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September 15, 2014

Libya accuse Qatar of intervening on side of rebels

Libya accuse Qatar of intervening on side of rebels

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Monday, September 15, 2014

Libya
Other stories from Libya
  • 16 February 2015: Islamic State execute 21 Coptic Christians held in Libya
  • 15 September 2014: Libya accuse Qatar of intervening on side of rebels
  • 7 September 2014: Libya accuse Sudan of arming ‘terrorist group’
  • 28 August 2014: US says Egypt and UAE responsible for air attacks on Tripoli
  • 24 August 2014: Renegade General’s forces claim responsibility for aerial attacks on Tripoli
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Libyan Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni yesterday accused Qatar of interfering in his country’s affairs by sending three military planes loaded with weapons to an airport in Tripoli under the control of Islamist rebels.

Abdullah al-Thinni
Image: White House.

The Libyan leader told the United Arab Emirates (UAE)-based Arab TV channel Sky News his country would consider “breaking off relations if this interference into Libya’s internal affairs continued.” He also reiterated previous accusations against Sudan of also trying to supply the rebels.

Last month the US said Egypt and the UAE were involved in airstrikes against militants as they were in the process of capturing Tripoli.

Qatar has previously backed the Muslim Brotherhood, a group reported to have ties with the militants in Tripoli. Other countries, including Egypt and UAE, are reportedly worried about the spread of radical Islam.

Three years after the removal from power of Muammar Gaddafi, Libya now has two competing governments, one in Tripoli, and one in Tobruk where the most recently elected parliament has moved to escape the violence. Rival militias fight each other, and a renegade general is reportedly confronting the Libyan army.


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  • “Libya accuse Sudan of arming ‘terrorist group'” — Wikinews, September 7, 2014
  • “US says Egypt and UAE responsible for air attacks on Tripoli” — Wikinews, August 28, 2014

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June 23, 2014

Egyptian court sends three Al-Jazeera journalists to jail

Egyptian court sends three Al-Jazeera journalists to jail

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Monday, June 23, 2014

Peter Greste, one of the journalists convicted, collecting a Peabody Award in 2012.
Image: Peabody Awards.

Egypt
Other stories from Egypt
  • 16 February 2015: Islamic State execute 21 Coptic Christians held in Libya
  • 27 January 2015: Greek singer Demis Roussos dies aged 68
  • 23 December 2014: Egypt opens Rafah border crossing for additional day
  • 16 December 2014: Freighter hits fishing boat in Gulf of Suez; thirteen dead
  • 24 November 2014: Sisi: Egypt willing to send stabilizing forces to future Palestinian State
…More articles here
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Three journalists from the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera television news network have been sentenced to seven years in jail by a court in Cairo today for spreading false news and helping the Muslim Brotherhood group which are now banned as terrorists. The three journalists — the Australian correspondent Peter Greste, Canadian-Egyptian journalist and Cairo bureau chief for Al-Jazeera Mohamed Fahmy, and Baher Mohamed, an Egyptian producer— were convicted alongside others tried in absentia.

Baher Mohamed was sentenced to three years on a second charge for possessing weapons.

Al Antsey, the managing director for Al Jazeera English said of the judgment: “Today three colleagues and friends were sentenced, and will continue behind bars for doing a brilliant job of being great journalists. ‘Guilty’ of covering stories with great skill and integrity. ‘Guilty’ of defending people’s right to know what is going on in their world.”

“Peter, Mohamed, and Baher and six of our other colleagues were sentenced despite the fact that not a shred of evidence was found to support the extraordinary and false charges against them. At no point during the long drawn out ‘trial’ did the absurd allegations stand up to scrutiny. There were many moments during the hearings where in any other court of law, the trial would be thrown out. There were numerous irregularities in addition to the lack of evidence to stand up the ill-conceived allegations.”

Julie Bishop, the Australian Foreign Minister, said she was “bitterly disappointed” by the decision.



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August 19, 2013

General of Egyptian army intends to use full force to stop protests

General of Egyptian army intends to use full force to stop protests

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Monday, August 19, 2013

Taking no chances
Image: Al Jazeera English.

Egyptian General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has announced that the army will no longer hold restraint against any remaining protesters. el-Sisi made his first public comments about the crack down on sit ins via Egyptian Television on Sunday, saying full force will be used against “attackers who want to destroy Egypt”.

Tension in Egypt is escalating as supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi are still protesting on the street as of Sunday despite the major crack down on sit ins by Egyptian army. According to Russia Today, Morsi followers have reacted to el-Sisi’s statement on Egyptian news by taking to the streets on Sunday afternoon. Several protest groups were said to be heading to the Constitutional court.

Officials within the Muslim Brotherhood stated that planned protests were not followed through due to “the presence of army snipers on buildings along the routes.” Crack downs on protests are believed to continue until pro-Morsi followers agree to stand down from their hope of re-instating Morsi.

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July 9, 2013

Mansour announces election plans for Egypt after violence and protests

Mansour announces election plans for Egypt after violence and protests

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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

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Egyptians in Tahrir Square celebrating the removal of President Morsi on Sunday.

Last night, Adly Mansour, the interim leader of Egypt, announced plans to reform Egypt’s constitution and hold a new round of parliamentary and presidential elections. The interim president also announced a judicial investigation into yesterday’s shooting of at least 51 supporters of deposed president Mohamed Morsi.

