SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa swept to a re-election victory on Sunday that allows him to strengthen state control over the OPEC nation's economy and gives a timely boost to Latin America's alliance of socialist leaders.
The charismatic leftist had 57 percent support compared with 24 percent for runner-up Guillermo Lasso, with almost 40 percent of votes counted. The electoral authority said it did not expect the results to change significantly.
"Nobody can stop this revolution," a jubilant Correa told supporters from the balcony of the presidential palace, after claiming victory.
"The colonial powers are not in charge anymore. You can be sure that in this revolution it's Ecuadoreans in control."
The combative, U.S.-trained economist took power in 2007 and has won strong support among the poor by using booming oil revenues to build roads, hospitals and schools in rural areas and shantytowns.
"Our Ecuador needs a president like Rafael Correa. He has been strong and has not allowed anyone to intimidate him," said Julieta Moira, 46, who is unemployed, as she celebrated outside the presidential palace. "I'm very excited, happy and thankful."
Supporters also gathered in a park in the upscale north end of Quito, waving the signature neon-green flags of Correa's Alianza Pais party.
DEDICATES WIN TO CHAVEZ
Correa, 49, may now be in line to become Latin America's main anti-American voice and de facto leader of the ALBA bloc of leftist governments as Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has been silenced during his battle with cancer.
Correa said he dedicated his victory to Chavez.
The principal challenge in Correa's new four-year term will be wooing investors needed to boost stagnant oil production and spur the mining industry. A $3.2 billion debt default in 2008 and aggressive oil contract negotiations scared off many.
Critics view Correa as an authoritarian leader who has curbed media freedom and appointed aides to top posts in the judiciary.
"This government has not given us anything good, only insults and taxes. We're tired of all that. I'm concerned that this government has alliances with communist countries," said Celeste Guerrero, a 68-year-old pensioner in Guayaquil.
Even some supporters disapprove of his tempestuous outbursts, confrontations with media and bullying of adversaries.
But the fractured opposition failed to make a consolidated challenge. It fielded seven candidates, making it easy for Correa, and he is now on track for a decade in office.
That is rare stability in a country where three presidents were pushed from office by coups or street protests in the decade before Correa took power in 2007.
He is already the longest-serving president since the return to democracy in the 1970s following a military dictatorship.
Correa's success has hinged in part on high oil prices that allowed for liberal state spending, including boosting cash handouts to 2 million people, and spurred solid economic growth.
He is likely to continue spending heavily to maintain his popularity, but state revenues would dry up if oil prices fell.
He now hopes to diversify the economy away from its dependence on oil, in part by bringing in new investment for the mining sector. Despite promising reserves of gold and copper, mining operations have barely gotten off the ground.
In a news conference on Sunday after polls closed, Correa played down the need for more foreign investment. He insisted the ultimate goal was to ensure economic growth rather than "mortgaging" the country to bring in cash from abroad.
"We welcome foreign investment, and we're already getting plenty of it," Correa said. "Ecuador is one of the most successful economies in Latin America."
Lasso, a wealthy ex-banker and Correa's closest rival, had tried to woo voters with promises of lower taxes. He congratulated Correa on his victory but also took pride in his Creo party taking a quarter of the vote.
"We are now the second-largest political force in the country," said Lasso, who was beaming despite losing.
The other six opposition candidates included former Correa ally Alberto Acosta, former President Lucio Gutierrez and banana magnate and five-time presidential candidate Alvaro Noboa.
Pollsters say some of them focused their campaigns too much on attacking Correa and failed to put forward concrete proposals to entice voters.
Ecuadoreans also chose a new Congress on Sunday.
The Alianza Pais party was expected to win a majority in the legislature, which would let Correa push ahead with controversial reforms, including a media law and changes to mining legislation, without having to negotiate with rivals.
The results of the vote for Congress are not expected to be known for several days, but Correa said he was confident.
"I think we are going to get a majority and we will manage that majority with great responsibility," he told Latin America's Telesur TV network, set up by Chavez and his allies as an alternative to established media.
Correa never shies away from a fight, be it with international bondholders, oil companies, local bankers, the Catholic Church or media that criticize his policies.
