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Faces of the Fallen – Iraq

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Coalition Fatalities by location across time.

Metric Conversion

kilometer: 0.6214 mile
meter: 39.37 inches
centimetre: 0.3937 inch
millimetre: 0.03937 inch
foot: 30.48 cm
Br. stone: 14 pounds
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Chart showing National Debt & Annual Deficits with Presidents. Democrat administrations are blue, Republican in Red. Green reflects projected Bush debt. Click chart for larger image.

2006 update (2.25.06)

The Chart Showing the National Debt above is still valid: "The debt to the penny," publicdebt.treas.gov.
The debt projection for 2009 is now $10.3 Trillion. Deficit for 2006 is $435 Billion.
OMB Budget FY2007
Interest on Debt 2006
Federal Debt 2006
Fed. Budget Summary 2006

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sandesh.org : network to improve women's rights in Islam

Osama bin Laden fatwas.
This monster's own words will
lead to his destruction
Definition of fatwa (fatwah)
Maravot News Comment




August 1996

Maps of interest
Click on maps for larger image
Russia, Belarus & neighbors
Israel-Iraq & neighbors
Iran-Afghanistan-Pak.-India; Gulf of Hormuz oil lane Iran threatens to block
Kazakhstan & neighbors

Historical map of Israel. Figure 2 shows the area allocated to
Israel by the UN in 1948. Compare to Israel' s map below of its security wall.

Israel's Security Fence. Click on image for larger view or here for interactive link.

Middle East Watch

Middle East Times

bakutoday.net, Azerbaijan

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Iran Daily


mehrnews.ir (Iran)
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Daily Star (Lebanon)

topix.net (Qatar)
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Russia & Ukraine Watch

kyivpost.com (Ukraine)

East Asia Watch


Daily Times,com. pk
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Daily News (Sri Lanka)

LankaPage (Sri Lanka)
inq7.net (Phillipines)


More newspapers

Click on image for org. to impeach Bush & Cheney.

Halliburton watch.org

Relevant Works by Mel

The Romance of Anais, an Arthurian-style tale written 1996 describing how Bush got us in the mess in Iraq with a short commentary on the
Chang-an cheat
Tapestry of One – on the creed of Buddha,
Duty & Profit, Nov. 1994
Against Leviathan, Jan. 1993
Immoral Coercion, Dec. 1994
Philistia Triumph thou
because of me
, Dec. 1993
Quest for Human Dignity, July 1994
What Price Justice? Sept. 1992

Maravot News is not responsible for the content of any links
from this site.

News Headlines & Trends

01.20.07 'I'm in. And I'm in to win: Hillary Clinton

January 20 – Hillary Clinton announced her candidacy for the president of the United States: Today I am announcing that I will form an exploratory committee to run for president. And I want you to join me not just for the campaign but for a conversation about the future of our country – about the bold but practical changes we need to overcome six years of Bush administration failures.

I am going to take this conversation directly to the people of America, and I'm starting by inviting all of you to join me in a series of web chats over the next few days. The stakes will be high when America chooses a new president in 2008.

As a senator, I will spend two years doing everything in my power to limit the damage George W. Bush can do. But only a new president will be able to undo Bush's mistakes and restore our hope and optimism. Only a new president can renew the promise of America -- the idea that if you work hard you can count on the health care, education, and retirement security that you need to raise your family. These are the basic values of America that are under attack from this administration every day. [
More>>hillaryclinton.com ]

01.20.07 At border, signs of Pakistani role in Taliban surge

QUETTA, Pakistan, January 20 – The most explosive question about the Taliban resurgence here along the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan is this: Have Pakistani intelligence agencies been promoting the Islamic insurgency? The government of Pakistan vehemently rejects the allegation and insists that it is fully committed to help American and NATO forces prevail against the Taliban militants who were driven from power in Afghanistan in 2001.

Western diplomats in both countries and Pakistani opposition figures say that Pakistani intelligence agencies — in particular the powerful Inter-Services Intelligence and Military Intelligence — have been supporting a Taliban restoration, motivated not only by Islamic fervor but also by a longstanding view that the jihadist movement allows them to assert greater influence on Pakistanıs vulnerable western flank.

More than two weeks of reporting along this frontier, including dozens of interviews with residents on each side of the porous border, leaves little doubt that Quetta is an important base for the Taliban, and found many signs that Pakistani authorities are encouraging the insurgents, if not sponsoring them.

01.20.07 US helicopter crash in Iraq kills 13

BAGHDAD (CBS/AP) January 20 – A US helicopter crashed Saturday northeast of Baghdad, killing all 13 people on board, the military said. The brief statement from the military lacked the customary comment that the aircraft was not shot down, indicating it may have been downed by insurgent fighters. The helicopter was carrying 13 passengers and crew members and all were killed, it said. No further details were released, including the exact location of the crash. The violent Diyala province sits northeast of Baghdad, and US and Iraqi forces have been battling Sunni insurgents and Shiite militia forces around its main city of Baqouba for months. [More>>cbsnews.com ; See related story, aljazeera.net, January 20, "Mortars hit Shia festival in Iraq."]

01.20.07 Iraqi president urges US to talk to Syria

DUBAI, January 20 – Iraqi President Jalal Talabani is urging the United States to talk with Syria, claiming in an interview with an Arabic satellite news channel Saturday, that Damascus "supports" Iraq in fighting the insurgency. "Syria wants stability in Iraq and supports us in combating terrorism. So there is no need for the constricted (American) position towards Syria," Talabani – who visited Damascus this week – told the Dubai-based channel. "The more correct (approach) is that the United States opens a constructive dialogue with Damscus in order to reach the common goals." Talabani said that Iraq sympathises with Syria and "works to improve its relations with the United States," adding that his war-torn country would not take part in any possible attack on Syria, its neighbour to the west. [More>>thenews.com.pk]

01.20.07 US asks Czech Republic to deploy missile defense radar

WARSAW (RIA Novosti) January 20 – The United States has officially proposed to deploy a missile defense radar on the territory of the Czech Republic, the Czech prime minister said Saturday. The US has long been considering the possibility to deploy elements of a national missile defense system in the Czech Republic and Poland citing the need to intercept intercontinental ballistic missiles of so-called "axis of evil" states, namely Iran and North Korea. [More>>rian.ru]

