Daily Archives: July 28, 2016

France 24 : ‘Thousands of children detained’ in anti-extremist security clampdowns

‘Thousands of children detained’ in anti-extremist security clampdowns


Thousands of children have been detained and many tortured during security operations carried out in response to threats from extremists such as the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, and Boko Haram in Nigeria, Human Rights Watch said Thursday.

In a new report, the US-based rights group documented an increase in the detention of children in six conflict-affected countries: Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Israel and the Palestinian territories, Nigeria and Syria.
“As governments try to respond to armed conflict and the rise of armed extremist groups like ISIS and Boko Haram, we’ve been seeing a very alarming trend,” said Jo Becker, HRW’s director of advocacy for children’s rights.
“Governments are detaining thousands of children, without charge, often for months or years, and often subjecting them to torture and ill treatment.”
In Syria, now in its sixth year of war, at least 1,433 children have been detained, but only 436 have been released, the report said quoting the Violations Documentation Center in Syria.
At least 100 of the thousands of tortured detainees documented in the “Caesar” photographs smuggled by a Syrian defector were boys under the age of 18, according to Human Rights Watch.
These include 14-year-old Ahmad al-Musalmani who was arrested in 2012 when Syrian officers found a recording of a song protesting Bashar al-Assad’s rule on his cellphone. He died in detention.
Confessions from children
In Iraq, where security forces are battling to re-take territory held by IS jihadists, at least 314 children including 58 girls have been charged or convicted of terrorism-related charges, the report said quoting UN figures.
Women and children are arrested for alleged terrorist activities by men in their families, and in some cases subjected to severe beatings, burns with cigarettes, and electric shocks to obtain confessions, said the report.
A 10-year-old boy who was arrested by Iraqi security forces in 2012 described how the men held his head near a car tire and threatened to run him over unless he told them where his parents allegedly hid weapons.
Nigeria’s military battling the Boko Haram insurgency has rounded up and detained thousands of people, mostly men and boys as young as nine.
The report quoted findings by Amnesty International that between February and May this year, 11 children under the age of six, including four babies, died in Giwa barracks in northeast Nigeria.
Amnesty International estimates that at least 120 children are still held in appalling conditions in Giwa barracks, with many locked up for months or even years.
The report cited UN figures showing that children detained in Afghanistan had been subjected to torture more frequently than adults, possibly because authorities felt they could extract information more easily from child detainees.
All six countries cited in the report are signatories of the UN convention on the rights of children, which recognizes that any person under the age of 18 must benefit from special protection measures under international law.
Human Rights Watch released the report ahead of a debate at the Security Council on Tuesday on children in armed conflicts.

France 24 : France to form National Guard to counter terrorist threat, Hollande says

France to form National Guard to counter terrorist threat, Hollande says


French President François Hollande on Thursday confirmed that a National Guard would be formed from existing reserve forces to better protect citizens facing terror attacks.

Hollande said parliamentary consultations on the formation of the force would take place in September “so that this force can be created as quickly as possible”.
Following the Bastille Day truck attack in Nice in which 84 people were killed, Hollande called on French “patriots” to enlist in the country’s operational reserves.
French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said on Wednesday that “2,500 French people have said they are interested and we are getting constant new inquiries”.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

France 24 : Turkish military undergoes radical shake-up in wake of failed coup

Turkish military undergoes radical shake-up in wake of failed coup


Turkey’s top military commanders met Thursday to replace almost half of their generals in a radical shake-up after the failed coup, as authorities shut down dozens of media outlets in a widening crackdown.

