Sunday, February 27, 2011

Puri-New Delhi Neelachal Express derails in Odisha

Written by Breaking News Online Team  
Sunday, 27 February 2011 19:17

Breaking News! According to latest reports, 10 bogies of the Puri-New Delhi Neelachal Express derailed at an unmanned level crossing at Ranital near Bhadrak. No train passengers suffered injuries.

The train reportedly hit the road roller, which was crossing the unmanned level crossing at Ranital. The roller driver was rushed to the hospital with serious injuries. His condition is said to be critical.

The road roller was completely damaged. However, the train passengers had a miraculous escape. None of them sustained injuries. Train services were halted on the main Chennai-Howrah track. Efforts are on to clear the track.

The Bhubaneswar-Baripada Express was cancelled following the incident. A special train has been arranged to take the passengers to Delhi. The train will leave at 7:30 PM.
Bhubaneswar Helpline Number:             0674-2490670      

West Asia marching towards democracy: speakers


West Asia is irrevocably marching towards democracy spurred as much by the urge for freedom as disgust over extended dictatorships that have curtailed civil rights and aggravated poverty and unemployment, according to speakers at a seminar here on Friday.
Participants at the seminar on “Where is West Asia heading?” hosted by the ‘Forum for the Promotion of Moderate Thought AmongMuslims,' said the geopolitics of the region would hinge largely on the role Western nations, especially the U.S., played in West Asia.

Asghar Ali Engineer, Chairman, Centre for Study of Society and Secularism, Mumbai, said the remarkable aspect of the mass struggle in Egypt was the exemplary democratic means of agitation that was devoid of religious slogans.
Moosa Raza, Chairman, Southern India Educational Trust, said history was repeating itself in the region where resentment had been simmering for decades over West-backed dictatorial regimes.
P.M. Belliappa, president, Association of British Scholars, said the mass struggles were rooted in issues of bad governance and resulted from failure of authoritarian regimes to apply course correction before disenchanted rank and file forced alternatives.
A. Faizur Rahman, Forum secretary-general, said it was a misconception propagated by some Western analysts that in the absence of authoritarian rulers, the West Asian region would plunge into chaos at the hands of so-called Islamists. It is also untrue to portray Islam as not compatible with democracy as the Islamic society established by the Prophet was democratic in the truest sense, he said.
Zackriah Badsha, Forum president, said the mass struggles were being driven by the urge for freedom.

How the Arabs Turned Shame Into Liberty


The revolution was waiting to happen, and one deed of despair in Tunisia, a street vendor who out of frustration set himself on fire, pushed the old order over the brink.

And so, in those big, public spaces in Tunis, Cairo and Manama, Bahrain, in the Libyan cities of Benghazi and Tobruk, millions of Arabs came together to bid farewell to an age of quiescence. They were done with the politics of fear and silence.

Every day and every gathering, broadcast to the world, offered its own memorable image. In Cairo, a girl of 6 or 7 rode her skateboard waving the flag of her country. In Tobruk, a young boy, atop the shoulders of a man most likely his father, held a placard and a message for Colonel Qaddafi: “Irhall, irhall, ya saffah.” (“Be gone, be gone, O butcher.”)

In this tumult, I was struck by the chasm between the incoherence of the rulers and the poise of the many who wanted the outside world to bear witness. A Libyan of early middle age, a professional and a diabetic, was proud to speak on camera, to show his face, in a discussion with CNN’s Anderson Cooper. He was a new man, he said, free of fear for the first time, and he beheld the future with confidence. The precision in his diction was a stark contrast to Colonel Qadaffi’s rambling TV address on Tuesday that blamed the “Arab media” for his ills and called on Libyans to “prepare to defend petrol.”

In the tyrant’s shadow, unknown to him and to the killers and cronies around him, a moral clarity had come to ordinary men and women. They were not worried that a secular tyranny would be replaced by a theocracy; the specter of an “Islamic emirate” invoked by the dictator did not paralyze or terrify them.

There is no overstating the importance of the fact that these Arab revolutions are the works of the Arabs themselves. No foreign gunboats were coming to the rescue, the cause of their emancipation would stand or fall on its own. Intuitively, these protesters understood that the rulers had been sly, that they had convinced the Western democracies that it was either the tyrants’ writ or the prospect of mayhem and chaos.

So now, emancipated from the prison, they will make their own world and commit their own errors. The closest historical analogy is the revolutions of 1848, the Springtime of the People in Europe. That revolution erupted in France, then hit the Italian states and German principalities, and eventually reached the remote outposts of the Austrian empire. Some 50 local and national uprisings, all in the name of liberty.

