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January 12, 2015

Millions march in France and around the world in support of Charlie Hebdo

Millions march in France and around the world in support of Charlie Hebdo

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Monday, January 12, 2015

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Marchers in Paris.
Image: Yann Caradec.

Following the shootings at the offices of Charlie Hebdo, millions of people turned out yesterday for marches in Paris, in cities across France, and around the world. Reported estimates of between 1.5 and 2 million people rallied in Paris, and the French interior ministry estimated 3.7 million or more rallied across France.

44 world leaders attended the Paris march including French President François Hollande; German Chancellor Angela Merkel; British Prime Minister David Cameron; Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy; Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi; the President of Mali, Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta; Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority; King Abdullah II and Queen Rania of Jordan; Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu; the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov; the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban; and the President of Gabon, Ali Bongo Ondimba.

US Ambassador to France Jane D. Hartley attended. White House Spokesman Josh Earnest responded to criticism for not sending a higher level representative on behalf of the United States: “It is fair to say we should have sent someone with a higher profile.” Earnest said the rally had been planned on Friday and President Obama attending the rally on such short notice presented “significant security challenges”. Secretary of State John Kerry said he already had a prior engagement in India.

Charlie Hebdo has previously published cartoons featuring the Islamic prophet Muhammed. These include original depictions and reprints of controversial cartoons originally by Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten. Some of these cartoons were on display at the marches.

Marche Charlie Hebdo Paris 07.jpg

Paris: flowers and tributes to the victims of the shooting.
Image: Guerric Poncet.

6 Marche républicaine 11 janvier 2015 Paris - Le crayon comme pancarte AB P1340202.jpg

Paris march: a protester holding up two colouring pencils, in solidarity with journalists and cartoonists killed in the attack.
Image: Basili.

Crayons libres 2.jpg

Paris march: protestors holding up two giant pencils.
Image: Eric Walter.

Les crayons.jpg

Paris march: more protestors holding up giant pencils.
Image: Eric Walter.

Foule en défilé.jpg

Paris march: marchers fill the street.
Image: Eric Walter.

Marche du 11 Janvier 2015, Paris (4).jpg

Paris march: more marchers filling the streets.
Image: Yann Caradec.

Pancarte 2.jpg

Paris march.
Image: Eric Walter.

Paris Rally, 11 January 2015 - Boulevard Beaumarchais - 05.jpg

Paris march: marchers moving up Boulevard Beaumarchais.
Image: Poulpy.

2 Marche républicaine 11 janvier 2015 Paris - Foule des manifestants quai station Mirosmenil AB P1340193.jpg

Paris march: marchers fill the platform at the Miromesnil Métro station.
Image: Basili.

Rassemblement de soutien à Charlie Hebdo - 11 janvier 2015 - Bordeaux 10.JPG

Bordeaux rally.
Image: LeJC.

Bourg-en-Bresse rally in support of the victims of the 2015 Charlie Hebdo shooting, 11 January 2015 (2).JPG

Rally in Bourg-en-Bresse.
Image: Benoît Prieur.

Marche républicaine 2015, Chambéry 9.JPG

Rally in Chambéry.
Image: Florian Pépellin.

Marche républicaine du 11 janvier 2015 à Lyon 49.JPG

Rally in Lyon.
Image: Jitrixis.

Manifestation en soutien à Charlie Hebdo et aux victimes des fusillades, Rennes, 2015-01-11-1.jpg

Rally in Rennes.
Image: Édouard Hue.

Manifestation en soutien à Charlie Hebdo et aux victimes des fusillades, Rennes, 2015-01-11-11.jpg

A sign at the march in Rennes showing a number of the Charlie Hebdo cartoons.
Image: Édouard Hue.

Manifestation en soutien à Charlie Hebdo et aux victimes des fusillades, Rennes, 2015-01-11-7.jpg

Rally in Rennes.
Image: Édouard Hue.

Rennes 11 janvier 2015 - Marche républicaine 03.jpg

Rally in Rennes.
Image: Pymouss.

Dimanche 11 janv 2015 Reims soutien à Charlie 05969.JPG

Rally at the Place Royale in Reims.
Image: G.Garitan.

