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US dignitaries urge administration to bring #Iran authorities to accountability for killings

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Signatories see NCRI as hope for democracy and end to injustice

31 former US officials, from both parties, issued a public statement titled: 'Time to Prepare for Iranian Regime Accountability, “deploring current situation of human rights in Iran' The statement was issued in advance of the annual virtual Free Iran Global Summit of the Iranian opposition to be held on 17 July 2020.

Many of the cosigners will address the summit.

“Not just the rights, but the lives of Iran’s citizens are being sacrificed for the empowerment of a dysfunctional and rapacious theocracy,” affirm the cosigners.

During the 17 July Free Iran Global Summit, #FreeIran2020, viewed by many as the largest event of its kind, the signatories will urge Iranian authorities to be brought to justice.

Participants, who will join the virtual global summit from 30,000 locations in 102 countries, will voice support for regime change by the people of Iran and Resistance.

Some 1000 current, former officials, international dignitaries, and bipartisan lawmakers will warn of Iranian Regime’s growing terrorist threat, and urge the world community to adopt a resolute policy.

New York former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, President Obama’s National Security Advisor, Gen. James Jones, House former speaker Newt Gingrich, Democratic Vic-Presidential candidate Joseph Lieberman, former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge, former FBI director Louis Freeh and 25 other dignitaries underscored that the Iranian regime’s atrocities were not limited to the Iranian citizens.

“Iran has also become a staging area for hostile operations directed against governments throughout the Middle East and beyond,” says the statement. “As we now know, the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) attempt to bomb an anti-Iranian government demonstration near Paris in 2018 was prevented by the joint law enforcement efforts of three European nations.  In the space of a few months, MOIS actions were interdicted by authorities in Denmark, Belgium, France, Germany, Austria, and Albania.  In 2019, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) by the United States Government.”

“Unlike many governments, the leading figures in this evil regime have been in positions of authority for years, decades even,” say the signatories.  “The senior officials at whose direction police murder citizens on the streets and wrongfully arrest innocent people, must now be held accountable.”

“While the US and other governments contemplate policies to deter and contain Iranian threats and aggression, they can and must act to bring accountability to people with the blood of so many Iranians on their hands.”

The signatories noted that that ample precedent exists that leaders cannot claim sovereign immunity for their crimes against humanity.

They recommend that “countries that have been victimized by Iranian-government sponsored terrorism, including the US and its European allies, send teams of experts to study the evidence at Ashraf 3 while organizing their own evidence for eventual use in international tribunal proceedings.”

The dignitaries see a beacon of hope in the dark landscape. They applaud the NCRI as the one organization that has done more than any other entity to free Iranians from tyranny and the world from fundamentalist-inspired terrorism.

“The NCRI strives relentlessly to ensure that hope for democracy and an end to injustice remains alive in Iran.  Additionally, with continual media outreach, publications, and meetings, it sustains international attention on the ongoing assault against humanity,” they add in their statement.

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London exhibition to highlight two of Kazakhstan’s most influential non-conformist artists

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 Image: Aisha Bibi (2010) by Almagul Menlibayeva

An exhibition of contemporary Kazakh art is opening its doors in London, writes Lucía de la Torre.

Almagul Menlibayeva: It’s Easy to Be a Line / Yerbossyn Meldibekov: It’s Difficult to be a Point is a dual exhibition featuring two contemporary artists.

The exhibition is curated by Almaty-based arts hub Aspan Gallery, and is the gallery’s first project in the UK. The artists’ work will be on show at London’s Cromwell Place, and will be open to the public for free.

The project brings together Almagul Menlibayeva and Yerbossyn Meldibekov, two Kazakh artists born in the 1960s whose art broke away from the socialist realist conventions of the Soviet era. Menlibayeva’s work fuses video and photography to create telling artworks that explore the female identity in the context of the migration stories of Central Asia, mirroring them with the contemporary migrant crisis.

Meldibekov, whose work has been previously exhibited at the Garage Museum in Moscow, combines performance, installation, video, and photography to explore the changing identity of places and monuments during the Sovietisation and decommunisation of Central Asia.

The exhibition will be open 5-18 October. You can find more information and book your tickets here.

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China

Huawei ban spurs new competition for Ericsson and Nokia

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The crackdown on China’s largest technology company has given startups such as Altiostar Networks Inc. and new entrants including Qualcomm Inc. a rare opportunity to grab a slice of the $35 billion the telecom industry spends each year on this crucial part of mobile phone networks.

“This could break up that tech vendor lock-in that’s been around for decades,” said Andre Fuetsch, chief technology officer of network services at AT&T Inc., the third largest U.S. wireless carrier. “It’s about how do you create a much more competitive, innovative ecosystem.”

Technology gets political

Position on including equipment from China’s Huawei in 5G mobile networks, as of 15 July, 2020

Source: Bloomberg

Base stations are the heart of cellular networks, powering millions of antennas that perch on cell towers and city rooftops all over the world. Until recently, these boxes were a proprietary combination of processors and software that had to be purchased all at once. Huawei, Ericsson and Nokia account for three quarters of this market, which is worth as much as $35 billion a year, according to researcher Dell’Oro Group.

