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01.03.07 Titan has liquid lakes, scientists report in Nature
January 3 Scientists report definitive evidence of the presence of lakes filled with liquid methane on Saturn's moon Titan in this week's journal Nature cover story. Radar imaging data from a July 22, 2006, flyby provide convincing evidence for large bodies of liquid on Titan today. A new false-color radar view gives a taste of what Cassini saw. Some highlights of the article follow below.
01.03.07 White House dismisses outcry over Saddam execution
WASHINGTON (AFP) January 3 The White House Wednesday bluntly dismissed the international outcry over the way Saddam Hussein was executed as elevating his "last two minutes" above his brutal, bloody decades in power. "He got justice," spokesman Tony Snow said, amid criticisms of widely seen footage showing Saddam's Shiite captors mocking him during his last minutes alive and hailing an Iraqi Shiite cleric who leads a major militia. "There seems to be a lot of concern about the last two minutes of Saddam Hussein's life and less about the first 69 [years], in which he murdered hundreds of thousands of people. That's why he was executed," said Snow. [More>>metimes.com]
01.03.07 Foreigners advised to leave Gaza
January 3 Palestinian security officials have advised foreign nationals to leave Gaza due to kidnap threats two days after Jaime Razuri, a photographer, was snatched by unknown armed men. Security officials said they have advised American and European nationals to leave because of a threat of further abductions. "We've had warnings of kidnapping operations and have asked American and European nationals to leave Gaza," a security source said. Razuri, a Peruvian national working for AFP, was abducted from the centre of Gaza City by unknown men as he returned from an assignment on Monday...Foreigner abductions have been fairly common in the impoverished territory, with 20 foreign nationals abducted over the past year...[Full story>>aljazeera.net ; See also Jerusalem Post]
01.03.07 Twenty insurgents killed in Afghanistan: officials
KANDAHAR, January 3 Afghan and foreign troops killed 20 rebels, including two commanders, in operations against militants in southern Afghanistan, officials said Wednesday. Seventeen, including the commanders, were killed in the southern province of Helmand in a three-day operation that wrapped up Monday and involved Afghan and NATO-led troops, interior ministry spokesman Zemarai Bashary was quoted as saying. About 4,500 British troops are in Helmand serving with NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). An ISAF spokesman in the capital, Kabul, confirmed there had been "sporadic incidents" in the area, but could not confirm the interior ministry's death toll. [More>>thenews.com.pk]
01.02.07 Nation remembers former President Ford
January 2 Political leaders and Washington luminaries paid tribute to former president Gerald R. Ford today at an elaborate state funeral service at the Washington National Cathedral, hailing the nation's 38th president as a decent man who helped heal the country's wounds during a troubled time. In a eulogy, President Bush called Ford a "rock of stability" amid the turmoil of the Watergate scandal and the debacle of America's ignominious exit from Vietnam during the 1975 fall of Saigon to communist forces. "In President Ford, the world saw the best of America, and America found a man whose character and leadership would bring calm and healing to one of the most divisive moments in our nation's history," Bush said.
01.02.07 Central Banks tiptoeing away from the dollar
January 2 Countries with large holdings of dollars in their foreign-exchange reserves are showing a new willingness to dump the dollar in favor of the rising euro. The latest to make a major move is the United Arab Emirates, which joined Russia, Switzerland, Venezuela and others late last month when it shifted a chunk of its reserves into euros. There have also been ambiguous signals from China about a possible pullback from the dollar, and recent word from Iran, the world¹s fourth largest oil producer, that it would prefer to be paid in euros rather than the usual dollars for its oil shipments. Still, currency experts say these moves are not likely to do any long-term damage to the dollar, for a number of reasons.
