SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) –A Libyan passenger plane with at least 150 passengers on board was shot at as it prepared to land at Tripoli airport, but sustained no major damage, airline sources have said.
The Buraq Air Boeing 737 was a near the capital's airport when the incident occurred on Wednesday evening. It was not immediately clear whether it was accidental fire or an attack.
"As the plane prepared to land at Tripoli airport, it was hit on the bottom, in the lavatory at the front of the plane," a Buraq Air source told Reuters news agency. "The plane landed safely afterwards."
"People started to panic inside and one woman was later taken to hospital to be treated for shock," they said, adding that the airline had temporarily suspended flights to and from Tripoli.
A second airline source added: "We do not know exactly what happened but we believe this was accidental fire. Security at the airport has been stepped up and so far nothing suspicious has been found."
The plane was on a flight to Tripoli from the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi.
In June last year, clashes broke out between rival Libyan militias at Tripoli's international airport after gunmen drove armed pickup trucks onto the tarmac and surrounded planes, forcing the airport to cancel flights. -www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) –
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – For the first time since the Taliban shot her five months ago, Pakistani teenager Malala Yousafzai has done what made her a target of the would-be assassins: She's gone to school.
The 15-year-old on Tuesday attended Edgbaston High School in Birmingham, England, the city in which doctors treated her after she received initial care in Pakistan, a public relations agency working with her announced.
It was her first day at school since the Taliban shot her in the head in October for campaigning for girls' education.
"I am excited that today I have achieved my dream of going back to school," Malala said, according to a release from her representatives. "I want all girls in the world to have this basic opportunity.
"I miss my classmates from Pakistan very much, but I am looking forward to meeting my teachers and making new friends here in Birmingham."
On October 9, the teenager was riding home in a school van in the Swat Valley, a Taliban stronghold in Pakistan, when masked men stopped the vehicle. They demanded that the other girls identify Malala, and when they did, the men shot Malala in the head and neck. The gunmen also shot another girl, wounding her.
Altering perceptions of women in Muslim countries
Malala improved through numerous surgeries, including two to repair her shattered skull and restore her hearing. She was walking by the time she was released from the Birmingham hospital in February.
She is continuing rehabilitation at her family's temporary home in Birmingham and is to visit the hospital occasionally for outpatient appointments.
Malala's journey from near death to recovery
Her story moved Pakistan to vow that it would more vigorously fight for girls' rights and against the Taliban.
Malala gained international attention three years before she was shot, as a campaigner for girls' education in Pakistan. In 2009, she wrote a blog published by the BBC about how she wanted to go to school but was afraid.
"The Taliban have repeatedly targeted schools in Swat," she wrote.
About that time, the Taliban issued a formal edict, which covered her home in the Swat Valley, banning all girls from schools. On the blog, Malala praised her father, who was operating one of the few schools that would go on to defy that order. She started giving interviews with news outlets, including CNN.
"I have the right of education," she said in a 2011 interview with CNN. "I have the right to play. I have the right to sing. I have the right to talk. I have the right to go to market. I have the right to speak up."-www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Nine female polio vaccinators have been killed in two shootings at health centres in northern Nigeria, police have told the BBC.
In the first attack in Kano the polio vaccinators were shot dead by gunmen who drove up on a motor tricycle.
Thirty minutes later gunmen targeted a clinic outside Kano city as the vaccinators prepared to start work.
Some Nigerian Muslim leaders have previously opposed polio vaccinations, claiming they could cause infertility.
On Thursday, a controversial Islamic cleric spoke out against the polio vaccination campaign, telling people that new cases of polio were caused by contaminated medicine.
Such opposition is a major reason why Nigeria is one of just three countries where polio is still endemic.
But this is believed to be the first time polio vaccinators have been attacked in the country.
Some Kano residents told the BBC's Yusuf Yakasai in the city that other people injured in the first attack had been taken to hospital.
A health official confirmed to the BBC that those killed in the second attack in Hotoro were female health workers - there were earlier reports that people waiting at the clinic may have been among those shot.
Witnesses in Hotoro told the BBC gunmen also approached the health centre using a motor tricycle.
Kano banned motorbikes from carrying passengers after a recent attack on the prominent Muslim leader, the emir of Kano.
Analysts believe the attacks may have been the work of the militant Islamist group Boko Haram but it has not yet commented and no group has said it carried out the attack.