Mansour plans to form a panel within fifteen days to review and suggest changes to the now-suspended constitution. Those amendments would be voted on in a referendum within four months. Parliamentary elections would then be held, perhaps in early 2014, followed by presidential elections upon the forming of a new parliament.

Yesterday in Cairo, protestors supporting Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood were shot outside the Presidential Guard barracks, where pro-Morsi supporters believe the former president is being kept under arrest. The Muslim Brotherhood claim 53 people died, while the health ministry claim 51 people died and 435 were injured. The Muslim Brotherhood claim the attack was unprovoked and those gathered were praying. Colonel Ahmed Mohammed Ali, spokesman for the army, said the group had attacked security forces and were armed with “large quantities of firearms, ammunition and Molotov cocktails”. The Muslim Brotherhood claimed children were killed in the conflict but Colonel Ali claims the photos being used by the Muslim Brotherhood are actually photos from Syria in March. Colonel Ali also stated two policemen and a soldier were killed.

One of the survivors, Mohamed Saber el-Sebaei, told journalists he was praying when the confrontation started: “Just before we finished, the shooting started. The army units that were standing in front of the Republican Guard headquarters first started shooting teargas, then live ammunition above people’s heads […] I was taking cover with another guy behind some rubble and I felt something hit my head. I held my prayer mat in my hand and I started to cover my head with it. But I couldn’t stop the bleeding because there was so much blood.”

The shooting of 51 people on Monday follows violence last week which killed 36 people in Cairo. The Muslim Brotherhood have asked supporters to protest non-violently and support peaceful vigils. Some within the Muslim Brotherhood movement have suggested they may be outlawed, as they were under Hosni Mubarak.

British Foreign Sectretary William Hague said: “It is crucial that there is a swift return to democratic processes in Egypt. All sides of the political spectrum should work together for the sake of the country’s political and economic future.”

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said the intervention by the army was necessary to prevent “chaos”, and said the protests that led to the downfall of Morsi are due to dissatisfaction with the efficacy of government: “When governments don’t deliver, people protest. They don’t want to wait for an election.” Blair also blamed the “ideology and intolerance of the Muslim Brotherhood”: “People felt that the Brotherhood was steadily imposing its own doctrines on everyday life”. Blair advised Western governments to “engage with the new de facto power and help the new government make the changes necessary, especially on the economy, so they can deliver for the people. In that way, we can also help shape a path back to the ballot box that is designed by and for Egyptians”.



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July 1, 2013

Egyptian military issues ultimatum to Morsi

Egyptian military issues ultimatum to Morsi

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Egypt
Other stories from Egypt
  • 16 February 2015: Islamic State execute 21 Coptic Christians held in Libya
  • 27 January 2015: Greek singer Demis Roussos dies aged 68
  • 23 December 2014: Egypt opens Rafah border crossing for additional day
  • 16 December 2014: Freighter hits fishing boat in Gulf of Suez; thirteen dead
  • 24 November 2014: Sisi: Egypt willing to send stabilizing forces to future Palestinian State
…More articles here
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Monday, July 1, 2013

Today the Egyptian military issued an ultimatum to Mohammed Morsi that gives him 48 hours, until Wednesday, to meet the demands of the hundreds of thousands of people protesting his presidency, by announcing a snap election, resigning, and allowing a provisional government to take over, or they will force a political transition.

Cquote1.svg For an institution of state to come and stage a coup against the president, this will not happen. Any force that goes against the constitution is a call for sabotage and anarchy. Cquote2.svg

—Yasser Hamza, member of the Freedom and Justice Party

The military said the protests were an “unprecedented” demonstration of the people’s will.

The ultimatum was issued by an unnamed official on Egyptian state television hours after the Muslim Brotherhood‘s headquarters in Cairo was taken over. Accompanied by an image of the Egyptian Defense Minister General Abdul Fatah Khalil Al-Sisi, the ultimatum read, “If the demands of the people are not met by the expiry of this deadline, the Armed Forces will announce a road-map for the future, and procedures that the Armed Forces will oversee with the participation of all political and national streams, including the youths, who were and still are the real force that ignited their glorious revolution, and without the exclusion of any party”, after which the television channel played patriotic music.

The military also said it would “not be a party in politics or rule,” and would enforce what the people wanted.

Mohammed Morsi at a press conference in June 2012.
Image: Jonathan Rashad.

The Muslim Brotherhood has denounced the ultimatum. Yasser Hamza, a member of the Freedom and Justice Party, the political party of the Muslim Brotherhood, said, “For an institution of state to come and stage a coup against the president, this will not happen. Any force that goes against the constitution is a call for sabotage and anarchy.”

The ultimatum was due to the hundreds of thousands of people that protested in Egyptian cities including Alexandria, {Cairo, Port Said, and Suez yesterday, the first anniversary of Morsi’s inauguration, and today, demanding Morsi resign. Some estimate the turnout was tens of thousands, some hundreds of thousands, and a military source estimated the number at almost fourteen million. In Cairo, the protesters were massed at Tahrir Square and outside the presidential palace. At least sixteen people died and 780 were injured in the protests, according to Egyptian Health Ministry spokesman Yehya Moussa.

