Category Archives: World Affairs

Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution

Hong Kong Democracy ProtestThe demonstrations in Hong Kong also known as the Umbrella Movement or Umbrella Revolution, began in September 2014 when pro-democracy campaigners, angry at China’s plans to vet candidates when they hold elections in 2017, protested outside the government headquarters and occupied several major city intersections.

Dr Pak Lee is a Senior Lecturer in Chinese Politics and International Relations at the University of Kent and spoke with Jason McCrossan.

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Oscar Pistorius Trial – the verdict

Judge Thokozile Masipa
Judge Thokozile Masipa

After 41 days of tears, anguish and at times gruesome testimony in the Pretoria High Court, Judge Thokozile Masipa gave her Judgement on the trial of Oscar Pistorius, the double amputee who became one of the biggest names in athletics. She found him not guilty of premeditated murder but guilty of culpable homicide.

Jason spoke with respected South African legal expert and President of the Law Society of the Northern Provinces Llewellyn Curlewis about his views on the verdict.

MH17 AIRLINE CREW RECALLS HAPPY VOYAGERS BOARDING FLIGHT

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An airline ground crew member who checked passengers in at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport for the doomed flight MH17 has made an emotional post on Facebook, recalling sending off holidaymakers, children and grandparents with wishes for “a pleasant flight”.

 

Renuka Manisha Virangna Birbal recounted her memories of the passengers

 

She wrote

A smile, a greeting, a happy face ..

At the transfer desk, I get two football fanatics, one is checked in and the other not, “can you check me in Love”. They were not seated next to each other in the business compartment , “would you like to sit together sir?” Any doubt,, I want a few hours of rest joked the other one. ‘’cheers’’

A loving family of six with their 10 pieces luggage that I had to put in the system. “After long time we’re returning home”

It was busy at the check in desk, so I went there to help my colleagues.
A child smiling and waving at me.

They thank me for my help so she could sit together. excited children “mom when do we see our luggage again?”

The crew running towards me waving and signalling.  They were ready to drop their luggage at the odd size belt.

A man who is about to start a new life in Malaysia.

A family get dropped off by their grandparents, kids first holiday far away.

Grandma makes photos of how her children and grand children check in. This time I do not mind that I am in the picture.

Arriving at the gate G03 a young man asked if he has time to buy something quickly. “Of course, sir, if you only ensures that you are back here at 1130”

My colleague helps an elderly woman inside, all the way to her seat in row 21, she had difficulty walking and traveling alone. The lady had the same name (one letter difference) as the son of my colleague and said that she would remembered the name.

I appeal to everyone to go to the toilet before they enter the gate because there are no toilet facilities at gate G03. A few passengers went back out of the line.

A woman traveling with her husband and her mother still asks her mother a few times if she had to go to the toilet, the elderly lady has a bladder problem. I allowed them to wait outside and they can come inside the priority line when their ready.

A newly married couple, on the way to their honeymoon.

A beautiful little girl hold by her mother, her father behind them pushing the stroller. What is she beautiful, a half Dutch half Malaysian with beautiful big eyes. She kindly smiled at me.

A man who could still join the flight to be on time for the funeral of his mother.

Grandchildren traveling with their grandparents.

Suddenly I see a familiar face, it is our colleague from the MH ticket counter

He proudly shows me his son, wife and daughter. With a big smile he waved “See you soon”

A woman want to go out of the gate unable to go to the toilet, unfortunately, we have already begun boarding and nobody can go out. “May I board first then?” of course.

I walk quickly along with the last two passengers who may eventually join the flight, and what are they happy …

A final farewell to the crew, till next time!

And then we removed the bridge.

Passengers traveling for business, on the way home, on the way to family, on the way to their holiday, on the way to a new beginning …

Group travel, families, couples, individuals, infants, children, grandmothers, grandfathers, mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, partners, uncles, aunts, colleagues, friends, neighbors, acquaintances.

The last time I saw them, talked to them and wish them a pleasant flight the passengers of flight MH017 on 17jul14.

One last smile, one last salute, a happy face …

+ Rest in peace dear passengers & crew +

On behalf of the ground handling agents of flight MH017 on Thursday 17-07-2014

 

 

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Could Oscar Pistorius Defence team – be in trouble?

A retired South African Judge has claimed that the repercussions of a newly leaked video showing the athlete re-enacting the events of the night he killed his girlfriend are “enormous” and could lead to Pistorious’s Defence team, including Barry Roux being stripped of their right to practice law.

Former Zimbabwean High Court Judge and Acting South African High Court Judge Chris N Greenland made the comments whilst speaking to me on 106.9 SFM saying “if the defence team…acting for Oscar, knew the true position and then lead this evidence to the contrary, the implications and repercussions of that are enormous and could actually lead to disbarment”.

