--Hosted by Abayomi Azikiwe

Wed, 03/19/2014 - 03:13

Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, in Press TV graphic on story related to the conviction of a white man in the shooting death of African American youth Jordan Davis. Azikiwe is frequent guest on the network., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.For Immediate Release

Media Advisory
Wednesday March 19, 2014

Pan-African Journal: Worldwide Radio Broadcast for Saturday March 15, 2014--Hosted by Abayomi Azikiwe, Editor of the Pan-African News Wire

To listen to this broadcast just click on the website below:
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/panafricanjournal/2014/03/15/pan-african-journal-worldwide-radio-broadcast

This broadcast comes to you every week examining some of the most pressing and burning issues of the day. News, music and commentaries from Africa, the Diaspora and the international community in general is our stock in trade.

In late October of 2010 this program was re-activated over blog talk radio. The Pan-African Journal has its origins in 1999-2000 over a radio based in the Detroit area.

Abayomi Azikiwe has worked as a broadcast journalist for the last fifteen years over several radio stations in the Detroit area and Toronto.

In addition to work with radio, Azikiwe is a regular news analyst over several satellite television networks including Press TV and RT. He speaks on the current and historical situations in various states and regions throughout Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and North America.

This broadcast also features reports from the Pan-African News Wire which Azikiwe is the founder and editor. The press agency has been in existence since January of 1998.

Abayomi Azikiwe, PANW Editor, Featured on RT: 'US-NATO Responsible for Chaos in Libya'

Tue, 03/18/2014 - 23:45

Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, featured on RT satellite television discussing the political and security situation in the post-Gaddafi North African state of Libya. Azikiwe is a frequent analyst for varioius media outlets worldwide., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.For Immediate Release

Media Advisory
Tuesday March 18, 2014

Abayomi Azikiwe, PANW Editor, Featured on RT Worldwide Satellite Television News: US-NATO Responsible for Chaos in Libya

To watch this interview with Abayomi Azikiwe broadcast over RT just click on the website below:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VLT4uPo3wB8&feature=youtu.be

A struggle is unfolding inside the North African state of Libya over control of several ports in the east of the country where oil is exported. The rebel forces based in the east say they want to control the sale of oil in contravention to the wishes of the capital of Tripoli in the west.

Since the CIA-Pentagon-NATO war of regime-change against Libya in 2011, the country has been virtually destroyed. Prior to the war under the leadership of Col. Muammar Gaddafi Libya maintained the highest standard of living in Africa.

As a result of the war that was initiated by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and followed-up with a massive bombing campaign led by the Pentagon and NATO, Libya has fallen into economic depression and political subjugation to local reactionaries backed up by imperialism.

On the day of this interview a tanker loaded with oil left the Es Sider port over the objection of the General National Congress regime in Tripoli. A coup against puppet Prime Minister Ali Zeidan took place in the aftermath of the oil vessel debacle.

At the time of this interview with RT, Azikiwe mentioned a report that the vessel was being tracked and the it had been halted by an Italian war ship. Later on March 17 it was reported that a Naval warship had stopped the vessel, entered it and returned it to the east of Libya.

These developments illustrate clearly the ongoing role of U.S. and western imperialism in the continuing destruction of Libya. The only solution to the Libyan crisis is for the people to rise up against the neo-colonial system and re-institute a socialist system of governance that prevailed under the Jamahiriya led by Col. Muammar Gaddafi.

All political prisoners should be released and Libya should re-engage the African Union member-states in order to foster economic growth. U.S. imperialism should repay reparations to Libya for the destruction they have caused.

South Sudanese Activists Meet In Addis Ababa Over Raging Conflict

Tue, 03/18/2014 - 22:59

Lorna James of the Republic of South Sudan participated in a conference of civil society organizations held recently in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. They want and end to the internal war., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.

TUESDAY 18 MARCH 2014

S. Sudanese activists meet in Addis Ababa over raging conflict

March 17, 2014 (ADDIS ABABA) – Civil society representatives from South Sudan have concluded a three-day conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia seeking ways to end the ongoing conflict in the world’s youngest nation.

The event, the organisers said, mainly discussed reforms clusters under various thematic areas ranging from halting the ongoing conflict, humanitarian assistance, constitutional reform, truth, justice and reconciliation, and security sector reforms.

“The deliberations also dealt with how civil society can constructively engage with all relevant stakeholders in seeking a peaceful resolution to the South Sudan conflict,” Lona James said on behalf of the organising committee.

The conference was held under the theme “Sustainable peace is a collective effort”.

The event organizers, in a statement to Sudan Tribune, dismissed statements attributed to a junior South Sudanese rebel official who claimed the activists had pushed for inclusion in the ongoing peace talks.

“To this end, we would like to make it crystal clear that we completely denounced and refute it [the report] in the strongest term possible,” partly reads its statement.

“In light of the above, a declaration that stipulates major issues resolved in the conference will be officially issued to the media by the conference’s organizing committee on 18th March 2014 at 3:00 pm,” is further stated.

Violence broke out in the South Sudanese capital, Juba in mid-December last year following a dispute between the presidential guards and later extended to three of the country’s 10 states. At least 10,000 have reportedly been killed and nearly a million displaced in the country’s worst-ever violence since it seceded from Sudan in 2011.