Stones and petrol bombs were thrown at the headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood, which had been fortified with sandbags. Morsi was a leading member of the Brotherhood. The protesters say the Brotherhood fired on the protesters, killing five. Today the headquarters was overrun and looted.

Late Sunday, the National Salvation Front released a statement telling protesters to “maintain their peaceful [rallies] in all the squares and streets and villages and hamlets of the country… until the last of this dictatorial regime falls” and stated that this has “confirmed the downfall of the regime of Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood”. The National Salvation Front, a secular, liberal organization, has endorsed a petition calling for a snap election, started by the grassroots movement Rebel.

Cquote1.svg maintain their peaceful [rallies] in all the squares and streets and villages and hamlets of the country… until the last of this dictatorial regime falls Cquote2.svg

National Salvation Front in “Revolution Statement 1”

Protesters argue Morsi since taking power has failed to address political deadlock, economic crises, and personal safety problems. Many are angry at the Muslim Brotherhood, which they claim hijacked the Egyptian revolution, seizing authoritarian control and imposing Islamic law.

The BBC reported some protesters showed anti-American and anti-Israeli sentiment, noting one flag with a picture of Morsi in a Star of David.

A presidential spokesman, Ihab Fahmi, said people must “unite and listen to the sound of wisdom […] Political diversity necessitates on all parties to abide by the democratic process”. Another spokesman, Omar Amer, said “[Morsi] announced to all of Egypt’s people he made mistakes and that he is in the process of fixing these mistakes […] I want to confirm one truth, if there is a total lack of response to this initiative, no listening to it, no interest in it from any side, what do you think the presidency can do?”. Morsi has said he was validly elected, and denied instigating religious authority clauses in the new Egyptian constitution.


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November 28, 2012

Thousands protest constitutional decree in Tahrir Square, Egypt

Thousands protest constitutional decree in Tahrir Square, Egypt

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

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File image of protests in Tahrir Square in 2011.
Image: Lilian Wagdy.

An estimated over 100,000 people protested in Tahrir Square yesterday in opposition to a constitutional decree made by Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi. Riot police dispersed the crowd with tear gas as clashes began. One fatality has been reported.

The constitutional decree made November 22 by Morsi protected the constitution drafting body of Egypt from dissolution and also protected executive decisions from being overturned. The decree has sparked protests and strikes reminiscent of protests which eventually toppled the then president Hosni Mubarak.

Earlier this year in September Egyptian courts ruled to dissolve Egypt’s parliament. Morsi opposed the ruling, threatening action, but later respected the decision.

Mohamed ElBaradei said Morsi is acting like a “new pharaoh“. In a comment to Der Spiegel, he said, “Not even the pharaohs had so much authority, to say nothing of his predecessor Hosni Mubarak. This is a catastrophe, it [is] a mockery of the revolution that brought him to power.”

ElBaradei has also said that because of the recent decree “a civil war threatens to erupt in Egypt.”

Morsi has stated the decree is temporary. He met with Egypt’s judiciary on Monday.

Counter demonstration planned by the Muslim Brotherhood and Nour Party has been cancelled to avoid possible further violence.



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October 9, 2012

On the campaign trail, September 2012

On the campaign trail, September 2012 – Wikinews, the free news source

On the campaign trail, September 2012

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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The following is the eleventh in a monthly series chronicling the U.S. 2012 presidential election. It features original material compiled throughout the previous month after a brief mention of some of the month’s biggest stories.

In this month’s edition on the campaign trail: Wikinews chronicles three of the lesser-known speakers at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, a controversial pastor and write-in candidate talks to Wikinews about the unrest in the Middle East, and the ballot-qualified American Third Position Party (A3P) presidential nominee travels to Iran to meet President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Summary

September opened with the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. On the convention’s first night, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro delivered the keynote address, the first Hispanic-American to do so. He discussed the communitarian spirit of the United States and reflected on how his mother “fought hard for civil rights so that instead of a mop, I could hold this microphone.” The speech was compared to Barack Obama’s keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, and garnered speculation that he would seek higher political office. First Lady Michelle Obama also spoke that night, discussing her husband on a personal level. On the second day, a ruckus ensued as Democrats moved to re-include “God” and support of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital in the party’s official platform after removal of the items drew criticism leading up to the convention. That night, women’s health advocate Sandra Fluke and Massachusetts U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren each spoke before former President Bill Clinton took the stage to deliver a lengthy, policy-filled speech. In it, Clinton defended Obama’s economic policies, arguing that no previous president, including himself, could have fostered complete recovery this soon in the same economic climate. He concluded that the election was ultimately a choice between the “winner-take-all, you’re-on-your-own society” of the Republicans and the “we’re-all-in-this-together society” of Obama. On the final night, Vice president Joe Biden spoke before President Obama addressed the convention to officially accept the party’s nomination. In his acceptance speech, Obama asked voters to allow his administration to “finish what we started”, arguing “it will take more than a few years for us to solve challenges that have built up over decades” and Republicans offer only policies that have previously failed.

Castro delivers the keynote address at the 2012 Democratic National Convention.
Image: DemConvention2012.

