Archive for January 31st, 2013

31/01/2013

Israel Must Remove all Jewish Settlers from Occupied West Bank – UN Inquiry

Human Wrongs Watch

By Russia Today (RT*),  31 January, 2013 – A UN human rights inquiry has called on Israel to remove all Jewish settlers from the West Bank and cease expansion. The report said the settlements violate international law, and are an attempt to drive out Palestinians through intimidation.

**Betar Illit, one of the four biggest settlements in the West Bank | Photo: Yoninah | Wikimedia Commons

**Betar Illit, one of the four biggest settlements in the West Bank | Photo: Yoninah | Wikimedia Commons

­“Israel must, in compliance with article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, cease all settlement activities without preconditions,” the report read, adding that Israel must immediately begin to withdraw all settlers from the occupied Palestinian territories (OPT).

The inquiry prompted a strong reaction from Israel who slammed the report as biased.

“The Human Rights Council has sadly distinguished itself by its systematically one-sided and biased approach towards Israel. This latest report is yet another unfortunate reminder of that,” said spokesman Yigal Palmor in a statement.

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31/01/2013

Closing Tax Loopholes Could help End Global Hunger

By Oxfam International*, January 2013 — Oxfam revealed* that just over a quarter of the taxes that could be raised each year from money currently hidden away in tax havens would be enough to lay the foundation for ending global hunger.

Tax-dodging effectively takes food from hungry mouths. | Oxfam International

Tax-dodging effectively takes food from hungry mouths. | Oxfam International

The international agency is calling on global leaders to start closing the loop-holes that enable legal tax dodging. It is estimated that there is $32 trillion in tax havens globally, which could raise $189 billion annually if it were taxable (1).

Just $50.2 billion a year is estimated to be the level of additional investment needed, combined with other policy measures, to end global hunger (2).

The call comes as Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, UK Prime Minister David Cameron, and Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono co-chair a two-day High Level Panel meeting [31 January] in Liberia.

Just over $1 billion in illicit finance flowed from Liberia every year over the last decade. This is twice the average amount it received in aid and equivalent to two thirds of Liberia’s GDP in 2011 (3).

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31/01/2013

Algeria: The Real Roots of ‘al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb’

‘AQIM exists not because of the Arab Spring but Algeria’s military coup two decades ago and serious state-building failures in Algeria and northern Mali’.

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika pacified most of the Salafi Group for Preaching and Combat but has not been able to control the breakaway AQIM. Photo by primeministergr. | Source: Think Africa Press

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika pacified most of the Salafi Group for Preaching and Combat but has not been able to control the breakaway AQIM. Photo by primeministergr. | Source: Think Africa Press

By Omar Ashour,  Think Africa Press– Commenting on the recent Algerian hostage crisis on an international news channel, one terrorism ‘expert’ made a remarkable claim: “al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) was founded because of the so-called Arab Spring, after we abandoned our Libyan ally [Colonel Muammar Gaddafi].”

After enduring a few more inaccuracies, I felt compelled to put aside the students’ papers that I was grading.

Let’s start by stating the obvious: AQIM is not a product of the Arab Spring. AQIM exists because of the military coup that ended the ‘Algerian Spring’ two decades ago.

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31/01/2013

UN Decries Use of Live Ammunition against Palestinian Civilians

Human Wrongs Watch

The top United Nations humanitarian official* in the occupied Palestinian territories is “seriously concerned” about increased civilian casualties resulting from the use of live ammunition by Israeli forces.

Israeli soldiers search a Palestinian's car at the Hawera checkpoint outside the town of Nablus in the West Bank. Photo: Kobi Wolf/IRIN

Israeli soldiers search a Palestinian’s car at the Hawera checkpoint outside the town of Nablus in the West Bank. Photo: Kobi Wolf/IRIN

“Using live ammunition against civilians may constitute excessive use of force and any such occurrences should be investigated in a timely, thorough, independent and impartial manner,” UN Humanitarian Coordinator James W. Rawley said on 30 January 2013 in a statement.

He urged “maximum restraint in order to avoid further civilian casualties.”

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