He vowed on Sunday to expand state regulations over media groups he has called "dogs" and "hired assassins."
"One of the things we have to fix is an unethical and unscrupulous press that wants to judge, legislate and govern," Correa said. "That goes against the rule of law and we will not allow it."
His criticism of the U.S. "empire" and his clashes with foreign investors and the World Bank have fueled Correa's popularity as a strong-minded leader who stands up to foreign powers that many say meddled in Ecuador's affairs for decades.
He took the global limelight last year when he granted asylum to WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange. Critics say he did it to brush off accusations that he is curbing freedom of expression in Ecuador.-www.shfaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) -- After a decades-long campaign to legalize marijuana hit a high mark in 2012 with victories in Washington state and Colorado, its energized and deep-pocketed backers are mapping out a strategy for the next round of ballot-box battles.
They have their sights set on ballot measures in 2014 or 2016 in states such as California and Oregon, which were among the first in the country to allow marijuana for medical use. Although those states more recently rejected broader legalization, drug-law reform groups remain undeterred.
"Legalization is more or less repeating the history of medical marijuana," said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. "If you want to know which states are most likely to legalize marijuana, then look at the states that were the first to legalize medical marijuana."
The passage of the ballot measures in Colorado and Washington state in November allowed personal possession of the drug for people 21 and older. That same age group will be allowed to buy the drug at special marijuana stores under rules set to be finalized next year.
No other states have legalized marijuana, America's most widely used illicit drug, for recreational use. The drug remains illegal under federal law. Connecticut and Massachusetts also approved medical marijuana in 2012.
The efforts in Washington and Colorado demonstrated significant funding might.
The Drug Policy Alliance spent more than $1.6 million as one of the main funders of the Washington state campaign. Peter Lewis, chairman of insurance company Progressive Corp, gave $2.5 million to the Washington campaign, and travel guide author Rick Steves chipped in another $350,000, according to records.
Ahead of the Colorado vote, the Washington, D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project, which has been active in campaigns around the country, gave about $1 million to the effort, state records show.
A big question mark hangs over whether the pro-legalization momentum could be slowed if the federal government takes an aggressive stance against the new laws.
The U.S. Department of Justice has been mostly silent on the issue. President Barack Obama said in a TV interview this month it did not make sense for the federal government to "focus on recreational drug users in a state that has already said that, under state law, that's legal."
In 1996, California became the first state to allow medical marijuana by a popular vote, and Oregon and Washington state were part of a second wave in 1998. But Oregon rejected a marijuana legalization ballot measure in November, while California voters did the same in 1972 and 2010.
The 2010 ballot measure in California failed to sway voters because it would have left regulation to a hodgepodge of local governments, instead of a uniform set of state rules, said Dale Gieringer, director of the California branch of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.
This month, California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom became one of America's top state officials to call for reform of marijuana laws when he told the New York Times that laws against the drug "just don't make sense anymore."
Activists say they see demographic changes as giving them an advantage.
"We know that the younger generation is more supportive and the opposition really comes from the older generation. And as time goes on there's more of the younger generation and less of the older generation," Gieringer said.
"The second factor is we have these results in Colorado and Washington under our belt, so that sort of fertilizes the ground," he added.
One key point marijuana advocates are thrashing out is whether to pursue any ballot initiative in 2014, or wait until the presidential election of 2016, when the turnout of their reliable base of youth voters will likely be higher.
Regardless of when a ballot initiative might come to California, the nation's most populous state, groups opposing legalization vow to defeat it.
One of those is the California Police Chiefs Association.
"I have yet to hear a legalization proponent talk about how society will be enhanced, how the real social problems facing our country will be improved by legalizing yet another substance that compromises people's five senses," said John Lovell, government relations manager for the group.
A number of addiction specialists say that where marijuana is legalized, teenagers will come to believe the drug is harmless and more will use it.
Medical marijuana is already big business in California. The state Board of Equalization in its most recent analysis from 2009 estimated medical cannabis dispensaries ring up sales of $1.3 billion a year and pay sales taxes of $105 million.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Thousands of Palestinians have joined demonstration, staged by the Palestinian resistance movement of Hamas in the city of Nablus in the north of Israel-occupied West Bank, to celebrate the group's recent “victory” over Israel during Tel Aviv’s eight-day-long bloody war last month against the Gaza Strip.
