SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) –“Pursuant to Islamic logic, the Islamic Republic of Iran opposes any blast or the killing of innocents be it in Boston in the US or Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq or Syria and condemns it,” Ayatollah Khamenei told a group of Army commanders on Wednesday.
“The US and other so-called human rights advocates remain silent on the massacre of innocents in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, but they cause a ruckus after a few blasts in the United States,” the Leader stated.
Ayatollah Khamenei underscored the “contradictory” behavior of the US and its allies regarding human rights issues, calling their position on the Islamic Republic “illogical”.
“What kind of logic is this[?] … if children and women are killed by Americans in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and [if] in Iraq and Syria the terrorists backed by the US, West and Zionists cause tragedy, it is not considered a problem but if an explosion happens in the US or another Western state, the entire world must pay the price for it?”. -www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – The Syrian government has censured a decision by the Arab League (AL) to hand Syria’s seat to opposition forces on the eve of the organization’s annual summit in the Qatari capital.
"The league has handed Syria's stolen seat to bandits and thugs," Syrian government daily al-Thawra said in a report published on Monday.
"They have forgotten that it is the people who grant the powers and not the emirs of obscurantism and sand," it added.
A Syrian state television also said, "Qatar wants to bypass the rules of the Arab League by giving the seat of a founding member of the league to a coalition that obeys only the money and fuel of the [Persian] Gulf and submits to American dictates."
On March 6, the Arab League called on Syria's opposition National Coalition "to form an executive body to take up Syria's seat" at the upcoming summit, which is due to be held in Doha on Tuesday.
In November 2011, the Arab League suspended Syria, which is a founding member of the organization.
Iraq and Algeria are the only countries that have expressed reservations for the summit, while Lebanon has opposed the decision.
Syria has been experiencing unrest since March 2011. Many people, including large numbers of Syrian army and security personnel, have been killed in the violence.
The Syrian government says that the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the militants are foreign nationals.
Damascus says the West and its regional allies including Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey are supporting the militants.-www.shafaqna.com/English
Source: Press TV
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Human Rights Watch (HRW) has sharply criticized the Canadian government for its inaction over a report that accuses the country’s federal police of raping and abusing aboriginal women.
On Wednesday, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper rejected calls by the rights group for an inquiry into allegations of violence committed by Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) against aboriginal women and girls.
“I would encourage anyone with information that bears on these matters to pass it along to the appropriate authorities,” Harper said in response to the report.
Samer Muscati, a Canadian co-researcher of the report detailing allegations of abuse and sexual assault at the hands of police, said on Thursday that Harper missed the point of the report -- that aboriginal women and girls are often too traumatized to cooperate with police.
“Those comments ignore the fear of reprisal those victims have,” Muscati said.
“The comments don’t address the core issue of the lack of security that prevents indigenous women and girls from filing complaints of police abuse,” he added.
Muscati said that HRW was snubbed by Harper and three cabinet ministers, none of whom were willing to meet and be briefed on the report before it was issued.
Harper also asked the rights group to share the information it has about the abuse, but Muscati said the organization has no intention of doing so.
“We have to stand by the victims who have asked us not to identify them because they’re terrified of police retaliation,” he noted.
The Canadian government is “missing the point of the report. If he met with us and reviewed the report, he would know that’s an unrealistic request given that our report is about fear and insecurity that plagues aboriginal women and girls,” the researcher pointed out.
In the scathing report, which was released on Wednesday, the New York-based rights group accused Canada's federal police of intimidating and even sexually assaulting aboriginal women and girls in the province of British Columbia.
In the report, HRW documented numerous accounts of women and girls in the province’s indigenous communities finding themselves in a constant state of fear.
"The threat of domestic and random violence on one side, and mistreatment by RCMP officers on the other, leaves indigenous women in a constant state of insecurity," said Meghan Rhoad, the other author of the 89-page report on the issue.
The report also documented a number of disturbing allegations of rape and sexual assault at the hands of police.
"In five of the 10 towns Human Rights Watch visited in the north, we heard allegations of rape or sexual assault by police officers," said the report, which was the outcome of an investigation into the "Highway of Tears" -- the name used to describe an infamous 800-kilometer stretch of highway in central British Columbia where 18 women have disappeared over the past several decades.
Two researchers, one from Canada and one from the United States, spent five weeks last summer in the province’s north, interviewing 42 women and eight girls in 10 communities along the highway that connects the cities of Prince George and Prince Rupert in the westernmost province.
The researchers noted that all of the victims in the report were frightened about possible retaliation within their communities or by police, and insisted on having their identities protected.
