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02.13.07 ABC News journalist, Diane Sawyer, files confused interview and report a missed opportunity?
February 13 (Mel Copeland, Maravot News, editorial note) What began as a promising interview of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad turned to confusion in the reports filed Monday and Tuesday by ABC News journalist Diane Sawyer. Monday, Sawyer inquired about the Iranian program to recruit suicide bombers, citing a source she could not identify. Ahmadinejad answered, " I think that you should check your source..." leaving Sawyer with no ability to get an answer to her question. She knew beforehand, we can only presume, that she was going to ask the question and she should have been prepared, knowing that the program was announced by the head of the Revolutionary Guard. There have been several news reports (recorded and in Maravot News archives) since July 2005 that have documented the activities of the Revolutionary Guard's "Lovers of Martyrdom Garrison" (Gharargahe Asheghane Shahadat, in Persian). To assist ABC in the inquiry Maravot News emailed information through Kevin Keeshan, News Director, ABC7 News, San Francisco, to be delivered to Sawyer for follow-up on the question.
02.13.07 US general says no evidence Iran giving arms to Iraqi fighters
JAKARTA (AP) February 13 A top US general said Tuesday there was no evidence the Iranian government was supplying Iraqi insurgents with highly lethal roadside bombs, contradicting claims by other US military and administration officials. General Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said US forces hunting down militant networks that produced roadside bombs had arrested Iranians and that some of the material used in the devices were made in Iran. That does not translate that the Iranian government per se, for sure, is directly involved in doing this, Pace told reporters in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta. What it does say is that things made in Iran are being used in Iraq to kill coalition soldiers. [More>>haaretz.com ; See also washingtonpost.com and a related story, nytimes.com, February 13, "Skeptics doubt US evidence on Iran action in Iraq" : Three weeks after promising it would show proof of Iranian meddling in Iraq, the Bush administration has laid out its evidence and received in return a healthy dose of skepticism. The response from Congressional and other critics speaks volumes about the current state of American credibility, four years after the intelligence controversy leading up to the Iraq war. To pre-empt accusations that the charges against Iran were politically motivated, the administration rejected the idea of a high-level presentation, relying instead on military and intelligence officers to make its case in a background briefing in Baghdad.
02.13.07 NATO forces kill 22 Taliban in southern Afghanistan
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (AFP) February 13 NATO and Afghan forces have killed 22 Taliban rebels in southern Afghanistan during battles near a besieged dam and a remote town that was captured by the militants, officials said. The police chief of Helmand province said that up to 15 militants were killed Monday when British troops backed by helicopters and Afghan forces tried to clear rebel strongholds around the hydroelectric dam in Kajaki district. The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said in a statement that it did not have casualty figures for the insurgents but added that there were no ISAF, Afghan, or civilian casualties.
02.13.07 Bus explosions in Metn province, Lebanon, claim innocent lives
February 13 Three people were killed and at least 20 others wounded when two explosions ripped through two minibuses traveling on a highway Tuesday in the Ain Alaq town in the northern Metn province, police and Lebanese Red Cross (LRC) sources said. The explosions come at a time tensions were running high with the Hizbullah-led Opposition holding an open-ended protest in downtown Beirut, and on the eve of the second anniversary of the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
02.13.07 Suicide truck bomber kills 18 near Baghdad college
BAGHDAD (Reuters) February 13 A suicide bomber driving a small truck rigged with explosives blew up near a Baghdad college on Tuesday, killing 18 people in an attack that came just a day after bomb blasts ripped apart two crowded city markets. The attacks came despite a new crackdown by US and Iraqi forces aimed at clamping down on the daily bombings and shootings that have made the city one of the most dangerous places in the world. The operation is in its opening phase.
