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Entries in Haiti (15)


The Latest from Iran (23 January): Looking for Clues

2155 GMT: Kalemeh reports that the wife of the late Seyed Ahmad Khomeini, the son of Ayatollah Khomeini, has been attacked by clerical students.

1905 GMT: Economic Rumour or Reality (cont. --- see 1135 GMT)? The "bank crisis" continues to spark Internet chatter, whether accurate or mischievous --- the German-based Akhbar Rooz reports on bank closures after panicked customers tried to withdraw their money because of reports of bankruptcies. And Voice of America Persian is now broadcasting on the topic.

Iran Discussion: How Would Ahmadinejad Fall? (And What Would Come Next?)
Iran: A Response to “The Plot Against Ahmadinejad”
UPDATED Iran: The Plot Against President Ahmadinejad
The Latest from Iran (22 January): Breaking News

1900 GMT: You Couldn't Make It Up (Unless You're Iranian State Media). Earlier this week Kayhan, the "hard-line" Iranian newspaper, reported that a US "HARP" energy-shifting weapon caused the earthquake in Haiti.

We noted the item in amazement and good humour --- as a reader noted, shrewd Iranians think of Kayhan as Iran's version of The Onion, the satirical US "newspaper" --- and thought that would be that. However, Press TV, linking up with Venezuelan partners, keeps the joke going today:

An unconfirmed report by the Russian Northern Fleets says the Haiti earthquake was caused by a flawed US Navy 'earthquake weapons' test before the weapons could be utilized against Iran.

United States Navy test of one of its 'earthquake weapons' which was to be used against Iran, went 'horribly wrong' and caused the catastrophic quake in the Caribbean, the website of Venezuela's ViVe TV recently reported, citing the Russian report.

1845 GMT: Arrest at Beheshti Ceremony. Norooz reports that the son-in-law of Ali Reza Beheshti, the detained Mousavi chief of staff, was taken away by Iranian authorities today. The arrest occurred at the protest/ceremony (see 1500 GMT) at the grave of Ayatollah Beheshti, Ali Reza's father.

1635 GMT: Rafsanjani Chooses A Side or Issues a Warning? The Los Angeles Times, via Iranian Labor News Agency, reports on remarks by Hashemi Rafsanjani today: "At the present juncture, I consider the Supreme Leader to be the most competent individual to resolve the problems the Islamic Republic is currently faced with."

Rafsanjani's remarks follows Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's speech this week calling on "elites" to stop being ambiguous in the current conflict and to choose sides. Beyond his apparent declaration of allegiance --- note the "at the present juncture" --- Rafsanjani maintained a customary general call for unity, "I'm quite sure that moderate individual from both political camps in the country can help the Supreme Leader find solutions to the existing problems."

Then, however, Rafsanjani offered some intriguing remarks on "extremism":
I've always based my action on moderation and refrained from any extremism. Since the victory of the revolution, we have not witnessed proper conditions any time extremists were given room to maneuver....

Extremists have always cleared the way for counterrevolutionaries to damage Islam, the regime and its leadership. As far as I know (emphasis added) the Supreme Leader, he never favors illegal acts and extremisms from any political factions.

Rafsanjani followed this with an invocation which could be read either as a defense of velayat-e-faqih (clerical supremacy) or a veiled put-down that Ayatollah Khamenei has not maintained the high standards required of his position:
The Islamic Republic has managed to reach stability thanks to popular support and the leadership of Imam [Ruhollah] Khomeini who won people's hearts. Today, all forces loyal to the system and the revolution should feel obliged to safeguard this valuable legacy. The world will open to us if we effectively create a free and developed country free of any superstition.

1630 GMT: Fars News has posted an article on today's trial of three detainees arrested during the Ashura protests. The three are among five defendants who are on trial; all today were accused of links to the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MKO).

1623 GMT: Neda's Birthday Ceremony. Setareh Sabety translates the account, provided by an Iranian activist (see 1500 GMT), of today's ceremony on the birthday of Neda Agha Soltan:
Near 2 p.m. we reached plot 257, Neda’s grave was adorned with candles, rose petals and pictures of her childhood. From the first moments...plainclothesmen in cars and on motorcycles started surrounding the plot.

