Pan Africa Newswire
Anti-government rioters clashing with police in Ukraine. The western-backed opposition is seeking to overthrow the existing government., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Statement of communist, left and anarchist forces of Russia on events in Ukraine
By Workers World staff on February 27, 2014
The following statement was issued Feb. 26 by an array of communist, left and anarchist forces in Russia.
The longstanding policy of the bourgeois government of Ukraine, as well as the global economic crisis, have created intolerable living conditions for the majority of its citizens.
During the last half of the Yanukovych regime, a significant part of the solution to the economic problems was promised through European integration. The sudden abandonment of the announced plans provoked widespread discontent and actions.
The process was classless and largely spontaneous. A nationalist movement was used by the liberal opposition as the street strike force, and thereafter the nature of the protest acquired anti-communist or even fascist traits.
The new government resorts to the power of force exactly as did the Yanukovych bureaucracy, unable to meet the needs of the people and solve their urgent problems. Western and Russian imperialism do not feel any real sympathy for the people of Ukraine, and only take advantage of the situation in their favor. That is, [they] attempt to gain financial benefit, and — in the case of the West — to create chaos on the borders of Russia. All these forces are interested in living off the people and will do it secretly or openly.
Anti-communist and anti-Russian furor, the abuse of our common Soviet past, are the main features of the emerging nationalist state now. Information concerning the pogroms on the headquarters of the Communist and leftist parties, the beatings of ordinary communists and labor activists, and the demolition of monuments to Lenin clearly show that the fascist backlash that we previously observed in the Baltic States and Europe, has already overwhelmed brotherly Ukraine.
We, the undersigned leftists, communists and anarchists of Russia, declare our protest and demand an end to the persecution of our comrades! We invite all citizens of Ukraine, using any available resources, to immediately express their distrust of the deputies of the Ukrainian Parliament, organize the community and the workforce to create self-defense groups, local governments and reliable mechanisms of popular will. We call upon the citizens of Russia to be ready to take a direct part in helping the Ukrainian people, to contact the Anti-Fascist headquarters in assistance to Ukraine.
We urge the communist and leftist parties and anti-fascist organizations around the world to put pressure on their governments to prevent the establishment of a fascist regime in Ukraine.
Workers of all countries, unite!
Statement Signed By:
Interregional Association of Communists
Moscow City Communist union
Russian Communist Workers’ Party, the Communist Party CPSU-EIF)
Working Foundation Academy
Revolutionary Workers Party
The New Left
Communist Youth Union
Revolutionary Communist Youth League
The Other Russia
Individual Action (social revolutionary)
Institute of Globalization and Social Movements
The initiative group for the referendum “for the responsibility of government” (IGPR CALL )
Vanguard of Red Youth – Labor Russia
(AKM -TR) (partial support)
Institute of Innovation Development
Fund “The new political system”
All-Russian Communist Party (Bolshevik) (VKP(b))
Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich at press conference in Russia on February 28, 2014. The leader was overthrown by a United States engineered coup., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Yanukovich denies ouster, says 'ashamed & guilty' for not preventing chaos
February 28, 2014 13:11
Ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich pledges to fight for Ukraine. He addressed a press conference in southern Russia, appearing in public for the first time since he fled Kiev amid bloody riots.
Dozens of international reporters have flocked to the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don after the fugitive Ukrainian president announced he would hold a press conference there.
Before anyone was allowed to ask questions, Yanukovich decided to set the record straight, saying he considers himself the only legitimate president of Ukraine.
“No one has ousted me,” he told reporters. “I had to leave Ukraine because of a direct threat to my life and the lives of my family.”
It is the current Ukrainian parliament that is “not legitimate,” the Ukrainian leader said, adding that the people who took power in Kiev are “spreading the propaganda of violence.”
“As you know, the power in Ukraine has been seized by nationalist fascist-like fellows representing the absolute minority of Ukrainians. The only existing way out of the situation is fulfilling all that was stipulated in the [February 21] agreement between the president of Ukraine and the opposition with participation of the foreign ministers of France, Germany and Poland, and a representative of the Russian Federation,” Yanukovich said.
He described the situation in Ukraine as “complete lawlessness,” “terror” and “chaos”, saying that the politicians, including MPs, have been threatened and are facing threats of violence. It has nothing to do with the unity government that was negotiated with the opposition, he added.
According to Yanukovich, the early Ukrainian elections announced for May 25 are also completely “illegitimate” and he will not take part in them.
Despite that, the ousted leader said he will “remain in politics,” “keep on fighting for the future of Ukraine” and return to his home country as soon as he receives “international safety guarantees.”
‘Irresponsible politics of the West’
Yanukovich left Ukraine’s capital Kiev amid the worst surge of violence in the country’s post-Soviet history, which left dozens of people dead and hundreds injured. The pro-Maidan opposition immediately capitalized on his absence from the city, dominating the parliament, which then voted to strip the president of his powers and announced early elections. It also placed the full blame for the tragic events in central Kiev on Yanukovich, making it a nearly indisputable allegation in local and Western media.
Yanukovich gave his own clear assessment of the events for the first time in weeks, drawing a very different picture. The violence and deaths in Ukraine are the “result of the irresponsible politics of the West, which has encouraged Maidan,” Yanukovich said.
US and other Western countries’ representatives “must take full responsibility” for the fact that the agreement between the president and the opposition leaders was not honored, he said.
There remains, however, a chance for the country to change its course and not to slip into chaos, Yanukovich said.
‘I lacked strength, I am sorry’
When asked if he feels ashamed of any of his own actions, Yanukovich replied that he feels both ashamed and sorry for “not having been able to stabilize the situations and stop the mayhem” in Ukraine.
“I want to apologize to the Ukrainian people for what has happened in Ukraine and that I lacked strength to maintain stability,” he said.
Yanukovich also apologized to the Ukrainian riot police, Berkut, for having to “suffer” while doing their duty of maintaining peace and order. Police officers were “burned and poured over by petrol bombs,” were “fired at and killed by rifles” but still stood their ground, he said.
The Ukrainian leader then said he had not given any order for police to fire live rounds until the rioters started using firearms, putting the officers’ lives under threat.
Yanukovich refused to comment on the Ukrainian parliament’s intention to try him in the International Criminal Court, saying that an independent investigation has to be carried out first. However, he stressed that “the scenario of bloodshed… was drafted not in Ukraine.”
‘Crimea part of Ukraine, Russian presence a rumor’
Even as Yanukovich was speaking, the situation in Ukraine’s Russian-speaking Autonomous Republic of Crimea was increasingly getting out of the capital’s control. The Crimean parliament was forming a new regional government while local "self-defense squads" started actively patrolling strategic sites to prevent provocations from Ukrainian radical groups.
Yanukovich said he understands the concerns of Crimeans, who want to “protect their homes and families” from “bandits.”
However, he then urged the people of Crimea not to let any bloodshed or civil war happen. Crimea must remain a part of Ukraine while maintaining broad autonomy, Yanukovich said.
The fugitive president ruled out any possibility that he will ask Russia for military help to resolve the situation there. Also, there is no confirmed information about Russia’s alleged military presence in the region, Yanukovich said.
“I do not have any such official information,” he said. “I did not have it back then [in Ukraine], and there isn’t any now. This all has been on the level of some rumors spread by somebody,” he told journalists.
Yanukovich made it to Russia from Crimea thanks to “patriotically-minded officers,” who helped to “save his life.” He has not yet met with Russian President Vladimir Putin, but they have already talked over the phone.
When asked why he chose to leave Ukraine for Rostov-on-Don, Yanukovich said that he has “an old friend there,” who can provide him with a “temporary safe haven.”
‘Russia cannot abandon Ukraine’
Yanukovich received a lot of questions on Russia’s role and possible actions in the Ukrainian crisis.
While saying “it is not correct” to tell Moscow what to do, Yanukovich said he believes “Russia cannot abandon Ukraine to its fate and should use all possible means to prevent chaos and terror in its neighboring country.”
With that, Yanukovich made it clear he was “categorically against any intervention into Ukraine and breach of its territorial integrity.”
“The truth will prevail,” Yanukovich said in an emotional conclusion to his comments to journalists, urging the politicians that have seized power in Kiev to “leave” for the sake of the Ukrainian people.
So far, there has been no indication that the new Ukrainian authorities are considering returning to a dialogue with what they consider an overthrown rival. A Kiev court on Friday issued an order for Yanukovich’s arrest, while the Ukrainian parliament (the Verkhovna Rada) earlier voted in favor of trying him at the ICC in The Hague for alleged “crimes against humanity during the recent peaceful protests.”
US, NATO, EU lecture Russia with 'provocative statements' on Ukraine
February 27, 2014 20:42
Moscow has urged NATO to refrain from provocative statements on Ukraine and respect its non-bloc status after a chorus of Western politicians said Russia should be “transparent” about its military drills and avoid any steps that could be “misunderstood.”
“When NATO starts giving a consideration the situation in Ukraine, it sends out the wrong signal,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement published on its website on Thursday.
As Ukraine’s turmoil has shifted to the ethnic Russian-majority in the Crimea region, the US, NATO, and the EU have all voiced their concerns over the situation as well as come up with proposals on how Russia should act.
At the same time, the EU-brokered agreement to settle the Ukrainian political crisis which was signed on February 21 and certified by the foreign ministers of Germany, Poland and France “is still not being implemented,” Russia said.
“Militants, who still haven’t surrendered arms and not vacated administrative buildings, announced their intention to ‘bring order’ to all Ukrainian regions,” the Russian ministry said.
The agreement to jointly investigate violence, as well as to form a national unity government “fell into oblivion,” Moscow said. “Instead, as it was announced on [Kiev’s] Maidan ‘a government of winners’ has been established which includes nationalist extremists.”
Russia urged foreign partners who encouraged the opposition rallies in Ukraine and then initiated the February 21 settlement agreement, to realize their responsibility to work towards its fulfillment.
Moscow says it is ready to cooperate with the West on Ukraine, just as it had been offering to do long before the crisis in the country descended to bloody unrest.
“But we are ready to cooperate if there is a clear understanding that the cooperation should be honest, and based on an ability to make agreements as well as to fulfil them. And agreements should take into consideration interests of all the Ukrainian people as well as of all Ukraine’s partners,” the ministry’s statement reads.
‘Moscow, be careful’ chorus
The barrage of comments from the West particularly intensified after President Vladimir Putin ordered on Wednesday a surprise military drill to test the combat readiness of the armed forces across western and central Russia. The move – Moscow underlined – was not related to events in Ukraine and was in full compliance with Russia’s international agreements (The Vienna Document 2011) and obligations. That has been confirmed by NATO.
However on Thursday, NATO’s chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen urged Russia “not to take any action that could escalate tension or create misunderstanding.”
His statement was echoed by American Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel who said that Moscow must be transparent about military exercises along the Ukrainian border and not take any steps that could be misinterpreted or "lead to miscalculation during a delicate time."
US Secretary of State John Kerry warned Moscow Wednesday to be “very careful” with its approach to Ukraine and respect its territorial integrity.
A similar sentiment came from the head of another NATO member-state, British Prime Minister David Cameron.
"We are particularly concerned by the situation in Crimea - every country should respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine," Cameron added at a joint briefing with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in London on Thursday.
Lawmakers in Ukraine’s Autonomous Republic of Crimea voted Thursday to hold a referendum to determine the region’s future.
According to the parliament’s spokeswoman as a result of “the unconstitutional seizure of power in Ukraine by radical nationalists supported by armed gangs,” Crimea’s peace and order is “under threat.” Ethnic Russians form around 58.3 percent of the population of the peninsula on the Black Sea.
Turmoil in the region began after the new Ukrainian authorities ousted President Yanukovich and revoked a 2012 law that allowed regions to use minority languages, including Russian, as second language.
The European Parliament also had its say pointing out in a resolution that Russia must not put economic pressure on Ukraine. Moscow “pledged to uphold Ukraine’s territorial integrity in the "Budapest memorandum" signed with the US and the UK in 1994,” the parliament’s press service reported. In the same act, they added, “it also pledged to refrain from exerting economic pressure on Ukraine in order to subordinate it to its own interests.”
