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Tuesday, 16 September 2014

 

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Nearly 300,000 children head back to school in conflict-torn Syria, Gaza: UN agency -
UNITED NATIONS, Sept 16 (APP): As the school year kicks off around the world, nearly 300,000 children Monday returned to U.N.-run classrooms in Gaza and Syria, where in both instances, the UN is trying to meet the emergency education needs of Palestine refugees in war-ravaged areas where many of their schools damaged and destroyed.


UN urges young people to engage in democracy -
UNITED NATIONS, Sept 16 (APP): The United Nations has marked the annual International Day of Democracy with calls on young people to lead a major push for inclusive democracy around the world.


John Kerry holds out strong support for democracy on International Day -
WASHINGTON, Sept 15 (APP): Emphasizing that democratic societies are strong and better-positioned for progress towards a stable future, the United States has reaffirmed support for people struggling around the world for democracy.


UN refugee chief, envoy Angelina Jolie, warn of mounting crisis in Mediterranean -
UNITED NATIONS, Sept 15 (APP): Urging European countries to take action to alleviate the harsh and often deadly conditions migrants face on the high seas, the head of the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) and Oscar-winning actress Angelina Jolie Monday warned about the mounting crisis in the Mediterranean.


UN hails ratification of disability convention by 150 states as 'major milestone' -
UNITED NATIONS, Sept 15 (APP):  Guyana became the latest country to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which is widely regarded as the first international human rights treaty of the twenty-first century and one of the fastest to be ratified. 


Sport News
Shahid Afridi named captain of T20
LAHORE, Sep 16 (APP): Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Tuesday named all rounder Shahid Afridi as captain of the Pakistan T20 squad till the ICC World T20 in 2016.
 
Shahnaz leaves with high hopes for Asian Games
ISLAMABAD, Sep 12 (APP): National hockey team coach Shahnaz Sheikh on Thursday along with the national team left to participate in the 17th Asian Games with high hopes for defending the title saying his extensive hard-work on the green-shirts would definitely pay him back.
 
Pakistan taekwondo squad to participate in Asian Games
ISLAMABAD, Sept 11 (APP): Pakistan taekwondo squad will be participating in the 17th Asian Games scheduled to be held in Incheon, Korea from September 19 to October 4.
 
Players to get a salary cut, if not passed fitness test
ISLAMABAD, Sep 11 (APP): Pakistan players who are centrally contracted to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) could lose 25 percent of their salary if they fail to match fitness levels prescribed by the National Cricket Academy (NCA).
 
Difficulties removed in training camp: Shahnaz Sheikh
ISLAMABAD, Sept 10 (APP): National hockey team coach Shahnaz Sheikh on Wednesday said the players have been focused in removing all their physiological and mental difficulties in the training camp kept for preparation of the Asian Games here at Naseer Bunda Hockey Stadium.
 
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U.S. appeals court upholds Aafia Siddiqui’s sentence PDF Print E-mail
NEW YORK, Nov 6 (APP): A federal appeals court on Monday upheld the conviction of Pakistani neuroscientist Aafia Siddiqui, who was accused of trying to kill U.S. troops and FBI agents in Afghanistan four years ago.  The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York said that a lower court judge had not erred in allowing Dr. Siddiqui, 40, to testify in her own defence at trial two years ago and in allowing certain evidence against her.  The Pakistani neuroscientist was sentenced to 86 years in prison after she was convicted of grabbing a U.S. soldier’s M-4 assault rifle and trying to shoot a group of Federal Bureau of Investigation agents and soldiers at an Afghan police compound in July 2008, a charge she consistently denied during the trial.

At trial, she testified that she was simply trying to escape the room and was shot by someone who saw her. Siddiqui, whose conviction was widely criticized in Pakistan and some human rights activists, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Richard Berman in September 2010.
She was convicted by a New York federal jury of attempted murder, armed assault and other charges. The Pakistani neuroscientist is now spending time in prison in Carswell, Texas. The U.S. team had traveled to Ghazni, Afghanistan, to interview her after she was taken into custody by Afghan authorities.
Prosecutors claimed she was found with materials that included handwritten notes referring to a “mass casualty attack” in the U.S. and listed several landmark locations in New York City. On Monday, the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals rejected several arguments by Siddiqui’s lawyers, including that she shouldn’t have been allowed to testify in her defence because of a mental illness and that a terrorism enhancement shouldn’t have applied to her sentence.
The appellate court claimed that the district judge went to “extraordinary lengths” to ensure Siddiqui understood the implications of her testimony.
“Even were we to discern any daylight between the standards governing a efendant’s capacity to stand trial and those for assessing her capacity to determine whether to testify (and then, actually to testify), we would find no reason to upset the district (lower) court’s implicit determination that Siddiqui did in fact have the requisite capacity to make the latter decision here,” U.S. Circuit Judge Richard W. Wesley wrote in a 42-page opinion.
“That Siddiqui’s choice to testify like many defendants’ decisions to testify was a poor one, does not alter our analysis.” In February, Dawn Cardi, Siddiqui’s court-appointed lawyer, attorney, made a strong case before the justices that her client should been barred from giving evidence before the trial court because of her mental illness, which had been confirmed by doctors.
Cardi also questioned the evidence collected from Dr. Siddiqui by two FBI agents at the U.S. base in Baghram while she was recovering from the bullet wounds she sustained at a police facility in Ghazni, Afghanistan, in July 2008.
She said the evidence was prejudicial because she had not been read her rights and therefore should not have been entertained.
Moreover, she had not had the opportunity to consult any lawyers. Cardi lso said that during the trial, experts had provided concrete evidence that the M-4 rifle which she allegedly picked up had not been not fired and that no spent bullets or casings were found.
She also said Dr. Siddiqui was not being tried for terrorism, the material containing diagrams of New York landmarks allegedly recovered from her should not been introduced into the proceedings. But the government  side maintained that Dr. Siddiqui was competent to stand trial. Prosecution lawyers also said that Dr. Siddiqui was not “interrorgated” but was “interviewed”.
Prosecutors alleged that Siddiqui was behind a curtain in the second-floor room where they gathered. She burst from behind the curtain, grabbed an American soldier’s rifle and started firing, prosecutors said. 
She was shot in the abdomen by a soldier who returned fire with his sidearm, prosecutors said.
Siddiqui received graduate degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of echnology and Brandeis University in biology and neuroscience while living in the U.S. between 1991 and June 2002. 
 

     

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