Sunday, 16 September 2012

Anti-Islam Film: Iran wants America to punish makers

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has demanded the United States to punish those behind the anti-Islam film if it truly played no role in the making.

According to Ali Khamenei; “If the American politicians are honest that they had no role, then they must punish those who committed this heinous crime and their financial backers in proportion to this great crime,”

Earlier on Thursday, hundreds of Iranians staged a protest in Tehran over the amateur, American-made film which ridicules Islam’s Prophet Mohammed.
The crowd chanted “Death to America!” and death to the movie’s director, and an American flag was burnt.
But the rally, held near the Swiss embassy that handles US interests in the absence of US-Iran diplomatic ties, ended peacefully after two hours.

Security forces prevented the crowd from approaching the diplomatic compound.
Iranian news agencies said the demonstration was called by the Student Islamic Society, a hardline university group loyal to Khamenei that has held anti-Western rallies in the past.

It was one of several protests in Middle East countries that happened on Thursday, following attacks on Tuesday on US diplomatic mission in Libya and Egypt by crowds whipped into a fury by the movie.
In the Libya attack, the US ambassador and three other US officials were killed.

A spokesman for Iran’s foreign ministry, Ramin Mehmanparast, was quoted by the official IRNA news agency saying: “The killing of the American ambassador in Libya in protest over insults against the prophet of Islam is an example of Muslim hatred against the repulsive policies (of the United States), which are aligned with Islamophobia.”

The film at the centre of the outrage was made in the United States by a man initially reported by US media to be an American-Israeli who relied on funding from 100 Jews.But subsequent reporting found that figure to be fictitious, likely invented by a Coptic Christian living in California and identified as Nakoula Basseley Nakoula.

The film was being promoted by a Florida pastor, Terry Jones, known for previous Koran-burning stunts that angered Muslims in various countries.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday condemned both the film — saying “to me personally, this video is disgusting and reprehensible” — and the violence seen in the protests.
She added: “The United States government had absolutely nothing to do with this video. We absolutely reject its content and message.”

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Update: FG restores DANA Airline's Licence

The Federal Government on Friday admitted that the suspension of the Operating Licence of Dana Airlines following the crash of one of its aircraft on June 3 was against global aviation practices.

Minister of Aviation, Mrs. Stella Oduah, made this known on a Channels TV breakfast programme last Friday. She was reacting to the strong condemnations from the family members of the victims of the crash, after FG restored the airline’s operating licence on Wednesday.

The FG lifted the suspension, saying it was satisfied with the air-worthiness of the airline after a rigorous technical, operational and financial audit.

Stella explained that it was against best practices to ground an airline because of a crash. She stressed that what was allowed in the aviation sector was to segregate an aircraft and conduct an audit.

She said the decision to restore Dana’s licence was taken with a sense of responsibility. "Dana is not a perfect company by any means just like any other firm...Dana’s manuals, log book and administrative policies are all in compliance with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority,NCAA rules and regulations. We’re satisfied that thorough investigation was carried out and that was why we said they can go back to work.”

She, however, added that the lifting of the suspension did not translate to the fact that the airline would return to the air immediately.

The FG had suspended Dana’s licence on June 5, 2012, two days after its Abuja-Lagos flight 0992 crashed into residential and commercial buildings in Iju-Ishaga, on the outskirts of Lagos, killing 153 passengers and crew on board.

The decision, however, attracted criticisms from those affected. The victims of the crash, claim that their agony has been worsened by the fact that the government restored the licence even when investigations into the crash are yet to be completed and the remains of some of the deceased are yet to be buried.

Onyinye Okocha a widow of Dana Air-crash Victim
 “It is one thing for their licence to be restored, it is another thing for you to keep them in business. If our government cannot do what is proper, we can...I call on well meaning Nigerians who love and respect human life to boycott Dana Air.
“The crash may not have affected you like it did me. You may not be a widow like me at the age of 26, left alone to raise a baby that was just 15 months".