venerdì 31 ottobre 2014
«Ho ucciso mia madre e mia sorella per salvarle dall’orrore dell’Isis» - «Tu sai cosa faranno di me e di tua sorella... non dare a loro questa possibilità, uccidici tu», avrebbe detto la madre al figlio. Che, dopo aver compiuto il gesto disperato, si è tolto la vita
Vogliono bloccare lo Stadio della Roma. - Un emendamento al decreto Sblocca Italia, voluto dai parlamentari romani del Pd Umberto Marroni e Roberto Morassut e approvato in commissione ambiente alla Camera potrebbe rivelarsi deleterio per la società di Palotta. Che sarebbe costretta a compensare gli extravalori dell'impianto con un unico versamento finanziario e non più con le opere da costruire
Yemen's Houthis give ultimatum to president - Rebel group says "all options are open" if Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi fails to form new government in next 10 days.
One speaker at the Houthi rally in Sanaa called for the formation of a 'salvation military council' [AFP]
|Houthi rebels controlling Yemen's capital have given the president 10 days to form a government, hinting at the introduction of an alternative administration if their demands are not met.|
The Shia group held a rally attended by about 30,000 tribal leaders in Sanaa on Friday, where they delivered a communique warning President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi that "all options are open" if he failed to form a government.
"Our next meeting will be at the headquarters of the decision making," said Deif Allah Rassam, spokesman of the 'Popular Tribal Alliance."
The formation of an agreed government is part of a UN deal to reach a peaceful settlement to Yemen's political crisis.
Al Jazeera's Omar al-Saleh, reporting from Sanaa, said that the message from the tribal meeting was quite clear.
"It is a very significant development and it only indicates who holds the power in this country," he said."Now the aim of that tribal gathering is very clear. They wanted to send several messages to the political leaders and the regional powers.
"The first, Houthis are not on their own. They have the tribal support," he said, adding that in Yemen tribal affiliations are very important to be able to rule.
"Second, they could be trying to pressure the prime minister-deisgnate and the president to form a new unity government."
Al-Saleh said that official reaction to the ultimatum had not been made public, despite rumours circulating the day before that the tribal gathering would takle place on Friday.
"We spoke to a presidential source ... he said, 'Look if the Houthis declare intentions to form an alternative body ... then this is a coup on the state'," our correspondent said.
Al-Saleh said that it is expected the presidency will reject the ultimatum and stated that a top UN diplomat told Al Jazeera that the move will be seen as a manoeuvre to exert pressure on the political parties concerned.
"To sum it all up this will only escalate the crisis and I think it will put more pressure on everyone to really try and form a unity government to end the crisis," he said.
"Even if that new government is formed there are no guarantees that the Houthis will really give up the military gains or even the political gains."
Burkina Faso: Ghost of 'Africa's Che Guevara' - In the weeks before violent protests, some Burkinabes' thoughts turned to slain leader Thomas Sankara for inspiration.
At the time of his murder Sankara was just 37 and had ruled for four years [La Vie de Sankara in Ouagadougou]
|Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso - In the early hours of a night in 1987, one of Africa’s youngest leaders, Thomas Sankara, was murdered and quietly and quickly buried in a shallow grave.|
Now, the man widely believed to be behind it, Burkina Faso's president, has watched as his parliament was set ablaze by furious protesters who want him gone.
Many of the protesters say the history of the slain 1980s leader partly inspired them to rise against Blaise Compaore, who has been in power for 27 years and was trying, by a vote in parliament, for another five.
Though some see Sankara as an autocrat who came to office by the power of the gun, and who ignored basic human rights in pursuit of his ideals, in recent years he has been cited as a revolutionary inspiration not only in Burkina Faso but in other countries across Africa.
In the weeks before the current chaos, Al Jazeera spoke to people in the capital, Ouagadougou, and found many who predicted that Sankara’s memory, and Compaore's attempt to seek another five-year term, may soon spark an uprising.
At the time of his assassination Sankara was just 37 and had ruled for only four years.
But his policies, and his vision, are still cherished both by some locals who were around when he was in power and, significantly, by many young people who were born since his death.
His killing was the the fifth coup since the nation won independence from France and the main beneficiary was Compaore, who quickly took his place.
