VALLETTA: A year after a car bomb killed Maltese anti-corruption journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, those who ordered the murder remain free while others continuing her work in the EU’s smallest state are branded traitors.
The windswept field where the mother-of-three’s burnt-out car ended up on Oct 16, 2017, has become a monument to her life.
Supporters of free speech like Tania Attard come to this isolated spot to place flowers under a banner calling for justice, fluttering alongside a Maltese flag.
“If the person responsible for this is established, perhaps then we can rest and see that justice is done,” Attard said.
“I’m sure they never realised that it would come this far, that it would ... turn into something so important and international.”
After her death an international consortium of journalists launched the Daphne Project, coordinated by Forbidden Stories, a Paris-based organisation dedicated to continuing the work of killed or imprisoned journalists.
“They just thought they would eliminate her and then feel better but I don’t think that is the result at all, I think that it has backfired on them,” said Attard.
But while journalists abroad can continue her work, those in Malta calling for justice say they are branded traitors.
Caruana Galizia’s blog sought to expose scandals on the island of less than half-a-million people, from petrol smuggling to money laundering, offshore bank accounts to nepotism, implicating members of the government and organised crime.
It also launched highly personal attacks on Maltese politicians.
Journalist and blogger Manuel Delia says that he receives threats and insults in the street because of his work, including speaking to foreign journalists, just as Caruana Galizia did when she was alive.
“The more time passes the more we realise that democracy doesn’t really work well here, the rule of law does not prevail,” said Delia, who worked for years for the Nationalist party until it lost to Labour in 2013.
“Institutions are completely co-opted and possessed by the government, and the government is possessed by people who are motivated by their own power and personal profit.”
Supporters of Caruana Galizia hold a vigil on the 16th of every month, demanding justice. Meanwhile, officials regularly dispatch street cleaners to remove an impromptu memorial that keeps reappearing in Valletta’s historic centre.
The government of Labour Prime Minister Joseph Muscat eventually replied to repeated requests for comment with a statement saying Caruana Galizia’s murder was “an attack on our freedom of expression, which was unacceptable”.
“The Maltese government believes the Fourth Estate is essential in a democratic system... journalists in Malta currently engage in their work freely, without any interference by the state.”
Three men who allegedly carried out the car bombing have been arrested and are facing trial, but whoever ordered the killing remains free.
The political opposition to the Labour government consists of the Nationalist party, which was headed by Simon Busuttil until June last year.
He says that Caruana Galizia’s corruption investigations and accusations crossed party lines, although she more regularly skewered members of the Labour party.
“You know her last words [on her blog] were ‘the situation is desperate’ and I feel that today the situation is even more desperate,” Busuttil told AFP at his offices in Valletta.
“Because the people who ordered her killing are still at large and because the corruption stories that she revealed have still not been resolved and those corruption stories involve people who are actually running the country.”
He says Brussels should ensure the rule of law is applied in the island, which joined the European Union in 2004.
The murdered journalist’s sister Corinne says that the current criminal investigation is limited in scope, and that there should be an independent enquiry.
“They are not investigating whether Daphne’s life could have been saved, they are not investigating whether there was a possibility of state complicity, they are not investigating the possibility of state neglect and they are certainly not investigating how to prevent future deaths,” she said.
“One person was killed, nobody has been punished, nothing has changed. If it was dangerous for Daphne, think how much worse it is now.” — AFP
Published in Dawn, October 15th, 2018
DUBAI, Sept 23, (Agencies): Iran’s Revolutionary Guards vowed on Sunday to exact “deadly and unforgettable” vengeance for a shooting attack on a military parade that killed 29 people, including 12 of their comrades, and Tehran accused Gulf Arab states of backing the gunmen. Saturday’s assault, one of the worst ever against the elite force of the Islamic Republic, struck a blow at its security establishment at a time when the United States and its Gulf allies are working to isolate Tehran.
Meanwhile, His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah on Saturday sent a cable to President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Hassan Rouhani, to express sincere condolences on the deadly assault on a military parade in the Iranian city of Ahvaz.
In his cable, His Highness the Amir condemned the terrorist attack which left dozens of casualties. He prayed for the victims and wished speedy recovery and wellness for the injured. His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah sent similar cables of condolences to the Iranian president.
National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanim also sent a cable to Iranian counterpart Ali Larijani to offer condolences on the deadly attack. In his cable, Al-Ghanim condoled with families of the victims and denounced the terrorist act. He also prayed for the dead and wished the wounded speedy recovery.
