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2.08.05 Suicide bomber kills 21 in Iraq
BAGHDAD, Feb. 8 A suicide bomber blew himself up in a crowd of Iraqis outside an army recruitment center today, killing 21 other people and injuring 27 more, the U.S. military said. It was the deadliest attack in the Iraqi capital since last week's election.
2.08.05 The big picture may seem rosy, but the deficit is in the details
WASHINGTON, Feb. 7 Edmund L. Andrews and David E. Rosenbaum report on the US Budget: "The large tables in President Bush's new budget show he intends to keep his promise of slicing the federal deficit in half by the end of his term, but the fine print indicates that the goal may be elusive. The budget is notable for including limits on spending that are unlikely to be enacted and for excluding expenses that are sure to be incurred. Here are the most important points:
2.08.05 Saudis win backing for anti-terror center
RIYADH (Reuters) Feb. 8 Security officials from 50 countries Tuesday endorsed a Saudi Arabian plan to create an international counter-terrorism center. But basic details were left to be decided later, including what exactly such a center should do, who would pay for it, and whether it should be based in Switzerland, New York or elsewhere..."The main thing is that Saudi Arabia, which was considered since 9/11 as perhaps the home country of a certain kind of terrorism, is not only taking measures inside the country but playing an important role internationally to fight it," a European official said. [More>>reuters.com]
2.08.05 Mexico's Fox increases security
Feb. 8 Mexican President Vicente Fox has boosted his personal security after reports that an adviser leaked details of his travel plans to a drug cartel. Mr. Fox said the cartels had managed to penetrate the Mexican government at the highest levels, but that he would not let the traffickers defeat the state. Nahum Acosta, a senior member of the team organizing Mr. Fox's official trips, was arrested last Thursday. There has recently been a surge in drug-related killings in Mexico. [More>>bbc.co.uk]
2.08.05 Sharon and Abbas declare end to four years of hostilities
SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Feb. 8 Echoing the words of Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas moments before, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on Tuesday announced an agreement to end more than four years of hostilities between Israel and the Palestinians. "Today, in my meeting with Chairman Abbas, we agreed that all Palestinians will stop all acts of violence against all Israelis everywhere, and, at the same time, Israel will cease all its military activity against all Palestinians everywhere," Sharon said at the close of a day-long summit in the Red Sea resort town. [More>>haaretz.com; see also Jerusalem Post]
2.08.05 Hamas says not bound by Palestinian ceasefire
Feb. 8 GAZA CITY (AFP) Feb 8 Palestinian Islamist militant movement Hamas said Tuesday that it was not bound by the cease fire announced by Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas at a Middle East peace summit in Egypt. Abbas's declaration "expresses only the position of the Palestinian Authority. It does not express the position of the Palestinian movements," said Hamas spokesman Mushir al-Masri. In Beirut, Hamas spokesman Osama Hamdaneh said the cease fire pledge "does not commit the Palestinian resistance." [More>>turkishpress.com; tip from jang.com.pk]
2.08.05 PA official: IDF to quit five West Bank cities within three weeks
Feb.8 Israel Defense Forces troops will complete their hand over of five West Bank cities to Palestinian control within three weeks, Palestinian negotiator Hassan Abu Libdeh said Tuesday, releasing a timetable for the first time. The hand over schedule was agreed on at Tuesday's Sharm el-Sheikh summit between Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. [More>>haaretzdaily.com]
2.08.05 China develops bird flu vaccine
BEIJING, Feb. 8 China's agriculture ministry said its scientists have developed a new vaccine to prevent the spread of the killer bird flu, the Chinese news agency Xinhua said, quoting a report in China Daily yesterday. It said the ministry stated that the new vaccine can effectively ³cut a key link in the transmission chain of the highly pathogenic avian influenza among water fowl.² Using a technique called reverse genetics, scientists at the Key Laboratory of Animal Influenza, affiliated to Harbin Veterinary Research Institute, altered the genome sequence of the virus to construct a vaccine that is believed to be safe to both poultry and mammals. [More>>thestar.com.my via tajikistannews.net]
2.08.05 EU joins forces to fight spam the majority originates from the US
Feb. 7 The EU has called for closer coordination among all member governments to find and prosecute those illegally spreading unsolicited bulk commercial email the majority of which originate from the US. Viviane Reding, the EU commissioner in charge of new media and information society, also announced that "anti-spam enforcement authorities" in 13 EU countries had agreed to cooperate in investigating complaints against spammers. [More>>Al-Jezeera]
2.08.05 Rice calls for 'New Chapter' in US-Euro alliance
PARIS, Feb. 8 -- Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called Tuesday for Europe and the United States to turn away from past disagreements and focus on spreading their common democratic values to the Middle East and around the world, saying recent developments show that "we've only just begun to see what freedom can achieve." In a speech billed as her first major foreign policy address since taking over as secretary of state for President Bush's second term, Rice echoed the themes of Bush's inaugural call to promote democracy abroad as a way to fight Islamic radicals, who she said are "swimming against the tide of the human spirit."
