Di seguito gli interventi pubblicati in questa sezione, in ordine cronologico.
Both tunnels were at least 150 yards long. One, found on Wednesday by the Mexican army, began under a bathroom sink inside a warehouse in Tijuana but was unfinished and did not cross the border into San Diego.
The other was completed and discovered on Saturday in a vacant strip mall storefront in the south-western Arizona city of San Luis.
It showed a level of sophistication not typically associated with other crude smuggling passageways that tie into storm drains in the state.
Douglas Coleman, special agent in charge of the Phoenix division of the Drug Enforcement Administration, said: "When you see what is there and the way they designed it, it wasn't something that your average miner could put together.
"You would need someone with some engineering expertise to put something together like this."
As US authorities heighten enforcement on land, tunnels have become an increasingly common way to smuggle loads of heroin, marijuana and other drugs into the country. More than 70 passages have been found on the border since October 2008, surpassing the number of discoveries in the previous six years.
A total of 156 secret tunnels have been found along the border since 1990, the vast majority of them incomplete.
Raids last November on two tunnels linking San Diego and Tijuana netted a combined 52 tonnes of marijuana on both sides of the border. In early December 2009, authorities found an incomplete tunnel that stretched nearly 900ft into San Diego from Tijuana, equipped with a lift at the Mexican entrance.
The latest Arizona tunnel was discovered after state police pulled over a man who had 39 pounds of methamphetamine in his vehicle and mentioned the strip mall.
The tunnel was found beneath a water tank in a storage room and stretched across the border to an ice-plant business in the Mexican city of San Luis Rio Colorado. It was reinforced with four-by-six beams and lined with plywood.
Investigators believe the tunnel was not in operation for long because there was little wear on its floor, and 55-gallon drums containing extracted dirt had not been removed from the property.
Mr Coleman said investigators cannot yet say for sure if the tunnel, estimated to cost 1.5 million US dollars (£970,000) to build, was operated by the powerful Sinaloa cartel. Authorities suspect cartel involvement because the group from Sinaloa controls smuggling routes into Arizona.
"Another cartel wasn't going to roll into that area and put down that kind of money in Sinaloa territory," Mr Coleman said.
"Nobody is going to construct this tunnel without significant cartel leadership knowing what's going on."
US authorities were investigating the Tijuana tunnel for three months, said Lauren Mack, a spokeswoman for US Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Authorities found no connections to the smuggling operation involving the Arizona passageway.
The Tijuana tunnel was discovered inside a building advertised as a recycling plant in an area where industrial warehouses are common on both sides of the border.
The Mexican army said two tractor-trailers were found inside the warehouse, along with shovels, drills, pickaxes, buckets and other excavation tools.
The Mexican army estimated the tunnel was about 150 yards long and more than 10 yards underground. The walls were lined with dirt and wide enough for one person to get through comfortably.
It takes six months to a year to build a tunnel, authorities said. Workers use shovels and pickaxes to slowly dig through the soil, sleeping in buildings where the tunnels begin until the job is done. Sometimes they use pneumatic tools.
In the 18 months since the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak, the Muslim Brotherhood has risen swiftly from the cave to the castle. It founded the now-dominant Freedom and Justice Party last April, won a massive plurality in the winter parliamentary elections, and, last week, celebrated as its candidate, Mohamed Morsi, won Egypt's presidential elections. After 84 years of using its nationwide social services networks to build an Islamic state in Egypt from the ground up, the Brotherhood is, for the first time, poised to shape Egyptian society from the top down.
Mursi delivers a speech during a ceremony in which the military handed over power to him. (Courtesy Reuters)
There is, however, a catch: most of the Brotherhood's gains exist in name only. In early June, a court order invalidated the parliamentary elections and dissolved the Brotherhood-dominated parliament. Then, just prior to the second round of the presidential elections, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) issued a constitutional declaration that seized executive authority from the presidency, ultimately rendering Morsi a mostly powerless figure.
But after weeks of mounting tension with the SCAF, including mass demonstrations against the junta's power grab, the Brotherhood is dialing things down. It fears that agitating for more authority now could foment unrest and alienate a deeply divided public. It is also wary of what happened in Algeria in 1991, when the country's military-backed government responded to the electoral victory of an Islamist party with a harsh crackdown that culminated in civil war. To avoid further violence and cement its place in Egyptian politics, the Brotherhood now hopes to create a period of calm in the short run so that it can act more assertively in the future...