02.13.07 'Iran is keeping enrichment to low levels' : Iran FM
TEHRAN, February 13 Iran is enriching uranium to a low level only, the foreign minister said on Tuesday, amid suggestions that imposing a limit on the process could break the deadlock in its standoff with the West. "The level of enrichment for nuclear fuel is generally defined as being between 3,5 percent and five percent," Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki told reporters after meeting his Kuwaiti counterpart Sheikh Mohammad al-Sabah. "We define our enrichment as being within the necessary ceiling to make fuel for our civilian nuclear power stations," he added. Mottaki's comments came after chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani said on his weekend visit to the Munich security conference Iran could accept a limit on its enrichment as a guarantee it was not seeking nuclear weapons. [>thenews.com.pk]
02.13.07 North Korea to get 500,000 tons of heavy oil for shutting down reactor
BEIJING, February 13 Marathon talks aimed at ending North Korea's nuclear weapons program secured a major breakthrough on Tuesday with a joint agreement on the first steps towards disarmament, envoys said. Following 16 hours of grueling negotiations that finished at 2:00 a.m. on Tuesday (1800 GMT Monday), envoys said China had circulated a draft joint statement outlining the initial actions Pyongyang would take to end its nuclear drive and the economic rewards it would receive in return.
02.13.07 Moscow demands clarification from US over remarks about Russia threat
MOSCOW, February 12 Russia has demanded an explanation from the United States over Defense Secretary Robert Gates' remarks, which suggested that Russia was being identified as a potential threat, the Foreign Ministry said on Monday. Russia has asked the United States to clarify whether Gates' remarks represented the official position of the US administration, said Foreign Ministry spokesman Mikhail Kamynin in a statement. On Feb. 7, Gates addressed a committee meeting of the US congress, suggesting that Russia poses a potential threat to US security. He said: "We don't know what's going to develop in places like Russia..., in North Korea (DPRK), in Iran and elsewhere." Kamynin said Russia had noticed what Gates had said, which were among a series of recent remarks by the US military and intelligence officials that has greatly bewildered Russia.
02.12.07 Iranian president denies arming Iraqi militants
WASHINGTON (Reuters) February 12 Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad denied on Monday that Iran is supplying sophisticated weapons to Iraqi militants and said peace would return to Iraq only when US and other foreign forces leave. "The US administration and (US President George W.) Bush are used to accusing others," Ahmadinejad said in an interview with US television network ABC. US-led forces in Baghdad on Sunday showed off what US officials termed "a growing body" of evidence of Iranian weapons being used to kill their soldiers.
There were many articles involving the Reolutionary Guard's activites in recruiting and training suicide bombers.
02.12.07 Putin's blast from the past
February 13 IF the US administration didn't have enough to worry about, given the state of the world, it spent much of the weekend wondering whether Moscow had declared another Cold War. On Saturday, Vladimir Putin delivered the most aggressive verbal assault on the US and its European allies that a Russian leader has made since the Cold War ended 16 years ago. In a speech to the annual Munich Security Conference that evoked memories of the days when the two superpowers threatened to wipe out each other and much of the world, Putin attacked what he called the illegitimate US foreign policies of recent years.
02.12.07 At least 90 killed on day marking Golden Mosque attack
BAGHDAD February 12 Five explosions ripped through central Baghdad on Monday, killing at least 90 people, amid memorials marking last year's attack on a revered Shiite shrine in Samarra, police said. More than 190 people were wounded in the bombings, sandwiched around a commemoration on the anniversary of the attack on Al-Askariya Mosque, also known as the Golden Mosque. The February 2006 bombing is blamed for sparking an eruption of sectarian violence between Shiite and Sunni Muslims. It has been a year since the attack, according to the Islamic calendar. [More>>cnn.com ; See also aljazeera.net, February 12, "Scores killed in Baghdad blasts" : Twin car bombs in central Baghdad have killed up to 120 people and wounded more than 150. The blasts on Monday shattered the mainly Shia area on the first anniversary of the bombing of the Al Askari mosque in Samarra, north of the capital...
