03 Nov

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective


Israeli mayor calls for banning Muslim call for prayer in Jerusalem



PNN/ Jerusalem/
The Hebrew Radio on Thursday said that the Israeli mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Brakhat, has issued a resolution to Israeli officials and police, calling for halting Adhan (Muslim call for prayer) in Jerusalem because it is “noisy.”

According to the radio, Brakhat sent a letter to the head of the Israeli police in Jerusalem, Major General Yuran Helevi, asking him to cooperate on the issue to find a solution to stop what he called “the noise”, adding that he received several complaints about it.

This morning as well, a group of Israeli settlers from Pisgat Ze’ev settlement held a demonstration outside Brakhat’s house, complaining about the Adhan sound.

This is not the first time such call is made.

In march, Israeli right-wing MK, Moti Yoges, had proposed a vote to restrict the Adhan on loudspeakers, an idea that was presented in previous years as well.

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Research shows ‘hotspot’ system has stretched frontline resources and resulted in alleged torture and human rights violations

Rescued migrants arrive at Trapani harbour in Sicily

About 1,200 refugees have been formally relocated from Italy to other European countries, out of the 40,000 whom EU members initially promised to take on. Photograph: Yara Nardi/EPA/Italian Red Cross

European migration policies have led to the alleged torture, abuse and illegal deportation of asylum seekers arriving by boat to Italy, according to dozens of migrant testimonies published for the first time.

Forty Sudanese migrants were also illegally deported to Sudan without recourse to proper asylum procedures, and at least one of them – a refugee from Darfur – was beaten by officials on his return, interviewees said.

The alleged abuse is the natural outcome of the EU’s new migration strategy, according to Amnesty International, which conducted the research.

The implementation of the EU ‘hotspot’ system, which forces all migrants to be fingerprinted on arrival in Italy, and the failure of the EU’s relocation scheme, which has meant more refugees are housed in Italy and Greece than most EU members, has stretched Italian resources and created a dynamic that encourages abuse, Amnesty said.

One Sudanese victim told the Guardian: “I saw someone tortured with electricity – I saw it with my own eyes.”

The 23-year-old, who also provided testimony to Amnesty, added: “He refused to give [the police his] fingerprints, and that’s why they did it. They used Tasers.”

The Italian interior ministry did not respond to the Guardian’s request for comment. Italian officials and politicians have previously warned that the country lacks the resources to care properly for so many asylum seekers, and needs more support from its European neighbours.

Since 2015, European leaders have forced Italy to register all arrivals from Libya, effectively making Italy responsible for their care, without welcoming any themselves. Just 1,200 refugees have been formally relocated from Italy to other European countries out of the 40,000 whom EU members initially promised to absorb.

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The war in Chechnya laid the foundations for the Kremlin’s aggressive foreign policy – but back then western leaders were silent

Vladimir Putin with the then head of Chechnya’s pro-Moscow administration, Akhmad Kadyrov, in July 2000.

Vladimir Putin with the then head of Chechnya’s pro-Moscow administration, Akhmad Kadyrov, in July 2000. Photograph: Itar-Tass/EPA

War and bloodshed doesn’t have the power to shock you when it’s been seen thousands of times before, on television, in films, in newspapers.

That’s why the Russian reaction to the violent bombing campaign in the Syrian city of Aleppo has been so muted. There has been no public outcry over news footage of women, children and the elderly living in ruins, and images of the dead and the maimed have largely gone unnoticed.

It’s because we’ve seen it all before, a lot closer to home. Grozny was its name. Twenty-two years ago, thousands were dying in a brutal conflict between Chechen separatist fighters and Russian government forces which had started in 1994 after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Lasting nearly two years, the war did not distinguish between armed separatists, children or young army conscripts. The number of deaths is unknown, estimations vary from 30,000 to 100,0000, with nearly half a million displaced and much of the republic left in ruins.

But despite the brutality, the conflict’s proximity to the rest of Europe and the clear shock among the Russian population, there was no international outrage.

Back then, the French president did not suggest Russia should face war crimes charges over its bombardment, as François Hollande did over the Russian bombing of Aleppo earlier in October. Back then, the US secretary of state did not threaten an international investigation, as John Kerry has done, and Britain’s foreign minister was not saying that shame should become the weapon of peace against Russia. Nothing of the kind.

Instead, President Boris Yeltsin was considered a friend of the west and praised for leading post-Soviet Russia towards democracy. Nobody cared that a year before the first Chechen war, he had essentially staged a coup and practically established one-man rule.