On Thursday, NATO defense ministers and Ukraine’s first deputy defense minister gathered in Brussels to discuss the Ukrainian crisis, while the parliament in Kiev was busy forming the new Cabinet.
German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said it was important “that we prevent a breakup of the Ukraine, and that special forces in the country are strengthened,” Ruptly TV reported.
“NATO stands ready to support democratic development, defense reforms, military cooperation and democratic control over the security sector,” Rasmussen said after the session of the NATO-Ukraine Commission. NATO, which “has a long-standing partnership” with Ukraine is set to continue its engagement and support the country “on the path of democratic and inclusive reforms,” he added.
A day earlier, Rasmussen also noted that the door to NATO remains open to Ukraine, admitting though that there are “more urgent priorities” for the country’s new leadership.
Russia, in response blamed the western alliance for attempting to make a decision for Ukrainians.
“So, the membership should remain among not so urgent, but still priority tasks?” the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Thursday. “We strongly recommend everyone to refrain from provocative statements and respect Ukraine’s non-bloc status.”
Kim Jong Un arrives at the "Arirang" mass games song-and-dance ensemble, Friday, July 26, 2013 on the eve of the 60th anniversary of the Korean War armistice in Pyongyang, North Korea., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Speech of Kim Jong Un at Conference of Ideological Workers
Pyongyang, February 27 (KCNA) -- Supreme leader Kim Jong Un made a speech "Let Us Hasten the Final Victory through a Revolutionary Ideological Offensive!" at the 8th Conference of Ideological Workers of the Workers' Party of Korea.
The full text of his speech is as follows:
In the meaningful period, when we greeted the 40th anniversary of the proclaiming by the great Comrade Kim Jong Il of modelling the whole society on Kimilsungism as the maximum programme of our Party, we are holding the Eighth Conference of Ideological Workers of the Workers’ Party of Korea.
Availing myself of this opportunity and in reflection of the unanimous wish of all the participants in this conference and all other members of the Party, I pay the noblest tribute to the great President Kim Il Sung, the founder and builder of the ever-victorious Workers' Party of Korea, and to the great General Kim Jong Il, the eternal General Secretary of the Party.
And on the occasion of this conference I extend, in the name of the First Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea, warm thanks and militant greetings to the participants in the conference and all other ideological workers of the Party and primary information workers across the country, who have worked devotedly at workplaces and military posts, burning their hearts as buglers of the revolution and pathfinders of the times.
This conference convened on a scale unprecedented in the history of our Party will be a milestone of radical turn in exalting forever the brilliance of the imperishable exploits performed by the great President and the great General, who, holding the unfurled banner of the Juche idea, led the Korean revolution straightforward along the road resplendent with victory, in understanding and confirming once again the importance of ideological work and launching a vigorous ideological offensive as demanded by the developing revolution.
The most powerful weapon for a party that wages a revolution shouldering people's destiny is ideology, and it is its one and only weapon. Without ideology, a party cannot be founded nor can it exist, and its work and revolutionary struggle are inconceivable separated from ideological work. The bloodline of the revolution is defended and the revolution advances on the strength of ideology.
The one and only weapon for the Korean revolution that made its start empty-handed was a great revolutionary ideology. The revolutionaries of Korea rallied comrades and obtained weapons on the strength of the ideology; and on its strength they defeated imperialist powers and built a prospering socialism. We cannot see a revolution in the history of any country and of any party that, like our revolution, made its start with its definite guiding ideology and has turned ideology into a powerful force for a great struggle and transformation.
The whole course of the Korean revolution can be called a history of ideological work to give fullest play to the might of the truth of the revolutionary ideology of the President and the General.
In our revolution ideological work has always been the most important work, and a great tradition of ideological work was created in its first days.
Thanks to the wise leadership of the President and the General, who gave definite priority to ideological work and resolved all problems by enlisting the mental strength of the masses of the people in the whole course of their leadership of the Korean revolution, the revolution could etch only victory in its flag although it blazed the trail of history. By bringing about high tides in the mental strength of the service personnel and people, our Party has turned the trials decisive of the victory and defeat of the revolution and its advance and setback into great upswings of the revolution, and our revolution has achieved a great success whenever an upswing was effected in ideological work.
The Third Conference of Ideological Workers of the Workers' Party of Korea, which was held 40 years ago and where the great General proclaimed modelling the whole society on Kimilsungism as the maximum programme of our Party, is of special importance in the history of our Party that has opened a pivotal phase of the revolution on the strength of ideology.
That the General defined Kimilsungism as the guiding ideology of our Party and proclaimed modelling the whole society on that ideology as the maximum programme of our Party was a political event that clearly indicated the road for bringing the final victory of the Korean revolution closer and roused all the service personnel and people to achieving it.
The historic advance for modelling the whole society on Kimilsungism gave birth to a powerful political General Staff that has achieved oneness in ideology and leadership for the first time in the history of building a revolutionary party, to invincible revolutionary armed forces that march with the red flag of the Workers' Party as its first standard and to militant ranks united single-heartedly.
History clearly shows how a powerful country, which is independent, self-sufficient and self-reliant in national defence, has been built on this land where worship of big countries and dogmatism were rooted deep and a socialist fortress created, which remains unperturbed in the face of worldwide political upheaval and the imperialists' vicious moves for isolation and suffocation.
Today mankind is studying the great Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism to search for the road ahead of them. In every place of the globe the ideology centred on the masses, the revolutionary theory of independence, has become the spirit and banner of struggle of the people who aspire after genuine freedom and happiness.
Endless is the glory our service personnel and people enjoy for having waged the revolution for scores of years along the road indicated by the great ideology and in the country which is admired by the whole world and which gave birth to the ideology guiding the era of independence.
To hasten the final victory of the Korean revolution keeping up the banner of the great Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism is their faith and will and the wish of the times and history.
We must hold aloft modelling the whole society on Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism as the maximum programme of the Party and accomplish the Korean revolution without fail on the strength of ideology, on the strength of single-hearted unity.
The standard-bearers in the effort to model the entire Party and the whole society on Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism are ideological workers.
The success of not only the effort to transform all the members of society into advocates of Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism but the effort to transform all realms of social life as required by Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism depends on the success of ideological work.
You should ruminate once again on the deep reason why the General convened the conference of ideological workers and proclaimed in front of the Party information workers from across the country the programme of modelling the whole society on Kimilsungism.
We should spark off a struggle on the ideological front of the Party first and heighten the intensity of ideological work, so as to remarkably quicken the onward march of our revolution for modelling the whole society on Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism.
We have rich experiences of having forcefully propelled the historic march for modelling the whole society on Kimilsungism by dint of an intensive ideological offensive, and powerful forces and means of information and motivation work with which to stir up the whole country at once.
To hasten the final victory of the revolution by holding higher the ideological theory of Juche, a powerful weapon?this is the main spirit of this conference.
In view of the demands of the reality when modelling the whole society on Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism poses itself as the general task of the ideological work of our Party, the Party Central Committee advances the slogan, "Let Us Hasten the Final Victory through a Revolutionary Ideological Offensive!" before the Eighth Conference of Ideological Workers of the Workers' Party of Korea.
Firmly believing that all the participants in the conference and other ideological workers across the Party, aware of their honour and responsibility as the ideological standard-bearers in the effort to accomplish the cause of modelling the whole society on Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism, will give fullest play to the strength of our Party's revolutionary ideology and the inexhaustible mental strength of all the service personnel and people, I would like to speak about some problems arising in the sector of the Party's ideological work at present.
First of all, we should concentrate all efforts in the Party's ideological work on firmly establishing the Party's monolithic leadership system.
The objective of our effort to establish the Party's monolithic leadership system across the Party and society is to consolidate the unity and cohesion of the Party, the political General Staff of the revolution, and its fighting efficiency in all aspects, implement the instructions of the President and the General to the letter and realize our people's dreams and ideals at an earlier date.
Now is a crucial period when we have to break through the ordeals facing the revolution by rallying the service personnel and people more firmly around the Party and channel their patriotic enthusiasm, wisdom and resourcefulness to the utmost into stepping up the building of a thriving country.
The ideological system and leadership system for carrying out this historic task most scrupulously and perfectly is none other than the Party's monolithic leadership system.
The ideological work of our Party must naturally proceed from its basic task in the present period and direct its main effort to implementing it.
However, Party organizations are now revealing tendencies of paying only lip service to the work of establishing the Party's monolithic leadership system and engrossing themselves in paper work in this regard.
Although a Party-wide discussion of the documents on establishing the Party's monolithic leadership system was conducted and many study sessions, public lectures and oath-taking meetings held, they failed to detect and crush in advance the modern version of factionalist group which had formed within the Party.
Although there are our Party's great revolutionary ideology and absolutely correct lines and policies, Party organizations and excellent people, a factionalist group appeared within the Party again. Our ideological workers are partly to blame for this.
The identity of the modern version of factionalist group is that it was an ideologically degenerate entity which was outwardly overcome with fear for the pressure by the imperialists and inwardly contaminated with bourgeois ideology and culture.
The factionalist practice of challenging the Party's monolithic leadership system originates in ideological degeneration, and the renegades of ideology are bound to oppose the Party and the revolution in the long run.
Imbuing the Party and revolutionary ranks with one ideology?this is the seed and core of the effort for establishing the Party's monolithic leadership system.
The objective of the revolutionary ideological offensive for establishing the Party's monolithic leadership system is to make the great Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism and its embodiment, the Party's lines and policies, an element of unshakeable conviction of the masses of the people.
The revolutionary ideology of our Party has accorded with the aspirations and demands of the masses at all times, and there is no line and policy of the Party which they cannot understand and accept.
A breakthrough should be made in the ideological offensive by beginning with raising another strong wind across the Party of studying to be well versed in the immortal works of the President and the General and the documents of the Party, a library of Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism.
The works and documents are excellent textbooks for the education in the one and only ideology and a great encyclopaedia which comprehends our Party's lines and policies.
If they study them in a chronological order and in a systematic way, all Party members, other working people and service personnel can equip themselves firmly with the Juche idea, Songun idea, Kim Jong Il's patriotism, the revolutionary traditions of our Party and class awareness and fully understand the lines and policies newly advanced by the Party.
What is important is to carry on the education work in a scrupulous manner so that everybody can be well-versed in the instructions the President and the General gave to their sectors and units and the Party's policies and make them a creed in their work and life.
It is necessary to explain to the masses the Party's policies for a given period in a logical and convincing way so that they can sympathize with them and accept them as their own by themselves. You should pay attention to informing people in easy terms of what they are eager to know and hear on the basis of the Party's policies and in the way you tell a thirsty person where he or she can drink water.
In the future, if everybody at a unit is as well informed of the Party's lines and policies as they are of their family affairs, the unit will be considered to have conducted ideological work efficiently and established the monolithic leadership system.
"Exceptions" must never be permitted in ideological work.
As a saying goes that even a rolling stone may gather moss, one is bound to degenerate when treated exceptionally.
There may be some special tasks assigned by the Party, but "exceptions" cannot exist within our Party who are allowed to neglect their ideological life and be ignorant of its lines and policies. As for special units, ideological work should be strengthened further and they should be made steel-strong in the furnace of ideological struggle.
Ideological workers should be able to discern something alien, if any, at a glance at the eyes of others. They must use the ideological "scalpel" in time to root out the causes of such misdemeanors as arguing over the issues decided by the Party, undermining its leadership exploits covertly or overtly and breeding corruption within our ranks in contravention of our Party's and class principles.
It is important to conduct the work of imbuing the Party and revolutionary ranks with one ideology in close combination with the practical struggle.
Man's ideology is expressed in his practice and its outcome, rather than in his revolutionary rhetoric or pledge. He is a man armed with the Party's ideology as an element of his faith, who, though seldom speaking, carries out the plans and decisions of the Party Central Committee on the schedule set and the level demanded by it.
Endeavouring to implement the ideology of the Party and champion its policies? This is the clearest manifestation of one's loyalty to it and an important occasion to have the validity of its lines and policies as an element of one's faith.
