Tag Archives: United Nations

Pennsylvania police chief suspended after video profanities

Suspended-Gilberton-PA-Police-Chief-Mark-Kessler

A small-town police chief who appears in online videos using profanity and shooting automatic weapons has been suspended for 30 days without pay.

The borough council of Gilberton voted 5-1 at a meeting Wednesday night to suspend Chief Mark Kessler, saying he misused borough property. It said he used the weapons without permission.

Kessler has said he made the videos to draw attention to the erosion of the constitutional rights of free speech and to bear arms and he increasingly fears a government out of control.

He said after the meeting that he wouldn’t apologize for making the videos and didn’t regret having done so. He said he looked forward to getting back to work after the suspension.

Gun rights activists descended on the community of about 800 people, in Schuylkill County in eastern Pennsylvania’s anthracite coal country, to show support for Kessler, some carrying flags and displaying weapons.

In one video, Kessler criticizes U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s support of a United Nations treaty aimed at controlling the international arms trade, which some gun rights advocates fear could lead to restrictions on domestic weapons. Kessler then fires a weapon and screams, “Come and get it!”

Gilberton Mayor Mary Lou Hannon has said she found the language in the videos offensive and she understood that others did as well.

“I think it’s blackened our eye a little, but we are a strong community,” Hannon said after the meeting. “We will go on from here.”

Officials have said that Kessler bought the weapons with his own money and donated them to the police department, an action approved by the council. Kessler told PennLive.com on Wednesday that he also donated the ammunition used in the videos.

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox US News

Bill Ayers Asks UN To Intervene In Chicago School Closings

By Breaking News

United Nations logo SC Bill Ayers asks UN to intervene in Chicago school closings

Noted American terrorist and left-wing radical Bill Ayers is among the signatories of a letter calling on the United Nations to probe the closing of 49 Chicago elementary schools based on claims that it is causing massive human rights violations.

The “letter of allegation” is 24 pages long and contains 17 footnotes.

The Midwest Coalition for Human Rights sent the missive to the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights in Geneva, Switzerland this week.

The Coalition is a network of over 50 organizations united to fight “serious human rights violations occurring in the United States.”

A number of individuals and organizations sponsored the letter. In addition to Ayers, others signers of the letter include four people associated with Action Now, an Illinois community-organizing group that split off from ACORN just before it dissolved because of financial problems and scandals.

Read More at The Daily Caller . By Eric Owens.

…read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Western Journalism

Bill Ayers, Reincarnated ACORN Ask United Nations To Intervene In Chicago School Closings

By Breaking News

United Nations logo SC Bill Ayers, reincarnated ACORN ask United Nations to intervene in Chicago school closings

Noted American terrorist and left-wing radical Bill Ayers is among the signatories of a letter calling on the United Nations to probe the closing of 49 Chicago elementary schools based on claims that it is causing massive human rights violations.

The “letter of allegation” is 24 pages long and contains 17 footnotes.

The Midwest Coalition for Human Rights sent the missive to the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights in Geneva, Switzerland this week.

The Coalition is a network of over 50 organizations united to fight “serious human rights violations occurring in the United States.”

A number of individuals and organizations sponsored the letter. In addition to Ayers, others signers of the letter include four people associated with Action Now, an Illinois community-organizing group that split off from ACORN just before it dissolved because of financial problems and scandals.

Read More at The Daily Caller . By Eric Owens.

