Gunmen on Monday shot and killed an Afghan women's affairs official, just months after her predecessor was assassinated in a car bombing. As the United Nations marks Human Rights Day women still face challenges in Afghanistan.
Najia Sediqi was on her way to work in the capital of eastern Laghman province when she was gunned down Monday. The drive-by killing had all the hallmarks of a Taliban targeted attack.
Sediqi was the acting director of the provincial women's affairs department. She had stepped in to lead the office after the July assassination of Hanifa Safi, who was killed when a bomb attached to her car exploded.
A spokesman for the provincial governor's office, Sarhadi Zawak, said Sediqi had just left her home in Mehtarlam when she was attacked by gunmen on a motorbike.
[An Nahar] Hundreds of angry demonstrators tried to storm the Iranian consulate in the western Afghan city of Herat ...a venerable old Persian-speaking city in western Afghanistan, populated mostly by Tadjiks, which is why it's not as blood-soaked as areas controlled by Pashtuns... on Sunday in protest at the alleged killing of Afghan immigrants by Iranian security forces.
The 200-strong crowd threw rocks and broke consulate windows before security forces drove them back by firing warning shots into the air, an AFP correspondent at the scene said.
The crowd claimed 13 Afghans who had crossed the border into Iran were seized and later rubbed out by Iranian security forces about three months ago.
"Over the past several months we have been demanding the Iranians return the bodies of our relatives but they are not returning them," one protester told AFP.
Protesters shouted slogans against Iran and its President Mahmoud Short Round Ahmadinejad and said they would "support the United States if it invades Iran".
Dozens of police blocked the crowd as it tried to storm the Iranian consulate, the AFP news hound said. The mob later gathered around the governor's house and continued shouting anti-Iran slogans, he added.
Consulate officials could not be reached for comment.
About 2.4 million Afghans -- refugees and undocumented Democrats -- live in Iran, many of whom moved after the 1979 Soviet invasion. Afghans continue to migrate to Iran and Pakistain in search of work and for political reasons.
At least they are starting to learn that the real enemy is Iran and Pakistan.
They're Tadjiks, an ethic group that resides in both western Afghanistan and eastern Iran. Like most ethnic groups, they are somewhat close-knit, not concerned about what happens outside their territory, and national borders are both an opportunity (for smuggling) and an inconvenience.
Given that, it's highly unlikely that they care about what Pakistan is doing in the eastern half of Afghanistan, or what Iran is doing in the western half, only what Iran has done to fellow Tadjiks.
[VOA News] Egypt's opposition National Salvation Front has announced that it will not participate in a December 15 referendum over a disputed draft constitution. Earlier, President Mohamed Morsi revoked part of a controversial decree giving him sweeping powers but insisted the referendum on the new document would go ahead as planned.
The head of Egypt's Journalists Union, Sameh Ashour, told news hounds Sunday that National Salvation Front leaders has decided not to participate in the constitutional referendum due to take place next Saturday.
He says the National Salvation Front categorically refuses to take part in the December 15 referendum and will not give its blessing to a vote that will inevitably lead to more divisions and civil strife.
Ashour went on to blast President Morsi and the Islamist Moslem Br├╝derbund group for their decision to go ahead with the constitutional referendum.
He says that the National Salvation Front insists that what he calls repression, despotism and the hijacking of the state by the president and his (Moslem Br├╝derbund) group is contributing to the economic woes of all Egyptian families.
[Dawn] Egypt's opposition on Sunday called for mass street protests on Tuesday rejecting a December 15 referendum on a new constitution largely drafted by President Mohamed Morsi's allies.
"We do not recognise the draft constitution because it does not represent the Egyptian people," the opposition National Salvation Front said in a statement read out at a news conference by front man Sameh Ashour.
"We reject the referendum which will certainly lead to more division and sedition," he said.
"The Front calls for demonstrations in the capital and in the regions on Tuesday as a rejection of the president's decision that goes against our legitimate demands," he said.
The statement also condemned "militias" from the Moslem Brüderbund backing Morsi and "terrorist gangs."
The protest call meant Egypt's weeks-long political crisis was to continue, despite Morsi on Saturday making a key concession to the opposition by rescinding a controversial November decree that had given him expanded powers free from judicial review.
Tuesday's demonstrations could lead to more violence if Morsi's supporters challenge them, as occurred on Wednesday when seven people were killed and hundreds injured in vicious festivities outside the presidential palace.
[Bangla Daily Star] Even before the sun broke through the winter fog, thousands of BNP and Jamaat activists took absolute control of Dhaka's entry points yesterday and went on the rampage, bashing and torching vehicles, and sending terror down the spine of city dwellers.
At least two people were killed during the violence. A Jamaat activist died in Sirajganj town during a clash with Awami League activists. In Dhaka's Sutrapur, a tailor died in the beating by Chhatra League ... the student wing of the Bangla Awami League ... activists who mistook him for a blockader.
The opposition has called for a countrywide dawn-to-dusk hartal ... a peculiarly Bangla combination of a general strike and a riot, used by both major political groups in lieu of actual governance ... tomorrow and demonstrations today protesting what they said government sabotage of their blockade programme.