Thursday’s demonstration, which coincided with the 25th anniversary of the establishment of Hamas, was the first of its kind authorized by the Palestinian Authority since 2007, AFP reported.
Some marchers carried wood models of the rockets fired at Israel during the war, which killed more than 150 Palestinians.
“Hamas - you are the guns; we are the bullets,” and, “Hamas, fire more rockets on Tel Aviv” were heard during the demonstration.
“We are with Hamas, you are the gun and we are the ammunition,” read one banner.
Addressing demonstrators, Secretary-General of Ramallah-based Palestinian faction, Fatah’s Revolutionary Council, Amin Maqbul said, “Hamas has given thousands of martyrs, prisoners, and wounded for Palestine."
“Hamas steadfastness and victory in Gaza was a big victory for all Palestinian people,” he added.
Hamas’ popularity has been on the rise despite Israeli and western attempts to undermine the group through Tel Aviv’s suffocating siege of Gaza and continued aggression against the Palestinian territory.
The Chairman of the Hamas Political Bureau, Khaled Mashal’s recent historic visit to the Gaza Strip following 45 years in exile is seen by many in the West Bank as a direct result of the victory. - www.shfaqna.com/English
Source: Press TV
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Unknown gunmen have assassinated the temporary security director for the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi in the latest violence to rock the city, state media reported Wednesday,
Col. Faraj al-Dursi was shot dead by three unidentified men in a civilian car on Tuesday night, security officials in the city said, according to Libyan state news agency LANA.
Read more: Timeline of Benghazi attack
Al-Dursi was outside his home in the city's al-Saberi neighborhood when the attack occurred, the news agency cites Lt. Saraj al-Shaikhi of the Benghazi security directorate as saying.
The gunmen fled the scene, al-Shaikhi said, and al-Dursi died on his way to the Benghazi medical center.
An investigation is under way to find those responsible.
The violence comes about two months after the city was shaken by an attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi in which four Americans died, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens.
Clinton: I am responsible for diplomats' security
The attack became a political hot button during a presidential election year and raised questions regarding issues such as security at the compound and the Obama administration's initial description of the events.
David Petraeus, who recently resigned as director of the CIA, said in closed-door congressional briefings on Friday that the attack was planned and launched by terrorists affiliated with al Qaeda, according to lawmakers and those who attended.
A diplomatic cable sent by Stevens from Benghazi hours before the attack in which he died was largely devoted to the rising security threats in and around the city.– www.shafaqna.com/English
Source: Press TV
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) - Most of the News Agencies stated that this victory is belonging to Gaza kids and inhabitants.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) - World leaders sought comfort from the familiar on Wednesday after President Obama’s re-election but, with the global political landscape substantially unchanged and crises on hold while the vote unfolded, many vied with new vigor for his attention and favor as he embarks on a second term.
In marked contrast to a euphoric surge four years ago when many hailed Mr. Obama’s victory as a herald of renewal, the mood was subdued, reflecting not only the shadings of opinion between the American leader’s friends and foes but also a generally lowered expectation of America’s power overseas.
Mr. Obama, one French analyst said, is “very far from the hopes that inflamed his country four years ago.”
Even in Kenya, where Mr. Obama’s father was from, the energy surrounding this election was just a shadow of what it had been in 2008, when it seemed like the entire African continent was cheering him on. Many Kenyans have been disappointed that Mr. Obama has yet to visit as president, part of a broader feeling on the continent that Africa has not been a priority, certainly not compared with the unfolding nuclear debate in Iran and the civil war in Syria.
Some were quick to list their conflicting requirements, signaling the diplomatic shoals ahead.
Iranian officials hinted that talks between Iran and the United States were a possibility.
“If it benefits the system, we will negotiate with the U.S.A. even in the depths of hell,” Mohammad Javad Larijani, one of several brothers with key positions in the ruling elite, told the semiofficial Mehr news agency, saying bilateral talks — rumored but denied in Washington and Tehran — were “not taboo.” At the same time, Danny Danon, the deputy speaker of the Israeli Parliament who is regarded as a staunch ally of the Republicans, evoked “the existential threat posed to Israeland the West by the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran.”