(ST)

South Sudan Army Says It Repulsed Opposition Attack Outside Upper Nile State Capital

Tue, 03/18/2014 - 22:52

Map of South Sudan where fighting has taken place between SPLA forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and those aligned with Riek Machar., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.

TUESDAY 18 MARCH 2014

South Sudan army says it repulsed rebel attack outside Upper Nile state capital

March 17, 2014 (JUBA) – The South Sudanese army (SPLA) said on Monday it had repulsed a rebel attempt to extend their control to other areas outside Malakal, the capital of oil-producing Upper Nile state.

Heavy gunfire raged on Monday morning for more than two hours on the outskirts of Malakal between the army and rebel forces from the SPLM-In-Opposition, residents and military officers told Sudan Tribune.

Eyewitnesses said that explosions were heard to the south and west of the town, where the army claimed it repulsed attempts by rebel forces to move out from the town, located about 497km north of the country’s capital, Juba.

“We are fighting the rebel just 3km north-west of the town. They moved out on Sunday, but they were beaten back.” Colonel Philip Aguer, the SPLA spokesman, told Sudan tribune on Monday.

Aguer said that government troops had repulsed similar attacks from rebel forces in Unity state’s Leer county on 14 March, as well as Mankien in Jonglei state.

“The sound of heavy gunfire and what sounds like RPGs (Rocket Propelled Grenades) began at around 9.15am (local time) and carried [on] until about 10.28 am yesterday,” a resident of Malakal town told Sudan Tribune from the UN camp where thousands are seeking protection.

“The fighting was happening in two different places. Sounds of heavy guns and explosions were coming from the direction pointing south and west of the town. It was not far,” he said.

REBELS DENY ATTACK

The SPLM-In-Opposition, meanwhile, has denied that its forces attacked new positions outside Malakal, accusing the army of launching an attack to recapture the town, which has been under rebel control since 18 February.

Reacting to Aguer, James Gatdet Dak, the spokesperson for former vice-president turned rebel leader Riek Machar, said that government troops had launched an offensive against their forces at Khor Nyingara, located north of Malakal town.

“They were attempting to break that barrier towards Malakal, but were defeated and ran back to Akoka county,” he told Sudan Tribune.

Dak also accused the government of trying to retake control of the strategic oil-rich state capital before a stabilisation force consisting of member countries from the Intergovermental Authority on Development (IGAD) could deploy in the state.

The two warring parties in South Sudan signed a cessation of hostilities agreement on 23 January aimed at ending the three-month-old conflict, which erupted in mid-December last year, although much of the agreement remains unimplemented, with both sides accusing each other of violating the terms of the peace pact.

An estimated 20,000 people have been killed in the violence, which has spread to key strategic towns and areas across the country.

The rebellion was borne out of the political differences within the governing Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), the former rebel group that has governed South Sudan since a peace deal in 2005 secured independence six years later.

The conflict initially flared in the capital, Juba, before spreading to Jonglei, as well as the key oil-producing states of Unity and Upper Nile.

South Sudan relies on oil revenues for nearly 90% of its income.

(ST)

Mahmood Mamdani to Help Probe South Sudan Conflict

Tue, 03/18/2014 - 22:49

Mahmood Mamdani, a Ugandan academic who works at Columbia University in New York City. He has been chosen to lead a fact-finding mission to South Sudan., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.

Mamdani on team to probe South Sudan conflict

March 16th, 2014 at 2:27 pm
By Francis Kagolo & Agencies, New Vision

The African Union has appointed Ugandan academic Prof. Mahmood Mamdani on a five-member commission of inquiry into atrocities committed in the ongoing armed conflict in South Sudan.

The head of Makerere University Institute of Social Research (MISR) is to work under a probe team headed by former Nigerian president Olusegun Matthew Obasanjo to “investigate human rights violations and other abuses during the conflict by all parties".

South Sudan’s government has been at war with rebels since December 15, when a clash between troops loyal to President Salva Kiir and those supporting sacked vice-president Riek Machar snowballed into full-scale fighting across the world’s newest nation.

The commission of inquiry was sworn-in Wednesday last week by the AU commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

"Whoever is responsible must not get away with impunity," said Obasanjo, who is expected to submit the team’s recommendations to the AU within three months.

"Africa must not condone impunity of Africans treating Africans as if they are not human beings. I want to assure you we will leave no stone unturned."

Other members include Sophia A.B. Akuffo, who is Judge of the Supreme Court of Ghana and Bineta Diop, a special envoy for women, peace and security at the AU Commission.

Prof. Pacifique Manirakiza, a Burundian professor of law at the University of Ottawa in Canada, is also a member of the probe team.

The team will, among others, investigate human rights violations, and make recommendations on the best ways to ensure accountability, reconciliation and nation building.

While inaugurating the probe commission, Dlamini-Zuma said the team faced a "very important and heavy responsibility".

The Human Rights Watch said in a recent report that war crimes have been committed by all sides in the war which has lasted almost three months.

The two warring sides signed a cease-fire agreement on January 23, but heavy fighting has continued, claiming thousands of lives.

The trial of four top leaders accused of treason for allegedly attempting to topple Kiir opened on Tuesday last week while stalled peace talks in Ethiopia are due to resume on March 20.

Prof. Mamdani, a specialist in African history and politics, has written widely about the politics of Sudan.

During a public lecture in January 2011, he warned that with independence, South Sudan was now predisposed to serious tribal tensions that could spark off violence and deter the highly anticipated development.

