Six In The Morning

On Sunday

Syria: Opposition in call to arm rebel fighters

 The head of the opposition Syrian National Council (SNC) has called for foreign states to arm rebel fighters.

The BBC   29 July 2012

Abdulbaset Sayda was speaking as Syrian forces continued their assault on rebel-held areas of the city of Aleppo.

Mr Sayda also said that President Bashar al-Assad should be tried for “massacres” rather than be offered asylum.

Western nations have warned of a potential bloodbath in Aleppo, Syria’s most populous city.

“We want weapons that would stop tanks and jet fighters. That is what we want,” AFP quoted Mr Sayda as saying at a news conference in Abu Dhabi.

He urged Arab “brothers and friends to support the Free [Syrian] Army”.

Rebels have so far not received any overt foreign military support.

Sunday’s Headlines:

Syrian war of lies and hypocrisy

Pussy Riot, Russia’s prosecuted girl punk band, says: ‘Putin is scared of us’

Plea to end ethnic clashes

Hunger soars in Zimbabwe

Developing countries lead the way in deploying mobile technology

Robert Fisk: Syrian war of lies and hypocrisy

The West’s real target here is not Assad’s brutal regime but his ally, Iran, and its nuclear weapons


Has there ever been a Middle Eastern war of such hypocrisy? A war of such cowardice and such mean morality, of such false rhetoric and such public humiliation? I’m not talking about the physical victims of the Syrian tragedy. I’m referring to the utter lies and mendacity of our masters and our own public opinion – eastern as well as western – in response to the slaughter, a vicious pantomime more worthy of Swiftian satire than Tolstoy or Shakespeare.

While Qatar and Saudi Arabia arm and fund the rebels of Syria to overthrow Bashar al-Assad’s Alawite/Shia-Baathist dictatorship, Washington mutters not a word of criticism against them. President Barack Obama and his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, say they want a democracy in Syria.

Pussy Riot, Russia’s prosecuted girl punk band, says: ‘Putin is scared of us’

As three members of Pussy Riot await trial as ‘hooligans’, others in the group are in hiding but defiant

Carole Cadwalladr in Moscow

The Observer, Sunday 29 July 2012

Pussy Riot, the feminist punk rock band three of whose members are being prosecuted by the Russian authorities for singing an anti-Putin song in a Moscow cathedral, have told the Observer they refused to be intimidated by the government’s “brutality and cruelness” because they “had done nothing wrong”.

Giving their first video interview to the western media, three other members of the band, who have been in hiding since the arrests, said that, while it was “scary” knowing that the authorities could come after them too, they had also shown that “Putin is scared of us” and is “afraid of people”.

Plea to end ethnic clashes

July 29, 2012

 Wasbir Hussain

A top official in India’s remote north-east has appealed for an end to ethnic violence that has killed at least 48 people and left nearly 400,000 homeless in the past week.

The Chief Minister, Tarun Gogoi, said the clashes between Bodo tribespeople and Muslim settlers in Assam state had spread fear among both groups.

”This is a time for everybody to appeal for peace so that people see sense and normalcy is resumed,” Mr Gogoi said.

Tensions between the groups have long simmered, but the riots are the worst bloodletting since the mid-1990s.

Hunger soars in Zimbabwe

Famine has raised its head in Zimbabwe again, as the numbers of people depending on aid to avoid starvation soared by 60% from last year to 1.6 million, according to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).

 Sapa-dpa | 28 July, 2012 10:53

The agency said that one in five of the country’s rural people were in need of famine relief. Grain production in the last year was 1 million tonnes, the worst since 2009, which at 800 000 tonnes was the worst year on record.

Zimbabwe had a reputation as “Africa’s breadbasket” until 2000 when President Robert Mugabe launched his violent seizures of white-owned farms, forcing 1 500 white farmers of their land and displacing a million farm workers and their families.

Developing countries lead the way in deploying mobile technology

Some three-quarters of the world now has access to mobile networks. What does this mean for those in the developing world?

By Whitney Eulich, Staff writer

From remote farms to rural health centers, one thing is transforming how even the world’s poorest people live: the mobile phone.

Cell phone use in the developing world has climbed to nearly 5 billion mobile subscriptions, and three-quarters of the world now has access to mobile networks. This technology is reshaping the way individuals and communities manage their finances, monitor weather, engage with government, and earn a living, according to the recent World Bank Maximizing Mobile report.

“People are going from zero to 60. It is huge to go from no phone at all to a cellphone,” says Anne Nelson, international media development specialist and adjunct professor at Columbia University. “The rapid penetration of cellphones in developing countries is changing lives dramatically.”