Thursday, July 31, 2014

White House's strongest and most explicit condemnation of Israel comes as Palestinian leaders prepare for talks on short ceasefire

    Thursday, July 31, 2014   No comments
Israel has come under heavy pressure from the US to curtail civilian deaths after concluding that its forces were likely to have been behind the shelling of a UN school.  


In what amounted to the strongest and most explicit condemnation of Israel since the Gaza conflict began, President Barack Obama's press secretary on Thursday called the attack "totally unacceptable" and "totally indefensible". He also said the administration was urging Israel to do more to avoid civilian deaths and said US officials were taking issue with "specific military decisions" by Israel. "It is clear that we need our allies in Israel to do more to live up to the high standards they have set themselves."


Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza, at least 30 people, mostly women and children, were injured in what is believed to be an Israeli shelling

    Thursday, July 31, 2014   No comments
Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza, at least 30 people, mostly women and children, were injured in what is believed to be an Israeli shelling

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Spain's leading film stars Penélope Cruz, Pedro Almodóvar and Javier Bardem are the latest major celebrities to go public with their views on the ongoing conflict in Gaza

    Wednesday, July 30, 2014   No comments
The trio are among a group of actors who have penned an open letter in a Spanish newspaper calling for Europe to condemn Israel's bombing of the Palestinian territory, which has now claimed at least 1,200 lives - many of them civilians.

The Spanish stars follow in the wake of celebrities, including singers Zayn Malik, Rihanna and Selena Gomez, and comedian Joan Rivers, who have spoken out either for or against the bombardment.
Branding himself 'outraged, ashamed and hurt', Bardem added that he did not want tax he pays in Spain to be used to support Israeli 'barbarism', before going on to recognise the distinction between the actions of the Israeli state and the opinions of Jews, who may not support the bombings.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

UN official condemns ‘in the strongest possible terms this serious violation of international law by Israeli forces’

    Tuesday, July 29, 2014   No comments
Gaza: at least 19 killed and 90 injured as another UN school is hit
At least 19 Palestinians were killed and about 90 injured early on Wednesday when a UN school sheltering displaced people was hit by shells during a second night of relentless bombardment that followed an Israeli warning of a protracted military campaign.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Satellite images of Gaza show the devastation in the tiny Palestinian enclave

    Monday, July 28, 2014   No comments
 Satellite images released by Unitar/Unosat show how vast tracts of the Gaza Strip have been completely destroyed over the course of the Israeli offensive, now in its 21st day.

As the death toll in Gaza passed 1,000, the US NGO distributed satellite photos of the tiny Palestinian enclave before and after the air strikes and ground assault by Israeli forces. United Nations experts have said it will take years for the Strip's civilian infrastructure to be rebuilt at a cost of at least $115 million - if the fighting ends now. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Don't Send Your Kid to the Ivy League; the nation's top colleges are turning our kids into zombies

    Friday, July 25, 2014   No comments
Our system of elite education manufactures young people who are smart and talented and driven, yes, but also anxious, timid, and lost, with little intellectual curiosity and a stunted sense of purpose: trapped in a bubble of privilege, heading meekly in the same direction, great at what they’re doing but with no idea why they’re doing it.

When I speak of elite education, I mean prestigious institutions like Harvard or Stanford or Williams as well as the larger universe of second-tier selective schools, but I also mean everything that leads up to and away from them—the private and affluent public high schools; the ever-growing industry of tutors and consultants and test-prep courses; the admissions process itself, squatting like a dragon at the entrance to adulthood; the brand-name graduate schools and employment opportunities that come after the B.A.; and the parents and communities, largely upper-middle class, who push their children into the maw of this machine. In short, our entire system of elite education.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Israeli Artillery Hits U.N.-Run School In Gaza

    Thursday, July 24, 2014   No comments
A United Nations-run school sheltering civilians in Gaza has been hit by Israeli artillery, the U.N. says. More than a dozen people have been killed, according to Palestinian officials.

Reuters quotes Chris Gunness, a spokesman for the UN Relief and Works Agency, the main U.N. agency in Gaza, as confirming that the shelter in Beit Hanoun was hit.

The Associated Press reports that "Gaza health official Ashraf al-Kidra says the dead and injured in the school compound were among hundreds of people seeking shelter from heavy fighting in the area."

Brazil Condemns Israel Offensive in Gaza, Recalls Ambassador

    Thursday, July 24, 2014   No comments
On July 10th, just two days after Israel launched Operation Protective Edge (the largest attack on Gaza in several years) President Obama released a statement in which he “reaffirmed Israel’s right to defend itself.” With a death toll now over 550, it is important to look beyond U.S. government sources for information and perspective. Foreign policy among the countries in Latin America conforms to the long-standing, overwhelming international consensus that opposes Israeli aggression and occupation, but it also reflects the region’s “second independence.” Over the last 15 years, most countries in Latin America have increased their ability to pursue a foreign policy agenda separate from the goals of the U.S. State Department. In the vast majority of cases, reactions to the latest hostilities are fundamentally at odds with the U.S. position, but they are also varied: many governments directly criticize Israel, using words like “crimes against humanity” and “genocide” to describe recent events; other official statements limit themselves to calling for a ceasefire and a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

Iraq leader Nouri al-Maliki 'rejected Iran's pressure to step down'

    Thursday, July 24, 2014   No comments
Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki rejected an attempt by Iran to persuade him to step down, senior Iraqi politicians said Wednesday, underlining his determination to defy even his top ally to push for a third term in office and further exacerbating the country's political crisis.

