Afghan father says US soldiers killed my baby


From Reuters:

Afghan father says his baby dies in coalition raid

Thu Apr 9, 2009 6:40am EDT

ALI DAYA, Afghanistan, April 9 – The father of a seven-day-old boy said on Thursday his infant son died in an overnight raid by Afghan and U.S. forces, with the U.S. saying it was investigating the claim.

A female school teacher was also killed and the child’s mother wounded, the father said, during the raid in Ali Daya village in Khost province, where Taliban fighters are active. …

Civilian casualties have sapped support for the presence of foreign troops more than seven years after U.S.-led forces overthrew the Taliban. They are also a major source of friction between the West and the Afghan government. …

The boy’s mother was in hospital and could not be reached for comment. Photographs showed the boy’s body with trickles of blood from his nostrils and white dust on his forehead.

Earlier, U.S. forces released a statement saying they had killed four militants, including two women, after they came under fire when approaching a house in Ali Daya.

Gul said four adults died, but none were militants, and one of the women was a schoolteacher.

UPDATE, from AFP:

US military kills mother, kids

09/04/2009 20:50 – (SA)

Kabul – The US military in Afghanistan admitted on Thursday that four of the people killed by its troops in a raid were not “combatants”, after Afghans said they included a mother and her children, with a baby dying afterwards.

Afghan officials and witnesses earlier accused the forces of killing civilians in an overnight raid in the eastern province of Khost, where the US military initially said “four combatants” were killed.

“Further inquiries into the coalition and ANSF (Afghan National Security Force) operation in Khost earlier today (Thursday) suggest that the people killed and wounded were not enemy combatants as previously reported,” the military said.

It is the latest in a series of incidents in which civilians have been killed or wounded by international forces, who are in Afghanistan to hunt down Taliban and al-Qaeda-linked militants.

The Khost police chief in charge of counter-terrorism, who is named only Ghazuddin, told AFP that the soldiers had gone to a village outside of Khost city in search of a militant.

They climbed on the roofs of other houses to surround the targeted building, he told AFP.

Occupants suspected they were thieves

The occupants of one of the homes, which belonged to a colonel in the Afghan National Army who was serving elsewhere, suspected they were thieves, came out with guns and opened fire, Ghazuddin said.

“The Americans shot them thinking they are insurgents,” he said.

The colonel’s wife and daughter, son and brother were killed, he said.

Two women and a baby boy were also wounded. …

The dead woman was a school teacher, the Afghan Education Ministry said in a statement. It added that the girl who died was in the fourth grade at school, which would make her about 10 years old, and the boy was in the ninth grade, making him around 15.

The US military gave a similar version of events.

“Coalition and Afghan forces do not believe that this family was involved with militant activities and that they were defending their home against an unknown threat,” its statement said.

“Af-Pak: Obama’s War” by Immanuel Wallerstein: here.

Many Irish children sexually abused by priests


This BBC video is called Sex Crimes And The Vatican.

From Associated Press:

Dublin archbishop: Sex abuse report will shock

He says it will show that thousands of youths were abused from 1975-2004

updated 9:33 a.m. ET April 9, 2009

DUBLIN – The Archbishop of Dublin said Thursday that an upcoming report on child sexual abuse involving Catholic priests will likely reveal that thousands of youngsters were abused from 1975 to 2004.

The report “will shock us all,” said Diarmuid Martin, during Mass at Dublin’s Pro-Cathedral.

The archbishop said the report, compiled by the Dublin Archdiocese Commission of Investigation, is expected to show that “thousands of children or young people across Ireland were abused by priests in the period under investigation and the horror of that abuse was not recognized for what it is.”

See also here. And here. And here. And here.

Ireland’s top Roman Catholic bishops have refused to address the demand that the church admit its responsibility for overseeing decades of child abuse: here.

Irish author Edna O’Brien: here.

Paraguayan Chaco birds


From BirdLife:

Paraguayan Chaco up for review

09-04-2009

At a recent event, Guyra Paraguay (BirdLife in Paraguay), the Paraguay Secretary of the Environment (SEAM), the UN Development Program (UNDP), and the municipality of Bahía Negra launched the review of the Management Plan for the Chaco National Park. …

Bird species found in the Chaco include, Crowned Eagle Harpyhaliaetus coronatus, Black-legged Seriema Chunga burmeisteri, Greater Rhea Rhea Americana, Many-coloured Chaco-finch Saltatricula multicolor, and Quebracho Crested-tinamou Eudromia formosa.

Paraguay’s forests in crisis: here.

BirdLife Partner Guyra Paraguay has warned that if current rates of deforestation continue, the Chaco, currently home to rich and abundant biodiversity, could soon be reduced to the same state as South America’s Atlantic Forest: isolated fragments providing a tenuous clawhold for the threatened remnants of its bird species: here.

Guyra Paraguay has launched the first major report on the status of bird populations in Paraguay. The report, entitled State of Paraguay’s birds, outlines in detail the current status of the country’s birds, the threats they face and the urgent actions needed to secure their future: here.

In Paraguay a Familiar Story is Playing Out. Sean O’Leary, The Council on Hemispheric Affairs: “In Paraguay, the Ayoreo people are fighting for their very survival. These indigenous people are struggling to save their ancestral home in the Chaco region from cattle companies, farmers and religious sects who are moving into the region and clearing the land. New arrivals do this to make the land suitable for farming and grazing cattle. The combination of burning and then bulldozing the land leaves the region barren”: here.

Part of Asunción Bay Important Bird Area (IBA) is in the process of being destroyed by heavy machinery brought in to begin work on a new waterfront project in Paraguay’s capital city, despite the site being legally declared a Reserve in 2005: here.

After ten years of negotiations, the indigenous Kue Tuvy Aché community in Paraguay have gained formal recognition of their ownership of the land known as Finca 470, part of the Bosque Mbaracayú Important Bird Area: here.

On October 28, 1935, the Chaco Peace Conference reached a deal bringing an end to the war between Bolivia and Paraguay. The two countries had been locked since 1932 in a bitter struggle over the Gran Chaco region of South America, believed to be rich in oil reserves: here.