Nine Die in School Shooting in Finland

TUUSULA, Finland (Nov. 7) – An 18-year-old student opened fire in a Finnish high school Wednesday, killing seven students and the principal before turning the gun on himself, police said.

The teenager, who was not identified, shot himself in the head but survived for a time. He died at Toolo Hospital, chief doctor Eero Hirvensalo said.

on a shooting rampage Wednesday at a high school in Tuusula, Finland. He killed eight people before turning the gun on himself. He survived the initial wound, but later died at a hospital.
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The attack at Jokela High School in Tuusula, some 30 miles north of the capital, Helsinki, shocked the Nordic nation, where gun ownership is fairly common by European standards but deadly shootings are rare.

Finnish media reported that in 1989 a 14-year-old boy shot and killed two students, apparently for teasing him.

Police said at a news conference after the attack that the gunman in Wednesday’s attack shot the victims — five boys, two girls and the female principal — with a .22-caliber pistol. About a dozen other people were injured as they tried to escape the school, police said.

“He was from an ordinary family,” police chief Matti Tohkanen said about the gunman, who belonged to a gun club and got a license for the pistol Oct. 19. He did not have a previous criminal record, he said.

Finnish media said the shooter revealed his plans in a YouTube posting before the attack.

The video, titled “Jokela High School Massacre,” showed a picture of a building by a lake that appeared to be the high school, along with two photos of a young man holding a handgun. The person who posted the video was identified in the user profile as an 18-year-old man from Finland. The posting was later removed.

The profile contained a text calling for a “revolution against the system.”

Another YouTube video clip showed a young man clad in a dark jacket loading a clip into a handgun and firing several shots at an apple placed on the ground in a forested area. He smiled and waved to the camera at the end of the clip.

A third clip showed photos of what appeared to be same man posing with a gun and wearing a T-shirt with the text “Humanity is overrated.”

Police said they would investigate any possible connection the gunman might have had to the video.

Terhi Vayrynen, 17, a student at the school told The Associated Press that her brother Henri Vayrynen, 13, and his classmates had witnessed the shooting of the principal outside the school through the classroom window.

She said the gunman then came into Henri Vayrynen’s class shouting: “Revolution! Smash everything!”

When no one did anything, he shot the TV and the windows of the class room but did not fire at the students. The he ran out and down the corridor, Terhi Vayrynen said.

Kim Kiuru, a teacher at the school, said the principal announced over the public address system just before noon that all students should remain in their classrooms.

“After that I saw the gunman running with what appeared to be a small-caliber handgun in his hand through the doors toward me after which I escaped to the corridor downstairs and ran in the opposite direction,” Kiuru told reporters.

Kiuru said he saw a woman’s body as he fled the building.

“Then my pupils shouted at me out of the windows to ask what they should do and I told them to jump out of the windows … and all my pupils were saved,” Kiuru said.

More than 400 students, from 12 to 18, were enrolled at Jokela, officials said.

Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen described the situation as “extremely tragic,” and declared Thursday a day of national mourning with flags to be flown half-staff.

Pakistan police clash with lawyers

Pakistani police have assaulted lawyers and political activists protesting against the emergency rule imposed by Pervez Musharraf, the country’s president.


Around 2,000 lawyers gathered on Monday in the eastern city of Lahore as police warned them not to violate a ban on rallies in Pakistan.


Clashes intensified as hundreds of police entered the high court and fired tear gas as they attacked the lawyers inside the building.


Several lawyers were wounded when police launched a baton charge, witnesses said.


“Police lobbed more than a dozen tear gas shells at lawyers who had gathered in the high court and then beat them with batons,” Sheikh Faisal, a lawyer at the court, told AFP by telephone.

Elsewhere, in Rawalpindi riot police sealed off courts and made arrests, with witnesses saying that they saw police beat a photographer and snatch his camera.