Also worrying for the defence team, Judge Greenland said that the video could also lead to the prosecution of Professor Wayne Derman – who finished giving evidence on Monday.   Derman, a professor of sports medicine, had worked with the athlete for many years and claimed in Court that Mr. Pistorious had limited mobility whilst on his stumps and that his disability had left him feeling vulnerable.

However, the leaked video counters Mr Derman’s claims of Oscar’s mobility and vulnerablity and it’s implications were “very serious”.

ukip are MAD, but not as dangerous as the killers we keep!

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How is this possible?

The current coalition Government and their opposition numbers in the Labour party denounce UKip for the “racist” and the “dangerous” language they use when speaking on matters of immigration.  I wouldn’t wish to take this valid point away.

However, how well does our Government’s record stand up to scrutiny when it comes to the immigration status of the truly undesirables in the UK?

The UK political elite state that UKip’s protestations, that there are too many ‘immigrants’ in the UK, is nothing short of dangerous racism, yet at the same time – have allowed our courts to give ‘leave to remain’ to some of the worst murders and war criminals at large from around the world.

They seem not as affronted when a foreign killer of a few or many – wins the right to stay in Britain indefinitely – after claiming his human rights would be breached if he was deported.

Or when a mass murderer is allowed to roam our streets freely because to send him back to the country that seeks him – to answer for his crimes- may use capital punishment and to that end – we will not go.

I do not agree with capital punishment – but I agree even less with a murderer or someone connected with genocide escaping to our country and using our laws to hide the justice that seeks them.

I cannot comprehend what it must be like to know that the person who killed your family member (or family) is being protected by another country- that defends them that slaughtered your loved ones the “right to family life”?

Yet we have it here in the UK.

The test for our politicians is not just to point at UKip – accuse them of being racist and hope the problem will go away – but to look at the reality of modern day Britain and ask…

Who would you rather stayed in our country?

  • A mass murderer
  • A student whose visa has expired

Currently – if you are on a student visa which expires – we’ll grab you by the collar and throw you out on your ear and our courts won’t lift a finger to help! However, let us say you are a mass murderer…well, errrm… “Welcome To The United Kingdom”.

Here are just a few examples…

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Foreign war criminals ‘able to stay in UK’ 

Immigration judges block foreign killer’s deportation on ‘human rights’ grounds

IRA terror suspects told they would not face prosecution in ‘comfort letters’

Killers on our streets: 207 war crime suspects living in Britain including five ‘Nazis’

Britain home to nearly 400 war crimes suspects

100 war criminals apply for UK asylum in a year

 

Yet it takes years for us to deport known extremists and the only way we seem to get any kind of conviction is in a foreign court!

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Abu Hamza found guilty of terror charges in US court

Britain finally deports Abu Qatada

 

And if they are not mass murders – just ordinary people – they have even more of a struggle…

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Nigerian Lesbian Posts Video Plea For Asylum, Facing Death or Prison if Deported

19-year-old Mauritian student Yashika Bageerathi deported

UK decides to deport Indian girl’s entire family back to Mauritius despite protest

Community shocked as Sajid family is deported

Derry man Ciarán Ó Dochartaigh tells of wife deportation fear

 

Others just have to fight….

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FORMER British Army soldier Isimeli Baleiwai fights to stay in the UK

Najibullah Hashimi seeks help raising cash to fight deportation

Convicted boat race protester Trenton Oldfield fights deportation from UK after visa denied

Thankfully they won…but only after a BIG fuss….

Soldier given leave to remain in UK

Teenager ‘over the moon’ after winning deportation battle to Afghanistan

Boat Race protester Trenton Oldfield wins deportation case

I guess the question is – what are human rights in the 21st Century and does that apply to those who seek to evade justice?

Oscar Pistorius Trial – Llewelyn Curlewis

It was on the morning of the 14th February 2013 that four shots rang out from the gun of Oscar Pistorius – a Paralympic athlete and rising star in his country and around the world. Three of those shots hit the 29 year old South African model and reality TV star – Reeva Steenkamp. She died not long after a fatal wound to her head. Criminal lawyer and the special legal advisor to Sky news in South Africa Dr Llewellyn Curlewis spoke to Jason McCrossan

Andrew Mwenda – making a stand against anti-gay law…

In February 2014  Uganda’s president President Yoweri Museveni signed off a bill toughening anti-gay laws allowing those convicted of homosexuality to be imprisoned for life.    The anti-homosexuality bill passed through parliament in December after its architects agreed to drop a death penalty clause. The legislation requires those found guilty of repeat homosexuality to be jailed for life.