Open radio access network, or O-RAN, changes this by creating an open standard for base station design and ensuring all the software and components work well together -- no matter who is supplying the ingredients.

This is a potentially radical shift. When telecom giants such as AT&T and China Mobile Ltd. want to expand their network they usually have to call their existing supplier and order more of the same because a box from Nokia won’t work with one from Ericsson. The new technology lets wireless carriers mix and match more easily.

The initiative also means that new suppliers can succeed by focusing on one or two components, or a single piece of software, rather than spending lots of time and money building a whole base station from the ground up.

O-RAN gear has been used sparingly since an industry alliance was formed to promote the technology in 2018. But when the U.S. toughened its stance against Huawei last year and encouraged other countries to crack down, interest in O-RAN adoption increased. The Chinese tech giant is a low-cost provider. Now it’s unavailable in some markets, carriers are more willing to look at alternative suppliers embracing the more flexible O-RAN approach.

“Increased geopolitical uncertainty is helping them to get an invite to the table they would not normally have had,” Dell’Oro Group analyst Stefan Pongratz said. “Multiple vendors, not just in Europe but across the world, are basically reassessing their exposure to Huawei.”

How Huawei landed at the centre of global tech tussle: QuickTake

Open standard base stations will generate sales of about $5 billion in the next five years, more than originally predicted, according to Dell’Oro.

Ericsson questions the performance and cost-efficiency of current O-RAN offerings. But the telecom companies, who decide where the money is spent, aren’t being shy about telling incumbent providers to get on board or risk being left behind.

“We’ve been candid with them: This is the architecture that the operator community is pursuing,” said Adam Koeppe, who oversees technology strategy, architecture and planning at Verizon Communications Inc., the biggest U.S. wireless carrier.

The list of companies vying to fill the gap left by Huawei is a mixture of some of the oldest names in technology and newcomers. Qualcomm, Intel Corp.Hewlett Packard EnterpriseDell Technologies Inc.Cisco Systems Inc.Fujitsu Ltd. and NEC Corp. are offering various parts of the new base station technology. Startups such as Altiostar, Airspan Networks and Mavenir Systems are trying to carve out niches, too.

O-RAN proponents point to the success of Rakuten Inc., a Japanese e-commerce provider that has used the technology to break into mobile phone services. The company began 4G wireless service in April and is upgrading to 5G now, using O-RAN suppliers including NEC, Qualcomm, Intel, Altiostar and Airspan. Rakuten said using this more open approach has cut capital expenditure by 40% and reduced operating costs 30%.

Dish Network Corp. is building a 5G wireless network in the U.S. with help from Altiostar. New projects like this are great, but the real opportunity is with operators that are shifting their existing networks to O-RAN, according to Thierry Maupilé, Altiostar’s executive vice president of strategy and product management. The Tewksbury, Massachusetts-based company has raised more than $300 million from investors such as Rakuten, Qualcomm and Cisco.

Why 5G mobile is arriving with a subplot of espionage: QuickTake

O-RAN is part of a broader push to make all kinds of computer networks more flexible and easy to control. By standardizing hardware and using more software in centralized data centers, companies can run networks more cheaply, while fixing and upgrading them more easily. 5G will need this flexibility to work well.

For AT&T, the new approach has already started to help. The company has introduced Samsung equipment based on O-RAN in areas where it had previously been limited to Ericsson gear, AT&T’s Fuetsch said.

Nokia expects to have a full range of O-RAN offerings available in 2021. Some of the final standards aren’t yet set and they need to be completed and tested which will take time, according to Sandro Tavares, global head of marketing.

“O-RAN is supported by more than 20 major operators around the world, so it is pretty clear that there is a strong push for it to happen,” he said. “This is a big move for our industry, and it is clear for the main players that we should not be cutting corners in this process.”

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Conservative Party

Johnson to levy £10,000 fine on COVID-19 rule-breakers

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People in England who break new rules requiring them to self-isolate if they have been in contact with someone infected with COVID-19 will face a fine of up to £10,000 ($12,914), Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Saturday (19 September), writes David Milliken.

The rules will apply from 28 September to anyone in England who tests positive for the virus or is notified by public health workers that they have been in contact with someone infectious.

“People who choose to ignore the rules will face significant fines,” Johnson said in a statement.

Fines will start at 1,000 pounds for a first offence, rising to 10,000 pounds for repeat offenders or cases where employers threaten to sack staff who self-isolate rather than go to work.

Some low-income workers who suffer a loss of earnings will receive a £500 support payment, on top of other benefits such as sick pay to which they may be entitled.

Current British government guidance tells people to stay at home for at least 10 days after they start to suffer COVID-19 symptoms, and for other people in their household not to leave the house for 14 days.

Anyone who tests positive is also asked to provide details of people outside their household who they have been in close contact with, who may then also be told to self-isolate.

To date there has been little enforcement of self-isolation rules, except in some cases where people have returned from abroad.

However, Britain is now facing a rapid increase in cases, and the government said police would be involved in checking compliance in areas with the highest infection rates.

Johnson has also faced calls to reintroduce more wide-ranging lockdown rules for the general public.

However, the Sunday Times reported he was poised to reject calls from scientific advisors for an immediate two-week nationwide lockdown to slow the spread of the disease, and instead reconsider it when schools take a late-October break.

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