01.02.07 Iran to West and US: You are nobody, we will humiliate you
January 2 Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad scorned the UN Security Council's imposing sanctions on Iran, telling a crowd Tuesday that Iran had humiliated the United States in the past and would do so again. Speaking in the southwestern provincial capital of Ahvaz, Ahmadinejad said the Security Council's resolution of December 23 was invalid and had left the world body's reputation in tatters. His speech made no reference to series of bombings that have occurred in Ahvaz, believed to stem from tension between the city's Arabic-speaking community and the Farsi-speaking authorities. Nor did Ahmadinejad refer to the results of Iran's local elections of December 15, in which his political allies were heavily defeated.
01.02.07 Fresh violence in Iraq claims 22 lives
BAGHDAD, January 2 Continued violence angered by the execution of Saddam Hussain in Iraq on Tuesday claimed 22 lives wounding several others. A roadside bomb killed three civilians and wounded seven others in eastern Baghdad, police said. Three of those injured were policemen. The bomb was hidden in a pile of garbage in the Camp Sarah neighborhood, a mixed area, police said.
01.01.07 Six Al-Qaeda members killed in Iraq: US claims
BAGHDAD, January 1 US troops claimed to have killed six "terrorists" when they came under attack early Monday from a building owned by a senior Sunni lawmaker in Iraq. The soldiers came under fire as they approached a suspected hideout of the Al-Qaeda in Iraq insurgent group, the US military said in a statement. "Coalition forces received heavy automatic fire and hand grenades from the top of several nearby buildings," it said, adding that six "terrorists" were killed. One of the buildings belonged to Saleh al-Mutlaq, head of the National Dialogue Front, a Sunni political party, the military reported. Mutlaq, currently in Jordan, was not available for comment.
01.01.07 Somalian conflict nearing the end
January 1 Somali government troops backed by Ethiopian forces have reportedly captured the last major stronghold of a militant Islamic movement. Militant fighters, many of them Arabs and South Asians, were fleeing in heavily armed trucks toward the Kenyan border, 100 miles to the south. It followed a 13-day onslaught led by the Ethiopian army, which has left hundreds dead. Somalia's Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi said: "I can confirm to you that our forces have captured (the city of) Kismayo." The government has offered an amnesty to any fighters who hand over their weapons, but has not offered the same to the leaders of the militant group.
12.31.06 US sustains 3,000th fatality in Iraq
BAGHDAD (AP) December 31 The Pentagon announced the death of a Texas soldier on Sunday, raising the number of U.S. military deaths in Iraq to at least 3,000 since the war began, according to an Associated Press count. The milestone was crossed on the final day of 2006 and at the end of the deadliest month for the American military in Iraq in the past 12 months. At least 111 US service members were reported to have died in December.
12.31.06 Seven bombs rock Bangkok, kill two
BANGKOK (The Nation/ANN) December 31 Seven explosives went off almost simultaneously in Bangkok on Sunday, injuring at least 20 people as the revelers were about to start celebrating the New Year's eve. Two people were killed and 20 injured at the Victory Monument when a powerful bomb went off near a bus station at about 6:30 p.m. One person was dead near the Big C supermarket, Sapan Kwai branch, where witness saw a man dropped a grenade from a pedestrian bridge just over the police box.
12.31.06 How Washington and London helped to create the monster they went to war to destroy
December 31 When they hanged him, he was America's vanquished foe, likened to Hitler and Stalin for the murderous evil of his ways. What is forgotten is that once, for more than a decade, Saddam Hussein was staunchly supported by the US. Indeed, it was Washington that supplied him with many of the weapons of mass destruction the dictator used against his foes - weapons that one day would serve as a pretext for the US-led invasion that toppled him. The dealings between the US and Saddam's Iraq over the quarter of a century before 2003 are a story of deceit, miscalculation and strategic blunders by both sides. And they began, as they would end, in the shadow of a common enemy: Iran.
12.31.06 Iraq oil prospects in '2007, bleak as '06'
WASHINGTON (UPI) December 29 Iraq has a lot of oil, more than any other country in the world except two. But its oil sector has suffered decades of misuse by Saddam Hussein, leaving it badly in need of repair. UN sanctions after Saddam invaded Kuwait in 1990 further hampered development. Then came the US-led invasion and occupation, going on four years next March, and the reverberations of militia and insurgent attacks.
