Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Darren Wilson: I was right to kill Brown




Darren Wilson who shot dead unarmed black teenager in Ferguson stokes more anger after failing to express regret.


Darren Wilson, the Missouri police officer who killed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, has stoked further anger after saying in an interview that he could not have done anything differently to have prevented Brown's death.

In his first public statements, which were broadcasted by the ABC news channel on Tuesday, Wilson claimed his actions were justified because he feared for his life.

Wilson, who shot dead the 18-year-old a total of 12 times on August 9 according to autopsy reports, also said he has a "clean conscience" and that he was "simply doing his job".

Al Jazeera's Daniel Lak, reporting from Ferguson, said that "community leaders were greatly disappointed by Wilson's lack of remorse".

The officer's latest statements came two days after a grand jury ruled that there was not enough probable cause to indict Wilson over Brown's death.

Bob McCulloch, the St Louis prosecutor who drew widespread criticism for his handling of the case, has cited "conflicting evidence" as the cause for the verdict.

On Monday, he issued a statement that analysts say shows he acted more as a defence attorney than his stated role as prosecutor.

Instead of expressing frustration over the grand jury's verdict, he blamed the media's portrayal of the case, saying "the 24-news cycle" as "the most significant challenge encountered in the investigation".

'Special treatment'

Some US legal experts accuse McCulloch of being a key reason for why charges were not launched against the officer.

"There is no question that Darren Wilson got special treatment. He got a prosecutor who does did not request any particular charges be filed, a prosecutor who has close ties to where the defendant works," Lisa Bloom, a legal expert, told MSNBC.

She also blamed McCulloch for not being critical towards Wilson.

Wilson's court testimonies claim that the officer shot Brown twice during a struggle over his gun inside his car. Wilson said that following the shots, a wounded Brown ran away from the vehicle, before charging at the police officer again.

Wilson said he was forced to shoot Brown multiple times as he was running towards the officer.

But analysts have questioned how such a severely wounded and unarmed Brown could have been such a threat to Wilson that he had to shoot him in the head numerous times.

"Officer Wilson knows he is not armed. Even if a twice-shot bleeding Brown came running towards him again, why would he be threatened for his life?" she said.

"Why would he have to shoot him in the head and kill him in that moment?"

Israeli bus hits Palestinians in West Bank




One Palestinian killed, two others injured after they were run over by bus with Israeli number plate in Bartaa village.


One Palestinian has been killed and two others injured after they were run over by a bus with an Israeli number plate in the occupied West Bank, Al Jazeera’s correspondent reported.

The incident took place on Tuesday evening near an Israeli military checkpoint at the entrance on the village of Bartaa, which lies on the Green Line between Israel and the Palestinian territories.

Nour Hassan Salem, 21, died of his injuries, while his cousin and his friend remain were being treated in a hospital.

Shaher Balalem, who was with his friends but survived the incident, said the young men were crossing the street before the bus hit them directly.

It was unclear if the incident was an intentional attack or an accident.

A cousin of the deceased told Al Jazeera that the men, who come from Nablus, worked at shops in Bartaa and had permits from the Israeli authorities to enter the village.

Since Israel built the separation wall in 2003, the eastern part of Bartaa became a totally enclosed enclave with two Israeli-controlled gates to the rest of the West Bank.

Palestinian residents in the village of Bartaa, south west of Jenin city, complain of restrictions imposed of them by the Israeli army and attacks by Jewish settlers.

The UN condemned the restrictions imposed by Israeli military, saying that residents faced "abuse and intimidation at the gates of the enclave on a number of occasions".

Tensions in Jerusalem and the West Bank have been high since June, when Palestinians kidnapped and killed three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank.

Israelis retaliated by abducting and burning alive a Palestinian teenager in East Jerusalem.

The kidnappings set off a series of events that led to the 50-day Gaza war, which left more than 2,100 Palestinians and 71 Israelis dead.

Revenge attacks from both sides have been happening since summer.

Polio workers killed in Pakistan attack



Assailants shoot dead four vaccinators in Baluchistan province, forcing authorities to halt immunisation drive.


Assailants have opened fire on a team of polio vaccinators in Pakistan's restive southwest, killing four of them and forcing authorities to halt an immunisation drive, officials said.

