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kilometer: 0.6214 mile
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Chart showing National Debt & Annual Deficits with Presidents. Democrat administrations are blue, Republican in Red. Green reflects projected Bush debt. Click chart for larger image.

2006 update (2.25.06)

The Chart Showing the National Debt above is still valid: "The debt to the penny," publicdebt.treas.gov.
The debt projection for 2009 is now $10.3 Trillion. Deficit for 2006 is $435 Billion.
OMB Budget FY2007
Interest on Debt 2006
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sandesh.org : network to improve women's rights in Islam

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This monster's own words will
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Definition of fatwa (fatwah)
Maravot News Comment




August 1996

Maps of interest
Click on maps for larger image
Russia, Belarus & neighbors
Israel-Iraq & neighbors
Iran-Afghanistan-Pak.-India; Gulf of Hormuz oil lane Iran threatens to block
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Historical map of Israel. Figure 2 shows the area allocated to
Israel by the UN in 1948. Compare to Israel' s map below of its security wall.

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

Middle East Watch

Middle East Times

bakutoday.net, Azerbaijan

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More newspapers

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

Halliburton watch.org

Relevant Works by Mel

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

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

News Headlines & Trends

03.08.07 China issues human rights record of the United States

BEIJING (Xinhua) March 8 – China issued on Thursday the Human Rights Record of the United States in 2006 in response to the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2006 issued by the US Department of State on Tuesday. Released by the Information Office of China's State Council, the Chinese report lists a multitude of cases to show the human rights situation in the United States and its violation of human rights in other countries. "As in previous years, the State Department pointed the finger at human rights conditions in more than 190 countries and regions, including China, but avoided touching on the human rights situation in the United States," the document says.

By publishing the Human Rights Record of the United States in 2006, the document says it aims to "help people have a better understanding of the situation in the United States and promote the international cause of human rights." Relying on its strong military power, the United States has trespassed on the sovereignty of other countries and violated human rights in other countries, the document says. A large number of innocent Iraqi civilians have died in the war launched by the United States in 2003.

A survey of Bloomberg School of Public Health under Johns Hopkins University estimated that more than 655,000 Iraqis have died in Iraq since war started in March 2003, meaning about 500 unexpected violent deaths per day throughout the country, according to a Washington Post report on Oct. 11, 2006. On Nov. 19, 2005, a US marine unit searched an Iraqi community door-to-door and slaughtered 24 Iraqi civilians after a marine was killed by a roadside bomb in Haditha. Those who were killed included a 76-year-old disabled man, a three-year-old child, and seven women, the BBC News reported on Nov. 19, 2006.

The document says the United States has a flagrant record of violating the Geneva Convention in systematically abusing prisoners during the Iraqi War and the War in Afghanistan.
[More>>xinhuanet.com ; See also thenews.com.pk, March 8, "USA using anti-terror war as an excuse to torture people."]

03.08.07 Taliban leader caught in a burqa

March 8 – A senior Taliban commander has been captured by Afghan troops in the southern province of Kandahar as he tried to escape a NATO manhunt disguised as a woman in a burqa. The man was identified by NATO on Wednesday as Mullah Mahmood and described as an "extremist commander and suicide attack facilitator" for the province. Soldiers at a checkpoint in the area "spotted the oddity" on Tuesday when the man identified as Mahmood tried to pass them hidden under the garment, which has a grille over the face, the International Security Assistance Force said in a statement. [More>>aljazeera.net]

03.08.07 Ex-Iranian official talks to Western intelligence

March 8 – (By Dafna Linzer, washingtonpost.com) A former Iranian deputy defense minister who once commanded the Revolutionary Guard has left his country and is cooperating with Western intelligence agencies, providing information on Hezbollah and Iran's ties to the organization, according to a senior US official. Ali Rez Asgari disappeared last month during a visit to Turkey. Iranian officials suggested yesterday that he may have been kidnapped by Israel or the United States. The US official said Asgari is willingly cooperating. He did not divulge Asgari's whereabouts or specify who is questioning him, but made clear that the information Asgari is offering is fully available to US intelligence. [More>>msnbc.msn.com]