French flag projected onto The National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London.JPG

French flag projected on to the side of the National Gallery in London as a sign of solidarity.
Image: Simeon87.

Tributes to the victims.jpg

Signs, pens, sketch pads and cartoons left as a memorial in Trafalgar Square in London.
Image: Zefrog.

Participant holding a pen.jpg

A pen held up as part of the rally in London’s Trafalgar Square.
Image: Zefrog.

Je suis Charlie rally at Daley Plaza in Chicago, 11 January 2015 (5).jpg

A man holding both a French and American flag at a rally in Daley Plaza in Chicago.
Image: Stel Cape.

Cologne rally in support of the victims of the 2015 Charlie Hebdo shooting-191954.jpg

A small rally in Cologne.
Image: Raimond Spekking.

JeSuisCharlie in Moscow S0147494 (16255052582).jpg

Candle lights at a rally in Moscow.
Image: Ilya Schurov.

JeSuisCharlie in Moscow S0177502 (16070064457).jpg

Snow-covered flowers and tributes outside the office of the French Ambassador in Moscow.
Image: Ilya Schurov.

JeSuisCharlie in Moscow S0357555 (16068596810).jpg

At the rally in Moscow.
Image: Ilya Schurov.

Je suis Charlie, Stockholm 11 January 2015 (2).jpg

Rally in Stockholm.
Image: Henrik M F.

Stockholm rally in support of the victims of the 2015 Charlie Hebdo shooting (15).jpg

Rally in Stockholm.
Image: fcruse.

Stockholm rally in support of the victims of the 2015 Charlie Hebdo shooting (9).jpg

A pencil in the snow at the Stockholm rally.
Image: fcruse.

Wien - Gedenkkundgebung Gemeinsam gegen den Terror - Je Suis Charlie - I.jpg

Rally in Vienna.
Image: Haeferl.

Je suis Charlie, Berlin 11 January 2015 (2).jpg

Rally in Berlin.
Image: Tim.

Je suis Charlie, Brussels 11 January 2015 (122).jpg

Rally in Brussels.
Image: Miguel Discart.



Related news

  • “Twelve dead in shooting at offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo” — Wikinews, January 7, 2015

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December 22, 2014

Jordan ends eight-year stay on executions, hangs eleven

Jordan ends eight-year stay on executions, hangs eleven

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Monday, December 22, 2014

Jordan
Other stories from Jordan
  • 31 January 2015: Millions march in France and around the world in support of Charlie Hebdo
  • 22 December 2014: Jordan ends eight-year stay on executions, hangs eleven
  • 27 February 2014: Arabs react to Israeli debate on Jerusalem’s Holy sites
  • 9 December 2013: Pickens County, South Carolina sheriff refuses to lower US flag to honor Mandela
  • 7 December 2013: Wikinews interviews academic Steve Redhead about Australian women’s soccer
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Jordan yesterday ended a moratorium on executions that had stood since 2006, executing eleven men.

The Interior Ministry made the announcement via official news agency Petra. The ministry did not identify the men, but said all had been convicted of murder in either 2005 or 2006. All were Jordanian citizens and had exhausted all appeals, according to the ministry. None, it said, were convicted of politically motivated murder.

A hangman’s noose, from file.
Image: Chris 73.

The men were executed at a prison in the south early in the morning. All were hung. The executions were spurred by lawmakers requesting action to curb rising crime rates. Agence France-Presse quoted a prison-system source as saying most were in their 40s. “Some of the prisoners asked to have their final words passed on their families, others asked only to smoke a cigarette,” said the source.

Since the stay began in 2006, 122 convicts have been added to death row, including militants. Interior Minister Hussein al-Majali said previously executions could resume following “major debate”, claiming “the public believes that the rise in crime has been the result of the non-application” of death sentences.



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February 27, 2014

Arabs react to Israeli debate on Jerusalem\’s Holy sites

Arabs react to Israeli debate on Jerusalem’s Holy sites

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Palestine
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  • 29 May 2015: Tony Blair resigns as envoy of Quartet to Middle East
  • 22 May 2015: FIFA president ‘on a mission of peace’
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  • 18 March 2015: Netanyahu’s Likud party wins election in Israel
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Thursday, February 27, 2014

In Jewish tradition, the rock upon which Abraham built his altar for the sacrifice of Isaac (Dome of the Rock interior).
Image: OSU Special Collections & Archives.

