Saturday, May 19, 2018

Video - Jimmy Kimmel on Santa Fe School Shooting - #SantaFeHighSchool #GunReformNow #Texas #SabikaSheikh

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Video Report - #SantaFeHighSchool #GunReformNow #Texas #SabikaSheikh More killed in school shootings than in military in 2018

Saudi women's rights campaigners detained and branded traitors weeks before driving ban lifted

By Chris Baynes
Activists said all of those arrested by state security had worked in some capacity on women’s rights issues.
Saudi Arabia has detained seven women’s rights campaigners, accusing them of working with “foreign entities”, weeks before the kingdom lifts a ban on female drivers.
Activists said all of those arrested by state security had worked in some capacity on women’s rights issues, with five of them among the most prominent and outspoken campaigners in the country.
Pro-government media outlets splashed their photos online and in newspapers, accusing them of being traitors.
The campaigners have persistently demanded women should be allowed to drive but stressed the right, which will come into force next month, was only the first step towards equality.
For years, they have also called for an end to less visible forms of discrimination, such as guardianship laws that give male relatives the final say on whether a woman can travel abroad, obtain a passport or marry.
The feminist movement is seen as part of a larger democratic and civil rights push in the kingdom, which remains an absolute monarchy where protests are illegal and all major decision-making rests with the king and his son, Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.
Some state-linked media outlets published the names of those detained, which include Loujain al-Hathloul, Aziza al-Yousef, and Eman al-Najfan.
Rights activists, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of repercussions, said Madeha al-Ajroush and Aisha al-Manae were also among the seven detained. Both took part in the first women’s protest movement for the right to drive in 1990, when 50 women were arrested for driving and lost their passports and their jobs.
Several of the women detained this week were professors at state-run universities and are mothers or grandmothers. The interior ministry did not name those arrested, but said the group was being investigated for communicating with “foreign entities”, working to recruit people in sensitive government positions and providing money to foreign circles with the aim of destabilising and harming the kingdom.
The arrests come just six weeks before Saudi Arabia is due to lift the world’s only ban on women driving.
When the kingdom issued its royal decree last year announcing that women would be allowed to drive in 2018, rights activists were contacted by the royal court and warned against giving interviews to the media or speaking out on social media.
Following the warnings, some women left the country for a period of time and others stopped voicing their opinions on Twitter.
As activists were pressured into silence, Saudi Arabia’s 32-year-old heir to the throne stepped forth, positioning himself as the force behind the kingdom’s reforms.
According to Human Rights Watch, however, the prince’s so-called reform campaign “has been a frenzy of fear for genuine Saudi reformers who dare to advocate publicly for human rights or women’s empowerment”.
“The message is clear that anyone expressing scepticism about the crown prince’s rights agenda faces time in jail,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.
Last year, Prince Mohammad oversaw the arrests of dozens of writers, intellectuals and moderate clerics who were perceived as critics of his foreign policies. He also led an unprecedented shakedown of top princes and businessmen, who were forced to hand over significant portions of their wealth in exchange for their freedom as part of a purported anti-corruption campaign.
In an interview with CBS in March, he said he was “absolutely” sending a message through these arrests that there was “a new sheriff in town”.
Activists said writer Mohammad al-Rabea and lawyer Ibrahim al-Mudaimigh, two men who worked to support women’s rights campaigners, were also among the seven detained.
Mr Mudaimigh defended Ms Hathloul in court when she was detained in late 2014 for more than 70 days for her online criticism of the government and for attempting to bring attention to the driving ban by driving from neighbouring United Arab Emirates into Saudi Arabia. Those familiar with the arrests say Ms Hathloul was forcibly taken by security forces earlier this year from the UAE, where she was residing, to the kingdom.
Activists said several women’s rights campaigners had also been banned from travelling abroad in recent weeks.
Immediately after news of the arrests broke, pro-government Twitter accounts were branding the activists treasonous under an Arabic hashtag, describing them as traitors for foreign embassies.
The pro-government SaudiNews50 Twitter account, which has 11.5 million followers, splashed images of those arrested with red stamps reading “traitor” over their face. The account said “history spits in the face of the country’s traitors”. The state-linked Al-Jazirah newspaper published on its front page a photo of Ms Hathloul and Ms Yousef under a headline describing them as citizens who betrayed the nation.

