Amendment guarantees freedom of the press, but many journalists covering some
of the country's major events are being hounded, rather than protected. An
increasing number are reportedly being arrested, just for doing their jobs.
Anastasia Churkina has more.
It was with great regret that I learned of the
passing of Crown Prince Nayif bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia. For
decades, Crown Prince Nayif served as Minister of the Interior and dedicated
himself to the security of Saudi Arabia as well as security throughout the
region. Under his leadership, the United States and Saudi Arabia
developed a strong and effective partnership in the fight against terrorism,
one that has saved countless American and Saudi lives. Crown Prince Nayif
also strongly supported the broader partnership between our two countries begun
by his late father, King Abd al-Aziz Al Saud, and President Roosevelt in their
historic meeting in 1945. On behalf of the American people, I would like
to offer my deepest condolences to King Abdullah, the royal family, and the
people of Saudi Arabia.
Statement from Vice President Biden
I was saddened to learn of the passing of Crown
Prince Nayif bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, who, as Minister of the
Interior for almost 40 years, made an historic contribution to the security of
the Kingdom and to its strong partnership with the United States in the fight
against terrorism. I was honored to be received by Crown Prince Nayif in Riyadh
last October and had looked forward to welcoming him to the United States. I
offer my deepest condolences to King Abdullah, the royal family and the people
of Saudi Arabia.
Crown Prince Nayef, the
long-serving interior minister who led Saudi Arabia's crackdown against
al-Qaeda's branch in the country and then rose to become next in line to the
throne, has died. He was in his late 70s. Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz Al Saud,
who became heir to the throne last year at the age of 78, was head of the
country's interior ministry since 1975. Nayef had traveled abroad for medical
treatment and had "died outside the kingdom", Al-Ekhbariyah Television
said, quoting a statement from the royal court. Al Jazeera's Tarek
Patients with chronic illnesses
spend days in doctors' offices, visiting specialists and having tests done. As
part of Al Jazeera's "Tapping into Technology'" series, Jessica
Baldwin reports on a new smartphone application that is helping patients and
doctors keep better track of their treatment.
South Africa on Saturday will celebrate Youth
Day, a commemoration of a 1976 student protest that helped end apartheid.
Today, however, young South Africans are facing a different struggle: half of
the country's youth are jobless. Al Jazeera's Tania Page reports.
The head of the UN observer mission to
Syria says neither side is trying to end the fighting. Major General Robert
Mood told reporters in Damascus that the intense fighting is also preventing
monitors from doing their jobs. Al Jazeera's Jane Arraf reports.
President Obama announces a new Department of Homeland Security (DHS) policy that will allow certain young people who were brought to the United States as young children, do not present a risk to national security or public safety, and meet several key criteria to be considered for relief from removal from the country or from entering into removal proceedings.
This week, the President welcomed the Girl Scouts, the Presidents of the Philippines and of Israel, the New York Giants, local tv anchors from around the country, and Betty White. He also kicked off the Fatherhood Buzz Campaign and visited One World Trade Center.
DEA Official: "One of Our Agents Has Confirmed Everything You Said About This Drug"
In May, the United Kingdom’s Daily
published a news story entitled The Most Dangerous Drug in the World: The Devil’s
The story focused on a Colombia-based drug
called scopolamine, a derivative of burundanga, which reportedly places users
or victims in a “zombie-like state”-- for hours, days or weeks -- and completely
erases their memory.
Scopolamine also has the potential to render
users and victims to a child-like state and can cause death in a matter of
minutes if a certain dosage is exceeded.
Pharmaceutical companies in the U.S. use
scopolamine for the production of certain medications, such as motion-sickness
tablets, but not in its purest form and only in very small quantities.
In the documentary film “World's Scariest Drug”, Ryan Duffy interviews
people that were beaten or robbed shortly after the drug was slipped into
drinks or blown into their face by prostitutes in nightclubs or people passing
them on the street.
Others were victimized after receiving something
as simple as a finger swipe under the nose.
“It’s called the Devil’s Breath because it takes
your soul,” said one of the victims showcased in the film.
“It literally robs you of your free will, and there is nothing you can do about
The drug is produced from the Borrachero tree,
one of the country’s most recognizable and feared trees because of its potency
and hallucinogenic components.
