Newscast Media NEW YORK—The UN has for the first time accused Syrian rebel
fighters of committing crimes against humanity. The body has also criticized the
government’s use of siege warfare, and blamed the international community for
The United Nations Human Rights Council on Wednesday said several Syrian Islamist
rebel groups had systematically detained and tortured civilians. The rebels’ crimes
against humanity, it said, were carried out in al-Raqqa province against ethnic Kurds.
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Newscast Media WASHINGTON—The UN General Assembly has elected five new
non-permanent members to the UN Security Council.
Saudi Arabia, Chad, Nigeria, Chile, and Lithuania will serve for two years on the
15-member Security Council, starting January 1, 2014.
All five countries ran unopposed in the October 17 election, but they still needed
approval from two-thirds of the General Assembly. They will replace Morocco, Togo,
Pakistan, Guatemala, and Azerbaijan.
Chad, Saudi Arabia, and Lithuania have never served on the U.N.’s most powerful
body, while Nigeria and Chile have both been on the Council four times previously.
The Security Council has five veto-wielding permanent members — the United States,
Britain, France, Russia, and China—and 10 non-permanent members.
Source: Radio Free Europe
Newscast Media NEW YORK—The United Nations is being sued by advocates for
Haitian victims over the spread of cholera by U.N. peacekeepers. The disease first
appeared in October 2010, and has claimed over 8,300 lives, while over 650,000 have
fallen sick from the disease. Cholera is spread through contaminated water supplies,
and manifests itself in form of a high fever, running stomach and vomiting.
Newscast Media NEW YORK—President Obama defended his threat of force against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime at the annual UN General Assembly in New York on Tuesday, saying Damascus must face consequences after the use of chemical weapons.
“There must be a strong Security Council resolution to verify that the Assad regime is keeping its commitments, and there must be consequences if they fail to do so,” Obama said to the world leaders.
His remarks come as the US and Russia negotiate a UN Security Council resolution in connection with an agreement by Damascus to give up its chemical weapons.
The US-Russia brokered deal was struck following a push by Obama for a military strike on Syria.
Obama denounced critics who questioned whether Assad carried out the August 21 chemical attack outside Damascus, which the US says killed more than 1,400 people.
“It is an insult to human reason – and to the legitimacy of this institution – to suggest that anyone other than the regime carried out this attack,” he said.
“Nevertheless, a leader who slaughtered his citizens and gassed children to death cannot regain the legitimacy to lead a badly fractured country,” he said of Assad. Obama cautioned, however, that military action would not achieve lasting peace and that any nation, including the US, should not determine who will lead Syria.
Obama also used his time in front of the Assembly to welcome the new Iranian government’s pursuit of what he called a “more moderate course,” in relation to stalled negotiations over its nuclear program.
“The roadblocks may prove to be too great, but I firmly believe the diplomatic path must be tested,” Obama said.
On Monday, the EU’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, announced that Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, would join talks with six key nations due to “energy and determination” shown by Tehran for fresh talks.
The foreign ministers of the US, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany are set to meet on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly on Thursday. Despite the focus on Syria and Iran, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff used her opening speech at the General Assembly to criticize Obama and the US National Security Agency (NSA) over reports it had spied on Brazilian government communications.
She announced Brazil would adopt legislation and technology to protect it from illegal interception of communications.
Last week, Rousseff called off a high-profile state visit to Washington scheduled for October over the reports.
“Meddling in such a manner in the lives and affairs of other countries is a breach of international law and, as such, it is an affront to the principles that should otherwise govern relations among countries, especially among friendly nations,” Rousseff said to the gathering of world leaders.
Source: Radio Deutsche Welle
Newscast Media DAMASCUS—Carla Del Ponte, a member of the U.N. Independent
International Commission of Inquiry on Syria said testimonies from the victims strongly
suggest it was the rebels, not the Syrian government, that used Sarin nerve gas in
the eastern Gouta.
The UN official told Swiss TV there were “strong, concrete suspicions,” that the
rebels had used the nerve agent.
She added that her panel had not yet seen any evidence of Syrian government forces
using chemical weapons, according to the BBC, but she stressed more investigation
Damascus has repeatedly denied growing Western accusations that its forces used
such weapons, which President Obama has described as crossing a red line.
“Our investigators have been in neighboring villages interviewing victims, doctors and
field hospitals. According to their report of last week, which I have seen, there are
concrete suspicions of the use of sarin gas, from the way the victims were treated,”
Ms. Del Ponte, a former Swiss prosecutor and attorney general, told Swiss TV.
The UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria was established in
August 2011 to examine alleged violations of human rights in the Syrian crisis which
started in March that year.