He said political violence in Africa was mainly not between states, but within states.

Russian Senators Undaunted By US, EU Sanctions

Tue, 03/18/2014 - 22:36

Valentina Matviyenko, Speaker of the Upper House of the Russian Parliament. She says that Crimea has a right to self-determination., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.Russian senators undaunted by US, EU sanctions

Russia March 18, 19:50 UTC+4
ITAR-TASS/Sergei Fadeichev

MOSCOW, March 18. /ITAR-TASS/. Members of the Federation Council upper house of the Russian parliament said they are not daunted by US and EU sanctions, yet regretted this decision by European and American politicians.

Russian senator says EU sanctions 'comical'

Member of the FC committee for federal system, regional policy, local self-rule and affairs of the North Nikolai Ryzhkov (Belgorod region) assured Itar-Tass that he was absolutely calm about his being blacklisted by the European Union.

“Firstly, I don't have any property abroad; never had any bank accounts abroad.

Secondly, I never cared about going to Europe: I haven't travelled there for years and have no plans to go there in the nearest foreseeable future.”

First deputy chairman of the FC committee for procedures Oleg Panteleyev (Kurgan region) said he was glad to see his name on the EU black list.

“Thanks for noting my modest labor for the good of the Fatherland,” the senator told Itar-Tass. “Really, I'm very happy. In fact, I did everything for the Crimean situation to normalize. Yesterday was a holiday for me as I saw the majority of Russian and Crimean citizens jubilant.”

At the same time, the parliamentarian said it was odd to see the attempts by the European community, which is professing democratic principles, to punish an individual, a certain senator, for his remarks. “This does not go well with the democratic community where each can speak his mind and is not punished for it," Panteleyev said. "In this case, it is complete abuse of democratic principles existing in the world.

Matviyenko: US sanctions against Russian government officials “unprecedented”

Earlier on Tuesday, FC Speaker Valentina Matviyenko said the announcement of sanctions against top Russian officials performing their state functions is an unprecedented decision; no such thing happened even during the “Cold War”. She told reporters she was not going to make excuses to anybody.

"If we call it like it is, it's political blackmail. The USA is well aware that I have no accounts, assets or property abroad. I never had any business abroad. This is why I regard these statements against me as attempts to put pressure on my principled position, making me change it," the FC speaker said.

Chairman of the FC committee on constitutional legislation and legal issues and Andrei Klishas, who found himself both on US and EU black lists, ironically noted that he did not mind being "in a company of respected people."

USA publishes sanctions list with several Russian and Ukrainian officials

The black list composed by the USA includes presidential aide Vladislav Surkov, presidential advisor Sergei Glazyev, head of the parliament committee for CIS affairs Leonid Slutsky, Federation Council speaker Valentina Matviyenko, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, chairman of the parliament committee for family, women and children Yelena Mizulina, Crimean Prime Minister Sergey Aksyonov, State Council speaker Vladimir Konstantinov, leader of the Ukrainian Choice public movement Viktor Medvedchuk and Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

EU has published a list of 21 sanctioned Russian and Crimean officials

The EU black list has 21 names, including 13 Russian citizens. Among the Russians are head of the FC committee on defense Viktor Ozerov, first deputy chairman of the FC committee on international affairs Vladimir Dzhabarov, A Just Russia leader Sergei Mironov, deputy speaker of the State Duma Sergei Zheleznyak, head of the parliament committee on CIS affairs Leonid Slutsky, Black Sea Fleet commander Vice-Admiral Alexander Vitko, head of the Western Military District Anatoly Sidorov and commander of the Southern Military District Alexander Galkin.

The people blacklisted by the EU are banned from entering the EU territory for six months. The EU will also freeze their assets if such are found in EU banks.

The European Council believes that these officials are personally responsible for the actions undermining Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

Treaty to Accept Crimea, Sevastopol to Russian Federation Signed

Tue, 03/18/2014 - 21:07

Russian President Putin signs treaty with Prime Minister Sergey Aksyonov merging Crimea and Moscow. Crimeans voted overwhelmingly to join Russia., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.

Treaty to accept Crimea, Sevastopol to Russian Federation signed

March 18, 2014 11:53
Rt.com

Russia and Crimea have signed treaty of accession of the Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol in the Russian Federation following President Putin’s address to the Parliament.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin requests parliament to ratify the agreement that would see both Crimea and the city of Sevastopol joining Russia.

“I ask you to consider the adoption of two new subjects of the Federation: Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol,” Putin told Parliamentarians.

Crimea was represented by Prime Minister Sergey Aksenov and Sevastopol mayor Aleksey Chaly, who signed the treaty. The two were accompanied by Crimean top official Vladimir Konstantinov.

“Since the adoption of the Russian Federation Republic of Crimea in structure of the Russian Federation two new entities - of the Republic of Crimea and the city of Federal importance Sevastopol – have been created,” the text of the treaty reads.

The Treaty enumerates 10 articles which will come into effect after ratification.

Russia will guarantee that the people who live in Crimea and Sevastopol will be given the right to keep their native language as well as the means and conditions for learning it.

Thus, article 3 of the treaty stands that there will be three official languages in Crimea and Sevastopol: Ukrainian, Russian and the language of Crimean Tatars.

Starting from the day of accession, the people of Crimea and Sevastopol are considered as Russian citizens, according to Article 5.