02.12.07 Pincus reveals Fleischer as leak source
February 12 Washington Post reporter Walter Pincus testified in court this morning that then-White House press secretary Ari Fleischer, not I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, was the first person to tell him that a prominent critic of the Iraq war was married to undercover CIA officer Valerie Plame. Testifying as the first defense witness at Libby's perjury trial, Pincus for the first time publicly disclosed the confidential source inside the White House who told him in 2003 that the wife of former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV worked at the CIA on matters relating to weapons of mass destruction.
02.12.07 'Hundreds of Taleban massing to attack dam'
SPIN BOLDAK, Afghanistan (Reuters) February 12 At least 700 Taleban fighters have crossed from Pakistan into Afghanistan to destroy a key dam, a major source of electricity, a provincial governor said on Monday. "We have got confirmed reports that they are Pakistani, Uzbek and Chechen nationals and have sneaked in," Helmand Governor Asadullah Wafa told Reuters by telephone. The dam, Kajaki, has seen major fighting in recent weeks between the Taleban and NATO forces. [>khaleejtimes.com]
02.12.07 Japanese whaling ship collides with environmental group's vessel
SYDNEY, February 12 A Japanese whaling ship and a vessel of an environmental group collided in the Antarctic Ocean off New Zealand on Monday, the Japanese Fisheries Agency and the conservation group said, with both sides blaming each other for the incident. The accident caused damage to both the 860.25-ton whaler Kaiko Maru operated by the Institute of Cetacean Research and the Robert Hunter of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, the agency and the environmental group separately said. Sea Shepherd said the Robert Hunter was left with a 30-centimeter gash in its hull after the collision in the late afternoon. The Robert Hunter and the Sea Shepherd flagship Farley Mowat had chased the Japanese vessel into a patch of ice after seeing the ship following a pod of whales, Alex Cornelissen, captain of the Robert Hunter, said. However, the Japanese government denied that the Kaiko Maru, which is engaged in what Japan calls research whaling, had struck the Robert Hunter, claiming it was the other way around. [japantoday.com ; See other details, seashepherd.org, February 12, "Sea Shepherd saves whale pod from whalers."]
02.09.07 Clashes at Jewish-Muslim holy site in Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (AFP) February 9 Israeli riot police armed with stun grenades stormed Jerusalemıs Al Aqsa mosque compound and clashed with Palestinian stone throwers at the most contested religious site in the Holy Land on Friday. Fifteen Israeli policemen and at least 20 Palestinians were wounded in protests against nearby Israeli repair work, which Arab leaders charge endangers the mosque, as smoke and explosions flared after Muslim prayers.
02.09.07 Russia willing to help NATO stabilize Afghanistan situation
SEVILLE (RIA Novosti) February 9 Russia is interested in helping NATO forces stabilize the situation in Afghanistan, the defense minister said after an informal Russia-NATO Council meeting. "We will of course never send our servicemen there, but everything else is open for discussion. This includes our efforts to alleviate Afghanistan's debt to Russia," Sergei Ivanov told journalists on Friday in the southern Spanish city of Seville. The minister said Afghanistan's current debt to Russia is $10 billion. [More>>rian.ru]
02.09.07 Report: Iraqi Sunni insurgent group offers cease-fire
LONDON (Xinhua) February 9 A significant Iraqi insurgent group has for the first time proposed the terms of a cease-fire that would allow American and British troops to leave the country they invaded in 2003, a British newspaper reported on Friday. "Discussions and negotiations are a principle we believe in to overcome the situation in which Iraqi bloodletting continues," AbuSalih Al-Jeelani, one of the military leaders of the Iraqi Sunni Islamic Resistance Movement, said in a statement that was passed to The Independent. "Should the Americans wish to negotiate their withdrawal from our country and leave our people to live in peace, then we will negotiate subject to specific conditions and circumstances." said Al-Jeelani, whose group also calls itself the "20th Revolution Brigades," a military wing of the original insurgent organization. [More>>xinhuanet.com]