…read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Western Journalism

Civilian Casualties Afghanistan: Deadly Attacks Rise As International Forces Hand Over Security

By The Huffington Post News Editors

(Refiles to expand coding; text unchanged)
* Casualties in Afghanistan up by 23 percent compared to 2012:U.N. report
* Women and children increasingly the victims in 12-year-old war
* Insurgents target areas already vacated by international forces
By Jessica Donati
KABUL, July 31 (Reuters) – Violence against civilians has risen by almost a quarter in Afghanistan as international forces hand security to Afghans, the United Nations said in a report on Wednesday, with insurgents striking in areas where troops have already left.
The report, presented by the Human Rights Director for the U.N. in Afghanistan, said the number of dead and injured civilians had increased by 23 percent in the first six months of 2013, compared to the same period last year.
Women and children are increasingly the victims of the 12-year-old war, the report said, noting a 30 percent leap in the number of children killed. The total civilian death toll stood at more than 1,300, with 2,533 reported injuries.
Mounting casualties are reinforcing fears about Afghanistan’s ability to tackle the Taliban insurgency on its own, after most foreign troops leave next year. The Afghan army faces one of the highest desertion rates in the world and a chronic lack of logistical and medical support.
“The stepped-up transition of security responsibilities from international military forces to Afghan forcse and closure of international forces’ bases was met with increased attacks by anti-government elements…,” Georgette Gagnon said in presenting the report.
The intensified attacks occurred “mainly at checkpoints, on strategic highways, in some areas that had been transitioned and in districts bordering neighbouring countries”.
Figures released in 2012 showed a decline in civilian deaths compared to the previous year.
The U.N. report said bombs, or improvised explosive devices (IEDs), remained the single greatest killer, claiming 53 …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Huffington Post

Mideast Quartet welcomes 'courageous decision' of Israel and Palestinians to start final talks

The Quartet of Mideast mediators — the United Nations, United States, European Union and Russia — is welcoming the “courageous decision” of the Israeli and Palestinian leaders to begin final status negotiations aimed at a two-state solution to the decades-old conflict. …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

Afghan Women’s Rights At Risk In Peace Process: UN Watchdog

By The Huffington Post News Editors

* U.N. body warns of possible set-back to women’s rights
* Calls for women to have meaningful role in peace talks
* Increasing Taliban attacks on schools, suspected poisonings
By Stephanie Nebehay
GENEVA, July 29 (Reuters) – Women’s rights in Afghanistan risk being further undermined in the fragile country’s peace process due to entrenched patriarchal attitudes, a United Nations watchdog warned on Monday.
Afghan women have made hard-fought gains in education and work since the collapse of the Taliban government in 2001, but fears are growing these could suffer a reversal when most foreign forces leave by the end of next year.
The U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women said the Afghan authorities had promised it that women would be able to participate in the peace talks, thereby rejecting Taliban demands for them to be excluded.
“We have had official assurances … I would like to consider a government’s word as credible,” Nicole Ameline, committee chair, told a news briefing.
But the committee of independent experts voiced concern that “women’s interests and needs may be compromised in the peace negotiations due to deep rooted patriarchal attitudes”.
In addition, meaningful participation by women in the peace process is jeopardised by the fact that there are only nine women in the 70-member High Peace Council, the Afghan body created in 2010 to broker peace with the Taliban.
“We have 18 months (before the NATO withdrawal) that consist of a turning point and we have to be absolutely mobilised,” said Ameline, a former French minister.
“There could be backsliding and we cannot accept that.”
The committee said there was already an increasing number of attacks on girls’ schools by Taliban groups opposed to their education, with girls falling ill in school from suspected poisoning in some instances. …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Huffington Post

William Scranton Dead: Former Governor, U.N. Ambassador Dies At 96

By The Huffington Post News Editors

HARRISBURG, Pa. — William Scranton, a former Pennsylvania governor, presidential candidate and ambassador to the United Nations, has died. He was 96.

Family spokesman Mike DeVanney says Scranton died Sunday night of a cerebral hemorrhage at a retirement community in Montecito, Calif.

Read More…

…read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Huffington Post

Bomb kills Afghan woman, five children in Taliban home

A bomb killed five young children and a woman when it exploded after being made at the home of a Taliban commander in eastern Afghanistan, a government official said Friday.

The device detonated on Thursday while children were playing with it after the Taliban commander, identified only as Abdullah, left the house, a spokesman for the local government in Paktika province said.

