Women and children have been killed following a roadside bomb attack in southern Afghanistan. Ten civilians were killed after an improvised explosive device was detonated in Helmand Province.
A second roadside bomb in the same province killed another person.
According to the UN, 1,145 civilians were killed in the first six months of this year. It says that 80% of the deaths are the fault of the insurgents, with more than half caused by roadside bombs. About 30% of casualties have been women and children.
Last year, a record 3,021 civilians died in the war, the UN has said, most of them victims of roadside bombs.
A massive roadside bomb earlier this month killed at least 18 people, mostly women and children. They were on their way to a wedding in northern Afghanistan.
Raha, which is Persian for ‘to free’ will begin its daily broadcast at 1630 GMT with a 30-minute news bulletin followed by three-and-a-half hours of arts, culture and sports.
The transmissions will be available in Iran via satellite and online. Programs will be broadcast several times each day to make it more difficult for the regime to jam the signal.
At a press conference in the British capital, the channel’s director and editor-in-chief Ali Asghar Ramezanpoor said “Raha” would be the “first independent channel that belongs to Iranian people.”
“There are channels in Persian — like BBC or Voice of America — but they are from others countries, not Iranian people,” added Ramezanpoor, a former deputy minister in the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance. The channel is funded by Amir Hossein Jahanchahi, founder of opposition movement Green Wave. He claimed the channel would challenge the regime of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
“Raha TV is the TV for change because this regime is immoral, inhuman and unreasonable,” he said, adding that transition had to come “from inside, by Iranian people.”
Raha will employ 40 people in London and will also rely on a network of around 20 freelancers in Iran. Jahanchahi said Raha “would be open to all opposition, reformist and non-reformist, to all people who want a different future” for Iran
Click here for Templateinterview with a former member of OFCOM, who explains why Iranian run PressTV was taken off air,
Click here for Template analysis on why PressTV was taken off air.
New York Times reports that Libyan officials are claiming that Bani Walid is now under government control, click here
However, it also reports:
“Many militias attacking Bani Walid were from Misurata, the coastal western city that endured a punishing assault by Qaddafi forces during the uprising, and whose fighters have been quick to retaliate — often brutally — against loyalist towns.
“In the most notorious episodes, fighters from Misurata drove every last resident from the neighboring town of Tawergha, which was used as a staging ground for the Qaddafi forces’ assault on Misurata.
“In racist slogans painted on the emptied houses of Tawergha’s black residents, Misuratan fighters warned their neighbors never to return.
“The siege of Bani Walid began in September. In a statement on Wednesday, Human Rights Watch, citing local doctors, said at least seven civilians had been killed and more than 60 people wounded in fighting before the government’s latest assault, which began last week.” (NEW YORK TIMES, 24-10-12)
Click here for RussiaToday which reports that 600 were killed in a day and that militias have entered Bani Walid, where there is now a humanitarian crisis.
It also reports that the US blocked a draft Russian UN Resolution that called for a peaceful solution to the siege of Bani Walid. (RT, 25-1012)
The third and final televised debate between Barack Obama and presidential rival, Mitt Romney, focused on foreign policy and on that the current Whitehouse incumbent appears to have won. If the polls are to be believed, 53 per cent say that Obama was far more successful when it came this round of debates. He was polled to have been slow off the mark in the first debate, and then caught up during the second. So, was this the knockout blow during the third? The longer the race for the White House goes on, the more Obama appears to be the weaker man – you only have to listen to him mocking his opponent for suffering from Romnesia – a play on the word ‘amnesia’ – to understand that this is a drowning man clutching on a straw. He came promising change, yet all he has succeeded in doing is extending America’s wars in Afghanistan and Libya as well as Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia through those ghastly drone strikes. If a successful foreign policy means learning how to deploy the latest technology to conduct assassinations and murder in far off lands, then no doubt any failings that Romney may have in this area will soon be made up for. Of course, this election is all about the economy and even though Obama came four years ago to find an economy that had been badly mismanaged, not even his staunchest allies would say that he has done a good job or even given the impression that he knew what he was doing. Even news that the jobs market is beginning to thaw, is not going to help this president. Truth is, he came to power promising change and delivered well ..more of the same. And now he’s calling for patience. Well, that’s not going to be enough.