The Ministry of Defense has put the contracts for 30,000 modern assault rifles out to tender to major arms producers around the world to supply the “civilian police” with the state-of-the-art weaponry by 2014 under the pretext of fighting terrorists and criminal gangs.
Media reports said the police chiefs are already considering arming their officers with the Canadian-made C8 SFW carbine, the same assault rifle the Special Air Service uses in its high-profile operations.
Some of the features the police want to ensure the new rifles have are being adaptable to use of grenade launchers, silencers and different sights.
There are fears that bringing the battlefield weapons to the streets of London and other cities across Britain could be a prelude to even deeper suppression of protest movements after tackling of demonstrations over the past two years sparked condemnations from human rights groups.
For more information: http://www.noircon.info/2011/11/noir-what-they-will-be-wearing-at-2012.html
Wearing a pale pink headscarf and a long floral skirt, she meets me at the train station in Basel so we can take the tram to her home. She’s warm and chatty, and soon whips out her gold-tone iPhone to show off photos of her three children.
Originally from Sudan, Amal Bürgin has lived in Switzerland for many years. She and her Swiss husband have two sons and a daughter, aged between four and 11. The fact that she managed to conceive and deliver three children is almost remarkable considering the brutal tradition she herself endured as a child.
When Bürgin was five years old, she and her older sister found themselves at the centre of a genital cutting ceremony in their native Khartoum. In addition to sweets and fancy henna tattoos, they were given the so-called pharaonic circumcision. This involves the removal of the clitoris as well as the labia, and then the fusion of the remaining flesh. Only a small hole is left to pass urine and menstrual blood.
Now 42, Bürgin still suffers from the consequences, as she first told swissinfo.ch in 2008. In the meantime she has confronted her mother and gained experience speaking about her ordeal publicly.
An ugly tradition
Although considered a crime according to Swiss law, Bürgin is reluctant to describe female genital mutilation (FGM) as such.
“It’s a very old and a very ugly tradition, but I’m against calling it a crime because people like my parents and their parents did it. It’s been passed down from generation to generation – they thought they were doing the best for their girls,” Bürgin said.
According to her, the tradition is important to them for cultural and religious reasons. The idea is that the daughters will stay physically “clean” and that they won’t think about sex before marriage.
In fact, Bürgin’s father was against the procedure, but he wasn’t home on the day that it happened.
“When he came back and realised what had been done, he was very angry. I think that being married to my mother, he knew how it would be for us. And I think that’s why he never wanted it done to his two daughters,” Bürgin said.
Despite his opposition, Bürgin and her sister suffered a double-dose of FGM.
“When I was eight or nine they did it again. My two aunts in Khartoum said it wasn’t a ‘good enough’ job the first time – that I was still ‘too open’. So they brought me and my sister to a famous midwife to have it redone,” Bürgin said. At the very least, both procedures were carried out hygienically and under anaesthesia.
Afterwards, any time Bürgin cried from the pain of relieving herself or having her period, her father would get angry and tell her female relatives: “This is all from what you did to her.”
Husband was shocked
As a young woman, Bürgin moved to Switzerland, where she met her husband. She was still a virgin when she married him at 28 – something he found hard to believe. Although he had converted to Islam as an adult, he was completely unaware that FGM was common in some Muslim communities.
“My husband was shocked when he found out on our wedding night. He didn’t know anything about this subject, and really, he couldn’t have sex with me,” Bürgin said. She agreed immediately when he suggested that they see a doctor.
“The doctor was also very shocked, and that surprised me in a negative way,” Bürgin recalled, having expected a gynaecologist to at least be aware of FGM. “I had an operation to open me and all of those memories came back,” Bürgin said. It took her about a month of bed rest to recover from the surgery: “It was very painful, but I’m glad I did it.”
While any loving husband would surely take his wife to the clinic rather than forcing sex on her, this is not a solution, says Bürgin: “The solution should be that men say they don’t want women who have had FGM.”
Although some men insist that FGM is women’s business, others campaign actively against it.
“I recently found a group on Facebook, even. I was surprised and I liked it,” Bürgin said. Meanwhile, her brother has three daughters – and he and his wife have decided not to have them circumcised. Bürgin’s sister is also against the procedure.
After attending a Unicef Switzerland event on the topic in 2007, Bürgin decided to speak out to help eradicate FGM worldwide. More recently, she gave a talk at Basel University; her eyes shine as she remembers the applause she received afterwards.
Back in Sudan, her sister has spread the word about Bürgin’s activism.