“Considering (the Guards’) full knowledge about the centres of deployment of the criminal terrorists’ leaders …, they will face a deadly and unforgettable vengeance in the near future,” the Guards said in a statement carried by state media. Four assailants fired on a viewing stand in the southwestern city of Ahvaz where Iranian officials had gathered to watch an annual event marking the start of the Islamic Republic’s 1980-88 war with Iraq.
Soldiers crawled about as gunfire crackled. Women and children fled for their lives. Ahvaz National Resistance, an Iranian ethnic Arab opposition movement which seeks a separate state in oil-rich Khuzestan province, claimed responsibility for the attack. Islamic State militants also claimed responsibility.
Neither claim provided evidence. All four attackers were killed. There has been a blizzard of furious statements from top Iranian officials, including President Hassan Rouhani, accusing Iran’s adversaries the United States and Gulf kingdoms of provoking the bloodshed and threatening a tough response.
Nikki Haley, US Ambassador to the United Nations, rejected Rouhani’s accusations as rhetoric. “He’s got the Iranian people … protesting, every ounce of money that goes into Iran goes into his military, he has oppressed his people for a long time and he needs to look at his own base to figure out where that’s coming from,” Haley told CNN. “He can blame us all he wants. The thing he’s got to do is look in the mirror,” she said.
Senior commanders of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) have said the Ahvaz attack was carried out by militants trained by Gulf states and Israel and backed by America. But it is unlikely the IRGC will strike any of these foes directly.
The Guards could put on a show of strength by firing missiles at opposition groups operating in Iraq or Syria that may be linked to the militants who staged the attack. They are also likely to enforce a tight security policy in Khuzestan province, arresting any perceived domestic opponents including civil rights activists.
Three Arab activists told Reuters that security forces, especially the intelligence branch of the Revolutionary Guards, had detained more activists in Ahvaz. “There are many checkpoints on the streets of Ahvaz, and the security forces are searching cars,” said Hossein Bouazar, a member of Ahwazi Centre for Human Rights. “Many people are scared.” Reuters could not immediately verify this account.
Iran has also been hit by sporadic street protests over economic hardship that have taken on anti-government overtones. Rouhani engineered Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers that ushered in a cautious detente with Washington before tensions flared anew with US President Donald Trump’s decision in May to pull out of the accord and reimpose sanctions on Tehran.
The attack on the military parade is likely to give security hardliners like the Guards more political ammunition because they did not endorse the pragmatist Rouhani’s pursuit of the nuclear deal with the West, analysts say. In New York, Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani said on Saturday that US sanctions were inflicting economic pain on Iran that could lead to a “successful revolution”.
The Trump administration has said that changing Iran’s system of government is not US policy. Shi’ite Iran is at odds with Western-allied Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia for predominance in the Middle East. The regional superpowers support opposing sides in the civil wars in Yemen and Syria as well as rival political groups in Iraq and Lebanon.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry summoned the United Arab Emirates’ charge d’affaires on Sunday over comments made about the bloody fusillade at the military parade, state-run PressTV said. There was no immediate comment from Saudi Arabia on Rouhani’s allegations. Iran denies Gulf Arab accusations that it seeks to extend its sway via proxies around the Middle East, calling for states in the oil-producing region to guarantee its security without the interference of the United States and other Western powers. A senior United Arab Emirates official denied on Sunday Iranian allegations alluding to the involvement of the UAE in training troops that claimed the attack.
The “formal incitement against the UAE from within Iran is unfortunate, and has escalated after the Ahvaz attack,” said Minister of State for Foreign Affairs for the United Arab Emirates Anwar Gargash in a tweet. “The UAE’s historical position against terrorism and violence is clear and Tehran’s allegations are baseless.” Giuliani, told members of Iran’s self-declared government in exile on Saturday that the US sympathizes with their efforts to overthrow that country’s official government.
The former New York mayor spoke to members and supporters of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, the biggest opposition group to Iran’s Islamic regime. Two USbased members who joined the gathering have been targeted for assassination by alleged Iranian agents named last month in criminal complaints issued by the US District Court for the District of Columbia.
“So I say to the Iranian government, you must truly be afraid of being overthrown,” Giuliani said. “We will not forget that you wanted to commit murder on our soil.” Giuliani said the Paris-based opposition organization is the democratic answer to an Iranian regime he called “a group of outlaws and murderers and people who pretend to be religious people and then have so much blood on their hands it’s almost unthinkable.” Instead, Giuliani said, “Iran is entitled to freedom and democracy.”
Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 19 August 2018: Caparol Paints, the German leader in the global paints industry, recently signed strategic partnership agreements with a number of contractors from Iraq to increase its market reach in the country.