According to another witness appearing in the documentary,
the powdery drug, which bears a striking resemblance to cocaine, is so potent
that “if placed on a simple piece of paper, and the paper is placed near the
person’s face, the person will fall victim to it in a matter of seconds.”
In numerous instances, victims were captured on
bank surveillance tapes willfully emptying their bank accounts while the
assailants waited outside.
Other victims happily rummaged through their
belongings and handed over checkbooks, credit cards, jewelry, car keys and
other valuable possessions at the request of criminals.
In the most extreme cases, victims discovered
kidneys and other organs had been removed after regaining consciousness.
Amazingly, the victims have no recollection of
what happened or how it happened. As a result, hundreds of crimes go unreported
Snopes.com recently noted, “The U.S. State Department’s information
about Colombia has for years cautioned travelers about such drugs. Its 21 June
2007 travel advisory about crime in that country said: The Embassy continues to
receive reports of criminals using disabling drugs to temporarily incapacitate
tourists and others. At bars, restaurants and other public areas, perpetrators
may offer tainted drinks, cigarettes or gum. Typically, victims become
disoriented or unconscious, and are thus vulnerable to robbery, sexual assault,
and other crimes. Avoid leaving food or drinks unattended at a bar or
restaurant, and be suspicious if a stranger offers you something to eat or
In effort to verify much of what the Dail Mail
story and film reported, From The G-Man contacted the Drug Enforcement Agency
(DEA) in Washington, D.C. and spoke to Barbara Carreno, Public Affairs Officer,
DEA HQ Public Affairs Section.
Carreno had no knowledge of the drug or its
origin and went on to say that she would look into the matter.
Several days later, Carreno stated the following
during a phone conversation:
“After conferring with one of the DEA agents
here, who spent a number of years in Bogota, Colombia, the agent confirmed everything
you stated regarding scopolamine and the crimes that are being committed. According
to the agent, it has been a major problem for quite some.”
Carreno went on to note that she had concerns
about this news story being published, citing it could provide information to people
that might make them want to gain access to the drug for criminal purposes.
“I’m not telling you that you shouldn’t run the
story. I just worry that criminals here in the U.S. who aren’t aware of the
drug will read your story and say ‘Ah-ha!’ Personally, and I’m not speaking for
the agency when I say this, I feel the less that people know about this drug,
the better,” said Carreno.
From The G-Man asked Carreno if there was a
possibility that scopolamine could one day infiltrate the U.S. -- and what measures,
if any, are in place to prevent it from entering the country.
“That’s a great question, but I would suggest
you reach out to officials at U.S. Customs Border Protection (CBP) for an answer.”
Emails were sent and calls were placed to the
U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency in Washington, D.C. and the New
York division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
To date, representatives from the aforementioned
agencies have not responded to our request for comments regarding this story.
From The G-Man will publish all comments from
the agency officials if and when they choose to respond.
The road to Haffa, once a town of 24,000 people
and popular with tourists, is now empty with most of the people gone. Left are
burnt-out cars, bombed buildings, and according to the United Nations
observers, a stench of dead bodies. The UN had been trying to get into Haffa
for a week, amid fears of a brutal assault by forces loyal to President Bashar
al-Assad. What observers found was evidence of a recent battle, and a strong
Syrian army presence. Al Jazeera's Dominic Kane reports.
Egypt's Supreme Constitutional Court has
dissolved its recently elected parliament, calling it invalid, and ruled that
the ousted president Hosni Mubarak's former prime minister can stand as president.
This means the presidential run-off between Ahmed Shafik and the Muslim
Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi will go ahead this weekend. The
Brotherhood said the dissolution of parliament will send Egypt into a
"dark tunnel". Al Jazeera's Sherine Tadros reports from Cairo.
United Nations monitors in
Syria have been inspecting the site of a bombing near Damascus. Activists say
the government's bombing campaign continues in Homs and Deir Az Zor. Al
Jazeera's Jane Arraf reports.
The Greek election will be
closely watched, especially by financial markets hoping for stability in
Greece. Many Greeks are reluctant to keep their own money in banks, meaning
billions of dollars have left the country's financial system. They have been
removing their money from Greek banks for two years, sending it to Germany, the
United States and other safe havens. As the general election approaches, the
initiative has gathered pace. Central bank figures show that deposits shrank by
about 17 per cent or 44.4 billion dollars in 2011. At the end of April this
year they stood at 208.1 billion dollars. Consumers are stocking up on
nonperishable food, worried about the election outcome. Al Jazeera's Tim Friend
reports from Athens.