"Freedom by its very nature must be homegrown," Rice said. "It cannot be given, and it certainly cannot be imposed." But she added, "Spreading freedom in the Arab and Muslim worlds is urgent work that cannot be deferred..."America stands ready to work with Europe on our common agenda -- and Europe must stand ready to work with America," Rice said. "After all, history will surely judge us not by our disagreements, but by our new achievements." [More>>washingtonpost.com; see also bbc.co.uk and liberation.fr for the French take on the story.
2.08.05 Indonesia considers leaving Opec
Feb. 8 Indonesia is reviewing its status in the oil-producers' club as dwindling production is pushing it closer to becoming a net importer, the country's energy minister said. Purnomo Yusgiantoro was quoted in the Jakarta Post newspaper as saying that a consideration to withdraw from Opec (Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries) would be carefully weighed. Analysts warned that such a move could backfire and cause foreign investment in the beleaguered sector to decrease further as the country is looking to boost interest. [More>>Al-Jazeera]
2.08.05 EU largest trading partner of Pakistan: EU Ambassador
KARACHI, Feb. 8 The European Union is the largest trading partner of Pakistan and the overall trade between the two is 5.1 billion Euros. This was stated by the Ambassador of the European Union to Pakistan, Likka Uusitalo. [More>>jang.com.pk]
2.08.05 Iran to resolve problems with US
TEHRAN, Feb. 8 Iran's top nuclear negotiator said on Tuesday that Tehran wants to resolve decades of differences with the United States but warned that a US military strike would not be able to destroy its nuclear facilities. "We are not seeking tension with the United States," Hasan Rowhani told the state-run television. "We are seeking to resolve our problems with America but it's the Americans who don't want problems be resolved." "There is no problem in today's world that can't be resolved," he insisted. [More>>newkerala.com]
2.08.05 Toll in Asian tsunami disaster tops 295,000
JAKARTA, Feb. 8 JAKARTA - The number of people believed killed in December's tsunami disaster topped 295,000, six weeks after the catastrophe, as Indonesia again increased its number of dead. Indonesia was hardest-hit by the December 26 quake and tsunamis, with a total of 242,347 people listed as dead or missing, the health ministry said in its latest figures. [More>>China Daily]
2.08.05 Seoul stocks hit 5-year high
Feb. 8 Korean stock prices rose to their highest level in five years yesterday lifted by broad gains on Wall Street after a weaker-than-expected U.S. jobs date eased concerns that the Federal Reserve would raise interest rate at a faster pace. The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index closed up 1.68 percent to 949.19, its highest close since Feb. 11, 2000. The tech-heavy Kosdaq climbed 3.4 percent to 481.40, a level not seen since April. Chip makers rose to multi-month highs, mirroring a rally by their U.S. peers boosted by optimism over the outlook of the sector. [More>>koreaherald.co.kr]
2.08.05 Russia-Ukraine: a reply to Russian liberals
Feb. 8 Political scientist Dmitry Yevstafyev prepared an interesting editorial, reflecting on the contest between the US / EU and Russia in influencing the election in the Ukraine, and concludes that regardless what happened, Russia was right: "... I will make a very unpopular conclusion now, against which the whole of the "progressive community" will protest: Russia acted correctly in [the] Ukraine, and its strategic choice was right, including and most importantly, from the view of morality... The main conclusion is simple: We must not hope that the West will respect Russia's interests in the post-Soviet countries. Hence, we can act symmetrically, gearing our actions to possibilities and interests and disregarding Europe's and America's opinion of the future of democracy in the former Soviet states. Eurasia is entering a period of harsh and sometimes ruthless politics, as the death of Zurab Zhvania showed. And we must be ready to talk with our partners in this language, which they apparently understand better than our calls to dialogue. As for [the] Ukraine, let it go where it wants or stand where it is standing now. We should take two simple, if not primitive, steps..." [More>>rian.ru]
2.08.05 Japan close to accepting US mad cow proposal