As it was agreed, the transition period will be acting till January 1, 2015. During this time, both sides will resolve the issues of integration of the new subjects “in the economic, financial, credit and legal system of the Russian Federation.”Crimea has already officially introduced the ruble as a second currency along with the Ukrainian hryvna, which will remain an official currency until January 1, 2016.

National elections to the state bodies of the Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol have been slated for September 2015.

Until then the now acting Parliament of Crimea and the Council of Ministers of Crimea as well as the Legislative Assembly of the city of Sevastopol will continue their work.

The document will be sent for approval to the constitutional court, and then to ratification in the parliaments of Russia and Crimea.

Russian lawmakers will meet with a parliamentary delegation from Crimea and Sevastopol on March 19 to review strategic aspects of cooperation, including "the prospects for the political and financial establishment of the Republic of Crimea."

"A number of lawmakers will meet with our colleagues from Crimea and Sevastopol at 10:30 local time (0630 GMT)," said the speaker of the lower house of Russia's parliament, Sergey Naryshkin.

Treaty signing came after President Putin’s address to the Federal Assembly.

Putin stressed that the results of the referendum, in which more than 83 percent of Crimean residents came to polling stations and more than 96 percent of those voted for rejoining Russia, leave no room for equivocation.

The referendum on independence in Crimea was conducted in strict accordance with democratic principles and international law, he pointed out. He dismissed criticism of the Crimean referendum, citing Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence as an example of self-determination praised by the West.

The president recalled the history of Crimea, saying its cultural, religious and spiritual ties bind it with the peoples of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, which explains the attitude Russians have towards the peninsula.

"There are graves of Russian soldiers on the peninsula whose courage enabled Russia to make Crimea part of the Russian Empire in 1783," Putin said. "Russians, Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars and other peoples lived side by side in Crimea preserving their originality, traditions, language and religion."

He said Crimea had dark pages in its past, particularly the persecution of Crimean Tatars and other minorities in the USSR. The authorities of Crimea seek to recompense for those ills.

"There was the period, where the Crimean Tatars experienced injustice· It is necessary to adopt political, legal measures to finalise the process of rehabilitation of the Crimean Tatars. The measures should restore their rights, their good name fully," Putin said.

One such move would be accepting the language of Crimean Tatars as an official language in Crimea on a par with Russian and Ukrainian.

Putin lashed out at former Soviet leader, Nikita Khrushchev, under whose rule Crimea was attached to Soviet Ukraine without any regard for Crimeans’ wishes and in violation of the laws of the time.

Crimean separation from Russia was reinforced again after the split of the Soviet Union, Putin said. This could be partially blamed on Moscow too, as it hailed the so-called “parade of sovereignty” of the Soviet Republics.

Russia has since respected the results of the USSR’s dissolution, including Crimea being part of Ukraine.

Russia’s position was based on the assumption that Ukraine would remain a friendly partner respecting the historic ties between the two countries. Russia continues and will continue to view these relations as very important, the president said.

Putin criticized several governments in Kiev for neglecting average Ukrainians, seeing the country as a source of profit.

He said he sympathized with Ukrainians who took to the streets of Kiev in protest against President Yanukovich, whom they saw as profoundly corrupt.

But the current authorities who replaced Yanukovich after an armed coup are to a large degree controlled by radical nationalists, Putin stated.

Those same radicals have voiced threats against Ukrainians who resist their rule, particularly those living in Crimea.

Turning a blind eye to those threats and the moves of the current authorities, which violated the rights of ethnic Russians in Ukraine, would be betrayal on the part of Russia, Putin said.

"Stalingrad" Confronts the Disturbing Realities of Fascism and War

Tue, 03/18/2014 - 20:50

Photograph of the Battle for Stalingrad in the Soviet Union from 1942 showing Katyusha rockets used against the Nazis who were defeated at great human and material cost. The 70th anniversary of the battle has been recognized internationally., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.

“Stalingrad” confronts the disturbing realities of fascism and war

Russian war epic holds lessons for U.S. audiences on modern day crisis in Ukraine

By Dave Schneider
March 18, 2014
Reprinted From Fightback News

Fighting at Stalingrad Fighting at Stalingrad
Last year, I might have thought of Stalingrad as an interesting history lesson. But when I sat down in the theater to watch the new Russian war epic last weekend, all I could think about was the crisis in Ukraine.

In less than four months time, the world watched a large, right-wing movement in Ukraine force a democratically elected government from power and replace it with a coalition ranging from far-right oligarchs to out-and-out Nazis. Russia responded to the new fascist-led government by condemning the undemocratic takeover and stationing troops in Crimea, a small region in the southeast of Ukraine comprised of a majority ethnic Russians.

The move by Putin drew condemnation from all the usual players in the Western world, including U.S. President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. While Russia defends its defensive posture out of concern at the fascist takeover, pundits in the West ridicule them and downplay the very real threat of a fascist Ukraine, the largest country on Russia's western border. The New York Times, for instance, ran an op-ed titled “Putin's Phantom Pogroms,” that argued – against all evidence – that Russia's concern was a cynical ploy to dominate Ukraine. Funny, of course, for a newspaper that has a history of defending the U.S.'s many wars of aggression.

But the threat of fascism in Ukraine matters a lot to the Russian people, and movie-goers in the U.S. would do well to see Stalingrad to better understand why.