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#SantaFeHighSchool #GunReformNow #Texas #SabikaSheikh - Please, Let’s Never Get Used to This

By Gail Collins
There was a time when the news that 10 people had been gunned down at their school would have been a terrific shock. You’d have talked about it with everyone at work, with your family at dinner. All through the weekend. But now it’s beginning to feel way too normal.
On Friday it was in Santa Fe, Tex. Just three months after we lost 14 kids in Florida. “It’s been happening everywhere. I’ve always kind of felt like eventually it was going to happen here, too,” one of the Santa Fe students told a reporter.
Because we have been through this so often, we know what to expect next: the portraits of the dead young people and their families. Shocked acquaintances of the shooting suspect. And then a dissection into what went wrong, during which allies of the National Rifle Association will quickly point their fingers at something other than … guns. On Friday one Texas Republican kept talking about the overcoat the shooter used to hide his weapon. (Maybe there should be a ban on heavy clothing.)
The Santa Fe high school seemed to have been well patrolled, so it was tough arguing that the problem was a lack of security. However, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick creatively suggested the school had “too many entrances and too many exits.”
This is the same Dan Patrick who responded to the shooting at the gay nightclub in Orlando with a tweet quoting the Bible: “God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” Feel free to think of this as the Blame the Almighty theory of mass shootings.
Donald Trump responded to the news out of Santa Fe by vowing to “keep weapons out of the hands of those who pose a threat to themselves and to others.” This could mean anything over the long run. At a recent N.R.A. convention he seemed to suggest the real peril was … knives. “I recently read a story that in London, which has unbelievably tough gun laws, a once very prestigious hospital right in the middle is like a war zone for horrible stabbing wounds,” he declared. “They say it’s as bad as a military war zone hospital. Knives, knives, knives.”
Trump’s knife riff drove Mark Kelly nuts. He and his wife, former Representative Gabby Giffords, have been fighting gun violence since she was shot in the head by a disturbed man at an Arizona shopping center in 2011. On the day the Sandy Hook shooter was killing 6- and 7-year-olds in Connecticut, Kelly remembered, he was in China, where Beijing was also dealing with a school violence crisis.
“A guy walked into a school and stabbed more than 20 kids,” Kelly recalled. “Horrible. But do you know how many kids died? Zero.”
There are a lot of gun reformers like Kelly who got their start from a personal tragedy. On the day we heard about Sandy Hook, I called Carolyn McCarthy, who got elected to the House of Representatives after her husband and son were shot by a gunman on the Long Island Rail Road.
“I don’t know who we are anymore,” she said over the phone, her voice breaking. That was in 2012. By then McCarthy had been in office for 15 years, still vowing to retire as soon as Congress made some serious progress on gun violence. Never happened. She left anyway in 2015.
But the beat goes on. Kelly says he doesn’t get depressed, and he tries to dwell on “the people who didn’t get shot and killed” thanks to reform legislation passed in the states.
So let’s give a salute to the people who keep chugging along, no matter how many times they have to answer the phone and comment about a terrible shooting very much like the one they commented on a few months before.
“I don’t have anything original left to say,” said Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, who’s been a gun-reform warrior since 2012, when his old congressional district was the scene of the Sandy Hook massacre.
Earlier this year, when the nation was reeling from the high school shooting in Parkland, Fla., Murphy was invited to a bipartisan meeting with other members of Congress and Donald Trump. That was the gathering where the president vowed to crack down on guns and made fun of Republican senators for being “afraid of the N.R.A.” Before they all sat down, Murphy recalled, the president “pulled me close and told me he was going to stop this. As usual he wasn’t telling the truth.”
Fast forward to that N.R.A. convention this month, where Trump told the cheering crowd their right to bear arms “will never, ever be under siege as long as I’m your president.”
Does sound … inconsistent. But maybe he was trying out a script for a movie in which the hero is a chief executive who wakes up every morning and does the exact opposite of what happened the day before.
Our mission, however, is pretty clear. The problem is guns, not knives or too many school doors. And when children lose their lives to a mass shooting, we have to keep talking about it.

