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1.01.05 TSUNAMI HELP & RESOURCES
1.27.05 TSUNAMI NEWS
ON BOARD THE USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN (AFP) Jan. 28 US Navy troops helping distribute relief aid for tsunami survivors in Aceh province will stay as long as Indonesians want them to, according to a leading officer. "U.S. forces will be here through the relief effort and as long as the Indonesian government needs us to stay," USS Abraham Lincoln skipper Captain Kendall Card told reporters late Wednesday.
ABOARD THE USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN (AP), Jan. 26 The US military is beginning to scale back its tsunami relief efforts in Indonesia after nearly a month of airlifting food and medicine, as other nations take over the operations, officials said on Wednesday. The aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, which was diverted to Sumatra within four days of the Dec. 26 disaster with 17 SH-60 Seahawk helicopters aboard, is preparing to sail home to Everett, Washington, the military officials said.
JAKARTA (Antara), Jan. 27 Hundreds of people hailing from Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam demonstrated in front of the United Nations representative office here on Wednesday, urging the government to allow foreign troops to conduct their humanitarian mission in the tsunami-hit province. "We want the government to allow foreign troops to stay longer in Aceh," Islamuddin, a coordinator of the demonstration, said.
JAKARTA (Bloomberg), Jan. 27 Attacks on shipping in the Malacca Straits, the world's busiest sea lane, stopped after the Dec. 26 tsunami that devastated Indonesia's Aceh province on Sumatra island which is adjacent to the waterway, a shipping group said... Sumatra is on the west side of the Malacca Straits, where about a fifth of the world's piracy incidents were reported last year.
1.27.05 OTHER NEWS
Jan. 28 One of the two bomb-makers behind the 2002 Bali nightclub attacks was believed to have been killed yesterday in a targeted air strike.
KARACHI / ISLAMABAD, Jan. 27 Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres has said that Israel and Pakistan should have "a direct, personal contact, publicly, without being ashamed about it." Answering questions put to him by The News, in what is the first ever interview by an Israeli politician to a Pakistani newspaper, Peres responded from Tel Aviv on Wednesday "there is no shame in peace; we should reach full normalization"
Jan. 27 About 100 people were killed or injured when Sudanese Government airplanes bombed a village in the northern section of the country's war-scarred Darfur region. This latest attack comes as the UN's most senior humanitarian official warned the Security Council Thursday that Darfur's perilous security conditions are hampering UN aid agencies' efforts to feed and assist many of the hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs). UN officials in Sudan said African Union (AU) reports indicated that the Sudan air force has bombed the village of Rahad Kabolong in North Darfur state, with unconfirmed reports giving a casualty count of about 100. UN humanitarian agencies have declared the location around Rahad Kabolong to be a 'no-go' area for their staff until further notice, and the AU is investigating the bombing raid. [More>>bignewsnetwork]
Jan. 27 The top UN electoral adviser says UN officials have had to discourage an "overenthusiastic" U.S. military from helping to get out the vote in Iraq before Sunday's election. Carina Perelli, who heads the UN Electoral Assistance Division, said the US military has been extremely overenthusiastic in trying to help out with these elections. She said they should try to minimize their involvement as this is an Iraqi process, adding that Iraq's election commission had delivered the same message. Perelli added that with technical preparations completed, it is up to the Iraqi people alone to decide if the process is valid and important enough to risk their lives to vote. [CRIonline]
Jan. 28 B. Raman inquires whether the explosions reported Jan. 22 by China Daily were related to the separatist movement of the Muslim Uighurs: "The China Daily reported on January 22 that 13 persons were killed and 18 others injured in two separate explosions in China's Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, coinciding with the Eid-al-Adha religious festival.
Jan. 27 Julian Gearing has written an excellent commentary on the conflict between the Chinese government and Tibet's lamas. His article focuses on Lama Tenzin Delek whose death sentence for alleged involvement in a bombing was commuted to "life imprisonment." The article is a short history of a conflict that would be of interest to scholars of Buddhism and others who are trying to sort out the criteria for terrorist activities. He begins: "A controversial Tibetan lama to China he's a subversive and a terrorist and to many Tibetans a saint and patriot has been spared execution, a bullet to the back of the head. A Chinese court on Wednesday commuted the death sentence of Lama Tenzin Delek to life imprisonment, according to the official Xinhua news agency.