The report called on the federal government to launch a national inquiry into the murders and disappearances of indigenous women and girls, and called for an independent civilian investigation into the reports of police misconduct.
The RCMP said it took the allegations "very seriously" but that “it is impossible to deal with such public and serious complaints when we have no method to determine who the victims of the accused are."
Indigenous communities in Canada, also known as the First Nations, say they are frustrated with Ottawa’s failure to address the social and economic grievances facing many of Canada’s 1.2 million aborigines.
Many of Canada’s natives live in poor conditions with unsafe drinking water, inadequate housing, addiction, and high suicide rates.
In a report released on December 19, 2012, Amnesty International called on Canada to address human rights abuses in the country, particularly with respect to the rights of indigenous peoples.-www.shfaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) - With winds gusting close to 60 kilometres an hour, and record-breaking accumulation, the latest storm to hit Montreal made getting around on four wheels or even two feet a challenge.
Starting Friday morning, 3,000 city workers using 2,500 pieces of equipment were expected to fan out across Montreal to begin clearing streets and sidewalks and carting away the snow.
By 7 p.m. Thursday, the snowfall at the airport was 45 centimetres, easily surpassing the previous record of 37.8 cm set on this date in 1969. According to Environment Canada’s René Héroux, it set “an absolute record” for a 24-hour period. The biggest snowfall for the month of December for Montreal was 41.2 cm on Dec. 16, 2005. So the 45 cm Thursday is one for the record books — March 4, 1971, had held the honour for extreme daily snowfall for the past 41 years with 43.2 cm.
Montrealers are hardy when it comes to navigating rough, snowy weather, but Thursday’s storm tested even the most seasoned winter veterans.
Pedestrians who ventured out had to contend with high drifts of heavy snow, harsh winds and unplowed sidewalks, making even the shortest outdoor journey a challenge.
Commuters relying on public transit faced waits of an hour or longer for buses and trains — and when buses did show up there was no guarantee they would arrive at their destination. Some buses got stuck in snowbanks, while others slid down steep hills. Service on some routes was cancelled altogether and the Société de transport de Montréal temporarily suspended its adapted transit service. The Laval transit agency suspended its bus service indefinitely around noon.
Motorists, meanwhile, navigated streets and highways at a crawl — when they could get through at all. Traffic across the region was chaotic as accidents, whiteouts and dangerous conditions closed stretches of Highway 40, Highway 20 and Autoroute 13.
Côte de Liesse Rd. was at a complete standstill for several hours Thursday afternoon and evening, prompting some desperate motorists trying to get to the airport to abandon their vehicles on the highway and walk, luggage in hand, in a last-ditch attempt to make their flight.
But at Trudeau airport hundreds of flights were cancelled or delayed and passengers were being warned to expect lengthy delays, even once the storm had passed, and to check in with their airline about the status of their flight before making the trip out to the airport.
Significant snowfall was recorded elsewhere in Quebec Thursday and more nasty weather is in the forecast for the St. Lawrence River Valley on Friday.
There was a winter storm warning for the Laurentians, an area hard hit by the last two heavy snowfalls that downed power lines and left thousands without electricity over Christmas.
There were numerous road accidents, including one involving 15 vehicles near St-Cuthbert, east of Montreal. The Sûreté du Québec said many other vehicles had skidded into ditches across the province.
“There were no serious injuries,” police Sgt. Martine Asselin said, speaking around 6 p.m., of the numerous Quebec road accidents. “We’re lucky.”
Because of the multi-car pileup, a stretch of the 40 was closed, forcing SQ officers to use snowmobiles to access the closed portion of the highway.
They were not alone in resorting to rustic solutions. Hydro-Québec used some old-fashioned travel techniques to reach customers who had lost power in a previous storm, days earlier.
“We’re talking snowmobiles and snowshoes,” said a Hydro-Québec spokeswoman, Sophie Lamoureux.
She said 99 per cent of the customers who had lost power last week had their service restored, with the exceptions being about 200 customers in hard-to-reach outlying areas. Meanwhile, new outages were being reported with Thursday’s high winds downing branches and power lines.
In Montreal, the city deployed more than 1,000 vehicles and 1,000 workers to plow the sidewalks and streets.
Priority is always given to the entrances to métro stations and hospitals, a spokesman, Jacques-Alain Lavallée, said.
“We are asking Montrealers to use their Opus card and take the métro, or do the old fashioned thing and go outside and play with your kids,” Lavallée said.
Abrasives were placed on some sidewalks while others were only plowed, but the sheer volume of the snow along with the wind meant that the work was quickly undone by Mother Nature.