The soldier-builders, who carried out their project on Masik Pass successfully last year, were determined to wage a death-defying struggle not to delay even for a moment the completion date proclaimed to the world by the Party Central Committee; they performed a miraculous feat of completing the project in one year, which was estimated to take ten, thus staunchly defending the prestige of the Party.
The on-site political work of the People's Army, which was a three-dimensional and offensive-style ideological work to inspire everyone from generals to privates with a single desire of fulfilling their Supreme Commander's order, serves as a good example in the ideological offensive to establish the Party's monolithic leadership system.
In implementing the instructions of the President and the General, the Party's new line of developing the two fronts simultaneously and its policies, all sectors and all units should make an ideological analysis and review of their failures and the causes for them. Then they should press on with the frontline-style information and motivation campaign to learn from the service personnel's spirit of carrying out their tasks even at the cost of their lives.
The main targets of the ideological offensive for establishing the Party's monolithic leadership system are the wrong ideological viewpoint and work attitude of the officials who give verbal support to the Party's policies but do not implement them immediately.
It is urgent to combat the ideological maladies of the officials who remain indifferent to the obstacles lying in the way of implementation of the Party's policies for their own sectors, units and regions, as well as to the difficulties facing the people in their living. The ideological education and campaign aimed at rooting out such undesirable ideological elements as defeatism, self-preservation, formalism, expediency, irresponsibility and self-centredness should be conducted with an appropriate methodology. The information and organization sectors of the Party should be scrupulous in working in close cooperation with each other, while the ideological campaign should be combined with legal actions to maximize its efficiency.
The soaring mental spirit of our service personnel and people, who, after liquidating the modern version of factionalist group, have hardened up their determination to follow the Party Central Committee invariably along the long road of revolution, should be fanned to flare up into flames of a great revolutionary upsurge.
Historically speaking, great victory was won in the Fatherland Liberation War after the purge of an anti-Party, counterrevolutionary factionalist clique following the Fifth Plenary Meeting of the Party Central Committee; the Chollima upswing was brought about in the course of eliminating the August 1956 factionalist group; and world-startling successes were achieved in the showdown with the United States and the socialist industrialization drive after the anti-Party revisionists were exposed and purged at the 15th Plenary Meeting of the Fourth Party Central Committee.
The Party's ideological front should actively encourage all Party members and other working people to follow in their forerunners' footsteps and become standard-bearers and meritorious workers in the struggle to champion the Party Central Committee by bringing about a revolutionary upsurge.
If all service personnel and people, rallied firmly around the Party, make substantial progress in socialist construction, those who are wavering for lack of confidence will be brought to their senses and the monolithic leadership system of the Party will be established solidly across the Party and society.
Another important task facing the ideological work of our Party is to raise a strong wind of ideological campaign to give an impetus to the struggle for defending socialism.
In the present era, as in the past, socialism represents the ideals of mankind, and it is an irreversible trend of the times.
We are now following the untrodden path of history as we risk the dignity of our independent people and the destiny of socialism in the struggle to repulse the imperialists' frantic attacks. Today the path of socialism and the inevitability of its victory depend on the struggle of the Korean revolutionaries.
In performing this honourable mission our Party and people have assumed for history, ideological workers, the red, hardcore elements of the Party, should become undying torchlight and loud bugles.
They should give Party members and other working people a clear understanding of the essence and character of the present struggle to defend socialism.
In the struggle we waged in defence of socialism in the 90s of the last century, we created a historic miracle of safeguarding our ideology and system against the allied imperialist forces' moves to isolate and stifle our country.
The ongoing struggle to defend socialism can be said to be aimed at prevailing over imperialism in all fields of social life by consolidating the victories and successes achieved so far and giving fullest play to the advantages and might of socialism.
Recently, our Party has put forward both the agricultural and scientific fronts as outposts for defending socialism. Its intention is to constantly remind our people that not only on the frontline where guns are levelled at each other but also in all other places where they live, they are engaged in invisible, fierce confrontation and competition against imperialists. If we, resting on our laurels and praising ourselves, do not give spur to the revolution and construction and thus fail to bring real benefits to the people, such socialism is doomed to lose its appeal.
We should build a thriving country at an early date by giving fullest play to the advantages and might of socialism, which capitalism can never imitate nor possess, so as to make socialism as different in all respects from capitalism as heaven is from earth.
A vigorous ideological campaign should be launched to demonstrate the might of great army-people unity on a higher level in building a thriving country.
The solid single-hearted unity of the army and people around the Party constitutes the cornerstone of our style of socialism and the great foundation in building a thriving nation.
The eye-opening miracles which have been wrought recently in succession, shaking the land, mountains and rivers throughout the country are all fruition born of the great unity between the service personnel and people, their concerted efforts.
The People’s Army should, in the future, too, be the prime mover and pioneer in strengthening this great army-people unity. It should intensify information and motivation work geared to giving full play to the might of an army strong in ideology both in national defence and socialist construction. Party organizations and political organs in the army should ceaselessly create such terms of our era as the "Masikryong speed" by carrying forward the proud history of the revolutionary army which has proved with its indomitable revolutionary spirit that Korea's determination is just its materialization and reality, and civilian Party organizations should accelerate the work of learning from the revolutionary spirit and fighting style of the service personnel.
When the time comes when we have to fight an all-out life-and-death fight with the enemy, we should achieve its final victory on the strength of the great army-people unity, all-people resistance, based on the revolutionary soldier spirit.
All sectors and all units should launch a dynamic ideological offensive so as to make the flames of collective innovations flare up.
Our people have already gained a valuable experience of ushering in a heyday in socialist construction through an all-people, collective innovation movement in the 1970s, a decade of great changes.
In the 1970s when the country was resounding with the drumbeats of revolution and the bugle sounds for speed campaign, they brought about grandiose creation and changes unprecedented in the history of their country, while militarily coping with the large-scale war exercises staged by the US imperialists. It was during those days that our country abolished the taxation system for the first time in the world, enforced a universal 11-year compulsory education and rendered a colossal amount of assistance to the developing countries and the fighting peoples of the world.
It is the intention of our Party to carry on the building of an economic giant and a civilized state by bringing into play the might of socialism, the might of collectivism, as in the 1970s.
The flames of the movement of winning the title of O Jung Hup-led 7th Regiment and the three-revolution red flag movement should flare up more fiercely in the military and civilian units, respectively, and vigorous socialist emulation drives be launched among sectors, units and regions and by stages: by doing so, we should ensure that a strong wind of collective competition sweep the whole country.
At present our Party demands that all the military and civilian sectors create model units and, with them as the initial spark, kindle the flames of joint innovations.
Ideological workers should pay attention to enlisting the creative zeal and activeness of the masses both in creating such units that advance ahead of the times and in organizing competition for overtaking them.
An ideological campaign against the abuse of authority and bureaucratism should be intensified to make all officials props that, sharing weal and woe with the masses, unite their collectives and reliable point-men in the mass innovation movement.
Efforts should be channelled into the information and motivation work for bringing into full play the spirit of self-reliance whose might has fully been attested in the severe trials of history.
We can say that the whole history of socialism of our own style boils down to self-reliance. In the days of building socialism by their own efforts, our Party and people underwent unprecedented ordeals and difficulties, but they were loaded with all honours they could not enjoy through the history of their nation spanning thousands of years. Had we abandoned the principle of self-reliance succumbing to the pressure by outside forces, the Juche-oriented socialism would not have been born on the earth and the name of our country would have suffered eclipse along with the collapse of the worldwide socialist system. On the track of self-reliance Chollima rose up on the ruins of war and such a miracle as the birth of a manufacturer and launcher of an earth satellite and nuclear state was wrought, a miracle of great significance in the national history.
Ideological workers should intensify education by means of the history of our socialist construction among officials and working people to clearly implant in them that self-reliance is the path of building a thriving nation.
Self-reliance is the spirit of national self-sustenance and the spirit of going beyond the cutting edge to lead the whole world with our efforts, with our resources and with our technology. It is necessary to steadily succeed the fighting spirit with which we made tractor and electric locomotive from scratch and the spirit with which we conquered space with our efforts and technology. We should undertake an information and motivation offensive to ensure that everyone turns out in the campaign to make everything of our country the assets of socialism that cannot be found elsewhere in the world, fully conscious that they must go beyond the cutting edge just in their own posts and workplaces. We should ideologically support the efforts to make a breach in imperialist manoeuvres to monopolize high technology, and make advanced science and technology our own.
It is important to actively encourage scientists and technicians to firmly defend their revolutionary positions in the grand march of self-reliance which is led by the locomotive, called "science and technology." Ideological workers should play a great role in creating the climate of attaching importance to science throughout society and making all people well-versed in science and technology.
We must launch an information offensive to ideologically and morally overpower the imperialist reactionary forces who are trying to stamp out socialism by all means.
Now the imperialists are hell-bent on a smear campaign to turn black into white and persisting in their attempts to infiltrate corrupt reactionary ideology and culture into our country with our service personnel and young people as the target, while clinging to manoeuvres to apply sanctions against our country and stifle it. Whereas the reactionary ideology and culture were their guide to aggression in the past, they are playing a leading part in aggression at present.
The struggle to defend socialism should be an offensive operation to, outwardly, gain political and ideological upper hand over the imperialists that hinder our onward movement and, inwardly, sweep up non-socialist practices and decadent ideology and culture by means of the revolutionary ideology and culture.
Ideological workers should dishearten the enemy by launching a skilful anti-enemy media warfare, radio warfare, which is aimed at giving wide publicity to the validity of our ideology and cause and at laying bare the vulnerability and foul nature of imperialists.
They should make ideological "missiles" in larger numbers that can deal a heavy blow at the enemy and instil firm confidence in victory in our service personnel and people.
They should take the initiative in launching operations to make the imperialist moves for ideological and cultural infiltration end in smoke, while putting up "mosquito net" double and treble to prevent the viruses of capitalist ideology which the enemy is persistently attempting to spread from infiltrating across our border.
By nature, the working masses reject the bourgeois ideology and culture which preach the money-is-almighty principle and the law of jungle. We need to create and propagate larger numbers of wholesome and revolutionary works of art and literature, articles and presentations of our own style which contain the beautiful dreams and ideals of the masses and which brim over with national flavour, so as to make the people turn their backs on the bourgeois ideology and culture of their own accord. A decisive measure should be taken to use the Internet as a medium for giving publicity to our ideology and culture in order to cope with the enemy's moves to widely propagate their reactionary ideology and culture by misusing the latest scientific and technological achievements made by mankind.
The sector of ideological work and related units should work out elaborate plans for putting mass media and external publicity means on a modern and IT basis and make persevering efforts to carry them out.
The ideological work of the Party should be conducted in an aggressive manner.
Our Party's strategy and tactics in ideological work is to make the whole country seethe with a revolutionary leap forward by making the flames of ideological offensive flare up fiercely in the attack spirit of advancing against all odds.
The ideological position of our Party should be arranged in the form for attack, not for defence.
We should also conduct the ideological education aimed at imbuing the whole society with the red ideology of the Workers' Party in a proactive way, the political work aimed at calling forth the mental strength of all the service personnel and people as it is done on the frontline and the struggle to sweep away all shades of evil ideas and spirits at a lightning speed.
In order to conduct ideological work in an aggressive manner, it is necessary, above all, to root out the defeatist view revealed among ideological workers.
The ideological workers infected with such a view cannot take even a single step by themselves even if they are put forward in the van of the ideological offensive.
The "Yongil bomb spirit" created in the forest of Mt. Paektu and the do-or-die resistance spirit of Xiaowangqing and Chechangzi were not produced in ordinary days, and the legend of Chollima, the miracles of the speed campaign, the revolutionary soldier spirit and the Kanggye spirit were not born under more favourable circumstances than in the present days.
Defeatism in ideological work is more dangerous than that in economic work. The present ideological offensive must start with ridding ideological workers of defeatism.
Those engaged in ideological work in the birthplace of the Juche idea must not wait for a miracle to be wrought, but go purposefully amongst people carrying the weapon of ideology and become active doers and devoted creators who find solutions with them.