A Newsnight investigation into claims of abuse by former BBC star Jimmy Savile should not have been dropped, the head of the one of the most powerful media organisations in the world admitted today.
George Entwistle, Director General of the BBC, also told the House of Commons Select Committee that the organisation was investigating up to 10 “serious allegations” involving past and present employees.
George Entwistle who often looked uncomfortable during a two-hour grilling from MPs, said: “There is no question that what Jimmy Savile did and the way the BBC behaved in the years – the culture and practices of the BBC seems to allow Jimmy Savile to do what he did – will raise questions of trust for us and reputation for us.
“This is a gravely serious matter and one cannot look back at it with anything other than horror, frankly, that… his activities went on as long as they did undetected.”
Savile, who was also a DJ and died last year aged 84, was described by police as a predatory sex offender. They believe he may have abused many people – including young girls – over a 40-year period and a criminal investigation is under way. On Monday, the BBC’s Panorama programme reported on the abuse allegations against Jimmy Savile, as well as the decision by Newsnight last December to drop its investigations into the claims.
Newsnight editor Peter Rippon had made the decision to drop the Newsnight investigation “on his own account”, the director general said.
“I came away from Panorama firmly of the view that that investigation, even if in the judgement of the editor it wasn’t ready for transmission at the point he was looking at it, should have been allowed to continue.
“What became clear to us after the blog was published was that what had happened on Newsnight, there was a significant, it seemed, difference of opinion between the people working on the investigation and the editor, Peter Rippon, who commissioned the investigation.”
An independent inquiry led by former Sky head of news Nick Pollard will examine why the Newsnight investigation was dropped. George Entwistle said he asked Newsnight editor Peter Rippon to step aside because of inaccuracies in his blog. George Entwistle was also asked about a brief conversation with BBC director of news Helen Boaden last December about the possibility of Newsnight running their report about Savile, while Mr Entwistle, as then BBC director of Vision, was planning Christmas tribute pieces to the presenter.
“The key message I took away was that it wasn’t yet clear to Helen whether it was going to stand up or not.
“I wouldn’t have had any qualms about making any changes we needed to make to the Christmas schedule.”
When asked if it had been a failure by him to ask further questions about the nature of the report, he said he didn’t want to show “undue interest”, adding: “I don’t believe I did fail… the system as a whole doesn’t seem to have got this right.”
Asked whether he now regretted running the tribute programmes for Savile, Mr Entwistle told MPs: “In the light of what’s happening, of course I do.”
He added that the Panorama programme pointed to the BBC’s health as a media organisation, rather than being a “symptom of chaos”, because it showed the organisation’s capacity to investigate itself.
He said no other news organisation in the world would do this.
As well as the Pollard review, former Court of Appeal judge Dame Janet Smith will lead a review into the culture and practices of the BBC during Savile’s time at the corporation and will also examine if the BBC’s child protection and whistleblowing policies are fit for purpose.
A year and a half ago, the forces of Colonel Gaddafi were amassed outside Benghazi to put down a rebellion. Carnage would have almost certainly followed. The world could not watch and let it happen and a UN resolution proposed by the UK, France and the US was backed by Russia and China. It put into place a no-fly zone, consequent round-the-clock bombing and the eventual murder of Gaddafi himself.
Despite this, Libya was hailed a success and the very nations that backed the Libyan rebellion are proposing a similar course of action in Syria, where the forces of Assad are brutally putting down a rebellion, which is employing terrorism, assassinations and mass murder.
Yet, today at the gates of Bani Walid, the very forces that Nato put into place in Libya are conducting the very actions that Gaddafi was being accused of, and Assad is clearly doing.
Instead of condemnation, there is silence.
In fact, the only voices of anger are aimed at Russia and China for not allowing an intervention – an intervention that was also lacking when US forces were amassed outside the gates of that troublesome Iraqi town of Falluja, and when British forces conducted a siege of Basra.
An intervention that if successful would almost certainly lead to a Bani Walid-style scenario in Syria.