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News Headlines & Trends

01.18.10 US, UN boost Haiti aid security as looters swarm

PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) January 19 - US troops protected aid handouts and the United Nations sought extra peacekeepers to bolster security in earthquake-shattered Haiti on Monday as marauding looters emptied wrecked shops and tens of thousands of survivors waited desperately for food and medical care. Hundreds of scavengers and looters swarmed over wrecked stores in downtown Port-au-Prince, seizing goods and fighting among themselves, but some signs of normality returned as street vendors emerged with fruit and vegetables for sale.

...Some 2,200 Marines with heavy earth-moving equipment, medical aid and helicopters were arriving on Monday, said the US Southern Command, which aims to have 10,000 US troops in the area for the rescue operation. UN chief Ban Kimono said he had recommended to the Security Council that 1,500 police and 2,000 troops be added to the current 2-by-4 UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti. World leaders have promised massive amounts of assistance to rebuild Haiti since Tuesday's quake killed as many as 200,000 people and left its capital, Port-au-Prince, in ruins. European Union institutions and member states have offered more than 400 million eros ($575.6 million) in emergency and longer-term assistance to Haiti.
[More>>khaleejtimes.com; See also

nytimes.com, January 18, "Thousands flee wrecked Haitian capital"
: PORT-AU-PRINCE -Thousands of Haitians crammed onto rickety school buses and the backs of trucks to flee the ravaged capital on Monday in an uncertain quest for shelter, fresh water and stability in the countryside. Bus after bus lined up at gas stations throughout the city, hoping to fill up with fuel before beginning the long trek into Haiti's interior. Some lugged overstuffed suitcases; others carried little more than the clothes they were wearing and enough money to pay the heightened travel fares. At one gas station, the names of some the buses, painted in bright colors above their windshields, evoked something more than hope: Christ Est La Response; Nu Look; Courage Mon Frère.

Some Haitians told news agencies they were seeking the help of friends or family members; others said they were leaving blindly, in hopes that any change would be an improvement on the shattered chaos of Port-au-Prince...The displaced were streaming out of Port-au-Prince even as more relief, aid workers and American troops were arriving. Some hospitals along the border with the Dominican Republic were swamped with earthquake victims. The United Nations World Food Program said it planned to distribute 200 tons of food aid on Monday to 95,000 people at eight locations and appealed anew for public donations to the relief effort. The calls for more help came even as aid workers, mobile clinics and other supplies continued to arrive at the airport and overland from the Dominican Republic...

01.18.10 Taliban strike heart of Kabul; 9 killed, 40 wounded

KABUL, January 18 - Taliban militants struck in the heart of the Afghan capital on Monday, launching suicide attacks at key government targets including the presidential palace and locked security forces in running gun battles, which left nine people, including four attackers dead. (Watch Video) The brazen strike in the city was a clear sign the insurgents plan to escalate their fight as the US and its allies ramp up their own campaign to end the war. At least 40 people were wounded, officials said.(Watch Video) After a series of blasts and more than three hours of ensuing gunfights outside several ministries and inside a shopping mall,

President Hamid Karzai said security had been restored to the capital, though search operations continued amid reports that attackers were hiding in the city. It was the biggest attack in the capital since Oct. 28 when gunmen with automatic weapons and suicide vests stormed a guest house used by UN staff, killing at least 11 people including three UN staff. Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said that 20 armed militants, including some with suicide vests, had entered Kabul to target the presidential palace and other government buildings in the center of the capital.

01.18.10 Eight militants killed in Pakistan; boy's school blown up

PESHAWAR, January 18 - Eight militants and two anti-Taliban tribesmen were killed on Monday in violence in Pakistan's restive northwest while three soldiers were injured during search operations in Waziristan tribal region. In the troubled Khyber Agency, militants blew up a government-run boys' primary school in the latest in a series of attacks on educational institutions. Four militants were killed in a gun battle with security forces in Charbagh area of Swat valley, the army-run media centre said. [More>>indianexpress.com]

01.18.10 Suspected US drone attack kills 15 in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD, January 18 - A missile strike by what was believed to be a remote-controlled US drone plane killed 15 people Monday in the tribal area of South Waziristan, officials said. The strike, which hit the home of a well-known Taliban supporter, was the third such attack in four days against the militant sanctuary. On Thursday, a drone attack in the same area apparently missed the top Taliban leader in Pakistan, Hakimullah Mehsud. He subsequently issued two statements insisting he was alive, but officials said he might have been wounded. Despite official objections from Pakistan, the United States has stepped up the pace of drone attacks since a suicide bomber killed seven CIA agents in Afghanistan last month. [More>>washingtonpost.com]

01.18.10 Dozens die in Nigeria clashes

January 18 - Troops are patrolling the northern Nigerian city of Jos after clashes between Christians and Muslims left at least 26 people dead and injured around 100 more, officials said. Violence erupted on Sunday over the rebuilding of homes destroyed in 2008 clashes between the two religious groups, residents said, although reports as to why the latest round of fighting broke out varied. According to the Associated Press, Muslim youths set fire to a church filled with worshippers, starting a riot that saw mosques and homes burnt. But the AFP news agency said the unrest was sparked by youths protesting the building of a mosque in a predominantly Christian area. [More>>aljazeera.net]

01.18.10 Iraq province gives Baathists 24 hours to leave

NAJAF, Iraq (AFP) January 18 - Saddam Hussein loyalists warned to get out of Najaf. Local government officials warned Saddam Hussein loyalists on Monday to move out of the Shiite province of Najaf in central Iraq within 24 hours or face an "iron fist." They demanded the exodus after a meeting to discuss security in the wake of a triple bomb attack last week in Najaf, about 150 kilometers (90 miles) south of Baghdad, that left up to 15 people dead. "The Baath gang of Saddam has one day to leave the province or we will use an iron fist against those who have failed to distance themselves from the Baath and al-Qaeda," the officials said in a statement.

The leader of the provincial council, which is dominated by the party of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite, blamed the bomb attack on Baathists, referring to Saddam's outlawed Sunni-dominated Baath party. "The council's next measure will be to purge local government institutions of Baathists," said the statement, which also asked Baghdad to use its intelligence services to identify wrongdoers.

01.17.10 Patients overwhelm medical teams at Haiti clinics

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, January 17 - Medical teams struggled to cope with an overwhelming crush of injured patients in this earthquake-ravaged city Sunday, while an international armada of would-be helpers vied in frustration for access to the disaster zone. The French-based group Doctors Without Borders issued a public call that its planes "be allowed to land" at the Port-au-Prince international airport, "in order to treat thousands of wounded waiting for vital surgical operations." In North Carolina, troops with the 82nd Airborne who have been ready to deploy since Friday were told it would be at least 9pm before they leave, because the tarmac is clogged with too many planes. "We're ready to go," said Lieutenant Col. Peter Im. "It is a matter of having the capacity to receive it. There's very limited infrastructure, so getting equipment and personnel in is like you're going through a funnel." Top State Department and military officials on the ground in Haiti said their ability to quickly get vital food and water in Haitians' hands has been hampered by their reliance on Port-au-Prince's tiny airport. Because of damaged roads and a devastated port, an airfield that typically serves three flights a day and lacks electricity and a functioning tower is having to handle up to 60 civilian flights a day. [More>>washingtonpost.com; See related story,

abcnews.go.com, January 17, "Haiti sadness and joy: 70,000 bodies - but a record 70+ rescues"
: International search-and-rescue teams have pulled more than 70 people from the rubble of Haiti's earthquake — a record for urban search-and-rescue missions following such a disaster, the UN claimed. But though limited food, water and medical supplies finally are reaching victims in desperate need, Haiti's prime minister said at least 70,000 dead bodies have been collected. And some unofficial estimates of the death toll have ranged between 150,000 and 200,000. "I think the international community is looking at those figures, and I think that's a start point," said US Lt. Gen. P.K. Keen, the man in charge of military relief efforts in Haiti, on ABC News' "This Week." "We are going to have to be prepared for the worst," he said. In addition to bodies collected by the Haitian government, it is believed many were disposed of privately, and thousands more remain uncollected...

(via cnn.com) January 17, "Looking for loved ones in Haiti (and additional resources)"

01.17.10 US drone attack kills 15 militants in Pakistan

January 17 - In stepped-up US attacks on militant hideouts in Pakistan, a drone rammed missiles on a compound in a restive North Waziristan tribal region on Sunday killing at least 15 terrorists, mostly foreign fighters. In the tenth such attack in the region this month, the US drone fired two missiles on a militant compound during the strike in Shaktoi region that straddles North and South Waziristan, officials were quoted as saying by TV news channels. At least 15 bodies were pulled out of the rubble of the compound, which was destroyed. Most of the dead were believed to be foreign fighters. The officials said the death toll could rise as the rubble of the compound was still being cleared. This was the tenth drone strike in Waziristan this year. Shaktoi and its surrounding areas have been targeted by US spy planes several times over the past few days. Two drone attacks on Friday killed 11 militants while another strike on Thursday killed 16 rebels. [More>>indianexpress.com; See other details,

aljazeera.net, January 17, "US drone kills dozens in Pakistan"
: ..."The target was a militant compound," a senior military official said of the raid, which occurred about 40km southeast of Miranshah, the primary town in North Waziristan. Another official added: "The drones are apparently tracking and targeting Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud, whose presence is frequently reported in the area."...

