Headlines for Thursday, January 17, 2013
- Year: 2013
- Length: 5:20 minutes (4.89 MB)
- Format: MP3 Mono 44kHz 128Kbps (CBR)
Algerian military surrounds militant-held gas field
The Algerian military surrounded a BP gas field near the border with Libya today where Al Qaeda-linked militants had taken hostages in a raid. The Islamists took more than 40 people Wednesday - many of them foreign nationals including Americans, but the US will not confirm how many. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland addressed the situation today, saying the US had been in touch with the Algerian Prime Minister. “About our willingness to be helpful. About what might be needed. About our desire to keep lines of communication open.” Nuland would not indicate what kind of assistance had been offered. Reports on the situation are changing constantly, but some international media say hostages and militants have been killed by gunfire from Algerian soldiers and helicopters. The attack was reportedly a response to international intervention in Mali. French President Francois Hollande said today the attack in Algeria is more proof that France’s intervention in Mali is necessary and justified.
Anti-corruption cleric wins talks with Pakistan government
A major sit-in and protest in Pakistan’s capital Islamabad convinced government officials to hold talks with organizers who are demanding the current government be dissolved. Men and women danced in the streets in celebration of the victory, a rare sight in a country where this is widely seen as a sin. FSRN’s Gabe Matthews reports.
Thousands of supporters of cleric Tahir ul Qadri [tahh-REER uhl COD-ree] have been gathered in front of the president’s home in Pakistan since early this week. The protestors demanded free and fair election and the resignation of the government, which they see as corrupt. Thirty-two year old Jamil Shaikh [jah-meel shake] traveled hundreds of miles from a village in Punjab province to participate. He wept as he told FSRN why he was there. “I have written my will in case I die or if anything happens to us. I have two daughters and have been married for three years. I have great love for my wife and children, but I have decided that I would die or leave this place if our demands are not accepted. I do all this because of the future of my children.” From this beginning, this protest has been different from many others. Protest leader ul Qadri is a Canadian national and has allowed music to be played. The leader, who is encamped in a metal and glass bullet-proof container on the street, is pushing Pakistan’s army and judiciary to come forward to support a transition in the government. I’m Anthony Fest reading for Gabe Matthews in Islamabad.
Israel removes tents from Palestinian settlement protest encampment
Israeli security forces have removed a Palestinian protest encampment on a site in the West Bank where Israel announced it would build a settlement. Protesters had set up about 30 large tents at Bab al-Shams late last week. They claim the land is theirs under international law. The Israeli high court cleared the way for the removal. UPI reports the government argued that the encampment could be a magnet for violence. The Palestinian occupants of the camp were evicted over the weekend, but their tents remained as the Supreme Court considered Palestinian ownership claims.
Anonymous hacks Mexican military website
The Mexican government is scrambling today after the hacker group Anonymous launched an attack on the military’s website. Yesterday’s action comes as discussions about internet access and rights have been elevated in the wake of the suicide of internet freedom champion Aaron Swartz. The Mexican site was down for several hours during which Anonymous posted a video criticizing the country’s new president Enrique Peña Nieto. FSRN’s Andalusia Knoll has more from Mexico City.
On January 16th, visitors to the Mexican Secretary of National Defense website found a politically-charged surprise. The hacker group Anonymous had replaced the normal site with a video showing images of police repression of protesters during the presidential inauguration in early December. A distorted voice read the 4th declaration of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation, an indigenous rebel group. “Nuestra lucha es por la justicia, y el mal gobierno se llena de criminales y asesinos. Nuestra lucha es por la paz, y el mal gobierno anuncia guerra y destrucción.” “Our fight is for justice,” it says, and accuses the government of being filled with criminals and assassins. The voice goes on to say they are fighting for peace as the government pushes for war and destruction. Following last year’s presidential elections, which many claimed were fraudulent, Anonymous hacked the page of Mexico’s elections’ office and claimed they found documentation of electoral fraud. Wednesday’s cyber-attack also targeted the National Marines and the Center for Research and National Security. The defense ministry issued a statement saying that its website was “momentarily out of service,” but did not explain why. Anonymous says intends to release information copied from the Defense site shortly. Andalusia Knoll, FSRN, Mexico City.
Tahawwur Rana sentenced for terrorism involvement
And finally, a Chicago court has sentenced Tahawwur Rana to 14 years in prison for providing material support to terrorists. Rana, a Canadian national, was convicted of assisting the Pakistan militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba in a plot to kill a Danish political artist who published a cartoon offensive to many hardline Muslims. That group also went on to plan the 2008 terrorist attack in Mumbai, but a jury cleared Rana of connections with that attack.