Stalingrad focuses on a small band of Soviet soldiers trying to defend a key neighborhood from the Nazi invaders. The neighborhood is situated in front of a major Red Army supply route, making the stakes incredibly high.

Made up of a few sailors and the survivors of a war-weary combat unit, the group makes a courageous stand against the German occupation at great cost to themselves.

You see the devastation wreaked by the Nazis on the Soviet Union on full display in the film. The neighborhood where the bulk of the film takes place is full of wreckage and dilapidated buildings. Food is scarce, and fresh water is even harder to find. Having executed most of the men left in the city, the Nazis regularly terrorize women and children in the most barbaric ways, giving the audience a glimpse of the horror of Nazi occupation. They rape Soviet women, withhold food and basic goods from the population, and forcibly relocate entire neighborhoods of people.

In one particularly disturbing scene, a sadistic German lieutenant orders all of the women and children in the neighborhood to line up at gun point. He randomly accuses a darker skinned woman and her child of being Jewish, and the Nazi soldiers force them into a wooden structure and burn them alive.

Other films on Nazi occupation explore this element of fascist violence, like the 1985 Soviet film Come and See, but Stalingrad shows how these acts of barbarism outraged ordinary working people enough to give their lives in order to drive the Germans back to Berlin. Anyone following the events in Ukraine will have a better understanding of why the rise of fascism in the neighboring country is so terrifying to the Russian people.

One point that stands out in Stalingrad is the class composition of the Red Army and the class consciousness of the ordinary soldiers fighting German occupation. One soldier reminds another during a dispute that they are fighting in a “worker and peasant army,” showing how ordinary Soviet soldiers conceived of the war in class terms. Another soldier, who remains silent for most of the film, is revealed as a factory worker with an incredible talent for singing. His factory committee, recognizing his talent, sent him to Moscow to sing in operas and arias. Although the film shows us that he is a well-known celebrity, we find out he enlisted in the Red Army the day after the German invasion in 1941.

Contrast that with just about any U.S. war film. Movies like Platoon show working class people in the U.S. forcibly drafted into the military to fight wars on behalf of the rich.

Some justify it to themselves in nationalistic terms, but most soldiers were forced to risk their lives because of their class background.

In Stalingrad, the workers fighting Nazi occupation have pride in their class, not just their country, which directly contrasts with the Nazi soldiers. At one point, a German officer tries to psyche his soldiers up to storm the Red Army's neighborhood base by telling them that they will conquer India after defeating the USSR. Addressing a battalion made up of many child soldiers, some no older than 13, he talks about Indian women in the most racist terms and explains the Nazi imperialist project as their reason for fighting. Stalingrad highlights that while the Nazis fought for colonial and imperialist expansion, the Soviet Red Army fought for freedom from the jackboot of fascism.

Technically speaking, the cinematography of Stalingrad is masterful, which was released in IMAX 3-D. An early scene features a large battalion of Soviet soldiers storming a Nazi fuel bunker from the water. The amphibious landing blows up in their face – literally – as the Nazi commanding officers destroy the bunker in order to prevent the Red Army from capturing the fuel. The enormous explosion is only outdone by the sight of Soviet soldiers, burning alive from the oil fire, bravely charging the German barricade and tackling Nazi soldiers to the ground to also burn.

Released the same weekend as 300: Rise of an Empire, the sequel to the racist fantasy war epic of the same name, Stalingrad provides all of the stunning visuals and thrills while remaining rooted in reality.

All of that said, you can tell Stalingrad was made in the Russian Federation, and not the Soviet Union, more than 20 years after the restoration of capitalism. The film mentions the Soviet Union and bits of dialogue pay homage to socialism, but the tone of the film is more nationalistic than any World War II films produced in the USSR. After the film, I couldn't help but contrast Stalingrad with Come and See, which focused on the Belarusian resistance to brutal Nazi occupation.

If Come and See is the Apocalypse Now of Soviet war films, Stalingrad was much more like Saving Private Ryan. The political nature of the events on-screen is purposely toned down to emphasize the visuals and the plot, which might make the film disappointing to some Soviet history buffs.

The people of the former Soviet Union take the threat of fascism very seriously, and Stalingrad clearly articulates why they should. Most histories of World War II in the West would have us believe that the U.S. single-handedly defeated Hitler. Ultimately, this is why Stalingrad is such an important film for people in the U.S. to see. Of the 60 million people who died in World War II, the Soviet Union bore the brunt of the war against fascism, suffering more than 7 million military deaths and millions of other civilian deaths. Even the highest death tolls for the U.S. place the military death toll no higher than 420,000.

Stalingrad forces us to confront the reality of fascism and war from the perspective of Russians, which is more important than ever before with recent developments in Ukraine.

The Soviet Union is gone, but the people of Russia all have parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents who paid the ultimate sacrifice defeating fascism during World War II. For people in the U.S., World War II films like Stalingrad provide important ground for discussing the roles of other nationalities in defeating the Nazis, which is often downplayed in Hollywood. Stalingrad provides such discussions, and that alone makes it worth the ticket price.

Oil Prices Rise on Imperialist Attacks Against Crimea and Libya

Tue, 03/18/2014 - 20:42

Zueitina oil terminal located near Benghazi, Libya has been the scene of labor unrest. The industry in Libya is no facing a downturn in production after the imperialist overthrow of Gaddafi., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.