Related story,

thenews.com.pk, January 17, "Terrorist killed, 4 held in SWA: ISPR report" : WANA: A terrorist was killed and 4 others apprehended in the ongoing military operation Rah-e-Nijat in South Waziristan during the last 24 hours. According to ISPR, on Jandola Sector, Security forces conducted [a] search and clearance operation at Hassan Khel and apprehended 4 suspects. Terrorists fired with small arms near Janata which was effectively responded by the security forces. One Shakai Sector, security forces conducted search and clearance operation[s] in Zawar Darman Khel, Shankai–Dargai and killed 1 terrorist. Security forces conducted [a]search and clearance operation near Ladha and detected and destroyed an IED.

Terrorists fired with small arms in general area Narakai and Ghundai Sar Post Khaisura near Shakai which was effectively responded. On Razmak Sector, terrorists fired with small arms at security forces near Razmak which was effectively responded. In operation Rah-e-Rast in Swat–Malakand, security forces conducted search and clearance operation at Delai. During [an] encounter with terrorists 2 terrorists [were] killed.

Security forces conducted search and clearance operation[s] at Darmai near Fatehpur, Sakhra, Gwalerai and Awari near Gwalerai, Dandi Sar near Piochar, Sarbanda near Chuprial, Ugdai, Shamozai Mines, Rangeela near Khazana, Goratai near Barikot, Piran Patto near Dargai, Udigram near Mingora, apprehended 15 suspects while [a] huge cache of arms and ammunition were also recovered. As many as 29,936 Cash Cards have been issued to displaced families of Waziristan. [end]

01.17.10 Iraq's 'Chemical Ali' gets 4th death sentence

(AP) January 17 - Saddam Hussein's notorious cousin "Chemical Ali" was convicted and sentenced to death by hanging on Sunday for ordering the gassing of Kurds in 1988. It was Ali Hassan al-Majid fourth death sentence for crimes against humanity in Iraq. The previous three have not been carried out, in part because survivors of the poison gas attack on the Kurdish town of Halabja wanted to have their case against al-Majid heard. Relatives of Halabja victims cheered in the courtroom when chief judge Aboud Mustafa handed down the guilty verdict against al-Majid, one of the chief architects of Saddam's repression and among the last to face trial.

...Another senior figure in Saddam's regime, former Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz, suffered a severe stroke over the weekend and cannot speak, his son said Sunday. Aziz was the international face of Saddam's regime for several years. He was convicted and sentenced to prison for his involvement in the forced displacement of Kurds in northern Iraq and the deaths of Baghdad merchants in the early 1990s.
[Full story>>khaleejtimes.com]

01.17.10 Muslim group Minhaj-ul-Quran issues fatwa against terrorists

January 17 - The 600-page document, drawn up by Dr. Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri, declares that attacks on innocent citizens are "absolutely against the teachings of Islam." A leading Muslim organization in Britain has issued a fatwa against suicide bombings and terrorism, declaring them un-Islamic. Minhaj-ul-Quran, a Sufi organization based in East London which advises the Government on how to combat radicalization of Muslim youth, will launch the 600-page religious verdict tomorrow. It condemns the perpetrators of terrorist explosions and suicide bombings.

The document, written by Dr. Muhammed Tahir-ul-Qadri, a former minister of Pakistan and friend of Benazir Bhutto, declares suicide bombings and terrorism as "totally un-Islamic." It is one of the most detailed and comprehensive documents of its kind to be published in Britain. The fatwa, which was released in Pakistan last month, uses texts from the Koran and other Islamic writings to argue that attacks against innocent citizens are "absolutely against the teachings of Islam and that Islam does not permit such acts on any excuse, reason or pretext." Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri, who is based in Canada and has written more than 400 books on Islamic law, said: "All these acts are grave violations of human rights and constitute kufr, disbelief, under Islamic law."

Minhaj-ul-Quran is an organization based in 80 countries that follows Sufi teachings of peace and moderation. It is gaining influence in Britain as the Government seeks to gain ground among Muslim groups eager to combat the radicalization of young people...Inayat Bunglawala, former spokesman of the Muslim Council of Britain and founder of the new group Muslims4UK, set up to counter the radical message of the newly banned Islam4UK and other extremist groups, welcomed the fatwa.
[Full story>>timesonline.co.uk]

01.16.10 Lonely trek to radicalism for terror suspect

KADUNA, Nigeria, January 17 - Well before Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab disappeared into the rugged mountains of Yemen with an ominous goodbye to his father — warning him that "this is the last time you are going to hear from me," according to top Nigerian officials — the tensions between the two pious men had already begun to show. Though his father's career in banking had brought great wealth, enough to finance a neighborhood mosque in the family name and hire a private imam at home, his cousins said the young Mr. Abdulmutallab openly condemned the profession as immoral for charging interest and lectured his father to quit. "Anytime he came back on vacation" from studying abroad, a cousin said on the condition of anonymity because the family has forbidden contact with the press, "he would tell his father he needed to quit banking because it was un-Islamic."

Behind Mr. Abdulmutallab's journey from gifted student to terrorism suspect, accused of trying to bring down a plane headed to Detroit on Dec. 25 with explosives sewn into his underwear, is the struggle between father and son, between piety and radicalism, between an investment in this life and a disconnected young man's apparent longing for the next. It is a struggle within Islam itself, not just in the Middle East or in centers of jihadist ideology like London, but also here in Kaduna, the northern Nigerian city where Mr. Abdulmutallab grew up and returned to on vacation.

This is a place where the dividing line between devotion and extremism is often blurred, where Islamic police ensure that moral codes are obeyed, where scores were killed in religious violence incited by the Miss World contest in 2002, and where even a family as Westernized as Mr. Abdulmutallab's has had contact with clerics espousing anti-Western and anti-Israeli ideals. "Kaduna city has a long history of religious extremism and intolerance," said a neighbor, Shehu Sani. "For 30 years, there has been violence here. People like Farouk grew up in this atmosphere. I don't think all his radical ideas came from Yemen."
[More>>nytimes.com; See related comments,

Maravot News 12.04.08, article
12.01.08 Muslims condemn Mumbai attacks, worry about image and Editorial note: "Confusion over the teachings of the Koran" ;

Maravot News 11.30.08 article
11.29.08 Malaysia government sued over seized Christian CD's Editorial note, "Confusion on the Islamic faith" :

"....Running counter to the Koran as a "confirmation of the Bible" are arguments from the Koran and teachings of Mohammed that encourage the persecution and murder of unbelievers (kuffar). This doctrine sourced in the Koran became a focal-point in a more conservative, militant (jihadist) form of Islam, adapted by the Saudis, known as the Wahhabi Sect.

Maravot News 9.07.08, article 9.05.08 Saudi cleric says celebrating birthdays un-Islamic and Editorial note, "An interesting review of the Wahhabi sect" and related links:

'"The Wahhabi teachings are at the foundation of Islamic schools (madrassas) in Pakistan. The teachings migrated to Britain with the migrants from Pakistan to Britain. In this new age of terrorism it is no wonder, then, that Islamic terrorists are rooted in Britain and Pakistan, with Pakistan being the preferred source of Islamist teachings. At the foundation of the teachings is the return to the original Caliphate, of spreading Islamic rule and law throughout the world. For further reading see Maravot News 8.08.05, article 08.07.05 Inside the sect that loves terror with editorial note and links. If Islamic, Christian and Jewish authorities can come to an agreement, that the "Koran says it confirms the Bible," then they ought to be able to isolate the creed of hatred and murder professed by Islamists as un-Islamic, and certainly un-Christian. In so doing more lives can be saved.

At work within the various jihadist activities is, of course, the element of tribal and political conflicts. For instance, the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan express their principal mission as evicting foreigners (NATO) from their land. But the issue goes much further than that, since the Taliban not only wage war under the name of Allah but also persecute those who do not adhere to their strict law. It is an irony of history that Taliban generals punish women and young girls who endeavor to obtain an education, they force them to cover themselves up completely with their burkahs and yet are captured being dressed as women. They and al-Qaeda send their young men and women out to commit suicidal mayhem and murder on civilian populations under the guise of a freedom fighter. Plans for the mayhem are crafted under the leadership of immams in their mosques and schools. The first part of Islamic terrorism begins with the teachings."

Maravot News 4.09.09 article 4.07.09 US Muslims urge Obama to focus on civil rights Editorial note: "Confusion over the teachings of the Koran." (reprinted from Maravot News 12.04.08) :

"...Koran advocates violence against unbelievers (kuffar) / enemies:

Repentance 9.20 Those that have embraced the faith and fled their homeland and fought for Allah's cause with their wealth and their persons are held in higher regard by Allah. It is they who shall triumph. Their Lord has promised them joy and mercy, and gardens of eternal bliss where they shall dwell forever. Allah's reward is great indeed.
9.116 ...Allah has purchased of the faithful their lives and worldly goods and in return has promised them the Garden. They will fight for His cause, slay, and be slain. Such is the true pledge which he has made them in the Torah, the Gospel, and the Koran. And who is more true to his promise than Allah? Rejoice then in the bargain you have made. That is the supreme triumph.

Women 4.91 Others you will find who seek security from you as well as from their own people. Whenever they are called back to idol-worship they plunge into it headlong. If these do not keep their distance from you, if they neither offer you peace nor cease their hostilities against you, lay hold of them and kill them wherever you find them. Over such men We give you absolute authority.
4.92 It is unlawful for a believer to kill another believer except by accident.
4.98 He that flies his homeland for the cause of Allah shall find numerous places of refuge in the land and great abundance. He that leaves his dwelling to fight for Allah and His apostle and is then overtaken by death, shall be rewarded by Allah.
4.104 Seek out your enemies relentlessly.