TOKYO, Feb. 8 Japan moved a step closer Tuesday to removing a near 14-month ban on U.S. beef imports as a government panel studying mad cow disease agreed to accept the age verification method proposed by the United States. The panel's judgment is expected to allow the Food Safety Commission in the Cabinet Office to go ahead with the revision of the current domestic policy to a system that excludes animals aged 20 months or younger. [More>>kyodo.co.jp]
2.08.05 Beijing's military buildup races ahead
Feb. 7 An editorial by Richard Halloran says: "...Where many American and Asian analysts said before that China would be able to mount a credible threat between 2010 and 2015, now they are saying it will come earlier, perhaps by 2006 and certainly by 2012." [More>>japantimes.co.jp]
2.08.05 Ex-residents want Russian-held isles back
Feb. 8 Japanese who used to live on the islands of Shikotan, Kunashiri and Etorofu and the Habomai islets will only accept the total return of the territories from Russia, not just two of the islands as Moscow is proposing, according to Toshio Koizumi, chairman of a group of former islanders. "Our principle to collectively seek the return of the four islands that originally belonged to Japan is unshakable," Koizumi said in an interview. "Any proposal other than a return of all four islands cannot be accepted." [More>>japantimes.co.jp]
2.08.05 US, Japan begin talks on developing missile defense system
WASHINGTON (Kyodo News) Feb. 8 Japan and the United States have started talks to move the ongoing joint development of a missile defense system to the development stage, a U.S. Defense Department official said Monday. The talks came after the Pentagon decided to embark on the development in fiscal 2007 of an enhanced version of its independently developed Standard Missile 3 interceptor, the official said. The two nations have been jointly researching the enhanced version. [More>>japantoday.com]
2.08.05 Lost city is 'not Kota Gelanggi'
JOHOR BARU, Feb. 8 The Johor government agrees that there is a lost city in the state but is disputing its name. As the mystery of the site deepens, Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman said there was a historic city in Johor located within the deep jungles of Kota Tinggi but it was not Kota Gelanggi. He said based on historical facts and archaeological finds over the past 10 years by the state heritage foundation Yayasan Warisan Johor, there was evidence that the historic city in Kota Tinggi is Kota Klang Kiu or Ganggayu. The search for the lost city drew nationwide interest after The Star broke the story last week, prompting the Federal Government to say it would be given top priority. [More>>thestar.com.my]
2.08.05 Kausalyan death toll rises to six
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, Feb. 8 The death toll from last night's attack on a LTTE group in Welikanda has risen to six with the death of former TNA Ampara district MP A. Chandra Nehru this morning at the Colombo National Hospital. The LTTE¹s eastern political head E. Kausalyan and four other senior LTTE cadres were killed and four others including the former MP and two policemen were injured when their vehicle was ambushed, allegedly by Karuna loyalists, at Punani in government-held Welikanda. [More>>colombopage.com]
2.08.05 Death toll up in Jolo revolt; police on heightened alert
ZAMBOANGA, Zamboanga del Sur, Philippines, Feb. 8 A rebellion entered its second day on the southern Philippines island of Jolo Tuesday as the toll neared 50 dead, military officials said...Brigadier General Agustin Dema-ala, chief of the military's anti-terrorism Task Force Comet, told reporters in Camp Aguinaldo by phone that ³over 30² rebels were killed in the clashes...17 soldiers were killed while 26 others were wounded. Dema-ala however admitted that the military had recovered the bodies of only five rebels. Skirmishes were reported around the town of Panamao between several hundred followers of Nur Misuari, a politician and former Muslim separatist guerrilla leader, and Philippine security forces...The Abu Sayyaf kidnapped several European and US tourists several years ago, reportedly raising millions of dollars in ransom for some of the hostages...Misuari is now detained at a police camp south of Manila while on trial for rebellion. [More>>inq7.net]
2.07.05 Bomb materials 'inside tsunami aid'
Feb. 7 The Sri Lankan military has accused a relief group of trying to smuggle bomb-making materials hidden in goods - probably sent from Britain - intended for tsunami survivors in areas controlled by Tamil Tiger rebels. Port authorities found thousands of small steel balls hidden in water pots in a shipping container that consigned to the Tamils Rehabilitation Organisation, the army reported.