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In Karachi, protesting 100 lawyers were beaten with batons and arrested after police and paramilitary soldiers sealed off the high court and barred journalists and lawyers from entering.

One police officer said: “We have been ordered to remain on duty here, we cannot comment on arrests.”

Witnesses said Karachi police also cordoned off the house of Sabihuddin Ahmed, the Sindh high court’s former chief justice, who had been removed under the emergency rules, and arrested his son during the protests.

Senior lawyer held

The Karachi Bar Association said Iftikhar Javed Qazi, its president, was among those arrested.

Clashes were also reported in Multan.

Al Jazeera’s correspondent Nadim Baba, reporting from the capital Islamabad, said lawyers had cancelled planned protests because they were prevented by the police from approaching the supreme court.


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Jamaat-e-Islami, a main Islamic opposition party, said the authorities detained 600-700 of its supporters in southern and central provinces overnight.

The assaults and arrests around the country came a day after security forces rounded up more than 500 opposition supporters.


Police had already arrested 400-500 political opponents and opposition lawyers by Sunday as a “preventive” measure.

Ishtiaq Ahmad, a Pakistani analyst, told Al Jazeera on Monday that even though scores of opposition members had been placed under house arrest for resisting emergency rule, one main opposition member had not.

Benazir Bhutto, the former prime minister, who returned to Pakistan after eight years in exile, was not among the detained, he said.

“Although she has publicly opposed the imposition of emergency, equating it with martial law, she has not been arrested or put under house arrest. This proves that the government has some kind of a soft corner for her.”

Bhutto is expected to travel on Monday to Islamabad, where she says she will seek talks with other opposition leaders on how to counter Musharraf’s move.

Planned protests


Most judges, including Iftikhar Chaudhry, the supreme court chief justice, have been fired since the imposition of emergency rule on Saturday.


He has been replaced by a Musharraf loyalist.


In Video
Emergency rule imposed
Musharraf defends the move
Pakistan reacts

Shaukat Aziz, the prime minister, said on Sunday that Pakistan was committed to holding elections, but he could not say when.

He noted that under the terms of an emergency, parliament’s term, due to expire this month, could be extended for a year.

The same day, Malik Mohammed Qayyum, the attorney-general, said that a new panel of supreme court judges would rule “as early as possible” on Musharraf’s eligibility for a new five-year presidential term.

He also said Musharraf remained committed to his pledge to give up his uniform and restore civilian rule before he is sworn in again as president.

Condoleezza Rice, the US

secretary-of-state voiced disappointment on Sunday with Musharraf’s decision to implement emergency rule.

“The United States has never put all of its chips on Musharraf,” she said.

But she said she did not expect the US “to ignore or set aside our concerns about terrorism”.

Pakistan‘s security situation has deteriorated since July, when armed fighters stormed the Red Mosque in Islamabad to crush a Taliban-style movement.


Since then nearly 800 people have been killed in violence, which has included more than 23 suicide attacks.


Source: Al Jazeera and agencies

Strong earthquake hits Indonesia


A strong earthquake has hit the Indian Ocean off Indonesia’s Sumatra island but there were no immediate reports of damage or casualties and a brief tsunami alert was lifted.

The US Geological Survey said the quake had a preliminary magnitude of 7.1 and struck 135km west of the city of Bengkulu, jolting people from their sleep early on Thursday.

The quake’s epicenter was 30km beneath the ocean floor and Indonesia’s meteorological agency issued a tsunami warning shortly after it struck.

Local radio reported residents in Bengkulu fleeing their homes with their families and belongings after the quake hit at about 0400 local time.

An official from the Honolulu-based US Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre (PTWC) said that his agency had told the Indonesian government of a possible small and localised tsunami but did not yet know if the quake had triggered a tsunami.

Indonesia, the world’s largest archipelago, with a population of 235 million people, is prone to seismic upheaval due to its location on the “Ring of Fire,” an arc of volcanos and fault lines encircling the Pacific Basin.