Islamic scholars teachings against unbelievers - "kuffars": In an editorial note of Maravot News 8.08.05, article 8.07.05 Inside the sect that loves terror (a short article on the London Tube bombing worth reading) we referred to an Islamic scholar's website, as follows:

An interesting site by an Islamic scholar defines what "kuffar" (disbelievers) means. His site, renaissance.com.pk – Arguments and Rational – details the Koran's verses and traditional and modern applications of the verses dealing with disbelievers: identifying them, punishing them, preaching to them and "'displaced directives." His argument refers heavily to Old Testament verses that set the foundation for verses of the Koran involving the punishment of disbelievers. The site (Punishing the Disbelievers) says, "In other words, what authorizes a Messenger to punish the Kuffar is that it can be ascertained in this very world that they are guilty of denying the basic truths in spite of being convinced about them. Good and evil are elucidated with ultimate clarity and people who accept evil do so not because of any confusion but because of their own stubbornness.

So it can be concluded that since a Messenger reveals the basic truths in their ultimate form and those who deny it do so because of their stubbornness and even confess their sins, a Messenger has the perfect justification to punish his people after they have denied him." But in other places says, (Misplaced Directives) "In other words, what is construed from this Hadith is that a Muslim will be rewarded with Paradise if he kills a non-Muslim. Consequently, Imam Abu Da¹ud, the celebrated Muslim scholar and compiler of Hadith has placed this Hadith in a chapter entitled: (bab fi fadli man qatala kafiran: Chapter on the Reward of a Muslim who Kills a Kafir). Again, it needs to be appreciated that these words relate to the Idolaters of the Prophet¹s times who had lost their right to live after they had deliberately rejected the truth. These words are not related to later Muslims."

We find it appropriate here to repeat our comment in August 2005: "It is worthwhile for those who are trying to defeat Muslim terrorists to read the arguments listed in renaissance.com.pk." The Koran and the scholastic teachings of Islamic leaders must account to much of the acts of Islamic terrorism. For Islamic leaders to denounce acts of Islamic terrorism a bridge has to be crossed in their understanding of the Koran. An easy bridge that will enable peace is one that has to do with acknowledging these two points: 1) that the Koran claims to confirm the Bible (See Maravot News 4.09.09) and Jesus as the Messiah and 2) that the Koran, therefore, cannot contradict that which it confirms as its source."

Mel Copeland

01.16.10 Haiti aid flow grows; feuds over delivery

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, January 16 - Helicopters rush to get supplies into airport; officials worry as hunger, thirst, reports of violence beset ruined city. Hungry, haggard survivors clamored for food and water Saturday as donors squabbled over how to get aid into Haiti and rescuers waged an increasingly improbable battle to free the dying before they become the dead. Haiti's government alone has already recovered 20,000 bodies — not counting those recovered by independent agencies or relatives themselves, Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive told The Associated Press. He said a final toll of 100,000 dead would "seem to be the minimum."

There were growing signs that foreign aid and rescue workers were getting to the people most in need — even those buried deep beneath collapsed buildings — while others struggled to cope with the countless bodies still left on the streets. Crowds of Haitians thronged around foreign workers shovelling through piles of wreckage at shattered buildings throughout the city, using sniffer dogs, shovels and in some cases heavy earth-moving equipment. Searchers poked a camera on a wire thorough a hole at the collapsed Hotel Montana and spotted three people who were still alive, and they heard the voice of a woman speaking French, said Ecuadorian Red Cross worker David Betancourt...Bellerive said an estimated 300,000 people are living on the streets in port-au-Prince and "Getting them water, and food, and a shelter is our top priority."

The US military operating Haiti's damaged main airport said it can now handle 90 flights a day, but that wasn't enough to cope with all the planes sent by foreign donors and governments circling overhead in hopes of winning one of the few spots available on the tarmac. France's Cooperation Minister Alain Joyandet told The Associated Press that he had filed an official complaint to the US government after two French planes, one carrying a field hospital, were denied permission to land. A plane carrying the prime ministers of two Caribbean nations also was forced to turn back late Friday due to a lack of space at the airport, the Caricom trade bloc announced...The US Southern Command said it now has 24 helicopters flying relief missions - many from warships off the coast - with 4,200 military personnel involved and 6,300 more due by Monday.
[Full story>>cbsnews.com; See related stories,

abcnews.go.com, January 16, " 'Total Chaos' : Haitians lash out amid the stench of death; Ex-presidents appeal for aid"
: Hope fading for victims still trapped under rubble, though rescues continue. Amid growing despair and desperation in Haiti, President Obama today enlisted his two presidential predecessors to lead an ongoing American effort to help that country recover from Tuesday's devastating earthquake. The situation is particularly dire because some of the hardest-hit neighborhoods in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, perhaps the areas most in need of aid, are blocked by fallen debris. As anger escalates and looting breaks out, some claim order is breaking down in the country.

"The country is in total chaos. The Government is totally inexistent," Max Beauvoir, Haiti's high priest of voodoo, wrote to ABC News' Jake Tapper in an e-mail. "Law and order no longer exist. ... How can the suffering ones expect to receive directly some humanitarian help?" ...With nowhere else to go, Haitians in Port-au-Prince slept overnight in the city streets, families huddling together in makeshift tents as loved ones remained buried under rubble. Aftershocks continued to shake Haiti. A 4.5-magnitude aftershock shook Port-au-Prince and briefly halted rescue efforts this morning. While some people have been rescued from the ruins, hope is fading fast for many still trapped since Tuesday's earthquake...

independent.co.uk, January 16, "Patrick Cockburn: The US is failing Haiti - again" :
The US-run aid effort for Haiti is beginning to look chillingly similar to the criminally slow and disorganised US government support for New Orleans after it was devastated by hurricane Katrina in 2005. Five years ago President Bush was famously mute and detached when the levees broke in Louisiana. By way of contrast, President Obama was promising Haitians that everything would be done for survivors within hours of the calamity. The rhetoric from Washington has been very different during these two disasters, but the outcome may be much the same. In both cases very little aid arrived at the time it was most needed and, in the case of Port-au-Prince, when people trapped under collapsed buildings were still alive.

When foreign rescue teams with heavy lifting gear does come it will be too late. No wonder enraged Haitians are building roadblocks out of rocks and dead bodies. In New Orleans and Port-au-Prince there is the same official terror of looting by local people, so the first outside help to arrive is in the shape of armed troops. The US currently has 3,500 soldiers, 2,200 marines and 300 medical personnel on their way to Haiti. Of course there will be looting because, with shops closed or flattened by the quake, this is the only way for people to get food and water.

Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the world. I was in Port-au-Prince in 1994, the last time US troops landed there, when local people systematically tore apart police stations, taking wood, pipes and even ripping nails out of the walls. In the police station I was in there were sudden cries of alarm from those looting the top floor as they discovered that they could not get back down to the ground because the entire wooden staircase had been chopped up and stolen...

news.sky.com, January 16, " 'Utter chaos' at Haiti hospitals after quake" : An earthquake that devastated Haiti has left thousands in dire need of medical attention but hospitals are being stretched to near breaking point. But the quake has damaged the nation's infrastructure so severely that many survivors are succumbing to their wounds due to lack of treatment...It is a wide misconception that, when a disaster happens, those who survive are 'the survivors' and it is over. This is very much an ongoing disaster...While the international community and the aid agencies are arranging for their vast resources to be put into action, thousands of survivors are living rough too...

foxnews.com, January 16, "Haiti on edge as world sends help after quake" : Aid and assistance slowly made its way to Haitians left without basic necessities by this week's earthquake, though relief efforts were further complicated by aftershocks and the threat of looting and violence. A magnitude-4.5 aftershock shook the capital of Port-au-Prince shortly before noon Saturday, raising new fears of damage. Rescue crews continued to work to free people believed trapped under rubble, while others carried out the grim task of disposing of the countless dead. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton landed Saturday in Haiti to meet with President Rene Preval, and the US is sending more food, water and relief supplies. But it wasn't clear when that and other aid will reach all those in need.

About 600,000 humanitarian daily rations — basic nutrition packages that provide 2,300 calories — were expected to be at Haiti's airport by Saturday evening, said Tim Callaghan, the White House adviser helping to oversee relief efforts in Haiti. The World Food Program plans to distribute the rations. Callaghan told reporters on a conference call Saturday that water purification units arrived Friday night, and officials hope they will produce up to 300,000 liters of water. More water is coming from the neighboring Dominican Republic.

Denis McDonough of the National Security Council said 180 tons of relief supplies had arrived in Haiti, but he didn't know how much had been distributed or where it has gone. "We don't have a good breakdown," he said....There has been little sign of any aid in much of the city four days after the quake. A water delivery truck driver said he was attacked in one of the city's slums. There were reports of isolated looting as young men walked through downtown with machetes, and robbers reportedly shot one man, whose body was left on the street. "I don't know how much longer we can hold out," said Dee Leahy, a lay missionary from St. Louis, Missouri, who was working with nuns handing out provisions from their small stockpile. "We need food, we need medical supplies, we need medicine, we need vitamins and we need painkillers. And we need it urgently."...