“I know that all of my old friends are educated and against FGM. Of course, they had it themselves, but they are against it and I’m sure that they won’t have it done to their daughters,” Bürgin said.
How God made her
She can now talk to strangers about it, but for decades, Bürgin didn’t dare broach the subject with her mother.
“Unfortunately, I couldn’t discuss it earlier because it was taboo, but now it’s becoming more acceptable,” she said, adding that she could never understand why circumcision was treated like a “lovely, happy occasion” where she grew up.
It was not until a couple of years ago that she finally had the chance to discuss the topic with her mother, who visited her in Basel.
While Bürgin was changing her daughter’s diaper, her mother remarked: “Oh, will you leave her like that or will you do it for her?”
Bürgin answered: “No – never,” and took a deep breath. “OK, mother, you brought up this theme so now I’d like to ask you: Why did you do this to us? Do you remember how I cried from the pain?”
Bürgin’s mother replied that it was a tradition and from Islam, to which Bürgin countered that there was nothing in Islam stating that girls should be genitally mutilated.
“My mother said, ‘So you won’t do it?’ and I said ‘No’. And after that she didn’t say anything,” Bürgin said.
Her daughter is now four years old, and Bürgin is very aware of how different their bodies are.
“I see now the difference between me and my daughter. I would never say mine looks nice or beautiful – no, it looks terrible. But how my daughter looks is how God made her.”
Author: Susan Vogel-Misicka - Fonte: swissinfo.ch
Uganda’s Catholic bishops are calling for the revival of the notorious ‘kill the gays’ bill, despite previously opposing it.
The Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which calls for the execution of gays in the African country, was effectively shelved last year by the government, following sustained pressure from international donor countries.
Photo by Scott Nunn
Despite repeated claims to the contrary, including some unfortunate mainstream reporting, the last version of the bill contained the death penalty in some circumstances.
The Catholic Church had previously been the sole major religion in Uganda in opposition to the bill.
But according to the Daily Monitor, at the annual conference of the Uganda Joint Christian Council (UJCC), an ecumenical body which brings together the Anglican, Catholic and Orthodox churches, the bishops resolved that it should be brought back from the brink.
The UJCC said that the bill was needed to prevent what they called ‘an attack on the Bible and the institution of marriage’.
The Vatican came out strongly and publicly against the bill and, Wikileaks revealed, even lobbied against it.
Uganda watchers say that the change by the Ugandan Catholic church is ‘very serious’ and that the UJCC resolution was pushed by an Anglican bishop.
Another concern is that, according to the East African, Ugandan President Yowari Museveni is backing his wife, Janet, to take over from him in 2016.
She has close ties to American evangelical dominionist Christian groups and is widely believed to be a force behind the bill.
LGBT activists in Uganda say that despite some setbacks they are slowly increasing visibility and support.
In March, a group managed to join a march against sexual violence with their banner without incident in the capital, Kampala.
Award-winning activist Frank Mugisha, of Sexual Minorities Uganda, said: ‘We see a shift in public opinion and I guess it’s because many Ugandans are talking about homosexuality a lot.
‘There are some local leaders who are now willing to meet and talk to us.
‘The only problem we have is the belief people have that we are promoting homosexuality and recruiting children.’
Mugisha’s group has filed suit in a US court in the first known Alien Tort Statute case seeking accountability for persecution on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
They are suing the American evangelical extremist Scott Lively for creating the anti-gay climate in Uganda which led to the introduction of the ‘kill the gays’ bill.
The rights organisation has carried out more than 200 interviews since the beginning of anti-government demonstrations in the country in March last year. Accounts from former detainees and defectors have identified the locations, agencies responsible, torture methods used and, in many cases, the commanders in charge of 27 detention facilities run by Syrian intelligence agencies.
Human Rights Watch said the systematic patterns of ill-treatment and torture it had documented clearly pointed to a "state policy of torture and ill-treatment", which constituted "a crime against humanity".
Mr Hague said the UK would work with EU partners to impose sanctions on those responsible to help bring an end to the violence.
The report, Torture Archipelago: Arbitrary Arrests, Torture and Enforced Disappearances in Syria's Underground Prisons since March 2011, includes maps locating detention centres, video accounts from former detainees and sketches of torture techniques described by people who witnessed or experienced torture in the facilities.
Interrogators, guards, and officers used a broad range of torture methods, including prolonged beatings, often with objects such as batons and cables, holding the detainees in painful stress positions for prolonged periods of time, the use of electricity, burning with acid, sexual assault and humiliation, the pulling of fingernails, and mock execution.
