Society's ChildS


Roughly 1/5 of Bahrain's Population Out in Protests

© n/aManama, Bahrain
Island Nation's Protests Overwhelm Regime's Security Forces

The island nation of Bahrain's Pearl Square Roundabout has been the site of major protests for more than a week, but today they were an absolute mass of people, with over 100,000 protesters, fully 1/5 of the island's population, massed to protest against the regime.

The protesters had initially demanded major reforms and equal rights for the nation's Shi'ite majority, which has complained it is kept out of important jobs by the Sunni ruling class. After violent crackdowns, the protesters demanded the ouster of the king entirely and a regime change.

The king has sought to calm the protesters, initially offering a $3,000 per family "gift" and now, with the protests swelling to record highs, promising to release a number of Shi'ite political prisoners accused of "plotting against the state."

Despite its small size, Bahrain is particularly important to the US, both because it is the home of the American Fifth Fleet and because the island borders the oil producing portion of Saudi Arabia, itself contain a large, downtrodden Shi'ite population. There is concern, particularly amongst the Saudis, that if Bahrain's monarchy is replaced with a democracy that it will provoke massive protests demanding freedom in that nation as well.

Eye 1

Obama asked to take lead in demanding end to Libya violence

© Unknown

Washington - Deeply concerned over the Gaddafi regime declaring a "war against the people of Libya", a US-based organisation for Muslims has appealed to President Barack Obama to take the lead in demanding an end to unlawful use of force against peaceful protesters in that country.

"The Gaddafi regime has declared war against the people of Libya, stating that it would fight the Libyan protesters to the very last bullet. To hesitate will surely lead to disaster," the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) President Imam Mohamed Magid said.

"This can be described as nothing other than a pending horrific genocide and the international community must take action on behalf of the people of Libya to prevent more senseless murders from taking place," he said.


Saudi king tries to buy time as he promises gifts to population on his return from royal treatment abroad

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah has announced increased benefits for his citizens, as he returned after months abroad getting medical treatment.

There will be extra funds for housing, studying abroad and social security, according to state television.

King Abdullah has been away from the country for three months, during which time mass protests have changed the political landscape of the Middle East.

There have been few demonstrations in Saudi Arabia.

Hundreds of men in white robes performed a traditional sword dance at Riyadh airport as the king's plane touched down.

He disembarked and queues of people waited to personally greet him.

The streets of the city had already been decorated with welcome banners and national flags.

Che Guevara

Greece general strike: Clashes erupt

© keeptalkinggreece.comThe banner says ”We are dying”.
Police in Athens have fired tear gas to disperse demonstrators hurling petrol bombs and stones as a 24-hour general strike grips Greece.

The violence erupted during a rally by more than 30,000 angry workers near the Greek parliament. They object to the government's far-reaching budget cuts.

The strike paralysed public transport. More than 100 flights were cancelled.

Many schools are closed and hospitals have reduced services. Small businesses have joined in, closing many shops.

It is Greece's first major labour protest this year, as the government sticks to austerity cuts demanded under the terms of the country's international bail-out.

The Socialist government of Prime Minister George Papandreou is cutting spending and raising taxes to reduce its debt mountain.

In May last year Greece secured a 110bn-euro (£93bn; $150bn) bail-out from the European Union and International Monetary Fund.


Thousands protest against high food prices in Delhi

© Agence France-PresseThe protest has been organised by trade unions
Thousands of people have gathered in the Indian capital, Delhi, to take part in a rally to protest against rising food prices and unemployment.

A steady stream of protesters, carrying red flags, has been marching through the streets of central Delhi since early morning.

The rally has led to massive traffic jams in the city.

Trade unions who have called the rally say nearly 40,000 people will attend a meeting at the Ramlila grounds.

Thousands will then march to parliament, they say.

Security is tight across the city with thousands of policemen deployed at the rally ground and along the route of the march.

Arrow Up

Oil prices push higher on Libya supply concerns

Oil prices have risen further on worries that supplies could be disrupted if unrest continues in Libya and spreads across the Middle East.