01.16.10 Iraq captures al-Qaeda suspect

(AFP) January 16 - The Iraqi army says it's detained a suspected al-Qaeda leader implicated in the 2003 bombing of the UN's Baghdad headquarters which killed 22 people. Ali Hussein Alwan al-Azawi, nicknamed Abu Imad, suspected of being a top commander in al-Qaeda front organization the Islamic State in Iraq, was captured in an operation in the capital, Baghdad military command spokesman Qassem Atta said. "He is responsible for the explosion at the UN headquarters in Baghdad," Mr. Atta said. Before the US-led invasion of 2003, the suspect was a pilot for state-owned flagcarrier Iraqi Airways, he added.

The August 19, 2003 bombing which killed UN special representative Sergio Vieira de Mello and 21 of his colleagues marked the start of an escalating wave of attacks blamed on al-Qaeda and other insurgent groups. The army spokesman said troops have also detained a Saudi national, Mohammed Abdallah Nasser, who's suspected of being an important al-Qaeda commander in Diyala province, north of the capital. West of Baghdad, troops detained 11 suspected members of another Islamic militant group, Ansar al-Sunna, in the Euphrates valley town of Hit, a security source said. They are suspected of being behind a series of four bombings targeting the homes of policemen in the town which killed a total of seven people.

01.16.10 Report: Mitchell to arrive in Mideast this week with no plan, no agenda

January 16 - US envoy George Mitchel will arrive in the region this week without a new agenda for renewing negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, the pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat reported on Saturday. In a move that is doubtful to inspire a renewal of negotiations, Mitchell will be arriving with no letters of grantee from neither the US nor Israel. According to the French sources quoted in the article, the information about Mitchell's lack of a new plan came to light during a series of meetings in Paris and Brussels. [More>>haaretz.com]

01.16.10 Two terrorists nabbed, 16 hideouts destroyed in SWA : ISPR report

WANA, Pakistan, January 16 - Two terrorists have been apprehended during the last 24 hours in South Waziristan Operation Rah-e-Nijat. According to ISPR, on Jandola Sector, terrorists fired with small arms and rockets at security forces' check post near Ahmedwam, which was effectively responded. Security forces conducted [a] search and clearance operation at Hassan Khel, Bannu, apprehended 2 suspected terrorists and recovered [a] cache of arms and ammunition. On Shakai Sector, security forces conducted [a] search and clearance operation at Kaniguram, Sultana and recovered [a] cache of arms and ammunition. Terrorists fired rockets on a check post near Pash Ziarat on Razmak Sector which was effectively responded.

Security forces conducted [a] search and clearance operation at Tora Tiza near Makeen and cleared 16 compounds. In Operation Rah-e-Rast in Swat-Malakand, security forces conducted search and clearance operation[s] at Jabrai Chinkolai near Khawazakhela, Gidar Sar near Shangla, Shin Bargane, Shalun near Shalpin, Chungai near Than and apprehended 6 suspected terrorists. Security forces conducted search and clearance operation[s] at Tatai, Yakhtangi Kandao near Malam Jabba, Malam, Gut Paiza, Asharai and recovered [a] huge cache of arms and ammunition. One terrorist voluntarily surrendered to security forces at Zarra Khela. As many as 29,831 Cash Cards have been issued to displaced families of Waziristan.

01.16.10 Yemen says captures three al-Qaeda militants

SANAA, Yemen (Reuters) January 16 - Three armed al-Qaeda militants were captured in Yemen early Saturday, close to the Saudi Arabian border, a Yemeni security official said. Meanwhile, Shi'ite rebels, involved in a conflict with government forces and cross-border fighting with Saudi Arabia, said they had shot down a Saudi military helicopter...On Friday, six al-Qaeda militants were killed in an air strike in northern Yemen in a stepped-up government campaign against the Islamist group. [Full story>>khaleejtimes.com]

01.15.10 US troops start distributing aid in Haiti

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, January 15 - Amid fears of unrest, looters roam the streets of Port-au-Prince. Hundreds of US troops  began handing out food and water Friday to stricken survivors in earthquake-shattered Port-au-Prince, as relief groups struggled to deliver aid and fears spread of unrest in Haiti's fourth day of desperation. Pockets of looting flared across the capital. Small bands of young men and teenagers with machetes roaming downtown streets helped themselves to whatever they could find in wrecked homes. "They are scavenging everything. What can you do?" said Michel Legros, 53, as he waited for help to search for seven relatives buried in his collapsed house.

Hard-pressed government workers, meanwhile, were burying thousands of bodies in mass graves. The Red Cross estimates 45,000 to 50,000 people were killed in Tuesday's cataclysmic earthquake. Up to 50 percent of the buildings in the capital and other hard-hit areas were damaged or destroyed, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in New York. Up to 10,000 US troops will be in Haiti or off its shores by Monday to distribute aid and prevent potential rioting, it was disclosed Friday, as President Obama promised long-term reconstruction help.
[More>>msnbc.com; Sree related,

nytimes.com, January 15, "The missing in Haiti" : Photos of missing people submitted by friends, family members and colleagues. Readers can make a submission or read comments from people seeking information. If you have information about any of them, please let us know.

01.15.10 Iran arrests cleric close to Montazeri: Web

TEHrAN, January 15 - Police warn against SMS, Email protest calls. Iran arrested a cleric close to late dissident Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri and warned opposition supporters against using text and email messages to organize rallies, opposition media and ISNA news agency reported Friday. Mid-ranking cleric "Hojjatoleslam Mohammad Taghi Khalaji was arrested at his home in the city of Qom on Tuesday," Norooznews said. "The cause of his arrest is not known yet but he had on several occasions backed protests against election results" which saw President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad returned for a second term amid allegations of massive fraud.

Meanwhile, Iran's police chief has warned opposition supporters against using text and email message to stage anti-government protests, ISNA news agency reported. "These people should know where they are sending the SMS and email as these systems are under control. They should not think using proxies will prevent their identification," Esmail Ahmadi Moghaddam said. "If these people continue, their (data) records will be examined and those who organize or issue appeals have committed a worse crime than those who come to the streets," he warned.

01.15.10 BNP member jailed over terror cache

January 15 - A BNP member who spent a decade building up a cache of weapons in a bedroom hideaway was jailed for 11 years today. Bus driver Terrance Gavan manufactured highly dangerous firearms and explosives at the home where he lived with his mother in Batley, West Yorkshire. Police discovered 54 improvised explosive devices including nail bombs and a booby-trapped cigarette packet at the address, as well as 12 firearms. The former soldier told detectives that he had "a fascination with things that go bang," the Old Bailey heard.

But Gavan also had a "strong hostility" towards immigrants and planned to target an address he had seen on a television programme that he believed was linked to the July 7 bomb attacks in London. He told police he was a BNP member and letters to him from the party, as well as a copy of its magazine Hope and Glory, were found at his home. The court heard that hand-written notebooks were found, in one of which was written the slogan: "The patriot must always be ready to defend his country against enemies and their governments." Gavan pleaded guilty to 22 counts including collecting information useful for terrorism and possessing explosives and firearms.

01.15.10 Taliban confirms Hakimullah Mehsud injured

ISLAMABAD, January 15 - The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) on Friday confirmed that its chief, Hakimullah Mehsud, was injured in a US attack which struck at a militants' hideout in South Waziristan on Thursday. A private TV channel quoted local officials and the TTP as saying Mehsud was in the house in Shaktoi village and that a meeting of foreign militants was underway when the US drone struck. Two foreign militants and eight local fighters were among the 10 killed in the attack, while eight others, including Mehsud, were injured. Mehsud, who received head injuries, is being treated at undisclosed location and his condition was described as being out of danger, Online news agency quoted sources as saying. A vehicle belonging to Mehsud was destroyed in the attack, the sources added. [More>>timesofindia.indiatimes.com; See related story,

thenews.com.pk, US drone strikes kill 11 people in NWA" : WANA - Nine back-to-back missiles fired by suspected US drone killed 11 people, including one foreigner in North Waziristan tribal region near Afghanistan border on Friday. According to reports, the missiles first hit a house situated in Mir Ali, in which five people, including a foreign militant, was killed. While one hour after the first attack, unmanned US drones targeted another militants’ compound in Shaktoi area, killing four more people. The unmanned US plane targeted Zarniri area, which is near the spot where US missiles are believed to have narrowly missed the Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud the day before...

01.15.10 Yemeni al-Qaeda suspects killed

January 15 - An airstrike by Yemeni armed forces has killed at least six suspected al-Qaeda fighters in the north of the country, a Yemeni security official said. "Two cars carrying eight dangerous al-Qaeda members were hit in an area between Saada and al-Jouf," the security official told the Reuters news agency on Friday. "Two may have survived and escaped," the officials said. "The group included Qassem al-Raimi, Ayed al-Shabwani, Ammar al-Waeli, and Saleh al-Teys," the official said, adding that the four were wanted by Yemeni and US security. Mohamed Vall, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Yemen, said al-Raimi was a prominent member of al-Qaeda who escaped from a Yemeni jail in 2006. The Yemeni official said al-Raimi was "the al-Qaeda military leader and senior planner of most operations in Yemen," adding that he had escaped two previous air strikes. Ayed al-Shabwani was the leader of al-Qaeda in Maarib, east of Sanaa, our correspondent said. [More>>aljazeera.net; See other details,

khaleejtimes.com (AFP) January 15, "Top al-Qaeda leaders killed in Yemen raid" : SANAA - An air strike on Friday on an al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) convoy in north Yemen killed six suspected leaders of the group, including its military boss, a senior Yemeni official said. Qassem Al Rimi was among 23 people who made a daring escape from a state security prison in Sanaa in February 2006 that left the government red-faced. "Six al-Qaeda leaders, including the network's military chief, Qassem Al Rimi, were killed on Friday," the official said on condition of anonymity. Two men who fled the scene were named as Ammar Al Waili and Saleh Al Tais, who were earlier reported to be among the dead in Friday's raid on a three-vehicle convoy in Al Ajashir, a desert region in eastern Saada province...the convoy had been en route from Maarib province to Saada province, where AQAP was reported to have a camp at Wadi Al Abu Jabara...

