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Ethiopian War: Airstrike on Camp for Displaced Likely War Crime

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Damage to school building after Ethiopian government airstrike hit the Dedebit Elementary School compound in Tigray on January 7, 2022.

Dozens of Civilians Killed, Injured in Northernwestern Tigray

An Ethiopian government airstrike hit a school compound hosting thousands of displaced Tigrayans in northwestern Tigray on January 7, 2022, Human Rights Watch said today. An apparent armed drone dropped three bombs on the compound in the town of Dedebit, killing at least 57 civilians and wounding more than 42 others.

The Ethiopian government should carry out a prompt, thorough, and impartial investigation of the apparent war crime and appropriately prosecute those responsible. Because of widespread abuses by all sides to the conflict in northern Ethiopia, foreign governments should impose a moratorium on arms sales and military assistance to the warring parties.

“The Ethiopian drone struck the Dedebit school compound three times, killing and maiming displaced Tigrayans, mainly older people, women, and children, as they slept in plastic-sheeted tents and a school building,” said Laetitia Bader, Horn of Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “Using guided bombs without evidence of any military target indicates that this was an apparent war crime.”

Since November 2020, Ethiopian federal forces and their allies, including Eritrean forces, have fought an armed conflict against Tigrayan forces affiliated with the region’s former ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). Government airstrikes in Tigray rose in October 2021 and increased significantly in mid-December following the withdrawal of Tigrayan forces from the neighboring Amhara and Afar regions. The Ethiopian federal government is the only party to the conflict that has acknowledged possessing drones, and at whose airbases armed drones have been reported in the media and seen on satellite imagery.

Airstrikes harming civilians have continued into 2022. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights reported that between November 22 and February 28, her office had documented that 304 people died and 373 were injured from aerial attacks in Tigray – including two strikes in the town of Alamata in December and a strike in January that hit the Mai-Aini refugee camp hosting Eritrean refugees-and to a lesser extent in the Afar region.

Human Rights Watch interviewed a survivor of the Dedebit attack; two relatives of three victims; three aid workers, one a doctor, who visited the Dedebit elementary school prior to and after the strike; and a medical official who treated those injured in the town of Shire, 70 kilometers away. Human Rights Watch also verified 38 photos and 6 videos showing strike victims and debris, and reviewed satellite imagery collected before and after the attack.

On the night of January 7, three munitions detonated inside the Dedebit elementary school compound, hitting one school building and two spots near the barbed wire fencing where tents for displaced people had been set up in early January.

“It was the night of [Ethiopian Orthodox] Christmas,” a 70-year-old survivor said. “When the first strike happened, I was asleep with my family, I felt like fire hit us. I stood up, not knowing what was happening. Before I realized what was happening, the second strike happened, and then the third. At first, I thought fighting had broken out in the camp. But then I could see bodies were scattered, heads separated from one another. I realized this wasn’t fighting.”

An aid worker who visited the compound the next day said, “It was impossible to say how many were killed. They were burned to ash…. The ash was in the school compound. There are trees in the surrounding area where cut [dismembered] bodies were found. The damage was inside the compound, damaging three rooms of the school.”

Human Rights Watch obtained a list compiled by the displaced community with the names of 53 people killed immediately, including 32 females and 21 males. Fifteen of those killed were children, the youngest a year old, and 18 were over 50. The list stated that all the victims had been displaced from the town of Humera in Western Tigray, where Amhara forces controlling the town had expelled Tigrayan women and young children, as well as sick and older people, in November and December.

Doctors at a hospital in Shire described treating at least 46 people with abdominal trauma, destroyed limbs, and other injuries. Of the 46, one child was dead upon arrival and three others died at the hospital. One doctor noted that the hospital lacked basic medical supplies, such as surgical gloves. Since late June 2021, the Ethiopian government has imposed an effective siege on Tigray. Medical supplies were blocked from entering the region until mid-January.

Impact site locations and associated damage to the school building, tents and structures inside the Dedebeit Elementary School schoolyard. Satellite image: 14 January 2022 © 2022 Planet Labs Inc. Analysis and graphics © 2022 Human Rights Watch. Photographs (impact site 1& 2): © 2022 Private. Photograph (impact site 3): Screenshot from video report © 2022 Tigrai Tv

Satellite imagery and photos Human Rights Watch analyzed show significant destruction to one of the school buildings as well as at two spots in the compound where temporary shelters and structures for displaced people had been set up.

Displaced people and aid workers collected remnants of the airdropped munitions at the site, including distinctive guidance fins and body fixtures that allowed Human Rights Watch and others to make a positive identification of the weapon used as a MAM-L “smart micro munition” delivered by Bayraktar TB-2 drones as well as other light aircraft. Human Rights Watch concluded that a variant of the MAM-L guided bomb with an “enhanced blast” warhead was most likely used because of the wounds and level of damage. Enhanced blast weapons are more powerful than conventional high-explosive munitions of comparable size and inflict extensive damage over a wide area and thus are prone to indiscriminate use when used in populated areas, Human Rights Watch said.