Until that night, the two had often been referred to as best friends.
Although there is less poverty now than back then, a growing number of Burkinabés had, in recent years, started to feel that Sankara's nationalisation policies may have made the perpetually arid nation a more prosperous and self-reliant place than it is today.
"Sankara wanted a thriving Burkina Faso, relying on local human and natural resources as opposed to foreign aid," retired professor of economics, Noel Nébié, told Al Jazeera.
"And starting with agriculture, which represents more than 32 per cent of the country's GDP and employs 80 percent of the working population, he smashed the economic elite who controlled most of the arable land and granted access to subsistence farmers. That improved production making the country almost self-sufficient."
Naming a nation
Initially known as the Republic of Upper Volta, after the river, in 1984 Sankara changed the country's name to Burkina Faso, meaning Land of the Upright People, and he soon made that name the symbol of his nationalisation crusade.
"When you wake up in the morning and you remember you are a Burkinabe, you automatically recall the person who thought up that local name and stamped it on us," Ishmael Kaboré, a 47-year-old lawyer in Ouagadougou, told Al Jazeera.
"At first, people felt the name Burkina Faso was odd, awkward and far from the modern and foreign names other countries were bearing in Africa.
"But they realised after his death that Sankara wanted to give us a unique and special identity that tells our history and depicts our character."
Sankara was a determined pan-Africanist, whose foreign policies were largely centred on anti-imperialism. His government spurned foreign aid and tried to stamp out the influence of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in the country by adopting debt reduction policies and nationalising all land and mineral wealth.
Self-sufficiency and land reform policies were designed to fight famine, a nationwide literacy campaign was launched, and families were ordered to have their children vaccinated.
"Some families used to keep their children in hiding on the arrival of vaccinators for religious or ritual reasons, and that practice was sabotaging our efforts," Fatoumata Koulibaly, assistant campaign director at the country's health ministry under Sankara, told Al Jazeera.
"But when Sankara came he took a strong stand against it, which helped in the vaccination of close to three million children against meningitis, yellow fever and measles, etc."
Vaccination has been common practice in Burkina Faso since then, she said.
Anger bubbles up
Sankara was often referred to as "Africa's Che Guevara" because he regularly quoted, and said he drew inspiration from, the world famous revolutionary leader. Sankara was also a good friend of former Ghanaian president, and fellow revolutionary, Jerry Rawlings.
Even for his most ardent of supporters it is impossible to know whether, if Sankara had not been killed, life would have been better, and some argue that it would not have.
But many people spoken to by Al Jazeera believed things would be better today if he was still alive, and that sentiment is partly responsible for Thursday's events.
"Young people who were not alive during Sankara’s administration are beginning to look back more at that period because something is wrong in the country today," 23-year-old University of Ouagadougou student, Ibrahim Sanogo, said.
"Sankara was not just fighting imperialism for the sake of politics but he wanted the Burkinabe people to develop themselves and their land and rely essentially on themselves instead of the West.
"Today, all the young graduates are dreaming to travel abroad to do odd jobs because of lack of employment opportunities here."
Compaore, though, has had some success. The mining industry has seen a boost in recent years, with the copper, iron and manganese markets all improving. Gold production shot up by 32 percent in 2011 at six sites, according to figures from the mines ministry, making Burkina Faso the fourth-largest gold producer in Africa.
Growth is running at seven percent. But per capita income stands at just $790, and local people say the standard of living is very poor for most. Corruption and elitism are a problem, they say, with any wealth only in the hands of the few.
"Those World Bank and IMF figures are seen only on paper and not in the pockets of the Burkinabes," Seydou Yabré, an independent rural development expert, told Al Jazeera.
"Only very few people are enjoying the wealth of the country. If you visit homes, or travel to the hinterlands, you will experience an appalling level of poverty."
Perhaps Sankara's anti-corruption campaign and exemplary modest lifestyle could have forced wealth to trickle down if he had been left alive to lead, Yabré thought.
"Sankara was Africa’s most down-to-earth president then. He lived in a small, modest house, rode a bicycle and had $350 in his account at the time of his death," Yabré said.