03.07.07 Digital textbooks to debut next year in South Korea

SEOUL, S. Korea, March 7 – Digital textbooks will be launched at elementary schools from next year, the Education Ministry announced yesterday. The digital system will allow students to view learning material and communicate with teachers using internet-connected tablet laptops. Starting next year, all subjects for fifth- and sixth-grade students at elementary schools will be available digitally, according to ministry officials. It will be run at 20 elementary schools next year and will be expanded to about 100 elementary, middle and high schools nationwide by 2012. [More>>koreaherald.co.kr]

03.07.07 Many die in Iraq cafe bomb attack

March 7 – A suicide bomber has killed at least 26 people in an attack on a cafe in a town north-east of Baghdad, police say. The attacker is reported to have walked into the cafe in the town of Balad Ruz and then detonated the device. At least 29 other people were also injured in the incident, a police spokesman told the AFP news agency. In a separate development, three US troops were killed by a roadside bomb attack in the capital, Baghdad, the US military said in a statement. The soldiers were hit as they were patrolling a well-used route in the city, checking it for hidden explosives, the statement said. A fourth member of the patrol was injured in the incident. [More>>bbc.co.uk]

03.07.07 In '05 investing, Obama took same path as donors

March 7 – (Article by Mike McIntire and Christopher Drew) Less than two months after ascending to the United States Senate, Barack Obama bought more than $50,000 worth of stock in two speculative companies whose major investors included some of his biggest political donors. One of the companies was a biotech concern that was starting to develop a drug to treat avian flu. In March 2005, two weeks after buying about $5,000 of its shares, Mr. Obama took the lead in a legislative push for more federal spending to battle the disease.

The most recent financial disclosure form for Mr. Obama, an Illinois Democrat, also shows that he bought more than $50,000 in stock in a satellite communications business whose principal backers include four friends and donors who had raised more than $150,000 for his political committees. A spokesman for Mr. Obama, who is seeking his partyıs presidential nomination in 2008, said yesterday that the senator did not know that he had invested in either company until fall 2005, when he learned of it and decided to sell the stocks. He sold them at a net loss of $13,000.

03.07.07Prosecutors say they felt pressured, threatened

March 7 – Six fired US attorneys testified on Capitol Hill yesterday that they had separately been the target of complaints, improper telephone calls and thinly veiled threats from a high-ranking Justice Department official or members of Congress, both before and after they were abruptly removed from their jobs. In back-to-back hearings in the Senate and House, former US attorney David C. Iglesias of New Mexico and five other former prosecutors recounted specific instances in which some said they felt pressured by Republicans on corruption cases and one said a Justice Department official warned him to keep quiet or face retaliation. [More>>washingtonpost.com]

03.07.07 Pilgrims targeted in Iraq amid backlash fears

BAGHDAD (AFP) March 7 – Shiite pilgrims ran a gauntlet of sectarian attacks Wednesday as the toll from a previous suicide bombing rose to 117, amid fears that a backlash could undermine the US-led Baghdad security plan. Brandishing flags and chanting religious slogans, marchers forged on through Sunni districts of Baghdad in the face of sniper attacks, while police gave covering fire and pumped their fists in the air, television footage showed. At least two suicide bombers detonated explosive vests Tuesday in a crowd of Shiites marching through the central town of Hilla towards the holy city of Karbala for Friday's Arbaeen religious festival. Dr. Saad Al Shemari of Hilla hospital said that, along with the 117 dead, there were 173 wounded - many critically - and that the number of fatalities was expected to rise. [More>>metimes.com]

03.07.07 Two peacekeepers killed in Darfur

March 7 – Two African Union peacekeepers have been killed and another critically wounded after being shot by gunmen in Darfur, the AU said Wednesday. The peacekeeping mission said it was "deeply concerned" that the gunmen are believed to belong to the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA), the rebel faction that signed the Darfur peace agreement last May. In Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where the AU has its headquarters, a Darfur force official said the dead soldiers were Nigerian. [More>>aljazeera.net]

03.07.07 Thirty-five injured in western Iran quake

TEHERAN (AFP) March 7 – Thirty-five people were injured on Wednesday when an earthquake measuring 4.8 on the Richter scale struck the city of Daroud in Iranıs western province of Lorestan, local officials said. Most of the casualties were wounded by shards of glass from broken windows or when they were trampled on by confused victims in the aftermath of the quake at 2:00 am (1030 GMT), the cityıs governor Nasrollah Rashno said. The earthquake comes just under a year after a much stronger quake of 6.0 magnitude struck the same area, killing around 70 people and leaving thousands homeless. [More>>khaleejtimes.com]

03.06.07 US, Israel linked to missing Iranian

March 7 – The disappearance of a former senior Iranian defence official in Turkey has raised speculation that he has defected or been snatched by the CIA or Mossad. General Alireza Asghari, who served as deputy Iranian defence minister for eight years until 2005, went missing in Istanbul on February 7 after arriving from Damascus and checking into a hotel. There was no official Iranian comment on the affair until this week when Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said Tehran had asked the Turkish Government for information on the disappearance.