Neda’s mother claimed (Iranian authorities) had not allowed her to hold a 40th day memorial for her daughter so she had to commemorate her birthday instead. The previous day authorities had told Neda’s brother that holding a birthday (celebration) for her was allowed as long as no slogans were chanted.

Slowly the number of people attending the ceremony increased. Present were mourning mothers and their supporters and tens of (other) individuals who had made it to the cemetery. When Neda’s mother saw the people appearing one by one, as she was crying loudly, she addressed her martyred daughter, "Neda darling, wake up and see how many guests are here for you. Last year you were alone. Wake Up!” The distraught mother would sometimes sit by her daughter’s grave and stare at it, remembering her.... It seemed like the people surrounding this mother and her daughter’s tomb were remembering Neda’s last open-eyed look. The look that seemed to scream freedom!

Neda’s birthday cake was placed on her tomb with a ‘27’ on it, while her mother cried, “My darling Neda is twenty-seven, People’s Neda is 27 years old." As the crowd increased around 2:45 p.m., two cars from security forces stood facing plot 257. The security forces stepped out with three plainclothes men --- Neda’s aunt was taking pictures of the tomb when the forces spoke to Neda’s father and asked to see the pictures in Neda’s aunt’s mobile phone.

Ashkan Sohrabi’s mother called and (said) that on Navab St. officers stopped cars and kept them from going to Behesht-e Zahra cemetery. For as long as 15 minutes they had prevented Ashkan’s family from moving. Finally they managed to get to Behesht-e Zahra from another route.

At the end of the commemoration the Mourning Mothers stood in front of Neda’s tomb and quietly sang this poem from Parvin:

You left my heart is heavy
From the night you did not return
Blissful world turned sad
From the night you failed to return

At 3:25 p.m. an unmarked white van stopped in front of plot 257 and a few plainclothes men came out as though to make the crowd disperse.

1610 GMT: Radio Farda reports that, during today's meeting with the family of Ali Reza Beheshti after the ceremony protesting his detention (see 1500 GMT), Mehdi Karroubi declared that the road to resolve the issue of detainee abuse "had been closed".

It is unclear whether Karroubi's statement was in response to the overtures from Ali Larijani (see yesterday's updates) for opposition leaders to join a process of reconciliation.

1505 GMT: Amidst his further allegations of Government abuses and crimes over the Kahrizak Prison scandal (noted as part of the coverage of "The Plot Against Ahmadinejad"), Abdolhossein Rumolamini claimed that a fourth detainee, Ramin Aghazadeh Ghahremani, was killed at the facility last year. The incident was covered up to “avoid hurting the public's conscience”.

1500 GMT: Two Ceremonies. Family, mourning mothers, and supporters gathered at the grave of Neda Agha Soltan this afternoon. Activists report that security forces stopped some people from attending.

A ceremony was also held at the grave of the late Ayatollah Mohammad Beheshti to protest the detention of his son Ali Reza, chief advisor to Mir Hossein Mousavi. Those attending were family members of the martyrs of 7-Tir, killed in an attack soon after the 1979 Revolution which took 72 lives, including Ayatollah Beheshti. The family members also Hashemi Rafsanjani, in his role as the head of the Expidency Council and the Assembly of Experts, to protest Ali Reza Behesti's imprisonment.

1300 GMT: We have posted an urgent update in "The Plot Against Ahmadinejad": a new interview with Abdolhossein Ruholamini with claims on the Kahrizak Prison deaths, printed in the newspapers linked to both Mohsen Rezaei and Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf.

1235 GMT: Alef News has continued its pressure on the Government, opening a discussion on the problems of the Presidential election.

1225 GMT: Mohammad Hassan Haeri Shirazi, the son of Ayatollah Haeri Shirazi, has continued his challenge to the Supreme Leader. Having criticised Khamenei for overseeing a deterioration of democracy and the moves to an oppressive regime, Haeri Shirazi has declared that the Supreme Leader must be accountable for the actions of his headquarters and associated institutions (IRIB, Revolutionary Guards and Basiji, Islamic Propaganda Organization, deputies in universities, Kayhan newspaper, and the Guardian Council).