The group - whose name translates as "Western education is forbidden" - says it is fighting to overthrow the government and impose Sharia.
It has been blamed for the deaths of some 1,400 people in central and northern Nigeria since 2010.
According to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, there were 121 cases of polio in Nigeria last year, compared to 58 in Pakistan and 37 in Afghanistan.
In the past month, polio workers have also been targeted and killed in Pakistan, where the Taliban have threatened anti-polio efforts - accusing health workers of working as US spies and alleging that the vaccine makes children sterile.-www.shfaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) –An Armenian presidential candidate has been shot and wounded by unknown gunmen in the capital Yerevan, police said, in an attack that could delay February's election.
Paruyr Hayrikyan, whose life was not in danger after Thursday's shooting, is one of eight candidates running in the February 18 vote, but is not seen as a strong challenger to Serzh Sarksyan, who is expected to be re-elected for a second five-year term.
However, according to Armenia's constitution, the election could be postponed by two weeks if a candidate is unable to campaign or run. In the event of a candidate's death, a new election is called, to be held within 40 days.
The 2008 presidential election in Armenia - a landlocked ex-Soviet republic of 3.2 million that is Russia's main ally in the South Caucasus - were marred by violent clashes between opposition protesters and police.
"Those, who did it, wanted to destabilise the situation in the country, but they failed," Hovik Abrahamyan, the parliamentary speaker, told reporters.
"It will depend on Paruyr Hayrikyan's condition whether the election will be postponed or not," he said.
'Two shots fired'
Armenian Shans TV reported that gunmen fired two shots, wounding Hayrikyan with a bullet to his shoulder, in the
courtyard of his house in the centre of the capital.
He was taken to hospital after his neighbours, who heard shots and found him, called police and an ambulance.
"[Unknown gunmen] were shooting at the presidential candidate Paruyr Hayrikyan ... Doctors say his life is not in
danger," Vladimir Gasparyan, the head of the country's police department, told reporters at the hospital in comments aired by Shans TV.
Hayrikyan, 63, a former dissident, is the leader of a moderate opposition party, the National Self-Determination Union.-www.shfaqna.com/English
Source: AL Jazeerea
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – The largest gun show in the world opened its doors in Las Vegas this week, revealing 12.5 miles of firearms, ammunition and related gear from every major gun manufacturer on earth.
Rifles and shotguns dominated The annual SHOT show -- short for Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade -- this year, with many companies choosing this high-profile stage to reveal their new models for 2013.
In the Wild West, Winchester Repeating Arms made the Model 1873 lever action rifle often referred to as the gun that won the West.
At SHOT show 2013, Winchester announced the return of this historic classic; you can now buy the 20-round barrel Model 73 with its signature oil-finished walnut stock and blued-steel crescent butt plate.
Making this beauty your own would set you back $1,300.
In the shotgun space, the company’s new 18-inch barrel Super X Pump Marine Defender, tactical ribbed for better control, has a drilled and tapped alloy receiver for scope bases.
For enhanced endurance against wear and environmental conditions, this model has matte hard-chrome plating on the barrel and magazine tube. The barrel is equipped with an Invecto Plus choke system and a removable Tru Glo fiber-optic front sight.
Available for just under $370, this model’s synthetic stock has textured gripping surfaces with an Inflex Technology recoil pod.
SIG Sauer unveiled five rifles including models for tactical purposes this year.
The new SIG SMG, arguably the most tactical of their new rifles, is now available in 9mm, S&W .40 and .357 SIG.
All four variants of the SIG SMG have MSR ergonomics and are equipped with a structure that removes the need to make gas system adjustments. You can use subsonic loads like +P ammo and frangible loads. It takes 10, 20 and 30 round capacities of proprietary ammunition.
A 12-inch, internally suppressed system; 6.5-inch pistol; 6.5-inch barrel SMG/SBR with a telescoping stock; and 16-inch carbine are the four options available.
Twenty-gauge shotgun models are often popular with small-framed women because they are lighter, easier to handle and have less recoil than the 12-gauge shotgun- Weatherby’s new PA08 TR, priced at $399, looks to be another favorite.
The new 20-gauge pump action PA08 TR Threat Response Shotgun weighs a mere six pounds and is only 39 inches long. It has a straight stock with a CNC machined aluminum alloy receiver, and an 18.5-inch chrome-lined non-ribbed barrel chambered for three-inch shells.