Caparol hosted contractors from various parts of Iraq to provide them with firsthand experience of Caparol’s paints and techniques. This is part of Caparol’s growing interest in the region and increasing its reach across the Middle East. The contractors were given insights on various Caparol paint techniques, the strength of the brand and the paints that will be ideal for the Iraqi market.
With the aim to market Caparol across Iraq, Caparol will also participate in an industry event scheduled to be held in November. Caparol aims to showcase its products to a larger audience in Iraq.
Caparol products including Dibson, Texture and Stone were showcased to the contractors from Iraq. They were also provided training to understand the different decorative paints and uses including ArteTwin, Makhmalia, Armareno, DecoLasur, ArteLasur, Stucco Di Luce and Metallocryl interiors.
Speaking about expanding Caparol’s reach into Iraq, Mr. Mowaffaq Balish, Commercial Director Middle East at Caparol Paints, said, “It was a pleasure to host the delegation from Iraq. As we aim to increase our reach in the Middle East, Iraq has been our major focus. We aim to penetrate the market further and carve a niche for ourselves. Our growth in the UAE has helped us explore various other markets in the region and hosting the contractors has been an extremely important step in reaching out in the Iraqi market”.
“At Caparol we focus on knowledge sharing and its importance for growth. Our understanding of the interiors and paint industry in the UAE and Middle East has only grown stronger over the years. Through this exercise we have also educated them on the various paints we have at Caparol and its applications. Having developed our product range in-house with an up-to-date research and development team, we believe that providing insights into the industry to our peers is a great opportunity for us”, he added.
“Our interest in the region lies in being able to reach across markets and providing our paints and expertise to the interior and paint industry. Our highly efficient paints are a result of our commitment to provide the best in the industry to the people. We hope to further strengthen our relations with contractors in Iraq and increase our reach”, Mowaffaq said..
Caparol Paints has always been at the forefront of innovation with a highly sophisticated research and development department that constantly innovates technologies and manufacturing techniques, which complement the local market conditions.
Through its range of products, Caparol brings German paint techniques while focusing on appealing colours and paint textures. The brand has also made headway in sustainability by paying attention to quality and balancing between economy, environmental capability and quality of life.
About Caparol Paints:
Caparol Paints L.L.C. is a leading developer and producer of high quality paints, enamels, decorative and structural coatings as well as energy-saving thermal insulation systems. In an environment where quality is pivotal, Caparol’s paint products are tailored to create an appealing look whilst being formulated to withstand the harsh Middle Eastern climate. Caparol truly cares about family and beautiful living spaces. In fact, this core belief has helped Caparol become the largest family run paint company in Germany.
For over 120 years, Caparol’s products have cared for the health of countless families and the environment. The company, a part of the DAW (Deutsche Amphibolin-Werke) SE group in Germany, was established in Dubai, UAE in 1998 and since then it has brought the best of its German technology and service to the growing market of the Middle East. The company has secured high profile projects such as Dubai Creek Harbour, City Walk, Bluewaters, Nikki Beach Resort & Spa and Akoya by Damac, among many others.
Factory and Headquarters:
Saih Shuaib – 4, Dubai Industrial Park
P.O. Box 621182, Dubai United Arab Emirates
Tel: +971 4 3687600, Fax: +971 4 3687650
Abu Dhabi Office:
Musaffah City, P.O. Box 94476,
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Tel: +971 2 5539955, Fax +971 2 5539952
Al Quoz office:
Landmark – Emirates Glass Factory
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Tel: +971 4 3473538, Fax: +971 4 3474256
MAKKAH, Saudi Arabia, Aug 18, (Agencies): Hisham Mostafa briefly forgot the war in Syria and his financial worries as he looked upon Islam’s holiest sites for the first time, standing among hundreds of thousands of white-clad Muslims gathered in Makkah ahead of the Hajj pilgrimage.
“This is the first time I see the Grand Mosque and the Ka’aba. It is the best feeling of my life to be able to perform the Hajj,” said Mostafa, 50, as he looked at the cube-shaped structure towards which Muslims turn in prayer five times a day.
The accountant traveled to Saudi Arabia from Turkey where he has lived for five years since fleeing Aleppo in Syria. “War destroys everything … Life in Turkey is hard and I barely earn enough.” But he was able to join about 2 million Muslims, including 1.68 million from abroad, flooding Makkah’s narrow streets for the annual rite which starts on Sunday. Nayef Ahmed, 37, told Reuters that in order to afford the Hajj he had to sell a plot of land in Yemen, which is embroiled in a three-year proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
“Because of the war the prices are very high. But being here I feel comfort and peace and I pray to God for the war to end.” Saudi Arabia stakes its reputation on its guardianship of Islam’s holiest sites and organising a peaceful Hajj, which has been marred in the past by deadly stampedes, fires and riots.