The BNP activists emboldened by their Jamaat and Shibir allies, overran a few ruling Awami League activists who tried feebly to resist the blockaders. The Awami League activists had firearms with them, but in most cases they tuck their tails and bravely ran away. The law enforcement agencies mostly remained silent spectators, as if in a truce with the rampaging activists.
Later, the Awami League activists made a comeback with the protection of police and chased and beat up the blockaders. In some areas, opposition activists engaged in festivities with police and ruling party men.
In one terror strike, the blockaders threw a Molotov cocktail from an under-construction building on a police patrol car on Panthapath in the capital. The car went up in flames and three copperswere maimed.
The city took a deserted look and hardly any vehicles plied the streets as the blockade turned into something tougher than hartal.
Some of the violent incidents had the telltale signs of the recent Shibir attacks. The blockaders came out of alleys very early in the morning, vandalised and torched vehicles in their blitzkrieg attacks and then vanished. Vehicles parked in front of hospitals and even inside residences were not spared in some cases.
Clashes between blockaders, ruling party men and law enforcers took place in and around the capital and other places in the country. More than 70 homemade bombs went off, around 50 vehicles were torched, including five police vehicles, and over 150 others were vandalised yesterday.
At least 250 people and 40 copperswere maimed.
There were reports of festivities in Sirajganj, Narayanganj, Chittagong, Rajshahi, Khulna, Lalmonirhat and Laxmipur.
BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam, however, termed the violence a government sabotage.
At a presser at party's central office at Nayapaltan, he claimed, "Four people were killed, 665 were tossed in the clink Don't shoot, coppers! I'm comin' out! and over 600 were maimed across the country."
However, some people are alive only because it's illegal to kill them... Assistant Commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police Gazi Rabiul Islam said 162 people were arrested in connection with the violence.
BNP's national standing committee and the 18-party alliance last night sat at BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia Three-term PM of Bangla, widow of deceased dictator Ziaur Rahman, head of the Bangla Nationalist Party, an apparent magnet for corruption ... 's Gulshan office to decide their next course of action.
Fakhrul disclosed their decision on the hartal after the meeting and said it was called to protest the government's effort to obstruct yesterday's blockade.
He said they would stage demonstrations today as well.
The BNP-led 18-party alliance on November 29 called the blockade from 6:00am to 2:00pm yesterday for detaching the capital form the rest of the country to press home their demands. Their demands include restoration of the caretaker government system to oversee the next parliamentary elections.
[Dawn] A former union council nazim ...small time big shot, the chief elected official of a local government in Pakistan, such as a district, tehsil, union council, or village council... and activist of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement ...English: United National Movement, generally known as MQM, is the 3rd largest political party and the largest secular political party in Pakistain with particular strength in Sindh. From 1992 to 1999, the MQM was the target of the Pak Army's Operation Cleanup leaving thousands of urdu speaking civilians dead... (MQM) was bumped off in Nazimabad on Saturday, police said.
The officials added that 42-year-old Intisar Alvi was targeted at a roadside restaurant in the Jehangirabad area within the remit of the Rizvia cop shoppe.
As the investigation was under way, the police were not yet clear if the motive for the targeted attack was sectarian or political.
"There are different eyewitness accounts and we are investigating each of them," said Rustam Khattak, the area's deputy superintendent of police.
"A couple of people saw only two attackers riding a cycle of violence, while a few others said there were four men riding two
The officer said that one of the riders got off the bike and fired at Mr Alvi before fleeing.
The victim sustained three bullet wounds and was struck down in his prime, the police said.
"While it's definitely a targeted attack, investigations are in a very early phase and it will not be appropriate to rely on speculation," said DSP Khattak.
Backed by the MQM, he was elected UC Nazim in the non-party local government elections in 2005, the police said. They added that the victim was a resident of Peetal Gali near Gulbahar.
'Family feud' claims life
A young man was rubbed out in Gulshan-e-Maymar, police said.
They added that 37-year-old Ali Gul Brohi was buying cigarettes from a roadside stall near Chawal Godam, off the Superhighway, when two men riding a motorbike pulled up and one of them fired at him.
"The victim originally hailed from Qambar-Shahdadkot and was residing in Essa Brohi Goth in Gadap Town," said an official at the Gulshan-e-Maymar cop shoppe. "The killing is part of an old family feud," he said.
The bodies of two yound men were found in different areas on Saturday, police said.
An official at the Malir Cantt cop shoppe said that a man wearing black shalwar kameez was found rubbed out on a link road connecting Saadi Town with Malir Cantt.
The body of another young man was found near a government primary school in the Ramswami area within the remit of the Nabi Bukhsh cop shoppe.
[Dawn] A man was killed and two others were maimed in North Wazoo on Saturday after NATO ...the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. A cautionary tale of cost-benefit analysis.... and Afghan forces carried out two attacks with mortar shells from Afghanistan.
