National garden bird count


This is the weekend of the national garden bird count.

It was a windy, sometimes rainy day, which probably was a reason for many birds to hide away.

As during the half hour of the count, I saw, from the village window, just three birds: a male and a female blackbird, and a wood pigeon.

This is a blackbird video.

National count results are here.

Libyan women oppose draft election law


By Sarah Sheffer:

Libyan women’s group rejects draft election law

21 January 2012

CAIRO: Libyan women’s group Women4Libya (W4L) has called for the modification of proposed draft election laws, citing shortcomings in the proposed law, which is set to be published on Sunday by the National Transitional Council’s (TNC) Electoral Commission.

Women in Libya, who were essential in the conflict that toppled the regime of former leader Muammar Ghaddafi earlier this fall, are concerned that their voices will not be heard in the formation of the country’s new government.

An initial 10 percent quota for women in the 200-seat General National Congress, a newly formed political body, has been omitted entirely in the pending electoral law.

The group had expressed too that even a 10 percent quota is “undeniably insulting, when more than half the population are female and participated equally in the revolution.”

In a press release, W4L expressed that they are “are shocked to discover that there is now no quota at all, leaving them at even greater risk of exclusion.”

“The drafting team of eight should have included women representatives and the whole process been more transparent,” said Sara Maziq, a founder of the group.

W4L proposed a minimum 40 percent quota for women in Congress.

“Libyan women, like men, aspire to a stable and democratic Libya with participation in all aspects of decision-making. The precedent for elections in post-conflict countries is minimum quotas for women of at least 30% – 40%. Even Iraq and Afghanistan had a minimum 25% quota for women,” she continued.

The group also called for the formation of clearly delineated electoral districts and the outlining of clear conditions for candidate qualification. They also called for more transparency and communication from within the TNC.

Abir Dajani Tuqan, another member of the women’s group, said that the proposed legislation “does not reflect the spirit of Islam.”

To combat the proposed election procedures, the W4L has circulated a petition that has accumulated more than 3,000 signatures against the bill.

Additionally, Libyan citizens are unhappy that voter eligibility excludes people who are living abroad.

“There is a risk now that those forced into exile during the regime will be ineligible to stand for office or vote just when Libya needs all the talent it can muster to rebuild a New Libya,” Sara Maziq of W4L explained.

See also here.

Libya‘s Nato-installed National Transitional Council was plunged into crisis on Sunday a day after hundreds of armed men forced leader Mustafa Abdul-Jalil to scuttle out of the back of its Benghazi HQ: here.

UN concerns over Libya militias and secret detention: here.

Several detainees have died after being subjected to torture in Libya in recent weeks and months amid widespread torture and ill-treatment of suspected pro-al-Gaddafi fighters and loyalists, Amnesty International said today: here.

Detainees from Libya’s war held by fighters continue to be subjected to torture, says UN human-rights chief: here.

Libya prisoners make new torture allegations | BBC: here.

Residents of Bani Walid in Libya appointed their own local government today after driving out loyalists of the new Nato-backed regime in an armed uprising: here.

Authorities in and around Misrata are preventing thousands of people from returning to the villages of Tomina and Kararim and have failed to stop local militias from looting and burning homes there, Human Rights Watch said today: here.

The Libyan government should urgently increase security for the roughly 12,000 displaced people from Tawergha in western Libya, Human Rights Watch said today. Nearly a month after militias raided a Tawergha camp in Janzur, shooting dead one man, three women, and three children, that camp and others still lack adequate protection, Human Rights Watch said: here.

Zuma criticizes UN over war on Libya. By Abayomi Azikiwe Editor, Pan-African News Wire: here.

Pro-Kadhafi Prisoners ‘Beaten With Chains': here.

TORTURE! MURDER! & tens of thousands displaced in Cameron’s ‘free Libya’: here. And here.

Amnesty International demanded the release today of two British journalists and their Libyan colleagues held for over a week by a Misrata-based militia: here.

Two Libyans are to sue the former counter-terrorism director of British spy agency MI6, claiming he played a key role in their rendition to Moamer Kadhafi’s Libya, their lawyers said Tuesday: here.

Listen to BBC report on new legal action by Libyan rendition victims against ex-MI6 counter-terror chief Sir Mark Allen: here.

Authorities in and around Misrata are preventing thousands of people from returning to the villages of Tomina and Kararim and have failed to stop local militias from looting and burning homes there, Human Rights Watch said today: here.

The northeast Libyan town of Tawergha, formerly home to about 40,000 people, is now a “ghost town” after intense fighting last year ended in the city’s capture and the total displacement of its population: here.

More than 50 civilians have been killed in fighting between tribes this week in a remote region of southern Libya, witnesses reported on Tuesday: here.

Both pro- and anti-Qadhafi forces committed war crimes in Libya – UN panel: here.

Canada helped NATO enable ouster of Gadhafi from Libya: here.

No immunity for Yemen dictatorship


By Will Morrow:

Yemen’s “unity” cabinet provides immunity for Saleh regime

21 January 2012

Yemen’s power-sharing “unity” cabinet, composed of the ruling General People’s Congress (GPC) and opposition Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) coalition, approved laws on January 8 to give sweeping legal immunity to President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s regime.

Rather than shielding Saleh’s family members as had been expected, the legislation protects Saleh and those who worked with him, including in civilian, military and security institutions, during his lengthy presidency. Since protests emerged in Yemen last January, the regime has killed hundreds of demonstrators.