The oozing fog of war

first_imgThe changing face of warfare increasingly puts civilians in battlefront crosshairs, blurring the line between who is a soldier and who is not, and creating quandaries for soldiers seeking assurances that those who look like civilians won’t shoot at them.Three authorities on international conflict discussed the complexities on the ground and in international law because of the spreading fog of war on Wednesday (Sept. 22) during a panel discussion at Harvard’s Center for Government and International Studies. The event, sponsored by the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI), featured speakers from HHI, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and the nonprofit group Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research.In a world where conflicts are increasingly small-scale, intra-national, and waged by nontraditional forces, there is a robust, ongoing debate over who armies can kill and who they cannot.International law makes a clear distinction between combatants (uniformed soldiers who are fair game whether they’re fighting or not) and civilians (basically everyone else who cannot be targeted regardless of the circumstances), according to Naz Modirzadeh, associate director of Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research. Under international law, Modirzadeh said, people who are not legal combatants but who take up arms can be prosecuted criminally for crimes such as murder. Soldiers, on the other hand, are permitted to kill each other without being charged.The problem is that most conflict today is not between standing armies, uniformed, equipped, and arrayed across a battlefield from each other. Most ongoing conflicts now are messy and chaotic. Battlefields are often urban and intermingle civilian and military targets, raising the prospect of collateral damage. Fighters, from terrorists to rag-tag militias, are often irregular, moving freely between roles as fighters and civilians. Further, the expanded role of armed private security contractors and the presence of civilian intelligence personnel at forward operating bases add to the uncertainty.The “revolving door,” when fighters take up arms and then blend back into the civilian population, presents one of the most thorny issues, according to Modirzadeh.These difficulties play out, for instance, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where HHI’s Jocelyn Kelly has been conducting research into the roots of gender-based violence.Kelly, HHI’s research coordinator for gender-based violence, has conducted interviews with dozens of members of the Mai Mai militia, a homegrown group with roots as a protective force for local villagers, but which has been responsible for rape and other abuses of civilians during the long-running conflict there. Kelly described the lives of these fighters, saying they are often brutalized themselves as part of an initiation ritual aimed at stripping away their civilian lives and inhibitions. The understanding is that their gun is their salary, and they live off the civilian population for food, wealth, and sex.Despite perceptions to the contrary, the militia is organized, Kelly said. The Mai Mai have structured chains of command, with regular communication. That structure means it is possible to hold the leadership accountable as a way to stop atrocities.Kelly said Mai Mai militia members often pass through the revolving door between civilian and military roles. Life in the militia is brutal and uncomfortable, prompting members to leave the service. Once back among civilians, however, the former fighters find themselves jobless and stigmatized by the militia’s reputation. Many find their way back to the militia.From the professional soldier’s point of view, the fuzzy line separating combatants and civilians can be life-threatening, according to Nick Nobbs, the Red Cross delegate to the armed forces. Though politicians and bureaucrats may have the luxury of parsing who is and who is not a combatant based on descriptions enshrined in international law, soldiers who have to make quick decisions to save their own lives or those of their comrades need simpler rules that can be rapidly applied.Guidance given by the Red Cross in 2009 said those who are members of organized armed groups and who have a continuous combat function can be targeted. From a practical standpoint, Nobbs said, this means that if you’re carrying a weapon, you can be targeted. Other targets can include those who may not be fighting but who participate directly in hostilities, such as running arms to the fighting or interfering with opposing combat forces.Nobbs said the battlefield challenges include, besides determining who should be attacked, how much force to use, so that the destruction is proportional to the military objective, keeping the chances for collateral damage low.“It’s not always obvious who is involved,” Nobbs said. “There is an obligation for people to determine who’s a target … and whether anyone should attack it.”last_img read more

VIDEO: Beresford Foreshore Coastal Protection Works Complete

first_img<span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span>Following the completion of coastal protection works to mitigate erosion, the Beresford Foreshore has reopened to the public, City of Greater Geraldton said in their latest announcement. Shane Van Styn, City of Greater Geraldton Mayor, said he was pleased the first stage of the Beresford Foreshore Coastal Protection and Enhancement Project was finished and looked forward to Stage 2 getting underway.“I am very happy the protection works are finally done and the Beresford Foreshore has reopened for use just in time for summer,” he said.“This is especially true for the shared footpath, which was really missed by the community during the ten month construction period.”Project protection works involved a 45m extension to the existing marina groyne; a 100m extension to the detached breakwater; and constructing three shore based rock revetments along the 1.8km long foreshore.The foreshore area between Midalia’s Beach and Mabel Street has also been planted with more than 18,000 native coastal seedlings to help stabilize the shoreline.[mappress mapid=”24659″]last_img read more