02.09.07 Rice confronted over Iran evidence
Februaary 9 Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, has been confronted in congress over the US administration's failure to provide firm evidence for Iran's alleged nuclear weapons development. Ron Paul, a Republican congressman, said: "Unproven charges against Iran's nuclear intentions are eerily reminiscent of the false charges made against Iraq." Paul said "unproven accusations of Iranian support for the Iraqi insurgency" were also serving as a pretext for "escalating our sharp rhetoric towards Iran. Pressed for proof of dramatic claims of Iranian involvement in Iraq, the administration keeps promising that they are compiling it." [More>>aljazeera.net]
02.09.07 Sea Shepherd activists clash with Japanese whalers in Southern Ocean
SYDNEY, February 9 Two anti-whaling activists went missing for more than seven hours and two Japanese seamen were injured after a violent clash in Antarctic waters early Friday. In an ugly confrontation, two ships from the Sea Shepherd conservation society, the Farley Mowat and the Robert Hunter, allegedly threw 6 liters of butyric acid onto the decks of the Japanese whaler Nisshin Maru. The Sea Shepherd ships then used motorized inflatable boats to try to disrupt the whaler's activities. But the chase ended abruptly after one of the inflatables, carrying two activists, an Australian and American, went missing in heavy fog. Speaking to Kyodo News from aboard the Robert Hunter, Jonny Vasic, Sea Shepherd international director, said the men had finally been found by the Farley Mowat after seven hours and were in good health. [More>>japantoday.com]
02.09.07 Bird flu resurfaces among poultry in southeast Turkey
ANKARA, February 8 Bird flu has been detected among poultry in a village in the southeastern Turkish province of Batman, with experts still examining whether it is the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain, the agriculture ministry said Thursday. "There has been no finding so far to suggest that humans in the region may have been infected," ministry spokesman Osman Bengi told AFP. A nationwide action plan of measures to prevent the possible spread of the virus has been activated amid renewed warnings to people not to keep poultry outdoors, the ministry said. [More>>turkishpress.com]
02.07.07 Scrapping medium-range ballistic missiles a mistake Ivanov
MOSCOW (RIA Novosti) February 7 Russia's defense minister said Wednesday that the country's commitment not to deploy medium-range ballistic missiles was a mistake. Speaking at a session of the lower house of parliament, Sergei Ivanov said the Russian leadership has committed a number of mistakes in the past that have weakened the country's defense capability. "The gravest mistake was the decision to scrap a whole class of missile weapons - medium- range ballistic missiles," Ivanov said, adding that dozens of countries currently possess these weapons. "Only Russia and the United States do not have the right to have such weapons, although they would be quite useful for us," the minister said.
02.07.07 Pallets of US cash sent to Iraq before handover
WASHINGTON (Reuters) February 7 The US Federal Reserve sent record payouts of more than $4 billion in cash to Baghdad on giant pallets aboard military planes shortly before the United States gave control back to Iraqis, lawmakers said on Tuesday. The money, which had been held by the United States, came from Iraqi oil exports, surplus dollars from the UN-run oil-for-food program and frozen assets belonging to the ousted Saddam Hussein regime. Bills weighing a total of 363 tons were loaded onto military aircraft in the largest cash shipments ever made by the Federal Reserve, said Rep. Henry Waxman, chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
02.07.07 Palestinians unite to fight Temple Mount dig
JERUSALEM, February 8 (Article by Abraham Rabinovich) An Israeli archaeological dig beside Jerusalem's Temple Mount, the third holiest site in Islam, has provided leaders of feuding Palestinian factions with a common rallying cry that may help them pull back from the edge of civil war. Leaders of Hamas and Fatah, meeting in Mecca in a bid to establish a unity government, yesterday condemned the excavations, which they said threatened to undermine the al-Aqsa Mosque. "I appeal to all our Palestinian people to be united and rise up together to protect al-Aqsa," said Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniya.