“Yesterday morning a Taliban commander, Abdullah, was making a bomb in his home to plant along the road and kill Afghan forces,” spokesman Mokhlis Afghan told AFP.

“After a while, Abdullah left home, and the children came and played with the mine, and it detonated inside the house.”

He said a woman and five children, aged three to seven, were killed.

Roadside bombs are the weapon of choice for Taliban insurgents fighting against Afghan government troops and their NATO military allies.

But civilians and children are also often killed and wounded by the attacks.

According to the United Nations, civilian deaths rose by 24 percent in the first half of 2013.

It registered 2,499 civilian casualties between January and June, attributing 74 percent to anti-government forces and nine percent to pro-government forces.

Children accounted for 21 per cent of all civilians killed and wounded, and casualties caused by roadside bombs had risen 41 per cent, it said.

…read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

Mali: 1 dead in ethnic clash in Kidal

At least one person was killed in ethnic clashes in Mali’s northern city of Kidal, officials said on Friday, complicating efforts to restore order ahead of the planned presidential election next week.

The fight broke out late Thursday between a Tuareg, the lighter-skinned ethnic group which is dominant in Kidal and whose members tried to declare independence last year, and a member of the Songhai ethnicity, a dark-skinned, sub-Saharan ethnic group whose members support the Malian state, said Mossa Ansari, a medical worker at the local health center. Ansari said that several people were injured, though only one came to seek treatment at the health clinic.

“A Tuareg hit a Songhai. The Songhai went to go get his friends. This is how the fight started,” said Ansari. “One Songhai was killed and at least one Tuareg was wounded. The body was brought to the center, and the wounded man came to get treatment. We have been told that there are several more wounded.”

French forces stationed in Kidal shot into the air to disperse the two groups, said an elected official, who insisted on anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.

Kidal is the last city in Mali that remains largely outside government control. It was seized last year by Tuareg separatists who declared independence, and briefly raised the flag of their new nation — which they call Azawad — over the city. They were driven out by Islamic extremists who were in turn pushed out by a French-led military intervention this January.

Although the French succeeded in flushing out the Islamic radicals, who are linked to al-Qaida, they allowed the Tuaregs’ National Movement for the Liberation of the Azawad to return to Kidal. For weeks leading up to a June accord, the NMLA blocked the return of Mali’s government officials to Kidal. It was only last week that the governor of Kidal was able to return to resume his function, after more than a year’s absence. Malian troops have also returned to the city, accompanied by United Nations peacekeepers, though the Tuareg rebels remain armed and at-large on the outskirts of the provincial capital.

Kidal’s participation in the upcoming July 28 presidential election is seen as crucial to ensuring the legitimacy of Mali’s next president, but so far only one of the 28 candidates in the race have deemed Kidal safe enough for a campaign stop.

The fight between the separatists …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

ICC rejects Libya bid to suspend Kadhafi son handover

The International Criminal Court on Thursday rejected Tripoli’s request to suspend the handover of slain leader Moamer Kadhafi’s son Seif al-Islam.

“The Appeals Chamber… rejected the Libyan authorities’ request to suspend the surrender…,” the Hague-based court’s appeal judges said in a statement.

They added that Tripoli remained “obliged” to hand over Seif al-islam, who served as the late Libyan strongman’s de facto prime minister.

Tripoli’s lawyers last month had asked the ICC, the world’s only permanent court to try war crimes, to suspend an order to hand him over.

Tripoli and the ICC have been involved in a legal tug-of-war over where Seif al-islam and Kadhafi’s former spy chief Abdullah Senussi should face trial for their roles in trying to put down Libya’s bloody revolt in 2011.

Mandated by the United Nations, the ICC’s prosecutors investigated the conflict and in June that year issued arrest warrants against Kadhafi, his son and Senussi for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The warrant against Kadhafi was cancelled after he was slain by rebel forces in October 2011.

Last month Libyan prosecutors said that Seif al-Islam and other former top regime officials which also included Senussi are to go on trial in Libya in August.