01.20.07 Police match image of Litvinenko's real assassin with his death-bed description

LONDON, January 20 – Police have identified the man they believe poisoned Alexander Litvinenko. The suspected killer was captured on cameras at Heathrow as he flew into Britain to carry out the murder. Friends of the ex-spy say that the man was a hired killer, sent by the Kremlin, who vanished hours after administering a deadly dose of radioactive polonium-210 to Litvinenko. He arrived in London on a forged EU passport and reportedly slipped the poison into a cup of tea he made for Litvinenko in a London hotel room. Litvinenko was reportedly able to give vital details of his suspected killer in a bedside interview with detectives just days before he died on November 23 at University College Hospital. [More>>timesonline.co.uk]

01.20.07 Lebanese Army seizes 75 missiles near Syrian border

January 20 – The Lebanese Army seized 75 missiles in the western Bekaa valley - close to the border with Syria - Lebanese security sources said Saturday. The sources said the Soviet-made Grad – similar to the Katyusha – missiles were found in a flour mill in the area of al-Biri-Rashya. The sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said two people who are believed to belong to a pro-Syrian group were arrested in connection with the incident. The men were identified as Hassan Zeineddine and his son Billal. They were still being interrogated by the Lebanese authorities, the sources said without elaborating. [More>>haaretz.com]

01.19.07 Industry signals Bush to do more on warming

WASHINGTON, January 19 – Major corporations and environmental groups on Friday announced what they called an "unprecedented alliance" to push for quicker action against global warming — urging lawmakers to pass mandatory curbs on carbon emissions, in contrast to President Bush's voluntary approach. In a statement, the 10 US-based companies and four environmental groups called for mandatory reductions of greenhouse gas emissions, including those from power plants, transportation and buildings.

Called the US Climate Action Partnership, the group includes aluminum giant Alcoa, BP America, Caterpillar, DuPont, General Electric, Lehman Brothers and four utilities with a big stake in climate policy: Duke Energy, FPL Group, PG&E and PNM Resources. (MSNBC.com is a joint venture of Microsoft and GE's NBC Universal unit.)

01.19.07 Jungle girl found after 20 years

January 19 – A Cambodian woman who emerged naked from the jungle to scavenge for food is thought to have lived like an animal for almost 20 years. Villagers in Rattanakiri province, close to the Vietnamese border, spotted the woman trying to steal food. After her capture a village policeman identified her as his long-lost daughter.

Sal Lou, 45, claimed he recognized Rochom P'ngieng, by her facial features and a scar. The girl had disappeared in 1988 aged eight, while herding buffalo in a remote jungle area, about 200 miles northeast of Cambodia's capital, Phnom Penh. Mao San, the police chief of Oyadao district, yesterday described the woman as "half-human and half-animal." Mr. Sal said: "When I saw her she was naked and walking in a bending-forward position like a monkey. She was bare-bones skinny. She was shaking and picking up grains of rice from the ground to eat. Her eyes were red like tigers' eyes."
[More>>telegraph.co.uk; See more details, abcnews.go.com, January 19, "Cambodian 'jungle girl' struggles to adopt."]

01.19.07 Iran vows to become "stronghold of defense" amid US sabre-rattling

TEHRAN (Xinhua) January 19 – Iran said on Friday that any small city in the country is a "stronghold of defense" as the United States is increasingly flexing its military muscles against Tehran, the official IRNA news agency reported. Parliament Speaker Gholam Ali Haddad Adel made the remarks in a speech in Iran's eastern city of Birjand, South Khorassan, said IRNA. "If the United States does not dare enter Iran, that's because it knows any small city in the country is a stronghold of defense against enemies," Adel was quoted as saying. "This was well proved during the Sacred Defense," he said, referring to the bloody war between neighboring Iran and Iraq in 1980 to 1988. The Iranian parliament chief said the "Iranian nation and government are immune to any threat thanks to solidarity and cohesion among them." [More with special report, "Iran Nuclear Crisis">>xinhuanet.com ; See related report, khaleejtimes.com, January 19, "US luring Arab states into anti-Iran role: experts."]

01.19.07 North Korea claims agreement reached with US in Berlin

January 19 – Signs that progress is being made between the two key players in the six nation nuclear negotiations appeared on the horizon yesterday as North Korea, in a rare move, gave an optimistic evaluation of a bilateral meeting with the United States that took place earlier this week. While the United States remained more cautious and denied there being any "agreement," it said the discussion were "very useful." The North Korean Foreign Ministry yesterday said there was "certain agreement" at the three-day bilateral meeting between the chief nuclear negotiators of the United States and North Korea in Berlin. [More>>koreaherald.co.kr]

01.19.07 Ex-Congressman sentenced to 30 months in prison

WASHINGTON, January 19 – Former Congressman Bob Ney was sentenced to 30 months in prison today for accepting tens of thousands of dollars in illegal gifts in return for using his legislative influence to help his benefactors. Prosecutors had sought a sentence of 27 months and Mr. Neyıs lawyers had asked for no more than two years. Mr. Ney, a Republican from Ohio, pleaded guilty last year to two counts of conspiracy and making false statement in the scandals linked to the lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who is in jail. [More>>nytimes.com]

01.19.07 Editor shot dead in Istanbul

ISTANBUL (Reuters) January 20 – A high-profile Turkish-Armenian editor, convicted of insulting Turkey's identity, was shot dead outside his newspaper office in Istanbul today. Hrant Dink, a frequent target of nationalist anger for his comments on the mass killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks during World War One, was shot as he left his weekly Agos in central Istanbul.

"A bullet has been fired at democracy and freedom of expression. I condemn the traitorous hands behind this disgraceful murder," Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said. "This was an attack on our peace and stability. Mr. Erdogan told a hastily called news conference in Ankara that two people had been detained in connection with the murder.

01.19.07 Concern over China's missile test

January 19 – China is facing international criticism over a weapons test it reportedly carried out in space last week. Japan has expressed concern, as have the US and Australia. It is thought that the Chinese used a ground-based medium-range ballistic missile to destroy a weather satellite that had been launched in 1999. Correspondents say this is the first known satellite intercept test for more than 20 years. China's foreign ministry refused to confirm or deny the report. While the technology is not new, it does underline the growing capabilities of China's armed forces, according to the BBC's Dan Griffiths in Beijing.