02.07.07 Twenty-two in Iraq bomb blasts
BAGHDAD, February 7 Twenty-two men including a US soldier were killed Wednesday in different attacks and bomb blasts, while 36 corpses were retrieved from various parts of the capital. A US helicopter was also destroyed here. According to police, an Iraqi woman and a police official were killed and three other officials were injured in a roadside car bomb in the capital. Another woman and two Iraqis were killed in Mosul in firing attacks. In Faluja also, mortar attacks caused four people including two women lose their lives. Besides, 36 corpses were recovered from Mehmoodiya, Yousufiya and Shirqat, who were tortured to death. Iraqi defence ministry confirmed the death of 14 suspected resistance fighters and the arrest of another 13 militants. US troops verified the crashing accident of US helicopter. [More>>thenews.com.pk ; See also nytimes.com, February 7, US copter crash in Iraq kills 7."]
02.07.07 US warns citizens in Indonesia on threat from cats
JAKARTA (Reuters) February 7 The US embassy warned its citizens in Indonesia on Wednesday that the country's wild and stray cats may carry the deadly bird flu virus and should be avoided and that care needed to be taken with pet cats. Most known cases of humans getting the H5N1 virus have involved contact with chickens or other infected birds. But last month experts called for closer monitoring of other animals after Indonesian scientists found it in cats near poultry markets.
02.07.07 Motoring letter bomb campaign hits Government HQ, injuring workers
February 7 Fears of a sustained letter bombing campaign against motoring organisations appear to have been confirmed today after a seventh attack in three weeks injured three women at the Governmentıs motoring headquarters in Swansea this morning. John Reid, the Home Secretary, has described the attacks as ³worrying² and Assistant Chief Constable Anton Setchell, the police officer in charge of fighting domestic extremism, has been appointed to coordinate the investigation.
02.06.07 G.O.P senators block debate on Iraq policy
WASHINGTON, February 6 Republicans on Monday blocked Senate debate on a bipartisan resolution opposing President Bushıs troop buildup in Iraq, leaving in doubt whether the Senate would render a judgment on what lawmakers of both parties described as the paramount issue of the day. The decision short-circuited what had been building as the first major Congressional challenge to President Bush over his handling of the war since Democrats took control of Congress last month, and left each party blaming the other for frustrating debate on a topic that is likely to influence the 2008 presidential and Congressional races.
02.06.07 Suicide bomber killed, three officials hurt in Islamabad airport blast
ISLAMABAD, February 6 A suicide bomber blew himself up after opening fire at the Islamabad International airport Tuesday, killing himself and injuring three security officials, report said. An accomplice of the attacker has been detained by the police, who opened fire at security officials before the other detonated himself up. According to details, the attackers were heading towards the airport in a taxi and opened firing when security staffers tried to stop them, which injured three airport security officials. One of the attackers suddenly blew himself up while the other two including the taxi driver have been arrested by law enforcement agencies. It was learnt that countrywide airports have been put on high alert while Islamabad airport has been completely sealed soon after the incident. [>thenews.com.pk]
02.06.07 Iranian diplomat snatched in Iraq, Tehran blames US
BAGHDAD (Reuters) February 6 Gunmen in Iraqi army uniforms kidnapped a senior Iranian diplomat in Baghdad, Iraqi and Iranian officials said Tuesday, and Tehran blamed the US military and demanded his immediate release. "We are dealing with this as a kidnapping," an Iraqi government official said. The official said the diplomat, the second secretary at the Iranian embassy in Baghdad, was snatched in the central Karrada district Sunday by 30 gunmen wearing the uniforms of a special Iraqi army unit that often works with US military forces in Iraq. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini blamed U.S. forces for the kidnapping of Jalal Sharafi, saying it was carried out by a group attached to Iraq's Defense Ministry "which works under the supervision of American forces." [More>>haaretz.com ; See also turkishpress.com (AFP) February 6, "Gunmen snatch Iranian diplomat in Baghdad" : ...The New York Times, quoting Iraqi officials, said security forces had captured several suspects after pursuing their vehicles through the streets of Baghdad. The men captured were Iraqis with defence ministry identification which raised "serious questions about whether government forces themselves were involved in the abduction," it said.