Human Rights Watch documented more than 20 distinct torture methods used by the security and intelligence services. While most of the torture victims interviewed by Human Rights Watch were young men between 18 and 35, the victims interviewed also included children, women, and the elderly.
Human Rights Watch called on the United Nations Security Council to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and to adopt targeted sanctions against officials credibly implicated in the abuses.
Commenting on the report, Mr Hague said: "This Human Rights Watch report should act as a clear warning. There should be no impunity or hiding place for those committing these crimes. Those responsible for systematic and widespread human rights violations should not delude themselves: we and our international partners will do everything we can to ensure that they will face justice.
"Where we have evidence of individuals' responsibility for acts of violence and repression, the UK will work with EU partners to impose sanctions on them. We will continue to focus attention on what is happening in Syria and work to bring an end to the violence."
The No 3 reactor at the Oi atomic plant, in the central Japan prefecture of Fukui, was restarted on Sunday evening and should begin generating electricity on Wednesday, according to officials of Kansai Electric Power Co. The reactor is expected to start operating at full capacity from Sunday.
Restarting the plant has been hugely contentious in Japan, where there has been a public backlash against atomic energy 16 months after the second-worst nuclear accident in history.
A crowd estimated at 150,000-strong protested against the restart outside the official residence of Yoshihiko Noda, the Japanese prime minister, on Friday evening, while some 100 demonstrators used cars in an attempt to block the road to the Oi plant over the weekend.
Protestors clashed briefly with police riot teams after entering the grounds of the facility.
The Japanese government and industry insists that nuclear power is needed if parts of the country are not to experience power cuts in the coming months. Energy consumption surges in Japan's notoriously hot summer months, despite efforts to encourage people to reduce the amount they use, particularly on air conditioning.
On Monday, electricity savings targets set by the government went into effect across the country. Households and businesses are being asked to cut their energy consumption by as much as 15 percent until September 7.
Utilities are still warning, however, that they may have to impose rolling blackouts in areas where demand is outstripping supply.
One of the most critical areas is the Kansai area, centered on Japan's second city of Osaka, and partly supplied by the Oi nuclear facility.
The Oi reactor is the first of Japan's 51 commercial reactors to go back on-line, although the No. 4 reactor at the plant is also scheduled to go back into operation before the end of July.
On Sunday, emergency teams at the crippled Fukushima plant managed to restore the cooling system for the spent fuel pool, where the temperature of the water had risen nearly 10 degrees after the power unit failed.
Another fault in early June had a similar effect on the pool, which contains 1,353 fuel assemblies that would release massive amounts of radiation if exposed to the air.
Source: telegraph.co.uk & agencies
The founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, has refused to comply with a police request to leave the Ecuadorian embassy in London and surrender himself.
He has been inside the embassy since last week seeking asylum as part of his bid to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning about alleged sex offences.
Susan Benn from the Julian Assange Defence Fund told reporters: ''Julian will remain in the embassy under the protection of the Ecuadorian government''.
Source: bbc.co.uk - 29 June 2012 Last updated at 16:03 GMT
Peace envoy Kofi Annan said after talks in Geneva that the government should include members of Assad's administration and the Syrian opposition to pave the way for free elections.
"It is for the people to come to a political agreement but time is running out," Annan said in concluding remarks.
"We need rapid steps to reach agreement. The conflict must be resolved through peaceful dialogue and negotiations."
The Geneva talks had been billed as a last-ditch effort to halt the worsening violence in Syria but hit obstacles as Russia, Assad's most powerful ally, opposed Western and Arab insistence that he must quit the scene.
The final communiqué said the transitional government "could include members of the present government and the opposition and other groups and shall be formed on the basis of mutual consent".
But in a victory for Russian diplomacy, it omitted language contained in a previous draft which explicitly said it "would exclude from government those whose continued presence and participation would undermine the credibility of the transition and jeopardize stability and reconciliation".
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said he was "delighted" with the result as it meant no foreign solution was being imposed on Syria.
But U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said it sent a clear message to Assad that he must step down.
"Assad will still have to go," Clinton told a news conference after the meeting ended.
"What we have done here is to strip away the fiction that he and those with blood on their hands can stay in power."
Annan called the meeting to salvage a peace plan that has largely been ignored by the Assad government. He stressed that the transition must be led by Syrians and meet their legitimate aspirations.