“Now is the time for President Obama to return to the wise and time-honored policy of ‘zero daylight’ between our respective nations,” Mr. Danon said.
Mr. Danon is a member of the conservative Likud Party led by Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who has tense relations with Mr. Obama and who was widely perceived in Israel and the United States as having supported the Republican challenger, Mitt Romney.
“It was our mistake that Bibi went and kissed the other one before the election,” said Michael Pashko, a worker in an electrical supplies store in Jerusalem, referring to the prime minister by his nickname. “Those kisses will cost him dearly.”
Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, said in a brief statement that he hoped Mr. Obama would press for peace in the Middle East.
That call seemed mirrored in Malaysia, where Prime Minister Najib Razak urged Mr. Obama to “continue in his efforts to foster understanding and respect between the United States and Muslims around the world” — a relationship to which the American leader committed himself at the beginning of a first term.
Before the outcome was known, Chinese analysts had summed up what seemed to be a widespread calculation that the Chinese leadership, itself scheduled to change in two days’ time, favored Mr. Obama “because he’s familiar,” said Wu Xinbo, deputy director of the Center for American Studies at Fudan University in Shanghai. A victory for Mr. Romney would have made China “a little nervous because he might bring new policies.”
President Hu Jintao of China, praised the “hard work of the Chinese and American sides” over Mr. Obama’s first term in creating “positive developments” in their relationship.
“With an eye toward the future, China is willing, together with the United States, to continue to make efforts to promote the cooperative partnership between China and the United States so as to achieve new and even greater development, bringing better benefits to the people of the two countries and the people of the world.”
China’s response was colored by a pre-election pledge from Mr. Romney to label Beijing a currency manipulator. “With Obama continuing,” said Poon Tsang, a street market vendor in Hong Kong, “there should be some stability in his relationship with China.”
Across Europe, many greeted news of Mr. Obama’s re-election with a sense of mild relief, though it was not immediately clear whether those feelings were accompanied by any enhanced expectation that, armed with a new mandate, the Obama administration would find solutions to the huge challenges still facing it in Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, Syria and the Middle East.
Imran Khan, a prominent Pakistani politician, urged the re-elected Mr. Obama to “give peace a chance” after a first term marked by “increased drone attacks, a surge in Afghanistan, increased militancy in Pakistan as a result of that.”
Most Afghans appeared pleased by the election result, welcoming the continuity it offered in a country buffeted violently by change and conflict over the past few years, although many were worried that Mr. Obama could accelerate the withdrawal of American troops from the country, due for 2014.
Mr. Obama is also under pressure to increase his involvement in ending the Syrian war.
Speaking to reporters during a visit to Jordan, Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain said early on Wednesday: “One of the first things I want to talk to Barack about is how we must do more to try and solve this crisis.”
On the ground in Syria, rebels fighting to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad seemed divided over the impact of a second term for Mr. Obama. A commander who asked to be identified only by his first name, Maysara, said he expected Washington to take a much clearer stance within 10 days. “If they don’t, Syria will become like Somalia,” he said.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) —Alexander Kerzhakov scored an early goal as Russia beat Portugal 1-0 in Moscow to earn their third consecutive win of their World Cup qualifying campaign under Fabio Capello.
Kerzhakov broke clear on goal in the sixth minute following some quick one-touch passing featuring his Zenit St Petersburg team-mates Viktor Faizulin and Roman Shirokov. It was the striker's third goal in the three qualifiers so far.
"Today I saw a Russian team that played with huge desire, huge commitment," said Capello, whose first competitive match in charge of Russia saw them beat Israel 4-0 last month. "Nevertheless, it was a tough match." Russia now lead Group F with nine points after their first victory over Portugal, with Paulo Bento's side second on six points. In the other match in the group, Israel beat Luxembourg 6-0.
In Group H, Moldova and Ukraine, fresh from both facing England last month, played out a goalless draw in Chisinau, while in Group A,Belgium recorded a 3-0 win away to Serbia and Croatia beatMacedonia 2-1 in Skopje.