02.06.07 Kirkuk Arabs face relocation
February 6 An Iraqi government committee has decided to relocate tens of thousands of Arabs currently living in the oil-rich northern city of Kirkuk. The Iraqi Higher Committee for the Normalization of Kirkuk ruled that Arabs descended from those who moved to the city after 1957 would be returned to their original home towns and given compensation. Rosh Siddiq, a Kurdish official familiar with the work of the committee, told Al Jazeera that the decision to move the mainly Shia Arabs to towns in central and southern Iraq had been taken earlier this week.
02.06.07 Second mail bomb blast
February 6 There are fears that a "disgruntled motorist" is sending letter bombs after two people were injured when an "item of mail" exploded at offices in Wokingham. The incident came just a day after a similar incident in central London. The company targeted in the second attack, Vantis, describes itself as an "accounting, business and tax advisory group." Sky News has revealed that Vantis acts as accountant for a company involved with speed cameras. Crime correspondent Martin Brunt confirmed that the company represents Speed Check Services and said the letter could have been addressed to that organisation, rather than to Vantis. He said: "It is beginning to look as though this is the work of a disgruntled motorist or motorists." [More>>sky.com]
02.06.07 Two more Indonesians have bird flu, new Pakistan case
JAKARTA (Reuters) February 6 Two more Indonesians were confirmed to have bird flu on Tuesday and Pakistan reported its first case in a year after finding the deadly virus in a small flock of chickens near the capital Islamabad. Concern has grown since the H5N1 virus flared again in Asia in recent months, spreading through poultry flocks in South Korea, Japan, Thailand and Vietnam. A chicken is seen at a poultry shop in Jakarta February 5, 2007. Two more Indonesians were confirmed to have bird flu on Tuesday and Pakistan reported its first case in a year after finding the deadly virus in a small flock of chickens near the capital Islamabad. The H5N1 virus has spread into the Middle East, Africa and Europe since it reemerged in Asia in 2003 and outbreaks have now been detected in birds in around 50 countries. [More>>thestar.com.my ; See related story, khaleejtimes.com, February 6, "Egyptian teenager dies of bird flu."]
02.05.07 Bush sends Congress $2.9 trillion budget plan
February 5 President Bush sent to Congress a $2.9 trillion budget plan that would dramatically increase military spending including an extra $245 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan but squeeze federal health care programs and most domestic agencies to achieve his goal of eliminating the deficit by 2012. The proposal seeks to make permanent tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003 at a cost of $374 billion over five years. And it would slice nearly $96 billion over five years from Medicare and Medicaid, the government's health care programs for the poor and the elderly. The proposal would also Democrats, who control Congress for the first time since Bush took office, quickly attacked the proposal.
02.05.07 Iraqis fault pace of US plan of attack
BAGHDAD, February 5 A growing number of Iraqis are saying that the United States is to blame for creating conditions that led to the worst single suicide bombing in the war, which devastated a Shiite market in Baghdad on Saturday. They argued that the Americans had been slow in completing the vaunted new American security plan, making Shiite neighborhoods much more vulnerable to such horrific attacks...In advance of the plan, which would flood Baghdad with thousands of new American and Iraqi troops, many Mahdi Army checkpoints were dismantled and its leaders were either in hiding or under arrest, which was one of the planıs intended goals to reduce sectarian fighting.
02.05.07 Insurgents may have new anti-aircraft weapon
February 5 American military commanders in Iraq have been forced to adopt new security tactics in the wake of a fresh threat from insurgents after it was confirmed that all four US helicopters that have crashed there in the past two weeks were brought down by ground fire. The crashes raise concerns that insurgents, who have proved highly innovative in warfare, have acquired new weaponry. Twenty Americans, including 16 soldiers and four civilians working for a security company, died in the crashes.