Seif al-Islam, 40, is still being held by a brigade of former rebel fighters in Zintan, 180 kilometres (100 miles) southwest of Tripoli, since his capture in November 2011.

…read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

Mandela 'steadily improving' on 95th birthday

South Africa’s president says Nelson Mandela’s health continues to improve as he marks his 95th birthday.

A statement from President Jacob Zuma’s office Thursday says, “Madiba remains in hospital in Pretoria but his doctors have confirmed that his health is steadily improving.”

Mandela’s daughter Zindzi has said her father is gaining strength and may be going home “anytime soon.”

Court documents filed by the family earlier this month had said Mandela was on life support and near death. He has been the hospital since June 8, and officials say his condition is critical but stable.

United Nations has declared Nelson Mandela International Day as a way to recognize the Nobel Prize winner’s contribution to reconciliation.

…read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

Cuba calls weapons on North Korean ship 'obsolete'

Cuba said military equipment found buried under sacks of sugar on a North Korean ship seized as it tried to cross the Panama Canal was obsolete weaponry from the mid-20th century that it had sent to be repaired.

Panamanian authorities said it might take a week to search the ship, since so far they have only examined one of its five container sections. They have requested help from United Nations inspectors, along with Colombia and Britain, said Javier Carballo, Panama’s top narcotics prosecutor. North Korea is barred by U.N. sanctions from importing sophisticated weapons or missiles.

Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli said Tuesday that the ship identified as the 14,000-ton Chong Chon Gang, which had departed Cuba en route to North Korea, was carrying missiles and other arms “hidden in containers underneath the cargo of sugar.”

Martinelli tweeted a photo showing a green tube that appears to be a horizontal antenna for the SNR-75 “Fan Song” radar, which is used to guide missiles fired by the SA-2 air-defense system found in former Warsaw Pact and Soviet-allied nations, said Neil Ashdown, an analyst for IHS Jane’s Intelligence.

“It is possible that this could be being sent to North Korea to update its high-altitude air-defense capabilities,” Ashdown said. Jane’s also said the equipment could be headed to North Korea to be upgraded.

North Korea has not commented on the seizure, during which 35 North Koreans were arrested after resisting police efforts to intercept the ship in Panamanian waters last week, according to Martinelli. He said the captain had a heart attack and also tried to commit suicide.

But Cuba’s Foreign Ministry released a statement late Tuesday acknowledging that the military equipment belonged to the Caribbean nation, saying it had been shipped out to be repaired and returned to the island.

“The agreements subscribed by Cuba in this field are supported by the need to maintain our defensive capacity in order to preserve national sovereignty,” the statement read.

It said the vessel was bound for North Korea mostly loaded with sugar — 10,000 tons of it — but added that the cargo also included 240 metric tons of “obsolete defensive weapons”: two Volga and Pechora anti-aircraft missile systems, nine missiles “in parts and spares,” two Mig-21 Bis and 15 engines for those airplanes.

It …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

N. Korean ship carrying weapons seized near Panama Canal

A North Korean ship carrying weapons system parts buried under sacks of sugar was seized as it tried to cross the Panama Canal on its way from Cuba to its home country, which is barred by United Nations sanctions from importing sophisticated weapons or missiles, Panamanian officials said Tuesday.

The ship appeared to be transporting a radar-control system for a Soviet-era surface-to-air missile system, according to a private defense analysis firm that examined a photograph of the find.

Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli said the ship identified as the 14,000-ton Chong Chon Gang was carrying missiles and other arms “hidden in containers underneath the cargo of sugar.”

Martinelli tweeted a photo showing a green tube that appears to be a horizontal antenna for the SNR-75 “Fan Song” radar, which used to guide missiles fired by the SA-2 air-defense system found in former Warsaw Pact and Soviet-allied nations, said Neil Ashdown, an analyst for IHS Jane’s Intelligence.