If General Asghari has gone over to the West, or been abducted, he would be a major source of information on Iran's nuclear program and a host of other security matters. Before serving as deputy defence minister he had been a general with the elite Revolutionary Guard. Apart from strategic matters, General Asghari is reportedly privy to information about two affairs, one of great interest to Israel and the other to the US.

Debkafile, an Israeli website dealing with intelligence matters, reported this week that the CIA was interested in General Asghari because he was allegedly involved in the abduction two months ago of five US soldiers from a compound in Karbala, Iraq. The five were subsequently executed. Their seizure was reportedly ordered by Iran in order to obtain the release of Iranian Revolutionary Guard officers taken prisoner in Iraq shortly before by the Americans.

03.06.07 Liar in the White House: Cheney aid found guilty in CiA leak case

March 7 – In a massive new blow to the credibility of the White House, Vice-President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff Lewis Libby has been convicted of obstruction of justice, perjury and lying to the FBI, during the investigation into the leaking of the identity of a CIA agent. After a seven-week trial, the jury found Libby guilty yesterday on four of the five counts against him. Ever calm in court, Libby merely blinked as the verdict was read out. Defence lawyers immediately said they would seek a fresh trial, and if that failed, lodge an appeal. In theory Libby faces up to 25 years in jail, though federal sentencing guidelines mean he is likely to receive a far shorter term.

The case arose from the investigation into the leak in July 2003 of the name of Valerie Plame, the CIA agent whose husband, the former ambassador Joseph Wilson, had been a virulent critic of the Iraq war. MS Plame's identity was revealed a few days after Mr. Wilson had written a New York Times column debunking White House claims that Saddam Hussein had sought to buy uranium in Africa, and accusing the Bush administration of deliberately manipulating pre-war intelligence. Libby was not accused of leaking the name deliberately, which is a criminal offence. His crime was to lie to the FBI and the grand jury investigating the case, by maintaining he only learnt who MS Plame was from a reporter, two days before her name appeared in print.

But some of the most celebrated journalists in Washington went into the witness box to testify they had been told by Libby in person that Mr. Wilson's wife worked for the CIA – in one case three weeks before Libby said he became aware of the fact. Defence lawyers contended that if he made a mistake, it was simply because of a faulty memory caused by pressure of work. But the jury decided that Libby had directly lied. The motive, one juror explained to reporters afterwards, was to cover up the involvement of the Vice-President himself in the campaign to discredit the former ambassador.
[More>>independent.co.uk ; See also, nytimes.com, March 6, "A judgment on Cheney is still to come."]

03.06.07 Scores killed as strong quake shakes Indonesia

PADANG, Indonesia (AP) March 6 – A powerful earthquake killed at least 70 people in western Indonesia on Tuesday and left hospitals overwhelmed with scores of injured, officials said. The number of dead was expected to rise as a result of the magnitude 6.3 quake on Sumatra island, which was followed by powerful aftershocks. The quake was felt hundreds of miles away in Singapore, where some office buildings were evacuated, and in neighboring Malaysia...Indonesian Cabinet Secretary Sudi Silalahi told reporters at least 70 people had been killed by the quake.

Local government spokesman Hasrul Piliang said the number of dead ³would likely rise² because tolls from remote areas were still being collected and there were reports of others trapped under debris. The worst-hit area appeared to be in and around Solok, a bustling town close to the epicenter of the quake on Sumatraıs western coast, which was spared destruction in the 2004 tsunami disaster.
[Full story>>msnbc.msn.com]

03.06.07 Nine US soldiers killed north of Baghdad

BAGHDAD (Reuters) March 6 – Six U.S. soldiers were killed north of Baghdad on Monday in one of the worst ground attacks in months on U.S. forces in Iraq and three more died in a separate incident also outside the capital, the military said on Tuesday. The violence comes as American and Iraqi troops are stepping up a three-week old security crackdown in Baghdad aimed at stemming sectarian bloodshed. Commanders have said insurgents may intensify assaults outside the capital, where more than 90,000 Iraqi and US troops have been deployed for the push.