The posts of national defence, factories, farm villages and other places where you are working bear the imprints of examples of outstanding art of leadership set by the peerlessly great men who found in the simple opinions of the service personnel and people the best method of turning misfortune into a blessing and adversity into prosperity.
If you work with the history of revolutionary leadership of the President and the General as a textbook, you will find nothing you cannot understand and overcome in your work, and our Party's ideological work become literally an initial spark for kindling the flames of a leap forward.
In order to ensure a revolutionary ideological offensive a success, we should open the gunfire of an ideological campaign and fire the shells concentratedly, successively and at the right targets.
First of all, by enlisting all the forces and means already provided for information and motivational purposes, you should conduct ideological work in a flexible and intensive way.
When the Party puts forward a new line or policy, all the networks of education, public lecture and motivation work and mass media should be mobilized promptly to inform all the people, ranging from officials at the central organs to farmers in remote, mountainous villages, of it. The contents, forms, means and methods of ideological work should, to all intents and purposes, be geared and subordinated to carrying out revolutionary tasks. The forces and means for information and motivation work should be concentrated on the projects the Party attaches importance to, thus strongly beating the drum for kindling the fire of a fresh leap forward.
Ideological work should also ensure that all shades of evil ideas and spirits never make inroads into our ranks by giving uninterrupted publicity to the Party's intentions and leading a continuous advance of the ideological struggle.
It can be likened to removing falling snow on the runway by snow blower to prevent it from piling up. Ideological work should be conducted not like a flash in the pan and in the way a ceremony is held, but in a regular way regardless of time and place so that people can imbibe the Party's ideas the way they breathe air. An ideological campaign should be conducted without letup and intensively to sweep away alien ideological trends and lifestyles. To be strictly guarded against here is the repetition of the stereotyped speech and method.
It is also important to select the right targets of the ideological offensive based on an understanding of their preparedness, characteristics and ideological tendencies, and apply appropriate means and methods.
President Kim Il Sung already said that work with people should be conducted in the way a mother does, as she uses different words when teaching her eldest son and youngest son though they are of the same blood. If the employees of their units number ten thousand, ideological workers should know the inner thought of each of them like their own palms and work with them with ten thousand methods.
The road of our revolution is not smooth, and every revolutionary front requires genuine and well-qualified ideological workers who have cherished the staunch revolutionary spirit in their hearts.
In fact, the forces of our Party’s information workers and primary information workers enrolled in the networks of education, public lecture and motivation work are great. If they, numbering tens of thousands, are well prepared, we can form an elite corps and if we have such a contingency, we will have nothing to be afraid of and out of reach of our strength.
Of his revolutionary soldiers, the great General treasured and loved most dearly those who are defending the ideological front, and led and encouraged them at every step, saying that a film or an article is as powerful as several thousand tons of food grain or tens of thousands of gun shells.
The ideological workers of our Party have assumed a heavy task.
Each of them should become a person strong in ideas and faith, whom the enemy fear more than they do the forces of a division or a corps.
Although simple and modest in appearance they always burn their hearts with the Party's intentions and are enthusiastic for the revolution and struggle?this is the feature our Party thinks ideal for information workers. Ideological workers should be true revolutionaries who never give up the Party's principle of ideological work in any adversity.
They should have the passion of covering long distance in one night to inform people of the Party's intentions and burning the midnight oil for several days to study the Party's policies and learn knowledge and technology.
Having a proper outlook on people is a vital requirement for ideological workers who have to make them open their minds.
The information workers of our Party should be true sons and daughters of people who learn from the latter before teaching them and highly appreciate their efforts. To this end, they should remember first whenever they approach them that they stand before the great people whom the President and the General believed as in heaven and regarded as their teachers all their lives.
Love and respect for the labouring people emanate from the spirit of loving labour. Our officials should mingle with the masses, their hands stained with grease and their shoes with earth, and be proud of it.
The President and the General performed
great exploits for people all their lives, but left nothing for themselves.
Regarding the ideas and trust of the Party as the wealth of their lives, ideological workers should find the worth of living in informing as many persons as possible of the Party's policies and having collective innovations brought about at the units under their charge.
A genuine ideological worker is the person who values more than nuggets of gold the excitement he or she feels when people are eager anytime to be informed of the Party's intentions and when they support the Party's policies with all their hearts.
When the Party's intentions are informed and revolutionary songs and hurrah for the Workers' Party and socialism resound wherever our Party's ideological workers go, it will be a great encouragement to the Party.
The entire Party should become information and motivation workers, and all officials should conduct political work.
Whether they are Party, administrative, economic or primary officials, they should hold it as the main key to motivate the mental strength of the masses, and direct due efforts to it. In particular, chief secretaries of provincial, city and county Party committees and senior Party officials of all sectors and all units should put the ideological work under their personal control and conduct it with all sincerity and with much effort.
In the 1970s all the officials, under the leadership of the Party, used to go down to their subordinate units with rucksacks on their backs like the anti-Japanese guerrillas had done, rouse people as required by the Chongsan-ri spirit and Chongsan-ri method and bring about innovations. This vibrant spirit should prevail throughout the country.
The revolutionary task facing us are enormous and the situation remains as severe as ever. However, we should leap forward to bring the future closer and make a ceaseless advance while struggling.
As soon as you leave the venue of this conference, you should go amongst the service personnel and people to inform them of the intention of the Party Central Committee and take up the starting positions of ideological offensive with a fresh determination.
I stress once again: The more vibrantly the ideological front seethes, the more fully the mental strength of the masses will be demonstrated, and the more the service personnel and people are roused, the faster the revolution will advance.
I firmly believe that all our ideological workers, including the participants in this conference, will become political workers of the type of the great Comrades Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il and make the whole country seethe and transform the entire army along revolutionary lines, thus hastening the final victory.
6th Conference of Ideological Officials of WPK
Pyongyang, February 27 (KCNA) -- The 6th Conference of Ideological Officials of the Workers' Party of Korea took place here in March Juche 83 (1994).
The conference reviewed the successes and experience gained in the party ideological work for modeling the whole society on Kimilsungism in the past and discussed measures to further improve the ideological work as required by the changed situation.
It underscored the need to intensify the party ideological work to push forward with the revolution and construction and defend the Korean-style socialism centered on the masses, advancing the tasks and ways to that effect.
After the conference, a brisk ideological work was conducted in order to further consolidate revolutionary ranks single-mindedly united around leader Kim Jong Il and give full play to the revolutionary spirit of self-reliance and fortitude.
A big stride was made in the efforts to enhance education in the greatness and leadership feats of Kim Jong Il, which enabled officials, party members and other working people to remain loyal to the WPK's guidance with deep reverence for Kim Jong Il.
The party's line and policies were timely conveyed to party members and other working people with a well-planned system of political education established and the role of agitators enhanced.
In particular, a drive to thoroughly establish the party's leadership system among the media and literature and art fields was made in a vigorous way.
The ideological work began to be carried out in keeping with the specific conditions as done by the anti-Japanese guerrillas.
Rodong Sinmun Calls for Invigorating Ideological Campaigns
Pyongyang, February 27 (KCNA) -- Rodong Sinmun Thursday editorially calls on all party ideological officials to raise a strong wind of ideological, information and agitation campaigns and vigorously encourage all the service personnel and people to the drive for the final victory in building a thriving nation, true to the speech made by supreme leader Kim Jong Un at the 8th Conference of Ideological Officials of the Workers' Party of Korea.
His speech is a great strategic programme indicating the ever-victorious future of the Korean revolution, the editorial says, and goes on:
Steadfast is the will of Kim Jong Un to bring earlier the final victory of the revolution on the basis of the Juche-oriented theory of idea, a powerful weapon.
It is a great pride of our party to have a large number of the ideological officials remaining unfailingly loyal to the party and the leader, possessed of a high degree of revolutionary spirit and lofty traits.
The ideological officials of our party are standing in the van of the grand drive for modeling the whole party and society on Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism and bringing earlier the final victory in building a thriving nation.
We have rich experience in stepping up the cause for imbuing the whole society on the monolithic idea through a strong ideological offensive as well as powerful information and agitation means available throughout the country.
If the ideological officials are well prepared, elite army corps can be formed and if we have these forces, we have nothing to fear and there is nothing impossible to do.
All ideological officials of the party should discharge their duty as pioneers and pacemakers in the drive for the prosperity of Songun Korea, bearing deep in their mind the important responsibility and mission they assume for the party, revolution, country and people.
Rodong Sinmun Calls for Giving Priority to Ideology
Pyongyang, February 27 (KCNA) -- It is the truth of history that if one takes hold on ideology, he is sure to win, says Rodong Sinmun Thursday in an article.
It goes on:
Ideology is the life and soul of socialism.
Powerful military and economic potentials are too incompetent to defend the gains of revolution won by blood if the ideological position is disintegrated.
This is evidenced by the historic lesson of socialist construction.
In the past some socialist countries failed to pay due attention to the ideological work to educate popular masses. They leaned only on economic construction.
As the people in those countries had no worries and led a stable life, their revolutionary enthusiasm was gradually dampened and tried to lead an easy life.
They did not want to devote themselves to socialism but started to have illusions about capitalism. In the long run, they betrayed socialism, taken in by the false propaganda of the imperialists and reactionaries. As a result, economic construction fell into stagnation in these countries and finally socialism collapsed and capitalism was restored.
The national defense capabilities described as the most powerful in the world were demolished overnight. Soldiers became blind, unaware of their mission. The army that was disarmed ideologically did not prevent the socialist system from collapsing.
There is nothing impossible in the world if the mental power is enlisted by dint of ideology.
This is proved by the practical experience of the Korean revolution which has won victories by dint of ideology.
Missile launch in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on April 5, 2009. The People's Republic of China urged calm while the US administration sought to promote alarm and condemnation. The DPRK conducted an underground nuclear test on May 25., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Halt to US-S. Korean Joint Military Exercises
Pyongyang, February 27 (KCNA) -- The European Regional Headquarters of the Pan-national Alliance for Korea's Reunification and the Society for Cooperation among Koreans in Germany issued a joint statement on February 24 under the title of "Stop at once the joint military exercises leading the situation on Korean Peninsula to the brink of war".
The statement said that positive measures were taken for defending security and peace of the nation and the reunion of separated families and relatives was under way thanks to the recent peace-loving efforts of the DPRK.
But the south Korean authorities kicked off Key Resolve to be followed by Foal Eagle joint military maneuvers, chilling the good atmosphere between the north and the south.
The above-said military maneuvers are drills for a nuclear war against the DPRK.
It condemned the U.S. for staging large-scale war exercises on the Korean peninsula each year according to the nuclear war scenario while decreasing the scale of the military exercises in other regions of the world after the end of the Cold War.
It said that all Koreans would never allow the confrontation and war hysteria of warmongers but turn out in actions to check and foil it resolutely.
The statement demanded the U.S. and the south Korean authorities immediately halt Key Resolve and Foal Eagle.
Stop to Joint Military Drills against DPRK Urged
Pyongyang, February 27 (KCNA) -- Koreans in Japan waged a protest action outside the U.S. embassy in Tokyo on Feb. 24 in demand of the halt to the joint military exercises against the north, according to Minjok Sibo, a newspaper of overseas Koreans published in Japan.
They included Son Hyong Gun, chairman of the Federation of South Koreans in Japan for Democracy and Unification (Hanthongryon), Mun Se Hyon, chairman of the south Korean Youth League in Japan, Kim Ji Yong, chairperson of the South Korean Democratic Women's Society in Japan, and Jo Yong Hwa, chairperson of the South Korean Students Federation in Japan.
The chairman of Hanthongryon read out a written protest.
The written protest denounced the U.S. for kicking off Key Resolve and Foal Eagle joint military exercises that day, defying the public opinions at home and abroad aspiring after peace against war.
The U.S. is describing them as "defensive drills", but it is as clear as noonday that the drills are aimed to invade the north.
The military exercises kicked off by the U.S. when the reunion of separated families and relatives was under way are little short of throwing a wet blanket over the atmosphere of peace on the Korean peninsula.