12.31.06 Ford's Vietnam: 'No point in being bitter'
December 31 (Article by Bob Woodward and Christine Parthemore) Upon becoming president in August 1974, Gerald R. Ford faced the task of ending a war a war not of his own making. In two wide-ranging interviews with Ford conducted in 2004 and 2005 by The Washington Post's Bob Woodward and Christine Parthemore, the former president revealed the depths of his disillusionment and frustration during the final years and months of the Vietnam War. The interviews, excerpted below, were granted on the condition that they not be made public until Ford's death.
12.31.06 New Year rings in EU membership for Bulgaria, Romania
BUCHAREST, Romania (AFP) December 31 Bulgaria and Romania have geared up for a special double New Year's celebration as the two former Soviet bloc states become the newest members of the European Union as midnight strikes. French President Jacques Chirac made a televised address to Bulgaria and Romania in which he welcomed their nationals as "dear fellow European citizens."
12.31.06 Saddam buried in home village, Web shows him hang
AWJA, Iraq (Reuters) December 31 Saddam Hussein was buried in the dead of night in his native village on Sunday, prompting an outpouring of grief and anger from fellow Sunni Arabs who flocked to his grave and held symbolic funerals elsewhere. Sectarian passions that have pushed Iraq toward civil war since US troops overthrew Saddam in 2003 could be further inflamed by a new video posted on the Internet showing Shi'ite officials taunting him as he stood on the gallows on Saturday. "Go to hell!" one yelled at the former president.
12.30.06 World leaders welcome, condemn Saddam's execution
LONDON (AP) December 30 World political and religious leaders were divided over whether Saddam Hussein's execution Saturday would serve as a milestone toward peace -- or motivation for further conflict in the Middle East. In Washington, U.S. President George W. Bush said Saddam was executed "after receiving a fair trial the kind of justice he denied the victims of his brutal regime.
In Britain, a key US ally in the war in Iraq, Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett said Saddam has been "held to account for at least some of the appalling crimes he committed against the Iraqi people." But at the same time, she condemned the death penalty a position taken by many European leaders and human rights organizations.
"The European Union has a very consistent stand ... on opposing the death penalty and it should not have been applied in this case either even though there is no doubt about Saddam Hussein's guilt over serious violations against human rights," Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja of Finland, which holds the rotating EU presidency, said in Helsinki.
...The government in the world's largest Muslim nation, Indonesia, said it hoped Saddam's execution "will not further separate conflicting parties in the effort toward a national reconciliation, which is a precondition in recovering Iraqi sovereignty." Fauzan Al Anshori, from the militant group of Majelis Mujahidin Indonesia, said Bush, too, should stand trial. "Given the crime blamed on Saddam, it is unfair if George Bush is not also put on an international tribunal," he said. "Saddam was executed for killings 148 people, Shiite Muslims, while Bush is responsible for the killing of about 600,000 Iraqis since the March 2003 invasion." [Full story>>thestar.com.my ; See also
khaleejtimes.com (Reuters) December 30, "Saddam's enemies rejoice, many Arabs angry." : ...While many Arab governments refrained from comment, a senior aide to Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa called the execution "a tragic end to a sad phase in Iraq¹s history. We hope that the Iraqi people would focus on the future to be able to pass this stage, stop the violence and achieve reconciliation," Hesham Youssef told Reuters in Cairo. The government of Iraqi neighbor Jordan said it hoped the execution would not have "any negative repercussions."
Abdel-Bari Atwan, editor of the London-based Al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper, said Arabs wondered who most deserved to face trial: "Saddam Hussein, who preserved the unity of Iraq, ... or those who engulfed the country in this bloody civil war?"