...The test, if confirmed, would mean that China could now theoretically shoot down spy satellites operated by other nations. It would be the first such test since the 1980s, when both the US and the Soviet Union destroyed satellites in space. These tests were halted over concerns that the debris they produced could harm civilian and military satellite operations. The same concerns have been raised about this latest reported test. American Aviation Week and Space Technology said the move could have left "considerable space debris in an orbit used by many different satellites."
[Full story>>bbc.co.uk]

01.19.07 One third of fish species in Yellow River dead

BEIJING, January 19 – Human encroachment, pollution, over fishing and dam-building have killed one third of fish species in the Yellow River, China's second-longest waterway. Its increasingly desperate plight is also threatening economic growth. The mighty Yellow River once made its way 3,395 miles through nine provinces, supplying water to more than 150 million people and watering 15 percent of China's scarce agricultural land. Where once the river teemed with many different types of fish, it now is a graveyard. "The Yellow River used to be host to more than 150 species of fish, but a third of them are now extinct, including precious ones," an official from the Agriculture Ministry told the People's Daily newspaper.

The basin was the cradle of Chinese civilization more than 5,000 years ago, but the river's fate is closely linked to China's future because without water, economic development in the north of the country cannot continue at its current breakneck pace. The river runs from the Qinghai-Tibet plateau in the west across the parched northern provinces of China, through the flood plains of Shaanxi, where it passes through the coal district picking up hefty quantities of pollutants, and into Henan and Shandong provinces.

...These days environmental degradation means the river often runs dry before it reaches the sea at the Gulf of Bohai. Its flow hit historic lows for 10 months last year. Fishing catches have fallen by 40 percent. "It can be mainly blamed on hydropower projects that block fish migration routes, declining water flow caused by scarce rainfall, over fishing and severe pollution," the ministry official told the newspaper. What fish there are in the river are often inedible. In November, parts of eastern China banned the sale of turbot after carcinogenic residues were discovered inside some of the species...Controlling the flooding has long been a problem for the Chinese. At some points along its course, the Yellow River's bed is 15 metres higher than the surrounding fields because of the constant building and rebuilding of dykes along its route.
[Full story>>independent.co.uk]

01.18.07 Baghdad bombs kill 17 as violence grows

BAGHDAD (Reuters) January 17 – At least 17 people were killed and 47 wounded in car bombings in Baghdad on Thursday as insurgents staged a fresh series of attacks in a bloody week in the Iraqi capital. Three bombs in quick succession killed at least 10 people and wounded 30 in a wholesale vegetable market in the violent southern district of Dora, police said. "There is no mercy anymore, the people here just want to work," Mohammed Ali Kazim, a vegetable seller in the market, shouted angrily.

"They have followed us to this poor place. People here are Sunnis, Shi'ites and Christians and they just want to live." Earlier, a car bomb in Saadoun Street, a commercial thoroughfare in the city centre, killed four people and wounded 10. A fifth car bomb exploded in eastern Baghdad killed three and wounded seven. There has been a surge of violence this week as the Iraqi government prepares to launch a U.S.-backed security crackdown in Baghdad, seen as a last chance to save Iraq from descending into an all-out civil war.
[More>>thestar.com.my ; See also metimes.com (AFP) "String of bombs rock Baghdad."]

01.18.07 Pro-Israel group asks Pope to remove anti-Semitism from religious art

January 18 – An Italian group on Thursday asked Pope Benedict to order the removal of all religious works of art and Catholic traditions that are still tainted by anti-Semitism. The Roman Association of Friends of Israel sent a letter to the Pope asking him for a "clear and strong signal" that he would not tolerate any residual or resurgent forms anti-Semitism in religious art or popular culture, such as processions. The group sent the letter to protest against an exhibition in a church in the Umbrian city of Orvieto which includes several old paintings depicting Jews desecrating a consecrated communion host, which Catholics believe is the body of Christ.

"The fact that this culture (of anti-Semitism) continues to survive in parishes is very worrying and alarming for us," said the letter, a copy of which was made available to Reuters. "It is a sign that the embers of intolerance and hate continue to smoulder under the ashes, which, after the Holocaust, we had hoped were definitively put out," it said. One painting, called the "Miracle of Trani," portrays the legend of a Jewish woman in the year 1000 who sneaked into a church in the southern city of Trani and stole a consecrated host. According to the legend, she took it home to desecrate it by frying it in oil. But then the "miracle" happened. The host became flesh and started bleeding. The woman was hanged and the event is still recalled in Trani today during Easter week...Until only 40 years ago, a ritual recited by Catholics during Good Friday services commemorating Christ's death read: "Let us pray for the perfidious Jews."
[Full story>>haartez.com]

Editorial note:
Anti-Semitism's roots are somewhat complex, but ultimately can be traced back to the early church's arguments of faith versus works, initiated by the Apostle Paul. If you search the epistles of Paul in the New Testament you will find that the foundation of his teachings is the precept that one is saved by faith in Christ "who died for our sins," and not works, according to the Law of Moses (Old Testament). Therefore, according to the teachings of Paul, the Law is "dead and passed away," being replaced by a new law that "you are saved by the grace grafted in you" through Christ. Paul argues that the Old Testament is, in fact, a "type and shadow" of Jesus. Acts required by the law, of avoiding banned foods, such as pork, and the requirement to circumcise males, were taught by Paul as being obsolete, being replaced by faith in Jesus, as interpreted by Paul's gospel. The argument, of course, presumes that Jesus Christ taught that the Jews must abandon the Law of Moses, a position that is opposite to that which Jesus taught (Jesus made many comments on the requirement to obey the law, but this comment should suffice: "For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." [Matthew 5.18] ).

01.18.07 Iran rejects UN chief's remarks over nuke issue

TEHRAN (Xinhua) January 18 – A senior Iranian official on Thursday rejected UN chief Ban Ki-moon's recent remarks over the country's nuclear program, saying Ban's position "should be in line with the UN charter." Ban Ki-moon, after a meeting with US President George W. Bush, said he and Bush agreed that "Iran's nuclear program was one of the most dangerous to world peace and security," and saying such issue "has very serious and wide implications for not only the Mideast but also all around the world."

In a response to Ban's remarks, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini told the local ISNA news agency, "Such .. remarks by Ban Ki-moon were contrary to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, because the treaty protects the right of countries to utilize nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. The positions and attitudes of the secretary general should be in line with the United Nations charter, and he should concentrate on the serious dangers and threats to world peace from Israel," he added.
[More>>xinhuanet.com, with a special report; See related story, thenews.com.pk, January 18, "Gates says Iranians 'overplaying their hand."]