The military drills are most likely to go over to an all-out war, a nuclear war due to an accidental conflict by leading the tensions on the peninsula to an extreme phase.
The U.S., seeking hegemony in Asia, is trying hard to build the U.S.-Japan-south Korea triangular military alliance. Taking advantage of this development, Japan is watching for a chance of military advance to the peninsula.
The situation is getting deteriorated owing to the U.S. hard-line policy, the written protest said, urging the U.S. to immediately stop the war drills against the north, withdraw its forces from south Korea and discontinue the moves for building the triangular military alliance.
Halt to Joint Military Drills Demanded in S. Korea
Pyongyang, February 27 (KCNA) -- The People for Achieving Peace and
Reunification of south Korea held the 144th meeting for peace and disarmament outside the Defense Ministry on Tuesday in demand of a halt to the large-scale war drills, according to the south Korean internet paper Jaju Minbo.
Speakers denounced the U.S. and south Korean authorities for kicking off the north-targeted joint military drills.
They branded them as acts of chilling the atmosphere of inter-Korean dialogue and reconciliation.
The war drills are ones for nuclear attack, not "annual defensive ones" as they are pursuant to the "tailored deterrence strategy", they said.
They demanded an immediate halt to the joint military drills increasing the danger of a nuclear war on the Korean peninsula.
They stressed the need to ensure peace through dialogue, not by confrontation and war.
Joint Military Drills Termed as Challenge to to Improving Korean Relations
Pyongyang, February 27 (KCNA) -- Five joint organizations of south Korea including the Missionary Solidarity Council of Christian Society held a press conference on Feb. 24 demanding an immediate halt to Key Resolve and Foal Eagle joint military drills, according to the south Korean CBS.
The organizations said the above-said drills started at a time when the reunion of separated families and relatives from the north and the south was under way were a serious challenge to the peace on the Korean peninsula and the process to improve the inter-Korean relations.
Large-Scale Anti-"Government" Actions Held in S. Korea
Pyongyang, February 27 (KCNA) -- Large-scale anti-"government" actions took place across south Korea including Seoul, Taejon, Ulsan, Pusan, North and South Kyongsang, North and South Chungchong, North and South Jolla and Jeju provinces on February 25 with the attendance of at least 200,000 people of all social strata, according to the south Korean internet newspaper Thongil News.
More than 40,000 people attended the rally held at the plaza of the Seoul City Office.
The participants said that the one-year office of the present regime witnessed the days which led to breach of commitments, destitution of people's livelihood and obliteration of democracy, adding that people from all walks of life, including workers, peasants, the poor, merchants, students and women, are turning out in the actions, unable to remain a passive onlooker to this.
The chairperson of the Public Healthcare Trade Union, speaking at the rally, condemned the present regime for pushing ahead with its policy of privatizing healthcare institutions by deceiving the people.
The acting chairperson of the Railway Trade Union expressed the will to meet the demands of workers through actions, saying the regime is resorting to the privatization of the railways.
The executive chairperson of the Measure Committee to Denounce the Intelligence Service's Fabrication of Plotted Rebellion and Suppression under the Pretext of Security criticized the authorities of declaring those involved in the election rigging not guilty and those related to the case of the plotted rebellion guilty with no evidence.
The permanent co-representative of the Solidarity for Abolishing the Discrimination of the Disabled Persons vented his rage on the regime's deceptive policy for welfare.
Then a resolution was read out.
The resolution said that they will continue their actions against the illegal election rigging of the power organs and the moves to stamp out democracy.
It noted that they will become more vocal urging the resignation of the chief executive in case the authorities fail to accept the demand of the people.
At the end of the rally, the participants staged a demonstration.
They gathered at the plaza of the city office again and held a candlelight rally.
The rocket launch of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) during December 2012. The action sent shockwaves through the imperialist world., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
N Korea tests missiles amid S Korea-US exercises
BBC World Service
North Korea has fired four short-range missiles into the sea, South Korean defence ministry officials say, in a move widely seen as a response to South Korea's military exercises with the US.
A ministry spokesman said that the missiles were fired off the east coast of North Korea.
North Korea often conducts short-range missile tests, correspondents say.
It has carried them out before to display its anger over the annual joint military drills.
Last year, the exercises led to an unusually sharp and protracted surge in tensions. The North threatened pre-emptive nuclear strikes, as nuclear-capable US stealth bombers flew practice runs over the peninsula.
South Korean officials said that the four
missiles were fired on Thursday evening.
The South had tightened its vigilance and readiness in case of further missile launches or provocation from the North, they added.
Experts say that the test-firing of the four missiles - with an estimated range of about 200km (125 miles) - is unlikely to trigger a significant rise in military tensions.
US Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steven Warren said that such unannounced weapons tests happened "somewhat regularly".
US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki urged North Korea "to exercise restraint and take steps to improve its relations with its neighbours".
In Japan, top government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said that the country's alert levels would not change.
"At this point in time, we are not thinking that this has affected our country's security or that an emergency has happened," he said.
Analysts say the missile tests are mainly about the North expressing its displeasure over the US-South Korea military drills - which Pyongyang has condemned as provocative - and a recent UN rights report which described rights abuses in the North Korea as possible crimes against humanity.
The test also comes days after Seoul said a patrol boat from the North violated a disputed maritime border multiple times.
However relations between Seoul and Pyongyang are in fact enjoying something of a thaw, correspondents say.
Last week hundreds of North and South Korean relatives were allowed to see each other for the first time in decades at a reunion for families separated by the Korean War.
The reunions took place after North Korea in January called for better relations between the two sides, and overlapped with the US-South Korea drills, which began on Monday.
More than 12,500 US troops will take part in the exercises, which include Key Resolve, a computer-based simulation, and Foal Eagle, which involves air, ground and naval drills.
Pyongyang is opposed to the drills and has previously called them "exercises of war".
Anti-US protest took place outside the American embassy in Pretoria. Obama is in the country for a state visit., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Poll: 59% of Americans disappointed with Obama
Thu Feb 27, 2014 11:44PM GMT
A new poll has shown that 59 percent of the American people are somehow disappointed or very disappointed in Barack Obama’s presidency.
The survey by CBS News and the New York Times also shows that 51 percent of Americans disapprove of Obama’s performance, up four points from last month.
Most of the disappointed are Republicans (91 percent) and independents (66 percent) as about 24 percent of Democrats have expressed at least some disappointment.
Forty percent of Americans say they are satisfied with Obama's presidency.
The poll also shows that Republicans have the upper hand ahead of the mid-term elections in November.
Obama’s image is believed to have been tarnished by the troubled launch of his key healthcare law and the US economy’s sluggish recovery.
The president has had to apologize to people who lost their healthcare plans because of his healthcare law.
“I am sorry that they are finding themselves in this situation based on assurances they got from me,” Obama said in November 2013.
Republicans criticized the Obama administration after a disappointing report showed the US economy added only 113,000 jobs in January as they blamed the sluggish job growth on Obamacare, arguing Obama’s signature health care law and other White House policies are dragging back the economy.
The Iranian Speaker of Parliament with the new President of the Islamic Republic. The Middle Eastern state will be the continued focus of U.S. imperialism., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Republicans derailed veteran benefits bill over Iran sanctions
Fri Feb 28, 2014 1:35AM
Republican lawmakers in the US Senate derailed a $21 billion bill to expand benefits for veterans and their families on Thursday over new sanctions against Iran.
The Senate Republicans, who wanted to attach an amendment to the bill that would impose new sanctions against Iran, used a procedural move to block the legislation and Democrats in the upper chamber of US Congress failed to secure 60 votes needed to keep the bill moving forward on a procedural budget vote.
The legislation could have provided $21 billion for medical, education, and job-training benefits for American veterans and their families.
“I thought that maybe, just on this issue, this Senate could come together and do the right thing for our veterans,” said Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders.
“I am going to keep going on this. We are not going to give up on our veterans,” added the independent senator from Vermont.
Earlier this week, Republican Senator Jerry Moran from Kansas also blocked a vote on military sexual assault legislation, saying an amendment on sanctions against Iran had to be added to the bills. The legislation called for the removal of sexual assault cases in the US military from the chain of command in order to encourage victims to report the crimes.
The Senate GOP’s push for new sanctions against Iran comes as US President Barack Obama has repeatedly said that he would veto any new anti-Iran sanctions passed by Congress.
Secretary of State John Kerry also said on Wednesday that the US must pursue negotiations with Iran instead of taking any action that could lead to war.
“That is an obligation we have as leaders to exhaust all the remedies available to you before you ask people to give up their lives and that is what we are doing,” Kerry told a group of reporters.
Kerry’s remarks echoed those made by the White House's National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan who said in January that the US lawmakers who are pushing for new sanctions against Iran want a war with the country and “should be up front with the American public and say so.”
A new study published by The Iran Project also shows that new sanctions against Iran sought by hawkish senators on Capitol Hill would undermine the ongoing negotiations over Iran’s nuclear energy program and “would increase the probability of war.”
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad with Alaeddin Boroujerdi of the National Security Committee at the Shura Council in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The two Middle Eastern states maintain fraternal relations., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
President al-Assad affirms importance of regional cooperation to confront extremism and terrorism
Feb 27, 2014
Damascus, (SANA) _President Bashar al-Assad Wednesday received Chairman for Foreign Policy and National Security Committee at the Iranian Shura Council, Alaeddin Boroujerdi and an accompanying delegation.
During the meeting, President al-Assad said that cooperation among countries of the region is key to confront extremism and terrorism, affirming the importance of coordination among parliaments of these courtiers and the friendly countries in this regards, as well as practicing more pressure to stop all forms of support offered by some states to the terrorist groups and extremist powers.
The president expressed Syrian people's appreciation for Iran stances in support of Syria on all levels in the interests of the two friendly countries, affirming that the victory achieved by the Iranian people in the nuclear file will be positively reflected on all people adhered to their sovereignty and independence of their decision.
For his part, Boroujerdi reiterated Iran's firm stance in support of Syria's struggle which stands in the first trench of resistance saying that the successes gained by the Syrian people in the face of the most arrogant colonial powers and their tools in the region will form a juncture not only in Syria's history but in the future of the peoples in the whole region.
Later, Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi discussed with Boroujerdi bilateral economic and trade relations and means of developing them as well as activating the credit line between both countries.
In the same context, Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign and Expatriates Minister Walid al-Moallem met Boroujerdi and briefed him on the events of the first and second rounds of Geneva 2 conference
M. Ismael/ Mazen
A rocket attack by rebels in Syria on Feb. 27, 2014 took place in Homs killing at least six people., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Terrorist attacks claim lives of 6 citizens in Homs, Damascus
Feb 27, 2014
Homs, Damascus countryside (SANA) –Five citizens were martyred and 13 others were injured in a rocket shell launched by terrorists on a crowded area in Ikrema neighborhood in Homs city.
A source in the province told SANA reporter that the terrorist attack caused the martyrdom of 5 citizens and the injury of 13 others, in addition to setting a number of cars ablaze and material damage to the private properties.
Moreover, two citizens were injured in a mortar shell launched by terrorists on a house in al-Khudari street in wadi al-Thahab in Homs.
Terrorist attack claims child's life, injures 20 others in al-Qasa'a area in Damascus
A child was killed, 20 citizens were injured by an explosive device planted by terrorists near the French Hospital in al-Qasa'a area in Damascus.
A source at the Police Command told SANA that terrorists detonated an explosive device which was planted near the main entrance of the French Hospital, killing a-15 year old child and injuring 20 citizens, causing large material damage to the hospital and a number of shops and parked cars.
Those attacks come in the frame work of a systematic targetion of the Syrian health sector by the armed terrorist groups.
Terrorists set fire to car of Chairman of National Reconciliation in Qudsaia
A source at the Police Command told SANA that terrorists set fire to the car of Chairman of the National Reconciliation Adel Misto.
Terrorists assassinated on Wednesday member of the National Reconciliation in Harasta Suleiman Sal'aous and Chairman of the National Reconciliation in Moua'damiet al-Qalmoun.