"He was also contested within his inner circle because he never wanted his army colleagues to embezzle public funds and lead a flamboyant lifestyle."
Burkina Faso’s progress over the past 20 years was largely due to its stability, many observers say, but, as was made clear when a crowd of the country's people converged on the parliament intent on destruction, an anger left to fester can take that away in an instant.
"Sankara had many enemies because he wrested privileges from looters in favour of the poor," Yabré said. "Maybe he did this too radically and within too short a time."
CEO blamed for Bhopal gas disaster dies - Records show Warren Anderson, wanted over gas leak which killed thousands in Indian city in 1984, died in US last month.
Anderson escaped attempts to bring him to trial although other local executives were convicted [File: AP]
|Warren Anderson, the chairman and chief executive of the US company blamed for the 1984 poisonous gas leak that killed thousands of people in the Indian city of Bhopal, died in a nursing home on September 29, according to public records.|
The New York Times reported that his family did not announce his death in the southern US state Florida but that the information had come to light from US public records.
Anderson was a wanted man in India for his role as head of the Union Carbide Corporation, the company whose pesticide plant in Bhopal, in the central state of Madhya Pradesh, experienced a gas leak on the night of December 2 to 3 in 1984.
At least 3,787 people were killed during December according to the state government but unofficial estimates place that number higher than 5,000.
Many more died of long-term illnesses from an incident widely regarded as one of the world's worst industrial accidents.
Shortly after the incident, Anderson visited Bhopal and was arrested, but was released after paying bail.
Anderson escaped attempts to bring him to trial although other local executives were convicted.
Activists like Satinath Sarangi, founder of the Bhopal Group for Information and Action, have campaigned for years for the survivors of the tragedy.
Sarangi said the news of Anderson's death would not bring solace to the victims.
"They feel it is a matter of great shame that this worst corporate criminal in history should have died in shackles, he should have been in bars," he told Al Jazeera from Bhopal.
"The US government has been protecting this corporate criminal for the last 22 years.
"The next generation is also marked by Carbide's poisons. Tens of thousands of children have growth and development disorders."
Migrant rescue: All at Sea? - Italy winds down search and rescue operations as the European Union begins limited maritime border patrols.
|Italy is scaling down its migrant rescue programme as the number of people trying to reach its shores soars.|
Operation Mare Nostrum - or 'Our Sea' in Latin - was launched in November last year after more than 400 migrants died when their boats capsized off Italy's southernmost island, Lampedusa.
Since then, it has been credited with saving tens of thousands of lives.
In 2012, the number of migrants arriving in Italy by sea had dropped to 13,200, with 600 deaths.
Since Operation Mare Nostrum was launched, it has swelled to 139,000, with more than 3,100 losing their lives.
The route many migrants are taking is from North Africa to Italy - escaping wars in Iraq and Syria, poverty and unrest in the Horn of Africa and West Africa, and chaos in Libya and Egypt.
Reporting from Reggio Calabria in southern Italy, Al Jazeera's Claudio Lavanga said: 'Many among those rescued in the past year knew there were warships out there looking for them.
"Now the fear is that if the operation suddenly ends, others who attempt the dangerous crossing across the Mediterranean may be waiting for help that will never come."
The European Union is beginning limited maritime border patrols on Saturday, to monitor migrant movements.
But Britain has said it does not support future search and rescue operations.
In a statement, Foreign Office Minister Joyce Anelay said: 'We understand that by withdrawing this rescue cover we will be leaving innocent children, women and men to drown who we would otherwise have saved.'
She added that but when word got round, "they will think twice about making the journey. And so eventually, over time, more lives will be saved".
So who is taking responsibility for migrants seeking sanctuary from the chaos and carnage in their homeland?
And does providing a safety net encourage others to risk their lives trying to get to Europe?
Presenter: Mike Hanna
Leonard Doyle - Spokesman for the International Organisation for Migration.
Ben Ward - Deputy Director of Human Rights Watch Europe.
Ewa Moncure - Spokeswoman for Frontex, the European Union's border control agency.
Israel unveils maritime version of Iron Dome - Maker says sea version of rocket-blocking system can help protect economic resources at sea like oil and gas platforms.