No street unrest was reported in Arab capitals, where Muslims were preoccupied with the Eid al-Adha holiday, but thousands of Indians, mostly Muslims, staged anti-US protests. Tajeddine El Husseini, a Moroccan international economic law professor, said Saddam¹s "symbolic sacrifice" on a religious day when Muslims slaughter animals would make things worse. In Afghanistan, the first target before Iraq in the US-declared "war on terror," a Taleban commander said Saddam¹s demise would galvanize Muslim opposition to the United States...
haaretz.com, December 30, "At least 72 Iraqis killed in wake of Saddam Hussein execution" : Hours after the execution by hanging of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussei, some 72 Iraqis were killed in two bombings. In northwest Baghdad, two parked cars exploded killing 36 civilians and wounding 76. Another 36 people died and 58 were hurt south of the capital. Earlier on Saturday, the death of the dictator who ruled Iraq with a remorseless brutality for a quarter-century and was driven from power by a US-led war that left his country in shambles was announced. He was taken to the gallows and executed as dawn broke Saturday.
It was a grim end for the 69-year-old former leader. Despite his ouster, Washington, its allies and the new Iraqi leaders remain mired in a fight to quell a stubborn insurgency by Saddam loyalists and a vicious sectarian conflict. Saddam was executed at a former military intelligence headquarters in Baghdad's Shiite neighborhood of Kazimiyah, said Sami al-Askari, a prominent Shi'ite politician close to Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. The neighborhood is home to the Iraqi capital's most important Shiite shine, the Imam Kazim shrine.
Askari witnessed the event and said the process of Saddam's execution lasted about 25 minutes, but once he was dropped through a trap door his death was very quick. "One of the guards pulled a lever and he dropped half a meter into a trap door. We heard his neck snap instantly and we even saw a small amount of blood around the rope," Askari said. "They left him hanging for around 10 minutes before a doctor confirmed his death and they untied him and placed him in a white bodybag," he added. State-funded television channel Iraqiya showed the final moments of Saddam's life but stopped short of broadcasting the actual hanging or his body...
turkishpress.com, December 30, "OIC urges calm after Saddam hanging" : JEDDAH - The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) called for calm in Iraq on Saturday after the hanging of Saddam Hussein, and urged Muslim clerics to implement a pact banning the shedding of Muslim blood. In a statement issued at its headquarters in Jeddah, the 57-member OIC said its secretary general Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu "appealed to the Iraqi people to stay calm" following the execution of the former president. He also called on prominent Iraqi clerics to "implement the Mecca Document ... by urging the Iraqi people to remain united," the statement said.
That document, hammered out by 29 Iraqi Shiite and Sunni clerics at an OIC-sponsored meeting in the Muslim holy city of Mecca in October, called for a halt to sectarian bloodletting in Iraq. Though it stipulated that "spilling Muslim blood is forbidden," the Mecca Document went unheeded in Iraq, where Shiite-Sunni killings continued unabated...
nytimes.com, December 30, "Iraq mainly calm, riveted by video of Hussein death."
cnn.com, December 30, "Hussein's body handed over."
12.30.06 Madrid blast 'ends Eta ceasefire'
December 30 The Spanish government has suspended dialogue with the Basque separatist group Eta after a car bombing at Madrid's international airport. The Eta had earlier claimed responsibility for the blast at Madrid's international airport on Saturday morning that injured four people. "I have decided to suspend all initiatives for dialogue with Eta," Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, the prime minister, told a news conference.
12.30.06 Ship sinks off Central Java with hundreds of passengers on board
JAKARTA, Indonesia, December 31 An Indonesian ferry carrying hundreds of passengers sank in a storm off Central Java, and efforts to find survivors were hampered by strong winds and high waves, officials said Saturday. Slamet Bustam, an official at the Semarang port, said waves of up five meters (16 feet) had crashed over the ship's deck around midnight Friday. The Transport Minister Hatta Radjasa put the number at 542, citing the passengers manifest, but ships in Indonesia often carry far more passengers than reported, making it hard for authorities to say with accuracy how many people are on board. [More>>thejakartapost.com]
12.29.06 Saddam Hussein dead
December 29 His father died before he was born and his mother is said to have been suicidal when she was carrying him, trying to abort the pregnancy. His stepfather allegedly beat him, and in high school, he was a tough guy, immersed in revolutionary politics. At 22, he was tapped by the leaders of the Socialist Ba'ath party to assassinate the then-prime minister. The coup failed and Saddam Hussein fled to Cairo. When he returned, some years later, he returned to rule. By 1979 he was president, prime minister and commander in chief. He quickly purged any would-be competitors, arresting scores of cabinet ministers, bureaucrats and high ranking members of the Ba'ath party. Twenty-one were executed on a single day in August of 1979.