The interior ministry has put in place measures to confront any security threat from militant attacks to political protests, but no specific threats have been detected, a spokesman said. “We will prevent any actions that are not part of the HaJj ritual and any act that may impact the safety of pilgrims or their ability to perform the rite,” Interior Ministry spokesman Mansour Turki told Reuters. Every able-bodied Muslim who has the means should perform the Hajj at least once in their lifetime under a quota system. “I came for umrah (minor pilgrimage) in 2007 and today after 10 years of registering and waiting, I am here,” said Najwa, 59, from Tunisia. “I cannot describe the feeling. I cry every day.”
The Hajj itinerary retraces the route Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) took 14 centuries ago. Saudi Arabia has made use of technology to manage the flow of millions at the same place at the same time. This includes electronic identification bracelets, connected to GPS, that were introduced after a 2015 crush killed hundreds.
“There is a comprehensive electronic agenda for every pilgrim and we have provided many apps that offer guidance,” Minister of Haj and Umrah Mohammed Bintin told Reuters. “We have a fleet of more than 18,000 buses, all of them linked to a control system that tracks their path.” He said a high speed railway be tween Makkah and Madinah had been completed and was being now being tested.
Pilgrimage is the backbone of a plan to expand tourism under a drive to diversify the kingdom’s economy away from oil. The haj and yearround umrah generate billions of dollars in revenues from worshippers’ lodging, transport, fees and gifts. Officials aim to increase the number of umrah and Hajj pilgrims to 15 million and 5 million respectively by 2020, and hope to double the umrah number again to 30 million by 2030.
The pilgrimage represents one of the five pillars of Islam and is required of all able-bodied Muslims once in their life. In recent weeks, the faithful have arrived in Makkah from across the world, all chanting “Labayk Allahuma Labayk,” or “Here I am, God, answering your call. Here I am.” The Hajj offers pilgrims an opportunity to feel closer to God amid the Muslim world’s many challenges, including the threat of extremists in the Mideast after the Islamic State group was beaten back in Iraq and Syria and the plight of Myanmar’s Muslim Rohingya minority. “My feeling is indescribable to perform the hajj,” said Imad Abdel- Raheem, an Egyptian pilgrim. “I also want to pray for all Muslim countries, for them to live free in all places, in Palestine and in Burma, in all places, in Afghanistan and in India.” Maj Gen Mansour al-Turki, the spokesman of the Saudi Interior Ministry, told journalists Saturday that over 2 million Muslims from abroad and inside the kingdom would be taking part in this year’s Hajj.
Men attending the Hajj dress in only terrycloth, seamless white garments meant to represent unity among Muslims and equality before God. Women wear loose clothing, cover their hair and forgo makeup and nail polish to achieve a state of humility and spiritual purity. Since arriving, many have circled the cube-shaped Ka’aba in Makkah – Islam’s holiest site.
The Kaaba represents the metaphorical house of God and the oneness of God in Islam. Observant Muslims around the world face toward the Kaaba during their five daily prayers. Muslims believe the Hajj retraces the footsteps of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), as well as those of the prophets Ibrahim and Ismail – Abraham and Ishmael in the Bible. After prayers in Makkah, pilgrims will head to an area called Mount Arafat on Monday, where the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) delivered his final sermon.
From there, pilgrims will head to an area called Muzdalifa, picking up pebbles along the way for a symbolic stoning of the devil and a casting away of sins that takes place in the Mina valley for three days.
BASRA, Iraq, July 16, (Agencies): Protests in Iraq continued into their second week Monday following days of clashes that left eight people dead, with demonstrators rallying to put social problems in the spotlight. Months after Iraq declared victory over the Islamic State group, attention has turned from the military battle to the fight for jobs and public services.
Thousands of people rallied in fresh protests Monday in the eastern province of Diyala and the southern city of Nasiriyah, according to AFP correspondents. Kuwait’s Defense Ministry, Interior Ministry and National Guard held a coordination meeting on Monday in the Operations and Plans Authority to discuss joint cooperation to address the regional conditions.
The Defense Ministry’s Directorate of Moral Guidance and Public Relations said in a statement that the joint meeting depicted the joint and ongoing cooperation between the security and military establishments for the service of the homeland security and the citizens.
The meeting was attended by Chief of the General Staff of the Kuwaiti Army Lieutenant-General Mohammad Khaled Al-Khodr, Ministry of Interior’s Acting Undersecretary Lieutenant General Essam Al-Nahham and head of operation and plans at the National Guard Maj Gen Faleh Shujaa, the statement added.
