The world news daily digest from Guardian Liberty Voice for August 20, 2014 covers stories around the globe. A United States journalist was beheaded by Iraq’s pro-Islamic State organization. In India, a human rights activist is released after 14 years of imprisonment. In the Japanese city of Hiroshima, landslides have killed dozens of people.
United States Journalist Beheaded by Islamic State Extremists
On Tuesday, Iraq’s notorious Islamic State terrorists released a video of a brutal execution of an American journalist James Foley. The authenticity of the video was confirmed by United States Intelligence analysts, early Wednesday morning. The 40-year-old journalist went missing in late 2012 while working in Syria and was believed to be held captive near Damascus with another U.S. journalist, Steven Sotloff. According to estimates made by the Committee to Protect Journalists, Foley is the 70th journalist to be killed since the beginning of the Syrian Civil War
The graphic video was posted to YouTube with a message to President Obama and the U.S. Administration, stating that Sotloff’s life depended on the actions made by the President. On Wednesday, President Obama stated that the United States will remain vigilant and relentless, continuing to do whatever is necessary in order to protect U.S. citizens. In his speech, President Obama made it clear that the dismantling of the militant organization is his first priority. The video has sparked outrage across the world.
Court Orders Release of Human Rights Activist
In India, the release of Irom Chanu Sharmila, a human rights activist, from jail was ordered by a local court. Sharmila has been under detention for her attempt to commit suicide by fasting for nearly 14 years, as she demanded the withdrawal of a law that grants armed forces ultimate power. According to the state law, those who attempt to commit suicide can only be detained for a year. In Sharmila’s case, she would be released and re-arrested every year and placed in a hospital, where she was fed through a tube.
Upon her release, the activist stated that she will continue to fast until her demands are met. The Armed Forces Special Powers Act allows soldiers to arrest people without a warrant, and forgives the killing of civilians by military forces in certain situations. Sharmila began her hunger strike in 2000, after 10 civilians were killed by the Indian military. Her protest has won worldwide recognition from human rights organizations.
Landslides in Hiroshima Kill 36
On Wednesday morning, landslides caused by torrential rain have killed at least 36 people in the Japanese city of Hiroshima. It is believed that many more are missing. According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, 240mm of rain fell within 24 hours, which amounts to monthly rainfall levels for the city. Rescue workers worked through the day, searching for victims and pulling people out of the rubble. With many people still trapped and more rainfall warnings issued, rescue operations could take days.
One of the victims was a firefighter, who was buried alive during a rescue operation. Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, was on vacation at the time. He has since cancelled his plans and returned back to office in order to set up a task force. Last year, Japan saw record rainfall of 824mm in one day, which triggered multiple landslides that killed 35 people.
World Commentary by Ivelina Kunina
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