Also new, the PA 459 Threat Response pump shotgun has the same CNC aluminum alloy receiver and barrel, same length and about the same weight, but includes some extra features reflected in its $499 price tag.
This model’s barrel has an extended and ported choke tube and the upper receiver has a Picatinny rail compatible with most red dot sights. It’s equipped with an adjustable Ghost Ring sight to enable rapid targeting.
For those concerned about a looming zombie threat, Remington introduced a tactical 12- gauge semi-auto Versa Max Zombie available for $1,599.
It has a 22-inch vent rib barrel and extended magazine with a Pro Bore Tactical choke tube. A straight ventilated rib “Gargoyle Green” camo version and Exposition Pink Camo version receiver rail compatible with optical sights version are available.
Remington also introduced a new pump-action 12-gauge 870 Tactical with an 18.5-inch barrel, Magpul Stock with detachable cheek risers to use optics and MOE forend.
Available for about $870, this 870 Tactical model’s barrel and receiver have a CeraKote coating, a one piece magazine tube, and the picatinny-style adjustable XS Ghost Ring sight rail, and it’s equipped with a SuperCell recoil pad.
Remington introduced a bunch of new rifles, but it was the new bolt action Remington Model 783 that received the most buzz. Available for $450, the word on the floor was that it delivers the same performance as the 770 SPS model (yet it’s easier on the wallet).
I’d be remiss not to mention LaRue Tactical. While the company did not introduce any new models, its current rifles were there and are exceptionally crafted.
LaRue attracted not just those in the know, but also hosted a number of celebrities in the field, from best-selling author Brad Thor to Top Shot Season 3 winner Dustin Ellerman.
Ballet dancer turned defense specialist Allison Barrie has traveled around the world covering the military, terrorism, weapons advancements and life on the front line. -www.shfaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – rly, very young, or those with certain health conditions, don't develop a strong immune response to the flu even after vaccination. Others get exposed to the flu before the vaccine can take effect.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week estimated the effectiveness of this year's vaccine to be 62 percent, based on a one-month survey of more than a thousand adults and kids.
That's in line with the historical average. A 2011 review of previous research published in Lancet Infectious Diseases found that vaccines had a combined efficacy of 59 percent against flu in healthy adults aged 65 and younger.
Trying to Change the Game
That less than stellar record has scientists working to develop better tools to fight flu.
"Is [the current vaccine] the answer for tomorrow? Yes, it's the best we have. Use it," said Michael Osterholm, lead author of the 2011 review and director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.
"Is this the answer for the next few tomorrows?" he continues. "No. We need better flu vaccines."
And that need is acute. The World Health Organization puts the global death toll from seasonal flu at 250,000 to 500,000 per year, out of 3 million to 5 million severe cases. In the United States, an estimated 3,000 to 49,000 people die each year from the flu, according to the CDC.
Osterholm was the lead author of an October Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy report that called for "game-changing" influenza vaccines.
The traditional flu vaccine includes pieces of the "head" of the hemagglutinin protein, which is found on the surface of the flu virus. When immune cells called B cells run into those bits of protein after vaccination, the cells learn to make antibodies against them. Later, if the actual flu virus comes along, these prepared B cells can mount a speedy response and prevent infection.
The problem is that this part of hemagglutinin mutates rapidly, and the older antibodies are of no use against the newer version of the virus.
Researchers and some biotech companies are now trying to target proteins in the influenza virus that don't vary from strain to strain and from year to year.
"If this piece of the virus is the same among all influenza viruses and doesn't change over time, maybe we can make a vaccine against it," said Gregory Poland, director of the Mayo Clinic's Vaccine Research Group.
The hope is that the approach yields a universal vaccine that protects against seasonal flu without annual shots. Such a vaccine could also keep the body poised to fend off a major new flu virus, like the 1918 strain that killed tens of millions of people and the 2009 pandemic of a strain of H1N1, aka swine flu.
As they seek that silver bullet, researchers are taking a variety of approaches.
Sarah Gilbert, a professor of vaccinology at the University of Oxford, is working with colleagues on a vaccine that interacts with the body's T cells, which kill other cells that have been infected by a virus.
"T cells can recognize human cells infected with the virus because very small regions of the [infected cells'] contents are displayed on the outside," said Gilbert. "It's like putting little flags on the outside to say there is something nonhuman inside."