02.05.07 Al-Sadr aide killed in Iraq
February 5 Iraqi and US forces have killed a top official of Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's organisation in a raid on his home north of Baghdad. While security forces said Khadhim al-Hamadani, a "rogue leader" of the al-Mahdi Army, was killed while fleeing, an al-Sadr official said he was "assassinated." Iraqi police said al-Hamadani had been the leader of al-Sadr's political office in Diyala province and was shot when he tried to flee. But Abdul-Mehdi al-Matiri, an official in al-Sadr's political office, said he had been stabbed with a bayonet. The US military said in a statement on Monday that al-Hamadani had reportedly been responsible for attacks on US and Iraqi troops and was believed to have "facilitated and directed numerous kidnappings, assassinations and other violence." [More>>aljazeera.net]
02.05.07 Woman hurt in office parcel bomb explosion
February 5 A woman suffered minor injuries today after a parcel bomb exploded at an office in central London. Scotland Yard's anti-terrorism unit was investigating the "small explosion" at the offices of the Capita Group, a business out-sourcing company which runs London's congestion charge system among other services. The female employee was taken to hospital by ambulance and police set up a cordon around the address in Victoria Street, less than a mile from the Houses of Parliament. A Scotland Yard spokesman said it was too early to say who may have been behind the incident. [More>>independent.co.uk]
02.05.07 Terrorist shootout in Delhi
February 6 Police have sealed off the centre of New Delhi after a shootout with a group of al-Qa'ida-affiliated terrorists who have been linked to attacks on India's Congress Party president Sonia Gandhi. The Jaish-e-Mohammed (Army of Mohammed) terrorists, cornered close to Connaught Place, the hub of the capital's central business district, were carrying a potent cache of RDX explosives, detonators, timers and hand grenades, as well as cash in US dollars and Indian rupees.
02.04.07 New blasts rock Baghdad as carnage kills 130
BAGHDAD (AFP) February 4 Further bombings shook Baghdad Sunday, a day after a massive blast ripped through a crowded market killing 130 people in the second deadliest attack in Iraq since the March 2003 invasion. The latest series of roadside bomb attacks killed at least 15 people, including four policemen, security sources said. The attacks, which follow a week of intensive bombings of mainly-Shiite areas, come ahead of an impending massive security operation by a combined US-Iraqi force to stabilize the violence-wracked Iraqi capital.
02.04.07 Vice President's shadow hangs over trial
February 4 Testimony Points Out Cheney's Role in Trying to Dampen Joseph Wilson's Criticism. Vice President Cheney's press officer, Cathie Martin, approached his chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, on Air Force Two on July 12, 2003, to ask how she should respond to journalists' questions about Joseph C. Wilson IV. Libby looked over one of the reporters' questions and told Martin: "Well, let me go talk to the boss and I'll be back."
02.04.07 War in Iraq propelling a massive migration
AMMAN, Jordan, February 4 ...As the fourth year of war nears its end, the Middle East's largest refugee crisis since the Palestinian exodus from Israel in 1948 is unfolding in a climate of fear, persecution and tragedy. Nearly 2 million Iraqis about 8 percent of the prewar population have embarked on a desperate migration, mostly to Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. The refugees include large numbers of doctors, academics and other professionals vital for Iraq's recovery. Another 1.7 million have been forced to move to safer towns and villages inside Iraq, and as many as 50,000 Iraqis a month flee their homes, the UN agency said in January.
02.04.07 Taliban warn of bloody spring as US takes NATO reins
KABUL (Reuters) February 4 The Taliban promised a spring offensive of thousands of suicide bombers as the United States, doubling its combat troops in Afghanistan, took over command of the 33,000-strong NATO force in the country on Sunday. As US General Dan McNeill took over the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), NATO said the Taliban leader in a southern district was killed on Sunday as part of an offensive to recapture the key town of Musa Qala from the rebels. The Taliban warns 2007 will be "the bloodiest year for foreign troops," saying they have 2,000 suicide bombers ready for an offensive when the winter snows melt in a few months.