Massimo d’Azeglio, a Piedmontese aristocrat who was energized by the spirit of those times, wrote what for me are the most arresting words about liberty’s promise and its perils: “The gift of liberty is like that of a horse, handsome, strong and high-spirited. In some it arouses a wish to ride; in many others, on the contrary, it increases the urge to walk.” For decades, Arabs walked and cowered in fear. Now they seem eager to take freedom’s ride. Wisely, they are paying no heed to those who wish to speak to them of liberty’s risks.
Fouad Ajami, a professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, is the author of “The Foreigner’s Gift: The Americans, the Arabs and the Iraqis in Iraq.”

Libyan people take part in a protest in Tobruk, 20 February 2011

The Security Council and top United Nations officials today urged the Libyan Government to immediately end its violent crackdown on protesters and to meet its responsibility to protect its population.

Council members “condemned the violence and use of force against civilians, deplored the repression against peaceful demonstrators, and expressed deep regret at the deaths of hundreds of civilians,” Ambassador Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti of Brazil, which holds the monthly presidency of the 15-member body for February, said in a statement read out to the press following closed-door talks on the crisis.

Gaddafi, a falling tyrant-AlJazeera

“They called for an immediate end to the violence and for steps to address the legitimate demands of the population, including through national dialogue,” she said.

Council members also called on the Government to meet its responsibility to protect its population, act with restraint, respect human rights and international humanitarian law, and allow immediate access for human rights monitors and humanitarian agencies.

“They underscored the need to hold to account those responsible for attacks, including by forces under their control, on civilians,” the statement added.

Mr. Ban, in a statement issued by his spokesperson on Monday, said he was “outraged” at press reports that the Libyan authorities have been firing at demonstrators from war planes and helicopters.

“This is unacceptable,” the Secretary-General told reporters in Los Angeles, where his currently on an official visit. “This violence against demonstrators must immediately stop.”

Mr. Ban, who had a 40-minute telephone conversation with Muammar Al-Qadhafi yesterday, said he urged the Libyan leader to stop the violence and strongly underlined the importance of respecting human rights and heeding the aspirations and calls of the demonstrators. Mr. Ban also discussed the situation in Libya in a phone conversation today with the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay today called for an immediate cessation of the “grave” rights violations committed by the Libyan authorities and urged an independent investigation into the violent suppression of protests.

“The callousness with which Libyan authorities and their hired guns are reportedly shooting live rounds of ammunition at peaceful protestors is unconscionable. I am extremely worried that lives are being lost even as I speak,” she stated in a news release.

Citing the reported use of machine guns, snipers and military planes against demonstrators, Ms. Pillay said such extremely serious allegations of acts committed in brazen defiance of international law must not go without a full and independent investigation.

“Protection of civilians should always be the paramount consideration in maintaining order and the rule of law. The authorities should immediately cease such illegal acts of violence against demonstrators. Widespread and systematic attacks against the civilian population may amount to crimes against humanity,” she stated.

A group of UN human rights experts also called on the Libyan Government to immediately cease the use of excessive and lethal force. “The situation in Libya is quickly spilling out of control with the Government targeting the very people it has been mandated to serve,” they stated in a news release. “Adopting tactics such as the use of live ammunition to crush dissent is unacceptable.”

The experts voiced concern about the reported use of military planes to attack protesters, the alleged involvement of foreign mercenaries in killing the protesters, and the arbitrary arrests of individuals including lawyers, human rights defenders and journalists.

The Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Irina Bokova, voiced her alarm over the worsening situation in Libya and the continuing clampdown on media and vital information services.

“I call on the Libyan authorities to exercise maximum restraint. I also call on them to respect the right of people to access information, to be able to communicate with one another and for the media to be able to do its job,” she stated.

“Attempting to silence people by repression, by denying them access to vital information services is a violation of basic human rights that can only fuel anger and frustration,” she added.

Meanwhile, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said today that it has become increasingly concerned about dangers for civilians and especially for asylum-seekers and refugees in Libya as many may inadvertently be caught up in this violence.

“We have no access at this time to the refugee community. Over the past months we have been trying to regularize our presence in Libya, and this has constrained our work,” Melissa Fleming, UNHCR’s spokesperson in Geneva, told a news conference.

“Some of the reports we are getting from third-party sources are very worrying. A journalist has passed information to us from Somalis in Tripoli who say they are being hunted on suspicion of being mercenaries. He says they feel trapped and are frightened to go out, even though there is little or no food at home,” she said.

Prior to the current unrest UNHCR had registered over 8,000 refugees in Libya, with a further 3,000 asylum-seekers having pending cases. The agency is asking all countries to recognize the humanitarian needs at this time of all people fleeing targeted violence, threats, and other human rights abuses in Libya.