Venezuelan people are seen at Simon Bolivar bridge, connecting Venezuela and Colombia, in Cucuta, Colombia. At least 40,000 Venezuelans cross to Colombia via Simon Bolivar bridge everyday due to unemployment, lack of basic need supplies and currency depreciation in their country. Some of them cross to Colombia a day-long and return Venezuela after they complete their shopping in Colombia.
President of South Africa Jacob Zuma gestures as he sings to his supporters at the 54th National Conference of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) at the Nasrec Expo Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa. South Africa’s embattled President Jacob Zuma has resigned after intense pressure from his own party. In a televised statement he said he was quitting with immediate effect but said he disagreed with his ANC party’s decision. The ANC had told him to step down or face a vote of no confidence in parliament. The 75-year-old has been facing calls to give way to Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, the ANC’s new leader. Mr Zuma, who has been in power since 2009, faces numerous allegations of corruption. Earlier on Wednesday, police swooped on the Johannesburg home of the powerful and wealthy Gupta family with whom Mr Zuma has close ties.
He began his speech by laughing and joking with members of the press, asking them why they looked so serious. After paying tribute to those whom he had worked with over the years, Mr Zuma said that violence and division within the ANC had influenced his decision to step down. “No life should be lost in my name and also the ANC should never be divided in my name. I have therefore come to the decision to resign as president of the republic with immediate effect,” he said. “Even though I disagree with the decision of the leadership of my organisation, I have always been a disciplined member of the ANC. “As I leave I will continue to serve the people of South Africa as well as the ANC, the organisation I have served… all of my life.”
A shooter opened fire at a Florida high school, killing multiple people and sending hundreds of students fleeing into the streets before being taken into custody by law enforcement. At least 17 students at a Florida high school were killed after a gunman opened fire on them with an automatic rifle, in one of the deadliest school shootings on record in the US. Officials said another 14 were injured at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in the small city of Parkland, around 45 miles north of Miami.
The suspect has been identified as 19-year-old former student Nikolas Cruz, who was arrested after a brief manhunt. Mr Cruz had been expelled for “disciplinary reasons”, while teachers said they had previously been warned that he could pose a danger to the campus. It was the 18th shooting of the year either in or around school premises, according to research by Everytown for Gun Safety, a non-profit group which advocates for gun control. Just as classes were being sent home for the day, police say Mr Cruz began spraying bullets into the high school hallway. Authorities said Mr Cruz carried “countless magazines” and an AR-15 rifle. Florida senator Bill Nelson, who claimed to have been briefed by the FBI on the issue, said the shooter wore a gas mask and carried smoke grenades. He also said that the fire alarm had been set off so that his victims would pour out into the hall.
A Russian passenger plane crashed near Moscow soon after take-off, killing all 71 people on board. More than 70 people died when a Russian passenger plane crashed shortly after take-off from Moscow’s Domodedovo airport on Sunday, officials say. Saratov Airlines flight 6W703 was heading to Orsk, a city near Russia’s border with Kazakhstan, when it went down near the town of Argunovo, about 50 miles south-east of Moscow. Witnesses said the plane, an Antonov An-148 aircraft, was in flames as it fell from the sky. The plane was carrying 71 people – 65 passengers and six crew members. Emergency services officials told the Tass news agency there were no survivors. Wreckage from the plane was reported to be spread over a large area and it was unclear if there were any casualties among people on the ground. Russia’s gazeta.ru website cited unnamed investigators as saying the pilot had reported a technical malfunction and asked for clearance for an emergency landing at the nearby Zhukovsky International airport. Officials have not confirmed the report. Other reports said one of the plane’s engines may have exploded before the crash.
North Korea showcased new intercontinental ballistic missiles during a parade marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the North Korean army.
North Korea’s latest efforts are focused on building reliable long-range missiles, which would have the potential of reaching the mainland United States. On 4 July 2017, Pyongyang said it had carried out its first successful test of an inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM). It said the Hwasong-14 could hit “any part of the world”, but initial US estimates put the range as shorter than that. The US military described it as an intermediate-range missile, but a number of US experts said they believed the missile could reach the US state of Alaska. On 28 July 2017, North Korea carried out its second and latest ICBM test, with the missile reaching an altitude of about 3,000km and landing in the sea off Japan.
Pyongyang has also displayed two types of ICBMs, known as the KN-08 and KN-14, at military parades since 2012. Carried and launched from the back of a modified truck, the three-stage KN-08 is believed to have a range of about 11,500km. The KN-14 appears to be a two-stage missile, with a possible range of around 10,000km. Neither has yet been tested, and the relationship between them and the Hwasong-14 is not yet clear.