The ranking security and military officers briefed the meeting on the latest precautionary measures and steps taken to tackle the latest regional developments. They examined common plans, missions and joint training programs as well as coordination mechanisms, it said.
Taking part in the coordinative meeting were Deputy Chief of Staff General Sheikh Abdullah Al-Nawaf Al-Sabah, Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations and Planning Brigadier General Mohammed Al-Kanderi, MoI’s Assistant Undersecretary for Operations Major- General Jamal Al-Sayegh a number of high-ranking military officials.
Kuwaiti Ambassador to Iraq Salem Al-Zamanan has affirmed that the embassy continues to exert efforts to ensure the safe return of Kuwaitis to their homeland, stressing that all Kuwaitis in Iraq are in good condition and the embassy contacts them regularly, reports Al-Anba daily.
Speaking to the daily, Al-Zamanan disclosed six Kuwaitis have already left for Kuwait, indicating the embassy is now in the process of securing tickets for 21 other Kuwaitis. On the other hand, an Iraqi official told Al-Rai daily that Safwan border recently catered to several Kuwaitis and expatriates residing in Kuwait, revealing a number of travelers from Kuwait went to Basra while several others have retuned from Karbla to Kuwait.
He added the protests are still ongoing but there is no reason to worry, confirming the oil production was not affected by demonstrations in areas near an oilfield in Basra and governmental institutions in the province are operating as usual.
On Al-Najaf airport, the source clarified the airport is open but some airlines have announced cancellation of flights; asserting the airport is ready for ordinary flights. Iraqis already made their dissatisfaction with their leaders known through massive abstentions in May’s national elections, and now citizens are taking to the streets to demand they see benefits from the country’s vast oil reserves. “These oil fields belong to us, yet we get nothing,” said Hussein Ghazi, a 34-year-old protester in the port city of Basra.
The oil sector accounts for 89 percent of the state budget and 99 percent of Iraq’s export revenues, but only one percent of jobs, as the majority of posts are filled by foreigners.
Officially, 10.8 percent of Iraqis are jobless, while youth unemployment is twice as high, in a country where 60 percent of the population is aged under 24. For the demonstrators, who have taken their campaign to the headquarters of political parties across the southern provinces, setting some on fire and ripping down political posters, corruption is central to their plight.
Following the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, the country’s new leaders and public servants reaped the benefits of public funds and natural resources, leaving citizens with only basic infrastructure, according to protesters. “We hear a lot of grand words, but we don’t see anything coming,” said Basra demonstrator Aqil Kazem, an unemployed 27-year-old.
Chronic electricity cuts continue to leave Iraqis without respite from summer temperatures, which during the protests have reached 50 degrees Celsius (122 Fahrenheit).
Iraqis have also suffered from water shortages this year from drought and dams built by neighbouring countries. Since the daily protests began on July 8 in Basra, eight people have been killed in various cities, according to the health ministry.
The ministry did not however give details on the circumstances of the deaths, but according to different sources at least one person was shot dead by security forces in Basra.
That death, as youths demonstrated in Basra demanding jobs and against electricity cuts, fuelled the protest movement and it spread to provinces across the south: Dhi Qar, Karbala, Maysan, Muthana and Najaf. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi flew into the city on Friday in an effort to restore calm, a day later announcing investment worth $3 billion (2.6 billion euros) for Basra province.
He also pledged additional spending on housing, schools and services in the oil-rich but neglected region. As demonstrations continued, Abadi on Sunday met with security and intelligence chiefs in Baghdad and warned them to be on alert “because terrorists want to exploit any event or dispute”.
The prime minister also ordered security services not to use live fire against unarmed civilians. On Saturday the internet was cut across the country, as demonstrations threatened to spread.
Authorities said the shutdown was owing to maintenance work and Iraq was back online Monday. Despite the internet blackout, hundreds of protesters in Baghdad closed a highway on Sunday as they chanted slogans such as: “The people want to overthrow the regime”.
The demonstrators have won the backing of Iraq’s top Shiite authority, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who has also called on them to refrain from violence. The latest rallies follow a 2015 protest movement against corruption and the absence of public services, led mainly by nationalist Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr who won this year’s elections on an anti-graft ticket
Paris, May 13, 2018 (AFP) – A knifeman who killed one person and wounded four others in a suspected terror attack in central Paris was born in Chechnya in 1997, a judicial source said on Sunday.
The parents of the attacker, who witnesses said shouted “Allahu akbar” during the assault on Saturday night before being shot dead by police, have been taken into custody, the source added.