In the deadliest of the two attacks on US forces, six soldiers were killed and three others wounded by a roadside blast near their vehicles in Salahaddin province, a Sunni Arab insurgent stronghold north of Baghdad, the military said. In the separate incident also on Monday, three US soldiers were killed and one wounded by a blast near their vehicles in Diyala province, northeast of Baghdad.
[More>>thestar.com.my ; See related story, thenews.com.pk, March 6, "Suicide bombers kill 30 pilgrims in Iraq hospital."]

03.06.07 Russian reporter dies in fall from window

March 6 – A military correspondent for Russia's top business daily died after falling out of a window and some media alleged yesterday that he might have been killed for his critical reporting. Ivan Safronov, the military affairs writer for Kommersant, died Friday after falling from a fifth-story window in the stairwell of his apartment building in Moscow, according to officials; his body was found by neighbors shortly after the fall. With prosecutors investigating the death, Kommersant and some other media suggested foul play. [More>>independent.co.uk]

03.05.07 Scientists to exhume corpse for bird flu clues

HONG KONG (Reuters) March 5 – Scientists plan to exhume within the next five months the body of a British diplomat who died in 1919 of the Spanish flu, in a move they hope will provide vital clues on how to fight any future pandemic. Experts see strong parallels between the H5N1 bird flu virus of today and the H1N1 virus of 1918/1919, which sparked the Spanish flu that killed more than 50 million people. Both were deadly bird viruses which jumped directly to humans and any information that could be gleaned from the Spanish flu virus may help provide better understanding of the H5N1, which experts fear may unleash the next pandemic once it learns to transmit efficiently among people.

John Oxford, virology professor at the Royal London Hospital, said the family of Sir Mark Sykes — a member of parliament who also served as a diplomat during World War I — gave permission for the exhumation in late February. Sykesı body is seen as especially important because it was buried in a sealed lead coffin which helps to preserve the body, Oxford said in an interview....Oxfordıs team also hopes to discover if the Spanish flu virus triggered an overreaction in Sykesı immune system — or what is called a cytokine storm, when the immune system overreacts and causes an inflammation of the lungs and other organs that may end up killing the person. It has been established that the H5N1 can cause such an overreaction, resulting in rapid death.
[Full story>>khaleejtimes.com]

03.05.07 Did al-Qaeda kidnap British embassy staff?

Maarch 6 – Fears were growing yesterday that the Britons linked to the embassy in Ethiopia who were taken hostage may be the victims of Islamist fighters connected to al-Qaeda rather than opportunist robbers. What began last Thursday as a criminal kidnapping has become a matter of national security being dealt with at the highest level. The full extent of the difficulties facing British authorities attempting to rescue the five men and women began to emerge with growing evidence that they may have been political targets.

The vehicles used by the British embassy staff and their relatives were found abandoned by the roadside in Hamedali, in the Afar region of Ethiopia, yesterday. They had bullet and burn marks on the bodywork, but belongings including mobile telephones, luggage and shoes had been left behind. A Foreign Office spokesman said the discovery of the cars was "distressing."

The failure to take lucrative items has led diplomats to believe that monetary gain may not have been the primary aim of the kidnappers. Sources close to the investigation also said there had not been any verifiable demand so far for large sums of money. There were, they added, "patterns of behavior" by the armed group which caused grave concern.

03.05.07 Twenty-nine al-Qaeda members captured in Iraq

BAGHDAD, March 5 – Iraqi and US forces have captured 29 members of Al-Qaeda, including a death squad leader, in a series of operations across Iraq, an official said Monday. Twenty-two Al-Qaeda members, including two brothers of Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq, were captured Monday at Baiji, 220 kilometres (130 miles) north of Baghdad, said interior ministry operations director Brigadier General Abdel Karim Khalaf. "The operation was carried out by police based on intelligence gathered by the ministry of the interior," Khalaf told a French news agency. The Islamic State of Iraq is an alliance of Sunni groups under the umbrella of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, which said it had kidnapped and executed 14 Iraqi policemen last Friday at Baquba, 60 kilometres north of Baghdad, to avenge the alleged rape of a Sunni woman by Shiite police. [More>>thenews.com.pk]