Oil Prices Rise on Crimea, Libya Tensions

Agence France-Presse
Tue, 2014-03-18 15:26

LONDON -- Global oil prices climbed today as investors tracked unrest over Crimea and in Libya, awaiting the outcome of a Federal Reserve monetary policy meeting.

New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate for delivery in April, jumped $1.23 to $99.31 a barrel compared with Monday's close.

Brent North Sea crude for May delivery added 40 cents to stand at $106.64 in late London trading.

Crude futures had fallen on Monday as markets downplayed fears of disruptions to Western European energy supplies after Crimea voted in a disputed referendum to leave Ukraine and join Russia.

But on Tuesday, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden warned Russia that it faced the prospect of more sanctions over its move to absorb Crimea, calling it "nothing more than a land grab."

And he announced talks in coming weeks with European partners to discuss ways to ease their dependence on Russian natural gas supplies.

"The current pulse of the market suggests a consensus view that oil and gas will continue to flow, even directly through Ukraine," said Tim Evans of Citi Futures.

After Sunday's referendum -- slammed as a sham by the White House and the European Union -- Brussels and Washington issued sanctions on Russian President Vladimir Putin's inner circle on Monday.

Occupying also the minds of oil traders was news that Libyan crude production has dropped as the country struggles with rebels blockading eastern terminals since July, cutting exports from 1.5 million barrels a day.

"Libya is still presenting problems to the global market, as oil production in the country has dropped to just 250,000 barrels per day," said Joe Conlan, analyst at energy research group Inenco.

Traders were also awaiting the outcome Wednesday of the Federal Reserve's policy meeting.

Following a two-day meeting, the U.S. central bank is expected to further cut its massive stimulus program amid a slowly recovering economy, the world's largest crude-oil consumer.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2014

Source URL: http://www.industryweek.com/global-economy/oil-prices-rise-crimea-libya-tensions

Libyan Rebels Call US Navy 'Pirates' After Seizure of Oil Tanker

Tue, 03/18/2014 - 20:23

Commandant Gen. Jim Amos, visits the U.S. embassy compound in Tripoli, Libya, on June 16, 2013. He is speaking with a member of 4th Force Reconnaissance Company., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.

Libyan rebel leader calls U.S. Navy 'pirates' after tanker seized

Tue, Mar 18 2014
By Ulf Laessing and Ayman al-Warfalli

TRIPOLI/BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) - A Libyan rebel leader accused the United States on Tuesday of behaving like pirates after U.S. naval forces seized an oil-laden tanker that had sailed from a rebel-held port in the east of the chaotic North African state.

Ibrahim Jathran's defiant speech dampened hopes of a quick peaceful settlement with Libya's central government to end a blockage of three oil ports his men took over in summer to press for eastern autonomy and a greater share of oil revenues.

The conflict reflects wider chaos in Libya where the government has been struggling to rein in militias that helped overthrow Revolutionary Pan-Africanist leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 but kept their guns to become powerful political players.

On Sunday, U.S. forces stormed a tanker that had made it as far as the eastern Mediterranean off Cyprus after loading crude at the Es Sider port, one of three Jahtran's men have occupied, and eluding Libyan government forces off-shore. The ship is now on its way back to a government-controlled port.

The Tripoli government has given Jahtran's group two weeks to clear the ports or face a military offensive to end the port blockage, which has crippled the OPEC country's finances.

But in a speech broadcast by a rebel television station, Jathran did not mention a government offer to hold new talks and said his group would continue its struggle.

"We will continue our fight for our right to dream of a better tomorrow for our children and families," said Jathran, calling for the United Nations and Arab League to intervene to help the people of eastern Libya.

"We urge the United States government to refrain from siding with the extremists currently holding power in Tripoli," he said, describing the U.S. navy operation as "piracy".

"We call on the U.S. authorities to guarantee the safety of our sons on board and of the entire crew, and to ensure that the tanker is promptly returned to us," he said, confirming that his men had boarded the ship after loading oil.

Jathran, based in Ajdabiya in eastern Libya, defended his repeated attempts to bypass Tripoli in selling oil. "We declare and confirm that, indeed, the majority of Libyan tribes have agreed to the necessity of taking hold of our resources for the benefit of the people," Jathran said.

While Jathran's oil sale proved unsuccessful this time, the episode led to the dismissal of Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan, who fled to Europe last week.

Western powers, worried that Libya might fracture or slide deeper into anarchy, have been training Libyan armed forces and cajoling conflicting parties in government to work together, to little avail.

But diplomats say the nascent army would struggle in any case to take on Jathran's men, who helped overthrow Gaddafi. He defected last year as head of a state oil protection force, taking with him his armed men.

BUDGET CRISIS

The eighth-month port blockage has knocked down oil exports, the main source for the budget and fund for basic food imports.

"We are in a very difficult situation," said Souhail Abu Sheikha, acting economy minister. He said there was still no budget approved for 2014, adding that financial crises had been made worse by the government's inability to collect customs duties since some border crossings were beyond Tripoli's writ.

Oil exports have fallen to 100,000-120,000 barrels per day (bpd) in the last two weeks, acting oil minister Omar Shakmak told reporters. Exports have been well below capacity of around 1.25 million bpd since July.

Shakmak added that the El Sharara oilfield in the southwest, which can produce 340,000 bpd, was still shut down by protesters from a state security force making financial demands.