Israel's army says the 'Iron Dome' system shot down 735 rockets during its summer offensive against Gaza [Reuters]
|The maker of Israel's "Iron Dome" has unveiled a maritime version of the rocket-blocking defence system which it says could be especially useful in protecting national economic resources at sea like oil and gas platforms.|
State-owned defence contractor Rafael wants to leverage the system's much-vaunted success in protecting Israeli civilians in this summer's Gaza war, hoping to draw navies as buyers for the new maritime version
Rafael unveiled the "C-Dome" at this week's Euronaval conference near Paris.
The system which endeavours to help combat vessels counteract any threats from the air, including missiles, helicopters and tiny unmanned drone aircraft, which could increasingly become tools of combat and reconnaissance at sea just as they have on land in recent years.
Large naval vessels generally already have radar-based interception systems to counter incoming threats, but Rafael executives say C-Dome offers innovations.
It can fire up to a missile per second, covering a 360-degree range while piggybacking on a vessel's own radar systems with heat-tracking missiles that zero in on multiple incoming threats at a time.
"C-dome offers something that is not out there [in the market] yet ... A small footprint and the capability to engage multiple targets and saturation threats,' said programme director Ari Sacher.
"And it's based on the only system in the world that has more than 1,000 intercepts.
"We can protect the ship from every direction at the same time. Most systems out there can't do that."
The Iron Dome all but eliminated civilian casualties from Palestinian rocket fire during Israel's summer offensive against Gaza.
The Israeli military says that Iron Dome shot down 735 rockets, for more than an 85 percent success rate of those targeted.
The land-based system quickly recognises the trajectory of incoming rockets and whether they are headed for population centres.
Those are shot down, while others are allowed to fall in empty fields to spare the hefty cost of firing the sophisticated interceptors.
Rafael officials say the Iron Dome intercepted more than 1,200 projectiles during the war.
Erdogan decries coalition's focus on Kobane - Turkish leader says nations fighting ISIL should turn attention to areas other than the Kurdish town in northern Syria.
Erdogan described claims that his government supports ISIL as 'absolutely false and untrue' [AFP]
|Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said he believes that the coalition combating the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is focusing too much on the Syrian town of Kobane near the Turkish border and should turn its attention to other areas.|
"Why Kobane? And why not other towns like Idlib, Hama or Homs, or why not even Deir al-Zor?" Erdogan said in Paris on Friday after talks with President Francois Hollande.
"Why not Iraqi territory, 40 percent of which is occupied? Why aren't we envisaging an intervention in these provinces and why are we envisaging an intervention in Kobane?
ISIL has taken over several villages around Kobane, known as Ain al-Arab in Arabic, and has beseiged the town since mid-September. More than 200,000 people from the area have crossed into Turkey.
"In Kobane at the moment there is almost no one left, there are only 2,000 people. Why constantly attack the town of Kobane? It's difficult to understand that approach," Erdogan said.
"That's why I wondered why the coalition forces haven't wanted to operate in other Syrian territories. Why has there not been another reaction to Daesh [ISIL] in other territories?"
In addition to Kobane, the US-led coalition has launched strikes against ISIL in the province of Raqqa - which the group has taken over in full and where its headquarters are located - and other parts of northern and eastern Syria.
Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have taken part or aided the strikes. More countries - including France and the UK - have joined efforts to fight ISIL in Iraq.
Erdogan also took the opportunity to deny allegations that his government is supporting ISIL as he addressed reporters.
"It has been reported in the international media that Turkey is supporting ISIL This is absolutely false and untrue," he said.
"Turkey is being falsely accused here as we never provided any support to ISIL - nor do we plan on providing any in the future."
Ankara has long been accused of not doing enough to stop the flow of fighters crossing its borders to join ISIL.
ISIL, with thousands of foreign fighters in its rank, has taken over large parts of Syria and neighbouring Iraq and has been accused of grave atrocities against civilians and in battles against security forces.
Israel reopens Al-Aqsa amid intense security - At least 3,000 officers deployed following holy site's rare closure sparked by clashes over killing of Palestinian.