1150 GMT: Health Concerns. In addition to the heart attack of Mousavi advisor Ali Reza Beheshti, Rooz Online notes the transfer to hospital of Hassan Ahmadian, head of the Mousavi campaign's public committee, because of a worsening kidney condition.

1145 GMT: The 31 Manifesto (cont. --- see 0845 GMT). Rooz Online has an English translation of an interview with Dariush Ashouri, one of the expatriate intellectuals who signed this week's declaration: "The Green movement’s strategy of nonviolence is a reflection of a new political philosophy in Iranian society. The foundations of this philosophy are the principles of tolerance and pluralism."

1135 GMT: Economic Rumour or Reality? After chatter this week that Iran's major banks are on the verge of insolvency, Peyke Iran reports that the Bank-e Mellat branch in Tehran's Bazaar was closed by security forces. And Rah-e-Sabz writes that the Government has asked Parliament for 15 billion Toman ($15.2 million) to ease the cash problems of the banks.

1125 GMT: Mediawatch (2). Britain's Channel 4 goes for human interest rather than political recommendation, featuring an interview with Caspian Makan, the fiancé of Neda Agha Soltan. Neda, who died from a Basiji gunshot on 20 June, would have been 27 today.

1010 GMT: Mediawatch. A big symbol of the changing line in the US Government and associated networks towards the Green movement comes in Richard Haass' "Enough Is Enough" for Newsweek, as he explains, "Why we can no longer remain on the sidelines in the struggle for regime change in Iran".

Haass, who was a high-level official in the State Department in the Bush Administration and now heads the Council on Foreign Relations, marks himself out as a "realist" in the artificial divide from "neo-conservative".
However, given the stalemate in the talks on Iran's nuclear programme, Haass now believes, "The United States, European governments, and others should shift their Iran policy toward increasing the prospects for political change. Leaders should speak out for the Iranian people and their rights."

Given Haass' place in the Washington-New York corridor of power and his image as a "moderate", the column is being quickly picked up as a sanction for the US Government's backing of the Iranian opposition. Barbara Slavin of The Washington Times and Laura Rozen of Politico, both channels for and gatekeepers of the acceptable in US foreign policy, are already circulating the article.

0955 GMT: The Moving Image of Protest. More directors, including Britain's Ken Loach, have announced that they will not attend Iran's Fajr Film Festival.

0950 GMT: Launch of the "Greenlist". Sabzlist, a listing service for the Green movement, has been launched. Initial posts include requests for volunteers, offers of assistance, and a call for an MC for a fundraiser.

0940 GMT: Non-Story of the Week. Press TV's website announces, "An Iranian lawmaker says the Parliament (Majlis) has settled on limiting relations with Britain, rather than a full severance of ties as advocated in a bill last week."

The bill, if passed, would still have consequences, reducing the level of diplomatic representation between Iran and Britain from Ambassador to Chargé d'Affaires. However, it is primarily a vehicle for bluster about "foreign intervention", as in lawmaker Hossein Sobhani-Nia's declaration, "Considering the gross interference of the British government in the post-election developments, the Parliament (Majlis) has opted for lowering the level of ties between Tehran and London."

0830 GMT: Claims of the Week. Peyke Iran has two stories which raises eyebrows. The first asserts that the relatives of high-ranking officials are fleeing Iran and seeking asylum abroad.

The website also alleges that children are now being detained when their activist parents are arrested by Iranian authorities.

0825 GMT: The 31 Manifesto. This week's statement by 31 Iranian intellectuals and artists, calling for a new system in which government is separated from religion, continues to attract attention. Deutsche Welle Persian features an interview with signatory Hossein Bagherzadeh, who declares that the Green movement differs from the 1979 Revolution.

0820 GMT: Movin' On Up. President Ahmadinejad's advisor on press affairs, Ali Akbar Javanfekr, is reportedly going to become the head of the Islamic Republic News Agency.