Islamic and Jordanian leaders responded yesterday to a debate conducted by the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, addressing current Arab control over holy sites in the Old City of Jerusalem including Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock.

Last week, members of the Jordanian Parliament condemned the plan for a debate in the Knesset on the issue, but yesterday after the debate in Israel almost 50 of them had petitioned the Jordanian government to stop the enforcement of the 1994 Israel–Jordan peace treaty. The treaty allowed for the exchange of ambassadors and on that point, the Jordanian parliament voted on the recall of the nation’s ambassador to Israel. Jordan’s Prime Minister Abdullah Nsur said, in remarks to Qatari newspaper Al-Watan, any Israeli action affecting Jordanian control of the Holy sites would violate the treaty and Jordan could review whether or not the treaty had been invalidated. Meanwhile, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation criticized the Knesset debate as a provocation.

Before the Israeli debate Tuesday, Palestinian protesters took to one of the Gates of the Temple Mount in the Old City, used by Jews, armed with firecrackers and rocks and were met by Israeli police.

On Tuesday, members of the Israeli Knesset began a debate on an issue it had never before broached. MK Moshe Feiglin of Likud started the debate about one of Jerusalem’s holiest sites, The Temple Mount. Feiglin spoke to freedom of religion and the right of Israelis to pray on the site controlled by the Arabs while opponents addressed their fears the sensitive topic could harm ongoing peace talks. He said, “Any terror organization can raise its flag there, [but] there can be no trace of the Israeli flag. Only Jews are forbidden to pray at this place.”

During the debate, Labor MK Eitan Cabel reacted to Feiglin’s motion, “Why stop at the Temple Mount? If you are the new messiah of our times, what about” — he named various specifics of the holy promise of the lands of the Greater Israel — “Why leave them behind?” A “Greater Israel” promised by God is generally considered off limits in civic discourse inside Israel. The Knesset did not vote on the issue.

Al-Aqsa Mosque ranks just behind Mecca and Medina as the holiest of Islamic sites. Jews consider the Temple Mount to be their holiest site.


AlAqsaFromKotel.JPG

The Al-Aqsa Mosque from the Western Wall Plaza.
Image: Wilson44691.

Israel-2013(2)-Aerial-Jerusalem-Temple Mount-Temple Mount (south exposure).jpg

Southern aerial view of the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem.
Image: Godot13.

Israel-2013(2)-Jerusalem-Temple Mount-Al-Aqsa Mosque, portal (north exposure).jpg

The portal of the Al-Aqsa Mosque from the north.
Image: Godot13.

Israel-2013-Jerusalem-Temple Mount-Al-Fakhariyya Minaret & Islamic Museum.jpg

Al-Fakhriyyah Minaret & Islamic Museum.
Image: Godot13.

Al Aksa Mosque, Mount of Olives.jpg

The Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
Image: Jane Fresco.

Al-Aqsa 6.jpg

The Dome of the Rock (close).
Image: بلال الدويك.

Pulpit of the Cadi Borhan-ed-din Jerusalem Holy Land.jpg

The outdoor Islamic Pulpit of the Cadi Borhan-ed-din Jerusalem Holy Land at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Jerusalem.
Image: Snapshots of The Past.

Al aqsa moschee.jpg

Al Aqsa Mosque from the Dome of the Rock.
Image: MatthiasKabel.

Israel-2013-Jerusalem-Temple Mount-Dome of the Rock & Chain 02.jpg

The Dome of the Chain (Arabic: قبة السلسلة, Qubbat al-Silsila) in front of The Dome of the Rock.
Image: Godot13.

Temple Mount south, Jerusalem 2010 4.jpg

Southern Wall of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
Image: Wknight94.