In Group C Sweden were spared an embarrassing defeat by Faroe Islands after coming from a goal down to win 2-1. Zlatan Ibrahimovic bundled home the winner on 75 minutes after Fulham's Alexander Kacaniklic cancelled out Rogvi Baldvinsson's 57th-minuteopener.
Also in Group C, which contains Republic of Ireland and Germany,Austria drew 0-0 away to Kazakhstan.
In Group B two second-half goals and a late penalty save from Petr Cech allowed Czech Republic to beat bottom-placed Malta 3-1 in Pizen for their first win of this qualifying campaign.
The hosts took the lead with a Theodor Gebre Selassie header in the 34th minute but Malta struck back four minutes later when Roderick Briffa capitalised on a defensive lapse.
The Czechs started the second half with more urgency and were rewarded when Tomas Pekhart directed in Petr Jiracek's cross. Jan Rezek made it 3-1 in the 67th minute before Cech saved a penalty from Michael Mifsud from the last kick of the match.
In the same group Italy maintained their grip on top spot by beating Armenia 3-1 in Yerevan. The Euro 2012 runners-up took the lead via an 11th-minute penalty from Andrea Pirlo before the hosts secured a shock equaliser through Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
But Italy were not to be denied andscored twice after the break, through Daniele De Rossi on 64 minutes and Pablo Osvaldo on 82 minutes. Also in Group B, Bulgaria drew 1-1 with Denmark.
Elsewhere, world and European champions Spain recorded a 4-0 win away to Belarus thanks, in part, to a hat-trick from Pedro. Also in Group I, Finland drew 1-1 with Georgia, while in Group E, a goal from Tottenham's Gylfi Sigurdsson helpled Iceland to a 2-1 victory overAlbania. In the same group, Switzerland drew 1-1 with Norway whileSlovenia beat Cyprus 2-1.
In Group D, Holland beat Andorra 3-0 thanks to goals from Rafael Van der Vaart, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Ruben Schaken. They are level on nine points with Romania, who recorded a 1-0 victory away to Turkeythanks to a goal from Gheorghe Grozav. In the group's other game,Hungary beat Estonia 1-0.
Finally, there are now three teams level on seven points in Group G afterBosnia-Herzgovina drew 0-0 with Greece and Slovakia beat Latvia2-1 in Bratislava. In the same group, Lithuania won 2-0 away atLiechtenstein..www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — Amongst Montreal’s 200,000-strong Muslim community, there was a varied sense of disappointment at the success of the Parti Québécois, consolation that the separatist party failed to win the required 63 seats to form a majority government, relief that the Liberals are no longer in leadership; and hope that the new balance of power will usher positive change.
“I am upset that the PQ has won, but relieved that they did not win a majority,” said Brossard resident Aisha Khan. “I am also surprised at how close it was, I was expecting the Liberals to do worse and the CAQ to do better.”
Winning 54 of the 125 seats up for grabs in the National Assembly, the pro-independence PQ narrowly edged out the incumbent Liberals, ending party leader Jean Charest’s nine year rule as premier. The Liberals finished closely behind the PQ, winning 50 seats winning 31.2 percent of the popular vote, compared to 31.9 percent won by the PQ. The Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ) and the Québéc Solidaire won 19 and 2 seats respectively.
When asked how she thinks the PQ might govern Quebec, Ms. Khan said, “They will attempt to take away human rights from Quebec residents, such as rights to communicate in English, as well as cultural and religious rights. I think all this ridiculous and unnecessary talk will breed a climate of hate and will take away from the real issues.”
Pierrefonds resident Hameed Uddin expressed his relief at the election results and feels it sends a strong message to the PQ that Quebecers do not want a referendum on separation. He also voiced concerns, shared by others, of economic instability, as was seen after the 1976 election of the first PQ government, which prompted an exodus of various corporate head offices, as well as Anglophone residents.
“In this globalization era, limiting the strengths and intellectual capacity of (Quebec’s) population by imposing language restrictions is counterproductive and against global trends where governments are encouraging their people to learn more languages,” he said. “We need politicians who are visionaries and who will work towards advancing Quebec to be a leader in a globally competitive world. We should not be just considering ourselves as part of Canada, but as part of the global village and aim to be a dominant player at the world stage.”