Fifteen rockets were fired on the Lataka Macha Madakhel area of Dattakhel tehsil early on Saturday and one of them hit a house, killing a primitive and injuring two others. The name of the dear departed could not be ascertained.
Later, the Dandi Kach locality of Spinwam tehsil was attacked with eight mortar shells. No loss of life or property was reported in the second attack because the shells landed in empty places in the hilly areas.
Pak troops didn't retaliate.
Meanwhile, ...back at the chili cook-off, Chuck and Manuel's rivalry was entering a new and more dangerous phase... there was no clue to the two soldiers kidnapped in Ghulam Khan area in North Waziristan on Friday.
Hawaldar Adil Hussain and soldier Niaz Ali were on duty at Bangi Dar checkpoint, near the Afghan border, when gunnies kidnapped them.
[An Nahar] The army on Sunday deployed heavily in the Tripoli ...a confusing city, one end of which is located in Lebanon and the other end of which is the capital of Libya. Its chief distinction is being mentioned in the Marine Hymn... neighborhood of Jabal Mohsen and its entrances, ending the deployment of gunnies there, in the first phase of its plan to restore security in Tripoli, state-run National News Agency reported, after six people were killed and 40 others maimed on Sunday alone.
┬"The second phase will be the deployment of the army in Bab al-Tabbaneh and all the frontiers of the festivities,┬" NNA said.
Shortly before the army's move, fierce festivities erupted on the Jabal Mohsen-Haret al-Barraniyeh frontier, NNA reported.
┬"We took clear measures that will materialize in the coming hours in Tripoli,┬" Prime Minister Najib Miqati, meanwhile, said in a Twitter message.
Earlier on Sunday, the Higher Defense Council convened at the Baabda Palace to discuss the latest round of festivities.
Six people were killed and 40 others maimed in festivities between the rival Tripoli neighborhoods of Bab al-Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohsen on Sunday, a security official told Agence La Belle France Presse.
The latest fighting in the northern city came amid growing international concern about the potential for neighboring countries to be dragged into the Syrian conflict.
Sunni gunnies from the port city's Bab al-Tabbaneh district exchanged machinegun and rocket fire with Alawite residents of the neighboring Jabal Mohsen district leaving three members of each community dead, the security official said.
The fighting broke a tense calm that had held since the army deployed troops between the two impoverished neighborhoods early on Friday.
During the night, troops held their positions on sidestreets but not on the ironically named Syria Street that forms the frontline.
The festivities rocked Tripoli's rival neighborhoods intermittently throughout the day, the security official said, adding that fighting was still taking place "off and on" in the afternoon.
[An Nahar] Syrian rebels on Sunday seized control of a sector of Sheikh Suleiman base west of Aleppo ...For centuries, Aleppo was Greater Syria's largest city and the Ottoman Empire's third, after Constantinople and Cairo. Although relatively close to Damascus in distance, Aleppans regard Damascenes as country cousins... , bringing them closer to holding a large swathe of territory extending to the Turkish border in the north.
The rebels took control of Regiment 111 and three other company posts located inside the base after fierce fighting overnight, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
"Two rebels and one soldier were killed, while five soldiers were captured. The prisoners said that 140 of their men had fled to the scientific research center on the base," Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman told Agence La Belle France Presse.
Sheikh Suleiman sprawls over nearly 200 hectares (500 acres) of rocky hills about 25 kilometers (15 miles) from Aleppo city, an area now almost completely under rebel control.
Elsewhere in northern Syria, 10 were reported killed in regime shelling of the town of Maraayan, while five civilians, including a child, were killed as Ahsam village in Idlib province was shelled, the Observatory said.
The watchdog also reported festivities around the Wadi Daif military base, which rebels have been trying to take since seizing the nearby town of Maaret al-Numan two months ago.
The Observatory said the Syrian army clashed with rebels in the capital's southern Qadam neighborhood and on the southern and northeast outskirts of Damascus ...The capital of Iran's Syrian satrapy... , pressing ahead with its bombardment of rebel-held towns.
Activists posted an Internet video of a large fire in the Port Said area" of Qadam. "The (rebel) Free (Syrian) Army hit the checkpoints," the cameraman says, as machine gunfire is heard in the background.
The military has for several days bombarded rebel strongholds in the suburbs from ground and air, raising fears of a looming ground assault by the army to try to establish a secure cordon around the capital.
The Observatory, which relies on a countrywide network of activists and medics, gave an initial toll of 41 people killed nationwide on Sunday, including 19 civilians.
In all, more than 42,000 people have been killed since the uprising against Hereditary President-for-Life Bashir Pencilneck al-Assad Light of the Alawites... 's rule erupted in March last year, according to the Observatory's figures.
A multi-volume chronology and reference guide set detailing three years of the Mexican Drug War between 2010 and 2012.
Rantburg.com and borderlandbeat.com correspondent and author Chris Covert presents his first non-fiction work detailing
the drug and gang related violence in Mexico.
Chris gives us Mexican press dispatches of drug and gang war violence
over three years, presented in a multi volume set intended to chronicle the death, violence and mayhem which has
dominated Mexico for six years.