01.15.10 Arrests made in Israeli diplomat attack

January 15 - Jordanian security forces have arrested several suspects in connection with an apparent assassination attempt on Israeli diplomats, the A-Rad newspaper reported Friday. Israeli and Jordanian security officials were cooperating to pinpoint those responsible for Thursday's failed attack in which a roadside bomb was detonated as two cars with Israeli diplomatic officials passed on the road from Amman to the Allenby Bridge. Media outlets in Amman assessed that a "professional terror cell" was behind the attack, and warned that other similar assassination attempts would be made in the near future.

The Al Arabiya and Al Jazeera TV networks, meanwhile, reported that Jordanian authorities had arrested a cab driver on suspicion of planting the bomb. No organization immediately claimed responsibility for the failed attack. Former Mossad head Danny Yatom told Army Radio on Friday morning that "the situation in the kingdom is not stable and the friction between the government and the terror groups there is growing."

01.15.10 Clerics warn Muslim women against sinful hairdos, photo shoots

SURABAYA, Indonesia, January 15 - In a controversial move, clerics in East Java have issued a fatwa forbidding Muslims from dying and straightening their hair, and from holding pre-wedding photo sessions. The edict was endorsed by 250 leaders of Islamic boarding schools (pesantren) in Java and Madura, who convened for a problem-solving forum in Kediri, East Java. Cleric Darul Azka said Friday that hair straightening was regarded as haram for women because it could lead to immoral acts if the intention was to improve physical appearance.

"In Islam, especially in the study of the kitab kuning [traditional yellow book], women wearing accessories or changing their hairstyle, in hope of attracting members of the opposite sex, is the same as revealing parts of the body that must not be exposed under Islamic law, or aurat, and this is forbidden," Darul told The Jakarta Post. The fatwa was issued as the clerics ended the bahtsul masail forum on Thursday, which was held in conjunction with the Lirboyo Islamic boarding school's (Kediri) centennial anniversary. A similar gathering had previously forbidden Facebook.

01.15.10 Kenya police shoot hate cleric al-Faisal supporters

January 15 - At least five people have died after Kenyan police opened fire at supporters of a Jamaican-born Muslim cleric notorious for preaching racial hatred. Police also fired tear gas at hundreds of stone-throwing protesters calling for Abdullah al-Faisal to be freed. Faisal is in detention in Nairobi after Kenya failed to deport him. Kenya wants to expel him citing his "terrorist history." He was jailed for four years in the UK for soliciting the murder of Jews and Hindus. An unnamed senior police officer told the AFP news agency that five people had died, while one of the protest organizers told AP that seven people had lost their lives. Sources at the Kenyatta Hospital have confirmed that one person has died, while seven others sustained bullet wounds. Doctors say their lives are not in danger. At least four police officers have been hospitalized, AFP reports.

Muslim youths began the protest match after Friday prayers at the Jamia Mosque in the centre of Kenya's capital, Nairobi. They wanted to present a petition to Immigration Minister Otieno Kajwang and Prime Minister Raila Odinga's office. But police had banned the march and intervened. One banner read: "Release al-Faisal, he is innocent," reports the AFP news agency. Some reports suggest that the protesters were waving flags of Somali Islamist group al-Shabab. [More>>bbc.co.uk]

01.14.10 Obama on bank tax: We want our money back

WASHINGTON (AP) January 14 - President announces plan for new tax on big banks to recoup bailout money. President Barack Obama said Thursday he wants to tax banks to recoup the public bailout of foundering firms at the height of the financial crisis. "We want our money back," he said. In a brief appearance with advisers at the White House, Obama branded the latest round of bank bonuses as "obscene." But he said his goal was to prevent such excesses in the future, not to punish banks for past behavior. It was an emphatic and populist tone for a president keenly aware of public antipathy toward Wall Street. With the sharp words, he also tried to deflect some of the growing skepticism aimed at his own economic policies as unemployment stubbornly hovers around 10 percent.

Obama said big banks had acted irresponsibility, taken reckless risk for short-term profits and plunged into a crisis of their own making. He cast the struggle ahead as one between the finance industry and average people. "We are already hearing a hue and cry from Wall Street, suggesting that this proposed fee is not only unwelcome but unfair, that by some twisted logic, it is more appropriate for the American people to bear the cost of the bailout rather than the industry that benefited from it, even though these executives are out there giving themselves huge bonuses," Obama said. He renewed his call for a regulatory overhaul of the industry and scolded bankers for opposing the tighter oversight in legislation moving through Congress.

"What I'd say to these executives is this: Instead of setting a phalanx of lobbyists to fight this proposal or employing an army of lawyers and accountants to help evade the fee, I'd suggest you might want to consider simply meeting your responsibility," Obama said. The president is proposing a tax of 0.15 percent on the liabilities of large financial institutions. It would apply only to those companies with assets of more than $50 billion — a group estimated at about 50. They would have to pay up even though many did not accept any taxpayer assistance and most that did have repaid the infusions.
[>cbsnews.com; See other details,

abcnews.com, January 14, "President Obama to big banks: "We want our money back" : ...“I'd urge you to cover the costs of the rescue not by sticking it to your shareholders or your customers or fellow citizens with the bill, but by rolling back bonuses for top earners and executives.”...The president noted that this should not be seen as a "punishment" to Wall Street firms, "but rather to prevent the abuse and excess that nearly caused the collapse of many of these firms and the financial system itself." Mentioning again that there are reports of firms engaging in risky bets, reaping quick rewards, and returning to compensation practices, the President called this, "business as usual." "The financial industry has even launched a massive lobbying campaign, locking arms with the opposition party to stand in the way of reforms to prevent another crisis," he said. "That, too, unfortunately is business as usual."

01.14.10 Obama pledges sweeping aid effort; Haiti Red Cross says toll may be 50,000

WASHINGTON - President Obama promised $100 million for the relief effort in Haiti on Thursday morning, vowing that the United States would stand with the impoverished nation as it counted what could be tens of thousands of dead and grappled with the devastation of the Tuesday earthquake. In an emotional address from the White House Diplomatic Reception room, Mr. Obama promised that amount was only a first installment and that financial assistance would increase over the coming year. "I want to speak directly to the people of Haiti," Mr. Obama said. He paused for a moment. "You will not be forsaken, you will not be forgotten," he said. "In this, your hour of greatest need, America stands with you." While Mr. Obama said that his first priority was to ensure the safety of Americans in Haiti, his address Thursday, coming as estimates of the death toll have become increasingly more grim, appeared intended to provide some measure of solace for Haitians. "It's important that everyone in Haiti understands this," Mr. Obama said. "More American search-and-rescue teams are coming. More food, more water."

Within Haiti and beyond, the driving urgency of the last 36 hours was only growing. The main morgue in Port-au-Prince was completely full, and hundreds of bodies were piled up outside and abandoned. The dead included some people who had been waiting on the grounds of an adjacent hospital in vain attempts to get treatment. When they died, their bodies were simply dragged next door to the morgue. Workers from several police pickup trucks — the first police vehicles seen on the streets of the capital for the first time since the quake — were busy picking up bodies. The Haitian Red Cross offered a cautious and rough estimate of the possible death toll. "No one knows with precision, no one can confirm a figure," said Victor Jackson, an assistant national coordinator with Haiti's Red Cross, according to Reuters. "Our organization thinks between 45,000 and 50,000 people have died."
[More>>nytimes.com; Related stories,

cnn.com, January 14, "Google satellite images show devastation after Haiti earthquake" : Updated satellite imagery of Port-au-Prince has helped to reveal the full extent of the widespread devastation caused by Tuesday's 7.0 magnitude earthquake. Search engine giant Google updated its Google Maps imagery of Haiti on Thursday in the hopes it will help aid organizations involved in the recovery and relief effort. The startling before-and-after photos show entire sections of Port-au-Prince completely destroyed and football fields which have become refugee camps. Google said it updated the images to try to make things easier for people trying to locate loved ones or for groups to deliver supplies...

khaleejtimes.com (AP) January 14, "Aid workers in Haiti face 'logistical nightmare' " : GENEVA - Roads full of hungry, homeless people. An estimated 50,000 dead. A ruined port and an overwhelmed airport. Hundreds of crumpled buildings and little heavy machinery. Few working phones. Relief supplies and emergency experts started pouring into Haiti from around the world Thursday, but aid groups said the challenge of helping Haiti's desperate quake survivors was enormous. "It’s chaos," UN humanitarian spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs told The Associated Press. "It's a logistical nightmare." Aid deliveries by ship were impossible to Port-au-Prince because the Haitian capital's port was closed due to severe damage from Tuesday's magnitude-7 earthquake. The city's airport was open but damaged, laboring mightily to handle a flurry of incoming aid flights...