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December 7, 2013

Wikinews interviews academic Steve Redhead about Australian women\’s soccer

Wikinews interviews academic Steve Redhead about Australian women’s soccer

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Saturday, December 7, 2013

Wikinews Sports
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Yesterday, Wikinews interviewed Steve Redhead, a Professor of Sports Media and Acting Head of School of Human Movement Studies at Charles Sturt University in New South Wales, Australia, about the Australian women’s national soccer team (Matildas), the Australian men’s national soccer team (Socceroos) and the current differences between the state of women and men’s soccer in Australia. The Socceroos are currently getting international attention following yesterday’s 2014 FIFA World Cup draw which placed the 59th FIFA ranked team in the same group as top FIFA ranked Spain, fifteenth ranked Chile and the ninth ranked Netherlands.

The Matildas were in the news late last month, following their AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2014 draw which saw them placed in the group with Japan, Vietnam and Jordan. With the competition scheduled to take place in May, the Matildas are looking to repeat their performance as AFC champions. Domestically, Australia’s top women’s club team Sydney FC finish third in the International Women’s Club Championship held in Japan this past week after defeating South American club champions Colo-Colo in a penalty shootout.

The Matildas in a 2012 file photo
Image: Camw.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWikinewsWikinews waves Right.png: The Socceroos are ranked 59th by FIFA. The Matildas are ranked 8th by FIFA in the latest rankings. Should media coverage correlate to team performance and international rankings? Is there an element of tall poppy syndrome in the coverage of the Socceroos? What other factors can be used to explain the relative differences in media attention other than performance?

Steve Redhead: Women’s sports performances are seen as less than men’s — deep structural sexism (globally replicated).

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: What’s the difference in style of play between the men and women’s national teams?

Steve Redhead: If we take soccer teams, with the newish rules on tackling from behind globally soccer has become almost a non-contact sport — this has helped the women’s game enormously and the styles of play don’t differ very much at all. If you were from outer space watching games, you would not know that a game was being played by men or women at the top level. The big remaining difference is goalkeeping. Men’s team goalkeepers are invariably way over six feet at the top level. Goalkeeping in the women’s game looks different because of this difference.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: Why are the Matildas more successful in international competitions and ranking wise than the Socceroos?

SR: Socceroos have been in decline since Hiddink stopped being coach. Aging team, no great young players coming through to replace the golden generation. No such problem with Matildas — just steady improvement, and good coaching.

Australia’s Douglas Utjesenevic going against East German Eberhard Vogel at the 1974 FIFA World Cup, Australia men’s first World Cup appearance.
Image: Rainer Mittelstädt.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: Soccer is one of most popular spectator sports for women. Why do you think the W-League has been unable to capitalize on the female audience like netball has?

SR: This is a difficult question — I just think it is going to take time, and articles like this one — it has been the same problem all over the world for women’s football and increasing the audience is always difficult.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: Why do you think men don’t watch the Matildas in the same numbers as they watch the Socceroos?

SR: The soccer culture for men’s football is long standing, there is a real history for the culture. Not so in the women’s game.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: Do problems with A-League finances translate into broader problems for the W-League and its ability to attract investors?

SR: Yes, I think so. But there is a deep structural sexism in the culture too.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: None of the Socceroos received DAS [Direct Athlete Support] grants from the Australian Sports Commission in the past year while almost every single player on the Matildas received DAS or SLGSfW [Sports Leadership Grants and Scholarships for Women] funding. What accounts for difference in Australian Sports Commission/Australian Institute of Sport funding and what would it take to change that?

SR: Can’t really answer that one.

W-League player Emily Van Egmond playing for the Western Sydney Wanderers in a pre-season game last month
Image: Efcso.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: What role should the government play in encouraging media organizations, both newspapers and television networks, to cover women’s soccer in Australia?

SR: I think it does take federal government intervention — educational programmes in sport long term, enforcement of equality legislation, etc.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: Does the media feed into traditional Australian gender stereotypes by not covering elite women’s sports?

SR: Yes it does. Media sports education is crucial. We do this here at Charles Sturt University in NSW and I did it at University of Brighton in the UK.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: Australia has a long history of a male-driven sporting narrative. How does this narrative play into current representations of men and women in Australian soccer? Does the cultural heritage of male-driven narratives make one national team more inherently authentic than the other?

