Monthly Archives: November 2009
Security forces in the southern Philippines have arrested 20 people in connection with Monday’s massacre on the island of Mindanao.
The arrests come after police discovered another 11 bodies buried in shallow graves, taking the death toll in what is believed to have been the Philippines’ worst politically-linked killing, to at least 57.
The first funerals of some of the victims are expected to take place on Thursday, although several others have yet to be identified.
Officials have named a local mayor, Andal Ampatuan Jr, as the lead suspect in the massacre and said they expect to take him into custody later on Thursday.
“We are expecting Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr to be turned over peacefully to the authorities anytime today,” Lieutenant-Colonel Romeo Brawner, a military spokesman, told reporters.
‘Willing to co-operate’
Al Jazeera English’s Marga Ortigas, reporting from the town of Buluan close to the massacre site in Maguindanao province, said Ampatuan had told the authorities he would submit himself to investigators to show that he is “willing to co-operate” with the government.
Ampatuan is a member of a powerful local political family, and the son of the provincial governor who himself is a close political ally of the Philippine president, Gloria Arroyo.
Andal Ampatuan Sr had been grooming his son to take over as governor in elections due next year.
Monday’s massacre occurred after about 100 suspected Ampatuan gunmen allegedly abducted a convoy of aides and relatives of a rival politician, Esmael Mangudadatu, as well as a group of accompanying journalists.
The victims were snatched as they were travelling to file election papers nominating Mangudadatu as a candidate for provincial governor in next year’s poll.
According to investigators, the victims were shot at close range, some with their hands tied behind their backs, and dumped or buried in shallow graves on a remote hillside.
Mangudadatu, the gubernatorial candidate, was not himself in the convoy because he had received death threats and said he thought the women he sent in his stead would be safe.
|”On Tuesday, he pressed government officials to immediately arrest and prosecute those behind the killings.”|
Mangudadatu said four witnesses in his protection had told him the convoy was stopped by armed men loyal to Ampatuan Jr, to prevent his family from filing election papers.
“It was really planned because they had already dug a huge hole [for
the bodies],” he said, adding that there were reports from the area that the militia had been blocking the road for a few days.
Among those killed were at least 20 journalists accompanying the convoy, in what media monitoring groups have labelled as the worst ever single attack on journalists.
The massacre has put intense pressure on the Arroyo government to take decisive action against the Ampatuan clan.
She has vowed an all-out effort to bring those responsible for the killings to justice, saying that no one would be seen to be above the law.
In the wake of the massacre the president declared a state of emergency in Maguindanao and a neighbouring province, ordering hundreds of extra troops to the area.
*The US Secret Service is investigating reports that a couple gatecrashed Tuesday night’s state dinner at the White House, US media say.*
Tareq and Michaele Salahi were reportedly not invited but later posted photos of themselves on Facebook.
Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan said the pair were screened and the president was never in any danger.
The state dinner honouring Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was the first of the Obama presidency.
The Washington Post described the Salahis as “polo-playing socialites” with Ms Salahi said to be on the cast of the Real Housewives of Washington television programme.
It quoted a publicist for the couple as denying they had gatecrashed, saying that the pair “were honoured to be a part of such a prestigious event”.
Mr Donovan confirmed an investigation was under way, but said there had been no danger.
“Everyone that goes into the White House grounds goes through magnetometers and other levels of screening,” he said.
Mr Donovan said the pair had not been shown out and it is not known whether they had a seat for dinner.
The couple posed for photographs on arrival and headed to the East Room cocktail reception, the Post said.
Mr Singh was received with more pomp and ceremony than any previous foreign visitor to Mr Obama’s White House, with the lavish state dinner hosting 320 – or perhaps 322 – people.
AFP – Ireland on Saturday conceded defeat in its bid to have a controversial World Cup play-off against France replayed.
Irish football chiefs had appealed to football’s world governing body FIFA and to the French Football Federation (FFF) to have the second leg of the play-off replayed because of Thierry Henry’s handball in the build-up to William Gallas goal which sent France to the finals.
Both FIFA and the FFF rejected the appeals and FAI chief executive John Delaney acknowledged in a statement that there was nothing else that could be done.
“We regret that despite our best efforts for a replay, which would have restored the integrity of the game in front of a world-wide audience, our calls appear to have fallen on deaf ears at the French Football Federation.
“Without doubt, the credibility of fair play has been damaged by this incident in front of a worldwide audience.
“Despite our deep disappointment, we thank our players, the wonderful Irish fans and the Irish public at large for their support, as well as the solidarity of the French people.
“We will continue to call on FIFA to take action to ensure that such damaging examples of cheating are not allowed to recur.”
Gallas’s late goal ensured the second leg of the play-off finished 1-1 with France booking their place in next year’s finals 2-1 on aggregate.
But the manner of their qualification provoked an international outcry with even Henry, who has been pilloried as a cheat around the globe, joining calls for a replay as “the fairest solution,” while French and Irish leaders became embroiled in the row at a European Union summit in Brussels.
The incident has strengthened the position of those who argue that referees need more help, either from video technology or extra officials, to get key decisions right in high-stakes matches.
One direct consequence of Henry’s handball could be that matches at the World Cup finals next year are played with two extra officials positioned on goal-lines, a system that is being tried out on an experimental basis in this season’s Europa League.
The First Edition Of The World Today Aired on November 22nd, 2009 Was Dedicated to The Closing of the School of Americas Performance Event in Ft. Benning, Georgia
From Fort Benning,Ga, New York City And in Crete, Greece
Asnycnow Radio Will Provide 2 Hours Worth Of Live Coverage of The live performance Event at Fort Benning, Georgia, USA To Support The Closing of The School of Americas.
Here is How The Coverage Will Be :
- HOUR 1|12PM to 1PM EST: Hour 1 Was Hosted By Vicki Nikoladis Live From Crete, Greece
- HOUR 2 |1PM to 2PM EST: Hour 2 Was Hosted By Andy Salcedo Live From Brooklyn,NY
In Hour 1, Vicki Spoke to Lisa Sullivan, Lisa is the coordinator of the SOA Watch Partnership America Latina, based in Venezuela. She has organized several SOA Watch delegations that met with Latin American human rights organizations, social movement groups and representatives of many Latin American governments,resulting in announcements by five countries that they would withdraw from the SOA. Lisa visited Honduras and met with President Zelaya a few weeks prior to the SOA graduate led military coup and returned to Honduras 10 days after the coup to accompany human rights activists in the streets.