Seven citizens injured by terrorist mortar attack on Police Hospital in Harasta, al-Qtaifeh city in Damascus countryside
Four citizens were injured as a mortar shell launched by terrorists hit the entrance of the Police Hospital in Harasta and the areas suurounding al-Baironi Hospital in Damascus countryside.
A source at the Police Command told SANA reporter that a mortar shell fell on the entrance of the Police Hospital in Harasta causing the injury of four citizens in addition to material damage.
It added that two citizens were also injured by a mortar shell fired landed on the area surrounding al-Baironi Hospital.
The source pointed out that two shells fired by terrorists fell on the outskirts of al-Qtaifeh city, causing material damage to a building with no casualties among the citizens.
It pointed out that a terrorist sniper targeted a private car on Harasta highway, injuring a citizen and causing material damage to the car.
On Saturday, three citizens were injured as terrorists targeted the hospital with three mortar shells in a series of terrorist attacks on the hospital which is offering medical services to members of the internal security forces and their families.
Syrian troops patrol the city of al-Mathan heavily damaged by fighting by loyalists and western-backed rebels. Syria is under threat of regime-change by the imperialist states., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.Army's sweeping blows continue to hit terrorism everywhwere in Syria
Feb 27, 2014
Provinces, (SANA) – the Syrian Arab Army eliminated on Thursday scores of terrorists and destroyed their dens and gatherings in several areas in Syria.
Army units destroy terrorists' dens and gatherings in Damascus Countryside
A military source told SANA that the army units destroyed terrorists' dens and 8 cars along with the weapons and ammunition inside them in al-Skafteh area in Damascus Countryside.
The source added that another army unit destroyed a terrorists' car near Abu Alaiyeh farm near al-Suhel town, killing scores of Jabhat al-Nusra terrorists in Rema farms.
The source added that other army units killed and injured scores of terrorists in the area between Joba'den and al-Sarkha towns.
An army unit clashed with terrorists in Darayaa, killing and injuring scores of them.In the same context, the army units kill many terrorists and destroyed a bulldozer in al-Moleha town.
Meanwhile, an army unit clashed with terrorists in Joubar neighborhood, killing 3 of them and injuring others.
Dozens of terrorists killed Hama
An army unit on Thursday destroyed terrorists' dens in al-Oqeirbat area in Hama countryside, killing many terrorists.
The bodies of the terrorists Suleiman Ahamad, Azzam Saleh, Saad Mousa and Dirar Yousef were identified among the dead.
Army units eliminate terrorists in Qunetira
A military source told SANA that the army units killed scores of terrorists in al-Hour and al-Hujeh lands in the southern countryside of Quneitra.
The source added that another army units repelled terrorists' attempt to sneak from al-Hujeh town, killing and injuring scores of them.
Army units destroy terrorist dens in Aleppo
Units of the Syrian Arab Army destroyed dens of armed terrorist groups in several towns and neighborhoods in Aleppo and eliminated scores of terrorists.
A military source told SANA reporter that units of the army eliminated scores of terrorists in al-Ansari, Bustan al-Qaser, Bani Zaid and al-Kallaseh and destroyed their criminal tools.
The source added that units of the army eliminated terrorists in Khan al-Assal, Fafin, Hreitan, Urum, Kwieris, Arbid, Jdeideh and the surrounding of Aleppo central prison.
Army units eliminate terrorists, destroy their dens in Homs
Units of the Syrian Arab Army destroyed terrorist dens in several towns and villages in Homs and killed many terrorists.
A source in the province told SANA reporter that a unit of the army eliminated armed terrorist groups which tried to infiltrate into Jub al-Jarah and al-Masoudieh towns in Homs and destroyed their weapons and ammunition.
Meanwhile, two citizens were injured in terrorist mortar shells in al-Hawash town in Talkalakh neighborhood in addition to aterial damage to the private properties.
Terrorist groups eliminated in Daraa
A military source told SANA that army units killed scores of terrorists and destroyed big amounts of weapons, ammunition and vehicles in al-Jisri village in al-Lajat area in Daraa countryside, whereas another army unit eliminated an armed terrorist group in the surrounding area of al-Maasara and al-Jamarec in Daraa city.
The source added that army units confronted armed terrorist groups that attempted to infiltrate into Jordan street towards a military checkpoint, killing all members of the group.
Army units destroyed a number of cars with all terrorists inside in Rasoum Barghasha and al-Motelleh in Daraa countryside.
Terrorists killed in Idleb countryside
A military source told SANA that an army unit killed all members of an armed terrorist groups near Qastoun town in Idelb countryside.
The source added that among the dead terrorists were Mudar Ali, Hassan al-Issa and Mohammad Hussein al-Sharef.
Another army units inflicted heavy losses upon terrorists in Kfarlata and Maar Belt towns in the countryside.
Patients being treated for chemical weapons exposure initiated by the western-backed rebels fighting against the government of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria. Israel has recently carried out renewed airstrike outside of Damascus., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Syria says two attempted attacks on chemical weapons convoys: U.N.
By Michelle Nichols and Louis Charbonneau
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - There were two attempted attacks on Syrian convoys transporting chemical weapons late last month, Syrian authorities told the international mission overseeing the removal and destruction of its toxic arsenal, according to a U.N. report on Thursday.
The monthly report to the U.N. Security Council of the joint mission of the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said the attempted attacks were on January 27. It gave no details on the location of the convoys.
"In addition, Syrian authorities indicated that ongoing military activities rendered two sites inaccessible during most of the reporting period," the five-page report said.
This delayed "in-country destruction of the final quantities of isopropanol, preventing some activities to consolidate chemical material into a reduced number of locations, and preventing the physical verification of chemical material prior to movement on 27 January 2014."
Isopropanol is one of two key ingredients for sarin.
President Bashar al-Assad agreed to destroy his chemical weapons following global outrage over a sarin gas attack in August, which was the world's deadliest chemical attack in 25 years. It sparked a U.S. threat of military strikes that was averted after Assad pledged to give up his chemical arms.
But the Syrian government, locked in a three-year-old war with rebels seeking to overthrow Assad, failed to meet the February 5 OPCW deadline to move all of its declared chemical substances and precursors - some 1,300 tonnes - out of the country.
Syria has now proposed a new timetable to remove its chemical weapons by late April, diplomats said on Wednesday.
The report said: "The elimination of the chemical weapons program of the Syrian Arab Republic stands at a critical juncture."
"While progress has been attained under challenging circumstances, it is clear the Syrian Arab Republic must further intensify and accelerate its efforts towards the full elimination of its chemical weapons program," it said.
Under the OPCW schedule, all Syria's declared chemical weapons must be destroyed by June 30. Most of the chemicals are supposed to be transported to the port of Latakia, where they will be shipped out of the country.
The United States has sent the MV Cape Ray, a ship outfitted with special equipment to neutralize the worst of Syria's chemicals at sea, and says it will need 90 days to complete the destruction.
"Measurable progress has been made over the last months in the destruction of critical equipment and special features at a number of chemical weapons production facilities, as well as unfilled chemical munitions," the report said. "As a result, the production, mixing and filling capabilities of the Syrian Arab Republic have been rendered inoperable."
The deal for Syria to give up its chemical weapons, brokered by the United States and Russia, was enshrined in a U.N. Security Council resolution in September.
The resolution does not authorize automatic punitive action in the form of military strikes or sanctions if Syria does not comply. At Russia's insistence, the resolution makes clear a second council decision would be needed for that.
Russia has made clear, however, it would not support the use of force against Assad's government, a close ally.
(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; editing by Gunna Dickson)
Wreckage from Baghdad explosions that took place on April 19, 2012. Despite the withdrawal of US combat troops the violence continues inside the country., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
47 killed in violent attacks across Iraq
BAGHDAD, Feb. 27 (Xinhua) -- At least 47 people were killed and 72 others wounded on Thursday in separate attacks across Iraq, including three deadly bombings here, police said.
In the Shiite area of Sadr City in east Baghdad, a booby- trapped motorcycle exploded at a popular market, killing at least 32 people and injuring 56 others.
At the Muthafar Square of the same city, an improvised explosive device struck a minibus, killing five civilians and wounding two others.
In a separate incident, a roadside bomb struck a bus in the neighborhood of Shaab in northeast Baghdad, killing a passenger and wounding three others.
In Tarmiya area, some 30 km north of Baghdad, two Iraqi soldiers were killed and three others wounded when a car bomb targeted an army patrol. Another similar attack injured three soldiers earlier in the day.
In Salahudin province, gunmen attacked a checkpoint manned by members of a government-backed Sahwa paramilitary group in the city of Shirqat, some 110 km north of the provincial capital Tikrit. Two group members were killed.
Salahudin is a Sunni-dominated province. Its capital Tikrit, some 170 km north of Baghdad, is the hometown of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
In Iraq's eastern province of Diyala, police found a body of an ex-officer of Saddam's army. He was kidnapped earlier near his house in the city of Maqdadiyah, some 100 km northeast of Baghdad. The body was riddled with bullets and dumped near a river outside the city.
Also in the province, unidentified gunmen shot dead a civilian in Maqdadiyah and fled the scene.
In Anbar province, gunmen attacked an army checkpoint in the provincial capital of Ramadi, some 110 km west of Baghdad, killing two soldiers and injuring five others, local police said.
In the south of the militant-seized city of Fallujah, some 50 km west of Baghdad, snipers shot dead a civilian who was driving his car.
Also in the day, 11 gunmen were killed in their clashes with Iraqi forces near Ramadi. They were believed to be linked to al- Qaida organizations.
Another similar clash about seven km west of Ramadi resulted in the killing of four gunmen.
Anbar province has been the scene of fierce clashes that flared up after Iraqi police dismantled an anti-government protest site outside Ramadi in late December last year.
Iraq is witnessing its worst violence in recent years. The UN Assistance Mission for Iraq said a total of 8,868 Iraqis, including 7,818 civilians and civilian police personnel, were killed in 2013, the highest annual death toll in recent years.
Republic of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe and First Lady Amai Grace standing and sitting along with artist who developed the project., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Invest on our terms, President tells West
Sunday, 23 February 2014 00:00
Zimbabwe Sunday Mail
Zimbabweans will be poor for centuries if they repeat the mistake of letting foreigners own the country’s natural resources, President Mugabe has said.
Speaking at a birthday party organised for him by staff in his office at State House yesterday, an energetic President Mugabe said Zimbabwe should always negotiate investment deals on its own terms.
The President, who attended the function soon after touching down at the Harare International Airport from Singapore where he had a successful operation to remove a cataract in his left eye, noted that political independence without economic freedom is hollow.
Cde Mugabe turned 90 on Friday.
“Never, never, never again shall we make the mistake of allowing our resources, natural resources, to be owned by foreigners,” he said.
“You will remain poor for centuries. Huge American companies come, even if you have oil, because they have the machinery, capital (and) they will say the oil is theirs.
“They say we will give you 12 percent because these machines cost a lot of money. To hell with those machines! They are not more valuable than the oil that lies underground.
“The diamonds you take away are not created in a day, but your machines can be repaired when they break down. Let us not be hoodwinked by huge caterpillars. Unonzwa vamwe vachiti vakachera ndezvavo. Zvavo zvipi?
“It’s just an elaborate way of digging. Don’t be deceived, makuhwa, zvekunzi hee you are not going to have investment. Amanga.”
Cde Mugabe said it was unacceptable to have foreigners claiming ownership of resources that belong to a country that is said to be independent.
“We just don’t want political freedom, we want economic freedom as well. Kwete kuti maFrench vanozosara vachiti Gabon, yes, you have political freedom but oil iri underground belongs to us.
“The oil belongs to France, which is underground? What do you have then as a country? Now that’s a struggle that must be waged.”
President Mugabe called on Africans not look down upon themselves when they engage a Western world that believes might is always right.
“Sometimes right is might. As long as your cause is right, never accept failure,” he said.
President Mugabe credited his illustrious career as an educationist, liberator and leader of the country to his ability to “adapt without reneging”.
He, however, pointed out that he is just a leader of a team and a nation that is willing to listen and work with him. The Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces added that turning 90 years old would not be worth celebrating without valuable experience to show for it.