SR: No, but I think it does make it difficult for women’s sport to build the narratives over a period of time.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWNWikinews waves Right.png: Do issues with the Matildas not receiving the same level of media recognition as the Socceroos play a role in the development and attention of other Australian national soccer teams like blind football at the Paralympic level, cerebral palsy football at the Paralympic level, Australian teams at the International Gay Games, deaf soccer teams at the Deaflympics, wheelchair soccer at the World Cup of Powerchair Football?

SR: Yes, it is about equality — there is so much discrimination in the coverage of sports teams.



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August 7, 2013

Russian government homosexuality position leads to NYC Russian vodka boycott

Russian government homosexuality position leads to NYC Russian vodka boycott

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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Russian vodka
Image: Anthony Knuppel Appleton.

As of Monday, over 200 New York City area bars and restaurants had committed to boycotting Russian vodka in response to anti-homosexuality related laws passed by the country’s government. The boycott follows another event that took place on Monday where bottles of vodka were poured onto the streets of the city, as part of a protest by the President of United Restaurant and Tavern Owners Association, Paul Hurley.

New York One quotes Hurley as saying the reason for the boycott as , “We’re not stupid, we’re reading papers, we’re reading what’s going on over there, they’ve got to stop what’s happened.”

The press conference announcing the New York City boycott took place at Desmonds Steakhouse located on the 38th Street and 7th Avenue. LGBT activists and models attended the event. Johnny Donovan, manager of J Donovan Productions, is quoted by the New York Daily Times as saying, “Shame on Russia! […] When I go out to a night club this weekend, I’m not drinking any Russian vodka!”

Activists in other cities are also boycotting Russian vodka. A protest at the San Francisco City Hall took place on Tuesday, where vodka was dumped into the sewers. On social media, the hashtag #dumpstoli is being used to draw attention to the boycott and protests.

These boycotts are not without criticism. Dodds of Time Magazine points out, “At first glance, Stoli seems a logical target for those hoping to promote greater awareness of the plight of gays in Russia. Not only is it widely associated with the country, vodka is also one of Russia’s most profitable consumer exports to the U.S. […] But while Stoli’s ingredients — wheat, rye and raw alcohol — are Russian, the vodka itself is distilled in Latvia and distributed in the U.S. by William Grant & Sons USA, an American subsidiary of a Scottish corporation.” The international popularity of the brand have resulted in the company being continually threatened with nationalization by the Russian government.

A 2013 world map showing areas same-sex couple adoption rules
Image: Titanicophile.

Last month, gay and lesbian couples were barred by law from adopting Russian children. The country also banned “homosexual propaganda.” The legislation means gays and lesbians, if found guilty of breaking these laws, could be jailed. According to Russia Today, most Russians support the legislation “against promoting homosexuality to minors.” Russia Today goes on to say these laws are, “intend[ed] to keep minors from being influenced by non-traditional sexual relationship propaganda and it will be enforced with fines, but not criminal punishment.”

A Pew Research Center study published in June suggests that attitudes towards homosexuality in Russia found the population to be the least accepting of homosexuals of nine other European countries also surveyed. Countries with less acceptance than Russia included in the survey include Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Kenya, Uganda, Ghana, Senegal and Nigeria. Negative Russian attitudes towards homosexuality are also supported by research conducted by Russian Levada Center.

The homosexuality issue as it pertains to Russian law comes against the backdrop of the 2014 Winter Olympics and Paralympics scheduled to be hosted in the Russian city of Sochi early next year. Last week, Russian Minister of Sport Vitaly Mutko reaffirmed the country will enforce these laws during the Games and foreign athletes, journalists and spectators will be subject to them.



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March 13, 2013

Prince Charles makes visit to Jordan refugee camp

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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Jordan
Other stories from Jordan
  • 25 January 2013: Syrian refugees continue to enter Jordan as situation becomes ‘critical’
  • 25 January 2012: One year on: Egyptians mark anniversary of protests that toppled Mubarak
  • 21 November 2010: Calm returns to Salt, Jordan after riots over police shooting; 35 arrested
  • 8 August 2010: Poll: Arabs discouraged by US policies, back nuclear-armed Iran
  • 31 July 2010: Bus crash kills six, injures Iraqi minister in Jordan
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A file photo of the British Price Charles
Image: Dan Marsh.

The British heir apparent, Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall made a visit to a refugee camp in Jordan today.

