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Honoring Umar Cheema

updatedforwebumarHonoring Umar Cheema

Umar Cheema has set a new standard for courage and quality journalism in Pakistan, a country where reporters are routinely attacked and murdered.

As a reporter for Pakistan’s largest English-language daily, The News, he has been a resolute force in investigative journalism for more than a decade.

In 2010, he was kidnapped and brutally tortured for writing critical stories about the government. Since then, undaunted, he has churned out a steady stream of hard-hitting reports. He documented how car smugglers rake in huge profits without paying taxes. He mined data to expose how top lawmakers spend little time in Parliament working on legislation.

Two years ago, Cheema founded the Center for Investigative Reporting in Pakistan. In its initial report, he analyzed the tax records of 446 lawmakers and ministers. He discovered that nearly 70 percent of legislators did not file income taxes in 2011, including President Asif Ali Zardari. After his story ran, the government instituted rules forcing candidates in contested elections to submit tax returns and charged tax shirkers a penalty for past evasions.

Cheema has received numerous awards for his courage and reporting, including the 2011 International Press Freedom Award from the Committee to Protect Journalists. In 2008, he won a Daniel Pearl Fellowship, becoming the first Pearl fellow to work at The New York Times.

He holds a Master’s Degree in Mass Communication from Punjab University in Lahore, Pakistan. He also attended the London School of Economics where he received a Master of Sciences Degree in Comparative Politics (Conflict Studies).

From Guess who came for lunch? A different kind of Mujahid of Pakistan in DC
Sayyid M. Syeed

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Icons of Wild America

Icons of Wild America

Gray wolves are icons of wild America, but the Obama administration’s Department of the Interior is on the verge of stripping most of them of their protections under the Endangered Species Act. This would be catastrophic.

Tell the Obama administration not to turn its back on wolves.

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Forty years ago, wolves were on the brink of being hunted to extinction. They were saved by the Endangered Species Act, which allowed them to begin to flourish again in the mountains and forests of the United States, in places like Yellowstone National Park and the northern woods of Michigan.

Wolves still have a long way to go, but they’re making a comeback. Now that comeback is in danger.

If the federal government goes ahead with its plans, wolf management will be turned over to the states. This has already happened in the Northern Rockies and it’s been a disaster – over 1,700 wolves have been ruthlessly hunted down and killed in just the last two years. If wolves are stripped of their protections, we could see this happen in parts of the United States where their comeback is still in its early, fragile stages.

The recovery of gray wolves is one of the great conservation victories of the last 50 years, but the job isn’t done. To abandon wolves now would be an enormous tragedy for wolves and for their forest habitats — and for us.

Don’t let the Obama administration abandon wolves — send a message today.

Thank you for everything you do for our wild America,

Michael Brune
Sierra Club Executive Director

Journalists In Syria

Dear Gabriel,

W1306EDMNA1At least 36 journalists reporting on human rights abuses in Syria have been detained, disappeared, tortured and killed.

That’s the finding of an Amnesty International investigative report — Shooting the Messenger — which is calling worldwide attention to the cases of journalists attacked or imprisoned by government and opposition forces since the uprising in Syria began.

As part of Syrian government repression of critical voices, award-winning journalist Mazen Darwish and two of his colleagues are currently facing trial on terrorism charges, apparently intended to punish their peaceful, legitimate freedom of expression-related activities.

The Syrian government detained the three men over a year ago and held them incommunicado for several months. In prison, they are reported to have been subjected to torture and other ill treatment.

Deliberate attacks on civilians, including journalists, are violations of the laws of war. Amnesty is pressuring Syrian authorities to drop the charges against Darwish and his colleagues and release immediately and unconditionally anyone held solely for exercising their right to freedom of expression, association and assembly.

We are also using our on-the-ground intelligence to pressure the Syrian government, the armed opposition groups and the international community to hold accountable those responsible for targeting civilians and otherwise violating the laws of war.

Can we count on your support? Donate now and help provide hope for Syrian journalists and people everywhere who face government oppression.

Sincerely,

Sunjeev Bery
Advocacy Director, Middle East North Africa
Amnesty International USA

Yahoo – ROP Grads In University!

From AMAKURU!
Rwandan orphan’s Project (ROP) Newsletter

by Jenny

Five ROP Grads Now In University

We are proud to announce that five recent ROP graduates have received government scholarships to university. These scholarships are extremely competitive so we are very proud of these young men for managing to win them – it means they are amongst the brightest in the country!