The advantage is that those little flags on the outside of infected cells don't vary much from flu strain to flu strain.
The Wait Continues
The Oxford group has published the results from some small, early studies in humans but will need many more studies to prove T cell approach is effective, Gilbert said.
Even if that or other new vaccines make it to market, the likelihood of a flu shot for life is low. Immunity declines over time, so people would probably need boosters.
"I think we'll probably move to a shot every five years," said Gilbert. Such a shot could be offered year-round, cutting down on lines at drugstores and doctors' offices between September and March.
For now, the wait continues. "Candidate vaccines are in early trials," said the Mayo Clinic's Poland. "It could be four to ten years before we see one."
The Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy report from October noted that it can take as long as 15 years and as much as $1 billion to bring a new vaccine to market.
It also predicted that flu vaccines taking an entirely new approach will face a longer approval process and "substantially higher" financial risk than more traditional vaccines. More studies will be needed, and regulators will need to figure out, for example, how to estimate the biological effectiveness of a vaccine that doesn't rely on the same mechanism as today's vaccines.
The October report urged changes to the U.S. government's regulatory process for approving new flu vaccines and "coordinated partnerships involving national governments, the pharmaceutical industry, the investment community, and academia." And it called on the U.S. government to "assume a primary leadership role" in spurring the development of new vaccines.
Can't wait for all that? There is an incremental improvement to the current flu vaccine coming soon.
Starting in the 2013-14 flu season, there will be a "quadrivalent" vaccine available that will protect against two influenza A and two influenza B strains. In a couple of years, all vaccine manufacturers will be making them, said Poland.-www.shfaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – A man was killed and a dozen police officers were injured early on Thursday in the northern city of Irbid as demonstrations over increased fuel prices stretched into a second day and opposition leaders scrambled to harness a spontaneous eruption of anger that spread throughout the kingdom, taking officials and opposition leaders by surprise.
The demonstrations were the most aggressive in this politically fragile and strategically critical ally of the United States in the past two years, particularly outside the capital, where many protesters shouted slogans against King Abdullah II that previously would only have been whispered. Teachers went on strike and other unions announced a two-hour work stoppage for Sunday. The crowds included first-time protesters and tribal members who have been the king’s political base.
”This is the beginning of the Jordanian Spring, November 13,” declared Hassan Barari, a political science professor at the University of Jordan, where students blocked a main road near campus. “Because this is no longer a political thing; this is the lives of the people. If you go around to the tribes, this is the backbone of the king, they can’t afford anything. It can’t be worse.”
Analysts and activists said the outpouring since the reduction of gasoline subsidies on Tuesday marked an important shift in the criticism of the leadership in recent months because many of the protesters were not affiliated with political parties, unions or the secular opposition movement.
”It’s popular and spontaneous; it was not called by activists and Islamists,” said Kamal Khoury, an activist and blogger. “It was regular people going crazy about what’s going on.”
Violence was most severe in Irbid, where the authorities said a police station was attacked by armed demonstrators, leading to the fatal shooting of Qasi Omari, 22, and injuries to a dozen police officers and four protesters. A police corporal was also injured when someone fired an automatic pistol from a moving car, the police said in a statement.
In Madaba, an ancient city that draws tourists to its holy sites, protesters tore down the king’s picture and burned it, according to an activist who was there, then smashed windows of several banks, pulling the furniture from one and setting it on fire. Witnesses reported the looting of a discount store for government employees in Salt and the riot police in Tafileh firing bullets into the air.
In Karak, a southern city known for its staunch support of the monarchy, protesters burned the house of the governor.
In Amman, dozens of officers in helmets and body armour blocked access to Dakhliyeh Circle, a popular sit-in site, so hundreds crowded in front of their line, chanting slogans such as “The people know who is the corrupt guy”.
The demonstration began peacefully, but after a few hours protesters threw rocks and burned tyres, and officers responded with tear gas.
Sana Gaith, an artist who said she earned about $211 (Dh775) per month, was a first-time protester who joined the Dakhliyeh gathering. “I can’t afford the living conditions,” she said. “I don’t want anything to happen in the country, but I want them to fix the prices. I’m divided. I’m angry, and I’m scared for the country.”— www.shafaqna.com/English
Source: Gulf News
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) –Spokesman for provincial administration Sarhadi Zawak said the gunmen killed Moulavi Nasir in a barrage of bullets in Mehterlam district located in the center of Laghman Province.