01.14.10 Taliban chief believed alive after US missiles hit

ISLAMABAD (AP) January 14 - The leader of the Pakistani Taliban was apparently targeted in a US missile strike on a meeting of militant commanders close to the Afghan border Thursday, but he escaped unhurt, Pakistani officials and militants said. Twelve insurgents were believed killed....The death of Hakimullah Mehsud would be a major victory for both for Washington and Islamabad in their fight against Islamist militants. Mehsud appeared on a video released last week sitting next to the Jordanian militant who killed seven CIA employees in a suicide attack in December in Afghanistan. Mehsud's Tehrik-e-Taliban movement, which is linked to al-Qaeda and the Taliban across the border in Afghanistan, has also claimed responsibility for scores of bloody suicide bombings in Pakistan in recent months against military, civilian and government targets.

...One or more unmanned US spy planes fired at least two missiles into a large complex that had been used as a religious school in the past in the Pasalkot area close to the border with South Waziristan soon after dawn broke, Pakistani intelligence officials said. The dead militants included two foreigners, while at least eight others were wounded, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to the media on the record.
[Full story>>khaleejtimes.com ; See other details,

timesonline.co.uk, January 14, "CIA drone strike hits Hakimullah Mehsud compound" : A CIA drone strike on a suspected militant hideout today killed 12 people in an attack aimed at killing the top Taleban commander in Pakistan...In the strike a pair of missiles hit a mud-walled compound which previously housed an Islamic seminary in Pasalkot village in North Waziristan where Mehsud, the chief of the Pakistani Taleban movement, was believed to be staying...Pasalkot, which sits between North and South Waziristan, has become the main sanctuary of Taleban fighters fleeing the military operation in South Waziristan. North Waziristan is also a major stronghold for the Haqqani network, an Afghan Taleban faction with links to al-Qaeda that many suspect was involved in the last month's suicide bombing on a CIA base in Afghanistan which killed seven agents...

aljazeera.net, January 14, "Pakistan drone attack 'kills many' : A suspected US drone attack has killed at least 18 people and injured 14 others in Pakistan's northwest tribal belt, near the Afghan border, security officials say. The attack took place in Pasalkot village in North Waziristan, a stronghold of Taliban and al-Qaeda-linked fighters. Two missiles were fired at a compound on Thursday...

01.14.10 Huge cache of arms, ammunition seized in SWA: ISPR report

WANA, January 14 - The security forces continue to carry out clearance operation[s] in South Waziristan as part of the ongoing Operation Rah-e-Nijat. According to ISPR, terrorists fired with small arms at security forces check post at village Sarkai Narai near Janata on Jandola Sector, which was effectively responded. On Shakai Sector, security forces conducted [a] search and clearance operation at Shangai near Mantoi and recovered [a] cache of arms and ammunition. Terrorists fired with small arms on a check post near Pash Ziarat on Razmak Sector, which was effectively responded.

Security forces conducted search and clearance operation[s] at Marobi Raghazi, Zhawar, Piazha Band Khel near Dawatoi and recovered cache of arms and ammunition. During operation Rah-e-Rast in Swat – Malakand, security forces conducted [a] search and clearance operation at Chakdarra, village Dakorak near Charbagh and apprehended 3 suspects. Security forces conducted [a] search and clearance operation on a house in Odigram and Nawa Kalle. [A] huge cache of arms and ammunition were recovered. In all 29,599 Cash Cards were issued to displaced families of Waziristan.

01.14.10 Deadly blast hits Afghan market

January 14 - At least 16 civilians and one police officer have been killed and 13 others injured after a suicide bomber targeted a crowded market in the southern Afghan province of Uruzgan. The attack occurred on Thursday as the market in the the town of Dihrawud was packed with shoppers and vendors. General Abdul Hameed, a spokesman for NATO-led forces in Afghanistan and senior Uruzgan Afghan army officer, said: "The bomber had explosives attached to a waistcoat. He was spotted by a guard of the money market which is inside the bazaar and then he blew himself up." Juma Gul Himat, the Uruzgan police chief, said three children were among the dead and that several shops were destroyed in the blast. [More>>aljazeera.net]

01.14.10 Yemen says tribesmen kill 10 Houthi rebels

DUBAI, January 14 - US should consider drones, air attacks in Yemen: senator. Pro-government Yemen tribesmen have killed 10 Houthi rebels in the Arab Gulf country after they tried to take up positions in homes in a northern town, the interior ministry said on Thursday. It said that members of the Shoulan tribe killed the rebels in a barrage of rifle fire. Houthi rebels revolted against the government since 2004, complaining of social, economic and religious marginalization. [More>>alarabiya.net]

01.14.10 Iraq sentences 11 men to death over Baghdad bombings

BAGHDAD (AFP) January 14 - An Iraqi court Thursday sentenced to death 11 men, including al-Qaeda militants, over devastating truck bombs in Baghdad that killed more than 100 people in August and dealt a harsh blow to the government. The trial was the first to convict suspects arrested in the wake of three major attacks in the second half of 2009 that saw insurgents defy the war-torn country's fledgling security forces and penetrate the heart of the capital.

"They are sentenced to death for the crime they planned," Ali Abdul Sattar, president of the criminal court, said at a hearing in the Iraqi capital. The August 19 attacks just minutes apart outside the ministries of finance and foreign affairs caused massive destruction, killed 106 people and wounded around 600 others. Those convicted included Salim Abed Jassim who confessed that he received funding for the attacks from Brigadier General Nabil Abdul Rahman, a senior army officer during the rule of Saddam Hussein now living in Syria. Also sentenced to death by hanging were Ishaq Mohammed Abbas, an al-Qaeda in Iraq leader and his brother Mustapha, the court official told AFP.

01.14.10 Explosions target Iraqi market near Shiite shrine

BAGHDAD, January 14 - Three explosions ripped through the city of Najaf on Thursday, just hundreds of yards from one of the holiest sites in Shiite Islam. The first two explosions detonated in an open-air fish and vegetable market at 5:30pm, and as people gathered, another bomb in a car parked nearby ripped through the crowd, witnesses said. Security officials locked down the area, where body parts, broken glass and metal scrap from the car littered the street. They refused to discuss the incident or allow journalists into the area. The number of dead was unclear. The head of the Najaf health department, Radwan al-Kindi, said one person was killed and at least 60 were wounded. Riyadh Karim, a doctor at the local Sadr hospital, reported at least 10 killed. The bombings were the first in years to rip through the relatively calm city, about 100 miles south of Baghdad, and the bombings targeted an area where shoppers crowd marketplaces and religious pilgrims walk to and from the shrine. [More>>washingtonpost.com]

01.13.10 Hundreds of thousands may have died in Haiti quake, PM says

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, January 13 - "Port-au-Prince is flattened" after a 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck the Haitian capital, Haiti's consul general to the United Nations said Wednesday. "More than 100,000 are dead," Felix Augustin told reporters. The hospitals are gone, he added, and medical supplies and heavy equipment are desperately needed. The Haitian prime minister said Wednesday several hundred thousand people may have died in the powerful earthquake. "I hope that is not true, because I hope the people had the time to get out," Jean-Max Bellerive told CNN.

"Because we have so [many] people on the streets right now, we don't know exactly where they were living. But so many, so many buildings, so many neighborhoods totally destroyed, and some neighborhoods we don't even see people." Bellerive told CNN's Gary Tuchman all of Port-au-Prince is either damaged or destroyed. He said the population is calm, and authorities are working to determine the scope of the destruction and reach a better conclusion on how many people were killed or injured. "With maturity, people are trying to take care of themselves in some quiet places. People are trying to help each other on the streets," he said. Hear the prime minister describe the situation Video .

..About 3 million people
one-third of Haiti's population were affected by the quake, the Red Cross estimated. About 10 million people felt shaking from the earthquake, including 2 million who felt severe trembling, the US Geological Survey estimated. President Obama announced a "swift, coordinated and aggressive" US response. [Full story>>cnn.com]

01.13.10 Exclusive - Al-Qaeda linked to rogue aviation network: US official

TIMBUKTU, Mali (Reuters) January 13 - In early 2008, an official at the US Department of Homeland Security sent a report to his superiors detailing what he called "the most significant development in the criminal exploitation of aircraft since 9/11." The document warned that a growing fleet of rogue jet aircraft was regularly crisscrossing the Atlantic Ocean. On one end of the air route, it said, are cocaine-producing areas in the Andes controlled by the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. On the other are some of West Africa's most unstable countries. The report, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters, was ignored, and the problem has since escalated into what security officials in several countries describe as a global security threat.

The clandestine fleet has grown to include twin-engine turboprops, executive jets and retired Boeing 727s that are flying multi-ton loads of cocaine and possibly weapons to an area in Africa where factions of al-Qaeda are believed to be facilitating the smuggling of drugs to Europe, the officials say. Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) has been held responsible for car and suicide bombings in Algeria and Mauritania. Gunmen and bandits with links to AQIM have also stepped up kidnappings of Europeans for ransom, who are then passed on to AQIM factions seeking ransom payments. The aircraft hopscotch across South American countries, picking up tons of cocaine and jet fuel, officials say. They then soar across the Atlantic to West Africa and the Sahel, where the drugs are funneled across the Sahara Desert and into Europe.

