Palestinians protest in support of jailed journalist Mohammed al-Qeq Thirty three-year-old Mohammed al-Qeq, a Palestinian journalist who has being held for more than six months in administrative detention without charge or trial in an Israeli prison, ended a 94 day hunger strike on February 26. Al-Qeq ended the strike — the longest by any Palestinian prisoner — after Israel agreed not to renew his administrative detention order, which ends on May 21, AFP said that day.
Indonesia is supposed to have a new liberal leadership with the election of new president Jodo Widodo, the first president since the Suharto dictatorship was overthrown in 198 to be elected from outside the Javanese military/political elite. But the Australian public, in the furore over the fate of two the Australians and others facing execution, are getting a glimpse of the stance of Widodo — and other influential Indonesian leaders — towards human rights, justice and compassion.
Amid so much bad news about so many species of wildlife in danger of extinction, it is encouraging that there are finally some good stories about endangered wild animals. There has been good news regarding rhinoceros conservation in India. The Indian state of Assam’s environmental ministry recently revealed that the population of Indian one-horned rhinoceros in the state had grown by 27% since 2006, hitting a high of 2544 animals. The Indian government has a goal of 3000 rhinos by 2020. There were only about 200 Indian rhinos in the early 1990s.
Australia has a poor record on native animal extinctions. We know that native forest is essential habitat for koalas and other wildlife. Yet, knowing how important the preservation of sufficient, suitable habitat is to sustaining endangered wildlife, we still continue to destroy vital native vegetation and old growth forest. The dire situation for koalas around Ballina, NSW, is in the spotlight again. A critical colony of more than 200 koalas is at risk of extinction in the region if Stage 10 of the Pacific Highway upgrade goes ahead.
The Mekong River is the mother of all south-east Asian rivers, providing life-sustaining resources to millions of people. Now, the future of the Mekong, its people and wildlife are in jeopardy. The government of Laos plans to build the hydroelectric Don Sahong Dam — the second dam proposed for construction on the Lower Mekong mainstream — on the main pathway in the Mekong that allows for year round fish migration.
Three species of owls are in danger of becoming extinct in Victoria, because the Victorian government has failed to protect the forest habitat where the Sooty, Masked and Powerful owls live. The Powerful and Sooty owls are listed as vulnerable and the Masked owl is endangered, according to Victoria's Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988. Management plans for the owls state that the Powerful and Masked owls require at least 100 areas of 500 hectares each, while the Sooty owl needs 131 areas of at least 500 hectares.
Shuhada Street was the major thoroughfare, and bustling, principle commercial centre, in the Palestinian town of Hebron in the south of the Israeli occupied West Bank. Today, the street is all but deserted, an empty place of boarded-up houses and shuttered shops. On February 25, 1994, a Zionist settler from Kiryat Arba, Baruch Goldstein, shot dead 29 Palestinian civilians and injured 125 more during morning prayers in Hebron's Ibrahimi Mosque.
War criminal and former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon, who died on January 11, led an infamous Israeli army terror group in the 1950s. Called Unit 101 and nicknamed the “avengers”, it operated without uniforms. The unit countered Palestinian resistance with terror attacks. It carried out many outrages inside Israel and across its borders. In August 1953, Unit 101 attacked the refugee camp of El-Bureig in Gaza. About 50 refugees were massacred. In October 1953, Sharon’s unit attacked the Jordanian village of Qibya.
Filep Karma is a 54-year-old West Papuan independence activist and long-term political prisoner. He is in jail for his non-violent political activities in the struggle for West Papuan self-determination. In 2004, Karma organised a Morning Star flag-raising ceremony to celebrate the anniversary of the Papuan declaration of independence from Dutch rule in 1961.
Young Palestinian prisoner Hassan Abdul-Halim Turabi, who suffered from leukemia, died at the Afula Israeli Hospital aged 22 on the November 5. Turabi was killed by deliberate Israeli medical neglect, after being denied essential treatment. The number of Palestinian prisoners who have died in Israeli jails since 1967 now sits at 205. Turabi was taken prisoner more than 10 months ago. Due to his ill health, Israel said it would release him but did not. When he first started experiencing pain, he asked for medical treatment in the prison clinic and was given painkillers.
Malaysia's Belum-Temengor rainforest is a place of amazing natural wonders. More than 130 million years old, this 300,000 hectare forest is home to a vast number of species of animals and plants, many of which cannot be found anywhere else in the world. This pristine forest remains one of the largest untouched forest reserves in Peninsular Malaysia. It is home to 14 threatened species and may lead to the discovery of more new species.
The Israeli authorities must drop all charges against a Palestinian human rights lawyer now released on bail, Amnesty International said. A military judge at Ofer Military Court ordered the release of Anas Barghouti on bail because confessions from other detainees submitted as evidence failed to prove he is a security threat. The accusations against him relate to alleged activities from over a year ago.
Ahmad Qatamesh is a 62-year-old Palestinian University academic, writer and political activist who has been held in an Israeli jail under administrative detention for more than two years. Under Israel’s policy of administrative detention, people can be held without charge or trial for indefinite periods.
In 1986, Israeli scientist Mordechai Vanunu took a courageous moral stand against nuclear weapons. Vanunu exposed Israel’s secret nuclear weapons arsenal to the world after becoming disillusioned with his work as a technician at Dimona Nuclear Research Centre in Israel. Vanunu revealed Israel had hundreds of advanced nuclear warheads ― the sixth largest stockpile in the world. Under a policy of nuclear ambiguity, Israel still officially denies it has nuclear weapons, despite Vanunu’s revelations and other widespread evidence to the contrary.
The Palestinian prisoners holding Jordanian citizenship have suspended their hunger strike following concessions from the Israeli prison authorities to allow them regular family visits from their family members in Jordan. This was reported in a press conference held in Amman by family members of the prisoners on August 11. The five Jordanian hunger strikers are Abdullah Barghouthi, Mohammad Rimawi, Muneer Mar'i, Hamza Othman al-Dabbas and Alaa Hammad. They had been striking since May 2 for 100 days.
“I want all the people to come to the court and see what democracy in Israel really is,” said the mother of Palestinian youth Ali Shamlawi, being held in jail by Israel on fabricated charges. On March 14, there was an accident near Salfit in the West Bank when an Israeli settler’s car crashed into the back of Israeli truck. Four people in the car were hurt, one seriously. The truck had stopped on the road due to a flat tire. Later, this accident was described by the car's settler driver as a stone throwing attack by Palestinian youths.