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Police arrest dozens of Christians in Pakistan

The arrests of more than 20 Christians in southern Karachi city have sparked anger among the minority community, which claims the police unlawfully detained Christian youths and leveled charges against them after months.
Pakistani police finally brought dozens of "missing" Christians to a court in the southern city of Karachi on May 16 after denying their arrests for weeks.
The families of the "disappeared" Christians had complained that the security forces picked up more than two dozens of Christians — mainly youths — without any charges from the Gulshan-e-Iqbal area and some other parts of the port city.
Christians in Pakistan face widespread legal and cultural discrimination and are often targeted by Islamists and fundamentalist mobs. The latest arrests in Karachi have further increased the sense of insecurity among the minority community.
The authorities have now formally charged the arrested Christians for possessing arms and being involved in criminal activities.
Karachi, a metropolis of over 18 million people, is home to thousands of Christians, who have been living in the city for decades. They are mostly impoverished, living in slums and employed as low-paid workers. Many of them have migrated from the Punjab province to Karachi in the past few decades; some migrated from India to Pakistan even before the two countries gained independence from British rule in 1947.
Smith Michael was picked by police on May 8

Unlawful arrests?
"In March, they [security forces] picked up six men. In April, four more were arrested and on May 8 the police rounded up 14 more from the G-13 area of Gulshan-e-Iqbal," Noman Micheal, brother of Smith Michael, who was picked by police on May 8, told DW. "If they were criminals, why didn't the police bring them to the court within 24 hours as demanded by law?"
Michael said that many Christian youths are not sleeping at home fearing arrests. "They have moved to other areas. We are an easy target because Christians are vulnerable in Pakistan. Even the country's media don't report about our protests and demonstrations. We feel helpless," Michael complained.
Naveeda Bibi, whose 29-year-old son Sikander Saif was also picked up, told DW that her son was arrested on May 8 and brought to a court in Karachi on May 16. "When the security forces picked him up, they said he would be interrogated and released afterwards. But they have booked him in a fabricated case."
"We are very poor and don't know how to get justice for our loved ones. Legal battles are very expensive in Pakistan and we don't have the financial resources to pursue that," she added.
The Christian community also accused security officials of harassing them. "When we asked why they are taking away our boys, they started threatening us. They entered our house without any notice," said Khalida Bibi, whose relatives are among the arrested group of Christians.
Drive against petty criminals
"Even if the arrested people are criminals, the police shouldn't have kept them in detention without charges. Such actions confuse people," Jibran Nasir, a human rights activist in Karachi, told DW.
But the police finally came up with formal charges against the Christian men on May 16. To the surprise of the residents of the Christian colony, most of these people were charged with committing various criminal activities.
Hanooq Salamat, a Christian activist, is of the view that the police use arrests and detentions to extort money from the families.
"Had the police acted against real criminals, Karachi would not have been such a lawless city. Snatching of mobile phones, car thefts and mugging have become a routine in the city," Salamat told DW.
But the Karachi police insist they did not arrest any innocent person.
Suhail Ahmed, the spokesman for Sindh Police, told DW that "only those involved in crimes are being rounded up."
"It is part of our drive against street crimes," Ahmed said.
Living in fear
The police mistreatment of Christians is not a new occurrence in Pakistan. In February, Sajid Masih, a 24-year-old blasphemy suspect, leapt from the fourth floor of the Federal Investigation Agency's (FIA) Punjab headquarters in Lahore and severely injured himself. In a video statement, Sajid alleged that he jumped because the FIA officials tortured him and ordered him to "sexually assault" Patras Masih, his cousin and the main accused in an online blasphemy case.
"They asked me to abuse myself, but I refused to do so. Later, they asked me to sexually assault my cousin, but I remained silent and jumped from the building," he said.
Following Sajid's accusations, FIA Director General Bashir Ahmed Memon ordered an official inquiry.
Patras, 21, who is a resident of Lahore city, was arrested by police last week for allegedly posting a "blasphemous photo" on Facebook on January 16. The arrest was made after hundreds of supporters and activists of the Islamist Tehreek-i-Labaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLYRA) party staged protests against Patras. The TLYRA outfit has gained prominence in Pakistan since their "blasphemy siege" of the capital Islamabad in October last year.
Pakistan's Christians and other religious minorities complain of legal and social discrimination in their country. In the past few years, many Christians and Hindus have been brutally murdered over unproven blasphemy allegations.
One of Pakistan's most high profile blasphemy cases is that of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman who was found guilty of committing blasphemy while working in the fields in 2009 and was sentenced to death. In 2014, her death sentence was upheld by the Lahore High Court. Amnesty International called the verdict a "grave injustice."
In one case, a young Christian girl with Down syndrome was accused in August 2012 of burning pages upon which verses of the Koran were inscribed. Rimsha Masih was taken into police custody and only released months later, when charges were dropped. The case caused an uproar in her home town and beyond and sparked riots and violence against Christians in the region. In 2013, she and her family relocated to Canada.
In 2014, a Christian couple was beaten to death for allegedly desecrating a copy of the Quran. Their bodies were subsequently burned in a brick kiln.
In September last year, a Christian man in Pakistan was sentenced to death for sharing "blasphemous" material on WhatsApp.