Al-Maliki has for weeks been resisting growing pressure for him to step aside, including from former Shiite political allies and from Iraq's top Shiite spiritual authority. His critics see the Shiite prime minister as too divisive to form a government that can win support from the Sunni minority against the militant-led Sunni insurgency that has seized control of a large swathe of the country.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Casualties of war on Gaza in perspective

    Wednesday, July 23, 2014   No comments

Casualties of Gaza War, after 17 days:

To put things in perspective, if Israel were attacking the U.S. (whose population is about 300,000,000) instead of Gaza (whose population is about 1,816,000), the casualties, excluding the injured, would be…

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Israel's Netanyahu: They want to pile up as many civilian dead as they can. They use telegenically dead Palestinians for their cause. They want the more dead, the better.

    Tuesday, July 22, 2014   No comments
Israel's Netanyahu: They want to pile up as many civilian dead as they can. They use telegenically dead Palestinians for their cause. They want the more dead, the better.

Joseph Goebbels, November 16, 1941, essay in Das Reich, addressing Germany sympathy for German Jews forced to wear yellow stars:
The Jews gradually are having to depend more and more on themselves, and have recently found a new trick. They knew the good-natured German Michael in us, always ready to shed sentimental tears for the injustice done to them. One suddenly has the impression that the Berlin Jewish population consists only of little babies whose childish helplessness might move us, or else fragile old ladies. The Jews send out the pitiable. They may confuse some harmless souls for a while, but not us. We know exactly what the situation is.

Rather than lard up the point with numerous defensive caveats about what is and is not being said here (which, in any event, never impede willful media distorters in their tactics), I’ll simply note three brief points:

Thursday, July 17, 2014

BRICS' Agreement on the New Development Bank

    Thursday, July 17, 2014   No comments

Agreement on the New Development Bank – Fortaleza, July 15

 Agreement on the New Development Bank
The Governments of the Federative Republic of Brazil, the Russian Federation, the Republic of India, the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of South Africa, collectively the BRICS countries,

RECALLING the decision taken in the fourth BRICS Summit in New Delhi in 2012 and subsequently announced in the fifth BRICS Summit in Durban in 2013 to establish a development bank;

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Treaty for the Establishment of a BRICS Contingent Reserve Arrangement

    Wednesday, July 16, 2014   No comments

Treaty for the Establishment of a BRICS Contingent Reserve Arrangement – Fortaleza, July 15

This BRICS Contingent Reserve Arrangement ("CRA") is between the Federative Republic of Brazil (“Brazil”), the Russian Federation (“Russia”), the Republic of India (“India”), the People’s Republic of China (“China”) and the Republic of South Africa (“South Africa”) (henceforth referred to, individually, as “Party”, and collectively, as the "Parties").

 WHEREAS, the Parties agree to establish a self-managed contingent reserve arrangement to forestall short-term balance of payments pressures, provide mutual support and further strengthen financial stability.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Israeli naval ship bombs Palestinian children on Gaza beach, killing four young children

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014   No comments
 Four children were killed in Gaza City on Wednesday, medics said, in Israeli shelling witnessed by The Telegraph and other foreign journalists.

The four were among a group on the beach when the attack took place, emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said, with some of the surviving injured children taking refuge at a nearby hotel where journalists were staying.

Friday, July 11, 2014

When Taliban thinks the "Islamic State" and its caliphate are extremists...

    Friday, July 11, 2014   No comments
The Taliban has issued a statement directed at fighters in Iraq and Syria warning them against extremism in a clear rebuke to the Islamic State and its caliphate.

It calls on jihadists to remain united and not to judge others without evidence in what appears to be the latest tussle between Islamist groups for supremacy in their global fight.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State, emerged from the shadows to lead Friday prayers at Mosul’s Great Mosque, calling on the world’s Muslims to “obey” him as the head of the caliphat

    Saturday, July 05, 2014   No comments
The notoriously secretive jihadi, who has never before been seen in public, chose the first Friday prayer service of Ramadan to make an audacious display of power in the city that the Sunni Islamists have now controlled for three weeks.

Speaking from the balcony in his new incarnation as self-anointed “Caliph Ibrahim”, al-Baghdadi announced himself as “the leader who presides over you”, urging Muslims to join him and "make jihad" for the sake of Allah. (ISR editors' note: The Iraqi government claimed that the video is fake, giving no more details).

Under his direction, the Islamic world would be returned to “dignity, might, rights and leadership”, he said.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Foreign Minister Zebari: 'Iraq Is Facing a Mortal Threat'

    Friday, July 04, 2014   No comments

Interview Conducted By Bernhard Zand

In an interview, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, a Kurd, warns that his country is threatened with collapse under the pressure posed by ISIS terrorists. But, he says, it isn't a civil war yet.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

'Caliph' al-Baghdadi: "Rome will be conquered next." Should't he wait until someone reinstate the Roman Empire?

    Wednesday, July 02, 2014   No comments
Rome will be conquered next, says leader of 'Islamic State'

 Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-proclaimed leader of the 'Islamic State' stretching across Iraq and Syria, has vowed to lead the conquest of Rome as he called on Muslims to immigrate to his new land to fight under its banner around the globe.

Baghdadi, who holds a PhD in Islamic studies, said Muslims were being targetted and killed from China to Indonesia. Speaking as the first Caliph, or commander of the Islamic faithful since the dissolution of the Ottoman empire, he called on Muslims to rally to his pan-Islamic state.

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