“It is possible that this could be being sent to North Korea to update its high-altitude air-defense capabilities,” Ashdown said.

Panamanian authorities said one container buried under sugar sacks contained radar equipment that appears to be designed for use with air-to-air or surface-to-air missiles, said Belsio Gonzalez, director of Panama’s National Aeronautics and Ocean Administration. He said Panamanian authorities expected to find the missiles themselves in containers that must still be searched. An Associated Press journalist who gained access to the rusting ship saw green shipping containers that had been covered by hundreds, perhaps thousands, of white sacks marked “Cuban Raw Sugar.”

Later Tuesday, Cuba acknowledged that the military equipment belonged to the Caribbean nation, saying it had been shipped out to be repaired and returned to the island.

A statement from the Foreign Ministry said the vessel was bound for North Korea mostly loaded with sugar but added that the cargo also included 240 metric tons of “obsolete defensive weapons”: two Volga and Pechora anti-aircraft missile systems, nine missiles “in parts and spares,” two Mig-21 Bis and 15 engines for those airplanes.

“The agreements subscribed by Cuba in this field are supported by the need to maintain our defensive capacity in order to preserve national sovereignty,” the statement read.

The U.N. Security Council has imposed four rounds of increasingly tougher sanctions against North Korea since its first nuclear test on Oct. 9, 2006.

Under current sanctions, all U.N. member states are prohibited from directly or indirectly supplying, selling or transferring all arms, missiles or missile systems and the equipment and technology to make them to North Korea, with the exception of small arms and light weapons.

The most recent resolution, approved in March after Pyongyang’s latest nuclear test, authorizes all countries to inspect cargo in or transiting through their territory that originated in North Korea, or is destined to North Korea if a state has credible information the cargo could violate Security Council resolutions.

“Panama obviously has an important responsibility to ensure that the Panama Canal is utilized for safe and legal commerce,” said Acting U.S. Ambassador Rosemary DiCarlo, who is the current Security Council president. …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

Presidential favourite visits flashpoint town in Mali

One of the favourites to win Mali’s presidential elections took his campaign to the northern Tuareg rebel bastion of Kidal on Monday, several sources told AFP, with two weeks to go until voting begins.

“Presidential candidate Ibrahim Boubacar Keita arrived Monday in Kidal for the election campaign,” said an African source from the United Nations peacekeeping mission, while Keita’s campaign chief confirmed he had spent “a few hours” in the town.

Keita, a former prime minister, is among the front-runners in the July 28 election, seen as crucial to reuniting Mali after an 18-month political crisis that saw French forces intervene to push out Islamist rebels who had seized the country’s north.

Soumaila Cisse, a former president of the Commission of the West African Economic and Monetary Union, is also expected in Kidal “very soon”, according to his campaign team.

Mali’s Foreign Minister Tieman Coulibaly vowed on Saturday that the country would push ahead with a “credible and transparent” vote despite widespread scepticism about the country’s ability to stage the election.

Much of the concern is focused on Kidal, which remains tense despite a peace deal with Tuareg separatists that allowed the Malian army to enter the town.

Supporters and opponents of the Malian army have staged frequent demonstrations in recent days, with at least two UN peacekeepers and a French soldier injured by stones thrown during one protest.

Most local government has been absent for more than a year since the Tuareg National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) and allied armed factions linked to Al-Qaeda seized key towns in Mali’s vast arid north.

The town’s governor returned to the area on Monday, however, after initially attempting to retake his post last week but being forced to retreat back to Bamako amid tension in Kidal.

Malian military officers staged a coup in March last year after being overpowered by an MNLA rebellion that seized key northern cities before being sidelined by its Islamist allies who imposed a harsh form of sharia law in towns under their control.

A French-led intervention launched in January drove out the Islamists but the MNLA took control of Kidal, 1,500 kilometres (930 miles) from the capital, which they consider the heart of the desert territory they call Azawad.