The attack occurred on the eastern outskirts of Quetta, the capital of oil and gas rich Baluchistan province on Wednesday.

"A team of seven polio workers was getting ready to launch the fourth and final day of the campaign when two men riding a motorbike opened fire on their vehicle," provincial home secretary Akbar Durrani told the AFP news agency.

Pakistan is one of only three countries where polio remains endemic and attempts to stamp it out have been badly hit by opposition from armed groups and attacks on immunisation teams, which have claimed more than 60 lives in the last two years.

A senior doctor at Quetta's Civil Hospital, Rasheed Jamali said a male and a female health worker died on their way to hospital while two female workers died of their wounds in hospital.

He said three other women were being treated, but they were out of danger. District health officer Sher Muhammad said the campaign was launched in eight districts of Baluchistan including Quetta three days ago.

"It was the last day of the campaign to administer drops to the remaining children," he said, adding that the campaign was stopped in Quetta after the attack.

Armed groups have in the past claimed that the polio vaccination is a cover for espionage or a Western conspiracy to sterilise Muslims.

Officials say the number of polio cases recorded in Pakistan has reached 246 for the year - a 14-year high and more than double the total for the whole of 2013.

Among the new cases detected, 136 are in the troubled northwestern tribal areas that border Afghanistan and are the stronghold of Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters.

Indian girl dies after being set on fire



Four arrested for setting teenager alight after she resisted attempts to molest her in northern state of Uttar Pradesh.


A teenage girl has died in northern India one week after a gang of men set her on fire as punishment for resisting their attempts to molest her, police said.

The horrific incident is the latest in India where sex attacks on women continue to occur on an almost daily basis despite an international outcry over the fatal gang-rape of a student in 2012.

In the latest case, police have arrested four men over the attack which occurred after the 15-year-old girl stepped outside her home in Uttar Pradesh state on November 16.

The girl's family has told police that six men dragged her back inside the house after she objected to their lewd gestures and attempts to touch her, local superintendent RK Sahu said.

The men then doused her in kerosene and set her on fire as punishment in Shahjahanpur village, 277km southeast of New Delhi, according to the family.

The girl was taken to a local hospital but died of her injuries on Sunday night, the officer said.

"Four of the six accused have been arrested. All of them belong to the same village and are of the same caste as that of the girl," Sahu said.

Police are hunting for the other two accused.

Icon of Arab music Sabah dies in Lebanon




Music and film diva Sabah passes away at 87 after a six-decade long career in the entertainment industry.


Sabah, an actress and singer considered an icon in the Arab World, has died, Lebanese media reported.

Al-Nahar newspaper said the Lebanese diva passed away on Wednesday morning at her residence at the age of 87. The Lebanese official news agency confimed her death, saying she passed away in Beirut.

During her more than six-decade long career, Sabah, who was born as Jeanette Gergis Al-Feghali, released over 50 albums and acted in 98 films.

She is reportedly the first Arabic singer who performed at Olympia in Paris, Carnegie Hall in New York, and Piccadilly Theatre in London and Sydney Opera House in Sydney, according to the Beirut-based Daily Star newspaper.

The deceased singer was born in Bdadoun, a Lebanese town in the Baabda-Aley province.

She is known for her multiple marriages, tying the knot with at least nine men.

She brought out her first song in 1940, while her parallel screen career began three years later in Egypt, the centre of the Arabic film industry.

She held Egyptian, Jordanian and US citizenship as well as Lebanese, and continued to perform and make television appearances into her 80s.

In Lebanon, she was humorously mocked for refusing to leave the limelight, clinging to youth through surgeries, marriages to younger men and garish outfits.

Sabah was nicknamed "Shahroura", Arabic for "singing bird" and "the Sabbouha," a diminutive for "Sabah" by millions of fans across the Middle East.

"Today, Lebanon lost a legend. Sabah is gone but she remains in our hearts," famed Lebanese pop singer Nancy Ajram said on Twitter.

"Her memory will remain in the minds and hearts of millions," she tweeted.

Lebanese politician Walid Jumblatt wrote on Twitter: "She was a great singer of a Lebanon that my generation knew, that will never come back".