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Researchers in Afghanistan say US made ‘obvious’ mistakes that harmed detainees and helped fuel country’s insurgency amid 15-year war

guantanamo bay

A closed section of the US prison at Guantanamo Bay, seen in October. The US has been accused of making ‘obvious, multiple mistakes’ in the cases of eight Afghan detainees. Photograph: John Moore/Getty Images

A highly respected research organization in Afghanistan has accused the US of gross incompetence over eight Afghans long detained at the Guantánamo Bay detention center.

The “obvious, multiple mistakes” the not-for-profit Afghanistan Analysts Network says the US committed have not only harmed the eight detainees, but have inadvertently provided fuel for the insurgency in Afghanistan, which the US has been unable to suppress after 15 years of war. It is also the latest account to undermine confidence in the US’s assertions that Guantánamo detainees are the war on terrorism’s “worst of the worst”.

The plight of the eight Afghan detainees, as well as a study of the broad detentions the US conducted early in the war, connects two issues the next US president will immediately confront: the future of the Afghanistan war, the longest in US history, and the future of Guantánamo Bay. Both have defied the finality that Barack Obama has either sought or declared.

“For Afghanistan, the mass arbitrary detentions in the early years of the US-led intervention was a major factor in driving some Afghans toward insurgency,” the Afghan Analysts Network found.

Kate Clark, the author of the study, titled Kafka in Cuba, said the legacy of the roundups, and the continued operation of Guantánamo as a detention center, still help drive the conflict.

“They’re still held up by the Taliban, Guantánamo and Bagram, still talked about by the Taliban. There are resonances [with] the Afghan population because of the arbitrary detentions,” Clark told the Guardian.

Six of the eight detainees evaluated by the network arrived at Guantánamo in 2002 and 2003, the dawn of its operations as a detention facility, while the other two arrived in 2007. Five remain in Guantánamo. Wali Mohammed, Abdul Zahir and Bostan Karim await transfer after being recently cleared by a quasi-parole board. The board has ruled against two others, the 2007 arrivals Harun Gul and Muhammad Rahim.

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President censures James Comey’s decision to announce review related to Hillary Clinton days before election as campaigning reaches fever pitch

Barack Obama defends Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Wednesday in an exclusive interview with NOWTHIS. The president criticized the FBI’s announcement of new emails linked to Clinton’s private server, saying there was no room for innuendo in the investigative process. In his first comment since the FBI reported a new cache of emails possibly related to Clinton, Obama said in an interview he did not want to meddle in the process

Barack Obama has criticised the way the FBI revealed a new investigation of emails possibly linked to Hillary Clinton’s private server, a move that has rocked the US presidential election in its final stretch.

Opinion polls show the race between Clinton and Republican candidate Donald Trump tightening since FBI director James Comey’s bombshell announcement last Friday. One even gave Trump a one-point lead, though the Democrat remains the clear favourite.

In his first public comments on the controversial decision, Obama told the online outlet NowThisNews: “I do think that there is a norm that when there are investigations, we don’t operate on innuendo. We don’t operate on incomplete information. We don’t operate on leaks. We operate based on concrete decisions that are made.

“When this was investigated thoroughly the last time, the conclusion of the FBI, the conclusion of the justice department, the conclusion of repeated congressional investigations was that she had made some mistakes but that there wasn’t anything there that was prosecutable.”

Comey said it was unclear whether the emails – reportedly found on the laptop of Clinton aide Huma Abedin’s estranged husband Anthony Weiner – are significant. His letter to Congress triggered a fierce backlash from Democrats and even some Republicans.

Obama said Clinton made an “honest mistake” by using a private email server as his secretary of state, something that was now “being blown up into just some crazy thing”. New voters hear “all that noise” and wonder whether they should be worried about Clinton’s conduct, he added, but he said he had absolute confidence in her.

Campaigning reached a new frenzy on Wednesday with less than a week until election day and early voting far in excess of the same stage in 2012. Trump was due to hold three rallies in Florida, the biggest prize, while Clinton was in Florida and Arizona, traditionally a Republican bastion. Other surrogates of both candidates were spread through the battleground states that will determine who wins the White House.

Speaking in Miami, Trump repeated familiar attacks on the media, this time singling out reporter Katy Tur of NBC, naming her four times. “These people are among the most dishonest people I’ve ever met, spoken to, done business with,” the celebrity businessman said. “There has never been anywhere near the media dishonesty like we’ve seen in this election.”

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US politics >>

Election 2016 >>

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