Last month a magnitude 8.4 earthquake hit the same region killing 23 people and destroying thousands of building.

Thursday’s quake was a the latest in a series of powerful aftershocks to hit the region.

Pakistan rejects Bhutto accusations

Pakistan’s deputy information minister has dismissed accusations that officials may have been complicit in an attempt to kill Benazir Bhutto, the former prime minister, on her return to the country.
Tariq Azim said on Saturday that the “best possible security” had been provided ahead of Thursday’s suicide attack that killed at least 136 people.

Bhutto blamed al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters for the bombing, but also suggested that government or military officials could have been involved. She questioned why street lighting had been off during part of her procession.

The government’s denial came as a bomb reportedly ripped through a bus in the main market of Dera Bugti in Baluchistan province.

The aftermath of the attack

Bhutto’s defiant speech

Political ramifications for Pakistan

“There was a bomb explosion in the main bazaar and seven people were killed and six are wounded,” Hazoor Baksh, a local police officer, told the AFP news agency.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but the region has seen sporadic violence by ethnic Baluch tribesmen demanding greater political autonomy and a larger share of profits from the province’s plentiful natural resources.

There have been fears after Thursday’s assassination attempt on Bhutto that further attacks could damage Pakistan’s already fractured political landscape.

Political atmosphere

In an editorial titled “Monster of Extremism,”, The News, an independent national newspaper, said on Saturday that the bombings “could further polarise an already charged political atmosphere in the country and bring yet more uncertainty to the country’s fledgling democratic system”.
Bhutto said on Friday that she had sent Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan’s president, the names of three people she accused of involvement in Thursday’s blast in Karachi.

“I have shared the names with General Musharraf and one of the people is someone that they are [already] watching,” Bhutto told the BBC in an interview. She refused to give their names.
“Pakistan needs a military leader who can control both civil and possible military extremism”

Creative_person01, Islamabad, Pakistan

Sources in her Pakistan People’s party told AFP news agency they included senior army officials, but would not give further details.

But Azim said: “The trauma of the attack has made them say things which probably in coolness of things they will not repeat.

“People’s names have been mentioned and names have been hinted at without giving any reason or without giving any proof of their involvement, and that is unfair.”


Musharraf vowed to bring the culprits to justice in a telephone call to Bhutto on Friday.

Azhar Farooqi, Karachi police chief, told the AFP news agency: “Investigations are progressing in the right direction, but once again we will avoid pinpointing anyone or blaming it on a certain set of militants.

“There has been a minor piece of evidence found from the site today but we will not be disclosing it. Police have secured the site of the blast and taken samples.”

Bhutto has pledged to stay in Pakistan to fight general elections scheduled for January, but the attack on her motorcade, the worst suicide bombing in Pakistan’s history, has cast doubt over her plans to tour the country to gather support ahead of the polls.

Her bulletproof bus, thronged by supporters, had been moving towards the centre of Karachi for 10 hours when a small explosion was heard near the front of the vehicle. That was quickly followed by a larger blast, destroying two police vans that were escorting it.

October 17 marks another Historic Day for Tibetans

Several live broadcasts of the Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony are expected to be available for public viewing as Tibetans around the world wait eagerly to see their leader presented with the Medal by the President George W. Bush.

By Phurbu Thinley

Dharamsala, October 16: October 17 marks another milestone in the history of Tibetan freedom struggle as His Holiness the Dalai Lama will be awarded with the US’s Highest Civilian Honour. It is simply a historic day for Tibetans. Past experience shows such a day repeats but rarely for Tibetans who have long been seeking justice, freedom and peace in their home country through peaceful non-violent approach against decades of brutal oppression by alien Chinese Communist forces.

As His Holiness the Dalai Lama will be bestowed with the US Congressional Gold Medal this Wednesday, Tibetans around the world are gearing up for an unprecedented mass celebrations and are eagerly waiting to watch the ceremony honouring their leader live on screen.