03.05.07 Asian markets plunge across board, Nikkei tumbles for 5th day

TOKYO (AP) March 5 – Asian markets plunged Monday, extending their slide into a second week as investors dumped stocks that had surged in recent weeks and on worries about a possible global slowdown. On the region's largest stock market in Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index fell for a fifth day, tumbling 575.68 points, or 3.34 percent, to finish at 16,642.25 points. Since reaching a nearly seven-year high last Monday, the index has plummeted 8.64 percent over the last five trading sessions. Markets in Hong Kong, Australia, the Philippines, India and South Korea were all down sharply Monday, continuing their slide from last week, when a 9 percent plunge in Chinese stocks triggered a drop on Wall Street and other global markets. [More>>thejakartapost.com]

03.05.07 Bomb tip payoff in new Iraq strategy

YOUSSIFIYAH, Iraq, March 6 – It was the kind of exchange that US troops are counting on. On Friday, US medics treated an electrical burn on an Iraqi man injured doing home wiring in Youssifiyah, a volatile area 19km south of Baghdad. In return, he passed along a tip: powerful local clan leaders had ordered a fresh crop of roadside bombs against US-led forces. The whispered warning – in the shadow of a mosque believed to support Sunni insurgents – is what American soldiers want to hear as part of a new strategy to move some units off big, fortress-like bases and into outposts in Iraq's most violent places. [More>>theaustralian.news.com.au]

03.05.07 The big green fuel lie

March 5 (Article by Daniel Howden in Sao Paolo) March 5 – George Bush says that ethanol will save the world. But there is evidence that biofuels may bring new problems for the planet. The ethanol boom is coming. The twin threats of climate change and energy security are creating an unprecedented thirst for alternative energy with ethanol leading the way. That process is set to reach a landmark on Thursday when US President, George Bush, arrives in Brazil to kick-start the creation of an international market for ethanol that could one day rival oil as a global commodity. The expected creation of an "Opec for ethanol" replicating the cartel of major oil producers has spurred frenzied investment in biofuels across the Americas.

But a growing number of economists, scientists and environmentalists are calling for a "time out" and warning that the headlong rush into massive ethanol production is creating more problems than it is solving. To its advocates, ethanol, which can be made from corn, barley, wheat, sugar cane or beet is a green panacea – a clean-burning, renewable energy source that will see us switch from dwindling oil wells to boundless fields of crops to satisfy our energy needs.

...Today, the congested streets of Sao Paolo are packed with flex-fuel cars that run off a growing menu of bio and fossil fuel mixtures, and all filling stations offer "alcohol" and "gas" at the pump, with the latter at roughly twice the price by volume. But there is a darker side to this green revolution, which argues for a cautious assessment of how big a role ethanol can play in filling the developed world's fuel tank. The prospect of a sudden surge in demand for ethanol is causing serious concerns even in Brazil.

The ethanol industry has been linked with air and water pollution on an epic scale, along with deforestation in both the Amazon and Atlantic rainforests, as well as the wholesale destruction of Brazil's unique savannah land. Fabio Feldman, a leading Brazilian environmentalist and former member of Congress who helped to pass the law mandating a 23 per cent mix of ethanol to be added to all petroleum supplies in the country, believes that Brazil's trailblazing switch has had serious side effects.
[Full story>>independent.co.uk]

03.05.07 Two Afghan rangers killed, seven captured

KHOST, Afghanistan, March 5 – Taliban insurgents attacked a forest ranger unit in eastern Afghanistan, killing two guards and capturing seven others, an official said Monday. Three other members of the tribal militia force which guards a mountain forest in Khost province against wood smugglers were injured in the attack late Sunday, a district chief said. "The Taliban attacked a forest guard post made up of tribesmen and killed two, injured three and took with them seven others," the governor of Gorboz district told a French news agency. [>thenews.com.pk]

03.05.07 Nine more Afghan civilians killed; Karzai condemns deaths

KABUL (AFP) March 5 – Nine Afghan civilians were killed when NATO-led forces hit their home during a battle with militants, a top official said on Monday, just after President Hamid Karzai condemned the killing of up to 10 civilians in a separate incident. Five women and two children were among the dead in the incident overnight in Kapisa province, north of Kabul, deputy provincial governor Sayed Daud Hashimi told AFP. A NATO reconstruction team base came under attack "and they responded with artillery and an airstrike, killing nine Afghan civilians," Hashimi said. An interior ministry spokesman confirmed there was an incident in Nijrab district of Kapisa involving "some casualties" but said authorities were trying to find out more details. [More>>khaleejtimes.com]