OSWIECIM, Poland (Reuters) Jan. 27 Dusted by falling snow and surrounded by barbed wire, world leaders mourned the victims of the Holocaust on Thursday, the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the biggest Nazi death camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Vowing that the World War II atrocity must never be forgotten, the leaders and survivors lit candles in the ruins of the camp, which claimed a fifth of the 6 million Jews who died in the Holocaust.
WASHINGTON, Jan. 27 President George W. Bush has softened his pitch on ending tyranny and spreading freedom around the world, saying that he has only set out "a long-term goal" that will require "the commitment of generations."
SEOUL, Jan. 28 North Korea appears to have bought a complete nuclear weapon from a former Soviet Union state or Pakistan, a South Korean newspaper said on Thursday quoting a source in Washington. Seoul Shinmun quoted the source as saying the United States was checking the intelligence. The purchase was apparently intended to avoid nuclear weapons testing that could be detected, the source was quoted as saying. North Korea is believed to have one or two nuclear weapons and possibly more than eight. US Congressman Curt Weldon said after a visit to the North Korea this month that a second-ranked leader of the country had told his delegation that it possessed nuclear weapons. North Korea has never officially declared that it possessed atomic weapons. [jang.com.pk]
PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia, Jan. 28 Many parts of the Islamic world are in "deep crisis" with Muslims suffering more from militancy and terrorism than others, Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said on Thursday. "There are many challenges that we need to overcome. In many parts of our world, we are in deep crisis," Abdullah told some 50 participants from 15 member countries of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC).
1.27.05 CBS producer calls Beslan video 'A Piece of Hell'
MOSCOW (RIA Novosti's Larisa Sayenko) January 27 CBS producer Jonathan Sanders says that the video shot during the hostage-taking in Beslan's school was "a piece of hell." The video tape which local residents gave him was handed to Russian investigators, Mr. Sanders told RIA Novosti on the phone on Thursday.
ALMATY A special meeting of the UN Security Councilıs Counter-Terrorist Committee is taking place in Almaty on Wednesday. This international organ includes 15 constant members of UN Security Council. The main task of the committee is to work out coordinated line and realization of wide spectrum of political, economical and military measures on counteraction to the international terrorism. Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of Kazakhstan greeted the participants of the Counter-Terrorist Committee
1.27.05 Pre-poll attacks kill 19 Iraqis, US Marine
BAGHDAD (Reuters) Jan. 27 With Iraq's election only three days away, insurgents bent on wrecking the poll killed 19 Iraqis and a U.S. Marine on Thursday and bombed polling stations in the country's Sunni heartland. The flurry of attacks, including the execution of four Iraqi National Guards, came as U.S. investigators probed a helicopter crash that killed 31 U.S. troops on Wednesday, the deadliest day for American forces since the war began. President Bush has urged Iraqis to "defy the terrorists" and vote in the country's first election since an American-led invasion toppled Saddam Hussein in April 2003. [More>>reuters.com]
Jan. 28 With Iraq's election only three days away, insurgents bent on wrecking the poll killed 30 Iraqis and a U.S. Marine Thursday, as a top Iraqi official accused Syria and Iran of not doing enough to stop rebels at their borders. Meanwhile, a videotape posted on an Islamist Web site showed the killing of a man described as the secretary of Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi.
ANKARA (AFP) Jan. 27 The United States will bear the consequences of ethnic turmoil in Kirkuk if it fails to prevent the oil-rich city in northern Iraq from falling under Kurdish control, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned Thursday. "Any wrong move in Kirkuk will have a negative impact on peace in Iraq in the future," Erdogan told reporters at Ankara airport before he flew out to Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum.
BAGHDAD (AFP) Jan. 27 Ethnic tensions in the disputed northern Iraqi oil hub of Kirkuk are the biggest threat hanging over the country's stability and could spark a regional conflict, the International Crisis Group (ICG) said in a report received Thursday. "In northern Iraq, largely unnoticed, a conflict is brewing that, if allowed to boil over, could precipitate civil war, break-up of the country and in a worst-case scenario Turkish intervention," said the report.
