A Tale of Two Nations - Norway and India

Noble Cyber-friends, my "Alternative Norwegian King's New Year's Message 2014" is about a Dickensian tale of two nations, Norway and India, the former still mired in a cultural and intellectua

Thursday, 29 January 2015 16:20 Sid Shniad Editorial Dept - Feature Editorials
When I was invited to speak at today's forum, the attacks in Paris against the magazine Charlie Hebdo and the kosher super market had not taken place. In light of the media coverage of what happened in Paris, I feel the need to situate my comments against the backdrop of those events. I hope you will indulge me.
 
Over the past 500 years, rampaging capitalism has expanded ruthlessly across the world, eliminating all impediments to the accumulation of wealth in the hands of those who own and run the system. We are familiar with the attendant results: rising standards of living for a few, accompanied by growing insecurity, impoverishment and degradation of the many.

The contemporary world, run as it is by the forces of capitalism, is characterized by grotesque, ever-increasing levels of inequality and instability.
 
Imperialism and colonialism, which involve the forcible subjugation of the peoples of the global south to the demands of this system, have played an essential part in its growth and sustenance.
  
 
Thursday, 29 January 2015 13:21 GFP Columnist - Trevor Hill
“We meet again, Mulcair, Trudeau, and May” scowled Harper as he stroked his evil kitten. 
 
Think about it, like any James Bond villain, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has gone out of his way to take over Canada, while he sacrifices his henchmen any time bad things happen.   Remember Nigel Wright?  He was Harper’s “Number 1” (the one with the hidden poisoned knife in the shoe).   
 
It must be bloody frightening to be a minister under Harper, because it would mean that you are subjected to jumping to your death on your own accord to save Harper from any scrutiny, while you mutter “It’s been a privilege serving with you sir!”
 
And don’t do anything too stupid.  Also known as a “Duffy”, a “Del Mastro”, or an “Oda”.  You’ll get thrown into the shark/alligator/piranha tank.
 
From day one, those who have been unfortunate enough to cross Harpers’ path the wrong way know his wrath – or at least his dirty looks… while they are forced to walk away from their post.  How many ministers have ruined their political careers lying for Harper over and over and nauseatingly over again on the many news programs and political talk shows?
 
 
Tuesday, 20 January 2015 20:02 Sungur Savran Editorial Dept - Free Press
In politics there is a golden rule: beware agreements that cut across all political currents! The tragedy of Charlie Hebdo has been turned into a farce by the mammoth march in Paris, along with similar ones in cities across France, large and small. It is an insult on human intelligence to tie, in whatever combination, the names of Wolinski, Charb, Cabu and company with people of the ilk of the Camerons, Merkels, Rajoys, Renzis and Junckers of the world!

Here is a march that is dedicated to the freedom of expression. And on the first row of the heads of state and government is, lo and behold, Ahmet Davutoglu, successor in the office of prime minister of Turkey to Tayyip Erdogan, newly elected president of the republic, who, in his twelve years as head of government, has ridden roughshod over the freedom of expression in his country!

Davutoglu also has another distinction, that of having acted, as foreign minister before becoming prime minister, as aide-de-camp to Tayyip Erdogan in the latter's quest of bringing down Beshar Assad of Syria through the good offices of all manner of Islamic fundamentalists. And lately, the Turkish government not only stood aside gleefully watching the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) try to bulldoze Kobanê, one of the newly autonomous cantons of the Kurds of Syria, rubbing its hands in anticipation of the collapse of this newly-won autonomy, but has also been supporting this organization in underhanded fashion, as much evidence shows.

 
Saturday, 17 January 2015 14:33 Human Rights Watch Editorial Dept - Africa
Human rights groups are using satellite imagery to force Nigeria to accept the true scope of Boko Haram’s latest atrocities. - When unconfirmed reports circulated last week about the mass killing of potentially up to 2,000 Nigerians by terrorists from Boko Haram, human rights organizations used a high-tech tool — stunningly vivid imagery from satellites hovering hundreds of miles above the killing zone — to find evidence backing eyewitness reports of entire villages being burned to the ground.

Satellites weren’t only used to document the extent of the destruction and estimate the number of civilians killed in the massacres. In addition, the rights groups have further used the information to rebut any Nigerian government attempts to minimize the scope of the attack and claim that only 150 died. The administration of President Goodluck Jonathan has faced mounting international criticism over its inability to contain or defeat Boko Haram, which has killed thousands as part of a bloody campaign to impose Islamic law in swaths of Nigeria. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has repeatedly warned that Boko Haram could pose a threat to regional stability.

On Thursday, Jonathan, who has remained relatively silent on the recent attacks, made a surprise visit to Maiduguri, in the country’s north, where he visited with troops at a military base.

“What you’re doing is not easy,” he told them. “We’re working day and night, trying to curtail this madness.”

In recent years, human rights groups have increasingly turned to satellites to document atrocities in areas too dangerous or difficult to visit on the ground. Using satellites, Human Rights Watch has documented building demolition in Syria, barrel bombs in Aleppo, and destruction of world heritage sites in various conflict zones.

 
Saturday, 17 January 2015 11:21 GFP Columnist - Basil Venitis
Saudi Arabia plays a double game, as many Saudi princes finance ISIS! - Islam is a lie, Muhammad a criminal, the Koran is poison. This is the new slogan on the flag of Saudi Arabia modified to declare truth and liberation.

We are relieved that the Saudi authorities have postponed blogger Raif Badawi’s second session of 50 lashes on medical grounds but we very concerned about his health and urge the authorities to abandon this barbaric punishment altogether because it could prove fatal.

Sentenced to ten years in prison and 1,000 lashes last November, the young blogger was due to receive the second round of 50 lashes after Friday prayers, but the doctor who examined him decided that he could not endure more flogging for the time being because he has not recovered from the first session a week ago. The second session has therefore been postponed until next Friday.

Saudi Arabia can do longer deny the gravity of this flogging, a barbaric punishment that is contrary to international law. In view of Badawi’s alarming condition after 50 lashes, how can the Saudi authorities envisage inflicting another 950 lashes? It is a death sentence. He would not survive. Saudi Arabia must immediately rescind this sentence to avoid doing something that cannot be undone.

 

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The War on Women: Abortion and Birth Control
A nation’s progress should be measured as much by its advancement of human rights as by its accumulation and equitable distribution of wealth.

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 When Mohammad Ali al-Abid was elected first president of Syria in 1932, his wife, Zahra al-Yusuf, asked if she could attend the official function at the presidential palace.

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 We are gripped by scandal. In Ottawa, Prime Minister Stephen Harper is implicated in a top-level cover up of illegal expense claims by one his own foot soldiers: now-suspended Senator Mike Duffy. 

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