03.05.07 Baghdad book market bombing kills 26

BAGHDAD (AFP) March 5 – A car bomb ripped through Baghdadıs oldest book market on Monday, killing 26 people and wounding dozens in the latest challenge to a US-Iraqi plan aimed at securing the violence-plagued capital. The latest attack in the brutal bloodletting that continues to rage through the country came as Iraqi and US forces pushed into the Shia militia bastion of Sadr City, a slum district in eastern Baghdad. The bomb exploded in the renowned Al Mutanabi Street market in central Baghdad on the east bank of the Tigris river, sending huge black plumes into the sky and enveloping the minarets of a mosque in acrid smoke and dust. There are women and children among the injured,ı a security official said on condition of anonymity. [More>>khaleejtimes.com ; See also metimes.com (AFP) update, March 5, and related story, nytimes.com, March 5, "Basra raid finds dozens detained by iraq spy unit."]

03.05.07 Open call from the Patent Office

March 5 – The US government is about to start opening up the process of reviewing patents to the modern font of wisdom: the Internet. The Patent and Trademark Office is starting a pilot project that will not only post patent applications on the Web and invite comments but also use a community rating system designed to push the most respected comments to the top of the file, for serious consideration by the agency's examiners. A first for the federal government, the system resembles the one used by Wikipedia, the popular user-created online encyclopedia. [More>>washingtonpost.com]

03.03.07 Ukraine PM wants US to discuss radar deployment with Kiev

KIEV, Ukraine (RIA Novosti) March 3 – Ukraine's premier said his country opposed unilateral decisions on global security systems and wanted to discuss the issue with the United States. Viktor Yanukovych's statement followed Washington's announcement in January that it would build a radar installation in the Czech Republic and a missile interceptor base in Poland in the next five years to counter possible attacks from Iran or North Korea.

"If we are talking about a global security system, Ukraine must be involved in the process because it has facilities on its territory, which could perform relevant functions," the premier said. "We do not want to be just observers, we would like to join the process." Moscow has strongly opposed the U.S. plans, saying the missile shield threatened Russia's national security...The US aroused further security concerns in Russia Thursday when a senior Pentagon official said Washington "would like to place a radar base in the Caucasus."
[Full story>>rian.ru ; See related story, thenews.com.pk, March 3, "Algeria says won't host a US base on its territory."]

03.03.07 Pakistan arrests 5 militants over 39 bomb attacks

KARACHI, Pakistan, March 3 – Five Islamic militants have been arrested for their alleged involvement in 39 low-scale bomb attacks in southern Pakistan, police said Saturday. The men were captured late Friday as they tried to plant a bomb on a railway track to blow up a train in Hyderabad, a city 150 kilometers (90 miles) northeast of Pakistanıs largest city, Karachi. [More>>khaleejtimes.com]

03.03.07 Danish police braced for more street protests in Copenhagen

March 3 – Danish police were braced for more demonstrations yesterday after some of the worst street clashes in recent years in Copenhagen, sparked by the eviction of squatters from a building, officials said. Hundreds of officers, many in riot gear, were on the streets on Thursday, and similar numbers were expected yesterday as reinforcements arrived from other parts of the country. "We are taking all eventualities into consideration and we will be plastering the whole city with police," Copenhagen police operations chief Per Larsen said.

A total of 219 people, 178 men and 41 women, were arrested and 25 people were treated for injuries Thursday when protesters threw cobblestones, lit fires and overturned cars in the Danish capital in demonstrations that continued late into the night. Some of the arrested and injured included foreigners, who had joined the protests that started in the morning after a helicopter hoisted members of Denmark's anti-terror police onto the building's roof and started evicting squatters.

