Founder of Mukto-Mona blog Avijit Roy, whose writing on religion had brought threats from Islamist hardliners, has been killed in Bangladeshi capital Dhaka.
Avijit Roy, an American-Bangladeshi atheist who advocated secularism, was hacked to death with machetes as he walked back from a book fair with his wife Rafida Ahmed, who was hurt in the attack.
“He died as he was brought to the hospital. His wife was also seriously wounded. She has lost a finger,” local police chief Sirajul Islam said.
No-one has been arrested but police say they are investigating a local Islamist group that praised the killing.
Hundreds of students gathered in Dhaka to mourn the blogger’s death.
Avijit Roy’s family say he had received threats after publishing articles promoting secular views, science and social issues on his Bengali-language blog, Mukto-Mona (Free Mind).
He defended atheism in a recent Facebook post, calling it “a rational concept to oppose any unscientific and irrational belief“.
The website was inaccessible on February 27.
The killing in early 2013 of another secular blogger, Ahmed Rajib Haider, which was blamed on religious hardliners, sparked protests from free-speech supporters and counter-protests from Islamists.
The police said the attack on Avijit Roy was similar to the 2013 murder.
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Malala Yousafzai, the 14-year-old Pakistani girl shot in the head by Taliban gunmen last week, is being flown to the UK for medical treatment, the Pakistani army has said.
Malala Yousafzai has until now been at a military hospital in Rawalpindi, with doctors saying her progress over the next few days would be “critical”.
The girl wrote a diary about suffering under the Taliban and was accused by them of “promoting secularism”.
The UK said Malala Yousafzai’s transfer followed London’s offer to help her in any way.
Malala Yousafzai was taken to Islamabad and then left the country on board an air ambulance provided by the United Arab Emirates, accompanied by a full medical team.
The military said her doctors in Rawalpindi were “pleased with her present condition which has been described as optimal”.
“The panel of doctors recommended that Malala be shifted abroad to a UK centre which has the capability to provide integrated care to children who have sustained severe injury,” it said.
Malala Yousafzai is being flown to the UK for medical treatment
Malala Yousafzai is expected to need treatment to repair or replace damaged bones in her skull and to undergo neurological treatment.
The UK said it would not release information about where she was being taken to respect patient confidentiality, but said it had “capacity for Malala to be treated without affecting the normal operations of the hospital”.
The UK’s Foreign Secretary William Hague said the attack on Malala Yousafzai and her friends “shocked Pakistan and the world” and that her bravery was “an example to us all”.
“Malala will now receive specialist medical care in an NHS [National Health Service] hospital. Our thoughts remain with Malala and her family at this difficult time.”
“The public revulsion and condemnation of this cowardly attack shows that the people of Pakistan will not be beaten by terrorists. The UK stands shoulder to shoulder with Pakistan in its fight against terrorism.”
Malala Yousafzai – who was a well-known campaigner for education for girls – was attacked last Tuesday as she was returning home from school in Mingora in north-western Swat.
Two armed men, on foot, stopped a van packed with about a dozen schoolgirls in a congested area of the town.
One of them got into the van and asked which of the girls was Malala Yousafzai before he fired three shots, hitting Malala in the head and injuring two others.
The Taliban has warned they will target Malala Yousafzai again.
Malala has been kept sedated and on a ventilator since she was taken to hospital, with tight security around her.
The ventilator was removed briefly over the weekend to see how she coped and presumably have determined she is well enough to travel.
Four people have been arrested in connection with the attack. They were among about 100 people rounded up this week, most of whom were later released on bail.
On Monday, former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who is now the UN’s Special Envoy for Global Education, said he was launching a petition in Malala Yousafzai’s name “in support of what Malala fought for”.
“Today, sadly, 32 million girls are not going to school and it is time to fight harder for Malala’s dream to come true,” he said.
[googlead tip=”patrat_mic” aliniat=”dreapta”]Over 5,000 people took to the street last night at Madrid’s Catholic Youth Festival, violently protesting against the exorbitant cost of Pope Benedict XVI visit to Madrid, as the country faces an acute economic crisis.
Protesters shouted and whistled, with even violence between them and the police. The protests are even more surprising, knowing that Spain is a country with high percentage of Catholics.
According to AFP, Pope Benedict XVI visit to Madrid at World Youth Day 2011 festival cost is estimated to 50 million euro, but this amount does not include police security service and other related costs, which could increase the budget to 100 million euro.
People violently protesting against the exorbitant cost of Pope Benedict XVI visit to Madrid
The organizers of Madrid World Youth Day 2011 festival said only 15 million euro will come from Spanish companies, while the rest will be covered by donations from pilgrims arrived at the event.
The rally was attended by “indignant” M-15 movement members, who protested against the government’s austerity drive, and gay rights groups.
Wearing placards with the inscription: “From my taxes, zero cents for the pope. Secular state”, demonstrators answered the call of about 140 associations for defending secularism, the progressive Christians, the militant left-wing or defense of the case gay.
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Protestors of all ages wore placards with slogans or words: “God YES, church NO”, “This youth is not belonging to the Pope,” “Stop trans-phobia, sexism, homophobia!” and “We demand real secular state, freedom of conscience is a right.”
Some pilgrims at World Youth Day, which is held in Madrid this time, shouted “Long live the Pope!”, “This is the pope’s youth” when protesters were passing through, but police opposed the exchange of replicas to degenerate into violences.
Demonstrators of the”indignant” M-15 movement were protesting against the social repercussions of the crisis around two huge portraits of the Pope and the French writer Stephane Hessel, author of the manifesto “Offended you.”
The two portraits were written with the words “Titans shock “, “Joseph ‘holiness’ Ratzinger ‘,’ Stephane ‘outraged’ Hessel.”
The march began in Tirso de Molina square, then reached Puerta del Sol and finally the protesters returned to where they left.
Wednesday, Spanish police arrested a Mexican chemistry student for allegedly plotting to gas anti-Pope protesters at Madrid’s Catholic Youth Festival.
The suspect planned to attack a march with “asphyxiating gases and other chemical substances”, according to the police.
A police official said the unnamed suspect arrested was a student specializing in organic chemistry.
Officers who searched his apartment seized an external hard-drive and two notebooks with chemical equations not related to his studies and a computer “allegedly used to recruit on the internet”, police said.
There was no suggestion that actual chemicals had been found during the search but police had wanted to avoid even the chance of a failed attack that might panic people, according to the Spanish daily El Pais.
The newspaper added that police had been alerted by people who found the man’s comments on internet forums in which he said attacks on the Pope were unacceptable.
At least a million people from across the world are in Madrid for a six-day Catholic Youth Festival and Pope Benedict XVI visit is planned to sart Thursday morning.[googlead tip=”lista_medie” aliniat=”dreapta”]
Spain is going through its worst economic crisis in decades, with the highest unemployment rate in the EU, at 21%.
“We are not angry about the Pope’s visit, which some will agree with and others won’t, but rather over the financing of it with public money, especially at a time when many services are being cut because it’s necessary to curb government spending,” 15-M said in a statement.
Young Catholic pilgrims attending the World Youth Day (WYD 2011) festival in Madrid are camping out in community halls and churches across the Spanish capital during the festivities.
Visitors are being offered half-price travel on public transport during the festival.
The festival got under way on Tuesday evening with a giant open-air Mass in an atmosphere akin to a rock concert.
The government has declined to give a figure for the costs, Reuters news agency reports.
Some 800 bishops, archbishops and cardinals from around the world and 8,000 priests tended to the congregation, AFP news agency reports.