In McLeod Ganj, Dharamsala, the seat of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile and hometown of the Dalai Lama, day-long celebration events, including cultural shows and other entertainments organized by nine major non-governmental organizations will mark October 17. A live telecast of the award ceremony broadcasted by Voice of America Tibetan TV will be shown on a large screen at Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts from 10:00 pm onwards.

Radio Free Asia is also scheduled to broadcast the recorded version of the ceremony in full at a subsequent broadcast time.

The award, which will be presented in the capitol Rotunda is the most significant tribute to the Dalai Lama since he received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 for his consistent peaceful no-violent approach to resolve the issue of Tibet .

For Tibetans, who revere His Holiness the Dalai Lama as their most supreme and undisputed spiritual and political leader, recognition to His Holiness is parallel to strengthening the cause of Tibet.

On Thursday, October 18 an elaborate official function by the Central Tibetan Administration will be held with Tibetan cultural songs and dances at the TsuglagKhang courtyard.

As the President of the United States is due to present His Holiness the Dalai Lama with the prestigious Congressional Gold Medal of Honor, thousands of Tibetans and their supporters are expected to be in Washington, D.C to celebrate the historic occasion, while Tibetans elsewhere prepare for local celebrations at respective settlements and places.

The event will be the first ever public meeting between the Tibetan leader and a sitting US President.

Following the award ceremony, the Dalai Lama will give a public address from the West Lawn of the Capitol.

Several live broadcasts of the Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony are expected to be available for public viewing.

The International Campaign for Tibet will webcast the day’s events, starting at 11am. Click here for more details.

Voice of America (VOA) will have a televised Tibetan language broadcast, airing live at 12:45pm EST (10:15pm New Delhi standard time, 12:45am Lhasa standard time). For frequency and additional broadcasting information, visit VOA’s website.

The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest honour awarded to civilians by the US Congress and past recipients include George Washington, Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa and Winston Churchill.

For the past few weeks, as usual, we saw how China directed its state-run press to publish a series of articles to lash out over the US Congressional Gold Medal awarded to exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama and to condemn the Dalai Lama for his pro-Tibet activities.

China desperately struggled but in vain whole last week to avoid Dalai Lama’s scheduled meeting with the President George W. Bush at the White House Tuesday.

President Bush was today due to hold talks at the White House with the exiled leader of Tibet. Today’s talk will be the third private encounter between the US President and the Tibetan leader since Mr Bush took office in January 2001.

Tomorrow, Mr Bush is due to attend the public ceremony to award the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize laureate the Congressional Gold Medal.

Latest report by Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy says Chinese authorities have already heightened the security measures and intensified vigilance control in Tibet prior to the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal Award Ceremony for the Dalai Lama.

Bush hosts Dalai Lama amid Chinese outrage

WASHINGTON – President George W. Bush hosted the Dalai Lama on Tuesday despite China’s warning that U.S. plans to honor the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader could damage relations between Beijing and Washington.

Sources in the Dalai Lama’s office said the White House talks began shortly after 1 p.m.

The meeting was held on the eve of a congressional award ceremony for the Dalai Lama, but the Bush administration took pains to keep the encounter with the president low-key in an apparent bid to placate China.

Beijing has bitterly denounced plans for the Dalai Lama, who has lived in exile in India since staging a failed uprising against Chinese rule in 1959, to receive the Congressional Gold Medal on Wednesday.

Bush was scheduled to attend the ceremony on Capitol Hill, marking the first time a sitting U.S. president will appear in public with the Dalai Lama, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate whom China regards as a separatist and a traitor.

“We are furious,” Tibet’s Communist Party boss, Zhang Qingli, told reporters. “If the Dalai Lama can receive such an award, there must be no justice or good people in the world.”

White House spokesman Tony Fratto denied that Bush’s private meeting with the Dalai Lama, the president’s fourth since taking office, was meddling in China’s internal affairs.