Twenty-one foreigners from Germany, Sweden, Italy, Greece, United States, Lithuania, Norway, Britain and France were among the arrested. Thursday's eviction of the 35 squatters from the former theater in central Copenhagen drew ire from youth, who have viewed it as free public housing for years. [

03.03.07 US and Brazil seek to promote Ethanol in West

WASHINGTON, March 3 – President Bush, hoping to reduce demand for oil in the Western Hemisphere, is preparing to finish an agreement with Brazil next week to promote the production and use of ethanol throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, according to administration officials. The agreement could lead to substantial growth in the ethanol industry in Brazil as technology and manufacturing equipment developed there is exported to other countries in the region. Much of the ethanol produced there is made from sugar cane and is far cheaper to produce than the corn-based ethanol that has been nurtured by protective tariffs and government mandates in the United States. [More>>nytimes.com]

03.03.07 Iraq Sunnis slain for Shia dealings

March 3 – Six Sunni men, who received death threats for meeting with local Shias, have been killed in execution-style slayings in a rising wave of sectarian violence, Iraqi police and military said. The attack on Saturday near Youssifiyah, 20 km south of the capital Baghdad, comes a day after the claimed abduction and execution of at least 14 Shias. But in this case, Iraqi authorities said they believed that Sunni gunmen had killed fellow Sunnis revealing a rift between those who support reconciliation with Shias and those who will kill to stop it. [More>>aljazeera.net]

03.02.07 Global warming threatens Scottish puffin paradise

March 3 – One of Britain's largest puffin colonies is being wiped out by an invasive plant that is thriving in warmer temperatures brought about by climate change. In just seven years a colony of 29,000 breeding pairs of puffins on the island of Craigleith, just a mile from the coast of North Berwick, has been reduced to fewer than 3,000. They have been driven to the edge of extinction by a dusky-pink, 8ft flowering plant called tree mallow. Introduced by 18th-century lighthouse keepers and sheep farmers on nearby Bass Rock the woolly-leafed plant is renowned for its medicinal properties and was used as natural bandage.

Over the years the plant, lavatera arborea, spread to other islands in the Firth of Forth but for centuries the Mediterranean plant was kept at bay by harsh Scottish winters and the appetites of wild rabbits. However, since 1999 the rise of myxomatosis along with a series of mild winters has left the plants to spread rapidly across more than 85 per cent of the island. Helped by fertilization of the soil from the puffins guano and the birds' burrowing habits, the cauliflower-like plant has advanced rapidly over Craigleith at the expense of native grasses and coastal plants such as thrift, pink campion and the rare lesser celandine and spring cinquefoil.

Puffins can live for up to 20 years but, as they tend to return to the same burrow year after year, the spreading plant means their nests are often choked and impenetrable, leaving them vulnerable to predators such as peregrines and great black-backed gulls which will kill puffins to steal their sand-eel catch.

03.02.07 Google now challenging ITV to be UK's top advertiser

March 3 – Googleıs UK advertising revenue has risen by 83 per cent, making the search engine second only to ITV as Britainıs highest advertising earner. In a filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Google said that revenue from its UK advertisements had risen above $1.6 billion (£825 million) in 2006. That put it ahead of Channel 4, with just over £800 million. ITVıs most recent figures showed advertising revenues of £1.63 billion, although Google was expected to close that gap after half-yearly results for the broadcaster indicated that revenues had fallen by 8 per cent.

Analysts estimate that ITV, which is to file its 2006 figures on Wednesday, will have advertising revenues of about £1.47 billion. Google denied that the rise in its revenues, which have nearly quadrupled in the UK since 2004, represented a threat to traditional media, saying that broadcasters stood to benefit greatly from growth in online advertising. "The market for online ads is growing and thereıs room for many players within it," an official said.

03.02.07 New nuclear warhead design for US

WASHINGTON, March 2 – The Bush administration has selected the design for America's first new nuclear warhead in nearly two decades. US officials say the warhead will not add to the country's nuclear arsenal, but will replace existing missiles. Critics, though, argue this sends the wrong signal at a time when the White House is leading efforts to curb Iran and North Korea's nuclear ambitions. The chosen design was developed in a Californian laboratory and is based on a warhead already tested in the 1980s. [More>>bbc.co.uk]

03.02.07 Army fires commander of Walter Reed

March 2 – The commander of Walter Reed Army Medical Center was fired yesterday after the Army said it had lost trust and confidence in his leadership in the wake of a scandal over outpatient treatment of wounded troops at the Northwest Washington hospital complex. Army Maj. Gen. George W. Weightman, who assumed command of Walter Reed in August, will be temporarily replaced by Lt. Gen. Kevin C. Kiley. But the appointment of Kiley, who had earlier been the facility's commander, surprised some Defense Department officials because soldiers, their families and veterans' advocates have complained that he had long been aware of problems at Walter Reed and did nothing to improve its outpatient care. [More>>washingtonpost.com]