Tuberculosis, as an infectious disease, is
second only to HIV-Aids as the world's greatest killer. Every year in Malaysia,
22 000 people are diagnosed with tuberculosis. Doctors working in a
tuberculosis ward of Kota Kinabalu worry that after seeing a decline in cases
in the 1990s, that trend has now sharply reversed. They say the public needs to
pay attention to the disease and take measures to prevent it. Al Jazeera's
Stephanie Scawen reports from Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia.
Iraqi Leaders Urged to Move Quickly to Alleviate Current Tensions
National Security Advisor to the Vice President
Tony Blinken visited Iraq on June 13-14 and met with a range of senior Iraqi
leaders, including Prime Minister Maliki, Deputy Prime Minister Shahristani,
and KRG President Barzani.
Blinken also spoke by telephone with President
Talabani, Foreign Minister Zebari, and Council of Representatives Speaker
NSA Blinken made clear to all his interlocutors
that the United States takes no side in the current political situation, but
favors any solution that is reached by the Iraqis themselves, in accordance
with Iraqi law and the constitution, and is achieved in a clear and transparent
manner that does not promote or lead to violence.
Blinken urged Iraqi leaders to move quickly to
alleviate current tensions in order to refocus energy on critical
state-building challenges, including preparations for provincial and local
elections next year, and he underscored that the United States calls on Iraq’s
neighbors to support Iraq’s sovereign right to choose its own
The NSA Advisor also stressed that the Iraqi and
American people have sacrificed greatly for Iraq’s constitutional and
democratic system, which continues to have our unwavering support.
"I Am Honored to Have President Obama's Endorsement and His Support..."
Jamaica, NY - Friends of Gregory W. Meeks
announced today that President Barack Obama has endorsed Congressman Gregory W.
Meeks in the June 26 Democratic congressional primary for the newly-drawn Fifth
"Congressman Meeks is an important partner
who has fought to create jobs, strengthen the middle class, reform Wall Street
,help responsible homeowners stay in their homes, and make health care
accessible and affordable for tens of millions of Americans who lack
coverage. Hard working families in Southeast Queens and Nassau
County will benefit from his dedicated and determined leadership in Congress,”
said President Obama.
“I am honored to have President Obama’s
endorsement and his support as I continue to work tirelessly in Congress to
bring America from recovery back to prosperity,” said Meeks.
Congressman Meeks, serving in his 7th full term,
is focusing his campaign on the issues facing many families in the 5th
Congressional District fighting to keep their homes, and their jobs.
"The President’s endorsement is a symbol of
an important partnership between the Obama Administration and Democrats in
Congress to invigorate our nation’s economic recovery while protecting
Medicare, Social Security, and other vital programs," Meeks noted.
“The Republicans have made clear they want to
return to the failed policies of the past. But they did not work then, and they
won’t work now. We need the experience and effective leadership of
Congressman Meeks to help continue moving this country forward,” said President
Congressman Meeks is a Senior Member of the
House Financial Services Committee, and Ranking Member of the House Foreign
Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on Europe and Eurasia.
He is the former Chairman of the Subcommittee on
International Monetary Policy and Trade of the House Financial Services
The Democratic congressional primary is
June26. Polls are open from 6 am to 9pm.
Syrian forces and armed gangs loyal to President
Bashar al Assad are systematically killing civilians in attacks that could
amount to crimes against humanity. That's according to a report by human rights
group, Amnesty International. Its researchers working inside Syria found
repeated examples of brutality. You may find some of the images in Dominic
Kane's report distressing.
With the general election
looming, a new crisis is hitting the Greek health service. Budget cuts mean the
sick and elderly are not receiving the medicine they need. Pharmacists were
owed huge amounts of money by the health ministry and now they have stopped
supplying medicine on credit, even to those who have contributed to state
insurance. Patients now have to pay up front. Those with high-risk chronic
conditions were to receive emergency help, but even some of them have had
difficulty finding medication. Doctors fear for the future of the Greek health
service as Sunday's general election approaches with no clear favourite - and
massive economic uncertainty. Al Jazeera's Tim Friend reports from Athens.