01.18.07 Suspected suicide bombers from Pakistan: Afghanistan

SPIN BOLDAK (Reuters) January 18 – Afghan police have arrested three men in an explosives-laden car entering from neighboring Pakistan, accusing them of planning suicide bomb attacks, a security official said on Thursday. Suicide bombings were almost unknown in Afghanistan until 2005 but the number of attacks surged to 139 last year, according to US military figures, as part of a sharply intensified Taleban insurgency. Police did not identify the three men, arrested in the Afghan border town of Spin Boldak on Wednesday, or give their nationality, but said they had confessed to being recruited and trained in Pakistan.

"They told us that they have centres in Pakistan, where people are recruited and trained as suicide bombers," Mohammad Anway, an Afghan border security official, told Reuters. "The car was full of explosives and they had plans to distribute some of the material to their men and carry out attacks in Kandahar," he said, referring to the nearby southern city which is a hub for NATO operations. Afghan officials frequently say suicide bombers are being recruited and trained in Pakistan.

01.17.07 Abu Solaiman slain, military confirms

January 17 – The military has confirmed that Abu Solaiman, spokesman of the Abu Sayyaf Group, was killed in an encounter with elite Philippine Army troops in Talipao, Sulu on Tuesday, as it warned that his death could set off retaliatory attacks. Lieutenant Colonel Bartolome Bacarro, military public information chief, and Brigadier General Arturo Ortiz, chief of the Army Special Forces, said the body of Solaiman, who was also an Abu Sayyaf sub-leader, had been positively identified.

Military Chief Hermogenes Esperon said that Solaimanıs death could trigger retaliatory attacks but that they were ready to thwart any such assaults. Esperon described Solaiman as "somebody even higher than [Abu Sayyaf leader] Khaddafy [Janjalani]," noting that the slain bandit was the brains behind most attacks of the extremist group. "They will now have to find somebody, if they can, of the same caliber [as Solaiman]," said Esperon as he predicted that "the Abu Sayyafıs activities will go down considerably."
[More>>inquirer.net ; See also msnbc.msn (AP) January 17, "Philippines kills top al-Qaeda-linked militant."]

01.17.07 Senator Clinton calls Bush plan 'a losing strategy'

WASHINGTON, January 17 – Fresh from a weekend trip to Iraq, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton this morning intensified her opposition to President Bushıs new plan to send more than 20,000 additional troops to Baghdad, calling it "a losing strategy" and a "very bad mission" and proposing new limits and conditions on the overall war effort.

In laying out her latest set of positions and talking points on Iraq during appearances on the NBC and CBS morning shows, and on National Public Radio, Mrs. Clinton — a likely candidate for president in 2008 — did not call for a fixed deadline for withdrawing all American forces, saying only that the troops should leave Iraq ³eventually.² Nor did she endorse blocking money for the new troop deployment. Those two positions are favored by many antiwar Democrats who are expected to be a force in the presidential primaries, and by at least one likely rival in 2008, former Senator John Edwards of North Carolina.

Instead, Mrs. Clinton called for capping the number of American forces in Iraq to the total number there on Jan. 1 — before Mr. Bush proposed adding forces. That total is roughly 140,000. She also proposed making a new threat to Iraqi government leaders to force their cooperation: the loss of American funds to train and equip Iraqi forces, rebuild the economy, and, to make the pressure more acute, to provide security for the leaders themselves.

01.17.07 Woman tests positive for deadly H5N1 bird flu

CAIRO (Reuters) January 18 – A 27-year-old Egyptian woman tested positive for the deadly H5N1 bird flu virus, a World Health Organisation official said. The virus has claimed 10 lives in Egypt while eight other positive cases recovered since it first surfaced in Egyptian poultry in February. "Unfortunately, yes there is a new case," said Hassan el-Bushra, regional adviser for communicable diseases surveillance for the World Health Organisation. He said tests carried out by Egyptian authorities were positive for the H5N1 virus and he was awaiting the results of a second set of tests. The official Middle East News Agency (MENA) identified the woman as Warda Eid Ahmed from the province of Beni Suef south of the capital Cairo. [More>>news.com.au]

01.17.07 Nigerian publisher charged with terrorism

ABUJA, Nigeria (AFP) January 17 – A Nigerian newspaper publisher faces up to 15 years in prison after being charged Tuesday with belonging to the virtually unheard of terrorist group known as "The Nigerian Taleban." Mohammed Damagun, 50, a director of Media Trust Limited, publishers of the Daily Trust newspaper, pleaded not guilty to three charges of terrorism. Charged under the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) law, he is alleged to have received 300,000 dollars (240,000 euros) from an international terrorist organisation, the Sudan-based Al Qaeda World Network. Court papers allege Damagun deposited the money in a British bank with the intention of using the money to finance terrorist acts. Damagun was also accused of facilitating the commission of terrorist acts by recruiting, sponsoring and ferrying 17 members of the groupıs militia arm to receive combat training at a camp in Mauritania. [>khaleejtimes.com]

01.17.07 Iran invites global organizations to its nuclear facilities

TEHRAN (RIA Novosti) January 17 – Iranian authorities have invited representatives of international organizations, which suspect the nation of pursuing a clandestine weapons program, to visit its nuclear facilities February 2-5, the ISNA news agency said Wednesday. "Such visits to nuclear facilities will help Iran establish trust and demonstrate the peaceful goals of the Iranian nuclear program," Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Iran's representative at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), told the local ISNA news agency.

He said the country has invited the envoys of three nations of the Non-Aligned Movement (Cuba, Malaysia and Egypt), the head of the Group of 77, a loose alliance of developing nations, representatives of the IAEA Board of Governors, and the permanent representative of the League of Arab States at international organizations in Vienna.

01.16.07 Top Taleban spokesman 'arrested'

January 16 – Afghan intelligence agents say they have arrested a leading spokesman for the Taleban near the Pakistan border. Intelligence service spokesman Sayed Ansari named him as Dr. Muhammad Hanif, who has been speaking for Afghanistan's former rulers since October 2005. Mr. Ansari told the Associated Press the spokesman had been detained on Monday...Mr. Ansari said Dr. Hanif had been detained in the border town of Towr Kham in Nangarhar province soon after entering Afghanistan from Pakistan...Dr. Hanif has been highly active over the past year, regularly e-mailing news organisations with the Taleban's version of events in the east of the country. A man called Qari Mohammad Yousuf has performed similar functions for the Taleban in the south. [Full story>>bbc.co.uk]

01.16.07 Eighty killed in Baghdad; UN sets '06 toll above 34,000

BAGHDAD, January 16 – More than 80 people died in a trio of bomb attacks around the capital today, as United Nations officials released a report estimating that more than 34,000 civilians were killed across Iraq last year and warning that the violence was "likely to continue" in the absence of a functioning justice system. Two of the bombs exploded in quick succession at Baghdad University as students were leaving classes, killing at least 60 people and wounding at least 110, Interior Ministry officials said. One was detonated by a suicide bomber and one was placed in a car, but it was not clear in which order they were detonated.

