Malala Yousufzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl activist who was shot in the head by the Taliban, has expressed gratitude to the people around the world who have supported her as she recovers from the traumatic attack.
“Thank you so much for the outpouring of love and support,” Malala said in a message read by Anderson Cooper at the CNN Heroes ceremony in Los Angeles. “I thank the people that supported me without distinguishing religion and color.”
Malala has been campaigning for girls’ right to education in a conservative area of Pakistan for years.
In her message, she praised girls in northwestern Pakistan “who are continuing their studies despite threats from militants.”
She is now at a hospital in Britain, where she was transferred to soon after the assassination attempt in northwestern Pakistan in October. Examinations there revealed that she had suffered no major neurological damage, but she still faces a long struggle to recover from her injuries.
Malala is reading books and walking in the hospital in the city of Birmingham, according to her father, Ziauddin Yousufzai.
Her story generated a huge amount sympathy and support in Pakistan and across the globe.
The Pakistani Taliban have threatened to go after her again, but Malala appears to be undeterred from her campaigning.
Five European nations criticized Israel’s decision to build thousands of new homes in occupied territory, summoning Israeli ambassadors for discussions on the matter.
The British Foreign Office called Israel’s move “deplorable” and said it threatens a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The foreign ministries of France, Spain, Denmark issued similar statements asking Israeli officials to reverse their decision. And Sweden’s foreign minister said the Israeli ambassador there had been summoned to a meeting.
The statements were the latest international fallout after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu authorized planning to begin for the new housing units in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, a move widely viewed as retaliatory after the Palestinian Authority won a U.N. bid to be recognized as a “non-member observer state.”
By disregarding its passport, China has sparked a torrent of diplomatic protests. The new passport carries a map that shows China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea and on its border with India.
China did not need to occupy the disputed territories through invasion by the People’s Liberation Army. It did not have to fire a shot to validate its claims based solely on a map, making the whole affair a paper coup.
According to Bloomberg, three separate pages in the passport include China’s “nine-dash line” map of the South China Sea (parts of which are known in the Philippines as West Philippine Sea), first published in 1947. The dash lines extend hundreds of kilometers south from China’s Hainan Island to the equatorial waters off the coast of Borneo, Vietnam and the Philippines.
The map includes the Spratly island chain, the subject of overlapping claims by China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia and the Philippines, according to the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency website.
The Guardian newspaper in the United Kingdom reported that the Philippines, Vietnam, India and Taiwan had vehemently protested against the new passport, “which essentially forces neighboring countries to validate China’s position on contested regions.”
In a major assertion of maritime power, Navy chief Admiral DK Joshi said that the Indian Navy was prepared to defend Indian assets in the South China Sea .
“Not that we expect to be in those waters very frequently, but when the requirement is there for situations where the country’s interests are involved, for example ONGC Videsh, we will be required to go there and we are prepared for that,” he told media in the capital on the eve of Navy Day.
He said the navy was holding exercises for such contingencies: “Are we holding exercises for that nature? The short answer is yes,” Admiral Joshi said. ONGC Videsh (OVL) had acquired three oil blocks in the South China Sea off Vietnam in 2011. Oil had started flowing from one of these blocks, Admiral Joshi said.
The Indian navy has so far restricted its sphere of influence to the Indian Ocean region from the Gulf of Aden to the Malacca Straits. The navy chief’s statement could mark a shift in that policy particularly with an assertive China.
Japan will position surface-to-air Patriot missiles on three southern islands to prepare to shoot down a North Korean long-range missile this month if it threatens Japanese territory.
Defense Minister Satoshi Morimoto on Dec. 2 decided on the deployment of Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missile batteries on Okinawa’s main island and on Miyakojima and Ishigakijima, all of which are under the North Korean missile’s likely flight path.
Additionally, Aegis ships, carrying SM-3 interceptor missiles, will deploy to the East China Sea and to the Sea of Japan. Ground Self-Defense Force personnel will be sent to Yonagunijima island to help deal with the event that rocket parts fall on land.
North Korea has said it will launch a rocket southward between Dec. 10 and 22. It informed Washington on Dec. 1 that it would do so before Dec. 17, the first anniversary of the death of former leader Kim Jong Il, a Japanese government official said.