They were welcomed by staff on their visit to the United Nations King Abdullah Refugee Camp which is home to approximately 1000 people who have left the two-year conflict in Syria.

Charles said that he was struck by the generosity of the charitable organisations and the Jordanian people. He said, “They’ve managed to cope with and deal with all these hundreds of thousands of refugees and it’s very nearly the second anniversary” […] “The generosity is extraordinary but it’s putting more and more strain on food and hospitals so clearly the Jordanians need more assistance and help to be able to cope with this immense challenge”.



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January 25, 2013

Syrian refugees continue to enter Jordan as situation becomes \’critical\’

Syrian refugees continue to enter Jordan as situation becomes ‘critical’

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Friday, January 25, 2013

Jordan
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The international border of Jordan and Syria.
Image: High Contrast.

The Jordanian government began an urgent aid appeal on Wednesday in order to deal with a refugee crisis as an estimated 20,000 Syrian refugees crossed into the country in the past week with 3,000 new refugees arriving daily as well as 50,000 at the border waiting to cross.

The Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh called for urgent international support to help deal with large amounts of Syrian refugees. The request for foreign aid comes amid alerts from international aid organisations to prepare for a humanitarian crisis and strained resources.

“This is obviously a reflection of the level of violence in southern Syria, and there will probably be more in the next few days,” he said. “We are getting aid — we are getting aid from Arab countries, from Western countries, from international organizations. It is still not enough, given the numbers that are coming in.”

A spokeswoman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said that in excess of 26,500 refugees had crossed from Syria into Jordan since the beginning of January.

Jordan has stated in recent weeks that it may close the border in the case of large numbers of people crossing the border to seek refuge.



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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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August 8, 2010

Poll: Arabs discouraged by US policies, back nuclear-armed Iran

Poll: Arabs discouraged by US policies, back nuclear-armed Iran

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Sunday, August 8, 2010

A new poll by Zogby International and the University of Maryland has found that Arabs in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are discouraged by US policies, have little confidence in US president Barack Obama and for the first time, a majority of poll respondents support a nuclear-armed Iran.

The poll results are a “stark contrast” from last year’s results, according to USA Today. Last year 51% of respondents were “optimistic” about US policy in the Middle East; this year only 16% are optimistic and 64% are “discouraged”. Also, two-thirds of poll respondents disapproved of the job Barack Obama is doing. Last year, his approval ratings were high.

Though most poll respondents still say that they suspect that Iran is attempting to get weapons of mass destruction, for the first time a majority say that it would be a good thing for Iran to get them. University of Maryland Professor Shibley Telhami says that most Arabs think that Iran won’t use the weapons and the professor, who headed the poll, also said that “when [Arabs are] optimistic about American foreign policy, they are much tougher on Iran. So a year ago, in 2009, when you had a majority being optimistic about American policy in the Middle East, only 29 percent said Iran having nuclear weapons would be positive for the Middle East. This year, when you have two-thirds being pessimistic about American foreign policy, you have a larger percentage saying maybe it will be better if Iran has nuclear weapons.”

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The new poll also reveals that the United States and Israel are also viewed as bigger threats to the Middle East than Iran.

Telhami also said that “what this poll reveals is a backlash against the United States, reflecting the loss of hope that people had in what they thought were to be the policies of the new President Obama. It’s really people venting by supporting ‘the enemy of my enemy.'”

The poll also found that most watch Al Jazeera for their international news, and that over half of the respondents also watch American or European movies, shows or music videos daily.


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July 31, 2010

Bus crash kills six, injures Iraqi minister in Jordan

Bus crash kills six, injures Iraqi minister in Jordan

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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Jordan
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On Thursday evening, a bus crash in Jordan killed two British women and four Iraqis and injured 28 people, including the Iraqi minister of science and technology Raed Fahmy.

Officials say the bus was returning from the Dead Sea to the Jordanian capital of Amman, when it overturned on a steep turn near the Dead Sea. The two women killed were employees of the United Nations Development Program.

Police say four Iraqis, including Fahmy, remain hospitalized. Fahmy, who is said to have broken his shoulder, is being treated at the King Hussein Medical Center in Amman.

The British Embassy in Amman refused to give any more details about the crash or its victims.



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