At least 15 other people died and 70 were wounded by another pair of bombs in central Baghdad in a market devoted to motorcycle and stereo shops, not far from a Sunni mosque, officials said. The mosque was not believed to be the target. And two members of an elite police bomb disposal unit and two civilians were killed when the second of a pair of bombs the officers were working to defuse exploded.

Todayıs violence and the UN reportıs chilling portrait on civilian deaths underscored the depth of the security problem facing American military officials as they prepare to deploy more troops there as part of a new strategy that for the first time makes the protection of civilians the war effortıs highest priority. The report by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq was based on figures provided by from the Medico-Legal Institute in Baghdad and hospitals around the country. It estimated that 34,452 civilians were violently killed in 2006 — an average of 94 a day — and that a addition 36,685 were wounded.

01.16.07 Burden set to shift on balanced budget

January 16 – When he takes the House rostrum next week for the State of the Union address, President Bush will list among his goals a balanced federal budget, a shift for a president who has presided over record deficits while aggressively cutting taxes. Politically, analysts say, the president is calling the bluff of Democrats, who won control of Congress in part by accusing Bush of reckless fiscal policies. While Bush now shares the Democrats' goal to erase the deficit by 2012, the politically perilous work of making that happen – cutting spending or raising taxes – falls to the Democratic-run Congress.

..Still, the administration appears to be stepping away from an economic argument that has worked well for Republicans throughout Bush's presidency: that federal deficits, though at record levels, are not especially large as a percentage of the economy and therefore offer little cause for concern, a view famously encapsulated in 2002 when Vice President Cheney told Paul H. O'Neill, then the Treasury secretary: "Deficits don't matter."
[Full story>>washingtonpost.com]

01.16.07 Iran 'taking control of Basra by stealth'

BASRA (The Daily Telegraph) January 16 – Iranian intelligence is preparing for complete dominance of southern Iraq when the British withdraw by penetrating Basra's security network and political parties, it can be revealed. Iraqi intelligence sources disclosed to The Daily Telegraph that Iran plans to reap the huge financial rewards presented by the southern oil fields and prevent Western businesses from gaining a foothold inside Basra.

British and American political and military leaders are also concerned over Teheran "giving succor" to terrorists who continue to kill troops every week. Commanders are anxious that once they pull out of Basra in May the Iranian-backed militias will take over the political and security structures, undoing four years of work that has cost 129 British lives and billions of pounds. [
More>>iranfocus.com ; See related stories, xinhuanet.com, January 16, "Report: Iranian troops shoot down US spy drone" and rian.ru, January 16, "Russia completes air defense system deliveries to Iran."]

01.16.07 Pakistan destroys militant camps near Afghan border

ISLAMABAD (AFP) January 16 – Pakistani helicopter gunships attacked and destroyed three militant camps Tuesday in a dawn swoop on a restive tribal region bordering Afghanistan, killing up to 30 fighters, the military said. Spokesman Major General Shaukat Sultan said helicopters attacked the camps in the tribal district of South Waziristan after reports that 25 to 30 local and foreign militants were there. "I canıt give you the exact number of casualties but most of them were believed killed," he said, adding that three of five camps were destroyed. The spokesman said the camps had been under surveillance for days before the operation was carried out at 6:55 am (0155 GMT) Tuesday morning. [More>>khaleejtimes.com]

01.16.07 Turkey plans to extend gas,oil and water pipelines to Israel

(AP) January 16 – Turkey and Israel have tentatively agreed on building a network of pipelines to ship oil, natural gas and water from Turkey to Israel the Turkish Energy Ministry said Tuesday. Under the project, a pipeline already carrying Russian natural gas to Turkey will be extended to deliver supplies to Israel, the ministry said. The deal was reached earlier this month during a visit to Israel by Energy Minister Hilmi Guler, the ministry said. It was not clear when the deal would be finalized or when construction would begin. Turkey and Russia have agreed to hold talks on extending a pipeline from the Black Sea port of Samsun to Turkey's Ceyhan oil terminal on the Mediterranean and then to Israel, the ministry said. [More>>haaretz.com]

01.16.07 'Evil' Iran got missile parts from US

WASHINGTON (AP) January 16 – The US military has sold forbidden equipment at least a half-dozen times to middlemen for countries-including Iran and China-who exploited security flaws in the Defence Department's surplus auctions. The sales include fighter jet parts and missile components. In one case, federal investigators said, the contraband made it to Iran, a country President George W. Bush branded part of an 'axis of evil.' In that instance, a Pakistani arms broker convicted of exporting US missile parts to Iran resumed business after his release from prison. He purchased Chinook helicopter engine parts for Iran from a US company that had bought them in a Pentagon surplus sale. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, speaking on condition of anonymity, say those parts made it to Iran. [More>>expressindia.com]

01.16.07 Bird flu flares again in Asia

JAKARTA (Reuters) January 16 – Indonesia prepared more hospitals to deal with bird flu cases and Japan confirmed a first outbreak of H5N1 in poultry in three years on Tuesday as the virus flared again in Asia, mirroring past winters. Concern about the disease have rippled across the region, with an Indonesian hospital struggling to cope with suspected human cases this week, and the virus spreading among flocks in Vietnam and flaring again in Thailand. The World Health Organisation (WHO) said there were no signs of the virus spreading between humans and the response of most affected countries was much better than in the past.

"Obviously we are very concerned if this virus should develop the ability to transmit between humans. We have not seen any clear sign of that yet. We are hoping it will stay the way it is," Peter Cordingley, WHO spokesman for the Asia-Pacific, told Reuters Television in Manila. The WHO says bird flu has infected 267 people in 10 countries and killed 161 since 2003. There are fears that millions could die if the virus were to mutate into a form that passes easily from person to person.
[More>>thestar.com.my ; See related stories, japantoday.com, January 16, "Bird flu virus detected in Miyazaki identified as highly H5N1 strain" and thejakartapost.com, January 17, "Backyard chickens must go in 6 months.']

