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Bahrain protesters reclaim central square

'We are victorious,' demonstrators say as they pour back to Pearl Square, setting up camp for extended stay

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© Hassan Ammar/AP
Bahraini protesters pray and chant slogans as another protester places a Bahraini flag at the Pearl roundabout soon after the military pulled out in Manama, Bahrain, Saturday. Riot police later beat demonstrators and fired tear gas, before they too withdrew.
Manama, Bahrain - Anti-government protesters in Bahrain swarmed back into a symbolic square on Saturday, putting riot police to flight in a striking victory for their cause and confidently setting up camp for a protracted stay.

Crowds had approached Pearl Square in Manama from different directions, creating a standoff with riot police who had moved in earlier to replace troops withdrawn on royal orders.

Suddenly police raced to their buses, which drove away mounting kerbs in their haste to escape.

Emboldened protesters, cheering and waving national flags, ran to the center of the traffic circle, retaking it even before all police had left.

"We are victorious!" they chanted as they marched back into the square.

The crowd waved fleeing policemen through.

"We don't fear death anymore, let the army come and kill us to show the world what kind of savages they are," said Umm Mohammed, a teacher wearing a black abaya cloak.

On orders from the crown prince, troops and armored vehicles earlier withdrew from the square, which they had taken over on Thursday after riot police staged a night-time attack on a sit-in by protesters, killing four people and wounding 231.

Eye 2

Fresh clashes after Libyan city buries dead

Tripoli - Moammar Gadhafi's forces fired on mourners in the eastern city of Benghazi, wiped out a protest encampment and clamped down on Internet service throughout Libya Saturday as the regime tried to squelch calls for an end to the ruler's 42-year grip on power.

Libyan hospital official said security forces killed at least 15 mourners leaving funeral for protesters, The Associated Press reported.

Libyan protesters were back on the street for the fifth straight day, but Gadhafi has taken a hard line toward the dissent that has ripped through the Middle East and swept him up with it.

Snipers fired on thousands of people gathered in Benghazi, a focal point of the unrest, to mourn 35 protesters who were shot on Friday, a hospital official said.

"Now we have youth coming to the hospital to donate blood," he said. "We are running out of supplies."

Like most Libyans who have talked to The Associated Press during the revolt, the hospital official spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal.

Stormtrooper

What regime change, what revolution? Egyptian military warns people against further "illegal" demos

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The Egyptian military has banned fresh pro-democracy protests amid labor strikes.
Egypt's military has warned people against staging fresh pro-democracy protests, saying it will not allow constant "illegal" strikes and demonstrations that have wreaked havoc on the economy.

The Egyptian Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which has temporarily taken over power following the historic ouster of President Hosni Mubarak in the North African country, declared in its statement on Saturday that it will "confront" protests with "legal steps," the Associated Press reported.

The military has taken a hard-nosed approach toward continued mass pro-democracy protests at a time when massive walkouts by the public sector staff in protest against low wages and poor working conditions have raised the specter of new multi-million protests akin to the huge demonstrations that put an end to Mubarak's 30-year reign.

According to the military's statement, the warning is aimed at preventing the Egyptian economy from plunging into the abyss. However, labor strikes have continued as employees expressed fury at corruption and abuse of power by the cronies of Mubarak.

Che Guevara

Panama clashes: Guaymi angry over copper mining law

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© Agence France-Presse
Indigenous Panamanians blocked a major road with their protest
Police in Panama have clashed with dozens of indigenous protesters trying to prevent copper mining on their ancestral lands.

Members of the Guaymi indigenous group occupied a bridge on a major highway on the outskirts of Panama City.

Clashes erupted when police tried to move the protesters to clear the way for traffic.

Lawmakers last week approved a law which opens up the western Ngobe-Bugle reservation to foreign mining projects.

Police say demonstrators, some of whom were armed with spears, threw stones at them when they tried to clear the section of the Pan-American highway.

Pistol

Somali pirates seize American yacht crew off Oman

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© Agence France-Presse
Four Americans sailing on a yacht off the coast of Oman have been taken hostage by Somali pirates, an international maritime watchdog says.

The S/V Quest, owned by a retired couple, was hijacked 240 nautical miles (275 miles) off Oman on Friday afternoon, Ecoterra told BBC News.

It is believed the yacht was en route from India to Oman.

While pirates usually attack cargo ships, they have hijacked a number of yachts in recent years.

Ecoterra said the capture of the S/V Quest had been reported by both its sources and by Nato's anti-piracy operation, Ocean Shield. Nato could not be reached immediately for comment.

Pistol

Libya unrest death toll reaches 84 as Arab governments try to shoot their way to 'safety'

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© Unknown
Thousands of demonstrators gathered in the eastern Libyan cities of Benghazi, Baida, Ajdabiya, Zawiya, and Derna on February 18, 2011.
At least 84 protesters have lost their lives and hundreds wounded in Libya in three days of pro-democracy protests in the African country, Human Rights Watch (HRW) says.

According to HRW, security forces killed 20 people in the eastern city of Benghazi, 23 in the eastern Libyan town of al-Baida, three in Ajdabiya, and three in Derna in a matter of days, Reuters reported.

In addition, 35 people lost their lives in Benghazi on Friday, nearly all with live ammunition, said the Human Rights Watch, adding that it has compiled the figures based upon telephone interviews with hospital staffers and witnesses.

It also hit out at the crackdown on protesters in Libya, saying "The Libyan authorities should immediately end attacks on peaceful protesters and protect them from assault by pro-government armed groups."