Source: Al Manar TV News
Newscast Media VATICAN CITY—The Vatican’s official daily has criticized Western powers for escalating their war rhetoric against Syria despite an ongoing UN investigation into a recent alleged chemical attack near Damascus.
“The tones are becoming ever more drastic and the action being taken by the United Nations appears subjected to a sort of crossfire,” the Osservatore Romano newspaper wrote on Tuesday. The daily said that “various international actors appear no longer to consider the investigation a determining factor,” adding that “what commitment there was” to a negotiated settlement “appears to be dying out.”
On Thursday, the Vatican’s permanent observer at the United Nations in Geneva called for caution over opposition allegations that the Syrian government was responsible for the attack.
“There should not be a judgment until there is sufficient proof,” Monsignor Silvano Tomasi said.
“What immediate interest would the government in Damascus have in causing such a tragedy?” he asked, adding that the real question is “who really benefits from this inhumane crime.”
Pointing to the havoc caused by the US-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Tomasi said that “armed intervention does not bring any constructive results.”
The call for military action against Syria intensified after the foreign-backed opposition forces accused the government of President Bashar al-Assad of launching the alleged chemical attack on militant strongholds in the Damascus suburbs of Ain Tarma, Zamalka and Jobar on August 21.
Meanwhile, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem challenged the United States and its allies to present evidence that the government had used chemical weapons.
“We are hearing war drums around us. If they want to launch an attack against Syria, I think using the excuse of chemical weapons is not true at all. I challenge them to show what proof they have,” Muallem said.
Syria has been gripped by deadly unrest since March 2011. According to the United Nations, more than 100,000 people have been killed and millions of others displaced in the violence.
Source: Press TV
by Brittany SmithNewscast Media, NEW YORK—The U.N. officially observed World Down Syndrome Day for the first time on Wednesday – the seventh anniversary of the day designated to promote awareness and understanding, and seek international support for people with Down syndrome.
The annual observance takes place on the 21st of March each year because the date (21/3) represents the 3 copies of chromosome 21, which is unique to people with Down syndrome. Those with the genetic condition have some degree of learning disability, but many will go on to lead full and semi-independent lives. There is an estimated 7 million people who have Down syndrome worldwide.
The Pennsylvania Family Institute says that “upwards of 90 percent of Down syndrome children diagnosed prenatally never see the light of day; and their parents never see the special light of their children’s lives.”
There is an alarming rate of babies aborted after the parents find out through prenatal testing that the child will have a genetic disorder.
Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum has attacked President Barack Obama’s health care plan that includes free prenatal screenings, saying that it encourages abortions and will seriously decrease the ranks of the disabled in our society.
Prenatal screenings have also caused a rise in “wrongful birth” suits. A Portland couple was recently awarded $2.9 million because they say they would have aborted their little girl had they known she had Down syndrome and now needed money to pay for the costs of raising her.
Newscast Media –On an interview with Larry King that will Wednesday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad lashed called Benjamin Netanyahu in “skilled killer” who “should be put on trial for killing women and children.” A transcript of the interview is below:
King: Prime Minister Netanyahu was recently a guest on our program and he said,
“The greatest threat facing humanity, that’s the world, is that Iran would acquire
nuclear weapons.” If Israel feels that strongly, and you don’t assure them, don’t
you fear that they might do a first strike?”
Ahmadinejad: So you think that we should be concerned about Mr. Netanyahu’s
fears and concerns?
Ahmadinejad: Why should we be doing that for him? Who is he?
King: He is the head of a country.
Ahmadinjad: Who is he in the first place to begin with? He is a skilled killer. All
dictators in the world, have condemned others, and he is one of many of them.
He should be put on trial for killing Palestinians, for placing Gaza under siege
which is against the law, against the spirit of the charter of the United Nations.
He should be put on trial for killing women and children.
Ahmadinejad has said that Iran has no interest in acquiring a nuclear bomb and has called for both the United States government and The Zionist regime (Israel) to be disarmed. http://newscastmedia.com/ahmadinejad-king.htm
Newscast Media –President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is headed to New York where he will address the United Nations General Assembly next Thursday. Ahmadinejad said that besides attending the U.N. meeting, he’d also meet with American government officials.
“In New York, I will talk to heads of governments, a group of American people, industrialists, thinkers, politicians and decision-makers, have a dialogue with one of the American universities, and talk to the media,” local media outlets reported.
“People (in Islamic countries) are against that ugly behavior,” he said. “They are not against the people of the United States. They are not against Americans, they are not against Jews. They are not against Christians or Christianity.”
The president said that while in the United States, he would also take part in the Millennium Development Goals summit to be attended by 140 heads of state. http://newscastmedia.com/ahmadinejad-newyork.htm