2.07.05 Indonesian Navy, Lapan to produce missiles
JAKARTA (Antara) Feb. 8 The Indonesian Navy and the National Aeronautics and Space Agency (Lapan) signed a memorandum of understanding on Monday to develop missile to reduce the dependency on foreign weapons. "We are very dependent on foreign weapons. It is very harmful not to be able to operate our weapons just because we are under an embargo," Navy Chief of Staff Adm. Bernard Kent Sondakh said. "The missiles will be for defensive purposes only," he added. [More>>thejakartapost.com]
2.07.05 US Navy commander says Indonesia ties improving
SINGAPORE (Reuters) Feb. 8 Washington's tsunami relief in Indonesia's ravaged Aceh province has paved the way for stronger ties between the United States and the world's most populous Muslim country, a U.S. Navy commander said on Monday. Many Indonesians were initially suspicious of the U.S. soldiers who arrived in Aceh a week after the Dec. 26 Indian Ocean tsunami but that attitude changed over a few weeks, said U.S. Navy Rear Admiral William Douglas Crowder. "There was quite frankly a lot of suspicion when the U.S. military first arrived," said the commander of the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier strike group, which is made up of an aircraft carrier, a cruiser, two destroyers and a supply ship. [More>>thejakartapost.com]
2.07.05 US redesigning nation's atomic weapons: report
NEW YORK (PTI) Feb. & American scientists, worried that the nation's ageing nuclear arsenal is becoming increasingly fragile, have begun designing a new generation of nuclear arms meant to be sturdier and more reliable and to have longer lives, a media report said today. The programme could help shrink the arsenal and the high cost of its maintenance, it said quoting federal officials and private experts.
2.07.05 Khan helped Iran, North Korea in nuke technology: report
NEW YORK (PTI) Feb. 7 As the US tries to ascertain whether Pakistan scientist A. Q. Khan's network sold nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries, investigations have found that the network played a "bigger role" in helping Iran and North Korea in their efforts to acquire nuclear know-how than had been previously disclosed.
2.07.05 Assailants take over Spanish consulate in Switzerland
BERN, Switzerland, Feb. 7 Three unidentified assailants took over the Spanish consulate Monday in Bern, injuring a security guard, authorities said. Spain's foreign minister reportedly said the crisis ended after three hours, but Swiss police said it was unclear if the hostage takers were still in the consulate building and that authorities were trying to contact them. "According to our latest information, the hostage situation still isn't over,'' said Juerg Mosimann, spokesman for Bern cantonal (state) police.
2.07.05 Bush budget emphasizes military, security spending
WASHINGTON, Feb. 7 President Bush today proposed a $2.6-trillion budget that continues the reordering of government spending to emphasize military funding and domestic security that has marked his tenure, while seeking cuts across a wide swath of the nation's domestic needs. Under the spending plan for fiscal 2006, beginning Oct. 1, 2005, that the president sent to Congress, the deficit would drop to $390 billion from the $427 billion forecast for this year. [More>>latimes.com; see also Reuters, "Bush proposes big cuts to rein in deficit,": "President Bush on Monday proposed a $2.57 trillion budget that slashes domestic programs from farm aid to housing grants for the poor, as he sought to curb budget deficits that have soared on his watch. Democrats derided Bush's plan as a 'hoax' because it excludes future costs for the Iraq conflict and massive borrowing required for his proposal to add private investment accounts to Social Security." See also guardian.co.uk article.]
2.07.05 Japan's Takeda buys California biotechnology company
TOKYO, Feb. 7 Japan's largest drug maker, Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., said Monday it will acquire Syrrx Inc., a privately held California biotechnology company working on treatments for cancer and diabetes. Takeda will buy San Diego-based Syrrx for about $270 million (euro210 million) in cash, Takeda said.