0815 GMT: A new Green website, Neda-ye Sabz-e Azadi, has been launched and has immediately been filtered by Iranian authorities.

0800 GMT: We begin this morning by reviewing yesterday's feature on "The Plot Against President Ahmadinejad". There is an update evaluating how the story stands up 24 hours later, and Chris Emery and an EA Iran specialist consider the complications of removing the President and what comes next.

Saturday Special: Helping Yemen?

As talk heats up about US intervention in the Yemen in the prosecution of "War of Terror", on top of the political and economic contests that have occupied the country for decades, Nadia Hijab writes for Agence Global:

It was the fall of 2005, and we were sitting in the former minister of planning’s large office -- “we” being two international consultants and the local representative of an international development agency. We were there to evaluate a $200,000 project to strengthen human rights.

The minister responded to all our questions with that sharp intelligence characteristic of so many Yemenis, but also politely wondered why we were there at all. He gently reminded us that earlier that year leaders from developed and developing nations had adopted the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, a resounding commitment to respect national leadership and to coordinate aid accordingly. Why was he being asked to spend his time on a small, standalone, donor-driven project? A little shame-faced, we nevertheless pressed on with our agenda -- and on to our meeting with the minister of human rights.

Read full article....


The Latest from Iran (21 January): Speaking in Codes

2040 GMT: Pars Daily News claims that Seyed Hassan Ahmadian, head of Mir Hossein Mousavi's People Committee, has disappeared.

1840 GMT: "Foreign Enemies" Cause Regime Change...and Earthquakes. Investigative Journalism of the Day from Kayhan --- the earthquake in Haiti was caused by the redoubtable US "Harp" weapon, which is more powerful than an atomic bomb.

1830 GMT: More on Larijani's Challenge. In his recent speech, Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani used the economy to challenge President Ahmadinejad, criticising the rising government budget and the failure of the 4th Development Plan. Only one-quarter of the Development Plan has reportedly been implemented.

Iran: How Should the US Treat the Green Movement? (Haghighatjoo)
NEW 2009: The View from Inside Iran
Iran Analysis: “Supreme Leader Warns Rafsanjani” — The Sequels
NEW Iran: Ahmadinejad and the Labor Movement

The Latest from Iran (21 January): Speaking in Codes

1805 GMT: Film Boycott. The famous director Abbas Kiarostami has refused to join the jury of Tehran's Fajr International Film Festival, which is scheduled to start on 25 January. Kiarostami joins other prominent figures, such as actor Ezzattollah Entezami and director Asghar Farhadi, who have turned down offers to be on the panel.

An EA reader updates: Theo Angelopoulos, the famous Greek filmmaker, has decided to withdraw from the festival.

1800 GMT: Academic Purges (cont.). Two of the Allameh Tabatabei University professors who have been banned from teaching are prominent political philosopher Seyed Morteza Mardiha and women's rights activist Saba Vasefi.

1755 GMT: The reformist Mohajedin of Islamic Revolution have issued a protest against the arrests of political activists, journalists, and students and the attacks on valuable members of the Islamic Republic for pseudo-offences, demanding their immediate release.

1630 GMT: The Tehran Prosecutor-General, Abbas Jafari Doulatabadi, has declared that anyone who associates with the Committee for Human Right Reporters is a "criminal".

Seven of the nine members of the central committee of CHRR are now detained.

1535 GMT: But the Best Will Come on Friday. Here, however, is a hint of the most explosive information we have gotten today. It will take us a bit of time to get it in proper context but....

The Plot to Remove Ahmadinejad: It involves at least three high-ranking officials in the Iran Government, one of whom is close to the Supreme Leader, one of whom is connected to the Revolutionary Guard and to Hashemi Rafsanjani, and one of whom is an influential politician but has remained almost silent in the post-election crisis. A fourth key person, who was involved in one of the Presidential campaigns and has a special grievance over the Kahrizak Prison scandal, is complementing the move with public statements.

The initial plan was to "take care" of the opposition in the current crisis and then move against the President, but it appears that this has been overtaken by events: Ahmadinejad may have to go even as the Green movement and Mousavi-Karroubi-Khatami cause complications for the plotters.