Andrew Mwenda spoke to NTVUganda’s Newsnight programme and maybe it’s my own ignorance but I really didn’t expect him to say what he did.  I was just used to the anti-gay sentiments that have been reported from Uganda. Andrew’s interview was galvanising and reminded me that I too – should not judge all Ugandan’s as I had done previously – not everyone is the same!

Aviation expert Chris Yates on Flight MH370

Flight MH370 departed from Kuala Lumpur International Airport at 00:41 on Saturday (16:41 GMT Friday), and was due to arrive in Beijing at 06:30 (22:30 GMT).

Malaysia Airlines says the plane lost contact less than an hour after takeoff.

No distress signal or message was sent.

Jason McCrossan talks to aviation expert Chris Yates about how it is possible for a plane with 239 passengers & crew to just disappear.

We may never know the truth about MH 370

Malaysia's prime minister Najib Razak announces MH370 crashed
Malaysia’s prime minister Najib Razak announces MH370 crashed

Yesterday the Prime Minister of Malaysia Najib Razak broke the news that the families of flight MH 370 didn’t want to hear – but that the rest of the world was expecting.  That the Malaysian flight, missing since the 8th March is now considered to have crashed in the southern Indian Ocean with no hope of any survivors. The facts still remain pretty scant and will remain so until…well, in truth, who knows when we will find out the truth? Any floating wreckage and bodies may be able to rule out possible causes such as an onboard fire, but the honest truth is no one really believes that to be the case anyway.

Looking for signs of flight MH 370
Looking for signs of flight MH 370

It’s funny how the events of September the 11th 2001 have completely change my perspective on what is and is not likely to have happened.   I reference 2001 because as I watched those planes crash in to the Wold Trade Centres, I was on the 29th floor of a building in central London – looking at (what were at the time) massive 40 inch TV screens.

United Airlines Flight 175
United Airlines Flight 175 09:03 2001

I remember thinking that it must be some navigational fault with the plane(s) – seems a bit silly to have thought now.   It didn’t cross my mind that someone or a group of people – could hate others so much that they would want to terrorise and kill other people en mass.  Strange when only a couple of generations before me had fought in the bloodiest and most brutal of wars the planet has seen.  How quickly we forget!

Casualties from WWII
Casualties from WWII

2001 came off the back of the late 90s which after the Labour election of 1997 had been so optimistic.  Between 1997 and 2001 I really did have the feeling that anything was possible and that my lifetime could be projected on a chart – it would feature a straight line pointing up! But that was not to be.   The world changed in 2001 – like it had at the end of 1945.   When stories that MH370 may have been caused by a suicidal or pilots – I’m simply not surprised.  Pre-2001 I would have been shocked – post 2001, I’m resigned to the fact that people will do this to other people.

Malaysia Airlines MH370
Malaysia Airlines MH370

We do not know what drove the people in charge of the plane to switch off the transponders and change course.  Maybe they were overcome by intruders.  Maybe there was cabin pressurisation problems causing them to make irrational decisions.  We may never know. Actual floating wreckage is yet to be found.  I dare say the remains of the plane will be found – but it will take years – long after the media circus that has been feeding off the grief of families has packed up and move on.

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They may never find the black boxes.  They may find the black boxes and find that those, like the transponders were disconnected or if the cabin suffered decompression as some think, due to the length of time the flight remained in the air the boxes would have recorded over themselves – with silence. We may never know the truth about MH 370. The families of the victims deserve so much respect.  Not because they have endured so much over the past 2 weeks – but because of what they will have to endure for the rest of their lives. The only thing worse that knowing that a bad thing has happened to someone you love – is not knowing what actually happened.  What started out as a one plane disaster – has quickly turned into 239 individual disasters. The airline industry must now act to prevent something like this happening again.  As shocking as this air crash is, 2001 showed that anything is possible.  The fact that pilot suicides are rare doesn’t mean they do not happen.  The airline industry, ever mindful of their bottom line – could and should ensure that no plane is left untracked and unfound for this length of time again.  And if they don’t want to.  Let’s make them. 450x299_q75

Taming the Russian Bear

Map of Crimea

If the Crimean crisis has taught us anything about how we deal with Russian’s, it is that they don’t seem to react positively to considered and measured negotiations or weak and insignificant threats.  The Russian bear is not for hugging.

To deal with the Russian’s you have to be blunt but meaningful.  There is only one way to deal with the Russians…

a) kick them in the bollocks
b) know that they WILL kick you right back

When you next resume negotiations – not only will you have their respect, strange as it might seem – they will greet you, listen and come to a mutually agreeable settlement.

So PM David Cameron – the next time you meet President Putin you know what to do?

Just a thought.

 

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Go on David…get one in quickly!!