Three ROP graduates have just started their second year at university, two studying mechanical engineering and one studying teaching, in two of Kigali’s universities. Another has just started a course in media at the National University of Rwanda in Butare, while we just got word that the fifth young man has been offered a place studying engineering for the next school year.

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These young men have not had an easy start to their lives, but despite these difficulties they have performed extremely well at school and their achievement in gaining these competitive scholarships is even more impressive because of their hardships.

We are very proud that the ROP is nurturing some of Rwanda’s brightest children!

Since 201 55% of ROP’s secondary school graduates have received full government scholarships to university.

Help ROP help others. DONATE

Solutions for Children In Reach

Dear Gabriel,

The resources that could save nearly 11 million children’s lives are not high-cost, not high-tech, and not uncommon. So what are they? Tragically out of reach.

Tell Congress to invest in the world’s children.

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Saving lives is as simple as a vaccine, a mosquito net, or an antibiotic. Saving lives is as simple as a standard doctor’s appointment and access to run-of-the-mill medicine. Saving lives is as simple as Congress continuing to support global development programs that keep young children alive.

The truth is, we have the power to end preventable child deaths within a generation–but we need to start now. When 21 children under the age of five die each minute, every second matters.

As the U.S. government’s next fiscal year approaches, so will a new budget. Congress has a wonderful history of supporting global child survival programs. Let’s keep it that way. Don’t let Congress call it quits on the world’s children.

Tell Congress that you BELIEVE in ending preventable child deaths!

Thank you for taking action,

Kara F.
Care2 and ThePetitionSite Team

Syrias’ Living Hell

Dear Gabriel,

W1303EDMNA1For millions of women, children and families in Syria, home has become hell.

Last week Amnesty investigators briefed me on the latest developments in that violence-wracked nation.

To say things are dire is an understatement.

Please make an urgent donation to Amnesty so we can continue to shine a light on human rights violations in Syria and around the world.

Our research team reports that:

Government forces have bombed entire neighborhoods, indiscriminately blowing up civilians. Recent attacks with long-range surface-to-surface missiles have targeted residential areas, killing entire families. Investigators in one case found only the severed arm of a child in the rubble — all that remained of one family.

In Aleppo, a seemingly endless procession of murdered men and boys — bound and shot in the head — is pulled from the river nearly every day.

While government forces continue to be overwhelmingly responsible for the death and suffering of civilians, armed opposition groups have escalated their abuses. Researchers in Damascus have identified a mass grave, filled with the bodies of children and others accused of helping the government. Local residents call it “the hole of death.”

More than 2 million Syrians have been displaced inside their own country. They face the threat of a second round of bombing in the new places where they have taken shelter.

Amnesty’s team is working on the ground, at enormous personal risk, to document and report these abuses. We cannot allow the world to avert its eyes from this human catastrophe.

At the global level, we are pressing countries in the European Union to make good on promises to provide emergency refugee assistance, and reminding Syria’s neighbors of their obligations to help refugees under international law. We continue to pressure governments and the United Nations Security Council to hold those responsible for slaughtering civilians accountable.

With every passing hour of indecision by the international community, the death toll in Syria rises. You have to ask, how many more civilians must die before the world takes action?

Please help today.

Sincerely,

Sunjeev Bery
Advocacy Director, Middle East North Africa
Amnesty International USA

Washington State Wolves

Dear Gabriel,

It took animal activists five years of dedication and persistance to pass legislation to preserve the recovering wolf population in Washington State. The “State Wolf Conservation and Management Plan” has helped protect Washington’s wolves and start their comeback. Now that success is just over the horizon, two bills pending in the state legislature are trying to gut the plan and undo all its hard-won progress.

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S.B. 1588 and S.B. 5193 would allow livestock owners and their agents to kill wolves without any permit or permission – even if they were endangered, even if they were not attacking any livestock. The bills would also strip the State Wildlife Agency of all wolf management and killing authority, moving it down to local county officials.

We cannot allow all the hard work of Washington’s animal activists to be undone. Send a message today to urge Washington’s legislature to oppose to S.B. 1588 and S.B. 5193, and protect Washington’s wolves.

Thank you for all that you do,

Jason N.
Care2 and ThePetitionSite Team

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