12.29.06 Saddam 'could be executed within hours'
December 29 The execution of Saddam Hussein appeared to be imminent tonight after American forces handed over the former dictator into Iraqi custody. An official close to Nouri al-Maliki, the Iraqi Prime Minister, told The Times that the deposed president could be hanged "within hours" and a judge who served on the appeals panel which upheld his death sentence said that he would be executed by tomorrow at the latest. "Saddam will be executed today or tomorrow," said the judge, Munir Haddad. "All the measures have been done." [More>>timesonline.co.uk ; See also haaretz.com, December 29, "Iraqi judge: Saddam will be executed by Saturday at the latest."]
12.28.06 Saddam sends messages to his supporters as he prepares to die
December 28 Saddam Hussein appeared yesterday to have lost his last chance of avoiding execution when the Iraqi presidency announced that the court decision upholding the death penalty was final. Saddam's supporters issued threats of wide scale retaliation, and international legal and human rights groups called for the sentence to be rescinded. At the same time, two letters purporting to be from Saddam were posted on the internet bearing conflicting messages. One asks Iraqis not to hate the Western forces who have occupied their country, while the other urges them to rise up against the same forces.
Editorial observation: A common thread among the reports said "a military official" suggests that the White House has intentionally leaked news. This story could not come about through a casual conversation between one reporter and a military official, since each reporter appears to be exclusively informed. Someone in the White House appears to have picked up the phone and called a bunch of reporters, one of whom was with the French press, another with Fox News, another with NBC, etc.
12.28.06 Thirty-one including 4 US soldiers killed in Iraq
BAGHDAD, December 28 At least 31 people were killed Thursday in a string of gun and bomb attacks across the war-torn country, amid gathering tension in anticipation of ousted dictator Saddam Hussein's execution. Ten people were killed and 35 wounded in east Baghdad near the Shaab stadium when a bomb exploded among a crowd queuing for heating fuel, according to a security official and medics at the Ibn-Nafis hospital.
12.28.06 Mogadishu retaken as Somali Islamists flee
December 28 Somali government forces, supported by Ethiopian soldiers, entered Mogadishu unopposed today after the leaders of Islamist militias that have controlled the city since June fled last night. "We are in Mogadishu," said Mohamed Ali Gedi, the Prime Minister of Somalia's interim Government, after talks with the clan elders who are the ultimate powerbrokers in the ravaged capital. "We are coordinating our forces to take control of Mogadishu."
12.28.06 Abu Sayyaf leader's body 'found'
December 28 Soldiers in the southern Philippines have uncovered the remains of a man thought to be the head of Abu Sayyaf, military sources have said. The remains, found on Wednesday buried in a remote area on Jolo island, are thought to be those of Khaddafy Janjalani, a man who was the target of a US-backed manhunt and who had a $5m bounty on his head. Lieutenant Colonel Ariel Caculitan, a Philippine marines spokesman, said DNA tests would be needed for confirmation.
December 27 Former president Gerald R. Ford said in an embargoed interview in July 2004 that the Iraq war was not justified. "I don't think I would have gone to war," he said a little more than a year after President Bush had launched the invasion advocated and carried out by prominent veterans of Ford's own administration. In a four-hour conversation at his house in Beaver Creek, Colo., Ford "very strongly" disagreed with the current president's justifications for invading Iraq and said he would have pushed alternatives, such as sanctions, much more vigorously. In the tape-recorded interview, Ford was critical not only of Bush but also of Vice President Cheney Ford's White House chief of staff and then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, who served as Ford's chief of staff and then his Pentagon chief.