Another Pierrefonds resident, Sameer Zuberi, expressed satisfaction with the election results and hopes the status of the PQ as a minority government with the Liberals in opposition will prove to be a positive force for Quebec.
“I’m fairly happy with the new makeup of the National Assembly, a minority government is always good for the population,” he shared. “The PQ has a strong social-democratic tradition and can be a force for a more just society. The Liberals won’t advance an agenda which goes against their base, Anglos and Quebec’s minorities. An increased Québéc Solidaire presence is healthy, as they specifically advocate for the inclusion of cultural communities in the mainstream. Finally, the CAQ’s emphasis on putting the separatist-federalist debate on the backburner is a positive step towards depolarising Quebec politics.”
For Brossard resident Ahmad Hussain, the election results came as no surprise, as he had anticipated the dwindling support for the Liberal government.
“I think the Liberals were in power a little too long and it’s in the best interests of ‘good governance’ that we reshuffle our governments every now and then,” he explained. “I’m eager to see how the PQ cleans up corruption and I’m sure they will. Charest’s government was simply too corrupt and didn’t care when public calls were made to inquire into corruption in the construction industry.”
A point of concern in the PQ platform for many members of the Montreal Muslim community was the Charter of Secularism, which among other things would seek to ban employees in public institutions from wearing overt religious symbols, including the hijab, kippah and turbans. According to Mr. Zuberi, such a move would be detrimental not only to religious communities, but to Quebec as a whole.
“The proposed Charte de la laïcité is quite divisive, it goes against the very spirit of a free and democratic society and will lead to social cleavages,” he explained. “If the government is smart, it will advance a national identity that is open and inclusive to anyone who makes Quebec home. The PQ should be careful about approaching identity politics in an exclusive and ostracizing manner. Instead the PQ should focus on the positive aspects of its platform, that is, creating a more just and fair society.”
Likewise, Ms. Khan believes such a charter would contravene the Quebec and Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and also demonstrates a lack of knowledge on the part of Premier Pauline Marois concerning the contributions of Montreal’s religious minority groups to the wider society.
“It (the charter) infringes on individual human rights and I feel it is an unnecessary and irresponsible use of taxpayer’s funds,” she said. “I think she is unaware of how many openly religious people are such active members of the public community in the Greater Montreal Area, as they are teachers, nurses, doctors and therapists.”
Canadian Muslim organizations also weighed in on the results, sending messages to Premier Marois to avoid division. The Muslim Council of Montreal issued a statement following the announcement of the election results, with president Salam Elmenyawi stating, “We will be closely watching the performance of Ms. Marois as premier of Quebec and calling on her to demonstrate true leadership in governing for the welfare of all communities. She faces a serious task of healing the wounds caused to many minority groups during the election and must work to eradicate racism, hate and xenophobia, while preserving civil liberties and social harmony.”
Likewise, the Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CAN) said in a released statement “It’s time for the Parti Québécois to promote the province as a place where differences among people of all backgrounds and faiths are deemed as complementary strengths, rather than threats to Quebec values.
As for Mr. Zuberi, he remains cautiously optimistic for the future of Quebec.
“I believe the outlook is positive, but Quebec minorities must remain actively involved and help shape public debate,” he said. “This can be done by joining mainstream institutions within Quebec society, calling in radio phone-in shows or writing a letter to a local paper or politician. Its critical minorities make their voice heard in a reasoned and balanced manner.”
Mr. Hussain echoed such statements, calling for more organization within the Muslim community and more active participation in the political arena.
“I think as second generation Muslims in Canada, our concerns should be broader than the preceding generation,” he said. “Granted we are looking to vote for a ‘Muslim friendly’ party, but in order to truly look at what’s best for our community as a whole, we need to understand the myriad of issues surrounding what’s best for us.”— www.shafaqna.com/English
Source: Muslim Link
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — Parti Québécois leader Pauline Marois was abruptly dragged off stage by bodyguards midway through her victory speech Tuesday after a man opened fire into the theatre where she was speaking, killing one and critically injuring another.
A man in his 50s was arrested behind the downtown Metropolis theatre, where asmall fire was also set but quickly extinguished.