Among the many notable features of the latest grainy sex tape circulating on the Chinese Internet — a video of former Chongqing official Lei Zhengfu atop his then-18-year-old mistress in 2007 — perhaps the most intriguing is the angle from which it was shot. Someone placed a rudimentary video camera, or perhaps a camera phone, on a low dresser adjacent to a hotel bed and pointed it upwards. The pale slender woman is barely visible, but Lei’s face, grunting in the throes of pleasure, is in full view.
As the amateur porn made waves online after it surfaced on Nov. 20, Chongqing’s Commission for Discipline Inspection, the organ responsible for dealing with corruption and wrongdoing among party members, determined that the man in the video was indeed Lei. (He initially denied it, claiming Photoshop mischief.) Removed him from his post as district party secretary on Nov. 23, Lei is now being investigated for party discipline infractions and graft, in the second-raciest scandal to erupt in Chongqing this year, after the March fall of the municipality’s former party boss Bo Xilai.
Conjugal entanglements of power, politics, money, and men, usually involving multiple sex partners, are hardly new in China, but how this video came to light was novel: Zhu Ruifeng, a 31-year-old former investigative journalist at the respected Guangzhou province newspaper Southern Metropolis Daily, who now runs an anti-corruption website called “People’s Supervision” in Beijing, posted the footage online in mid November. He represents a new trend: watchdogs who both understand that the Communist Party has a severe mistress problem, and realize that the problem can be used as weapon in the fight against corruption.
All my life I’ve been a Europhile. My dad worked for a Belgian company. I was a high school exchange student to Switzerland in 1958. My first posting as a Foreign Service officer was as vice consul to Rotterdam. I lived in Brussels for five years in the 1970s as head of Scott Paper Company’s European marketing operations. I take my family to Europe frequently and maintain a wide range of work and other activities there.
Through all the vicissitudes of mid-night negotiations, I admired the dedication and vision of the negotiators who were building the European Union. I believed in the vision of a united Europe and welcomed the advent of the Euro as a major step along the way. When the recent crisis first broke three years ago, I welcomed it, thinking that surely it would be a catalyst for Europe to move to full financial integration and to greater political integration on the way toward realizing the vision of a truly united Europe.
I was wrong, and I have come to realize that my dream of a united Europe a la the United States, is not the European dream. Indeed, with great disappointment I have at last concluded that there is no European dream because a las those whom we on the outside call Europeans are not and don’t want to be Europeans.
I spent part of last weekend with a group of leading intellectuals from various European countries. The Germans were firm in their conviction that the primary cause of the EU crisis is the laziness, profligacy, free rider attitude, and mendacity of the so called Peripheral Countries ( Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, and even maybe France), especially Greece, Portugal, and Spain. They emphasized that Germans believe in paying their way, in spending prudently, saving, investing, producing, and maintaining sound money and strong currencies. They attributed Germany’s economic success of the past decade wholly to the dedicated pursuit of these virtues. Conversely the problems of the others were blamed largely on their failure adequately to observe the German virtues. Did they realize that Spain’s government budget deficit and debt as a percent of GDP had been less than Germany’s? Yes, in some cerebral way in their heads they did, but not in their gut. Did they realize that the German banks had been major lenders to and facilitators of the peripheral real estate bubbles whose collapse precipitated the crisis? Again, yes, but only in a kind of theoretical way. There was clearly no conviction that that was a primary cause of the problem or that keeping the German banks whole might have been an on-going drag on the recovery of the peripheral countries. Was there any understanding that for Germany the Euro is actually undervalued (compared to what a free standing Deutsch Mark would be valued at) and that much of Germany’s export success is due to that? Absolutely not. No, Germany’s success was seen as entirely due to hard work and financial virtue.
The very same day we had this view from the top of the cliff insted of out on the rocks.
I know this may read like a tin-foil hat X-Files alert and I usually don’t buy conspiracies if not for the fact it is by investigative reporter Robert Parry who broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s…..
Ready for a creepy crawly trip that may or may not be what is?
Arson Seen in Attack on Ex-Israeli Spy
December 3, 2012
Exclusive: Suspected arson destroyed the Montreal home of ex-Israeli intelligence officer Ari Ben-Menashe, who says he escaped through a rear door. It’s unclear if the fire was an assassination attempt to finally silence a man who has angered the Israeli government, powerful Republicans and others, writes Robert Parry.