12.27.06 Gerald Ford, 38th President, dies at 93
December 27 Former President Gerald R. Ford, who was thrust into the presidency in 1974 in the wake of the Watergate scandal but who lost his own bid for election after pardoning President Richard M. Nixon, has died, according to a statement issued late last night by his wife, Betty Ford. He was 93, making him the oldest former president, surpassing Ronald Reagan, who died in 2004, by just over a month.
12.27.06 Belarus-Russia gas dispute threatens Poland, Europe: officials
WARSAW, December 27 The dispute between Belarus and Moscow over natural gas prices threatens the energy security of Poland and the rest of Europe, an official at the Polish foreign ministry said on Wednesday. "This problem poses a threat to us and this is why we have had heated debate in the past few months about Polish-Russian relations and relations between Europe and Russia," Deputy Foreign Minister Pawel Kowal said. "Energy security today is a fundamental issue for Poland and we want to convince the rest of the world that it is also fundamental to Europe. This example is yet another illustration," he said. Russian natural gas monopoly Gazprom wants Belarus to pay more than double the current price it pays for natural gas from 2007 and has threatened to cut supplies from Monday if no deal is reached. [More>>thenews.com.pk]
12.27.06 Pakistan border mines worry UN
December 27 UN officials have criticized Pakistan's plan to mine parts of its border with Afghanistan, saying it would add to civilian casualties in a region already littered with ordnance. Pakistan on Tuesday said it would plant landmines and build a fence on parts of its 2,430km frontier with Afghanistan. The measure is seen as a bid by Islamabad to fend off criticism it does too little to stop infiltration by Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters. Richard Bennett, the UN's chief human rights officer in Afghanistan, said: "From a human rights perspective, we would be concerned about any mining. Human rights advocates are solidly opposed globally to the use of landmines. The UN is opposed to the use of mines." [More>>aljazeera.net]
12.26.06 For some survivors the misery goes on
December 25 Thousands of houses, built with millions of pounds of donors' money, stand empty along the coast of Aceh. Two years after the Boxing Day tsunami unleashed destruction on the island of Sumatra, an unprecedented global outpouring of generosity and the biggest reconstruction effort in history have left the economy of the Indonesian province of Banda Aceh booming on aid money. From the air, or driving along the coast where entire villages were washed from the face of the earth, the rebuilding appears a stunning success, even though much more needs to be done. But talking to the survivors, as many as 70,000 of whom remain homeless and living in barracks or transitional shelters, a different picture emerges.
12.26.06 Up to 500 killed in Lagos fuel blast
LAGOS, Nigeria (Reuters) December 26 Up to 500 people were burned alive on Tuesday when fuel from a vandalized pipeline exploded in Nigeria's largest city, Lagos, emergency workers said. Hundreds of residents of the Abule Egba district went to scoop fuel using plastic containers after thieves punctured the underground pipeline overnight to siphon fuel into a road tanker, locals said. Abiodun Orebiyi, secretary-general of the Nigerian Red Cross, said there was no official death toll but estimated that between 200 and 500 people could have been killed.
12.26.06 Pakistan plans border minefield
December 26 Pakistan plans to fence and plant land mines along sections of its border with Afghanistan to stop militants, a foreign office official has said. Speaking at a press conference, Foreign Secretary Riaz Mohammad Khan said the move would stop "militant activity from Pakistan inside Afghanistan." Afghanistan rejected the plan saying both countries need to tackle "terrorists in a real manner." [More>>bbc.co.uk ; See also thenews.com.pk, December 26, "Afghanistan says Pakistan's mining of border not enough."]