Israeli right-wing activists scuffled with police as they tried to storm the Al-Aqsa compound on Thursday [AP]
|Israel reopened Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque compound for the Muslim Friday prayers, but restricted entry for Muslim men under the age of 50, following a rare closure due to clashes sparked by the killing of a Palestinian by police.|
Small groups of Palestinian worshippers made their way through a series of Israeli checkpoints to the site.
Police spokeswoman Luba Samri said on Friday that younger Muslims were barred from the holy site, which is known by Jews as Temple Mount, because of fears of unrest at the midday prayer.
Additional police were deployed around the Al-Aqsa compound in the heart of the Old City on Friday, with local media reporting the presence of about 3,000 officers, three times more than usual.
"There was a huge security presence and I do want to stress huge" Al Jazeera's Imtiaz Tyab reporting from East Jerusalem said.
"We are talking thousands of Israeli police and riot police were stationed right around this area," said Tyab, who was standing outside the Damascus Gate entrance to the Old City.
Even though no clashes were reported after prayer services ended, Israeli security personnel were seen firing several volleys of tear gas canisters at dozens of rock-throwing Palestinian youths gathered at the Qalandiya checkpoint near the West Bank city of Ramallah. According to Al Jazeera's Tyab, reports said around eight Palestinians were injured.
Clashes erupted when Israeli police on Wednesday night shot dead a Palestinian accused of trying to kill a far-right Jewish rabbi.
The closure was the first for decades and prompted a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to condemn the move as an Israeli "declaration of war".
The clashes subsided late on Thursday with a few sporadic confrontations between stone-throwing Palestinians and police firing rubber bullets and tear gas.
Three Palestinians were arrested, Samri said.
Jerusalem has been shaken by months of unrest sparked by the murder of a Palestinian teenager in July in revenge for the killings of three Jewish teenagers in the West Bank.
Tensions intensified in the city after the Israeli government announced it is advancing construction plans to build about1,000 settler housing units in occupied East Jerusalem, which Palestinians want to be part of their future state.
The Palestinians seek East Jerusalem, home to the city's most sensitive holy sites for Jews, Muslims and Christians, as their future capital and oppose any Israeli construction there.
Israel has said all of Jerusalem will forever be its capital, citing historical, religious and security reasons. But the international community, including the US, does not recognise Israel's annexation of the eastern sector of the contested city.
Iraqi army inches towards Beiji oil refinery - Recent advances north of Baghdad part of offensive to retake country's biggest oil refinery from ISIL fighters.
|Iraqi security forces have advanced further into towns north of Baghdad in a new offensive to retake the country's biggest oil refinery from Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) fighters.|
Battles have been raging for the past two weeks between government troops and ISIL near both the city of Beiji, the command centre for the group, and the Beiji oil refinery, located about 200km from the capital.
The army has this week taken over the towns of al-Hajaj and Toumaa as it inches closer to Beiji.
"Now we’re in sweep mode, and holding the ground in these areas - so far we have gained control over these territories and expelled ISIL fighters from them," Saif Jabber, an army commander, told Al Jazeera.
While ISIL fighters remain in full control of Beiji city, the Iraqi army controls parts of the complex housing the oil refinery.
Al Jazeera’s Imran Khan, reporting from Baghdad, said that while the street-to-street fighting looks chaotic, the army has a plan.
"[The strategy is to] secure the main road, fan out into the nearby towns and villages and then push forward using Special Forces or militias, while the regular Iraqi army follows behind to secure the town," Khan said. "Then, they begin the next offensive."
ISIL fighters seized Beiji and surrounded the sprawling refinery in June during a swift campaign through northern Iraq.
The group also controls a large swathe of territory in neighbouring Syria and has proclaimed a caliphate straddling both countries.
The Beiji plant was producing about 175,000 barrels per day before it was closed, according to Iraqi officials. This amounted to almost a third of Iraq’s domestic daily consumption.
The facility’s closure had severe effects on the northern towns and cities that depended on it for their energy needs.
Virgin Galactic spacecraft in deadly US crash - One pilot dead and one injured as rocket built for space tourists experiences "anomaly" in test flight over California.