Television reports showed the suspect being led to a cruiser and shouting in French, “The English are waking up” and in English, “payback.” He was wearing a balaclava and appeared unbalanced. Police investigators could be seen handling a rifle found on the scene.
“We don’t know the reasons behind this event,” Montreal police spokesman Danny Richer told reporters, saying investigators would meet with the suspect. He did not say who the shooting victims were.
PQ officials initially attributed the incident to a smoke bomb, and Ms. Maroiseventually returned to continue her speech.
The attack came shortly after Ms. Marois, who was elected Premier by a narrow margin, had stoked the crowd with talk of achieving sovereignty. “We want a country, and we will have it” she said to cheers.—www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — Apple scored a sweeping legal victory over Samsung Friday as a jury found the Korean company had copied critical features of the hugely popular iPhone and iPad and awarded the U.S. company $1.051 billion in damages.
The verdict -- which came much sooner than expected -- could lead to an outright ban on sales of key Samsung products and will likely solidify Apple's dominance of the exploding mobile computing market.
A number of companies that sell smartphones based on Google's Android operating system may now face further legal challenges from Apple, a company that is already among the largest and most profitable in business history.
Shares in Apple, which just this week became the biggest company ever by market value, climbed almost 2 percent to a record high of $675 in after-hours trade.
Brian Love, a Santa Clara law school professor, described it as a crushing victory for Apple: "This is the best-case scenario Apple could have hoped for."
The jury deliberated less than three days before delivering the verdict on seven Apple patent claims and five Samsung patent claims -- suggesting that the nine-person panel had little difficulty in concluding that Samsung had copied the iPhone and the iPad.
Billions of dollars in future sales hang in the balance.
Apple's charges that Samsung copied its designs and features are widely viewed as an attack on Google and its Android software, which drives Samsung's devices and has become the most-used mobile software.
Apple and Samsung, two companies that sell more than half the world's smartphones and tablets, have locked legal horns in several countries this year.
Earlier on Friday, a South Korean court found that both companies shared blame, ordering Samsung to stop selling 10 products including its Galaxy S II phone and banning Apple from selling four different products, including its iPhone 4.
But the trial on Apple's home turf -- the world's largest and most influential technology market -- is considered the most important.
The fight began last year when Apple sued Samsung in multiple countries, accusing the South Korean company of slavishly copying the iPhone and iPad. Samsung countersued. Apple had sought more than $2.5 billion in damages from Samsung, which has disputed that figure.
The companies are rivals, but also have a $5 billion-plus supply relationship. Apple is Samsung's biggest customer for microprocessors and other parts central to Apple's devices.
The jury spent most of August in a packed federal courtroom in San Jose -- just miles from Apple's headquarters in Cupertino -- listening to testimony, examining evidence and watching lawyers from both sides joust about seven Apple patents, five Samsung patents, and damage claims.
Jurors received 100 pages of legal instructions from U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh Tuesday prior to hearing the closing arguments from attorneys.
Lawyers from both tech giants used their 25 hours each of trial time to present internal emails, draw testimony from designers and experts, and put on product demonstrations and mockups to convince the jury.
At times, their questions drew testimony that offered glimpses behind the corporate facade, such as profit margins on the iPhone and Samsung's sales figures in the United States.
From the beginning, Apple's tactic was to present what it thought was chronological evidence of Samsung copying its phone.
Juxtaposing pictures of phones from both companies and internal Samsung emails that specifically analyzed the features of the iPhone, Apple's attorneys accused Samsung of taking shortcuts after realizing it could not keep up.
Samsung's attorneys, on the other hand, maintained Apple had no sole right to geometric designs such as rectangles with rounded corners. They called Apple's damage claim "ridiculous" and urged the jury to consider that a verdict in favor of Apple could stifle competition and reduce choices for consumers.
The trial produced its share of drama and heated moments. Lawyers routinely bickered over legal matters in the jury's absence, filed rafts of paperwork to thwart each other's courtroom strategy, and sometimes even resorted to public relations tactics to make their views known.
Below, CNBC's Jon Fortt reports from outside the courtroom following the jury's verdict. He discusses a likely Samsung appeal and notes "This is now full-on war."—www.shafaqna.com/english