Churches ramp up anti-gay marriage campaign

first_imgNZ Herald 5 Oct 2012Church leaders will use their Sunday sermons this month to implore their congregations to speak out against gay marriage.With three weeks left for submissions on the bill to legalise gay marriage, the New Zealand Christian Network has asked members to write to the Government in opposition of the law change.In an email to be “read out in churches” this month, the network encourages Christians to “take time to seek God’s heart before writing their submission with grace and truth”.National director of the New Zealand Christian Network Glyn Carpenter said it was “highly probable that this bill will not be good for New Zealand”.“This bill on its own will not bring about the destruction of society as we know it,” he said.“Marriage is already facing a number of challenges, and anyone with an ounce of common sense can see that families and society are weaker and poorer as a result.“What politicians should be doing is looking at what needs to be done to strengthen marriage, not spending time debating bills whose main outcome would be to further undermine it.”Mr Carpenter urged anyone concerned by gay marriage to write a submission opposing it “and to do so with language and a tone of voice that is gracious and respectful”.“It is possible to talk so much or speak so loudly that people can’t hear what we are saying,” he said.“It is also possible for language to reflect a tone of voice which does not communicate the love we are called to display.”The Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill to allow same-sex couples to wed has already passed its first reading in Parliament. read more

Void left by Johnson’s injury is easily filled

first_imgJunior receiver Ronald Johnson broke his collarbone in the mock game at the Coliseum Saturday, leading to what could only be termed a vast sense of uneasiness within the Trojan faithful.I’m here to settle that apprehension.Yes, Johnson was lined up to start opposite redshirt junior Damian Williams this season, replacing the gone-to-the-NFL Patrick Turner.Yes, Johnson — the 6-foot, 190-pound speedster — was the Trojans’ primary big-play threat last year, leading the team with 17.3 yards per catch and hauling in an impressive eight touchdowns on only 33 catches.And yes, freshman Matt Barkley will need all the help he can get with USC’s tough slate of road games that begins with a contest in the Horseshoe on Sept. 12.Nevertheless, I’d argue that RoJo will hardly be missed.Thirty-three catches is only 33 catches, no matter how you look at it.And Williams should improve on his 58-catch, 869-yard performance of 2008 while making waves in the Heisman race. And senior tight end Anthony McCoy should display a better grasp of the offense in his second year as the starter and nearly double his 22 catches. And the carries handed to the star-studded quartet of running backs should increase even more.But most importantly, the young receivers waiting in the wings should finally break out.Redshirt junior David Ausberry will finally make good on his long-lofty expectations. Coming out of high school in Lemoore, Calif., Ausberry was a nearly unanimous first-team All-American. Since then, he’s caught just 30 balls in two full seasons. He’ll be expected to be Barkley’s No. 2 target until at least mid-October, when Johnson could return.Freshman Brice Butler will get his first game action after redshirting in 2008. At 6-foot-3, he’s taller than Johnson and not as much of a burner, but the Georgia native possesses lightning-quick speed in his own right with gazelle-like legs.“I’m ready for it,” Butler said after he learned of Johnson’s injury. “Last year I wasn’t ready. I thought I was, but I wasn’t. But now I feel like I’m ready and more mature.”And freshman wide receiver De’Von Flournoy — the closest thing to RoJo on the USC roster — will follow in the path of Johnson and Steve Smith before him and see significant snaps as a true freshman.“Flournoy has been special at times, and you can see it when he gets the ball in his hands,” coach Pete Carroll said. “He has really good quickness and explosiveness and has no problem catching the football.“He’s behind in the learning process, but we’re going to have to accelerate that to fill the void here.”Redshirt junior Jordan Cameron is the possession receiver of the reserve group. At 6-foot-5 and 220 pounds, he brings a tight end’s frame but a wideout’s hands to the split end spot. Sophomore Brandon Carswell and junior Travon Patterson each bring versatility and return skills to boot.It adds up to what Williams says is a more-than-capable bunch.“Ronald’s one of our faster guys, but Brice is fast, De’Von’s fast,” Williams said. “And Jordan Cameron’s got great hands, so each guy brings different assets that are vital parts of the game that we all need. The guys just have to be ready to step up and fill in the spots.”The three, despite their ages — Flournoy is 18, Butler is 19, and Cameron turned 21 last month — are among the most poised Trojans. Butler could very well be the most confident player on the team. And that’s exactly what Barkley needs — a confident, ready-to-learn receiving corps.“RoJo was a gym rat,” Williams said. “He wanted to be the best and he worked maybe the hardest of anybody on the team, but the best thing about each of our guys is that they’re all willing to learn.”As for Williams himself, he spent all of spring and fall practice preparing to play split end — a spot usually reserved for the bigger and stronger of the two receivers — because of Johnson’s presence at flanker. But when Johnson went down and the 6-foot-4, 235-pound Ausberry took his place in the offense, Williams moved back to flanker, where he set up shop across from Turner in 2008.“It’s not really a difference for me because that’s what I played last year,” Williams said. “I know all the positions, I move around a lot, so it’s really more of switching my mentality from one spot to the other.”And that’s exactly what the receiving corps, as a whole, must do: switch its mentality.Ausberry must become Barkley’s short-route outlet opposite the tight end. Butler must become a deep threat out of the slot. And at least one out of Flournoy, Cameron, Carswell or Patterson must show consistent flashes of their wide-ranging skill sets.All three are easily doable. If done in conjunction, the three will mean easy pickings for Barkley and consistent success for USC.“Looking Past the X’s & O’s” runs Wednesdays. To comment on this article, visit or email Pedro at [email protected]last_img read more

