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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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."
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]
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.
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.
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."
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.
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]
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