01.13.10 Leader of Yemeni Qaeda cell killed by military

SANAA, January 13 - Security forces still hunting for remaining members. The leader of a Yemeni al-Qaeda cell has been killed in clashes with security forces, Yemen's state news agency reported on Wednesday. "Abdullah Mehdar was killed last night by security forces which had besieged the house he hid in," provincial Governor Ali Hassan al-Ahmadi told reporters. Mehdar was the leader of an al-Qaeda cell in al-Houta region, in the province of Shabwa, 600 kilometers (375 miles) east of Sanaa. Security forces were hunting for the remaining members of the cell, Ahmadi said.

...Earlier, the Interior Ministry said at least 15 Shiite Muslim rebels were killed in clashes with tribesmen loyal to the central government and in operations by security forces as violence increased in north Yemen. "At least 15 destructive elements died in the past two days in clashes between tribesmen cooperating with the state and the destructive Houthi elements, and in security force operations launched with army units on Houthi dens," the ministry said in a statement on its website. The rebels have fought the government since 2004, complaining of social, economic and religious marginalization.
[Full story>>alarabiya.net; See other details,

gulfnews.com, January 13, "Yemeni security forces kill al-Qaeda figure"
: SANA'A - Yemeni security forces killed a suspected al-Qaeda figure and arrested four others in a raid on a house in a remote mountainous province, the region's governor said Wednesday. Elsewhere in Shabwa province, suspected al-Qaeda fighters ambushed a patrol before dawn Wednesday, killing two members of the security forces and wounding four others, officials said. The gunmen attacked the security forces' patrol on a winding mountain road at Nakaba, south of the provincial capital Ataq, the security officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they are not authorised to talk to the press. The violence comes as Yemen has stepped up its operations against al-Qaeda with help from the United States, which has increased funding and training of the Yemeni security forces. Washington says al-Qaeda's offshoot in the Arabian Peninsula country has become a global threat after it allegedly plotted the Christmas Day attempt to bomb a US passenger jet.

Shabwa province is one of several where hundreds of al-Qaeda fighters are believed to have gained refuge, some protected by tribes disenchanted with the central government. Shabwa's governor, Ali Ahmadi, identified the slain militant as Abdullah Mihzar, a native of the province who was on the list of wanted al-Qaeda figures. Ahmadi told reporters he was killed in a raid on a house Tuesday night. Security forces surrounded the house in the mountainous region of Maysaa, about 230 miles (380 kilometers) southeast of the capital, Sana’a, and exchanged fire with about 20 militants inside, security officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the press...

01.13.10 Child killed, five injured in blast in northwest Pakistan

ISLAMABAD, January 13 - A child was killed and five others were injured today in a blast at a playground near a madrassa in northwest Pakistan's Tank town. The explosion occurred when a group of children were playing at the ground located a short distance from the seminary. The exact nature of the blast could not be immediately ascertained. Geo News channel reported that the blast was apparently caused by a suicide jacket that was found by the children at the playground. It said one child was killed and five others were injured in the blast. [>indianexpress.com]

01.13.10 Suicide truck bomber kills 7 people west of Baghdad

BAGHDAD (AFP) January 13 - A suicide truck bomber on Wednesday killed seven people, five of them Iraqi policemen, and wounded six others including a young child west of Baghdad, security officials said. The blast occurred at around 9:00am (0600 GMT) at a police station being built in Saqlawiyah, a town north of Fallujah in Anbar province, once a stronghold of the Sunni insurgency against US and Iraqi security forces. Interior and defence ministry officials gave the toll. Four policemen, as well as the young girl, were among the six people wounded in the attack. Anbar, west of Baghdad, was the theatre of a brutal war after the US-led invasion of 2003, mainly in Fallujah and the provincial capital Ramadi. Several towns along the Euphrates river valley became al-Qaeda strongholds and later safe havens for insurgents. [>khaleejtimes.com]

01.13.10 Palestinian fighting spreads in Lebanon

January 13 - A row between the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and a clan affiliated with Fatah has turned violent as both sides claim control over a mosque in a Beirut suburb. The Furqan Mosque, located in the southern suburb of the Lebanese capital, has become a new battleground for the intra-Palestinian struggle. Two people were lightly wounded in a brawl between the parties on Tuesday, according to Lebanese news reports. Tensions between the two sides began around two weeks ago when the Islamic Jihad decided to take control of the mosque, which was renovated with charity money the organization collected. The Al-Ashwah family, which is affiliated with the Fatah movement, was consequently barred from running the mosque even though they have controlled it since the building was constructed on their land. The brawl is highlighting broader inter-factional differences between the various Palestinian political divisions. [More>>jpost.com]

01.12.10 FDIC advances plan to penalize banks for risky practices

January 12 - The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. advanced a proposal Tuesday to penalize banks for risky compensation practices, despite public opposition from other federal banking regulators. The FDIC, which collects fees from all banks to repay depositors in failed banks, is considering a plan to impose higher fees on banks with compensation practices that the agency regards as encouraging reckless pursuit of short-term profits without sufficient regard for the risk of long-term losses. The agency's board voted Tuesday by a narrow 3 to 2 margin to seek public comment on a preliminary version of the proposal, the first step in a process likely to take at least a year. The proposal would push companies to compensate employees with awards of deferred stock — shares that they cannot sell immediately. The FDIC also wants companies to include "clawback" provisions requiring employees to repay bonuses if short-term gains curdle into long-term losses. Finally, the FDIC wants pay decisions made by independent members of a company's board of directors. [More>>washingtonpost.com; See related story,

cbsnews.com (AP) January 12, "Fed earns record $46.1b profit in 2009"
: Earnings from bailout programs largest ever; 2008 profit was $31.7 billion. The Federal Reserve made a record profit of $46.1 billion last year, reflecting money made off its extraordinary efforts to rescue the US from the worst economic and financial crisis since the 1930s, the central bank announced Tuesday. The windfall gets turned over to the Treasury Department. It marks the biggest profit on record dating back to 1914 when the Fed was created. The previous record profit — of $34.6 billion — was registered in 2007. In 2008, the Fed reported a profit of $31.7 billion.

The Fed says the bigger profit was primarily due to increased income from the securities it held last year. Such income went up as the Fed's holdings of securities mushroomed. Econwatch: Federal Reserve Is The Biggest Hedge Fund Ever The Fed launched several securities-buying programs last year to help revive the economy. Its goal is to drive down rates on mortgages and other consumer debt. Under one program that ended last year, the Fed snapped up $300 billion worth of government debt. Under another program, the Fed is on track to buy $1.25 trillion in mortgage securities from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and an additional $175 billion in debt issued by the mortgage giants. Those programs have boosted the value of securities held by the Fed...

01.12.10 Iran nuclear scientist killed in bomb blast

TEHRAN (AFP) January 12 - Iranian nuclear scientist Massoud Ali Mohammadi was killed on Tuesday in a rare bomb attack in Tehran which state media quickly blamed on Iran's archfoes the United States and Israel. Mohammadi, a lecturer at Tehran university, died when a bomb strapped to a motorcycle was triggered by remote control outside his home in the northern Tehran neighbourhood of Qeytariyeh, state media said. He was "assassinated" Tuesday morning by "a bomb which US and Zionist agents had already placed near his house," state television said without naming any sources. Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi told the ISNA news agency that Mohammadi was a lecturer in nuclear energy and said a booby-trapped bike parked outside his house exploded as he was getting into his car. "The judiciary has launched an investigation ... no suspects have yet been arrested," he said.

Bomb attacks are rare in Iran although several security officials and members of the elite Revolutionary Guards have been killed in bombings by rebels in restive Sistan-Baluchestan province in the east of the country...Iran's state-run Arabic-language television Al-Alam identified Mohammadi as a "hezbollahi" teacher — a term used for staunch supporters of the Iranian regime..."He was a prominent full professor but he was not a political figure. He had no political activity," Ali Maghari, who heads the faculty of sciences at Tehran university, told Mehr news agency. However, Mohammadi's name appeared on a list of academics backing Iranian opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi for the disputed June 12 presidential election, which gave President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a second term.
[Full story>>timesofindia.indiatimes.com; See other details,

jpost.com (AP) January 12, "Iran: Slain physicist supported Mousavi" : A nuclear physics professor who publicly backed Iranian opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi in the disputed June presidential election was killed Tuesday when a bomb-rigged motorcycle blew up outside his home. The blast, apparently set off by a remote trigger, left a puzzling mix of clues about why a 50-year-old researcher with no prominent political voice, no published work with military relevance and no declared links to Iran's nuclear program would be targeted...Hard-line government supporters called at recent street rallies for the execution of opposition leaders. But Ali Mohammadi was not a well-known opposition figure in Iran...