Foreign policy emerged as a major campaign issue after the U.S. embassies in Egypt and Libya came under attack on September 11, resulting in the deaths of four Americans including the U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens. Allegedly, the attacks were the result of protests against a YouTube video trailer for the anti-Islamic film Innocence of Muslims, which the Obama administration condemned in the aftermath of the attacks. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney criticized President Obama for the response, arguing he “was wrong to stand by a statement sympathizing with those who had breached our embassy in Egypt, instead of condemning their actions.” An Obama spokesman expressed “shock” at Romney’s response, accusing him of “launch[ing] a political attack”. Shortly thereafter, Romney also criticized Obama for being unable to find time to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Obama then had an hour-long phone conversation with Netanyahu. Later in the month, Netanyahu appeared before the United Nations General Assembly with a cartoon of a bomb, voiced his concerns that Iran would attain enough enriched uranium to make a bomb by the summer of 2013, and called on the world to act. Obama and Romney each spoke with Netanyahu. Each candidate expressed similar sentiment in favor of further sanctions against Iran.

In mid-September, Romney received negative publicity after the magazine Mother Jones released a video of a fundraiser at which Romney alleged, “there are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what … [because they] are dependent upon government”. He then said his “job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.” Romney’s running mate Paul Ryan distanced himself from the remarks, which he labeled as “inelegant”. Obama remarked in response, “We don’t want an inside job in Washington, we want change in Washington…It can’t happen if you write off half the nation before you even took office.” The Romney campaign hoped to shift focus from the video to newly-emerged 1998 footage of Obama in which he advocates redistribution of wealth. Additionally, Romney released his 2011 tax returns, as promised earlier in the year. The returns showed he paid $1.95 million out of the $13.7 million he earned on investments. However, less positive news continued for the campaign as September came to a close. Paul Ryan received boos while discussing the proposed repeal of Obamacare during a speech before an AARP forum, which President Obama also addressed. Plus, Obama increased his lead in the polls with Gallup showing a six point Obama advantage, 50 percent to 44 percent in a September 26 poll, up from the 46 percent to 46 percent tie prior to the publication of the Romney video.

Nevertheless, Obama was not the only candidate rising in the polls at the end of September. Libertarian Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson, the former governor of New Mexico, rose to six percent support in a late September Reason-Rupe poll, up from the 4.3 percent showing earlier in a JZ Analytics poll. The Johnson campaign also increased activity. With the presidential debates looming, the campaign filed suit against the Commission for Presidential Debates, alleging anti-trust practices for denying access to third party candidates. With many polls still excluding Johnson at the end of September, Obama led Romney 48.7 to 44.6 in the September 30 RealClearPolitics polling average.

Lesser-known DNC speakers discuss their experience

While San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, women’s health advocate Sandra Fluke, and Harvard Law professor Elizabeth Warren all formally introduced themselves to the national audience at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, they were not the only figures to do so. Small business owner Bill Butcher, firefighter Doug Stern, and mother Stacey Lihn were among the “everyday people” the party invited to address the convention and the nation. Wikinews reached out to these three to learn more about their DNC experience and the process of the convention.

Port City Brewing Company owner Bill Butcher.
Image: Bill Butcher.

Butcher, owner of Port City Brewing in Alexandria, Virginia, says he received the invitation after the Democratic Party found him online while searching for someone who had started a small business during the administration and benefited from its policies. Butcher was able to establish Port City Brewing after obtaining a loan through the SBA loan program, part of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (The Stimulus).

In preparation for his speech, Butcher worked with Obama speechwriters and rehearsed the morning before. Though he admits to being nervous, he discovered that fellow speakers backstage felt similarly. To break the ice, Butcher opened his speech with a joke, apologizing to the audience for not handing out free beer. He then turned to policy, defending Obama as “a president who’s on my side … [who has] kept middle class taxes low…[and] has fought for small-business owners”. According to Butcher, the speech was received positively, even among his Republican friends, who felt it “cool” that their buddy had addressed the DNC.

Fire fighter Doug Stern.
Image: Doug Stern.

Like Butcher, Stern, a firefighter and member of the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), also received bipartisan praise for his speech. As a union advocate for the repeal of Ohio SB 5, which limited the collective bargaining rights of Ohio‘s public employees, Stern feels the party selected him due to his visibility. Because he received word of the invitation just days before the event, Stern did not have much time to prepare. Rather, he viewed YouTube videos of Presidents Obama, Clinton, and Ronald Reagan to find the right style for delivery. Nevertheless, according to Stern, the best input came from his twelve-year-old son, who advised him that delivering a DNC speech was not such a big deal, since “you give speeches all the time.”

In the speech, Stern introduced himself as a former Republican, but held that as a member of the middle class and as a public employee, the “party left people like me.” He applauded the Obama administration for continuing federal grants to fire fighters, and characterized Obama as someone who “respects middle-class workers like me and my family.” Fellow fire fighters, including those of different political stripes, commended Stern on his remarks, and about a week after the speech, Stern met President Obama in Cincinnati, where he received congratulations. Despite the recognition from his peers and presidential praise, the reception of Stern’s son was paramount. While watching a line from the speech replayed on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, the 12-year-old admitted to his father that despite his previous comments, speaking at the DNC was “pretty cool.”

Stacey Lihn with her daughter Zoe at the Democratic National Convention.
Image: Caleb Lihn.

Similarly, for Lihn, the night held a special significance due to her family. Lihn, a mother of two daughters one of whom, Zoe, suffers from a congenital heart defect, previously worked with the Obama campaign in March to produce a video documenting how the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) had helped her family pay for her daughter’s medical expenses. Looking for someone to discuss health care reform at the convention, the video’s producer called Lihn and invited her to speak.