ANKARA, Turkey, Jan. 27 Turkey's military warned Wednesday that the migration of large numbers of Kurds into the oil rich Iraqi city of Kirkuk could sway the results of the upcoming elections and possibly lead to clashes that could draw Ankara into the dispute. Kirkuk, a multi ethnic city with a Kurdish, ethnic Turkish populations, Arab, Christian - but Kurds have been the strongest group in the city since the fall of Saddam Hussein. Kirkuk is also home to 12 percent of Iraq's oil reserves, and Turkey said the resources must be shared equally by all Iraqis.
NICOSIA (AFP) Jan. 27 Hundreds of peacekeeping troops will begin leaving Cyprus early next week as part of cuts announced by UN chief Kofi Annan after his reunification plan for the island was rejected by Greek Cypriots, a UN spokesman said Thursday. Annan said the Cyprus peacekeeping force (UNFICYP) would be reduced by a third from the current level of 1,230 but retain its original mandate of maintaining order and preventing a recurrence of fighting. [More>>turkishpress.com]
Jan. 28 Syrian President Bashar Assad warned the current turmoil in the Middle East is exacerbating ethnic differences which could lead to the break up of some countries in the region. Speaking to RIA Novosti news agency at the end of his four day state visit to Russia Assad said: "The events in the Middle East could lead to the break-up of several countries in the region, the rise of extremism and religious and ethnic strife."
KATHMANDU (AFP) Jan. 28 Nepal has closed two offices in Kathmandu associated with exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, Tibetan and foreign ministry sources said on Wednesday. The government has closed the office of the Dalai Lama's representative and the Tibetan Refugee Welfare Office, a Tibetan source said...the welfare office looks after more than 20,000 Tibetan refugees who left their homeland after the Dalai Lama fled Tibet in 1959. The Chinese embassy has frequently lodged strong protests with the Nepalese government for permitting the Tibetan office to operate in Nepal in the name of the Dalai Lama. [More>>hindustanitimes.com]
BEIJING, Jan. 27 Powerful arguments over the possibility of abolishing the death penalty in China have been voiced following the academic conference "the International Symposium on the Death Penalty" held last month at Xiangtan in Hunan province. Legal experts at the conference argued that China would need to limit the use of capital punishment when it ratifies the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and that abolition was the mark of a "civilized society."
BEIJING (Xinhuanet) Jan. 27 Coal shortage will take the place of electricity shortage to be the most prominent challenge to China's economy this year, an official with the State Reform and Development Commission (SRDC) said here Thursday. "China faces overall power shortages of coal, oil and electricity, among which coal shortage will rise to be the first concern," said Cao Yushu, deputy secretary-general of the commission, said at a regular news conference, "To balance the demand and supply of coal will be the major task for China's economic control in 2005." China's coal production exceeded 1.9 billion tons in 2004, a 15 percent increase year-on-year. However the supply continues to fail to meet the demand. [More>>xinhuanet.com]
1.27.05 SBC in talks to buy AT&T sources
WASHINGTON (Reuters) Jan. 27 SBC Communications Inc., the No. 2 US telecommunications company, is in talks to acquire AT&T Corp. for more than $15 billion to bolster its business with large corporations, sources familiar with the talks said on Thursday. Such a deal would likely spell the end for AT&T, the once-ubiquitous "Ma Bell" whose history dates back 120 years to the invention of the telephone. With AT&T retreating from its consumer business, SBC is interested in AT&T's corporate clients and international telephone and data networks, the sources said. [More>>reuters.com]
1.27.05 Murder counts filed in Metrolink derailment
Jan. 27 The man whose apparently aborted suicide attempt caused a commuter train to derail, leading to a crash that killed at least 11 people and injured nearly 200, has been charged with murder, the district attorney said today. Juan Manuel Alvarez was charged late Wednesday with 10 counts of murder under "special circumstances" and will be charged with an 11th count when he appears in court, Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley said. [More>>latimes.com]
LONDON (Reuters) Jan. 27 Americans, and especially women, are three times more likely to suffer premature death and adverse health due to sexual activity than people in other rich nations, scientists said on Thursday. Researchers from the US Centres for Disease Control (CDC) found some 20 million cases of adverse health conditions and 29,745 deaths in the United States in 1998 were related to sexually transmitted diseases. "The research showed the sexual behavior attributable health burden is about three fold higher in the US than other developed countries," Dr. Shahul Ebrahim, one of the authors of the CDC study, told Reuters. [More>>expressindia.com]
Jan. 27 The two-man crew aboard the International Space Station (ISS) successfully completed a five-and-a-half hour spacewalk today to set up a robotics experiment and help engineers fix a problem with the station's oxygen generator. NASA astronaut Leroy Chiao and Russian cosmonaut Salizhan Sharipov left the outpost at 2.43am EST (6.43pm AEDT), leaving only ground control teams to watch over the station.