01.15.07 Six go on trial for failed July 21 'suicide bombings'

January 15 – A group of six Muslim men plotted a series of "murderous suicide bombings" on London's public transport system just days after the July 7 London bombings, a court has heard. At the opening of a high-profile trial of the men, Woolwich Crown Court heard that they were engaged in an "extremist Muslim plot" to target the capital using bombs made partly of chapatti flour. The alleged attacks would have occurred on July 21, 14 days after the "carnage" of the July 7 London bombings, Nigel Sweeney, QC, for the Crown, said. Police found a bomb factory where the explosives were to be put together and timetable for doing so, he added. [More>>timesonline.co.uk]

01.15.07 Saddam aides hanged, film shows brother beheaded

BAGHDAD (Reuters) January 15 – Two of Saddam Hussein's aides were hanged before dawn on Monday, the Iraqi government said. But despite its efforts to avoid the uproar that marred the execution of the former president two weeks ago, news that the noose ripped the head from Saddam's cancer-stricken half-brother as he plunged from the gallows appalled international critics of the process and fuelled fury among Saddam's fellow Sunni Arabs. On the defensive after Shi'ite sectarian taunts were heard in illicit film of Saddam's execution, a spokesman for the Shi'ite-led government insisted there was "no violation of procedure" during the executions of his half-brother Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti and former judge Awad Hamed al-Bander. [More>>thestar.com.my]

01.15.07 Five killed in Iraq attacks

MOSUL, January 15 – Insurgents killed at least 10 people in Iraq Monday, including six in a suicide bombing in the main northern city of Mosul, security officials said. The bomber blew up his vehicle outside offices of the Kurdistan Democratic Party in the north of city, police Colonel Abdel Karim Juburi said. The dead included four civilians and two soldiers. There were also 28 people wounded. In the capital, a roadside bomb killed three policemen in the southeastern Rustumiyah neighborhood, a security official said. Gunmen also killed a former member of ousted president Saddam Hussein's Baath party in the southern city of Amara, police said. [>thenews.com.pk]

01.15.07 Bush faces mutiny over extra troops for Iraq

January 15 – As George Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney inveighed against their Democratic critics, the White House tried to prevent a Republican mutiny on Capitol Hill from engulfing the President's bitterly contested decision to send more than 20,000 extra US troops to Iraq. The moves came as public opposition to Mr. Bush's new policy seemed, if anything, to harden, while Congress geared up for what is shaping up as the fiercest constitutional battle over the war-waging powers of a President since the Vietnam war.

Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney challenged Democrats to come up with a better way: "To oppose everything while proposing nothing is irresponsible," Mr. Bush said, while his Vice-President, predictably, was more trenchant. "They have absolutely nothing to offer in its place," Mr. Cheney told the conservative Fox News. "I have yet to hear a coherent policy from the Democratic side." And, he added: "If the United States doesn't have the stomach to finish the task in Iraq, we put at risk what we've done" – confirming the belief of al-Qaeda that the US could be driven from the Middle East.
...Though the White House insists that it alone charts the conduct of the war, the administration is deeply worried how non-binding resolutions opposing the troop build-up, likely to be voted upon in both Senate and House of Representatives in the next few weeks, could erode its authority and credibility...In an interview with the CBS programme 60 Minutes last night, Mr. Bush again admitted a measure of responsibility for the shambles in Iraq, saying that "no question, [my] decisions have made things unstable in Iraq." And, he added, "history ... is going to see a lot of ways in which we could have done things better - no question about it." Nonetheless, the President stuck to his guns about the decision to invade in 2003, and once more said violence in Iraq had to be brought under control – "or it could lead to attacks here in America."
[Full story>>independent.co.uk ; See related story, turkishpress.com, January 14, "Cheney: critics of new US Iraq plan play into hands of Bin Laden."]

01.15.07 Iran says expansion of uranium enrichment facilities is imminent

January 15 – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Monday the expansion of uranium enrichment facilities at his country's giant underground bunkers at Natanz would take place "very soon, bit by bit." Earlier on Monday, Tehran said it was planning to install 3,000 atomic centrifuges there and achieve industrial-scale production of nuclear fuel, which the West fears is part of a program to make bombs. "We are moving toward the production of nuclear fuel, which requires 3,000 centrifuges and more than this figure," government spokesman Gholamhossein Elham told a news conference. "This program is being carried out and moving toward completion."

Meanwhile, Iran has asked Saudi Arabia to help ease tensions between the Islamic Republic and the United States in a letter delivered by Tehran's chief nuclear negotiator to the Saudi King, a Saudi official said on Monday. The letter, from Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Ahmadinejad, comes at a time of rising tension over Iran's role in Iraq and Tehran's nuclear program. It also follows growing criticism in Iran of Ahmadinejad's approach of railing against the West which more moderate politicians blame for stoking fears abroad.

01.15.07 Moscow enjoys warmest January in 130 years

MOSCOW (RIA Novosti) January 15 – The first two weeks of January have been the warmest the Russian capital has seen in 130 years, a top meteorologist said Monday. The mild spell, which is more typical of the October-November period, began in December and has continued into January, with average temperature staying above zero degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit). "This is a unique phenomenon for the coldest month of the year," Alexei Lyakhov, the head of the hydro-meteorological bureau for Moscow and the Moscow Region said. "We have never registered such temperatures." [More>>rian.ru]

01.14.07 US military strike on Iran seen by April '07 – Sea-launched attack to hit oil N-sites

KUWAIT CITY, Kuwait – January 14 – Washington will launch a military strike on Iran before April 2007, say sources. The attack will be launched from the sea and Patriot missiles will guard all oil-producing countries in the region, they add. Recent statements emanating from the United States indicate the Bush administrationıs new strategy for Iraq doesnıt include any proposal to make a compromise or negotiate with Syria or Iran. A reliable source said President Bush recently held a meeting with Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Secretary of State Dr. Condoleezza Rice and other assistants in the White House where they discussed the plan to attack Iran in minute detail.

01.14.07 NATO-led raid kills 30 Taliban, Afghan police say

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan, January 14 – NATO-led forces in Afghanistan killed 30 Taliban in an offensive, a police chief said on Sunday, though NATO could not confirm the toll. Violence has flared in recent days and a British soldier was killed in the southern province of Helmand on Saturday, the first foreign soldier killed this year, NATO said. Helmand police chief Mohammad Nabi Mullahkhail said NATO and Afghan forces, backed by aircraft, had raided a Taliban hideout in Kajaki district, where the British soldier was also killed. [More>>thenews.com.pk]

01.14.07 Iraq president on landmark Syria visit

DAMASCUS (AFP) January 14 – Iraqi President Jalal Talabani arrived in Syria Sunday on the first such high-level visit in three decades to a country accused by the United States of fueling the violence in his homeland. Talabani's trip comes just days after US President George W. Bush vowed to take tough action against alleged meddling in Iraq by both Syria and its main regional ally Iran. It also coincides with a Middle East tour by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who is seeking to shore up Arab support for Bush's new strategy in the war-ravaged nation.