But he insisted: “We respect the Chinese concerns. We do.”

Trying to play down the symbolism of the talks, Bush met the Dalai Lama in the White House residence instead of the Oval Office where he normally welcomes visiting world leaders.

White House staff took the unusual step of refusing to even say when the meeting would place. Reporters were not allowed to glimpse the two together, and no photographs were released.


Defiant Myanmar junta says it won’t back down

Myanmar’s military junta Tuesday shrugged off international steps to punish the regime for its bloody crackdown on protests, even as Japan cut aid and European nations widened sanctions.

State media reported late Tuesday that the military government was still holding nearly 500 people in detention, following pro-democracy demonstrations, that led to the death of at least 13 people, including a Japanese journalist.

The junta also criticised a UN Security Council statement condemning violence used by the army in late September to crush the biggest anti-government protests seen here in nearly two decades.

Myanmar also updated the number of people arrested during the protests saying that nearly 3,000 people, compared to 2,100 reported previously, had been detained in total.

The response came amid growing international pressure on the regime to halt its repression and launch talks with the pro-democracy opposition led by Aung San Suu Kyi.

Japan, one of Myanmar’s main donors, said Tuesday it was cancelling grants of about 4.7 million dollars over the fatal shooting of a Japanese journalist when security forces put down last month’s huge protests.

On Monday, European Union foreign ministers approved a new set of sanctions against the junta including an embargo on the export of wood, gems and metals, and threatened further penalties.

US President George W. Bush, whose country has imposed targeted sanctions against junta leaders, called for “enormous international pressure, to make it clear to the generals that they will be completely isolated and not accepted into the international community.”

But Myanmar vowed to resist, saying via the state media: “We will march on. There is no reason to change the course.”

“We will remove all the hindrances and obstacles that may lie ahead,” the official New Light of Myanmar daily said.

The newspaper criticised last week’s Security Council statement deploring the crackdown and calling for the release of political prisoners.

“The situation in Myanmar does not constitute a threat to regional and international peace and security,” it said.

“In reality, there is no one in Myanmar who is in prison for political reasons. There are only those against whom action has been taken in violation of the existing laws.”

Last month’s protests led by Buddhist monks drew up to 100,000 people onto the streets in what escalated into the most potent threat to the regime since student-led demonstrations were crushed in 1988.

But they were violently broken up by troops and riot police.

The United Nations sent trouble-shooter Ibrahim Gambari to Myanmar after the crackdown to meet junta chief Than Shwe and Aung San Suu Kyi, who is under house arrest in Yangon.

Gambari returned to the region Monday for a multi-nation tour aimed at building pressure on the regime, saying in Bangkok that reports of further arrests of activists were “extremely disturbing.”

He travelled on Tuesday to Malaysia, where he said he planned to pass on a message from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on how neighbouring countries and the Association of Southeast Asian nations (ASEAN) could help ease the crisis.

Malaysian Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar said ASEAN could help foster dialogue between Myanmar and the United Nations, but warned the regional bloc would not suspend the country’s membership.

“If you want Myanmar to continue to be engaged, first we should not be talking about suspending. Nobody can talk when you are threatening with all sorts of things,” he told reporters.

Myanmar dissidents, meanwhile, urged the UN Security Council in a letter to slap an arms embargo and other sanctions on their country’s ruling junta, and to demand an immediate end to repression and detentions of political prisoners.

After leaving Malaysia, Gambari is set to fly on to Indonesia, India, China and Japan. He has said he aims to return to Myanmar by mid-November but hopes the junta will allow him to visit sooner.

Since the start of October, Than Shwe has made a heavily conditioned offer of direct talks with Aung San Suu Kyi provided she drops support for sanctions and ends “confrontational” policies.

Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy — which won elections in 1990 but has never been allowed to govern — said any dialogue with the junta would be jeopardised if the regime continued to hunt down activists.