Air Nigeria, the national carrier and
second-largest airline of the West African nation, has been grounded for safety
checks. The move comes days after one of the country's worst air crashes
resulted in the deaths of all 153 people on board. Thousands of Air Nigeria
passengers are now left stranded as rumours of financial troubles and an
engineers' strike adds to the challenges facing the carrier. The most damning
claims, however, come from John Nnorom, former finance director, who says the
airline's engineers are under commercial pressure to certify unfit aircraft for
travel. Al Jazeera's Yvonne Ndege reports from Abuja.
President Obama awards President Shimon Peres of Israel the Presidential Medal of Freedom at a dinner at the White House in the East Room. An ardent advocate for Israel's security and for peace, Shimon Peres was elected the ninth President of Israel in 2007. Through his life and work, he has strengthened the unbreakable bonds between Israel and the United States.
All across the Eurozone, the
worry of what will happen next is evident. Days after a bond sale the Spanish
government touted as a success, there are new fears that a bailout of Spain's
banks may not have been enough to keep the nation from economic disaster. In
Italy, Mario Monti, the prime minister, continues to insist that Rome is not in
need of a bailout. But for some, the implementation of austerity measures will
not be enough to save the Italian economy. In Greece, this weekend's election
will determine whether Athens accepts the eurozone's bailout and austerity
scheme or if it could be the first nation to drop out of the economic bloc. Al
Jazeera's Sonia Gallego reports.
President Obama spoke separately today to
European Council President Van Rompuy and Mexican President Felipe Calderon to
discuss the economic situation in Europe as well as preparations for the June
18-19 G-20 Summit in Los Cabos, Mexico.
This continues the President’s close
consultations with fellow leaders about the global economy. President Van
Rompuy agreed on the importance of steps to strengthen the resilience of the
Eurozone and growth in Europe and globally.
President Calderon discussed the agenda of the
Mexican Presidency of the G-20.
In both calls, the leaders agreed to work
closely together toward a successful Los Cabos Summit.
Statement from Governor Andrew Cuomo on the Passage of Telemarketing Legislation
"The legislation passed by both the
Assembly and Senate that takes major steps to prevent unwanted and annoying
telemarketing calls is a big win for the people of New York State. We all know
what it is like to be harassed in our homes or on our cell phones by calls from
telemarketers trying to sell their products, and with the legislation passed
today New Yorkers will have new safeguards to stop these intrusive calls. I
applaud the members of the Legislature for their swift passage of this
Israeli police have rounded up
more than 200 African migrants for deportation since Sunday. Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu says illegal immigrants threaten the security and identity
of the Jewish state. Polls suggest many Israelis agree. Al Jazeera's Nadim Baba
reports from Tel Aviv.
Herve Ladsous, the head of the United Nations'
peacekeeping operations, has said that the situation in Syria now amounts to a
full-scale civil war. Meanwhile, the United States says Russia is sending
attack helicopters to the country. Al Jazeera's Kristen Saloomey reports.
Social activists, with the support of the
police, have raided a New Delhi factory employing children aged between six and
13. The children, who had been working there for more than a year, came from
other regions of India like West Bengal, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, according to
the activists. Their parents, often poor and living in rural areas, were
approached by brokers who promised them their child would be looked after and
educated. The brokers also promised their child would send them money. In recent
weeks, the state minister for labour and employment has emphasised the
government's commitment to stamp out under-age labour, but charities say
children living in poverty are still at risk. Al Jazeera's Sohail Rahman
reports from New Delhi.
Security forces in Myanmar are struggling to
contain violence in the country's west. At least nine people have been killed
in the latest fighting between Buddhists and Muslims. Hundreds are now trying
to escape into neighbouring Bangladesh. Al Jazeera's Khadija Magardie reports.
A Tunisian military court has sentenced former
president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali to 20 years in jail for inciting violence
during a police attempt to smuggle his nephew out of the country. It took place
during last year's revolt which overthrew Ben Ali, now living in exile in Saudi
Arabia. Meanwhile, the government has imposed a curfew following widespread
riots, the worst street violence since the revolution. Will Jordan reports.