1530 GMT: Another Target for the Supreme Leader. A bit of additional (and so far unknown) information behind Ayatollah Khameini's warning to the "elites" to "take sides" this week:

Last week, Ayatollah Javadi-Amoli, the former Friday Prayers leader in Qom, sent a letter to Khameini last week criticising the Government. Javadi-Amoli reportedly, after a public class in Qom, said that "nobody can solve a problem with money", a reference to the President's handout to Iran's poorest people, and that such actions were unfair because anyone "can get love" by buying it.

Khamenei's warning was, therefore, not only to Hashemi Rafsanjani and to the "conservative/principlist opposition within" but to Javadi-Amoli for going far publicly, especially as it is becoming apparent that the Supreme Leader fears a major protest on 22 Bahman (11 February).

1520 GMT: Why the Newspapers are Being Threatened (see 0955 GMT). Look to the Deputy Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance, Mo-Amin Ramin. An EA source says Ramin, a former Foreign Ministry official and a friend of Ahmadinejad (he reportedly is influential in the President's thoughts on the Holocaust), is behind the warnings to no less than 15 newspapers to stop publishing critical information about the Government.

The editor of Jomhouri Eslami, Masih Mohajeri, wrote to the Minister of Culture --- after Ramin threatened closure of the newspaper for publishing the 1 January statement of Mir Hossein Mousavi --- to ask him to "Ershad Ramin" (Ershad in Persian and Arabic means "Guidance"). The Parliament asked Ramin to appear before a committee and explain his actions.

Neither initiative seems to have had any effect.

1510 GMT: An Afternoon of Inside Information. Have spent a few hours checking with some very knowledgeable people about the manoeuvres inside and outside the regime. Consider this "clerical alliance", for example:

On Tuesday, Seyed Hassan Khomeini, the grandson of the late Imam, went to the house of Ayatollah Sane'i in Qom. After a "very good meeting", Khomeini criticised the "hard-line" Society of Teachers and Researchers of Qom, headed by the pro-Ahmadinejad Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi.

With the visible support for Sane'i, who has been effectively ostracised (and arguably, after the death of Grand Ayatollah Montazeri, feared) by the Government, and the denunciation of the Society, Khomeini's allegiances have been re-confirmed. Indeed, the visit was quickly condemned by Hojatoleslam Ruhollah Hosseinian, a fervent backer of the President.

1034 GMT: Defend the Supreme Leader! If you're lost like me in the confusion around the intrigues for and against the Iranian Government, Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani and Press TV hold out this simple lifeline:
"Velayat-e-Faqih is the foundation of democracy and religion in the country," Larijani told a gathering of clerics in central Markazi Province.

Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, is the current religious jurisprudent. Under Iran's Constitution, the the Assembly of Experts chooses and supervises the Leader.

(For US readers: think of it through the words of Paul Crowe (played by Burt Reynolds) in the 1974 classic The Longest Yard: "The most important thing to remember [in American football] is....Protect your Quarterback --- Me!")

1030 GMT: Ayande News stirs the pot a little more, published an analysis of why different "hard-liners" may be trying to bring down the regime.

1025 GMT: Massoud Nur Mohammadi has joined his brother Saeed, a member of the Islamic Iran Participation Front, in detention.

1005 GMT: On the Mortazavi Battlefront. The headline fight over the future of former Tehran Prosecutor General and Ahmadinejad aide Saeed Mortazavi continues. The President has expressed determination to defend Mortazavi against accusations of responsibility for detainee abuses.

0955 GMT: Hitting the Newspapers. As the conflict within the Iranian establishment intensifies, the warnings escalate. No less than 15 publications --- Tehran Emrooz, Bahar, Tose'e, Rouzan, Jahan-e Eqtesad, Ettelaat, Etemaad, Asrar, Jahan-e San'at, Mardomsalari, Arman-e Ravabet-e Omumi, Jomhouri, Poul, Farhikhtegan, and Afarinesh --- have been threatened with suspension for "inappropriate" material.