Like Butcher, she rehearsed her speech in the morning prior, finding this to be more emotional than the actual delivery itself. In the heartfelt speech delivered with her husband and daughter onstage, Lihn articulated her appreciation of Obamacare and the fear that the election of Mitt Romney and possible repeal of Obamacare would prevent needed care for her daughter. After the speech, Lihn embraced First Lady Michelle Obama in what she fondly recalls as “a genuine hug — mother to mother.” Others appreciated the speech as well. Ed Pilkington of The Guardian wrote that it was not only “one of the most moving moments of the Democratic national convention … [but] possibly of the entire 2012 presidential race”.

For Lihn, despite the acclaim, she was simply speaking as one of many: “Our story is but one of thousands and I knew that, standing up on stage speaking, that I was speaking for all of the parents who’ve walked in my shoes. I felt the strength of the many babies born with Zoe’s heart condition who weren’t as fortunate as she and passed away before the age of two. I support the ACA [Affordable Care Act] and will continue to do so for those whose voices cannot be heard.”

Wikinews interviews write-in candidate connected to Middle East turmoil

Pastor Terry Jones in March 2011.
Image: Mark Taylor.

Wikinews caught up with Dove World Outreach Center pastor Terry Jones of Gainesville, Florida. Jones, a write-in candidate for president, is best known for his anti-Islamic activism, which has sparked protests across the Muslim world.

Jones leads an anti-Islam march in Washington, DC.
Image: Mark Taylor.

Jones first gained notice in 2010, after threatening to burn a Koran at Ground Zero on the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. The announcement prompted protests in the Middle East, causing President Obama to request that Jones not partake in the activity. He obliged, but later burned a Koran in March 2011, leading to violent protests in Afghanistan including an attack on the United Nations Assistance Mission in Mazar-i-Sharif, which killed at least 30 people.

Recently, Jones has received mention for promoting the film Innocence of Muslims, whose trailer allegedly inflamed riots in Egypt and Libya on September 11 due to its portrayal of Muhammad. During the riots, the American embassies in the two nations were breached, leading to the deaths of four Americans in Libya, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens. Jones told The Daily Caller he had remained in contact with the film’s director Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, who was jailed September 28 on charges of violating probation. Jones’s involvement with the film has led to warrants for his arrest in Egypt, where authorities want to try him for insults to Islam, spreading lies, and harming national unity. Death is a possible penalty for such offenses. Nevertheless, Jones holds that Egypt “would definitely be better advised to put Muhammad on trial.”

With Wikinews, Jones discusses ballot access, the Innocence of Muslims, and how he would handle the riots in Egypt and Libya as president.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngIn which states have you attempted to gain ballot access?

Pastor Jones: Indiana, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Alabama, Oregon, Iowa, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, Wyoming

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngWhat are your thoughts on the film trailer for the movie Innocence of Muslims? Should the filmmaker bear any responsibility for the anti-American protests across the Muslim world?

Pastor Jones: According to many Islamic experts that I have talked to, and the studies that I have done myself, the trailer is very accurate. Muhammad led a very perverted life and a very violent life. On his deathbed in 632, he gave the command to his followers to cleanse the Arabian Peninsula of all unbelievers. That is what Islam has been doing for the last fourteen hundred years, killing, murdering and raping anyone that dares to have a different opinion or follow a different religion.
Absolutely not. In fact, what we have done is we have again demonstrated that Islam in its roots, in its foundation is a violent religion. The Koran is a very violent book. It promotes violence. As I said, Muhammad led a very violent life. In the last ten years of his life he had seventy-eight raids on other villages where he killed innocent people, civilians. It was not even an act of war. It was simply genocide. It was simply the killing of anyone who disagreed with him. It is the time that America and the world stands up and sees the dangers of Islam, the dangers of radical Islam.
As far as we are concerned, as far as our efforts are concerned, we are going to continue to press forward. We are going to continue to raise an awareness of the dangers of radical Islam. The western world must stop appeasing Islam or Islam will continue its acts of terror.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngWhat is your response to President Obama’s reaction to the protests and attacks on the U.S. embassies? Was Governor Romney’s criticism of that reaction appropriate? If you were president, how would you respond to the events?

Pastor Jones: President Obama is an absolute disaster. As president, he bears some of the responsibility for what is going on right now in the Islamic world. President Obama has shown himself to be pro-Islam, pro-Muslim Brotherhood. Since the Muslim Brotherhood has taken over in Egypt, situations for minorities and Christians have gotten much, much worse. We know that President Obama favors Islam. He appeases Islam. He has welcomed CAIR into the White House. CAIR is nothing more than a suit-and-tie terrorist organization. President Obama and his appeasing of Islam has only given them a green light, opened up the door for them to feel as though they can attack our embassies and feel that absolutely nothing will be done. Even now as he has spent $70,000 of American taxpayers’ money to run ads in Pakistan appeasing the Islamic radical community, he definitely bears a responsibility.
Governor Romney, or anyone’s criticism, of President Obama’s presidency concerning Islam, his economic policies, and many of his policies whether it is immigration or same-sex marriage are indeed justified.
If I were president, my response would be much harsher to the Islamic community. I believe that we should close our embassies in Muslim and Koran controlled countries immediately. We should pull our people out of those countries. We in the west must realize that Islam is not compatible with western society. It is not compatible with western thinking because Islam is missing the basic elements of a free western society. Those elements are freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of religion. Islam has continued to prove over and over and over again that it does not tolerate any criticism of Muhammad, the Koran, or Sharia. It has absolutely no tolerance of any other religion. Because of its past history and the past fruits of the religion, Islam and western society cannot coexist. This is why we should close all embassies in Koran and Islam controlled and dominated countries.