"No one should be in any doubt as to the extreme dangers posed by the conflict - to Syrians, to the region, and to the world," he said in opening remarks.
His plan for a negotiated solution to the 16-month-old conflict is the only one on the table and its failure would doom Syria to even more violence. More than 10,000 people have been killed since the anti-Assad uprising broke out and the past few weeks have been among the bloodiest.
Highlighting the deteriorating situation on the ground, Syrian government forces pushed their way into Douma on the outskirts of Damascus on Saturday after weeks of siege and shelling. Fleeing residents spoke of corpses lying in the streets.
Britain's ITV showed footage of clouds of black smoke over built-up areas and said warplanes had struck at targets in the suburb.
The army also attacked pro-opposition areas in Deir al-Zor, Homs, Idlib and the outskirts of Damascus, opposition activists said.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Assad and his close associates could not lead any transition. Accountability for war crimes must be part of such a process, he added in his speech to the meeting.
Hague called for the U.N. Security Council to start drafting a resolution next week setting out sanctions against Syria, a move that he noted put him at odds with Russia.
The foreign ministers of the council's five permanent members - Russia, the United States, China, France and Britain - all attended along with Turkey, Kuwait, Qatar, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.
Notably uninvited were Iran, Syria's closest regional ally, and Saudi Arabia, a foe of both Damascus and Tehran and leading backer of the rebel forces opposing Assad. Nor was anyone from the Syrian government or opposition represented.
PATH TO WAR
The Syrian conflict has evolved from peaceful protests against the Assad family's four-decade rule to something akin to a civil war with a sectarian dimension.
The world has condemned the ferocity of Assad's forces' crackdown - including military assaults on pro-opposition areas and mass arrests - but has been unable to halt violence which threatens to draw in the region's religious and political rivalries and alliances.
The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 56 people had been killed across the country on Saturday.
Syria's border with Turkey was also tense following a Turkish military build-up in response to Syria's shooting down of a Turkish warplane last week.
A Syrian witness said Turkish forces stationed on the border opposite the Syrian town of Jandaris fired machineguns in the air in response to Syrian army bombardment of rebel areas.
"It was to tell the Syrian side we are here," the witness said.
Syrian forces reentered Douma and soldiers were carrying out searches in hospitals for dissidents and rebel fighters, activists said. Electricity and water were cut off.
Abo Abdullah, 50, said he and his five children left Douma on Sunday morning fearing attacks by government forces.
"I saw at least three bodies on a street corner, some houses were destroyed, others were on fire. Only a few people remained inside the city. Those who can, leave," he said.
"I saw a body on the side of the street and dogs were gathering around it."
State news agency SANA said security forces were raiding hideouts in Douma of "armed terrorist groups" and had killed, wounded or arrested scores.
Although the government routinely refers to its enemies as foreign-controlled terrorists, Assad himself conceded this week that the country was now in a state of war.
Source: reuters.com - (Additional reporting by Andrew Quinn, Tom Miles and Emma Farge in Geneva and Oliver Holmes and Mariam Karouny in Beirut; Writing by Angus MacSwan; Editing by Andrew Roche)
Whoever the perpetrators of the crimes in Syria are, they must know that they will have to answer for their acts in a court of law,” said Switzerland’s representative to the United Nations, Paul Seger, speaking in an open debate on the protection of civilians at the UN Security Council on Monday.
“The fight against impunity is a necessary condition for a lasting peace,” he maintained.
On the subject of humanitarian access to civilians in areas of conflict, he pointed out that such access was becoming increasingly difficult in today’s armed conflicts, and that non-state armed groups “continue to pose a challenge for the protection of civilians”.
“Whenever the question of evaluating the interest of engagement is raised, the consequences for civilians are the most important criterion,” he said, and warned of the “potentially negative effects” of some of the measures adopted by some countries in pursuit of the “legitimate goal of fighting terrorism”.
“It would be regrettable if these measures complicated or indeed prevented the establishment of a dialogue for purely humanitarian purposes and prevented access to vulnerable populations by humanitarian staff, and the strengthening of respect for international humanitarian law by armed groups,” he said.
Earlier this month Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, called for an investigation of the use of drone strikes by the United States to kill suspected militants in Pakistan, saying that they kill innocent civilians.
"Drone attacks do raise serious questions about compliance with international law, in particular the principle of distinction and proportionality," she said after a four day fact finding visit to Pakistan.
Source: swissinfo.ch and agencies