Media reports in the US have claimed that Pyongyang has now made a nuclear warhead small enough to fit inside its missiles. While not confirmed, this has been seen as one of the last obstacles to North Korea being a fully nuclear-armed state. A report in the Washington Post, citing US intelligence officials, suggested North Korea was developing nuclear weapons capable of hitting the US at a much faster rate than expected. A Japanese government defence paper also said the weapons programme had “advanced considerably” and that North Korea possibly now had nuclear weapons.
Inter-continental ballistic missiles are seen as the last word in power projection because they allow a country to wield massive firepower against an opponent on the other side of the planet. During the Cold War, Russia and the United States sought different ways to protect and deliver their missiles, which were hidden in silos, piggybacked on huge trucks or carried by submarines. All ICBMs are designed along similar lines. They are multi-stage rockets powered by solid or liquid fuel, and carry their weapon payload out of the atmosphere into space. The weapon payload – usually a thermonuclear bomb – then re-enters the atmosphere and detonates either above or directly on top of its target. Some ICBMs have a “multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicle”, or Mirv.
North Korea’s own missile programme began with Scuds, with its first batch reportedly coming via Egypt in 1976. By 1984 it was building its own versions called Hwasongs. These missiles have an estimated maximum range of about 1,000km, and carry conventional, chemical and possibly biological warheads.
Hunters test their skills handling tamed golden eagles during an annual competition at Almaty hippodrome in Kazakhstan. Hunting with eagles is a traditional form of falconry found throughout the Eurasian steppe, practiced by Kazakh and Kyrgyz people in contemporary Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, as well as diasporas in Bayan-Ölgii, Mongolia, and Xinjiang, China. Though these Turkic people are most famous for hunting with golden eagles, they have been known to train northern goshawks, peregrine falcons, saker falcons, and more.
In both Kazakh and Kyrgyz, there are separate terms for those who hunt with birds of prey in general, and those who hunt with eagles. In Kazakh, both qusbegi and sayatshy refer to falconers in general. Qusbegi comes from the words qus (“bird”) and bek (“lord”), thus literally translating as “lord of birds.” In Old Turkic, kush begi was a title used for the khan’s most respected advisors, reflecting the valued role of the court falconer. Sayatshy comes from the word sayat (“falconry”) and the suffix -shy, used for professional titles in Turkic languages. The Kazakh word for falconers that hunt with eagles is bürkitshi, from bürkit (“golden eagle”), while the word for those that use goshawks is qarshyghashy, from qarshygha (“goshawk”). In Kyrgyz, the general word for falconers is münüshkör. A falconer who specifically hunts with eagles is a bürkütchü, from bürküt (“golden eagle”).
In 936-45 AD the Khitans, a nomadic people from Manchuria, conquered part of north China. In 960 AD China was conquered by the Song dynasty. From its beginnings, the Song dynasty was unable to completely control the Khitan who had already assimilated much of Chinese culture. Throughout its 300-year rule of China, the Song had to pay tribute to the Khitan to keep them from conquering additional Song territory. Despite the fact that the Khitans assimilated Chinese culture, they retained many nomadic traditions, including eagle hunting (see the unknown Chinese painting from Song dynasty).
During the communist period in Kazakhstan, many Kazakhs fled for Mongolia, settling in Bayan-Ölgii Province and bringing with them their tradition of hunting with eagles. There are an estimated 250 eagle hunters in Bayan-Ölgii, which is located in the Altai Mountains of western Mongolian. Their falconry custom involves hunting with golden eagles on horseback, and they primarily hunt red foxes and corsac foxes. They use eagles to hunt foxes and hares during the cold winter months when it is easier to see the gold colored foxes against the snow. Each October, Kazakh eagle hunting customs are displayed at the annual Golden Eagle Festival. Although the Kazakh government has made efforts to lure the practitioners of these Kazakh traditions back to Kazakhstan, most Kazakhs have remained in Mongolia.
The sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrived in South Korea, landing at Incheon International Airport in a private jet with the rest of her entourage of senior officials, including the North’s nominal head of state Kim Yong Nam. North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un’s younger sister Kim Yo Jong met South Korean officials in Incheon, South Korea.