Human Rights Watch found no evidence of military targets at the Dedebit displacement site. The survivor and two aid workers said that artillery fire had been heard northwest of Dedebit in the weeks before the strike.

The attack forced the displaced Tigrayan community, victims of serious abuses by Amhara forces in late 2021, to be displaced yet again, Human Rights Watch said. By January 15, the remaining displaced people were relocated from Dedebit to Selekhleta.

The laws of war applicable to the conflict in northern Ethiopia prohibit attacks that target civilians and civilian objects, that do not or cannot discriminate between civilians and combatants, or that are expected to cause harm to civilians or civilian property that is disproportionate to any anticipated military advantage.

The laws of war require parties to the conflict to distinguish at all times between civilian objects and military objectives, and attacking forces must do everything feasible to verify that targets are military objectives. If there is doubt as to whether an object normally dedicated to civilian purposes, such as a school, is being used for military purposes, it shall be presumed not to be so.

Violations of the laws of war committed with criminal intent, that is deliberately or recklessly, are war crimes. The repeated unlawful strikes on the school compound at Dedebit, in which there were no evident military targets, strongly suggest that the attack was deliberate.

“The horrific airstrike on a school packed with displaced people reflects a broader failing by the Ethiopian government to ensure compliance with the laws of war and minimize civilian harm,” Bader said. “This unlawful attack should be a reminder to governments selling arms to the warring parties that they too can be found complicit for foreseeable war crimes.”

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“I’m Grateful” : Thoughtful American Mum Pregnant With Son’s 5th Baby At 56

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American Nancy Hauck will deliver her granddaughter. Photo: People

A mother has revealed she is pregnant with her own son’s baby after he and his wife struggled to conceive for years. 

Nancy Hauck, a 56-year-old mum-of-five and administrator from St George, Utah, decided to be a surrogate for her 32-year-old son Jeff and his wife Cambria, 30, as her daughter-in-law was unable to carry more children after undergoing a hysterectomy.

Knowing Jeff loved being a father and wanted to grow his brood, Nancy tentatively volunteered to carry a child for the couple, but had concerns it wouldn’t be possible due to her age.

However, the embryo successfully transferred earlier this year, with Nancy due to give birth to her grandchild in November.

“I never imagined I would be pregnant at 56 or that this would be possible, but it is the most beautiful thing,” Nancy told the British news agency South West News Service (SWNS), as quoted by the Daily Mail.

Jeff and Cambria had long struggled with fertility issues, undergoing IVF treatment for six years before falling pregnant their now-three-year-old twins, Vera and Ayva. Not long after, the couple conceived another set of twins, 11-month-old Diseal and Luka.

However, the traumatic birth meant Cambria was required to undergo a hysterectomy, an invasive procedure that surgically removes a woman’s uterus. The procedure may also involve the removal of the cervix, ovaries and fallopian tubes, meaning the woman will no longer be able to get pregnant. As per Health Navigator, hysterectomies are often carried out to treat conditions that affect the female reproductive system, including bleeding problems, endometriosis, uterine fibroids, prolapse or cancer.

Despite being unable to carry more children, the couple had remaining frozen embryos they were hoping could be implanted into a surrogate – and Nancy decided to volunteer.

“I just had a feeling a few months after that I should offer to do it,” she said.

“I told my son, and he teared up and was shocked – I hadn’t even told my husband at that point, but he was really supportive.

“I feel very powerful carrying my son’s daughter… I think this is quite a rare thing to do. I never planned for it, but I am so glad I chose to carry my son’s baby.”

Jeff, 32, and Cambria Hauck, 30, and their two sets of twins.

Jeff, 32, and Cambria Hauck, 30, and their two sets of twins. Photo credit: Jeff Hauck / Facebook

Surrogacy is when a woman carries a baby for a couple who are unable to conceive or carry a child themselves. Such couples may include those who have suffered recurrent miscarriages, repeated IVF failures, premature menopause or a hysterectomy.

Straight surrogacy involves using the surrogate’s egg and the intended father’s sperm; the least expensive and simplest form of the procedure. Host surrogacy, which is the case for the Hauck family, requires IVF with either the intended mother’s eggs or donor eggs, rather than those of the surrogate. In this case, the surrogate is typically unrelated to the baby, and donor eggs can be from friends or relatives, or anonymously donated.

After approaching fertility experts with their proposal, doctors had concerns about Nancy’s age; however, an exam found she could still be a viable carrier for the couple as long as they acted before she entered menopause.

“I left the choice up to Jeff and Cambria. They’d just had their twins, so it was very quick after to have another baby. But they decided to go for it.”