Bilawal Bhutto expresses grief and shock over the killings of innocent students in US town of #SantaFe in #Texas

Chairman Pakistan Peoples Party Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has expressed grief and shock over the killings of innocent students in US town of Santa Fe in Texas.

In a statement, the PPP Chairman said killings of Pakistani Sabika Aziz and other innocent students have shocked everyone in Pakistan also and we share the grief of all the victim families.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that increasing violence in American education institutions was alarming trend adding that intolerance and violence is a poison for any society.

#Texas #SabikaSheikh - Family of Pakistani girl killed in #Texasschool shooting begs U.S.: 'Please make sure this doesn't happen again'

Sabika Sheikh spoke to her 9-year-old sister on the phone Friday, counting down the days before she would complete her high school exchange program in suburban Houston and return to the family home in Karachi, Pakistan.
"She told me that in 20 days we will be together," said Sabika's sister, Soha. "She had bought so many gifts for me."
Hours later, America's unending cycle of campus gun violence reverberated thousands of miles away when a 17-year-old junior opened fire at Sabika's high school in Santa Fe, Texas, killing her and nine others. The 17-year-old Pakistani exchange student was "the lifeline of our family," her father, Aziz Sheikh, told The Times in a phone interview Saturday. The eldest of three siblings from a middle-class section of Karachi, the sprawling port city, Sabika was a "brilliant student" who had dreams of joining the Pakistani foreign service, he said.
She was due to return to Karachi on June 9, and the family was planning to spend the summer vacation traveling across the country visiting relatives. Her father said Sabika was looking forward to observing the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which began this week and is marked by prayer, daylong fasts and family meals.
"She was a great soul," he said.
Sheikh said his daughter regularly placed among the top three students in her classes in Pakistan before she began the exchange program last August. In a photo circulated on social media, Sabika is smiling and wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the word "Texas."
The manager of the Kennedy-Lugar YES exchange program, Megan Lysaght, sent a letter to students saying the program was "devastated by this loss and we will remember Sabika and her families in our thoughts and prayers."
Pakistan is no stranger to campus violence. Islamist militants who view the country's formal education system as un-Islamic have targeted hundreds of schools over the past decade, with the deadliest attack coming in 2014, when gunmen killed more than 140 people, mostly students, at an army-run school in the northern city of Peshawar.
Sabika's uncle, Ansar Sheikh, described the Texas shooting as an act of terrorism and pleaded with the U.S. government to take action. "I don't blame the murder of my girl on American society but on that terrorism mindset that is there in all societies. We need to fight it all over the world," he said. "I do ask the American government to make sure weapons will not be easily available in your country to anybody. Please make sure this doesn't happen again. It really hurts."
Sabika's middle sibling, Ali, described her as his best friend.
"She asked me to make sure her room was neat and clean when she came back," he told Pakistani news media. "She had also asked our mother to cook her favorite dishes on June 9." As reporters swarmed the family's house in the Gulshan-e-Iqbal neighborhood of Karachi, Sheikh said he had received condolence calls from the U.S. ambassador to Pakistan, David Hale, and Pakistani authorities in the United States. "As an exchange student, Sabika was a youth ambassador, a bridge between our peoples and cultures," Hale said in a statement. "All of us at the U.S. mission in Pakistan are devastated by and mourn her loss."
Sheikh said the Pakistani consul general in Houston told him that Sabika's body would be brought to Karachi on Monday.
"She was the lifeline of our family," he said. "Her mother and siblings are in deep shock."