Those articles include the biting reply of member of Parliament Ali Motahhari, who is in the forefront of criticism of the Government, to Ahmadinejad Chief of Staff Rahim-Mashai, the critique of Hassan Rohani, an ally of Hashemi Rafsanjani, of the severe security situation (amniati) and the lack of freedom of speech on 29 Dey, and the most recent statement of Mohammad Khatami.

0905 GMT: Prisoners Revolt. Human Rights and Democracy Activists in Iran reports that solitary confinement prisoners at the Gohardasht facility, the site of alleged physical abuse and torture, gained control of their ward for a period of time on Monday. This is the third recent occasion when inmates have rebelled and temporarily taken over sections of the prison.

0855 GMT: Today's Unhelpful Help from the US. Writing in The Wall Street Journal, which has embraced support of the opposition as the way to regime change in Iran, James Glassman and Michael Doran are not even subtle and/or smart enough to hide their real priorities:
Al Qaeda bombers on U.S. airliners need prompt attention, but it is Iran, a supporter of terrorism now developing the capacity to fire nuclear-tipped missiles, that may pose the greatest threat to global stability and American security.

That threat can be diminished three ways: by military action, by compromise by Iran's regime, or by a new, less bellicose government taking power in Tehran. The first two appear unlikely, but the third, at least since protests broke out last June after the presidential election, seems more and more realistic. Yet so far the United States and its allies have shrunk from seriously encouraging that third way.

Having gone this far, I'm not sure why they didn't just put together the words "Green Movement" and "pawn". And take a wild guess what the Iranian regime will do with this opinion piece if it bumps into it.

Most importantly, compare this screed with the thoughts of reformist Fatemeh Haghighatjoo, which we've posted in a separate entry, on the best US approach towards the Iranian opposition.

(A far-from-unimportant opinionated side note: Glassman and Doran were both key officials in the George W. Bush Administration's disastrous and often unintentionally humourous efforts at "public diplomacy".)

0835 GMT: And here's more knife-twisting from Khabar Online: "Iran Rial Stands as the 3rd Weakest World Currency". In a not-so-subtle criticism of the Government's management of the economy, the website notes, "The latest figures on the value of various currencies against the US dollar show that Iranian rial is only stronger than dobra of Sao Tome and Vietnamese dong."

0830 GMT: Larijani v. Ahmadinejad Showdown. Following our report yesterday, the English version of Khabar Online, the website close to Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani, uses "members of Parliament" to put the demand bluntly: "[President's Chief of Staff Esfandiar Rahim-] Mashai To Be Ousted or Resigned".

0820 GMT: Taking Apart Khamenei's Speech. I doubt it will worry the Supreme Leader, given the source, but the Green movement's Rah-e-Sabz has published a sharp critique in a general challenge of Khamenei's supremacy and policies.

The website asks how Khamenei can demand the support of "nokhbegan" (intellectuals), if he has to dictate to them what they have to think. It also condemning his "plot theory", based on "cultural attack", which he has put forward from the very beginning of his Leadership. Rah-e-Sabz raises the issue of "nokhbe-koshi" (killing intellectuals).

0710 GMT: Academic Purges (cont.). After our news yesterday that at least six Allameh Tabatabei University professors have been relieved of their duties, an Iranian activist is reporting further terminations of contracts.

0644 GMT: As we catch up with the news this morning, we will also continue the attempt to bring out the meaning in the recent speeches of the Supreme Leader, Hashemi Rafsanjani, and other prominent Iranian players in the post-election conflict. Who is threatening who? Who is allying with whom?

Meanwhile, we post a scholarly example of analysing "in code": Tehran-based Mahmoud Reza Golshanpazhooh's survey of 2009 considers the tensions within the country as well as the nuclear question and Iran's foreign relations. And we have a not-so-coded interview with Fatemeh Haghighatjoo, a former reformist member of Parliament who had to leave Iran for the US in 2005: "The United States should carefully and delicately support the opposition movement based on United Nations conventions [on human rights]."