Talabani will hold talks with Syrian President Bashar Al Assad and other officials during the trip, his first since Baghdad and Damascus restored diplomatic ties in November after a 26-year rupture. "The aim of the visit is to evaluate and strengthen mutual relations for the benefit of both the countries," said a statement from Talabani's office. Iraq was for decades ruled by a rival branch of the Baath party that remains in power in Syria but then Iraqi president Saddam Hussein severed relations after Syria backed Iran when his troops invaded in 1980.

01.14.07 Iraqis get foretaste of Bush's final Baghdad gamble

January 14 – Abu Hamed received a grim foretaste of the increased violence that many Iraqis fear was heralded by President George W. Bushıs announcement last week of a new drive to pacify Baghdad. The fighting has seen him trapped with two blind daughters in one room in the city centre since Wednesday morning, without water or electricity and with nothing to eat but beans. Hamed, a 55-year-old retired civil servant, is now growing desperate. "Is this the new paradise that the Americans said they would give us when they invaded our country?" he asked. "When is this nightmare going to end?" The fighting in Haifa Street, one of the oldest parts of the city, was more than just another dayıs violence in Baghdad.

01.14.07 On Iraq, US turns to onetime dissenters

January 14 – Timothy M. Carney went to Baghdad in April 2003 to run Iraq's Ministry of Industry and Minerals. Unlike many of his compatriots in the Green Zone, the rangy, retired American ambassador wasn't fazed by chaos. He'd been in Saigon during the Tet Offensive, Phnom Penh as it was falling to the Khmer Rouge and Mogadishu in the throes of Somalia's civil war. Once he received his Halliburton-issued Chevrolet Suburban, he disregarded security edicts and drove around Baghdad without a military escort. His mission, as he put it, "was to listen to the Iraqis and work with them."

He left after two months, disgusted and disillusioned. The US occupation administration in Iraq, the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), placed ideology over pragmatism, he believed. His boss, viceroy L. Paul Bremer, refused to pay for repairs needed to reopen many looted state-owned factories, even though they had employed tens of thousands of Iraqis. Carney spent his days screening workers for ties to the Baath Party. "Planning was bad," he wrote in his diary on May 8, "but implementation is worse."

When he returned to Washington, he made little secret of his views. They were so scathing that his wife lost a government contract. He figured his days of working on Iraq were over. Until a phone call on Tuesday. [

01.13.07 Rice starts Mideast tour 'without a peace plan'

JERUSALEM (AFP) January 13 – US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is due to kick off a Middle East tour Saturday to make another crack at reviving the Israeli-Palestinian peace process but without a specific plan to resolve the conflict. She was to arrive in Israel for talks with leaders there and in the Palestinian territories before heading to Arab capitals to rally support for a new US war strategy in Iraq and to counter Iranıs alleged interference in the war-ravaged country. Rice said Saturday she had no specific plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but was coming to listen. "I am not coming with a proposal. I am not coming with a plan," she told journalists accompanying her during a stopover in Shannon, Ireland. [More>>khaleejtimes.com]

01.13.07 The war within Sen. McCain

January 13 – Vocal supporter of Bush is increasingly critical, isolated. There is no mistaking the anguish of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). Sitting in his Senate office, he is uncharacteristically subdued, his voice at times almost inaudible. Although the Bush administration this week finally embraced his long-standing call to send more troops to Iraq, McCain believes the way it has handled the war "will go down as one of the worst" mistakes in the history of the American military. "One of the most frustrating things that's ever happened in my political life," he said, "is watching this train wreck." [More>>washingtonpost.com]

Editorial note: One may wonder, then, why Senator McCain kept silent about the incompetence that was producing the "train wreck." One may wonder how long McCain had been watching the disaster, as it cost so many thousands of lives, in silence.

Mel Copeland

01.13.07 Indonesian police kill 'terrorists'

January 13 – Indonesian police say they have killed two suspected terrorists in Sulawesi, including a senior member of the militant Jemaah Islamiyah group. A mob then beat to death a policeman during the funeral for the two men, Lieutenant-Colonel Rudy Sufahriadi, the local police chief, said. Acting on a tip, police raided a house in the central Sulawesi town of Poso town early on Thursday where nine alleged Muslim fighters were staying, police said. The men reportedly hurled at least eight bombs at police and opened fire with automatic weapons. Officers returned fire, killing two of them, while seven were arrested. No other details were given of the police officer reportedly killed at the subsequent funeral. [More>>aljazeera.net]

01.13.07 Rice says Bush authorized Iranians' arrest in Iraq

WASHINGTON, January 13 – A recent series of American raids against Iranians in Iraq was authorized under an order that President Bush decided to issue several months ago to undertake a broad military offensive against Iranian operatives in the country, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Friday. "There has been a decision to go after these networks," Ms. Rice said in an interview with The New York Times in her office on Friday afternoon, before leaving on a trip to the Middle East.

Ms. Rice said Mr. Bush had acted "after a period of time in which we saw increasing activity" among Iranians in Iraq, "and increasing lethality in what they were producing." She was referring to what American military officials say is evidence that many of the most sophisticated improvised explosive devices, or I.E.D.ıs, being used against American troops were made in Iran. Ms. Rice was vague on the question of when Mr. Bush issued the order, but said his decision grew out of questions that the president and members of his National Security Council raised in the fall.