US light, sweet crude was up $0.49 at $95.91 a barrel, and had hit $96.25 earlier on Wednesday. It has now risen almost $10 since the start of the week.

Brent crude was $0.77 up at $107.57 a barrel, having hit $107.66 earlier.

Total has become the third major European oil company to suspend production in Libya.

Spanish oil firm Repsol and Italy's ENI suspended operations in the North African country earlier this week.

Light Sabers

36 people slain in Somalia conflict

© Press TVAl-Shabab fighters conduct military exercises in northern Mogadishu, Somalia
Heavy clashes between Somali government troops, backed by African Union (AU) forces, and al-Shabab fighters have resulted in the deaths of 36 people in Mogadishu.

Sixteen Somali soldiers lost their lives on Tuesday after fierce fighting broke out between al-Shabab fighters and the transitional government troops in Mogadishu's southern districts of Bermuda and Hawlwadig, a Press TV correspondent reported.

Eight al-Shabab members were also killed when Somali forces shelled the districts close to Bakara Market -- the biggest and busiest market in southern Mogadishu.

Also on Tuesday, 12 civilians were killed and 14 others wounded in the exchange of mortar fire between the two sides.

The Somali government and AU forces have been trying to drive the al-Shabab fighters out of Mogadishu.


Libyan envoy to UN: 'Gaddafi comments signal genocide'

Libyan Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations Ibrahim Dabbashi
The Libyan deputy ambassador to the UN says Libya's ruler Muammar Gaddafi's statements are a signal for his minions to start genocide against Libyan people.

"I have received information today, that after the statement by Col. Gaddafi today, the attack on people has started in the western parts of Libya. I hope the information I get is not accurate, but if it's right, it will be a real genocide," Ibrahim Dabbashi told reporters on Tuesday.

Dabbashi also called on the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Luis Moreno-Ocampo, to investigate what he described as genocide and crimes against humanity committed by Gaddafi during the ongoing unrest in the country.

"And also we are calling on the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to start investigating the genocide, crimes against humanity and crimes of war committed by Gaddafi against his people," the Libyan diplomat added.

Referring to the UN Security Council's Tuesday statement that called on the Libyan government to stop the violence against its people, Dabbashi said he had hoped for a stronger message from the international community.


Libya: 'more than 1,000 dead'

More, than 1,000 people are thought to have died in violence in Libya as government forces continue to crackdown on protesters demanding an end to Col Gaddafi's regime.

Italy's foreign minister, Franco Frattini, said: "We believe that the estimates [of the death toll] of about 1,000 are credible."

The updated death toll came as French President Nicolas Sarkozy called for Europe to suspend all economic ties with Libya following the suppression of opposition protests there and to adopt sanctions against the country.

The UN Human Rights Council will hold a special session on Friday to discuss the crisis in Libya.

Col Gaddafi threatened to unleash mob rule on his country on Tuesday night as he vowed to "cleanse Libya house by house" until he had crushed the insurrection seeking to sweep him from power.

With hundreds dead and violence spreading across the country, including the capital Tripoli, European states scrambled to evacuate thousands of their citizens left stranded by the turmoil.

Che Guevara

Crews of 2 Libyan warships mutiny

Pro-democracy protesters chant slogans against Muammar Gaddafi's regime in Benghazi.
The crews of two Libyan warships have mutinied and are refusing to obey Muammar Gaddafi's orders to attack the eastern port city of Benghazi.

This development comes as more reports are coming in about Libyan troops defecting to the side of the people seeking to overthrow Gaddafi, the longest serving ruler in the Arab world.

However, thousands of soldiers have been deployed to the city of Sabratha where protesters have reportedly clashed with security forces.

Meanwhile, Libyan Interior Minister Abdel Fatah Yunes has resigned from his post in solidarity with the pro-democracy protesters.

The Libyan deputy ambassador to the UN, Ibrahim Dabbashi, has strongly criticized the crackdown, saying he will not support a government that kills its own people, and has asked Gaddafi to resign.