The cleric was killed on his way to a religious seminary on Saturday morning.
The officials say the attackers have escaped the scene of the attack and that police launched an investigation into the incident.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but Afghan officials put the blame on Taliban militants, who have carried out similar assaults in the past.
Violence in Afghanistan has been on the rise in recent months despite the presence of thousands of US-led foreign forces in the war-weary country.
The US-led invasion of Afghanistan began in 2001 under the pretext of “fighting terror.”
The US-led war in Afghanistan has become the longest military conflict in American history.— www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — A Pakistani schoolgirl shot in the head by the Taliban has every chance of making a "good recovery", British doctors said on Monday as 14-year-old Malala Yousufzai arrived at a hospital in central England for treatment of her severe wounds.
Yousufzai, who was shot for advocating education for girls, was flown from Pakistan to receive specialist treatment at Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital at a unit expert in dealing with complex trauma cases that has treated hundreds of soldiers wounded in Afghanistan.
"Doctors...believe she has a chance of making a good recovery on every level," said Dr Dave Rosser, the hospital's medical director, adding that her treatment and rehabilitation could take months.
He told reporters Yousufzai, whose shooting has drawn widespread condemnation, had not yet been assessed by British medics but said she would not have been brought to Britain at all if her prognosis was not good.
TV footage showed a patient, believed to be the schoolgirl, being rushed from an ambulance into the hospital surrounded by a large team of medical staff.
She will now undergo scans to reveal the extent of her injuries, but Rosser said they could not provide any further details without her agreement.
Pakistani surgeons removed a bullet from near her spinal cord during a three-hour operation the day after the attack last week, but she now needs intensive specialist follow-up care.
The unit at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, a large blue and white glass-plated complex in the south of England's second city, has treated every British battle casualty for the last decade, Rossner said.
Built at a cost of 545 million pounds ($877 million), the hospital has the world's largest single-floor critical care unit for patients with gunshot wounds, burns, spinal damage and major head injuries.
Treatment for the schoolgirl is likely to include repairing damaged bones in her skull and complex follow-up neurological treatment.
"Injuries to bones in the skull can be treated very successfully by the neurosurgeons and the plastic surgeons, but it is the damage to the blood supply to the brain that will determine long-term disability," said Duncan Bew, consultant trauma surgeon at Barts Health NHS Trust in London.
Judging the best way forward in such difficult cases requires a wide range of experienced medics working as a team.
"In trauma, it is really the coordinated impact of intensive care that is critical. It's not just about keeping the patient alive but also maximizing their rehabilitation potential. With neurological injuries that is paramount," Bew said.
Doctors said youth was on her side since a young brain has more ability to recover from injury than a mature one.
"On the positive side, Malala has passed two major hurdles - the removal of the bullet and the very critical 48-hour window after surgery," said Anders Cohen, head of neurosurgery at the Brooklyn Hospital Centre in New York.
MALALA'S SECURITY A PRIORITY
Compared with some of the nation's ageing hospitals, the new National Health Service (NHS) hospital offers a spectrum of services ranging from plastic surgery to neuroscience.
They may all be needed in Malala's case.
The hospital and government officials declined to give any details about the security measures that would be put in place to protect Malala but a spokesman for the interior ministry said her security was "a priority for both Pakistan and the UK".
A hospital spokesman said no extra measures were in place but because the unit treated British military personnel it already had "fairly robust security".
Care of soldiers on the battlefield has improved dramatically in recent years, so that many now survive injuries that would have been a death sentence in the past.
As a result, Birmingham now handles extremely challenging injuries that were previously little known and has built up enormous experience in head and brain injuries, multiple fractures and amputations.
In the last five years, the Birmingham centre has treated 481 service personnel seriously injured in Afghanistan, according to the Ministry of Defence.
She did not come from Pakistan with any of her relatives but the Pakistani Consulate are proving support and her family may join her at a later date.
Yousufzai, a cheerful schoolgirl who had wanted to become a doctor before agreeing to her father's wishes that she strive to be a politician, has become a potent symbol of resistance against the Taliban's efforts to deprive girls of an education.
Pakistanis have held some protests and candlelight vigils but most government officials have refrained from publicly criticizing the Taliban by name over the attack, in what critics say is a lack of resolve against extremism.— www.shafaqna.com/English