“The city is working hard to spread abrasives on the roads, but the strong winds blow the sand away,” said an STM spokeswoman, Odile Paradis.
Snow removal will only begin after the last flake has fallen.
“Clearing before the end of a storm is a useless exercise,” said a Montreal spokesman, Philippe Brousseau.
It was a lucky break that this storm hit during the holidays when the schools are closed and many people are on vacation, Lavallée added.
So what can we expect after this major dump?
Environment Canada’s Friday forecast calls for a mix of sun and cloud and temperature steady near minus-4, while Saturday there’s a 70 per cent chance of flurries.- www.shfaqna.com/English
ource: The Gazette
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Hezbollah Secretary General Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah has criticized the United States for its unconditional support for Zionist regime.
According to IRIB, speaking during a televised speech in southern Beirut on Saturday, Nasrallah said US President Barack Obama is not doing enough to end Zionists’ aggression against Gaza.
He noted “Obama can put an end to the assaults by a single phone call. Nevertheless, he is still supporting what Zionist regime is doing.”
Nasrallah also warned Tel Aviv not to underestimate the Palestinian resistance movement, Hamas. He said Hamas has significantly improved its military capabilities over the past years.
Nasrallah pointed out “Hamas resistance movement is now able to bomb Tel Aviv, al-Quds and other places.”
He cautioned Zionists against launching a ground operation into Gaza, saying it would be a grave and deadly mistake.
Nasrallah said “Zionists will commit a folly if they decide to carry out a ground operation in Gaza.”
Nasrallah also criticized Arab and Islamic countries for failing to take real and genuine steps to make Tel Aviv end its attacks on Gaza. He stressed that Zionist regime has no option but to accept the rightful demands of Palestinians.— www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Leading French bishop has voiced alarm at rising anti-Muslim sentiments in the French society as well as within the Roman Catholic church, joining Muslims in calls for the French President to speak against the worsening phenomenon.
"It is with much pain that I notice the emergence of a Catholic Islamophobia, in the same way that there has been a Catholic anti-semitism for centuries," the Bishop of Angouleme, Claude Dagens, told Agence France Presse (AFP) in an interview on the sidelines of an assembly of French bishops in Paris.
Dagens said his concerns had been heightened by the controversial "Muslim demographics" presentation made at the Vatican last month.
The video was screened by Cardinal Peter Turkson, the president of the Vatican’s Council for Justice and Peace, during an international meeting of bishops earlier this week.
The clip alleges that Europe will cease to exist because of the rising numbers of Muslims.
The seven-minute clip says Muslim immigration and higher birth rates will turn France into “an Islamic republic” within 39 years.
The Vatican subsequently distanced itself from the film, but Dagens acknowledged that the episode reflected a worrying shift in attitudes.
"We are living in a society where fear is seeping into every corner,” the bishop said.
“That's true for Muslims but also for Catholics."
France is home to a Muslim minority of six million, Europe’s largest.
French Muslims have been complaining of growing restrictions on their religious freedoms.
In 2004, France banned Muslims from wearing hijab, an obligatory code of dress, in public places. Several European countries followed the French example.
France has also outlawed the wearing of face-veil in public.
Former president Nicolas Sarkozy has adopted a series of measures to restrict Muslim freedoms in an effort to win support of far-right voters.
The French government also outlawed Muslim street prayers, a sight far-right leader Marine Le Pen likened to the Nazi occupation.
Muslims have also complained of restrictions on building mosques to perform their daily prayers.
The comments made by the Bishop of Angouleme followed calls by France Muslim Council for President Francois Hollande to publicly condemn Islamophobia.
"Given the rise in the number of Islamophobic acts and anti-Muslim racism, we want a formal declaration from the President of the Republic that includes the Muslims of France in this national cause," Abdellah Zekri, one of the leaders of the Muslim Council, told AFP.
Muslims also accused Hollande and his ministers of giving greater priority to combating a recent rise in anti-semitism than they have to defending the Muslim community in the face of a parallel trend.
Zekri called for France's Islamic community to be offered similar support.
Last April, Amnesty International issued a report criticizing France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland for discriminating against their Muslim minorities.
The London-based group said several European countries have made policy decisions in recent years that discriminate against their Muslim citizens, citing bans on face-veils and other religious symbols in schools as being among the most damaging measures.
A poll by French paper Le Fegaro suggests that an overwhelming majority of Muslims voted for Hollande’s Socialist party, including some Muslim women who wanted an end to the state’s intrusive policies like the burqa ban.— www.shafaqna.com/English
Source: On Islam
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Hezbollah has censured the Bahraini regime over accusations that the Lebanese resistance movement was involved in the recent bombings that killed two people in Bahrain.