Tourists visit the historical Stari Most, an arch bridge designed by Mimar Hayruddin and built over the Neretva River connecting the two parts of the city, in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Stari Most (literally, “Old Bridge”) is a rebuilt 16th-century Ottoman bridge in the city of Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina that crosses the river Neretva and connects the two parts of the city. It was built by a famous Ottoman Sultan’s architect Mimar Sinan/Hajruddin who built many of the key Sultan’s buildings in Istanbul. The Old Bridge stood for 427 years, until it was destroyed on 9 November 1993 by Croat military forces during the Croat–Bosniak War. Subsequently, a project was set in motion to reconstruct it; the rebuilt bridge opened on 23 July 2004. One of the country’s most recognizable landmarks, it is considered an exemplary piece of Balkan Islamic architecture. It was designed by Mimar Hayruddin, a student and apprentice of the famous architect Mimar Sinan.
The bridge spans the Neretva river in the old town of Mostar, the city to which it gave the name. The city is the fifth-largest in the country; it is the center of the Herzegovina-Neretva Canton of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the unofficial capital of Herzegovina. The Stari Most is hump-backed, 4 metres (13 ft 1 in) wide and 30 metres (98 ft 5 in) long, and dominates the river from a height of 24 m (78 ft 9 in). Two fortified towers protect it: the Halebija tower on the northeast and the Tara tower on the southwest, called “the bridge keepers” (natively mostari). The arch of the bridge was made of local stone known as tenelija. The shape of the arch is the result of numerous irregularities produced by the deformation of the intrados (the inner line of the arch). The most accurate description would be that it is a circle of which the centre is depressed in relation to the string course. Instead of foundations, the bridge has abutments of limestone linked to wing walls along the waterside cliffs. Measuring from the summer water level of 40.05 m (131 ft 5 in), abutments are erected to a height of 6.53 metres (21 ft 5 in), from which the arch springs to its high point. The start of the arch is emphasized by a molding 0.32 metres (1 ft 1 in) in height. The rise of the arch is 12.02 metres (39 ft 5 in).
The original bridge was commissioned by Suleiman the Magnificent in 1557 to replace an older wooden suspension bridge of dubious stability. Construction began in 1557 and took nine years: according to the inscription the bridge was completed in 974 AH, corresponding to the period between 19 July 1566 and 7 July 1567. Tour directors used to state that the bridge was held together with metal pins and mortar made from the protein of egg whites. Little is known of the building of the bridge, and all that has been preserved in writing are memories and legends and the name of the builder, Mimar Hayruddin (student of Mimar Sinan, the Ottoman architect). Charged under pain of death to construct a bridge of such unprecedented dimensions, the architect reportedly prepared for his own funeral on the day the scaffolding was finally removed from the completed structure. Upon its completion it was the widest man-made arch in the world.
According to the 17th century Turkish traveler Evliya Çelebi, the name Mostar itself means “bridge-keeper.” As Mostar’s economic and administrative importance grew with the growing presence of Ottoman rule, the precarious wooden suspension bridge over the Neretva gorge required replacement. The old bridge on the river “…was made of wood and hung on chains,” wrote the Ottoman geographer Katip Çelebi, and it “…swayed so much that people crossing it did so in mortal fear”. In 1566, Mimar Hayruddin, a student of the great architect Sinan, designed Stari Most during the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent. The bridge was said to have cost 300,000 Drams (silver coins) to build. The two-year construction project was supervised by Karagoz Mehmet Bey, Sultan Suleiman’s son-in-law and the patron of Mostar’s most important mosque complex, called the Hadzi Mehmed Karadzozbeg Mosque.
The bridge, 28 meters long and 20 meters high (90′ by 64′), quickly became a wonder in its own time. The famous traveler Evliya Çelebi wrote in the 17th century that: the bridge is like a rainbow arch soaring up to the skies, extending from one cliff to the other. …I, a poor and miserable slave of Allah, have passed through 16 countries, but I have never seen such a high bridge. It is thrown from rock to rock as high as the sky.
The Old Bridge was destroyed on 9 November 1993 during the War in Bosnia and Herzegovina. After its destruction a temporary cable bridge was erected in its place. Newspapers based in Sarajevo reported that more than 60 shells hit the bridge before it collapsed. Croatian General Slobodan Praljak argues in his document “How the Old Bridge Was Destroyed” that there was an explosive charge or mine placed at the center of the bridge underneath and detonated remotely in addition to the Shelling that caused the collapse. Most historians disagree and believe his research was trying to absolve his men and himself from crimes committed during the war . He has since committed suicide by drinking poison after being convicted of war crimes .