“You can never be a hero unless you have worked with others. Yes, writers do it alone, but in politics you need others. A good leader listens to his people. He himself is led by the people’s interests.
“. . . 90 is just a number. To me it’s 90 years of experience, both negative and positive.”
The President, who shared warm moments, including affectionate kisses on the cheek, with First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe throughout the programme, hailed the country’s security service chiefs for staying loyal.
“Maservice chiefs amuri kuwona avo vari kunzi security reform, security reform …uno reformer ivava nekuti zvaita sei?
“You can’t reform excellence? I have stuck to them because I know their past, I know their commitment, I know their loyalty not only to me, but to the country.
“Ndiva Tsvangirai vanenge vachiti reform. VaTsvangirai dai matisiira nyaya iyi. Kwenyu kwamunoziva kumarokwe. We don’t compete with you there.”
Speaking at the same occasion, Vice-President Mujuru described Cde Mugabe as a living legend and revolutionary icon.
“We are forever grateful for the guidance and mentorship you have provided, especially to me, your first daughter … Bona you are not the first daughter,” she said amid laughter from the guests, including Miss Bona Mugabe.
Meanwhile, staff in the Office of the President and Cabinet yesterday handed over a gigantic 1,2 tonne chair and a compilation of pictures to Cde Mugabe as birthday presents.
The chair, which is carved in stone and coated in gold, diamonds and several animal skins, is called Simbahwe. It took three artistes - Wilfred Tembo, Simbarashe Farisai Mutokonyi and Bruce Johnson - nearly two years to put it together.
The Chief Secretary to the Office of the President and Cabinet, Dr Misheck Sibanda, disclosed that the three did not request payment for their efforts.
“They said this is their way of honouring you, Your Excellency,” he told the President.
Yesterday’s occasion was attended by members of the First Family, Cabinet ministers and staff from the President’s Office.
The festivities continue at Rudhaka Stadium in Marondera today with the hosting of the 21st February Movement celebrations.
Lead story addition
Yesterday, the event organisers were putting the final touches on the venue. The Minister of State for Mashonaland East, Cde Simbaneuta Mudarikwa, said all was set for the major occasion.
“We are very happy to host this event and the required resources have been mobilised. We have the support of the local community, farmers and corporate organisations.
“The gates will open by 6am with entertainment being the first item on the programme. There will also be a musical gala in the evening, lasting up until the next morning.”
South Africa’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) political party also congratulated President Mugabe on the occasion of his birthday anniversary.
In a statement, EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Quintin Ndlozi said the President has always been committed to ensuring the freedom of the oppressed.
“President RG Mugabe’s birth has been a symbol of Africa’s resistance against colonial pressure. He has remained committed to his people and the sovereignty of their economy. He has withstood, against all odds, those who have sought to drink the blood of the African people and their birthright.
“Since his youth, President Mugabe has represented the resilience of a fighter for true political and economic freedom for the people of Africa. He has remained consistent as a leader and a statesman and refused to bow to the temptation of capital’s seduction and continues in that spirit 90 years later.
“We celebrate the birthday of President RG Mugabe as a stalwart of all things prosperous for Africa. On this auspicious occasion, EFF wishes to thank the people of Zimbabwe for standing beside their President who represents economic freedom for the people of Africa.
“We call for the lifting of sanctions against Zimbabwe and demand that the world take note that Africa will never return to oppression and economic freedom is an imminent reality.”
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.
February 26, 2014
South Sudan Recalls Top Envoys Amid Conflict
by Peter Clottey
South Sudan’s foreign minister has denied media reports that top envoys to Washington and other countries were recalled after they failed to convince the host countries that there was an attempt to overthrow President Salva Kiir’s administration.
The government in Juba has so far recalled its top diplomats to Washington, Moscow, Addis Ababa and Brussels. Barnaba Marial Benjamin says the recalls are part of a normal diplomatic shuffle.
“This call is the normal routine in foreign affairs. We had recalled them previously for a briefing. Now it is a form of general transfer within the ministry of foreign affairs,” said Barnaba Marial Benjamin, South Sudan’s foreign minister. “Some of them will go to new places, others will come to the headquarters, and it is a transfer within the ministry, and that by the way is the first transfer to occur in the ministry of foreign affairs.”
Benjamin also said rebels had not demanded that the African Union (AU) replace mediators from the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), at the peace negotiations in Ethiopia saying IGAD would have communicated any such development.
He says IGAD has a successful track record of mediating peace talks in the region.
“IGAD has got all the capabilities to see that these peace talks go forward,” said Benjamin. “I’m sure IGAD is still committed to the talks and we have not received any message of that kind from either IGAD or the African Union for any move of the talks, not at all. IGAD is still continuing the negotiations and is in charge of the process, because the facilitators that are involved are highly qualified.”
Peace negotiations in Ethiopia appeared to have stalled following a resumption of clashes between the national army and rebels allied to South Sudan’s former vice president Riek Machar.
Both sides have accused each other of violating the cessation of hostilities agreement signed between the parties in Ethiopia at the IGAD mediated peace talks.
But, Benjamin says the rebels are to blame for the resumption in violence.
“Our government concern is expressed in the fact that the rebels have been violating the cessation of hostilities. Since the 18th of this month, they attacked Malakal and they have been attacking many other areas and that is a clear violation of the cessation of hostilities,” said Benjamin.
“The government has restrained itself and has been on the self-defense, while the government has the capacity to pursue them, and pursue them were they are,” said Benjamin. “But because the government is committed to the peace talks because we believe this is a senseless war that’s why the talks have been continuing.”
Nhial Deng Nhial, the chief negotiator for the government at the peace talks in Ethiopia who had returned to Juba for consultations before the next round of negotiations, has now returned to Addis Ababa. Benjamin says the government in Juba is not to blame for the stalled peace talks.
“Our chief negotiator went back today after being given the go ahead for the second part of negotiations to go ahead. So any stalling of talks is not from our side. It’s on the side of the rebels who are left and right violating the cessation of hostilities agreement, and I think the IGAD countries will handle that with them,” said Benjamin.
Former SPLM officials who were held in detention hold press conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia amid peace talks. The ruling party is deeply split., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
South Sudan Violence: Patients shot dead in hospital beds
Associated Press Juba/South Sudan February 27, 2014 10:12 am
The extreme violence and lack of respect for health care workers shown by South Sudan's warring sides has made Doctors Without Borders' work almost impossible.
Patients in South Sudan have been shot to death in their hospital beds and medical facilities have been looted and burned to the ground, forcing the aid group Doctors Without Borders to examine its operations.
The extreme violence and lack of respect for health care workers shown by South Sudan’s warring sides has made Doctors Without Borders’ work almost impossible, the international group said in a statement Wednesday.
Members of the aid group discovered at least 14 dead bodies in a hospital in the contested city of Malakal over the weekend, said the statement. Several of the dead bodies had been shot while lying in their beds, the group said. Rebels have been fighting government forces for control of the city, the capital of an oil-producing state.
In addition, Doctors Without Borders’ facilities in the towns of Leer and Bentiu have been looted and completely destroyed, said the group’s leader in South Sudan Raphael Gorgeu. He said Doctors Without Borders does not want to leave South Sudan but must look at the safety of its workers.
The men carrying out the fighting have shown “absolutely no respect for health care workers,” he said. He asked how the group could “stay to the very last moment with the guarantee that our staff and patients will not be targeted?”
Gorgeu said the group does not want to pull out of South Sudan, where 800,000 people are displaced and 3.2 million in immediate need of food due to fighting that broke out in mid-December. Thousands have died in the violence.
At the end of January thousands of residents fled as fighting broke out in Leer, the home town of rebel leader and former Vice President Riek Machar. Doctors Without Borders has worked in Leer for 25 years, evacuated staff while 240 others fled into the bush. They returned this week to find their hospital — a facility that served 300,000 people — destroyed.
“We don’t want to leave South Sudan, definitely not, but we have to look at things very carefully now,” he said. “It is not the investment we put in but the trust and the respect we put in that is actually put into question.”
The situation in South Sudan is to be discussed at a hearing by a U.S. House of Representatives committee later Wednesday.
Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey said the hearing would examine the need for a more unified and proactive U.S. policy in the region.
John Prendergast, co-founder of the U.S. advocacy group the Enough Project, said a “nightmare” scenario is unfolding in the Sudan-South Sudan region.
“Given the escalating crisis being faced by the two countries and the threat posed by a regionalization of the wars, a much more robust and proactive approach is needed,” he said.
Central African Republic crowd protesting French intervention. Paris has occupied the country with 1,600 troops backed by the United States., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
February 26, 2014
CAR Militia Leader Arrested in Congo Brazzaville
by Nick Long
The African Union has confirmed the arrest in the Republic of Congo of a leader of the Central African Republic's anti-Balaka armed movement.
The African Union mission to the C.A.R. has confirmed that Patrice Edouard Ngaissona, the self-proclaimed coordinator of the anti-Balaka armed movement, has been arrested with two other men by authorities across the border in Congo Brazzaville.
Ngaissona, who is also president of the country's football federation, appears to have fled the Central African Republic about February 15, when French and African Union peacekeepers captured several of his collaborators during an operation in Bangui to disarm anti-Balaka, whose name means “machete proof,” or “invincible”.
His name and those of several of the movement’s other commanders are on a list of wanted persons issued by C.A.R. prosecutors.
In a statement, the AU mission congratulated the Congolese authorities on the arrest, and said Ngaissona has often told media that he is the political coordinator of the anti-Balaka, who continue to terrorize the civilian population, particularly Muslims, and are a threat to peace.
The International Crisis Group’s C.A.R. analyst, Thierry Vircoulon, commented on the arrest. "It is part of the pressure put on the leadership of one faction of the anti-Balaka - called the CPLC - and Patrick Ngiassona since mid-January was the official representative of this faction in Bangui, and this faction was aligned to the former president [Francois] Bozize and his entourage," he said.
The question is whether the arrest of Ngaissona and other leaders will scare the anti-Balaka into better behavior.
"It will depend basically on how cohesive is the CPLC and the anti-Balaka movement. Some people think there is not much cohesion in this movement and there are a lot of commanders who basically do whatever they want on the ground," said Vircoulon. "So we will see what is the result of these arrests, but definitely it was necessary to put pressure on the leaders of this faction."
The anti-Balaka commanders arrested 10 days ago are still in jail, unlike some of their comrades who were arrested last month and were sprung from jail within a few days.
Vircoulon said the presence of AU peacekeepers at the prison probably has prevented a repeat of that episode.
The anti-Balaka still have a lot of popular support as the only Central African force that put up a fight against the Seleka, the largely Muslim rebel group that seized power in C.A.R. last year and committed many atrocities. The anti-Balaka have many sympathizers among non-Muslims who are the majority of the population.
They are not militarily very powerful, said Vircoulon, but he suggesed their military threat is not the main problem. "They just have some basic weaponry, but I think the problem right now is the international security forces are not adapted to this kind of threat. They are posing more of a police problem than a military problem at this stage."
Bangui and the rest of the country currently have very few police. Vircoulon said more policing capability should be a high priority for the peacekeeping forces in the country.
Central African Republic Interim President Catherine Samba-Panza has been sworn in as leader of the troubled nation. French troops and their allies are occupying the mineral-rich state., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Amid chaos, Central African Republic's president touts Canada as partner in peace
BANGUI, CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC —
The Globe and Mail
Published Wednesday, Feb. 26 2014, 9:19 PM EST
Flanked by an army officer and four African peacekeeping troops, Catherine Samba-Panza emerges regally from a backroom into a plush chamber filled with overstuffed red-velvet gilt chairs and sofas.
The new president of the Central African Republic, only the third female president in Africa today, has one of the world’s most impossible jobs: trying to rebuild a shattered country where the state has collapsed and political chaos has spiralled into daily sectarian killing.
But she has a plan. As she met the media in her grandiose office Wednesday, she outlined a blueprint for security and reconciliation in the ravaged nation, using a growing force of foreign peacekeepers, while capitalizing on the advantages of being a woman – and touting Canada as a potential partner.
