WORLD BULLETIN Hurricane Isaac weakens slightly as it moves slowly inland Hurricane Isaac weakened slightly as it moved slowly inland over southeastern Louisiana, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said. At around 10 am EDT (1400 GMT), the center of hurricane Isaac was located 5 miles east of Houma, Louisiana, and about 50 miles south-southwest of New Orleans, Louisiana, the NHC said. Isaac is moving toward the northwest around 6 miles per hour (9 km/h) and this general motion is expected to continue through tonight. Isaac was packing maximum sustained winds of 75 mph (120 km/h).
Man faces life sentence for killing Brooklyn Jewish boy A man faces life in prison at his sentencing yesterday for the grisly murder of an 8-year old boy who got lost on his first walk home alone from camp in their close-knit Orthodox Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn. Levi Aron, 36, pleaded guilty on August 9 to second-degree murder and kidnapping in the death of Leiby Kletzky. The boy went missing on July 11 last year and his body was found two days later. Prosecutors said they will seek a sentence of between 40 years and life in prison when he is sentenced in Brooklyn state court on Wednesday afternoon. Aron kidnapped Kletzky after he sought the man’s help on the street when he lost his way walking home after religious camp, prosecutors said. Instead, Aron led the boy to his apartment and the child’s disappearance triggered a massive search by the community and police. After seeing missing child flyers plastered throughout the neighborhood, Aron said that he “panicked,” and drugged the boy with prescription medication and suffocated him with a towel, according to court documents.
Police general killed in Baghdad Five security forces members, including two senior officers, have been killed in a series of shootings and bombings in Iraq, officials say. Police Brig-Gen Nadhim Tayeh was driving to work in the capital Baghdad when gunmen fire on his car. Later, an army colonel died in a bombing. In the northern city of Kirkuk, three policemen were killed and six others were wounded by a bomb explosion. On Tuesday, at least six soldiers died in attacks across the country. Four, including another colonel, were killed when gunmen ambushed the officer’s convoy just north of Baghdad. The deaths took to 270 the number of people killed so far in August, including 106 members of the security forces, according to the AFP news agency. Last month more than 240 people were killed in militant attacks.
Thursday, August 30, 2012
National Mirror www.nationalmirroronline.net
Former Indian minister faces death penalty for role in massacre
former Indian state minister was found guilty yesterday of murder in one of the country’s worst religious riots, the highest-profile conviction in a case that casts a shadow over the country 10 years on. Human rights groups say about 2,500 people, mostly Muslims, were hacked, beaten or burned to death in Gujarat state after a suspected Muslim mob burned alive 59 Hindu activists and pilgrims inside a train in February 2002. Prosecutors have demanded the death penalty for lawmaker Maya Kodnani, who was among a group charged with “beating, cutting down, burning alive and causing the deaths of women, men and children”, according to the charge sheet, in an episode of the Gujarat bloodletting known as the Naroda Patiya massacre. Kodnani’s conviction comes as her Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) prepares for elections in the western state of Gujarat. Narendra Modi, leader of the economic powerhouse state, is often touted as a future prime minister. One witness alleged Kodnani, who became a minister in the state government five years after the riots, identified Muslim targets to be attacked and at one
Maya Kodnani (centre), a state assembly lawmaker and former Gujarat state minister being escorted to prison by police after a court hearing in the Western Indian city of Ahmedabad yestersay. PHOTOS: REUTERS
point fired a pistol. The Congress party, in power nationally, signaled the case would likely feature in its Gujarat election campaign, saying Kodnani’s conviction was proof of the BJP’s involvement in the riots. The BJP said the court ruling was proof that the state’s criminal justice system was free from bias. The savagery of the killings still haunts a country that has witnessed many bouts of reli-
gious and ethnic violence since independence from Britain in 1947. Modi, who was chief minister at the time of the riots, has been accused by critics of turning a blind eye to the violence. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal published on Wednesday, Modi responded to the criticism, saying he saw no reason to apologize. “One only has to ask for forgiveness if one is guilty of a crime,” he said. Some senior members of the
right-wing BJP worry, however, that the enduring legacy of the riots could hurt their chances of unseating the Congress party in national elections due in 2014. The anti-Modi camp among the BJP’s allies believes he is too tainted by the Gujarat riots to be a viable candidate for prime minister despite his success in attracting foreign companies like Ford Motor Co to his state and managing a booming economy there that has averaged double-digit growth annually.
citizen who knows of someone who wishes to flee but is hesitant to do so he should encourage him,” he said with a smile. He tried to blame his difficulties in defeating the rebels on what he claimed to be outside forces fueling the rebellion. Over the past few months, the military has increasingly been stretched thin fighting on multiple fronts against rebels seeking to oust Assad’s authoritarian re-
gime. His forces have been unable to quell the rebellion as it spread to the capital Damascus with significant clashes that began in July and to Syria’s largest city, Aleppo, a few weeks later. At the same time, the military is fighting in a string of other cities and towns around the country. The comments were released in an advance excerpt of the interview to be aired by Dunya in full later in the day.
Taken together with his comments to a visiting Iranian official over the weekend, Assad shows willingness for an even more prolonged conflict, even with more than 20,000 estimated dead in more than 17 months of fighting. He told the Iranian official his regime would continue the fight against the rebels “whatever the price.” Rights groups monitoring the violence now report the deaths of 100 to 250 or more Syrians on daily basis, though the figures are impossible to independently verify. The fighting has been intense enough to force hundreds of thousands to flee their homes, seeking refuge elsewhere in the country or in neighboring nations. Assad responded with a hearty laugh when told by the interviewer that rumors about his whereabouts often made the rounds among Syrians. “I am here with you in the studio in Damascus,” he said. Assad has rarely appeared in public since four of his top security officials were assassinated in a July 18 rebel bombing in Damascus.
Syrian president vows to win country’s civil war
yrian President Bashar Assad said in a broadcast yesterday that his regime needs more time to win the civil war, acknowledging that his forces are struggling to contain the rebel challenge. He also addressed the growing stream of defections from the military and the government, but tried to play down the flight by saying it was healthy. “We are fighting a regional and global war, so time is needed to win it,” Assad said in an interview with the pro-regime private TV station Dunya. “We are moving forward. The situation is practically better but it has not been decided yet. That takes time,” he told the station, which is majority owned by Rami Makhlouf, a cousin of Assad and one of Syria’s wealthiest men. He appeared to make light of the significant number of defections, some of them senior military and political officials — including the prime minister — and diplomats. “Defections are a mechanism of self-cleansing of the nation,” said Assad. “If there is a Syrian
A Syrian man searches for belongings through the rubble of his house which was destroyed from a Syrian government forces shelling, in Azaz, on the outskirts of Aleppo, Syria. PHOTOS: AP
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