THE NATION ON SUNDAY, DECEMBER 30, 2012
Egypt president warns against new unrest
GYPT's Islamist president has warned against any unrest that could harm the drive to repair the country's economy in a sharply worded speech pushing the opposition to work with his government. Mohammed Morsi has made the comments in his first speech to the newly convened upper house of parliament, saying it was time for the nation to turn to "production, work, seriousness" after two years of turmoil. The past month saw a surge in unrest when the opposition launched a wave of protests against a new constitution, and Islamist supporters of the president held counter-rallies. He said all sides must "realize the needs of the moment" and work only through "mature democracy while avoiding violence." He said violence from any faction was "totally rejected."
Attackers in India rape case to face murder charge I NDIAN police charged six men with murder yesterday, adding to accusations that they beat and gang-raped a woman on a New Delhi bus nearly two weeks ago in a case that shocked the country. The murder charges were laid after the woman died earlier yesterday in a Singapore hospital where she has been flown for treatment. New Delhi police spokesman Rajan Bhagat said the six face the death penalty if convicted, in case that has triggered protests across India for greater protection for women from sexual violence, and raised questions about lax attitudes by police toward sexual crimes. The tragedy has forced India to confront the reality that sexually assaulted women are often blamed for the crime, forcing them to keep quiet and discouraging them from reporting it to authorities for fear of exposing their families to
ridicule. Police often refuse to accept complaints from those who are courageous enough to report the rapes, and the rare prosecutions that reach courts drag on for years. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said he was aware of the emotions the attack has stirred, adding it was up to all Indians to ensure that the young woman's death will not have been in vain. The victim "passed away peacefully" early Saturday at Mount Elizabeth hospital in Singapore with her family and officials of the Indian Embassy by her side, Dr. Kevin Loh, the chief executive of the hospital, said in a statement. After 10 days at a hospital in New Delhi, the Indian capital, the woman was brought Thursday to
Mount Elizabeth, which specializes in multi-organ transplants. Loh said the woman had been in extremely critical condition since Thursday, and by late Friday her condition had taken a turn for the worse, with her vital signs deteriorating. "Despite all efforts by a team of eight specialists in Mount Elizabeth hospital to keep her stable, her condition continued to deteriorate over these two days," Loh said. The woman and a male friend, who have not been identified, were on a bus in New Delhi after watching a film on the evening of Dec. 16 when they were attacked by six men who raped her. The men beat the couple and inserted an iron rod into the woman's body, resulting in severe organ damage.
Gunmen in Yemen kill intelligence officer
WO gunmen on a motorbike shot and killed an intelligence officer in southeastern Yemen yesterday, security officials said. The officials said that the officer, Mutea Baqutian, was on his way to work in Mukalla, capital of Hadramawt province, when the gunmen stopped his car and gunned him down, then fled. The government has blamed al-Qaida militants for similar assassinations of several senior military and intelligence officials this year. The bulletriddled body of Major alNumeiry Abdo al-Oudi, deputy director of the security department of al-Qitten in Hadramawt, was found in the town's suburbs last week. He had been kidnapped earlier in the month. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity according to regulations.
Central African Republic rebels take another city
government official says that rebels have seized Sibut, 185 kilometers (114 miles) from Bangui, the capital. Minister of Territorial Administration Josie Binoua said the rebels took Sibut yesterday morning. Chadian army forces were based alongside the CAR army in Sibut but the city was taken without a fight because all the defense forces pulled back to Damara, 75 kilometers (46 miles) from Bangui on Friday. The telephone lines to Sibut have been cut, making it difficult to check the situation with local residents. The news of the rebels taking Sibut comes as regional African countries have agreed to send more forces to support the government of President Francois Bozize. Talks between the rebels and the Bozize government are planned to start next week in Gabon.