She exuded confidence and calm, until the end of the briefing, when she sharply reprimands a French television crew for daring to ignore her recent speech at a military ceremony. Instead of her speech, she complains, the TV channel showed a gruesome lynching by soldiers at the same ceremony.
Even as she spoke to journalists in the presidential office, the killings were continuing. Several more civilians were killed by armed men in Bangui, where dwindling Muslim neighbourhoods are under siege, and militias roam freely.
“I think the presence of a woman at the head of the state in today’s context is fundamental,” said Mrs. Samba-Panza, a former mayor and human rights activist who was chosen as interim president just five weeks ago after a rebel-backed leader was ousted.
“In our community, even if we have difficulties, we do have some basic values, and among them is a respect for women,” she added. “I think we’ve arrived at a moment when I can teach reconciliation and respect. People express their anger at the political struggles, and they want another kind of leadership, and this leadership could be represented by a woman.”
One of her heroes is another pioneer: Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the first elected female head of state in Africa, who has ruled Liberia since 2006 after the end of a devastating civil war.
“She’s a woman who came to power in almost the same situation as me,” Mrs. Samba-Panza said. “She became the head of the country at a moment of great difficulty in a post-conflict period with many security problems.”
So far, African and European nations are the only ones to provide peacekeepers for Central African Republic, and most of the African troops are badly under-trained and under-equipped. Countries such as Canada could provide much more – not just in humanitarian aid, where Canada has already donated millions to the country – but also in human rights and military aid for the peacekeepers, she said.
“I think Canada has a lot of experience in the sphere of minorities and their integration into society,” said Mrs. Samba-Panza, who recalls how she benefited from support from a Canadian community group herself. “I think Canada and its organizations and people can bring a lot to building peace here.”
Mrs. Samba-Panza, 58, was born in Chad to a Cameroonian father and Central African mother. This has made her a target for nationalist fervour in her homeland, where many are resentful of the foreign troops. One newspaper in Bangui blasted her in a front-page headline. “Samba-Panza: the president who thinks in Chadian, speaks in Cameroonian and acts in Central African.”
In a deeply divided country, where the army and police have fallen apart, she will find it difficult to develop a power base. She is required to resign next year when elections are scheduled.
But as long as she holds office, she pledges to try to heal the divisions. “People have to learn to live together after the fracture,” she said.
French soldier on guard in the Central African Republic. Thousands of foreign forces are occupying the state., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
France votes to extend Central African Republic military mission
Published time: February 25, 2014 14:02
France’s parliament has approved extending what was meant to be a short-term military deployment to stem “the tide of genocide” in the Central African Republic.
The mandate for the French military expedition to the CAR was set to expire in April. The issue divided the lawmakers, with 60 percent of French society questioning the need to intervene in the country. Despite societal and parliamentary divisions, however, the measure was expected to pass in both houses.
Speaking on French television before the vote, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius argued that military intervention had staved off ethnic cleansing in the country.
"If Operation Sangaris had not been launched, there would have been genocide in the Central African Republic," Fabius said on France 2 television, Reuters reported. "The French were right to intervene."
Opposition lawmakers, however, had been questioning prolonging the mission, saying the intervention over the last few months has proved counterproductive.
"Nothing has been resolved, the country is still on fire," France 24 cited former Labor Minister Eric Woerth, a lawmaker from the center-right UMP party of ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy, as saying.
"We have avoided a bloodbath, a massacre," Woerth said, but added that there was "no state, no judiciary, no police [and] no schools."
France first agreed to send 1,600 troops in December to help restore order in the warring African state. Followed by a quick and decisive victory in last year's war against Islamists in Mali, France's military estimated that six months would be long enough to halt sectarian conflict in the Central African Republic, which began in March when Muslim Seleka rebels seized power in the majority Christian country.
In January, Seleka leader Michel Djotodia was himself ousted from power after failing to halt atrocities from his former fighters, as Christian militias have increasingly carried out retaliatory attacks against the country’ Muslims.
Earlier this month, France deployed 400 more troops to bolster its troop presence, who are operating alongside a 6,000-strong African Union peacekeeping mission.
Ironically, the operation itself was named after a local butterfly with a brief life span, reflecting what was expected to be a short lived mission. CAR's interim president, Catherine Samba Panza, has called for international troops to remain in the country until elections due to be held by March 2015.
French Defense Ministry officials privately conceded a mere show of French military force would be enough to restore order in the nation of 4.5 million. But as the nation descends into civil war, the UN human rights chief has warned of “ethnic-religious cleansing.”
Speaking ahead of the parliamentary vote, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Adrian Edwards told reporters that more than 15,000 people in 18 locations "are at present surrounded and under threat by armed groups," AFP reported.
He said that minority Muslim civilians, who are fleeing to the country’s northwest, face a “very high risk of attack and urgently need better security" and more international troops on the ground.
"It will take longer than expected because the level of hatred and violence is worse than we had imagined," French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said last week, France 24 reported. "No-one can accept partition. It must be stopped."
A French military convoy rolls through the Central African Republic. Violence has continued after the forced resignation of Michel Djotodia., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Chad troops kill civilians in Central African Republic: residents
Mon, Feb 24 2014
By Serge Leger Kokpakpa
BANGUI (Reuters) - Chadian peacekeepers shot dead three civilians in a Christian neighborhood of the capital of Central African Republic on Monday, local residents said.
In another incident overnight, two Chadian peacekeepers were shot and killed and another wounded, said Elio Yao, a spokesman for the African Union peacekeeping force, MISCA.
Bangui's Christian population accuses the Muslim Chadians of backing Muslim Seleka rebels - some of whom came from Chad - since they seized power in the mostly Christian Central African Republic and embarked on months of looting and killing.
Christian militia have carried out brutal reprisals against the Muslim minority. Tens of thousands of people have been killed, Human Rights Watch says, in violence that 2,000 French and 6,000 African Union peacekeepers have been unable to stop.
Al Qaeda's North African wing threatened at the weekend to punish France for allowing Muslims to be killed.
Tensions flared anew in the past few days in the Christian neighborhood of Combattants in Bangui, where Chadian peacekeepers have clashed with residents and local militia.
"I condemn the Chadian forces. They said they came here to restore peace but it's them who are killing us," said Macnel Ndotowe, a resident of Combattants.
A spokesman for the Red Cross said its volunteers had recovered bodies from the Combattants neighborhood but could not confirm how they were killed.
Yao said MISCA was investigating the killing of the two Chadian peacekeepers and it was not clear whether this was connected to the wider conflict.
Local Christians accused Chadian troops of preying upon them. The United Nations and Human Rights Watch have also cited evidence of this.
Humanitarian aid workers say, however, that the security situation has improved in Bangui in recent weeks, after most of the city's Muslim population fled northward in the face of attacks by the Christian militia.
"One must understand that getting Central African Republic back on track will take time," General Francisco Soriano, the commander of French forces, told Europe 1 radio. "But we must not ignore the progress made ... The massacres and killing that we saw on our arrival have radically dropped."
AL QAEDA BLAMES FRANCE
One French soldier was killed and two others injured on a reconnaissance mission near the town of Bouar, according to a government statement issued on Sunday. It was the third French soldier killed since the deployment began in early December.
When France deployed troops in December, under a U.N. mandate to support African peacekeepers, it forecast a short mission but many observers now say it risks getting bogged down in a long struggle to rebuild the broken state.
In a statement released at the weekend, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) pledged to punish France for its intervention in Central African Republic, blaming it for continuing militia assaults on the Muslim population.
"Know that your crimes will not go unpunished and the war between us will continue," the statement read, saying France had left Muslims defenseless by disarming Seleka.
AQIM, whose fighters were driven from an enclave in northern Mali by a French-led offensive last year, encouraged Muslims in Central African Republic to start a jihad and called on Muslims throughout Africa to strike French interests.
Islamists staged a suicide attack on uranium mines operated by French state-owned firm Areva in Niger in May.
Experts have suggested that the religious conflict in Central African Republic could fuel Islamic militancy in a volatile region at the heart of Africa. There have been no reports to date of Islamist fighters operating on the ground in Central African Republic.
Amid rising concern among Muslims abroad, Afghanistan's insurgent Taliban accused major countries and aid organizations of standing by in the face of a "genocide" against Muslims in the Central, in a statement issued at the weekend.
"The genocide and forced migration of the Muslims ... poses a danger to the peaceful life and co-existence of Muslims and Christians throughout Africa," the Taliban said in a rare statement dealing with matters outside Afghanistan.
(Additional reporting by John Irish in Paris and Daniel Flynn in Dakar; Writing by Daniel Flynn and Matthew Mpoke Bigg; Editing by Mark Heinrich)
Central African Republic soldiers surround a policeman who sought to intervention to prevent the murder of a man accused of being a Seleka rebel. The incident occurred on Feb. 5, 2014., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Armed groups surround thousands in Central African Republic - U.N
Tue, Feb 25 2014
By Serge Leger Kokpakpa
BANGUI (Reuters) - Over 15,000 people in Central African Republic, mostly Muslim civilians in makeshift camps, are surrounded and being threatened by armed militia groups, a spokesman for the U.N. refugee agency said on Tuesday.
Adrian Edwards told a news briefing in Geneva that the refugees, dotted around 18 locations in the northwest and southwest of the landlocked country, face a high risk of attack and urgently need better security.
France's parliament voted in favour on Tuesday of extending its military mission in Central African Republic, Operation Sangaris, four months after its launch.
The former French colony has been torn by inter-communal violence that has killed thousands since Seleka, a coalition of mostly Muslim northern rebels, seized power in March and unleashed a wave of looting and killings.
Christian militia known as "anti-balaka", which means "anti-machete" in the local sango language, have exacted brutal reprisals against the Muslim minority whom they accuse of supporting the rebels. Ten of thousands of Muslims have fled to neighbouring countries, while others sought shelter in camps.
"Although violence has hit all communities in CAR, most of the people who are trapped are Muslims under threat from 'anti-balaka' militiamen," Edwards said. "Areas we are particularly worried about include the PK12 neighbourhood in Bangui and the towns of Boda, Boar and Bossangoa."
Tit-for-tat killings have continued despite the presence of 2,000 French and 6,000 African Union peacekeepers (MISCA). Aid workers say security has improved somewhat in the capital Bangui in recent weeks, though sporadic attacks continue.
Burundian peacekeepers shot dead two anti-balaka fighters who were looting a shop in Bangui on Tuesday, witnesses said.
In Carnot, a town of about 45,000 some 500 km (310 miles) northwest of the capital, Muslims sought protection at a local church after hiding in the bush for several days.
Priest Justine Nary said that over 1,000 people, many of them women and children, had sought refuge in Carnot's church.
Nary said the mood was tense after anti-balaka militia threatened to torch the building if Muslims did not leave, despite the presence of AU and French troops.
"We received 223 more people this morning and the truck has gone out again to fetch more people from the bush where they are hiding," he said.
The crisis has driven around 1 million people - about a quarter of the country's population - from their homes. Many of them have fled to neighbouring Cameroon, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo and Republic of Congo.
The World Food Programme warned on Tuesday that the exodus could spark a regional crisis as countries struggled to accommodate the refugees.
Despite some lawmakers concerns about how the mission has been handled, French members of parliament voted on Tuesday massively in favour of extending the mission in the country, with only a hand-full abstaining or voting against.
In France, a foreign military operation requires parliamentary backing when it lasts more than four months.
"Everyone is aware that our job is not finished," Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault told lawmakers. "Our efforts have started to bear fruit. The threat of a widespread flare-up was avoided."
Some opposition lawmakers have accused French President Francois Hollande of miscalculating the situation in Central African Republic, demanding to know how long French troops will stay and the cost of the mission.
"The president has been careless," the head of the opposition UMP party in the lower house, Christian Jacob, said during a debate in parliament. "This carelessness has led, as we feared, to an impasse, a trap which we don't see how to get out of."
(Additional reporting by John Irish and Emile Picy in Paris, Stephanie Nebehay in Geneva and Bate Felix in Dakar; Writing by Bate Felix; Editing by Mark Heinrich)