By Robert Parry
Ex-Israeli intelligence officer Ari Ben-Menashe says he narrowly survived a possible assassination attempt Sunday night when his upscale home in Montreal was set ablaze in what Canadian authorities are describing as suspected arson. Police cited how quickly the house was ravaged and noted that a suspicious person was seen fleeing the scene shortly after the fire began.
Ben-Menashe said he believed the fire was set with ‘a Molotov cocktail’ but he had no clear idea who might have tried to kill him. He did acknowledge that he has a number of enemies around the world resulting from his past as an Israeli intelligence officer and his more recent work as an international consultant often working in global hotspots.
Among Ben-Menashe’s enemies are some of his former Israeli superiors who consider him a traitor for exposing senstive Israeli secrets and powerful Republicans, including former President George H.W. Bush whom Ben-Menashe fingered as involved in national security scandals in the 1980s.
Ben-Menashe, who served in Israeli military intelligence in the 1970s and 1980s, was arrested in the United States in 1989 for his involvement in military sales to Iran. He says the Israeli government then urged him to plead guilty to the U.S. charges, but he refused and began disclosing Israeli secrets to journalists, including me in early 1990 when I was a correspondent for Newsweek magazine.
At first, the Israeli government denounced Ben-Menashe as an ‘impostor’ but after I obtained official Israeli letters of reference describing his decade-long work within the External Relations Department of the Israel Defence Forces, Israeli officials changed their story. They labeled him simply ‘a low-level translator.’ But the letters described Ben-Menashe’s service in ‘key positions’ and said he handled ‘complex and sensitive assignments.’
Despite the evidence that Israeli officials had first lied and then retreated to a new cover story, the Bush administration and the Israeli government managed to galvanize friendly journalists who went out of their way to discredit Ben-Menashe as a compulsive liar. [For details about one of the key denouncers of Ben-Menashe, see Consortiumnews.com’s ‘Unmasking October Surprise ‘Debunker”.]
However, Ben-Menashe convinced a New York jury that he indeed had been working on official Israeli business in his transactions with Iran. He was acquitted in fall 1990. Ben-Menashe also continued to give interviews and provide testimony about the secret dealings involving Republicans and the Israeli government.
October Surprise Allegations
Perhaps Ben-Menashe’s most controversial claim was that he and other Israeli intelligence officers assisted the Republicans in brokering a deal with Iran’s Islamic regime of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1980 to hold 52 American hostages until after the U.S. election to ensure President Jimmy Carter’s defeat. As a result of this so-called October Surprise caper, the hostages were not released until Jan. 20, 1981, immediately after Ronald Reagan was sworn in as U.S. President, Ben-Menashe said.
After leveling his October Surprise accusations in 1990-1991 – and providing investigative journalist Seymour Hersh information about Israel’s nuclear program for his book The Samson Option – Ben-Menashe was essentially a man on the run from both the Israeli government and the U.S. administration of George H.W. Bush.
“Debtpocalypse” looms. Depending on who wins out in Washington, we’re told, we will either free fall over the fiscal cliff or take a terrifying slide to the pit at the bottom. Grim as these scenarios might seem, there is something confected about the mise-en-scène, like an un-fun Playland. After all, there is no fiscal cliff, or at least there was none — until the two parties built it.
And yet the pit exists. It goes by the name of “austerity.” However, it didn’t just appear in time for the last election season or the lame-duck session of Congress to follow. It was dug more than a generation ago, and has been getting wider and deeper ever since. Millions of people have long made it their home. “Debtpocalypse” is merely the latest installment in a tragic, 40-year-old story of the dispossession of American working people.
Think of it as the archeology of decline, or a tale of two worlds. As a long generation of austerity politics hollowed out the heartland, the quants and traders and financial wizards of Wall Street gobbled up ever more of the nation’s resources. It was another Great Migration — instead of people, though, trillions of dollars were being sucked out of industrial America and turned into “financial instruments” and new, exotic forms of wealth. If blue-collar Americans were the particular victims here, then high finance is what consumed them. Now, it promises to consume the rest of us.
Scenes from the Museum
In the mid-1970s, Hugh Carey, then governor of New York, was already noting the hollowing out of his part of America. New York City, after all, was threatening to go bankrupt. Plenty of other cities and states across what was then known as the “Frost Belt” were in similar shape. Yankeedom, in Carey’s words, was turning into “a great national museum” where tourists could visit “the great railroad stations where the trains used to run.”
As it happened, the tourists weren’t interested.