Archive for November 2008
A Chinese medical researcher and businessman was executed Friday on charges of spying for Taiwan, his family said.Ran Chen, who has Austrian citizenship, said her father’s execution by gunshot was confirmed at 5 p.m. via the Austrian embassy in Beijing.
“Today, our beloved father, Wo Weihan, was executed,” a statement from Chen and her sister Di Chen said. “His life was taken from him before he or our family could say its last goodbyes.”
(…) Human rights groups and diplomats from the EU, Austria and the United States had appealed to China on Wo’s behalf, contending that he did not receive a fair trial and was given an overly harsh sentence.
(…) Wo was accused of passing data on missile guidance systems and other sensitive information to a group linked to Taiwanese intelligence agencies. Taiwan and mainland China have been divided amid civil war since 1949.
Somali pirates on Friday seized a specialist tanker after a desperate defence by unarmed security guards in what was thought to be the first attack on a ship with its own deterrent on board.
The pirates’ success will raise fresh concerns about the value of using security guards to protect ships in the dangerous sea lanes between Somalia and Yemen, where most of the 40 vessel seizures reported this year have taken place.
The three guards, all ex-Royal Marines, came under a hail of fire from half a dozen pirates using AK-47 rifles and rocket propelled grenades.
They kept the pirates at bay for more than an hour using hoses, evasive action and a sound device that deafens attackers.
But eventually the team were forced to escape by jumping off the bridge roof to be picked up by a French rescue helicopter.
Are we sooo idiot as to send UNARMED security guards to defend a ship from pirates?
It looks we are…
President Dmitry Medvedev was due to hold talks with Fidel Castro tonight to rebuild Russia’s relations with Cuba almost a decade after they ended in acrimony.The Russian leader earlier met and signed deals on nickel mining and oil exploration with Raul Castro, who succeeded his ailing older brother as Cuba’s president in February.
In a display of bonhomie, the two presidents toured Havana’s historical sights arm in arm. “It has been a magnificent visit and now he will see Fidel,” Raul shouted to TV cameras.
The one-night stop in Havana was the final leg of Medvedev’s week-long Latin America tour, a visit intended to open business opportunties for Russian companies and to show that Moscow could operate in the US backyard amid tension over Washington’s involvement in eastern Europe and the Caucasus.
“One must admit, to put it simply, we have never had a serious presence here (in Latin America). These have been just episodes,” Medvedev told reporters.
How enchanting!! “similar souls look alike“. Considering those two have a soul…
One thousand Christians were today trapped inside the Coptic Orthodox Church of the Virgin Mary in West Ain Shams,Cairo, after more than twenty thousand Muslims attacked them with stones and butane gas cylinders. The Church’s priest Father Antonious said that the situation is extremely dangerous.
The Muslim mob that attacked the church blocked both sides of the street and encircled the church building, broke its doors and demolished its entire first floor. The mob were chanting Jihad verses as well as slogans saying “we will demolish the church” and “We sacrifice our blood and souls, we sacrifice ourselves for you, Islam”, while the entrapped Christians chanted “Lord have mercy”.
The incident started on the occasion of the inauguration of the Church today, when the Muslims hastily established a Mosque in the early hours of this morning, by taking over the first floor of a newly-built building facing the Church and started praying there.
You can see videos of the attack in IBA and Nueva Europa.
Indian commandoes killed the last three gunman at a landmark hotel late Thursday and were sweeping another luxury hotel in search of hostages and trapped people after suspected Muslim militants stormed targets across Mumbai, leaving 119 people dead.
Meanwhile, eight hostages were freed from the headquarters of a Jewish outreach group, according to an official of the Maharashtra state home department, speaking on customary condition of anonymity. However, it was unclear if any others remained inside the ultra-orthodox Chabad Lubavitch offices.
Gunfire and explosions could be heard well into the night from the Taj Mahal and Oberoi hotels, two of the city’s top gathering spots for the Mumbai elite, as well as at Jewish group’s center. Throughout the day, commandoes brought hostages, trapped guests and corpses from the hotels in small groups.
The gunmen’s main targets appeared to be Americans, Britons and Jews, though most of the dead seemed to be Indians and foreign tourists caught in random gunfire.
But clearly the gunmen — some of whom strode casually through their targets in khakis and T-shirts — came ready for a siege.
“They have AK-47s and grenades. They have bags full of grenades and have come fully prepared,” said Maj. Gen. R.K. Hooda.
“The situation is still not under control and we are trying to flush out any more terrorists hiding inside the two hotels,” said Vilasrao Deshmukh, chief minister of Maharashtra state which is home to Mumbai.
(…) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh blamed militants from neighboring countries — usually meaning Pakistan — raising fears of renewed tension between the nuclear-armed rivals.
“It is evident that the group which carried out these attacks, based outside the country, had come with single-minded determination to create havoc in the commercial capital of the country,” he said in a televised address.
The attacks show the terrorists have changed their strategies:
A group calling itself the Deccan Mujahideen has claimed responsibility for the attacks but little is known of it.
The men were of South Asian appearance and reportedly spoke Hindi, indicating they originated in India.
Attacks over recent years have seen a variety of different groups named, particularly the Indian Mujahideen who had apparently threatened to attack Mumbai in September, claiming that Muslims had been harassed.
The authorities have often pointed the finger at the Students’ Islamic Movement of India, believing that other groups like the Indian Mujahideen are a front for this banned organisation.
The BBC has some interesting videos, too.
Islam does not discriminate against any race or religion so non-Muslims do not have to fear if common law and syariah courts were to be merged as suggested by a former Chief Justice.
Syariah Court Judge and Syariah Judicial Department director-general Datuk Ibrahim Lembut said such fears among non-Muslims were unwarranted.
“Islam will defend everybody. The impression that merging the two court systems will override the rights of the non-Muslims is wrong,” he told reporters after attending the International Seminar on Comparative Law at Marriott Hotel here on Tuesday.“
However, we still have a long way to go before we can merge the two court systems although we have held talks on the possibility of harmonising civil and syariah laws,” he said.
He was answering this:
MCA legal bureau chairman Datuk Leong Tang Chong said such a merger would subject non-Muslims to syariah jurisdiction on all legal matters, including interfaith cases related to marriage and divorce.
“To compel a non-Muslim to syariah jurisdiction is a violation of the Federal Constitution as Article 11 assures and guarantees all persons complete freedom of religion,” he said, adding that the MCA strongly objected to the proposal.
He also said the independence of civil court judges should remain within the powers of the civil courts and not be subjected to the interpretation of syariah law.
Malaysia’s prime minister said Wednesday Muslims should still take up yoga, reversing an outright ban that has drawn widespread protests amid concerns over growing Islamic fundamentalism in the multiracial nation.
Malaysia’s National Fatwa Council, comprising Islamic scholars, told Muslims at the weekend to avoid yoga because it uses Hindu prayers that could erode Muslims’ faith.
But the decision drew a sharp rebuke from many Muslims and even Malaysia’s sultans, or hereditary rulers, who said that they should be consulted on any matters involving Islam.
Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi moved to contain the damage, telling the national news agency Bernama that Muslims could carry on doing yoga but minus the chanting.
“I wish to state that a physical regime with no elements of worship can continue, meaning, it is not banned. I believe that Muslims are not easily swayed into polytheism,” he said.
For background of this story: Yoga is Un-Islamic.