12.26.06 Russia remains leader in spacecraft launches space agency
MOSCOW (RIA Novosti) December 26 Russia conducted 45% of the world's spacecraft launches in 2006, maintaining its leading position, the head of the Federal Space Agency said Tuesday. "Russia's current share in the spacecraft launch market is about 40%, and counting joint Russian-Ukrainian launches from the Sea Launch platform it totals about 45% of all launches conducted in the world," Anatoly Perminov said at a year-end news conference. In 2006, Russia already conducted 24 launches, and plans to launch a Soyuz-2-1B carrier rocket with a Fregat booster and a French Corot satellite December 27, Perminov said, adding that in 2007 the number of launches will be reduced to about 20.
12.26.06 Up to 1,000 Islamists dead in Ethiopia offensive
ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) December 26 Somalia¹s Islamists are in full retreat after Ethiopian airstrikes and a ground offensive that have killed up to 1,000 of the religious movement¹s fighters, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said on Tuesday. "A joint Somali government and Ethiopian force has broken the back of the international terrorist forces...These forces are in full retreat," Meles told reporters in Addis Ababa, adding that up to 1,000 Islamist fighters had been killed. "A few are Somali but the majority are foreigners," he said of the dead. [More>>khaleejtimes.com]
12.26.06 US fatalities in Iraq top 9/11 toll
BAGHDAD (AFP) December 26 The number of American fatalities in Iraq Tuesday surpassed the death toll for the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States, shining the spotlight on US policy in the war-wracked country. Another 20 Iraqis were killed in attacks hammering Baghdad Tuesday, 15 of them in a triple car bombing, amid unprecedented levels of violence in a conflict that has claimed the lives of tens of thousands. The macabre US milestone was marked by the deaths of three soldiers in a bomb attack northwest of Baghdad Tuesday, 24 hours after another four troops were killed on Christmas Day.
12.26.06 Court upholds death penalty for Hussein
December 26 An Iraqi appeals court today upheld a death sentence for Saddam Hussein in a decision that clears the way for his execution within 30 days, Iraqi officials said today. The announcement came as at least 20 people were killed and dozens were injured in bomb and mortar attacks in the capital. The court was reviewing a Nov. 5 verdict in which Mr. Hussein and two of his top associates, Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti and Awad al-Bandar, were sentenced to ³death by hanging² for their involvement in the arrest and killing of 148 Shiite men and boys in the town of Dujail in 1982. It was not immediately clear when the execution would be carried out. The tribunal¹s chief judge, Aref Shahin, announced the decision in a news conference and indicated that the judgment would be carried out within the 30 days, as specified under Iraqi law. [More>>nytimes.com]
12.26.06 Disappearing world: Global warming claims tropical island
December 24 Rising seas, caused by global warming, have for the first time washed an inhabited island off the face of the Earth. The obliteration of Lohachara island, in India's part of the Sundarbans where the Ganges and the Brahmaputra rivers empty into the Bay of Bengal, marks the moment when one of the most apocalyptic predictions of environmentalists and climate scientists has started coming true. As the seas continue to swell, they will swallow whole island nations, from the Maldives to the Marshall Islands, inundate vast areas of countries from Bangladesh to Egypt, and submerge parts of scores of coastal cities.
12.26.06 Iranian oil revenues plunging, report says
(AP) December 26 Iran is experiencing a staggering decline in revenue from its oil exports and, if the trend continues, income could virtually disappear by 2015, according to an analysis released yesterday by the National Academy of Sciences. Iran's economic woes could make the country unstable and vulnerable with its oil industry crippled, Roger Stern, an economic geographer at Johns Hopkins University, said in the report and in an interview. Iran earns about $50 billion a year in oil exports. The decline is estimated at 10 percent to 12 percent annually. In less than five years, exports could be halved and then disappear by 2015, Mr. Stern predicted. [More>>washtimes.com]
12.26.06 Timor PM wiishes 'brother' bin Laden on Xmas
DILL, E. Timor, December 26 East Timor Prime Minister Jose Ramos-Horta on Tuesday said he hoped Osama bin Laden had tuned in from his mountain hideout to hear his Christmas message of peace directed at the feared terrorist leader. Ramos-Horta's message to the elusive September 11 mastermind was broadcast on the BBC.
Launched: 10.25.04 / 11.02.04
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