01.12.10 Drone strikes kill 16 militants in Afghanistan: NATO

KABUL, January 12 - Missiles fired from drone aircraft have killed 16 militants in southern Afghanistan, the NATO-led force said Tuesday, in a rare attack in Afghanistan using the controversial unmanned planes. A drone was launched after troops observed large numbers of insurgents preparing a strike in the southern province of Helmand's Naw Zad district on Monday, NATO's International Security Assistance Force said in a statement. "An unmanned aerial vehicle launched one Hellfire missile killing 13 insurgents," the force said. Three other insurgents who "took up previously used firing positions" were also killed in a separate drone strike Monday in the Nad Ali district of Helmand, the heartland of the Taliban-led insurgency, the statement added. Coalition forces rarely use drones in their operations against the Taliban and other insurgents battling the government in Afghanistan. Bombings by unmanned aircraft are, however, common in neighboring Pakistan, and are a key plank of US strategy to target militants who hide out in the lawless northwest border region then cross into Afghanistan to stage attacks. [>thenews.com.pk; See also,

foxnews.com, January 12, "NATO: Missile kills 13 insurgents in Afghanistan" : KABUL - Thirteen insurgents were killed Tuesday in southern Afghanistan by a missile that international forces fired from an unmanned aerial vehicle, NATO said. NATO said coalition troops saw a group of insurgents near a safe house preparing ammunition as well as insurgent mortar teams moving equipment in the Naw Zad area of Helmand province. The international force launched one missile, killing the 13 militants. On Monday, another missile fired from an unmanned aircraft killed three insurgents farther south in the Nad Ali district of Helmand, NATO said. In the south-central part of the country, a member of the Afghan National Police was killed and two others were wounded in a suicide attack Monday evening at a police station in Uruzgan province, police chief Juma Gul Hamit said. The suicide bomber detonated his cache of explosives near the gate of the police chief's office in Dihrawud district...

01.12.10 Protesters gunned down in southern Afghanistan

KABUL (RIA Novosti) January 12 - Several people were shot dead and more than a dozen injured on Tuesday during an anti-NATO demonstration in Afghanistan's volatile Helmand province, local media said. Hundreds of Afghans took part in the demonstration, which had to be dispersed by police and the military. They were protesting against the killings of civilians by NATO troops and demanding their withdrawal from the country. The demonstration followed a recent NATO airstrike in the town of Garmsir. The military said several militants were killed as a result of the attack, but the protesters claimed there were also victims among civilians. The shooting reportedly broke out on Tuesday when the demonstrators started to throw stones at Afghan police and foreign officers, who arrived at the site to calm down the protesters.

"I confirm that the demonstration in Garmsir took place, and that it was dispersed," said Helmand governor's press secretary Daud Ahmadi. He said "no one could say for certain who fired at demonstrators - foreign servicemen, [Afghan] police or militants." However, he added, "it is known for sure that there were armed men among the protesters," and pledged to investigate the incident. Demonstrations against NATO's presence in Afghanistan are common. In late December, hundreds of students in the country's eastern Nangarhar province blocked a major highway linking the Afghan east with country's central provinces.

01.12.10 Saudi cleric bans Muslims from joining al-Qaeda

DUBAI, January 12 - Top cleric issues fatwa & labels terrorism un-Islamic. A prominent Saudi scholar has issued a fatwa banning Muslims from joining al-Qaeda and labeled it a violation of Islam's teachings, press reports said on Tuesday, amid concerns about the growing strength of operatives in Yemen. Sheikh Abdul Mohsen al-Obeikan, a top religious scholar and an advisor in the court of King Abdullah, said Muslims who join the militant group and engage in terrorist operations are deviating from the right path of Islam, Saudi newspaper Okaz quoted him as saying. "Affiliation with the so-called al-Qaeda group is haram," meaning banned in Islam, al-Obeikan told the paper, adding "It is strictly prohibited to legitimatize the shedding of blood of other Muslims without having the right to do so." Obeikan reiterated the official Saudi view that Qaeda's ideology was one of forbidden "takfirism," which accuses others of apostasy to justify murdering them. Anyone who joins al-Qaeda "belongs to a group that has adopted takfir thinking," he said. Although there are no more al-Qaeda members in Saudi, the terrorist group is gaining ground in neighboring Yemen, which is now becoming the main base of their operations in the Arabian Peninsula.

Blog Comments (10):...

5 -Power Struggle
Ameer, TX [Tuesday, January 12, 2010]

It is all about who will be in control. they reject foreign presence and its implications on their traditions that is backward in my views. So, what is the answer to this problem?

7 -Terrorism
Waseem [Tuesday, January 12, 2010]

The Scholars who follow the Salafi methodology which is to return to the way of the First predecessors of Islaam have always been warning against Al- Qaaidah and its deviant methodology since its inception. These Scholars are spread all over the Middle East with the majority being in Saudi, Kuwait, Yemen, Jordan, Palestine. But their speech has never been taken up by the media. (...)

[More>>alarabiya.net w/ blog comments]

01.12.10 Home Secretary bans Islam4UK group that threatened Wooton Bassett rally

January 12 - The order banning the Islamist group which planned to march through Wootton Bassett carrying empty coffins is to be extended, the Home Secretary announced today. As of Thursday it will be a criminal offence to be a member of Islam4UK, punishable by up to ten years in prison. Alan Johnson said that the group — which is already banned under two of its other aliases — had tried to escape proscription by changing its name, but that the updated banning order would extend to the group's most recent titles.

"I have today laid an order which will proscribe al-Muhajiroun, Islam4UK, and a number of the other names the organization goes by," Mr. Johnson said. "It is already proscribed under two other names — al-Ghurabaa and The Saved Sect. Proscription is a tough but necessary power to tackle terrorism and is not a course we take lightly. We are clear that an organization should not be able to circumvent proscription by simply changing its name."

Al-Muhajiroun was founded in the 1980s by the radical cleric Omar Bakri Mohammed, now exiled from Britain, and by its current leader, Anjem Choudary. The tiny group has a history of threatening to carry out controversial demonstrations, but calling them off before they take place, content with the publicity it has gained.

Last week, under its alias Islam4UK, it threatened to march through the Wiltshire town where crowds gather regularly to honour Britain's dead soldiers as their bodies are repatriated through nearby RAF Lyneham. It said it would carry empty coffins to symbolise the Muslims killed in Iraq and Afghanistan in Britain's foreign wars. It cancelled the march on Sunday. A statement from Mr. Choudary said that the group had "successfully highlighted the plight of Muslims in Afghanistan."

01.12.10 Iraq says raid uncovered a plot to bomb ministries

BAGHDAD, January 12 - A wide-ranging plot to bomb government ministries and other public places, to be followed by a wave of political assassinations, was uncovered by Iraqi officials, who responded Tuesday by bringing much of the capital to a virtual standstill while security forces conducted raids that netted large quantities of explosives, officials said. At least 4 suicide car bombers — and as many as 10 — were apparently on their way to government buildings Tuesday morning when they were stopped by the police and arrested, the authorities said.

During raids on homes and warehouses in Baghdad that began in the early morning and lasted throughout the day, the authorities arrested 25 people and recovered more than 440 pounds each of TNT and C4, about 66 gallons of ammonium nitrate solution and 60 mortar shells, according to a statement from Maj. Gen. Qassim Atta, spokesman for Baghdad Operations Command, which is responsible for security in the capital. Even by Iraq's violent standards in recent years — in which mammoth explosions have become a possibility of everyday life in the capital — the plot unveiled by the Iraqi government Tuesday would have been devastating if carried out.

01.12.10 Saudi forces oust Yemen rebels from border village

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AFP) January 12 - Saudi forces have regained control of a small border village occupied by Yemeni Shiite rebels since fighting broke out in November, the Saudi deputy defence minister said on Tuesday. "The infiltrators have been eliminated from Al-Jabiri and the whole district has been taken under control," state-owned Al-Ekhbariya television quoted Prince Khaled bin Sultan as saying. [More>>khaleejtimes.com; See other details,

aljazeera.net, January 12, "Saudi troops killed at Yemen border" :
Four Saudi soldiers have been killed in an operation to seize back a border post from Yemeni Houthi fighters, Saudi Arabia's state television has said. Following the clashes, Saudi forces seized the position back from the fighters and "destroyed" them, the report added on Tuesday. The latest casualties bring the death toll of Saudi soldiers in the border conflict with the Yemeni fighters to 82. Twenty-one others are reported missing...

01.12.10 S. Korea: E-textbooks due next year

January 12 - Students at primary and secondary schools will begin using electronic textbooks along with paper ones next year, which will ease the burden of carrying heavy thick books, the Education Ministry said yesterday. The ministry will also expand the use of "government-recognized" textbooks, which will allow students to use other books — containing up-to-date information — as their textbooks. It announced a set of measures to enhance current textbooks, which have been denounced for containing out-of-date information and being too condensed and concise in content.

"There have been complaints from parents and students saying they have to buy supplementary books as the textbooks contain only summaries and are too concise," said Vice Education Minister Lee Ju-ho in a press briefing. "Experts have also pointed out that the textbooks failed to immediately reflect up-to-date knowledge." Beginning next year, students will use English, Korean and math textbooks in the form of a compact disc.

As textbooks are expected to become much heavier and thicker under the government plan to improve content, students will use e-textbooks at home and paper ones at their schools, the ministry said. E-textbooks will be provided free of charge to students at elementary and middle schools since their education is obligatory in Korea. The ministry plans to financially assist high-school students from low-income families in purchasing e-textbooks.

01.12.10 Mexico reports 69 drug-related murders in one day

MEXICO CITY (AP) January 12 - Mexico opened the new year with what could be its most dubious distinction yet in the 3-year-old battle against drug trafficking — 69 murders in one day. The country resembled a grim, statistical dart board Saturday as law enforcement and media reported the deaths from various regions, including 26 in the border city of Ciudad Juarez, 13 in and around Mexico City and 10 in the northern city of Chihuahua. More than 6,500 drug-related killings made 2009 the bloodiest year since President Felipe Calderon declared war on the cartels in late 2006 and deployed 45,000 soldiers to fight organized crime, according to death tallies by San Diego's Trans-Border Institute. [More>>japantoday.com]


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