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Citizens speak out - 19 Jul 2011

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Uploaded on Aug 10, 2011

Citizens speak out. The demand for true reforms that provide improved lives of greater dignity, respect and opportunity for all fellow countrypersons continues as people gather in nations that include Bahrain, Egypt, Georgia, Israel, Jordan, Libya, Pakistan, Palestine, Serbia, Sudan, Syria, Ukraine, United Kingdom and Yemen.

UNITED KINGDOM - On Sunday, Scotland Yard chief Sir Paul Stephenson, Britain's most senior police official, resigned, followed on Monday by Deputy Commissioner John Yates, both stepping down over widespread criticism of how they handled the investigation into the now shut-down News of the World phone hacking scandal. Following their resignations, Prime Minister David Cameron announced he would shorten a trip to South Africa to return to the UK for an emergency meeting of Parliament on the matter. Meanwhile, with detectives saying that they have identified 3,700 potential phone hacking victims, the Independent Police Complaints Commission has been appointed to specifically probe the resigned officials as well as investigate police corruption associated with the phone hacking in the wake of allegations that police were paid to provide information to News of the World journalists.

SERBIA - Citing lack of evidence, a Hungarian court on Monday found Nazi war crimes suspect Sándor Képíró, now 97 years of age, innocent of charges that he was involved in the 1942 killing of several thousand Jewish, Roma and Serbian people who perished in what became known as the Novi Sad massacre.

UKRAINE & GEORGIA - On Monday, three members of the Ukrainian activist group Femen were attacked by a security guard as they gathered on the steps of the Georgian Embassy in Kiev to protest the arrest of three photographers in the Georgian capital Tbilisi. The Georgian embassy later apologized and said it had dismissed the guard. Meanwhile, in Georgia, a group of independent newspapers also made a statement about the arrests as they went to press without pictures, printing the word "Protest" in block letters in place of the photographs.

ISRAEL & PALESTINE - Around 2,000 people, including Israelis and Palestinians, marched together on Friday, July 15 through the Arab neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah calling for the United Nations to recognize Palestine as an independent state based on 1967 borders. On Monday, various Palestine-based press reported that three Palestinians near their home on Monday were attacked by Israeli settlers with batons and knives, severely injuring two. Meanwhile, a report released by Israeli human rights group B'Tselem found that 835 Palestinian youths have been arrested by Israeli forces for stone throwing between 2005 and 2010. Saying that the Israeli military law applied to these Palestinian minors does not offer the same protection as Israeli and international law, the group also stated that of the 835 arrested, 93 percent have received jail time, with 19 of those incarcerated being 12- and 13-year-olds.

EGYPT - Following a meeting with the Supreme Council of Armed Forces on Saturday, dozens of protesters in Cairo's Tahrir Square renewed a hunger strike begun on July 10, saying that the recent change in cabinet members is not the same as meaningful policy change, which they point out still has not occurred.

PAKISTAN & UNITED STATES - Pakistan and UK-based human rights attorneys have launched legal proceedings against former US Central Intelligence Agency legal counsel John Rizzo on behalf of the Pakistani relatives of citizens killed by unmanned US drone air strikes, which have been conducted in Pakistan since 2004. During his time in office, Mr. Rizzo gave legal approval for the strikes. However, lawyers for the victims' families state the use of such weapons outside a declared combat zone is in fact illegal.

BAHRAIN - US-based Human Rights Watch has called on Bahraini authorities to halt the prosecution of 48 medical doctors and nurses currently on trial in a closed-door military tribunal. They are also urging for a stop to the harassment of medical personnel as well as the removal of security forces from health care centers and fair trials for those accused of serious crimes.

SUDAN - A confidential United Nations report obtained by the UK-based Guardian and published on Saturday states that in the conflict-stricken disputed border region between Sudan and newly-formed South Sudan, the Sudanese government has been engaging in daily aerial bombings of civilian areas and summary executions, with specific targeting of the dark-skinned people that has resulted in the disappearance or killing of at least 3,000 since the beginning of June. The report also states that the attacks have completely blocked the ability of the UN to fulfill its basic peacekeeping mission.

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