Podcast: Sportsday on talkSPORT 2, June 20

first_imgThis Monday morning on Sportsday we look ahead to tonight’s Euro 2016 action as England and Wales both look to reach the last 16.The Three Lions take on Slovakia, while Chris Coleman’s side go up against Russia. There is also reaction to Dustin Johnson’s win at the US Open and Andy Murray’s triumph at Queens Club. All brought to you by Tom Macleod and the team.last_img

Dhoni wins toss, India to bat

first_imgIndia captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the toss and elected to bat against England in the lone Twenty20 match in Manchester on Wednesday.For India Ajinkya Rahane and veteran Rahul Dravid will make their Twenty20 debut while Alex Hales and Jos Buttler are the debutants for England.Teams:India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt), Parthiv Patel, Ajinkya Rahane, Rahul Dravid, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, Praveen Kumar, R Ashwin, R Vinay Kumar, Munaf Patel.England: Stuart Broad (capt), Alex Hales, Craig Kieswetter, Kevin Pietersen, Eoin Morgan, Ravi Bopara, Samit Patel, Jos Buttler, Tim Bresnan, Graeme Swann, Jade Dernbach.Umpires: Rob Bailey and Richard Ellingworth.Match referee: Jeff Crowe.last_img read more

Knee Injury Ends Anthony’s Season

first_imgTweetPinShare0 Shares GREENBURGH, N.Y. — Carmelo Anthony will have surgery on his left knee that could keep him off the court for four to six months.New York Knicks President Phil Jackson said a timetable for Anthony’s recovery couldn’t completely be determined until after the surgery, but early indications were that he could be back on the court this summer and be ready for training camp.Jackson said he anticipated the procedure, which will include a left knee patella tendon debridement and repair, would be performed this week.“It’s obvious that he physically can’t do the things that he’s capable of doing, so this is a necessary step for him to take, I think, in order for him to get to the level that he’s capable of getting to,” coach Derek Fisher said.Anthony has had pain for most of the season but continued to play despite the Knicks’ league-worst 10-43 record. He was able to start in the Feb. 15 All-Star Game at Madison Square Garden but appeared to be struggling, scoring 14 points on 6-of-20 shooting.Jackson said he talked to Anthony last month, after he had missed six straight games, about scheduling the surgery — though said the Knicks were comfortable with Anthony taking part in the All-Star Game.“I had a meeting with him when we were in London and we discussed this process of having the surgery sooner than later,” Jackson said, “because we know that the process can take some time for rehab and getting back on the court and we wanted him to be able to make a full recovery and be ready for this coming season.”Anthony did not speak to reporters Feb. 18.He finished his 12th NBA season averaging 24.2 points and 6.6 rebounds in 40 games. The two-time Olympian turned 30 in May, two months before signing a five-year, $124 million contract in July, but Jackson said he was confident the former scoring champion would make a full recovery.“We anticipate that as a scorer that’s been prolific in his career, he’ll continue to be so,” Jackson said.Anthony had knee surgery in 2011 during the off-season, and Jackson said he thought Anthony recovered well from that. He also had fluid drained from his right knee late in the 2012-13 season.The decision on Anthony comes two days after the Knicks waived Amare Stoudemire following a contract buyout and leaves them severely undermanned for the final 29 games. Fisher believes Anthony may have kept playing this long because of the team’s difficulties.“He struggled with, I think, letting his teammates down and feeling like he wanted to be out there but knew some nights he shouldn’t have been,” Fisher said.(BRIAN MAHONEY, AP Basketball Writer)last_img read more