Jason, 59, and Nancy Hauck, 56.

Jason, 59, and Nancy Hauck, 56. Photo credit: Nancy Hauck / Facebook

Nancy began hormone treatment in January 2022, injecting herself daily for 12 weeks with the help of her husband and Jeff’s father, Jason. The fertilised embryo was transferred into her uterus a month later – and 26 years after Nancy’s last pregnancy.

Speaking to the news service, Jeff said his mother’s selfless act has left him in awe of her “kindness, love, strength, attitude, wisdom, and dedication”.

“She is sacrificing so much for us, and our family and we just feel so grateful. It has been so miraculous and beautiful,” Cambria added, as quoted by the Daily Mail.

In May, the family discovered they were expecting a baby girl, who is due to be born on November 5.

“There is no repayment for something like that – all I can do is follow the example my parents have set and try to give that same level of love and devotion to my own family and to others,” Jeff concluded.

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Is Chinese President Xi Jinping under house arrest?

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Image Source : APChinese President Xi Jinping

Reports suggest that Chinese President Xi Jinping has been put under house arrest after he was removed from the post of PLA chief.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is currently under house arrest, several media reports claimed on Saturday, adding that the capital Beijing is currently under army control. The reports have not been confirmed by either Chinese credible media, or have been independently confirmed by India TV.

The reports claimed further that international and domestic flights to and from Beijing have been halted, and that the city has been cut off from the rest of the world. Claims add that President Xi Jinping has been put under house arrest after he was removed from the post of PLA chief.

A report by News Highland Vision stated that ex-Chinese President Hu Jintao and former PM Wen Jibao persuaded Song Ping, a former member of the Standing Committee, to join them and take control of the Central Guard Bureau. The CGB is responsible for the security of the President, and the standing committee of the ruling Communist Party of China.

Army convoys leading to Beijing?

Videos that surfaced on social media from unverified accounts suggest large army convoys taking rounds around Beijing. Tweets mention that President Jinping has been sacked.

The videos add that the large army convoy is about 80 km long and is headed to Beijing. Rumours suggest that military vehicles of the PLA were going towards Beijing on 22 September. The convoy allegedly started from  Huanlai County near Beijing, ending in the city of Zhangjiakou.

Xi detained at the airport: Reports

As soon as Jintao and Jibao took control of the CGB, rumours add, members of the Central Committee in Beijing were intimated on the phone. This led to Jinping allegedly being detained at the airport when he returned from Samarkand in Uzbekistan, where he attended the SCO summit. Reports stated that the members of CGB have had several closed-door meetings in the past 10 days. The same reports add that this action was taken with the aim of taking power away from Xi.

It is also being said that while Xi Jinping was at Samarkand, the ex-PM and President had plotted against the President. This was a result of Xi’s probability to become the Chinese President for the third consecutive time.

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Johnny Depp is another victim of the corrupt UK justice system

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In our last article in May 2021 we reported on how Johnny Depp came to the UK to seek justice and was deprived of the right of a fair trial. A story all too familiar with many thousands who come to the courts in the UK to get justice, only to be served more injustice.

The USA courts are more focused on delivering justice. Earlier this week, on 17th August the Chief Judge in Fairfax, Virginia presiding over the Depp v Heard 2019 case dismissed Heard’s claim of res judicata (stating all matters had been tried in the UK), endorsing our view and citing in the 11-page pre-trial opinion that: “The Court is not persuaded by Defendant’s argument that Plaintiff had a full and fair opportunity to litigate the UK Action. Defendant was not a part in the UK action and was not treated as one”.

In fact, Defendant could not have been a named defendant to the U.K. litigation because her allegedly defamatory statements were made after the U.K. action commenced” said Penney Azcarate, the judge presiding over the case.

After our intensive investigation, it is our view that the allegations by Heard and the assistance by the UK’s corrupt judiciary is nothing other than an elaborate fraud designed to discredit Johnny Depp (“JD”) whilst using the high profile allegations to drive traffic to The Sun newspaper.

An obvious conflict of interest

Let’s face it, the UK trial was a sham. The Judge, Andrew Nichol is intimately connected with Dan Wootton, The Sun’s journalist who posted the defamatory allegation that JD was a “wife beater”. The connection is through the Judge’s own son, Robert N Palmer, who works alongside Wootton at TalkRadio, part of the same group owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. Wootton, is a journalist and broadcaster from New Zealand, an executive editor of The Sun newspaper and a regular host of TalkRadio’s drivetime show. An incestuous conflict of interest, putting it mildly. Why, knowing of this conflict did Mr Justice Nichol preside over the case we ask? Why, in such a high profile case did the Lord Chief Justice allow Mr Justice Nichol to preside over the case, when any other judge could have done so? We believe the answers are naturally, self-revealing.

Johnny Depp’s counter allegations and evidence was ignored

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