â€˘Indian protestors hold candles during a rally in New Delhi yesterday, after the death of a gang rape student from the Indian capital. AFP PHOTO/RAVEENDRAN
Cough syrup suspected in 33 deaths any of the deaths, said Shaheen. AKISTANI authorities are The blast that ripped through allegations in Pakistan the bus in Karachi yesterday set Pinvestigating that cough syrup has killed 33 people over the past three days; a government official said yesterday, the second time in recent months medicine is suspected of causing multiple deaths. Also yesterday, an explosion ripped through a passenger bus while it was at a terminal in the southern city of Karachi, killing six people and wounding 52 others, police and hospital officials said. It's unclear if the blast was caused by a bomb or a gas canister exploding. The deaths from the cough syrup occurred in the eastern city of Gujranwala and nearby villages, said local official Abdul Jabbar Shaheen. Another 54 people thought to have consumed the syrup are also being treated at city hospitals. Officials believe the victims drank the syrup to get high, he added. Tests show the victims' stomachs contained dextromethorphan, a synthetic morphine derivative used in
cough syrup that can have mindaltering effects if consumed in large quantities, said Shaheen. Investigators are trying to determine if the victims drank too much syrup, or whether there was a problem with the medicine itself, he said. Twenty-three people died in the nearby city of Lahore in November after drinking bad cough syrup sold under the brand name Tyno. They were also described at the time as people who consumed the drug to get high. Shaheen said the cough syrup involved in the incidents in and around Gujranwala was not sold under a single brand. He said some people in the city make cough syrup to sell specifically to drug addicts, and officials are trying to arrest them. Officials temporarily closed one Lahore-based pharmaceutical company whose cough syrup was found in the possession of some affected in Gujranwala. They are investigating whether it caused
the vehicle on fire and reduced it to little more than a charred skeleton. Police were trying to determine whether the explosion was caused by a bomb or a gas canister, said police spokesman Imran Shaukat. Many buses in Pakistan run on natural gas. The explosion killed six people and wounded 52 others, some of whom were in critical condition, said Seemi Jamali, a doctor at the hospital in Karachi where they were being treated. Karachi has a long history of political, ethnic and sectarian violence. It is also believed to be home to many Taliban militants who have fled U.S. drone attacks and Pakistani army operations in the country's northwest.. Also yesterday, gunmen opened fire on a vehicle carrying police officers in the southwestern city of Quetta, killing three of them, senior police officer Hamid Shakil said. No one claimed responsibility but authorities have blamed local insurgents for such previous attacks.
Both were then stripped and thrown off the bus, according to police. As news of the victim's death reached New Delhi, hundreds of policemen sealed off the highsecurity India Gate area, where the seat of India's government is located, in anticipation of more protests. The area is home to the president's palace, the prime minister's office and key defense, external affairs and home ministries, and has been the scene of battles between protesters and police for days after the attack. Police were allowing people to assemble at the Jantar Mantar and Ramlila grounds, the main areas allotted for protests in New Delhi, Bhagat said. Mourners gathered at Jantar Mantar to express their grief and demand stronger protection for women and the death penalty for rape, which is now punishable by a maximum of life imprisonment. Women face daily harassment across India, ranging from catcalls on the streets, groping and touching in public transport to rape. They put a wreath studded with white flowers on the road, lit a candle and sat around it in a silent tribute to the young woman. Members of a theatre group nearby played small tambourine and sang songs urging the society to wake up and end discrimination against women. Dipali, a working woman who uses one name, said the rape victim deserved justice. "I hope it never happens again to any girl," she said. Dozens of students of Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi marched silently to the bus stop from where the rape victim and her friend had boarded the bus on Dec. 16. They carried placards reading "She is not with us but her story must awaken us." Sonia Gandhi, the governing Congress party chief, assured the protesters in a statement that the rape victim's death "deepens our determination to battle the pervasive, the shameful social attitudes and mindset that allow men to rape and molest women and girls with such an impunity." The protesters heckled Sheila Dikshit, the top elected leader of New Delhi state, when she came to express her sympathy with them and forced her to leave the protest venue. They blamed her for the deteriorating law and order situation in the Indian capital. Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director of Human Rights Watch, said the woman's death was a sobering reminder of the widespread sexual violence in India. "The outrage now should lead to law reform that criminalizes all forms of sexual assault, strengthens mechanisms for implementation and accountability, so that the victims are not blamed and humiliated," Ganguly said. Prime Minister Singh said he understood the angry reaction to the attack and that he hoped all Indians would work together to make appropriate changes. "These are perfectly understandable reactions from a young India and an India that genuinely desires change," Singh said in a statement Saturday. "It would be a true homage to her memory if we are able to channel these emotions and energies into a constructive course of action." Mamta Sharma, head of the state-run National Commission for Women, said the "time has come for strict laws" to stop violence against women. "The society has to change its mindset to end crimes against women," she said. Indian attitudes toward rape are so entrenched that even politicians and opinion makers have often suggested that women should not go out at night or wear clothes that might be seen provocative.
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The Nation December 30, 2012