The Russian press is responding in part to the assassination of the human rights activist Natalia Estemirova. She was shot dead after being abducted from her home in the Chechen capital Grozny. It’s on the front page of the paper Gazeta. Dmitri Medvedev expressed his disturbance on hearing the news and has opened and investigation saying all necessary measures will be taken. Apparently the President’s administration doesn’t exclude that the murder is connected to Estemirova’s human rights activities.The Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov who is close to the Kremlin and largely suspected of links to the mafia has made no comment on the killing. The quite vocal Moscow Times also carries the story on its front page saying the horrific killing of the NGO Memorial representative to Chechnya sent shock waves through the human rights community. In The Guardian, the Moscow correspondent speaks about Estemirova’s friendship and collaboration with the murdered journalist Anna Politkovskaya, shot dead in Moscow in 2006. Human Rights Watch said Estemirova was at the very forefront of the most intense human rights investigations in Chechnya. She had called the trial earlier this year of Politkovskaya’s murder a farce. Kadyrov, the Chechen leader, has denied accusations that he was involved in Politkovskaya’s murder remarking, “I don’t kill women.”He will of course be under suspicion for this latest assassination.
Denis Sasso Nguesso has been re-elected as leader of Congo Brazzaville. The Burkina Faso-based paper l’Observateur is sceptical about the result. He won but only with 78% - one would have expected a more Soviet style unanimous result, the paper says. Having led the country to 25 years, he didn’t organise these elections in order to lose, it continues In this kind of democracy the outcome “depends more on those who count the votes than those who actually vote.”
USA Today carries an article, “Air disasters raise concerns on safety”, this in light of the latest crash of an Iranian plane killing 168 people. The non-profit Flight Safety Foundation has commented, “If we continue at this pace, we’ll be turning the clock back ten years on safety.” While there is no obvious link between the recent crashes, the increase is discouraging, the paper notes.
Both le Figaro in France and the National in the UAE pick up on the threat to Chinese businesses in North Africa by Al Qaeda. The editorial in le Figaro says the Xinjiang violence could have more lasting repercussions for China than the Tibetan riots. Even moderate Muslim countries such as Turkey have taken up the Uighur cause. Recep Erdogan even went so far as to use the term genocide. The National says that recent postings on Islamist sites have encouraged the killing of Han Chinese in the Middle East. There are large communities of Chinese in Algeria and Saudi Arabia in particular. The Chinese Embassy in Algeria has issued a warning.
Authorities in California are apparently making progress in trying trace which doctors administered the drug Propofol which was the primary cause of Jackson’s death, it is thought. This is reported by the TMZ entertainment site, the first news source to report Jackson’s death. Through investigations linked to the vials of Propofol found in Jackson’s home, doctor or health care providers may be identified. This could turn into an investigation in involuntary homicide. Propofol is a powerful sedative agent used for the induction of general anaesthesia. Jackson was a chronic insomniac.