A3P nominee meets with the President of Iran

Filmmaker Merlin Miller, the presidential nominee of the American Third Position Party (A3P), attended a film festival in Tehran, Iran early in September, during which he spoke to an audience that included Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. After the speech, Ahmadinejad invited Miller to a private meeting, which lasted about twenty minutes. This was the first time a U.S. presidential candidate met with Ahmadinejad, a controversial figure who has called for the dissolution of Israel, questioned the validity of the Holocaust, and spurred Iran’s nuclear program, which the U.S. and Israel allege is not for peaceful purposes.

Merlin Miller shakes hands with Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Image: Merlin Miller.

In contrast to such allegations, Miller tells Wikinews that his impression of Ahmadinejad was as “a humble man who deeply cares about promoting truths and the best for his people — including peace.” During the meeting, he gave Ahmadinejad a copy of his 2001 film Jericho and his book Our Vision for America. According to Miller, Ahmadinejad wanted it to be communicated to the American people that “Globalists and Zionists falsely portray Iran, as they seek conflict between nations” and that Iran actually desires peace. Miller says that though Ahmadinejad probably did not know much about the specific A3P presidential campaign and platform, he was “aware of the how Zionist interests control our two major political parties” and “was intrigued that alternative voices in America are starting to challenge the injustices of our current political system and the propaganda of our mainstream media.”

The A3P, which was founded in 2010, is among those “alternative voices”. Its program calls for a tougher approach to crime, economic nationalism, higher education standards, environmentalism, strengthening of the family unit, a non-interventionist foreign policy, opposition to “third world” immigration, border security, and preservation of “white identity”.

Critics such as the Southern Poverty Law Center accuse the A3P of being a white supremacist organization, a charge that Miller denies. Miller appeared on Iran’s Press TV, and discussed the use of the term on his Wikipedia profile, which he claimed to have unsuccessfully attempted to change. He argued that the label likely stemmed from his “criticism of Zionism, of Jewish control of [the U.S.] media, [and] of [the U.S.] foreign policy, which is Israel first”.

Miller and the A3P have attained ballot access in Tennessee, New Jersey, and Colorado, and have additionally qualified for write-in status in Maryland and West Virginia.


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August 31, 2012

Egyptian President Morsi backs Syrian rebels in speech

Egyptian President Morsi backs Syrian rebels in speech

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Friday, August 31, 2012

Mohamed Morsi (left) pictured in June.
Image: Jonathan Rashad.

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi strongly backed the Syrian rebels Thursday in a speech at the Non-Aligned Movement Summit in Iran. Morsi, a Sunni Muslim and member of the Muslim Brotherhood, is the first Egyptian leader in 30 years to visit Iran – an ally of Syrian Prime Minister Bashar al-Assad’s Shi’ite dominated regime.

In a strongly worded speech, which caused Syrian foreign minister Walid al Muallem to walk out in protest, Morsi called the Syrian regime “oppressive”, saying that it has lost legitimacy. Delegates were told, “[t]he bloodshed in Syria is our responsibility on all our shoulders and we have to know that the bloodshed cannot stop without effective interference from all of us.”

Morsi called on delegates to “[…] announce our full solidarity with the struggle of those seeking freedom and justice in Syria, and translate this sympathy into a clear political vision that supports a peaceful transition to a democratic system of rule that reflects the demands of the Syrian people for freedom.”

For the Syrian government, foreign minister al Muallem subsequently told state media that President Morsi was interfering in Syrian domestic affairs and inciting further violence in the conflict.

Morsi’s speech was viewed by commentators as a direct rebuke to Iran and a message that they had chosen the wrong side in the Syrian conflict. The speech also allayed fears in the west that his attendance at a meeting of non-aligned countries indicated a change in Egyptian foreign policy to a less pro-Western stance.



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January 25, 2012

One year on: Egyptians mark anniversary of protests that toppled Mubarak

One year on: Egyptians mark anniversary of protests that toppled Mubarak

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

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Across Egypt hundreds of thousands have taken to the streets for the day, marking exactly one year since the outbreak of protests leading to 83-year-old longstanding ruler Hosni Mubarak’s downfall. The country’s decades-long emergency rule was partially lifted this week; meanwhile, a possible economic meltdown looms and a newly-elected parliament held their first meeting on Monday.

Protestors in Tahrir Square during the revolution.
Image: Jonathan Rashad.

Protestors in Tahrir Square today.
Image: Gigi Ibrahim.

Despite the new parliament, military rule introduced following Mubarak’s fall last spring remains. Echoing the demands from a year ago, some protesters are demanding the military relinquish power; there are doubts an elected civilian leader will be permitted to replace the army.

The brief unity against Mubarak has since fragmented, with Secularists and Islamists marking the revolution’s anniversary splitting to opposing sides of Cairo’s famed Tahrir Square and chanting at each other. Initial demonstrations last year were mainly from young secularists; now, Islamic parties hold most of the new parliament’s seats — the country’s first democratic one in six decades.