After the destruction of the Stari Most, a spokesman for the Croats admitted that they deliberately destroyed it, claiming that it was of strategic importance. Academics have argued that the bridge held little strategic value and that its shelling was an example of deliberate cultural property destruction. Andras Riedlmayer terms the destruction an act of “killing memory”, in which evidence of a shared cultural heritage and peaceful co-existence were deliberately destroyed. Both sides of the city remained linked until the bridge´s reconstruction by the Spanish and Portuguese military engineers assigned to the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) mission.
After the end of the war, plans were raised to reconstruct the bridge. The World Bank, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Aga Khan Trust for Culture and the World Monuments Fund formed a coalition to oversee the reconstruction of the Stari Most and the historic city centre of Mostar. Additional funding was provided by Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, Croatia and the Council of Europe Development Bank, as well as the Bosnian government. In October 1998, UNESCO established an international committee of experts to oversee the design and reconstruction work. It was decided to build a bridge as similar as possible to the original, using the same technology and materials. The bridge was re-built with local materials by Er-Bu Construction Corp a Turkish company, using Ottoman construction techniques. Tenelia stone from local quarries was used and Hungarian army divers recovered stones from the original bridge from the river below. Reconstruction commenced on 7 June 2001. The reconstructed bridge was inaugurated on 23 July 2004, with the cost estimated to be 15.5 million US dollars.
Asma Jilani Jahangir born 27 January 1952 in Lahore – died 11 February 2018 in Lahore) was a Pakistani human rights lawyer and social activist who co-founded and chaired the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. She is widely known for playing a prominent role in the Lawyers’ Movement and serves as the trustee at the International Crisis Group. Born and raised in Lahore, Jahangir studied at the Convent of Jesus and Mary before receiving her B.A from Kinnaird and LLB from the Punjab University in 1978. In 1980, Jahangir was called to the Lahore High Court and to the Supreme Court in 1982. In the 1980s, Jahangir became an democracy activist and was imprisoned in 1983 for participating in the Movement for the Restoration of Democracy against the military regime of Zia-ul-Haq. In 1986, she moved to Geneva, and became the vice-chair of the Defence for Children International and remained until 1988 when she moved back to Pakistan.
In 1987 she co-founded the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and became its Secretary General until 1993 when she was elevated as commission’s chairperson. She was again put under house arrest in November 2007 after the imposition of emergency. After serving as one of the leaders of the Lawyers’ Movement, she became Pakistan’s first woman to serve as the President of Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan. She has co-chaired South Asia Forum for Human Rights and was the vice president of International Federation for Human Rights.
Jahangir served as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion from August 2004 to July 2010, including serving on the U.N. panel for inquiry into Sri Lankan human rights violations and on a fact-finding mission on Israeli settlements. Jahangir is the recipient of several awards including the 2014 Right Livelihood Award (along with Edward Snowden), 2010 Freedom Award, Hilal-i-Imtiaz in 2010, Sitara-i-Imtiaz, Ramon Magsaysay Award, 1995 Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders, and the UNESCO/Bilbao Prize for the Promotion of a Culture of Human Rights. She was awarded an Officier de la Légion d’honneur by France. Her prominent writings include The Hudood Ordinance: A Divine Sanction? and Children of a Lesser God. She passed away on February 11, 2018.
Life and History
Jahangir was born into a prosperous and politically active family with a history of activism and human rights work. Her father, Malik Ghulam Jilani, was a civil servant who entered politics upon retirement and spent years both in jail and under house arrest for opposing military dictatorships. Her father was imprisoned on several occasions for his outspoken views, which included denouncing the Pakistani government for genocide during their military action in what is now Bangladesh (formerly East Pakistan). Her mother, educated at a co-ed college at a time when few Muslim women even received higher education, also fought the traditional system, pioneering her own clothing business when the family’s lands were confiscated in 1967 as a result of her husband’s opinions and detention.
Jahangir herself became involved at a young age in protests against the military regime as well as opposing her father’s detention by then president, Benazir Bhutto’s father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in 1972. She received her B.A. from Kinnaird College, Lahore and her law degree in 1978, and her Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree from Punjab University. She also holds an honorary doctorate from University of St. Gallen in Switzerland., Queens University, Canada, Simon Fraser University, Canada and Cornell University, United States. She is married and has a son and two daughters, Munizae Jahangir, a journalist and Sulema Jahangir, who is also a lawyer.
In addition to many publications, Jahangir has authored two books: Divine Sanction? The Hudood Ordinance (1988, 2003) and Children of a Lesser God: Child Prisoners of Pakistan (1992). One of her major publications is titled “Whither are We!” and was published in Dawn, on 2 October 2000.
Asma Jahangir suffered a cardiac arrest in Lahore on 11 February 2018 and died when was taken to the hospital. 11 february 2018