…read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

Somalia's Puntland suspends polls, warning of violence

Somalia’s semi-autonomous northern region of Puntland has suspended long-awaited local elections, its government said Sunday, saying the risk of violence was too great to hold them.

“Puntland hereby suspends the local council elections” due to held Monday, a government statement read, warning of what it called “domestic spoilers and external manipulators funding and organising instability and election violence”.

It gave no further details on who it feared would cause the violence.

However, United Nations special envoy to Somalia Nicholas Kay called the suspension “wise” and urged restraint from all sides “following violent clashes”.

Puntland, which forms the very tip of the Horn of Africa along the Indian Ocean coast and the Gulf of Aden, recognises the central government in Mogadishu, but wants autonomy within a federation of states.

Clashes have broken out in political rallies in the region — including in the town of Galkayo earlier this month in which five people were killed — although other demonstrations passed off peacefully.

While relatively stable compared to war-torn southern Somalia, it also hosts pirate gangs on its coastline as well as multiple militia forces, while Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab fighters have set up bases in its rugged Golis mountains.

Tensions have risen ahead of the elections, with the Puntland government clamping down on press freedom, including ordering shut three private radio stations.

Some opposition groups are accused by the government of operating their own militia forces.

No date has been set for the elections, with the Puntland government saying only they would be held “when it is appropriate”.

…read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News

Somali refugees nervous as Kenya eyes their return

Row after row of tin shacks and shelters made of plastic and branches stretch almost as far as the eye can see in the world’s largest refugee camp, home to over 427,000 Somalis who fled war.

Dadaab, in northeast Kenya, is a grim place few would choose to call home, but many here are nervous about the growing pressure to leave this camp and return to their unstable homeland some last saw two decades ago.

Kenya, which hosts more than 600,000 Somali refugees, has made clear its ambition to send them back, and is in talks with the government in Mogadishu to start the move.

“I don’t know of a stable place in Somalia” to return to, said Abdi Arte, leader of the Kambios section in the sprawling camp, set in arid bushland some 100 kilometres (60 miles) inside Kenya.

“But the government is insisting to have refugees relocated back home.”

Last month, Kenya and Somalia signed a deal for “voluntary repatriation”, with plans under way to work out how people can start moving back.

Kenya’s new government has steered clear of strong-arm statements made last year when Nairobi ordered more than 30,000 refugees living in urban areas to return to remote and overcrowded camps.

But based on past experiences, refugees are worried.

Rights groups have accused Kenyan police of a brutal campaign against Somali refugees, following a string of grenade attacks or shootings inside Kenya blamed on supporters or members of Somalia’s Al-Qaeda linked Shebab insurgents.

Human Rights Watch, in a report released in May, documented multiple cases of police rape of Somali refugees.

“The police held the detainees — sometimes for many days in inhuman and degrading conditions — while threatening to charge them, without any evidence, with terrorism or public order offences,” the report said.

Somali refugees say they are eyed with suspicion by police, even though many of those actually charged for attacks have not been ethnic Somalis.

Impoverished Somalia spiralled into repeated rounds of bloody civil war beginning in 1991, allowing piracy, militia armies and extremist rebels to flourish.

Last year an internationally-backed government took power in Mogadishu, defended by a 17,700-strong African Union force — including Kenyan troops — but its control beyond the capital remains fragile at best.

There is no doubt that many refugees long to be able to return to a safe home in Somalia. The problem is whether that is available.

“I want to go back home,” said Amina Yussuf, who lives in Dadaab’s Ifo 2, a crowded camp, insecure and beset by violence and abductions.

“I fear being raped here in the camp,” she added.

More than a million Somalis are refugees in regional nations, the most from a single country after Afghanistan and Iraq, according to the United Nations.

But another million people are displaced inside the country, a sign that Somalia is still very far from the stability needed for large scale return.

“It is not a good time to go back,” said Ibrahim Roble, a youth leader in Dadaab’s Dagahaley camp, who fled southern Somalia as a child.

“So many of us here in Dadaab are …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Fox World News