01.13.07 N. Korea slams US fighter jet deployment in South

SEOUL, January 13 – North Korea on Saturday attacked the United States for its decision to deploy stealth fighter jets in South Korea, the North's state media reported, calling it "a dangerous military move." US Stealth fighters arrived in the South on Thursday, the American military said, amid continuing speculation over a second North Korean nuclear test. "The US introduction of this type of war hardware is a dangerous military move blatantly challenging the aspiration and desire for a peaceful settlement of the nuclear issue," a Korean news agency reported, citing a spokesman for the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland. A squadron of radar-evading F-117 Nighthawk Stealth fighters and 300 airmen arrived at Gunsan, 270 kilometers (167 miles) southwest of Seoul, for a "routine" training deployment, a US Air Force statement said earlier in the week. [More>>thenews.com.pki]

01.13.07 Sixteen civilians, thirteen Taliban killed in Afghan strike

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (AFP) January 12 – NATO warplanes attacked and destroyed a key Taliban headquarters in southern Afghanistan, the British military said Friday, as police reported that 16 civilians and 13 rebels were killed. The strike, in the province of Helmand early Thursday, also left five civilians wounded and several houses damaged, provincial police chief Mohammad Nabi Mullahkhail said. The British military serving under the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said that it had "no indications" that civilians were killed. A "significant number" of Taliban were believed to have been killed, Major Mike Geldard, who coordinated the operation, said in a statement. [More>>metimes.com]

01.12.07 US reinforcements 'will go home in coffins'

BAGHDAD (AFP) January 12 – A senior ally of radical Iraqi cleric Moqtada Al Sadr warned Friday that thousands of the planned 21,500 extra US troops en route for the war-torn nation would "go home in coffins." Launching a new strategy to rescue Iraq from civil war, Washington told the government of Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki, who owes his job to Sadr, it was on "borrowed time" and declared new "no holds barred" military operations.

A cornerstone of the new approach is increased pressure on Iraq's neighbors Iran and Syria – which are accused by Washington of fomenting unrest – and tougher action to deal with militias such as Sadr's feared Mehdi Army. "The American people have to prevent their sons from coming to Iraq or they may return in coffins," threatened Sheikh Abdel Razzaq Al Nadawi, a senior official in Sadr's movement, slamming the planned US troop increase.

01.12.07 Pakistan rejects US spy chief's charge it harbors Qaeda leaders

ISLAMABAD (AP) January 12 – Rejecting the US spy chief's accusations that Pakistan is harboring Al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders, Islamabad said Friday it remained committed to fighting international terrorism and extremism. Pakistan's Foreign Ministry said in a statement that John Negroponte's claim that Pakistan represents a major source of Islamic extremism and a refuge for top terror leaders is "incorrect."

"In breaking the back of Al-Qaeda, Pakistan has done more than any other country in the world," the statement said. Negroponte, the US national intelligence director, said in testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday that "eliminating the safe haven that the Taliban and other extremists have found in Pakistan's tribal areas is not sufficient to end the insurgency in Afghanistan, but it is necessary."

NATO and the Afghan government say Taliban and Al-Qaeda guerrillas are launching attacks on US-led coalition forces in Afghanistan from neighboring Pakistan. Violence rose sharply in Afghanistan in 2006, with militants killing about 4,000 people in what was the deadliest year since the US-led coalition swept the Taliban from power in 2001.

01.12.07 US embassy in Athens is attacked

ATHENS, January 12 – Shortly before sunrise today, a missile ripped through the United States embassy here, causing minor damage to the building but no injuries. The missile was fired from the street over a 10-foot high security wall, smashing the glass in front of the embassy and spraying debris inside. "We have yet to locate the staging area of this rocket attack," said Assimakis Golfas, the head police chief of the greater Athens area. "We are scouring the region, mainly buildings across from the embassy." Vyron Polydoras, the public order minister, said an anonymous caller, claiming to be a member of the Revolutionary Struggle terror group, had telephoned a local security company to claim responsibility for the attack, which occurred just before 6:00 a.m. [More>>nytimes.com]

01.12.07 First home of modern man in Europe was Russia

January 12 – A Stone Age archaeological site on the banks of the river Don in southern Russia has been identified by scientists as the earliest known settlement of modern humans in Europe. The discovery has provided support for the idea that the first migration of modern humans out of sub-Saharan Africa occurred less than 50,000 years ago. Scientists have dated the artefacts from the Russian site to 45,000BC, which would make the inhabitants the earliest known ancestors of Europeans today. "The big surprise here is the very early presence of modern humans in one of the coldest, driest places in Europe," said John Hoffecker of the University of Colorado at Boulder. [More>>independent.co.uk]

01.12.07 Moldovan plane that crashed in Iraq was downed – eyewitness

ANKARA (RIA Novosti) January 12 – A Moldovan An-26 cargo plane that crashed in Iraq January 9, killing 34 people, was downed by a missile, an eyewitness said Friday. "The plane is said to have crashed due to fog, but I saw no fog," Ozcan Sahin, a brother of Hamdi Sahin, a Turkish worker killed in the crash, told Turkish NTV television. He said he was 300-400 meters from the crash site, near Balad, north of Baghdad. "The plane was downed by a missile that struck the right section of the fuselage. Employees of other companies also saw it. More than 20 F-16 fighters took off from an American base that day, and had there been fog they would have been grounded," he said. It is not the first claim that the An-26 was shot down rather than having crashed as the result of bad weather. The Islamic Army in Iraq group claimed responsibility Thursday for the downing. [More>>rian.ru]

01.12.07 China: 30 million men face bleak future as singles

BEIJING (Xinhua) January 11 – A report released here Thursday said there will be 30 million more males of marriageable age in China than females by the year 2020, which will make it difficult for men to find wives. The report, issued by the State Population and Family Planning Commission, said China's sex ratio for newborn babies in 2005 was 118 boys to 100 girls, compared with 110:100 in 2000. In some regions, the sex ratio has reached 130:100.

"Discrimination against the female sex remains the primary cause of China's growing gender imbalance," said Liu Bohong, vice director of the women studies institute under the All-China Women's Federation. Liu said that rural people in China are widely believed to be more "traditional," preferring sons to daughters, but the newborn gender imbalance is also widening in cities.

01.12.07 A suspected bird flu patient dies in Jakarta

JAKARTA (AP) January 12 – A 27-year old woman patient, who is still suspected of being infected with bird flu, died at 11:00 p.m. on Friday night in Persahabatan Hospital, Jakarta, Metro TV station reported. If later she is confirmed of being infected with bird flu, the death toll from the fatal bird flu in the country would reach 60 people. Few days before she died, a 14-year-old boy and a 38-year-old woman died from bird flu in the same hospital. Meanwhile, Coordinating Minister for Social Welfare Aburizal Bakrie emphasized that there would be no change in the current measures against bird flu. [>thejakartapost.com]


09.11.05 When a nation lacks a competent leader it invites disaster – the legacy of Bush
08.13.05 "Using force the George W. Bush way – Bush's crusade"
11.25.04 Why the Crusade & Jihad?


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