This new vehicle, scheduled for its initial test flight in September 2004, can carry 9 tons of scientific equipment, general supplies, water, oxygen and propellant. Up to 4 tons can be propellant for the ATV's own engines to reboost the Station at regular intervals as atmospheric drag reduces the orbit. Developed under Aerospatialess prime contractorship, an ATV will be launched on average every 15 months as a means of ESA contributing to the Station's operating costs. It can remain docked for up to 6 months, during which time it will be loaded with Station waste before being undocked and flown into Earth's atmosphere to burn up. The ATV becomes an extension of the station. The ATV delivers up to 7.2 tons of equipment, fuel, food, water and air for the crew. [More>>www.esa.int]
BEIJING, [World News], Jan. 26 Chinese scientists are working on the world's first wave power station, which can meet the electricity demands of a small coastal village, the state media reported today.
Jan. 27 Leigh Dayton reports: THE largest ever climate-change experiment reveals that scientists may have dramatically underestimated the threat of global warming. The study by British scientists, which is published today, found the planet's global temperature could climb by between 2C and 11C because of skyrocketing levels of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide. That more than doubles the current prediction of a 1.4C to 4.5C rise this century. "When we started out we didn't expect anything like this," said Oxford University's David Stainforth, chief scientist for climateprediction.net. [More>>news.com.au]
Thailand is preparing to become a major regional player in space technology as it counts down to the launch of the Thailand Earth Observation Satellite (THEOS) the first earth satellite in Asean, according to Science and Technology Minister Korn Dabbaransi. The 128 million euro (around 6.4 billion baht) THEOS will launch sometime in 2007, but in the meantime Thailand will be able to get satellite data from the SPOT 2, 4 and 5 satellites of EADS Astrium.
United Nations, Jan. 26 (PTI) The world economy grew by four per cent last year, but a rapidly falling US dollar poses a danger to economic stability worldwide, the United Nations has said.
DAVOS, Switzerland (AP) Jan. 27 China has lost faith in the stability of the U.S. dollar and its first priority is to broaden the exchange rate for its currency from the dollar to a more flexible basket of currencies, a top Chinese economist said at the World Economic Forum.
MOSCOW, Jan. 26 (PTI) Expressing joy over India's success as a "dynamically developing mighty power," President Vladimir Putin has said he "highly valued" the Indo-Russian strategic partnership. "We earnestly feel happiness on the successes of India a dynamically developing mighty power, which is playing a growing role in the world affairs. We highly value the relations of strategic partnership between Russia and India," Putin wrote to President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam congratulating him on the 56th Republic Day.
Jan. 27 Iranian President Mohammad Khatami says the United States is the country which most endangers global peace. Khatami, speaking to reporters after a meeting with visiting Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai, again denied U.S. and Israeli accusations that Iran's nuclear facilities will be used to make atomic bombs. He says its nuclear ambitions do not stretch beyond generating electricity.
1.26.05 California governor threatens special election
SACRAMENTO, California (AP), Jan. 27 Governor. Arnold Schwarzenegger accused the state Legislature's Democratic leaders Wednesday of "stalling'' on his extensive reform package and threatened to take his measures to the voters in a special election this year. He made a similar threat last year.