02.04.07 Al-Qaeda tells Britiish cells to carry out wave of beheadings
February 4 Islamic terror cells in Britain have been instructed to carry out a series of kidnappings and beheadings of the kind allegedly planned by the nine terrorist suspects arrested in Birmingham last week. The "strategic" assassination instruction was issued by Al-Qaedaıs leaders in Pakistan and Iraq to dozens of their followers in this country. It was uncovered by MI5 last autumn, senior security sources say. As a result police are on standby for multiple attempts by terrorists to kidnap and then behead people across Britain. MI5 is conducting a counter-terrorism surveillance operation to prevent such an attack. The alleged attempt to kidnap and behead a Muslim soldier or soldiers in Birmingham was just the first of a series of planned attacks, security sources say. [More>>timesonline.co.uk]
02.04.07 Discovered: Britain's very own Colosseum
February 4 Archaeologists have discovered that what had been thought to be a relatively small, down-market amphitheatre in Britain was in fact a top-of-the-range, though admittedly more intimate, version of Rome's famous gladiatorial arena. Indeed, this British Colosseum in Chester may well have been built as a replica of the one in Rome, possibly on the orders of the Roman Emperor Septimius Severus, who was in Britain at the time. Although it was much smaller than the Colosseum, its outer wall appears to have had a blind arcade of 80 arches, giving it a superficially similar appearance to the one in Rome. If the archaeologists' calculations are correct, Rome and Chester were the only places in the Roman world to have amphitheatres with that number of arches. [More>>independent.co.uk]
02.04.07 Pyongyang to demand fuel oil at nuclear talks
February 4 North Korea is demanding up to 500,000 tons of heavy fuel oil a year in exchange for freezing activity at its main nuclear facility in Yongbyon, Japan's Asahi Shimbun reported yesterday. The newspaper reported that North Korea is also likely to repeat demands for a lifting of US financial sanctions and to be taken off the list of terrorist sponsor countries when the six-party talks reconvene later this week. The paper cited Joel Wit, a former US State Department official who coordinated the Agreed Framework in 1994, and David Albright, president and founder of the Institute for Science and International Security. The two had visited North Korea last week and met North Korea's chief nuclear negotiator Kim Kye-gwan.
02.04.07 After the flooding, the blame game begins
JAKARTA, Indonesia February 4 As hundreds of thousands of Jakartans struggled with the cold and damp, officials on Saturday were quick to muster the culprits behind another year of severe flooding. Jakarta Governor Sutiyoso placed the blame on villas in Puncak, West Java, while State Minister for the Environment Rachmat Witoelar insisted the floods were caused by excessive development in the city's water catchment areas. Rachmat said that local authorities had been overzealous in issuing building permits for Jakarta's designated water catchment zones. "Many ignore the (city) spatial plan, especially the authorities that hand out permits, even though they clearly violate environmental impact analyses," Rachmat said. [More>>thejakartapost.com ; See also thestar.com.my, February 4, "Indonesia floods kill 20, nearly 200,00 homeless."]
02.04.07 Lab disaster may lead to new cancer drug
WASHINGTON (Reuters) February 4 Her carefully cultured cells were dead and Katherine Schaefer was annoyed, but just a few minutes later, the researcher realized she had stumbled onto a potential new cancer treatment. Schaefer and colleagues at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York believe they have discovered a new way to attack tumors that have learned how to evade existing drugs. Tests in mice suggest the compound helps break down the cell walls of tumors, almost like destroying a tumor cellıs 'skeleton.' The researchers will test the new compound for safety and hope they can develop it to treat cancers such as colon cancer, esophageal cancer, liver and skin cancers. [More>>khaleejtimes.com]
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