SpaceShipTwo was designed to be released from a specially built jet for a suborbital ride [File: EPA]
|Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo rocket, designed for suborbital commercial flights, has crashed in southern California.|
The British company said on its Twitter account that the spacecraft experienced an "in-flight anomaly" during a test flight over the Mojave Desert on Friday.
One of the pilots was killed and the other one was injured, the California Highway Patrol said.
The test flights were being conducted in preparation for journeys for tourists to outer space.
The SpaceShipTwo rocket is typically flown by a crew of two pilots and has been under development at Mojave Air and Space Port in the desert northeast of Los Angeles.
Ken Brown, a photographer who witnessed the crash, said the spacecraft exploded after it was released from a plane that carries it to a high altitude.
The company founded by British billionaire Richard Branson would not say what happened other than it was working with authorities to determine the cause of the "accident".
Virgin Galactic has been the frontrunner in the fledgling space-tourism industry.
SpaceShipTwo was designed to be carried aloft by a specially designed jet and then released before igniting its rocket for a suborbital ride into space and then a return to Earth as a glider.
More than 700 customers have already paid up to $250,000 for a trip on the spacecraft.
Army chief takes power in Burkina Faso - General Honore Traore in charge of West African nation after violent protests force President Blaise Compaore to resign.
|Blaise Compaore, the president of Burkina Faso, has been forced to leave power after days of protests by tens of thousands of people calling for his ousting.|
It appeared that the chief of the country's armed forces took power after the president's resignation.
Compaore announced his resignation in a statement on Friday and called for a 90-day transition to "free and transparent" elections in the West African country.
"I declare a vacancy of power with a view to allowing a transition that should finish with free and transparent elections in a maximum period of 90 days," said the statement, read on local radio and television by presenters.
Crowds danced and cheered in the capital, Ougadougou, blowing on whistles after Compaore's statement was broadcast. The mood cooled, however, as it became plain that military chief General Honore Traore had taken over the reins of power.
"In line with constitutional measures, and given the power vacuum ... I will assume as of today my responsibilities as head of state," Traore said in a statement.
Arsene Evariste Kabore, the former editor-in-chief of Burkina Fasao's state TV, told Al Jazeera that protesters remained in gathered in a square outside the military barracks after Traore's announcement.
"People are not satisfied," he said. "They are waiing for another president."
"The general is linked to Compaore, and they don't want anyone linked to Compaore to lead the country. They say they will not leave the streets."
Kabore and foreign diplomats said the deposed president had left the capital on Friday, travelling towards the southern town of Po, near the border with Ghana.
Compaore had been in power since a 1987 coup against then-President Thomas Sankara, Compaore's longtime friend and political ally, who was shot dead.
"He has donned civilian clothes ever since but really has precided over a soft military regime," Mark Schroeder, an Africa analyst of the geopolitical intelligence firm Stratfor, told Al Jazeera.
He added that Compaore's departure was expected to bring little change, calling his replacement by Traore a "transition of personalities, not of the regime".
Compaore was elected four times after seizing power, though the opposition has disputed the results.
In recent years, he has fashioned himself as an elder statesman who brokered electoral disputes and hostage releases throughout West Africa.
Domestically he kept a tight leash on any opposition.
Protesters stormed the parliament building in Ougadougou on Thursday and set part of it ablaze in a day of violence around the country aimed at stopping a parliamentary vote that would have allowed the president to seek a fifth term in office.
In a concession to the protesters, the government withdrew the bill from consideration.
But the move did not calm protesters, and General Honore Traore, the army's joint chief of staff, later announced that the government and parliament had been dissolved and a new, inclusive government would be named.
At least one person was killed and several others wounded during the unrest, authorities said. Opposition figures said up to 30 people were killed.
Imad Mesdoua, a political analyst speaking to Al Jazeera from London on Friday, said the opposition was demanding civilian rule, but the army was expected to take on a central role in the country's near future.
"There are reports of looting and unrest in other parts of the country, outside of Ouagadougou. The army will continue to play a strong role," he said.
The EU called on Friday for the people of Burkina Faso to have the final say in who rules their country.
"The European Union believes that it is up to the people of Burkina Faso to decide their own future. Any solution must be the result of a broad consensus and respect the constitution," a spokesman for the bloc's diplomatic service said.