WASHINGTON, Jan. 27 U.S. President George W. Bush said Wednesday he sees the democratic process in Japan after World War II and the close ties with Tokyo as an example of his second-term policy of spreading democratic and freedom around the world. "I bring up once again my example about working with Prime Minister Koizumi of Japan," Bush told reporters when asked about the Iraq war and his democracy-spreading inaugural speech last week. [More>>Japantoday.com]
Jan. 27 China became Japan's biggest trading partner in 2004, replacing the United States for the first time and underlining the country's growing clout in the global economy. Finance Ministry data released Wednesday show that Japan's exports to and imports from China, including Hong Kong, amounted to 22.20 trillion yen in 2004 the highest since records began in 1947 outpacing the 20.48 trillion yen in trade with the US
WASHINGTON (AFP) Jan. 25 The US government deficit would ease to 368 billion dollars in the current fiscal year under existing laws, but the real gap may be higher when costs for Iraq are added, the Congressional Budget Office said. The deficit would be slightly lower than the record 412 billion dollar shortfall in the 2004 fiscal year that ended last September 30. But the estimate is up 20 billion dollars from the CBO's September forecast of a 348 billion dollar deficit. Moreover, the nonpartisan CBO said that its estimates "omit a significant amount of spending that will occur this year -- and conceivably for some time in the future -- for US military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and for other efforts in the war on terrorism."..."Additional appropriations (for Iraq, Afghanistan and the war on terror) are expected to add about 30 billion dollars to the deficit this year and possibly more next year," CBO said in its report. [More>>afp.com; see separate article, "$1.3 trillion in deficits forecast over decade." latimes.com]
BAGHDAD, Jan. 26 US troops in Iraq today suffered their deadliest day yet when a military transport helicopter ferrying soldiers crashed in bad weather in the western desert, killing 30 Marines and one sailor. Five additional U.S. troops were killed in separate attacks, one west of the capital and another in the northern city of Duluiya, military officials said. [More>>latimes.com]
PARIS (AFP) Jan. 27 Four more people were detained in Paris Wednesday by anti-terrorist agents looking into the recruitment of Islamic extremists to join the insurgency in Iraq, bringing to 11 the number of arrests this week. The four all young men were being held at the headquarters of the domestic intelligence service DST, along with six of the seven people detained on Monday in the 19th arrondissement of the capital. One of two women detained Monday was released Wednesday morning, police said.
1.26.05 Maharashtra temple stampede toll rises to 340
MUMBAI (Reuters) Jan. 25 The Mandhra Devi temple, where more than 340 devotees were trampled to death during an annual pilgrimage in Maharashtra, was closed on Wednesday even as fire brigade and police continued clearing operations. Six bus-loads of injured were rushed to hospitals in Wai, Satara and other hospitals in neighboring areas, district officials told PTI at the site adding that the exact number of injured could not be ascertained immediately. [More>>expessindia.com]
1.26.05 Trains crash in Los Angeles from suicide attempt
GLENDALE, Jan. 26 A man intent on committing suicide left his car on a railroad track in Glendale today where it set off a three-train collision that killed at least 10 people and injured nearly 200, authorities said. Police arrested a man who they said would be charged with homicide in the crash that left train cars mangled and seared. Debris including seat cushions, bloody towels and luggage discarded by fleeing passengers littered the area. [More>>latimes.com]
WASHINGTON, Jan. 26 The Senate confirmed President Bush's choice for secretary of state and advanced his nominee for attorney general yesterday, but in the process, Democrats registered discontent with Bush's Iraq war policies to a degree that surprised even some of their party's leaders. The Senate voted 85 to 13 to confirm Condoleezza Rice as secretary of state, providing the most negative votes cast against a nominee for that post in 180 years. Meanwhile, all eight Democrats on the Judiciary Committee voted against Bush's appointment of Alberto R. Gonzales as attorney general. [More>>washingtonpost.com]
JERUSALEM, Jan. 27 The disengagement plan will cause a humanitarian disaster if Israel and the donor countries fail to make preparations for rehabilitating the Palestinians health system in the Gaza Strip, Physicians for Human Rights said in a report released Wednesday.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) Jan. 26 Pakistan is not seeking to start an arms race with India, Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz said on Wednesday, but added there could be no full peace between the states without a solution on Kashmir. The South Asian nuclear-armed neighbors have come a long way in patching up relations since going to the brink of a fourth war in 2002, but the issue of the disputed Kashmir region remains. "Pakistan does not want to enter into an arms race with any country, including India, whether nuclear or conventional," Aziz told the Belgian Royal Institute for International Relations. [More>>expressindia.com; see story, "PM warns India against arms race," jang.com.pk]
KATHMANDU, Jan. 26 (IANS) A top UN official visiting Nepal to assess the human rights situation has warned the Maoist insurgents that one day they would have to face trial in court for their acts of violence. UN Human Rights Commissioner Louise Arbour Wednesday warned the guerrillas that this was the "era of accountability".
1.07.05 Sinclair Broadcasting to sue webloggers
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