Haiti: Josh Shahryar's Humanitarian LiveBlog (20/21 January)

0641 GMT

Another urgent request for help from three orphanages in Port-au-Prince within a mile of Port-au-Prince. Joanne Stocker of Help Haiti Heal has updates on both:

The orphanages are Foyer Notre Dame Nativite in Fonta Mara Orphanage, Foyer Notre Dame Nativite in Fonta Mara Orphanage and Foyer des Filles de Dieu Orphanage (Home for the Girls of God). If you have any means of getting these children out of harms way and providing them with more supplies, please do so.

Haiti: Josh Shahryar’s News LiveBlog (20/21 January)

(This request is especially intended for the US troops who’ve been helping out greatly with the search and rescue efforts, as well as other relief efforts inside the Haitian Capital.)

If you would like to help – and it would be greatly appreciated – please check the full information on these orphanages by CLICK HERE or contacting Joanne of Help Haiti Heal.

Please help if you can – at least 55 little girls have already died in these orphanages in the past few days.

0600 GMT

Six planes carrying vital medical supplies belonging to Doctors Without Borders (MSF) have been re-routed to the Dominican Republic from Port-au-Prince Airport. These planes were carrying 85 tonnes of supplies badly needed in Haiti to help with the efforts of MSF’s medical staff to treat injured and sick Haitians. MSF has a video report.

0523 GMT

As the scope of the calamity in Haiti became clearer every day, the American people stepped up to the challenge by getting involved both financially and physically to help the people of Haiti. One of these was by making donations through text-messages. One of these was texting “Haiti” to 90999. The US Department of State’s official blog DipNote has an update on this story that gives us all hope:

n January 20, 2010, the text “Haiti” to “90999” campaign passed the $25 million mark. This is the largest mobile donation campaign to date and a true testament of the generosity of the American people. On behalf of everyone at the State Department, we thank you for your contributions.

Within hours of the earthquake, the Department helped launch this mobile fund-raising initiative in partnership with the American Red Cross, Mobile Accord and the mGive Foundation. Donations will appear on customers’ monthly bills or be debited from a prepaid account balance, and 100 percent of the proceeds from this campaign support Red Cross relief efforts in Haiti. As a friend, a partner, and a supporter, the United States will continue to assist the people and government of Haiti in every way we can. This is a long-term commitment that will extend beyond the current emergency.

More ways you can help: Clinton Bush Haiti Fund

More about the crisis and how you can help:

Read LiveBlog....

Haiti: Josh Shahryar's News LiveBlog (20/21 January)

0255 GMT

Another amazing story of survival and miracles from today in Haiti. CNN’s AC360 reports:

A five-year-old boy named Monley was found alive in the rubble of his home today. His mother was killed and his father is missing. Monley was taken to a hospital where doctors say he has no broken bones, but he is suffering from severe dehydration.

Haiti: Josh Shahryar's Humanitarian LiveBlog (20/21 January)

Anderson was at the hospital when Monley arrived this afternoon. He got details on the rescue from his family.

“The uncle was actually searching through the rubble, looking for the dead body of his brother, this boy’s father. The uncle, with four of his friends, not some international search and rescue team, pulled out the little boy,” Anderson reported earlier today.

0241 GMT

One of the biggest challenges in Haiti has been to figure out just how many people have perished in the aftermath of the apocalyptic earthquake. So far, the numbers are blurry. Reports of total number of victims range from as low as 50,000 to as high as more than 200,000.

The New York Times has a great article on the challenges facing the Haitian government and the international relief agencies in figuring out how many lives have been lost.

The simple truth is that no accurate figure exists. In disasters like Hurricane Katrina, the 2004 Asian tsunami and the 2003 earthquake in Bam, Iran, the toll habitually swings way up at first, taking a couple of weeks to settle at a final, accepted number.

In countries like the United States or China, with vast resources to handle and count the dead, the numbers are likely to be more accurate than in a poor nation like Haiti, experts said.

The fact that the earthquake, with a magnitude of 7, devastated Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital, virtually paralyzing a government that was hard-pressed to count the living in normal times, only compounded the problem.

CLICK HERE to read the rest of the article.

Read rest of LiveBlog....