Israel: an impediment to nuclear-free ME

Kourosh Ziabari

You might have frequently heard of the Western mainstream media's claims that Iran is pursuing a military nuclear program which is aimed at developing atomic weapons. Actually, spreading falsehood and untruth about the nature of Iran's peaceful nuclear program has been a constant, unchanging and recurring theme of the Western corporate media's coverage of Iran's events.

Over the past years, the world mainstream media, funded and fueled by certain Western governments to derail Iran's sublime position in the international community through their unyielding black propaganda have laboriously and persistently attempted to pretend that Iran's nuclear program poses a serious threat to the global peace and security and that Tehran is taking steps to create atomic bombs to drop on Israel and European countries.

Unfortunately, the people who believe such claims seem to be unaware of the fact that those who accuse Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons are themselves the largest possessors of the state-of-the-art nuclear weapons and other types of weapons of mass destruction.

It should not be neglected that Iran has always been at the forefront of combating the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction and also a victim of such weapons during the 8-year imposed war with the Ba'athist regime of Saddam Hussein which claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent Iranians. It was the United States that equipped Saddam with such weapons to use against the Iranian people in an unequal and unjustifiable war in which the brutal Iraqi dictator was unconditionally supported by a strong coalition of the United States and its European allies.

Since the U.S.-manufactured controversy over Iran's nuclear program was ignited in the early 2000s, the White House and its cronies successfully distracted the international attention from the illegal, underground nuclear activities of Israeli regime and helped Tel Aviv to secretively further its nuclear program and build atomic weapons.

2010 US State Department Human Rights Report on Bahrain

Stephen Lendman

In April, 19 human rights organizations condemned Bahrain as one of the world's leading terror states, the Al Khalifa monarchy having lost all legitimacy.

In a joint press release, they said:

The undersigned "severely condemn the authorities' crackdown on prominent human rights defenders Abdulhadi Al Khawaja and Nabeel Rajab in Bahrain. We are gravely concerned for the safety and well-being of both human rights defenders who are being targeted for their human rights work."

Both were lawlessly arrested, beaten, detained, and brutally tortured as were hundreds of others for supporting democracy, human rights and equal justice.

On June 6, CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation and the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) denounced Bahraini authorities for brutally repressing protesters, demanding an immediate end to violence. So far, they said, international community silence reflects complicity in horrendous crimes against humanity.

As a result, both organizations called on UN Human Rights Council members "to take immediate action by adopting a strong resolution condemning" government attacks on civil society.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) called Bahraini violence "no accident," saying:

Since mid-March (actually since mid-February and earlier), "state security forces (as well as Saudi ones) brutally quashed the largely peaceful protests for democratic reforms that began a month earlier, shooting to death a score of people. Since then, the government has conducted (a reign of terror) to punish all manner of pro-democracy activism, a situation (Washington) has yet to unequivocally condemn" publicly.

Amnesty International (AI) condemned Bahrain's excessive force, killings, mass arrests, detentions, and torture, including beatings, electro-shocks, threatened rape, as well as other abuses to extract forced confessions despite no crimes committed.

The plight of the Roma in Romania

Diana Toma

Family in Szent Miklós, Haranglab (Photo: Joakim Eskildsen)

The brutal austerity measures introduced by the right-wing government led by Emil Boc in Romania have led to a severe worsening of living standards for the population in this member state of the European Union. Large-scale redundancies and wage cuts for public sector workers, cuts to social state provisions and rapidly rising prices for basic goods have made life for the average Hungarian increasingly precarious.

Especially hard hit in Romania is the Roma minority, which already faces discrimination and suffers from extreme poverty. The risk of poverty in the Roma community is three times higher than the national average, according to 2003 figures. A World Bank report revealed that approximately 70 percent of the Roma population live on less than US$4.30 a day.

A significant proportion of the Roma community suffers from a broad spectrum of social disadvantages. These include a low level of education and training, leading to a lack of qualifications, high numbers of children to support, poor living conditions, and virtually no chance for employment on the regular labour market. In addition, the Roma population is subjected to social exclusion and marginalisation as a result of racial discrimination.

The low level of participation in the labour market is the main problem in the Roma community. According to official data contained in the 2002 census, only 23 percent of the Roma population were part of the country’s actively employed population.

There are major deficiencies recorded in the professional field. More than 70 percent of the Roma minority have no qualifications or undertake activities that do not require any formal training. The proportion of temporary day workers (42 percent of the Roma population) makes clear they are in a difficult situation in terms of employment and have a minimum income for their needs. Many Roma lack any experience in legally recognised economic activity or have suffered long periods of unemployment (more than 50 percent of the Roma population were unemployed for more than 27 months).

The living conditions of the Roma are highly precarious. Often, their homes are not connected to electricity, heat or sewerage. Inadequate income leads to a low participation in the education system. As a result, dropping out of school and non-participation in education are more frequent in the Roma population than the national average. More than a third of the Roma population (39 percent) are affected by illiteracy. Some discriminatory practices in relation to the population of Roma—including teaching Roma in separate classes—have only worsened their situation.

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