Salafis hold 25% of the seats and 47% are held by the Muslim Brotherhood, which brought supporters to Cairo for the anniversary. Tahrir Square alone contained tens of thousands of people, some witnesses putting the crowd at 150,000 strong. It’s the largest number on the streets since the revolution.

Military rulers planned celebrations including pyrotechnics, commemorative coins, and air displays. The Supreme Council of Armed Forces took power after last year’s February 11 resignation of Mubarak.

Alaa al-Aswani, a pro-democracy activist writing in al-Masry al-Youm, said: “We must take to the streets on Wednesday, not to celebrate a revolution which has not achieved its goals, but to demonstrate peacefully our determination to achieve the objectives of the revolution,” — to “live in dignity, bring about justice, try the killers of the martyrs and achieve a minimum social justice”

Alexandria in the north and the eastern port city of Suez also saw large gatherings. It was bitter fighting in Suez led to the first of the revolution’s 850 casualties in ousting Mubarak. “We didn’t come out to celebrate. We came out to protest against the military council and to tell it to leave power immediately and hand over power to civilians,” said protestor Mohamed Ismail.

“Martyrs, sleep and rest. We will complete the struggle,” chanted crowds in Alexandria, a reference to the 850 ‘martyrs of the revolution’. No convictions are in yet although Mubarak is on trial. Photos of the dead were displayed in Tahrir Square. Young Tahrir chanters went with “Down with military rule” and “Revolution until victory, revolution in all of Egypt’s streets”.

If the protestors demanding the military leave power get their way, the Islamists celebrating election victory face a variety of challenges. For now, Field Marshall Mohamed Hussein Tantawi — whose career featured twenty years as defence minister under Mubarak — rules the nation and promises to cede power following presidential elections this year.

Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, pictured whilst he was still Mubarak’s defence minister, is now ruling the country.
Image: Helene C. Stikke, US DoD.

The economy is troubled and unemployment is up since Mubarak left. With tourism and foreign investment greatly lower than usual, budget and payment deficits are up — with the Central Bank eating into its reserves in a bid to keep the Egyptian pound from losing too much value.

Last week the nation sought US$3.2 billion from the International Monetary Fund. The IMF insists upon funding also being secured from other donors, and strong support from Egypt’s leaders. IMF estimates say the money could be handed over in a few months — whereas Egypt wanted it in a matter of weeks.

The country has managed to bolster trade with the United States and Jordan. Amr Abul Ata, Egyptian ambassador to the fellow Middle-East state, told The Jordan Times in an interview for the anniversary that trade between the nations increased in 2011, and he expects another increase this year. This despite insurgent attacks reducing Egyptian gas production — alongside electricity the main export to Jordan. Jordan exports foodstuffs to Egypt and has just signed a deal increasing the prices it pays for gas. 2011 trade between the countries was worth US$1 billion.

The anniversary also saw a new trade deal with the US, signed by foreign trade and industry minister Mahmoud Eisa and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk. President Barack Obama promises work to improve U.S. investment in, and trade with, nations changing political systems after the Arab Spring. Details remain to be agreed, but various proposals include US assistance for Egyptian small and medium enterprises. Both nations intend subjecting plans to ministerial scrutiny.

The U.S. hailed “several historic milestones in its transition to democracy” within a matter of days of Egypt’s revolution. This despite U.S.-Egypt ties being close during Mubarak’s rule.

US$1 billion in grants has been received already from Qatar and Saudi Arabia but army rulers refused to take loans from Gulf nations despite offers-in-principle coming from nations including Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates. Foreign aid has trickled in; no money at all has been sent from G8 nations, despite the G8 Deauville Partnership earmarking US$20 billion for Arab Spring nations.

A total of US$7 billion was promised from the Gulf. The United Kingdom pledged to split £110 million between Egypt and Arab Spring initiator Tunisia. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development says G8 money should start arriving in June, when the presidential election is scheduled.

The African Development Bank approved US$1.5 billion in loans whilst Mubarak still held power but, despite discussions since last March, no further funding has been agreed. The IMF offered a cheap loan six months ago, but was turned away. Foreign investment last year fell from US$6 billion to $375 million.

Rights, justice and public order remain contentious issues. Tantawi lifted the state of emergency on Tuesday, a day before the revolution’s anniversary, but left it in place to deal with the exception of ‘thuggery’. “This is not a real cancellation of the state of emergency,” said Islamist Wasat Party MP Essam Sultan. “The proper law designates the ending of the state of emergency completely or enforcing it completely, nothing in between.”

One year after the protests that led to his loss of power, Hosni Mubarak faces death if convicted of killing those protesting against him.
Image: 2008 World Economic Forum.

The same day, Amnesty International released a report on its efforts to establish basic human rights and end the death penalty in the country. Despite sending a ten-point manifesto to all 54 political parties, only the Egyptian Social Democratic Party (of the Egyptian Bloc liberals) and the left-wing Popular Socialist Alliance Party signed up. Measures included religious freedom, help to the impoverished, and rights for women. Elections did see a handful of women win seats in the new parliament.