The field reopened briefly last week after a shutdown since mid-February. Libya's current exports now come mainly from the western Mellitah port and its offshore oilfields.

(Writing by Julia Payne and Ulf Laessing; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

Say No to Another U.S. War in Ukraine and Russia!--Today, March 18, 4:30pm at Hart Plaza

Tue, 03/18/2014 - 10:21

Separate tank battalion of the Baltic Fleet motorized infantry brigade, during loading on flatcars, for dislocation to the district selected for military exercises in the city of Gusev, Kaliningrad Region., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.

Demonstration - No New U.S. War!
Tues., March 18, 4:30 PM at Hart Plaza, Jefferson at Woodward, Downtown

http://mecawi.org

MONEY FOR DETROIT!

For our schools, services, pensions, art, parks, homes and neighborhoods, for jobs for youth and the unemployed, and at higher
wages--billions for our hurting city, not for war!

NO NEW U.S. WAR!

Hands off Ukraine and Venezuela!

Stop U.S. $upport for fascists

DEMONSTRATE!

Tuesday, March 18, 4:30 PM
Hart Plaza, Downtown Detroit

Ukrainian and Russian people oppose U.S. backed fascism in Ukraine

The Ukrainian and Russian people are resisting the imposition of a U.S. backed fascist dictatorship in Ukraine.

The U.S. has collaborated and conspired with outright fascists to threaten the Venezuelan people's chosen government and to overthrow the elected president of Ukraine and install a pro-U.S. regime.

The neo-Nazis now running Ukraine openly flaunt the swastika and the Confederate flag.

These forces have received billions and Washington has committed $10 billion more to the illegal government in Ukraine--money that we need to save our city!

Sanctions, U.S. war ships in the Black Sea, U.S. fighter jets in countries bordering Ukraine--the war danger is real. Only the people can stop it.

Seven People Killed, Five Injured in Warrap Attacks in South Sudan

Tue, 03/18/2014 - 01:29

South Sudan Warrap state in red where fighting has erupted. It is reported that the fighting in Unity has spilled over., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.

TUESDAY 18 MARCH 2014

Seven people killed, five injured in Warrap attacks

March 17, 2014 (RUMBEK) – Authorities in Warrap state capital Kuacjok reported that seven people were killed and more than 300 head of cattle were raided by suspected pastoralists from Unity state on Saturday.

Acting minister of information and telecommunications Paul Dhel Gum confirmed the attack, which occurred after a group of armed of men stormed Alabek payam (district) in Tonj North county.

According to Gum, state governor Nyandeng Malek has instructed youth and police to step up patrols in remote areas, as well as along suspected routes travelled by raiders into Warrap state.

The latest incident is one of a numbers of attacks carried out by raiders from Unity state against civilians in Warrap state.

“On behalf of the government of Warrap state and on my own behalf, my sincere condolences to the community of Tonj North county and Lou Ariik of Alabek payam in particular for these tragic deaths,” said Gum.

“Our government will do all the possible means to make sure that our civil population is not exposed to danger of arm criminals from Unity state,” he added.

Gum said the governor had ordered increased security measures since the attack, with county commissioners on maximum alert, while vulnerable groups have been temporarily relocated from trouble spots for their safety. Forces are also monitoring any suspected criminal movements in border areas.

Warrap state authorities have also urged their citizens to exercise restraint and not in engage in revenge attacks.

Gum quoted the governor as saying the people of Warrap state are peaceful, but would not tolerate attacks on innocent civilians, calling on authorities in Unity state to take tougher measures to curb cross-border cattle raids.

“We urge our counterparts in Unity state to exert more efforts to ensure that enemies don’t exist between two states to avoid frustration and subsequent response from people of Warrap state,” he said.

(ST)

Lead Rebel Negotiator Questions IGAD's Intentions to Deploy Troops in South Sudan

Tue, 03/18/2014 - 01:26

Riek Machar Teny, the former vice-president the Republic of South Sudan, has been accused on being behind a coup plot in Juba. He has denied the charges., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.

MONDAY 17 MARCH 2014

Lead rebel negotiator questions IGAD’s intention to deploy troops in S. Sudan

March 16, 2014 (ADDIS ABABA) – South Sudanese rebels chief negotiator, Taban Deng Gai, has questioned the decision and intention of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) members states to deploy additional troops to the war-torn region.

He said the decision was "ill-advised" and unnecessary since the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has a force of over 12,000 fully mandated to protect the civilians in times of crisis such as the current violence between the government of president Salva Kiir and the rebels led by the former vice president, Riek Machar.

The IGAD member states resolved to deploy to South Sudan unknown numbers of forces from Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda and Burundi to protect the oilfields and other vital installations which President Salva Kiir’s government may fail to protect.

The leader of the SPLM/A-in-Opposition, Riek Machar, also condemned the proposed deployment of the troops.

"This is an unfortunate decision by IGAD to interfere in the internal conflict. We reject it and condemn it in the strongest terms. It is an attempt to regionalise the internal conflict," he told Sudan Tribune on Friday by phone from one of his bases in Upper Nile state.

The former vice president, turned rebel leader, said the decision casts doubt on the neutrality of the IGAD member states in the conflict.

"If IGAD member states who mediate the peace talks want to interfere militarily in the conflict, we may rethink our participation in the talks," he warned.

