March 31, 2013 |
BEIRUT - Syrian rebels on Friday captured a strategic town near the border with Jordan after a day of fierce clashes that killed at least 38 people, activists said, as opposition fighters expand their presence in the south, considered a gateway to Damascus. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 16 rebels were among the dead in the fighting in and around Dael. The town lies less than 10 miles from the Jordanian border in Daraa province, where the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad's regime began two years ago. The rebel gains have coincided with what regional officials and military experts say is a sharp increase in weapons shipments to opposition fighters by Arab governments in coordination with the United States in the hopes of readying a push into Assad's stronghold in the capital, Damascus.
March 29, 2013 |
BEIRUT - Mortar shells crashed into an outdoor cafe at Damascus University on Thursday, killing at least 10 students in the deadliest of a rising number of mortar attacks in the heart of the Syrian capital. The strikes have escalated as rebels fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad try to enter the city, terrifying civilians whose support the opposition needs to advance its cause. It was unclear who fired the rounds. The government blamed "terrorists," its blanket term for those fighting Assad's regime.
March 17, 2013 |
Gossip professionals are under attack this week, targeted by celebs who slam us for distorting the truth. Miley Cyrus is mad over rumors she's split up with sweetheart Liam Hemsworth because she's been seen without her engagement ring. She says the bauble is out for repairs. Her pal Evan Rachel Wood tweets her support: "The fact that we live in a world which condones the stripping of basic human rights . . . of people because of their status, is very sad to me. " Yep, I've always dreamt of trampling on Wood's human rights!
March 8, 2013 |
Mary Robinson doesn't mind the tough stuff. As the United Nations chief advocate for human rights, she traveled the world in a hot-spot hopscotch - Rwanda, Chechnya, Dagestan, East Timor, the West Bank - for hard discussions with people who didn't necessarily want her around. No matter. "I've never found it difficult to stand up to bullies," says the former president of Ireland (1990-1997) and U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights (1997-2002). It's a matter-of-fact statement, not a boast.
March 3, 2013 |
BEIJING - In an unusual action that quickly sparked debate online, Chinese authorities showed a live broadcast Friday of four foreign drug smugglers in their last hours before execution for killing 13 fishermen. A shocking and apparently unprecedented form of reality TV for China, the program on state-run television featured all the staples of modern current events coverage - experts, pundits, instant analysis. It cut away as the convicted men were being led from their cells, hands tied up with rope, toward their lethal injections.
February 3, 2013
Xu Liangying, 92, a renowned Chinese rights advocate, physicist, and translator of Albert Einstein's writings, died Jan. 28, in Beijing's university district, where he lived for many years. No cause of death was given. Mr. Xu began translating Einstein in 1962 after being forced to leave his job as editor of a leading science journal for criticizing the policies of the Communist Party led by Mao Tse-tung. He was the main translator of the three volumes of The Collected Works of Einstein in Chinese and initiated or wrote numerous letters and petitions defending human rights.
January 30, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Blind dissident Chen Guangcheng on Tuesday urged China's people to end the communist-governed nation's "leadership of thieves" and for Washington not to "give an inch" on human rights in its relations with Beijing. Chen made the comments as he received an award from the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice in a ceremony attended by several U.S. lawmakers on Capitol Hill. The foundation is named for late U.S. Congressman Tom Lantos, a prominent rights advocate. Chen's speech was a stinging rebuke to authorities in China, where he had faced years of persecution for his legal activism against forced abortions and for citizens' rights.
January 30, 2013
Venezuela's jail conditions cited CARACAS, Venezuela - Venezuela's government is facing mounting criticism from activists and the U.N. human-rights office for its handling of the country's overcrowded and violent prisons following a clash between inmates and troops that left at least 58 dead. Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, expressed concern Tuesday about "an alarming pattern of violence in Venezuelan prisons, which is a direct consequence of poor conditions.
January 29, 2013 |
MOSCOW - Russia is preparing to put lawyer Sergei Magnitsky on trial, even though he died in 2009, an unusual twist in a case that has become a byword for Russian corruption and severely strained U.S. relations with Moscow. Russia's top court ruled in August 2011 that posthumous trials were allowed, with the intention of letting relatives clear their loved ones' names. In Magnitsky's case, family members say they don't want another trial, yet prosecutors refiled charges anyway. The move has outraged human-rights groups who see the whistleblower's situation as indicative of the rampant judicial abuse, skyrocketing graft, and blurred boundaries between the state and organized crime that have plagued Russia under President Vladimir Putin.
January 26, 2013
No to Brennan President Obama should withdraw the nomination of John Brennan to be director of the Central Intelligence Agency ("Cabinet nominations," Tuesday). Brennan is currently working with Obama on the "kill list" used in directing drone attacks in the Middle East, which is a despicable activity. Drones are probably responsible for killing more innocent civilians than "bad guys" who are targeted because they are suspected terrorists. Even worse, Brennan was involved with the Terrorist Threat Interrogation Center during the Bush administration.