The largest parliamentary group is the Freedom and Justice Party of the Muslim Brotherhood, who Amnesty say did not respond. Oral assurances on all but female rights and abolition of the death penalty were given by Al-Nour, the Salafist runners-up in the elections, but no written declaration or signature.

“We challenge the new parliament to use the opportunity of drafting the new constitution to guarantee all of these rights for all people in Egypt. The cornerstone must be non-discrimination and gender equality,” said Amnesty, noting that the first seven points were less contentious amongst the twelve responding parties. There was general agreement for free speech, free assembly, fair trials, investigating Mubarak’s 30-year rule for atrocities, and lifting the state of emergency. A more mixed response was given to ensuring no discrimination against LGBT individuals, whilst two parties claimed reports of Coptic Christian persecution are exaggerated.

Mubarak himself is a prominent contender for the death penalty, currently on trial for the killings of protesters. The five-man prosecution team are also seeking death for six senior police officers and the chief of security in the same case. Corruption offences are also being tried, with Gamal Mubarak and Alaa Mubarak accused alongside their father Hosni.

The prosecution case has been hampered by changes in witness testimony and there are complaints of Interior Ministry obstruction in producing evidence. Tantawi has testified in a closed hearing that Mubarak never ordered protesters shot.

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Hisham Talaat Moustafa, an ex-MP and real estate billionaire, is another death penalty candidate. He, alongside Ahmed Sukkari, was initially sentenced to death for the murder of his ex-girlfriend, Lebanese pop star Suzanne Tamim. A new trial was granted on procedural grounds and he is now serving a fifteen-year term for paying Sukkari US$2 million to slit 30-year-old’s Tamim’s throat in Dubai. Her assassin was caught when police followed him back to his hotel and found a shirt stained with her blood; he was in custody within two hours of the murder.

The court of appeals is now set to hear another trial for both men after the convictions were once more ruled unsound.

A military crackdown took place last November, the morning after a major protest, and sparking off days of violence. Egypt was wary of a repeat this week, with police and military massed near Tahrir Square whilst volunteers manned checkpoints into the square itself.

The military has pardoned and released at least 2,000 prisoners jailed following military trials, prominently including a blogger imprisoned for defaming the army and deemed troublesome for supporting Israel. 26-year-old Maikel Nabil was given a three year sentence in April. He has been on hunger strike alleging abuse at the hands of his captors. He wants normalised relations with Israel. Thousands have now left Tora prison in Cairo.

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January 23, 2012

Wikinews Shorts: January 23, 2012

Wikinews Shorts: January 23, 2012 – Wikinews, the free news source

Wikinews Shorts: January 23, 2012

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A compilation of brief news reports for Monday, January 23, 2012.

If you believe any of these stories deserves more in-depth coverage, feel free to write a full article on the issues raised.

Western show of unity in the Strait of Hormuz on the eve of further anti-Iran sanctions

A six-strong flotilla of United States, French, and British warships, centered around the USS Abraham Lincoln, has sailed through the Strait of Hormuz. The move comes on the eve of an expected embargo on the import of Iranian oil by the European Union, and an Iranian threat to close the straits to international shipping.

Thirty five percent of the world’s supply of crude oil passes through the Strait of Hormuz.

Libyan deputy leader resigns over protests

Abdul Hafiz Ghoga, the vice-chair of Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC) resigned following protests in Benghazi on Saturday. Talking to Al Jazeera on Sunday he said, “[m]y resignation is for the benefit of the nation and is required at this stage.”

A human rights lawyer, Ghoga became the focus of discontent over the prominence of former Gaddafi loyalists on the NTC, the pace of reform and the belief that Benghazi was sidelined in the political process.



Nigeria death toll set to rise

The confirmed death toll of 178 in co-ordinated attacks against Nigerian government targets in Kano on Friday, with police and soldiers amongst the many dead and wounded, is expected to rise.

Attacks by Boko Haram, who seek to create an Islamic state, are becoming increasingly sophisticated, with fears the group aims to provoke a civil war between Nigeria’s Muslim north and Christian south.


Economy not Sharia will be the focus of Egypt’s new Islamic government

Improving the economy and fighting poverty, not legislating to create a Muslim state, will be the Muslim Brotherhood‘s agenda when they form Egypt’s first post-Mubarak government today. “We can’t talk about implementing Islamic Shariah law when the country is experiencing such devastating economic problems,” said Mohammed Gouda, a party policymaker and economics committee member.

Islamists form a majority in the new assembly with the Muslim Brotherhood winning 46% of seats and the conservative Al-Nour Party 23%.


UK unemployment increases to 2.68m as profit warnings increase

The UK‘s unemployment rate has reached 8.4% — 2.685 million people — according to data released by the Office of National Statistics. The figure reflects the quarter ending last November and is a 0.3% increase on the previous quarter.

Unemployment amongst younger people now stands at 22.3% — 1.043 million people, and the number of people claiming Jobseekers’ Allowance has now reached 1.6 million; in December, 1,200 new claimants began receiving unemployment benefits.

Profit warnings from firms within the UK have increased from 51 in the third quarter to 88 in the fourth, say Ernst & Young. The nation saw 206 firms issue 278 warnings profits were not as high as initially expected.

Three years after British retailer Woolworths collapsed, 24,000 who lost their jobs as a result have won a fight for compensation; each will receive 60 days’ pay, a total payout of £67.8 million and averaging £2,800 per person.





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