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SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 1, 2015
AMMAN---An online video
released Saturday night purported
to show an Islamic State group mil-
itant behead Japanese journalist
Kenji Goto, ending days of negoti-
ations by diplomats to save the man.
The video, released on militant
Web sites and highlighted by militant
sympathisers on social media sites,
bore the symbol of the Islamic State
group s al-Furqan media arm.
Though the video could not be
immediately independently verified
by The Associated Press, it con-
formed to other beheading videos
released by the extremists, who now
control a third of both Syria and
neighboring Iraq in its self-declared
The video, called "A Message to
the Government of Japan," featured
a militant who looked and sounded
like a militant with a British accent
who has taken part in other behead-
ing videos by the Islamic State group.
Goto, kneeling in an orange prison
jumpsuit, said nothing in the roughly
"Abe," the militant says in the
video, referring to Japanese Prime
Minister Shinzo Abe, "because of
your reckless decision to take part
in an unwinnable war, this man will
not only slaughter Kenji, but will also
carry on and cause carnage wherever
your people are found. So let the
nightmare for Japan begin."
US officials said they were trying
to confirm the authenticity of the
"We have seen the video purport-
ing to show that Japanese citizen
Kenji Goto has been murdered by
the terrorist group ISIL," said
Bernadette Meehan, a spokeswoman
for the White House s National Secu-
rity Council, using an alternate
acronym for the extremist group.
"The United States strongly con-
demns ISIL s actions and we call for
the immediate release of all the
remaining hostages. We stand in sol-
idarity with our ally Japan."
Goto was captured in October, after
he travelled to Syria to try to win the
release of Haruna Yukawa.
Yukawa reportedly was killed pre-
viously, though authorities have yet
to authenticate the video claiming
Saturday s video made no mention
of another hostage, Jordanian pilot
Lt Muath al-Kaseasbeh, who was
captured after his fighter plane went
down in December over an Islamic
State-controlled area of Syria. The
fate of Goto and al-Kaseasbeh had
been linked by the militants.
The hostage drama began last week
after militants threatened to kill Goto
and Yukawa in 72 hours unless Japan
paid $200 million.
Jordan and Japan reportedly con-
ducted indirect negotiations with the
militants through Iraqi tribal leaders.
Video: Islamic State group
beheads Japanese journalist
A man waves a Republican flag as people
gather in the main square of Madrid during
a Podemos (We Can) party march yesterday
in Madrid, Spain. Tens of thousands of
people marched through Madrid's streets in
a powerful show of strength by Spain's
fledgling radical leftist party Podemos (We
Can) which hopes to emulate the electoral
success of Greece's Syriza party in elections
later this year. AP PHOTO
Journalist Kenji Goto
MADRID---At least 100,000 people marched
through Madrid on Saturday in a show of
strength by a fledgling radical leftist party,
which hopes to emulate the success of
Greece s Syriza party in the Spanish general
election later this year.
Podemos supporters from across Spain con-
verged around the Cibeles fountain Saturday
before packing the avenue leading to Puerta
del Sol square in what was the party s largest
rally to date.
Police said at least 100,000 people partic-
ipated in the march while Podemos put the
figure at 300,000.
Podemos ("We Can") aims to shatter the
country s predominantly two-party system
and the "March for Change" gathered crowds
in the same place where sit-in protests against
political and financial corruption laid the
party s foundations in 2011.
The party s rise is greatly due to the charis-
ma of its pony-tailed leader, Pablo Iglesias,
a 36-year-old political science professor.
Hailing from the Madrid working-class
neighborhood of Vallecas, Iglesias prefers jeans
and rolled up shirt sleeves to a suit and tie
and champions slogans such as Spain is "run
by the butlers of the rich" and that the econ-
omy must serve the people.
"We want change," Iglesias told the crowd.
"This is the year for change and we re going
to win the elections."
Speaking at a meeting in Barcelona, Prime
Minister Mariano Rajoy said he didn t accept
the bleak picture of Spain that Podemos prop-
"They re a sad bunch, who go around saying
how badly things are going," he said, giving
them no chance of winning the elections.
"They re not going to do it."
Senior Podemos member Rita Maestre told
The Associated Press that their aim was to
show that the party is the instrument for
"We called the demonstration in the hope
of lighting the torch (flame)."
In roughly a year, Podemos has leap-frogged
from being the dream of a handful of university
professors and activists to a political party.
Opinion polls show the party could possibly
take the No 1 spot in upcoming elections and
thus trigger one of the biggest political shake-
ups in Spain since democracy was restored
in 1978 after decades of dictatorship.
"The two-party framework has suffered a
change. It now really does seem like a third
political force can achieve government, so yes,
I think it can have a great impact," said lit-
erature student Alicia Sanchez, 20.
This year, Spain holds elections in 15 of its
17 regions followed by general elections.
Podemos first battle will be in the southern
Socialist heartland of Andalusia in March,
followed by regional and municipal elections
in the crucial ruling Popular Party stronghold
of Madrid in May.
"The political class has lost all credibility,"
said unemployed lathe worker Marcos Pineda,
54. "The PP that governs today had its former
treasurer in jail for corruption and the banks
were bailed out with 40 billion euros ($52 bil-
lion) of European money, but the government
refused to call it a bailout."
Podemos has often expressed its support
for some of the policies of left-wing govern-
ments in Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador,
which makes many Spanish mainstream politi-
In Europe, it openly supports Syriza, which
won national elections in Greece on January
25 and which has pledged to challenge the
austerity measures imposed on the country
by the European Union and International
Monetary Fund. (AP)
Spanish radical left party gets boost with huge Madrid rally
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