The hastily convened meeting came after the government ordered the discharge of 149 generals — nearly half the armed forces’ entire contingent of 358 — for complicity in the putsch bid.
In a separate move, a total of 131 newspapers, TV channels and other media outlets were being shut down.
The July 15 rebellion, which saw plotters bomb Ankara from war planes and wreak havoc with tanks on the streets of Istanbul in a bid to unseat President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has sparked a backlash affecting all aspects of Turkish life.
So far almost 16,000 people have been detained in a crackdown — the magnitude of which had caused international alarm.
The meeting of the Supreme Military Council (YAS) began in Ankara at around 0830 GMT, bringing together Prime Minister Binali Yildirim and the army, navy and air force commanders, along with other top figures untarnished by the coup.
In a possible move to pre-empt its decisions, two of Turkey’s top ranking generals — Land Forces Chief of Staff General Ihsan Uyar and Training and Doctrine Command head General Kamil Basoglu — resigned just before the meeting, the Dogan news agency said.
Eighty-seven land army generals, 30 air force generals and 32 admirals have been dishonourably discharged over their complicity in the failed coup, a Turkish official said, confirming a government decree.
In addition, 1,099 officers and 436 junior officers have received a dishonourable discharge, according to the decree.
Waning power
The council will decide on the personnel changes required after the coup, with lower-ranking officers expected to be fast-tracked to fill gaps in top positions.
In a symbol of the military’s waning power, the meeting is being held at the Cankaya Palace of the Turkish premier in Ankara and not, as is customary, at military headquarters.
It is expected to last just one day, as opposed to up to three days in the past, a Turkish official said.
In the wake of the coup the military has already lost control of the coastguard and gendarmerie, which will now be the responsibility of the interior ministry.
The army said Wednesday that 8,651 of its military personnel had been involved in the rebellion — 1.5 percent of its total number — along with 35 planes, 37 helicopters, 74 tanks and three ships.
The military has insisted that only a tiny proportion of the total armed forces — which number around three quarters of a million, the second-largest in NATO after the United States — participated.
But 178 generals have been detained, with 151 of them already remanded in custody.
Erdogan, who survived the biggest threat to his 13-year domination of the country when supporters countered the plotters on the streets, has blamed the attempted overthrow on US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen.
The cleric denies the charges, but Turkey insists radical measures are needed to eradicate what Erdogan describes as the “virus” of Gulen’s influence across all Turkish institutions.
Media closures
Meanwhile, three news agencies, 16 television stations, 23 radio stations, 45 newspapers, 15 magazines and 29 publishers were ordered to shut down, the country’s official gazette said.
It did not give the names of the media outlets to be closed, but according to a list obtained by the CNN-Turk channel they include mainly provincial titles as well as some well-known national media.
These include the opposition daily newspaper Taraf, as well as the Zaman newspaper and its English-language sister publication, Today’s Zaman, which were part of a holding linked to Gulen until being put into state administration earlier this year.
Authorities handed out arrest warrants for 42 journalists earlier this week and on Wednesday issued another 47 for former Zaman staff.
Both the discharges of generals and the newspaper closures are being enforced under a three-month state of emergency, which was declared by Erdogan to the alarm of the European Union.
Energy Minister Berat Albayrak, who is Erdogan’s son-in-law, said a major army shake-up had been planned just before the putsch — suggesting elements in the military made the dramatic move because they knew they were about to be purged.

BBC News: France church attack: Second suspect in priest killing named

France church attack: Second suspect in priest killing named – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-36911766

BBC News: Merkel rules out migrant policy reversal after attacks

Merkel rules out migrant policy reversal after attacks – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-36912141

New-York Tribune


Quote of the Day: Jane Austen

Quote of the Day:
Jane Austen

I cannot think well of a man who sports with any woman’s feelings; and there may often be a great deal more suffered than a stander-by can judge of.: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tfd.mobile.TfdSearch

Today’s Holiday: Lumberjack World

Today’s Holiday:
Lumberjack World

At the turn of the century, Hayward, Wisconsin, was one of the most active logging towns in the northern United States. Nowadays Hayward is known primarily as the site of the largest lumberjack competition in the country. Lumberjacks and logrollers from New Zealand, Australia, Canada, England, and the United States come to Hayward to compete in a variety of events. The three-day event takes place in the Lumberjack Bowl, a large bay of Lake Hayward that was once used as a holding pond for the North Wisconsin Lumber Company and is now used for the World Logrolling Championships.: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tfd.mobile.TfdSearch

Today’s Birthday: Beatrix Potter (1866)

Today’s Birthday:
Beatrix Potter (1866)

Potter was an English author and illustrator whose 23 children’s books, featuring her delicate drawings and watercolor paintings, are considered classics today. When she was 27, she sent an illustrated story to a sick boy whose mother, Potter’s former governess, encouraged her to publish it. This became her first book, The Tale of Peter Rabbit. Now one of the best-selling children’s books of all time, it was initially rejected by publishers. How did Potter respond to this setback?: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tfd.mobile.TfdSearch

This Day in History: Summer Jam at Watkins Glen (1973)

This Day in History:
Summer Jam at Watkins Glen (1973)

Summer Jam at Watkins Glen was a 1973 rock festival that drew more attendees than any pop music festival before it. An estimated 600,000 fans flocked to the Watkins Glen Grand Prix Raceway outside of Watkins Glen, New York, to see performances by The Allman Brothers Band, The Band, and the Grateful Dead. In fact, so many concertgoers arrived early that the bands performed an impromptu concert during their sound checks the day before the festival. Who was the only person to die at the festival?: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tfd.mobile.TfdSearch

Article of the Day: The Plumed Basilisk

Article of the Day:
The Plumed Basilisk

Known in Costa Rica as the “Jesus Christ lizard” for its ability to run short distances across water using both its feet and tail for support, the plumed basilisk is a species of lizard native to Latin America, with a natural habitat that ranges from Mexico to Ecuador. An excellent swimmer, Basiliscus plumifrons can stay under water for up to 30 minutes. Plumed basilisks are omnivorous and eat insects, small mammals and lizards, fruits, and flowers. What predators prey on the lizard?: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tfd.mobile.TfdSearch

Word of the Day: indefatigable

Word of the Day:

Definition: (adjective) Incapable or seemingly incapable of being fatigued.
Synonyms: tireless, unflagging, unwearying
Usage: His indefatigable spirit helped him to cope with the illness.: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tfd.mobile.TfdSearch