“We condemn any sign of accusations against us in this issue. We believe Bahrain’s intelligence carried out these bombings in order to exploit them to crack down on the peaceful opposition and to avoid responding to their rightful demands,” Hezbollah said in a statement issued on Wednesday.
On November 6, the Bahraini regime said it had arrested four people suspected of involvement in the November 5 bombings that also injured one person in the capital Manama. Bahrain accused Hezbollah of being behind the explosions.
Hezbollah also stated that the latest allegations are part of a wider series of false accusations aimed at charging the Lebanese resistance movement with involvement in the uprising against the Al Khalifa regime.
The Bahraini uprising began in mid-February 2011.
Bahraini protesters hold King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa responsible for the death of the demonstrators during the uprising.— www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Father Attallah Hanna, the archbishop of Sebastia in Jerusalem, strongly denounced the "Israeli" army for its attempts to recruit Christian Palestinians from the 1948 occupied lands.
Father Hanna said those who participated in suspicious meetings with Israelis to encourage the Christian young men of Palestine to join the army do not represent the Palestinian Christians and their national affiliation and only represent themselves.
He stressed that the Palestinian Christians are Arabs and an essential part of the Arab nation, describing these "Israeli" attempts as a grave conspiracy aimed at uprooting the Christian Palestinians from their national identity.
The "Israeli" war ministry organized recently a meeting in Nazareth Illit city between a number of Christian clergymen and "Israeli" officers from the army and its intelligence to urge the Christian Arabs to join the army and fight in its ranks.
For its part, the Islamic Movement in the 1948 occupied lands warned the Arab young men of falling into the trap of the "Israeli" attempts to Israelize them and create sectarian conflicts between the different spectra of the Palestinian people inside the Israeli occupied territories.
The Islamic Movement also urged the Arab political parties and movement in the 1948 occupied lands to take active role within the Arab committee against military and civil service in order to pool the efforts to confront Israel's attempts to recruit Palestinian young men.— www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast has criticized the Canadian foreign minister's remarks about the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic.
During the Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, which was held from October 21 to 26, 2012 in the Canadian city of Quebec, John Baird slammed Iran for alleged violation of human and religious minorities' rights.
According to Press TV, Mehmanparast said on Wednesday: “It is regrettable that Canada’s minister of foreign affairs… takes advantage of the privilege of hosting this meeting to make spiteful remarks which are contrary to the international summit’s objectives.”
The Iranian official said such “irresponsible literature” is against accepted international norms and is a “forward escape” tactic to avoid responsibility for the deplorable situation of human rights in Canada, particularly with regard to the country’s indigenous community.
Activists say there has been a significant rise in human rights violations together with an unprecedented crackdown on freedom of speech since Canadian Premier Stephen Harper took power in 2006.
Native Canadians remain among the poorest members of the Canadian society with most of them suffering poor educational, economic and social conditions.
The UN has also strongly condemned Canada's record on children's rights, accusing Ottawa of systematic discrimination against aborigines and immigrants.— www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — Russia has launched a broadside on the United States for running secret jails in a variety of countries across the globe.
In a document revealed by RIA Novosti on Friday, the Russian Foreign Ministry noted that the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is running prisons in Poland, Iraq, Afghanistan, Morocco, Thailand, Lithuania and Romania.
The report, which the ministry has submitted to the lower house of Russian State Duma for deliberations, denounced the US for its dismal human rights record, citing molestation of children, invasion of privacy, brutality of police and restrictions on the freedom of expression.
The report noted that “hundreds of thousands of children” are maltreated in the US every year, leading to 1,600 deaths in 2010 alone.
“About one police officer in 100 has been involved in criminal abuses, including sexual harassment, indecent behavior or rape,” it said.
“The US remains the country with the largest prison population in the world - 2.2 million,” the report underlined.
The Russian report also heaped scorn on a US legislation authorizing “special services” to keep a tab on all private electronic messages without any judicial order. “Between 2004 and 2007 the number of electronic messages monitored by US special services rose by 3,000 percent.”
Former US president George Bush, together with a number of other high-ranking US officials, approved the establishment of secret prisons in foreign lands, as early as 2002, by its key spy agency in efforts to carry out harsh interrogation techniques, such as waterboarding, to extract information from what they introduced as ‘terror suspects’.
The establishment of such interrogation facilities in foreign, allied nations by the US administration was to avert accountability in the American legal system, since torture is specifically banned by the US Constitution.— www.shafaqna.com/English
Source: Press TV