2.07.05 14 soldiers killed in clashes with Misuari men in Phillipines
Feb. 8 Fourteen soldiers have been killed while over a dozen have been wounded after followers of detained former rebel leader Nur Misuari attacked several military installations in Sulu island on Monday, a military spokesman said. Thirteen soldiers were killed after Misuari's followers and Abu Sayyaf members ambushed Marine Battalion Landing Team 5 in Barangay (village) Pansul in Patikul town at 1:35 p.m., Lieutenant Colonel Buenaventura Pascual said. Fourteen other soldiers were wounded in the assault on the military truck, Pascual said. "Pursuit operations are ongoing," the military spokesman said, adding that they had yet to account for rebel casualties. [More>>inq7.net via bignewsnetwork]
2.07.05 India begins AIDS vaccine trials on humans
NEW DELHI (Reuters) Feb. 7 India, home to the world's second-largest HIV population after South Africa, began its first ever human trials of a new vaccine against the deadly virus on Monday, the Health Minister said. A vaccine the best hope for the developing world where drugs remain out of reach for millions is considered the Holy Grail in the battle against the AIDS epidemic, but efforts to find one have been hampered by HIV's uncanny ability to mutate. Human trials of vaccines against different strains of the virus are already being conducted in the United States, Europe, Africa and South America. [More>>expressindia.com]
2.07.05 Saudi women spectators in male-only landmark vote
RIYADH, Feb. 7 Saudi women will be left in the spectators' gallery on Thursday when their husbands, brothers and fathers head to polling centres to cast their vote in the first round of landmark municipal elections. Posters of aspiring male candidates for Riyadh¹s municipal council have sprouted in the streets of the capital, accompanied by invitations for men to visit their campaigning centres. "I cannot help but feel wronged for not participating," a Saudi woman told AFP, describing her feeling when she passes billboards promoting candidates. The elections to choose half the members of 178 local councils across the conservative Muslim kingdom will take place in three phases, kicking off in Riyadh and its surrounding area on Thursday. [More>>expressindia.com]
2.07.05 Astrological order not correct in 2004
Feb. 7 The assassination of the president of the USA, a major terrorist act in London, a new terrible disease that will destroy thousands of people, the increase of Vladimir Putin and Sergey Ivanov's popularity. This is an incomplete list of the events that mankind is in for in the new year, according to the astrologers. And it does not actually matter if their predictions come true or not. It was earlier that astrologers simply informed people. Now they have a much wider range of tasks.
2.07.05 Suicide bombers kill 27 people in Iraq
Feb. 8 Suicide bombers killed 27 people in attacks in two Iraqi cities on Monday in the worst violence since the country's historic election eight days ago. As the counting of votes continued following the Jan. 30 polls, a Kurdish coalition moved into second place, pushing a bloc led by interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi into third. A Shiite alliance is still well in the lead.
2.07.05 Israel says Iran is best dealt with diplomatically
Feb. 8 Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz told U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Monday that Israel favored diplomatic pressure over military means to prevent Iran obtaining nuclear weapons. Speaking to Israel Radio after a meeting with Rice, who was on a two-day visit to Israel and the Palestinian Occupied Territories, Mofaz said that "at the moment the efforts must be diplomatic". He added: "The way to act, the most acceptable way for us and the Americans is to use the diplomatic track to bring this issue to the (United Nations) Security Council and issue sanctions." His comments were in step with Rice's policy. She said last week that a military attack on Iran was not on the agenda. [More>>dailystar.com.lb]
2.07.05 Shalom praises France for role in Iran nuclear negotiations
Feb. 7 Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom on Monday praised France's role in seeking to persuade Iran to drop a nuclear enrichment program which Israel, the United States and others say is aimed at producing nuclear weapons. During a visit by French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier, Shalom urged the rest of Europe to follow France's lead in dealing with Iran. "We are very encouraged with the French determination to bring full cessation to Iran's efforts to develop a nuclear bomb," Shalom said. "I ask my French colleague maybe to convince his other colleagues among the European Union to adopt the same determination." [More>>haaretzdaily.com]
2.07.05 Shalom praises France for role in Iran nuclear negotiations
Feb. 7 Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas are to issue separate statements in Sharm e-Sheikh Tuesday designed to put an end to over four years of violence, even though the term "Israeli-Palestinian cease-fire" will not be used. Representatives from both sides were meeting near midnight Monday putting final touches on the ceremony that will be hosted by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, and will also be attended by Jordanian King Abdullah II. [More>>Jerusalem post and haaretzdaily.com]
2.07.05 EU demands to stop Iran's atomic plans rejected
LONDON, Feb. 7 Iran, accused by Washington of developing nuclear arms, has rejected European demands to abandon key atomic processes that could be used to make weapons, Iranian and western diplomats say.
2.04.05 Japan's 1st case of human mad cow disease confirmed
TOKYO, Feb. 4 The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare said Friday it has confirmed Japan's first case of the human variant of mad cow disease in a Japanese man who died in December. The ministry suspects the patient in his 50s was infected with the variant Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease in Britain where he had stayed for about a month around 1989 while the country was in the midst of an outbreak of mad cow disease.
1.07.05 Sinclair Broadcasting to sue webloggers
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