Uganda, another IGAD member, deployed thousands of troops initially to protect what it called “vital installations”, but ended up joining government’s forces fighting the rebels.

The rebels’ chief negotiator further echoed his leader’s rejection of the troops deployments.

"This force would be operating parallel to the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) peace keeping operation…The UN is an overarching and an inclusive body. Why should another force be created and deployed, if it has the same intentions as the UNMISS peace keeping force?" Deng said in a statement seen by Sudan Tribune.

He criticised IGAD for coming up with a decision which was neither part of the cessation of hostilities agreement nor consented by the opposition group.

Deng as a result questioned the neutrality and capacity of IGAD in handling the peace process.

"The SPLM Delegation in the peace negotiations that have been taking place since early January 2014 expresses deep concerns with the handling of peace and security matters by the regional block - the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD)", he said.

He further said that instead of coming up with new controversial decisions, IGAD should have made sure that the agreements signed by the two parties were implemented, including the withdrawal of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF), which he said failed to take place.

The rebels chief negotiator also criticised IGAD for its silence while President Kiir’s government is further violating the agreement on release of political detainees, saying instead of releasing the other four detainees, Kiir drags them to court while calling for return of the other 7 released political leaders to go back to Juba for trial.

Deng did not, however, indicate whether his delegation would boycott the expected resumption of the peace talks on 20 March, but said his rebel group will not continue to endure the violations and contradictions.

"IGAD should either be sincere in its mediation efforts or tell us in no uncertain terms that it is with the Government of General Salva Kiir Mayardit", he said.

(ST)

Uganda Ready to Withdraw Its Troops From South Sudan

Tue, 03/18/2014 - 01:22

Tank from the Ugandan People's Defense Forces (UPDF) in neighboring South Sudan. Uganda has played a critical role in the conflict., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.

MONDAY 17 MARCH 2014

Uganda ready to withdraw its troops from South Sudan

March 16, 2014 (KAMPALA) – Uganda is ready to withdraw its troops from neighbouring South Sudan once the Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) deploys the proposed regional stabilisation force in the troubled nation, its chief of defense forces said.

Gen. Katumba Wamala, however, said the move will depend on how soon the Protection and Deterrent Force (PDF), which will comprise of forces from the IGAD member countries, comes into effect.

"The time frame will depend on how soon the forces which have been tasked land on the ground. I can’t put on dates, weeks. It will depend on how fast we get those troops on the ground,” the army reportedly said.

"What we shouldn’t do and will be regrettable, if we created a vacuum. If we leave without the boots on the ground, it will create a vacuum, that vacuum is very unwelcome," he added.

Uganda deployed a contingent of its army in South Sudan days after violence broke out in the capital, Juba between members of the presidential guard. The conflict later spread to other parts of the country, with three of its 10 states badly affected.

But East African regional heads of states meeting in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa last week authorised the prompt deployment of a Protection and Deterrent Force (PDF) from the region to help restore peace and stability in South Sudan.

The proposed force, according to a communiqué issued during IGAD’s 25th extraordinary session, would operate with a clear mandate and operational guidelines as part of the IGAD Monitoring and Verification Mechanism in the new nation.

The summit, however, called upon the United Nations Security Council and the African Union to provide all the necessary support, calling on the parties to ensure the progressive withdrawal of all armed groups and all allied forces invited by either side from the theatre of operations as per the ceasefire agreement, in accordance with its 31 January communiqué.

UNCONDITIONAL ACCEPTANCE

Meanwhile, South Sudan has unconditionally accepted deployment of the regional force, despite protest and rejection by the rebel group which has been fighting government for almost three months since a split in ruling party (SPLM) and army (SPLA) plunged the young nation into the mid-December conflict.

"The summit had agreed to do two important things. One is the emphasis on the commitment of the parties to the resolve the conflict through peaceful dialogue, which the government of the republic of South Sudan had already accepted as a principle and formed negotiating team," said Nhial Deng Nhial, South Sudan’s lead negotiator at the Addis Ababa talks.

"We don’t think anyone can object to the regional initiative," he added.

The leader of the SPLM/A-in-Opposition, Riek Machar on Friday condemned the proposed deployments of such forces, warning that it will widen and regionalise the current conflict.

"We reject it and condemn it in the strongest terms. It is an attempt to regionalize the internal conflict," Machar told Sudan Tribune by phone from one of his bases in the oil-producing Upper Nile state.

The rebel leader described IGAD’s decision as "unfortunate" as it interfered in the "internal conflict" between factions of South Sudan’s ruling party and the army.

The rebels had already objected to Uganda’s decision to deploy troops in South Sudan to fight alongside the latter’s army (SPLA) against Machar’s rebels; a loose coalition of armed civilians mobilised mainly on the basis of ethnic affiliations and defectors from the army.

Despite beginning as an internal political argument between rival factions within the ruling SPLM, which was not divided along tribal lines, the conflict has killed around 10,000 people many of whom were targeted because of their ethnic identity.

Last month, the United States called for the withdrawal of all foreign troops involved in the South Sudanese conflict, saying their presence contravenes provisions of a ceasefire agreement its warring parties signed in Addis Ababa on 13 January.

Sudan, Kenya and Ethiopia had previously opposed to the presence of Ugandan troops in the new nation with the latter saying their presence threatens regional peace and stability.

(ST).



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