Anti-government protests sparked by the popular revolutions that deposed long-serving rulers of neighboring Egypt and Tunisia have engulfed Libya this week with thousands of people flocking the streets of the eastern city of Benghazi, and calling for the ouster of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, who has been in office since September 1969.

Pistol

Bahraini military and police begin shooting protesters


Manama, Bahrain - Government forces fired Friday on protesters in Bahrain's capital, killing at least four of them, an ambulance worker told CNN. The violence was the latest in a series of confrontations that began Monday in this Persian Gulf island nation.

"I told everyone to put their hands up as a sign of peace," said one man who was covered in blood. "Then I saw the military crouch down."

Medical sources at a hospital said at least 50 people were treated Friday for injuries in Manama, and five of them were in critical condition, including one with a bullet wound to the head.

Friday's deaths brought to at least 10 the number of people killed since protesters took to the streets in Bahrain, one of several countries in the Middle East and North Africa to face a surge of dissent following the revolts that toppled longtime autocrats in Tunisia and Egypt.

Attention

Lara Logan, CBS Reporter and Warzone 'It Girl,' Raped Repeatedly Amid Egypt Celebration

Lara Logan
© unknown
Lara Logan, the 60 Minutes firecracker who was raped at the moment of Egypt's overthrow
Updated after the jump: Commenters respond to bloggers respond to reporters respond to Tweeters respond to the inexcusable crime against Lara Logan.

Breaking news: South African TV journalist Lara Logan, known for her shocking good looks and ballsy knack for pushing her way to the heart of the action, was brutally and repeatedly raped while a crowd of 200 celebrated the February 11 resignation of 30-year Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

Logan was in Tahrir Square with her 60 Minutes news team when Mubarak's announcement broke. Then, in a rush of frenzied excitement, some Egyptian protesters apparently consummated their newfound independence by sexually assaulting the blonde reporter:

CBS News reports that "she and her team and their security were surrounded by a dangerous element amidst the celebration." Then, the horrific assault:
In the crush of the mob, she was separated from her crew. She was surrounded and suffered a brutal and sustained sexual assault and beating before being saved by a group of women and an estimated 20 Egyptian soldiers. She reconnected with the CBS team, returned to her hotel and returned to the United States on the first flight the next morning. She is currently in the hospital recovering.

Cow Skull

Sociocide: Iraq Is No More

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© Steve Bell
As we approach the 8th anniversary of a U.S. invasion of Iraq, and having just passed the 20th anniversary of another, it's worth reflecting on what's been accomplished through two wars and the intervening sanctions that former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright so famously approved of even at the cost of a half million children's lives.

While a growing mob of at least six Americans has noticed this week's videotaped confession by key WMD-liar "Curveball," our achievements in Iraq do not rest on whether anyone in Washington actually managed to convince themselves that Iraq had weapons, or even on whether anyone in Washington believed there was a reason to attack Iraq that actually made any moral or legal sense (as, of course, the possession of weapons did not). Our unprecedented accomplishments in the land where our civilization began stand or fall on their own merits, regardless of whether international law survives the blow we have dealt it by sending the architects of a sociocide off to book tours rather than prisons.

While our efforts in Iraq have taken a bit longer and cost a little more than the efforts of Egypt's young people to begin remaking their country, the results are far more grand. Let's compare. Setting aside years of training and organizing, in three weeks and at the cost of 300 deaths, Egypt has established that all of its people will have some say in its future. In Iraq, the United States has spent or wasted trillions of dollars over two decades, destroyed trillions of dollars worth of infrastructure, killed millions of people, injured and traumatized many millions more, driven several million people from their homes creating the greatest refugee crisis in the Middle East since the Nakba, encouraged ethnic and religious strife, segregated towns and neighborhoods, empowered religious fanatics, set back women's rights horribly, effectively eliminated gay and lesbian rights, nearly killed off some minority groups, decimated the nation's cultural heritage, and created a generation of people without the experience of peace, without education, without proper nutrition, without tolerance, without proper healthcare, without a functioning government, and without affection for or even indifference to the United States.

Penis Pump

Silvio Berlusconi Says He's Not Worried About Standing Trial

Silvio Berlusconi
© Ettore Ferrari/EPA
Silvio Berlusconi is accused of paying for sex with an underage prostitute and abusing his office to cover up the offence.
Despite newspaper claims that Karima el-Mahroug told the Italian prime minister she was a minor, he remains unruffled

Italy's prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, has brushed aside his indictment on vice charges saying he was untroubled by the prospect of standing trial. In his first public comment since a judge committed him for trial on 6 April, he said: "For love of country I won't talk about it. Suffice to say that I am not in the slightest bit worried."

The prime minister, who was speaking at a press conference in Rome, cut short further questions on the affair saying: "We're here to deal with the economy after all."

Earlier, an Italian newspaper alleged Berlusconi was aware Karima el-Mahroug, the girl he allegedly paid for sex, was underage, according to a statement she reportedly made to prosecutors.

The centre-left daily La Repubblica has published an extract from el-Mahroug's alleged evidence, in which the Moroccan runaway said that when she first met Berlusconi she told him she was a 24-year-old Egyptian. But on a subsequent visit, in March 2010: "I told him the truth: I was a minor and I had no papers."

She said that at their first meeting, and before any relationship between them, the prime minister gave her €50,000 (£42,000).

Berlusconi denies any wrongdoing.