03.02.07 Afghand opium output soars, flooding Europe, Middle East with heroin: US

WASHINGTON (AFP) March 1 – Opium production in Afghanistan surged to record levels in 2006, increasing the flow of heroin to Europe and the Middle East and undermining the fight against Islamist insurgents, the US reported Thursday. In its annual report on global narcotics, the State Department linked a 25 percent jump in opium production in Afghanistan during 2006 to the resurgence of the Taliban militia, which has reasserted control over swathes of the country from which they were ousted in 2001. The report also targeted the left-wing administration of Bolivian President Evo Morales for failing to curb the cultivation of coca, accused President Hugo Chavez's Venezuela of being "one of the principle drug-transit countries" in the Americas and warned of a growing use worldwide of synthetic amphetamine-type drugs. [More>>turkishpress.com]

03.02.07 British officials among Westerners kidnapped in remote Ethiopia

March 2 – Several Britons linked to the British Embassy and to other Government organisations based in Ethiopia are among a group of at least 15 Western tourists who were kidnapped yesterday 500 miles north of the capital, Addis Ababa. The hostage-taking in a recognized tourist area landed the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London with a highly sensitive emergency, because of the perceived risk of letting the kidnappers know whom they had seized.

A spokeswoman for the Foreign Office said that the Britons involved had connections with the FCO, the Department for International Development and the British Council. The official said the Britons who had gone missing in eastern Ethiopia had been part of an organized tour looking at geological sites in ³a well known tourist region². She said urgent discussions were under way between the British Embassy in Addis Ababa and the Ethiopian Government, to try and track down precisely what had happened. [

03.02.07 Iraq group claims mass abduction

March 2 – A group linked to al-Qaeda has threatened to kill 18 Iraqi government employees it claims it abducted north of Baghdad in "retaliation" for the alleged rape of a Sunni woman. The Islamic State of Iraq issued a web statement with photographs showing up to 18 blindfolded men with their hands tied behind their backs it says were seized in Diyala. Seven of the men were wearing Iraqi military uniforms. Interior ministry officials said they had no information on the group's claims. [More>>aljazeera.net]

03.02.07 Western intelligence sources worried by jihadist upsurge in Lebanon

March 2 – Western intelligence agencies are worried by a growing concentration of terror operatives associated with the global jihad movement in Lebanon. Recent intelligence indicates that hundreds of Sunni Muslim terrorists from various Arab countries are currently residing around Tyre, mainly in a Palestinian refugee camp near the city. Some of the terrorists are apparently from Sudan and Yemen. Both Western and Israeli intelligence agencies fear that the jihadists' growing presence in southern Lebanon will lead to more attacks against Israel and a renewed escalation along the northern border. The United Nations forces deployed along the border following last summer's war with Hezbollah are also considered potential targets. [More>>haaretz.com ; See related story, metimes.com, March 2, "Beirut economic crisis looms at 80 shops close."]

03.02.07 Pakistan arrests one of Taleban's top three

ISLAMABAD / KABUL (Reuters) March 2 – Pakistani security forces captured one of the Talebanıs three most senior leaders just hours after US Vice President Dick Cheneyıs unannounced visit to Pakistan earlier this week, a senior security official and Taleban sources said. The capture of Mullah Obaidullah Akhund marked the first Pakistan arrest of a senior leader of the Islamist militia since it was driven from power in Afghanistan in 2001 when thousands of its fighters fled into Pakistan.

The sources told Reuters that Akhund, the third most senior member of the Talebanıs 10-member leadership council, was arrested late on Monday in the southwest city of Quetta. Government and military spokesmen denied the arrest had been made – or said they had no knowledge of it – when asked by Reuters, but the story was also front page news in Dawn, a leading Pakistani daily, on Friday.

03.02.07 China demands US to cancel planned missile sale to Taiwan

BEIJING, March 2 – China demanded the United States to scrap a planned sale of hundreds of missiles to Taiwan, warning the deal would harm regional stability and bilateral ties. We solemnly demand the leader of the United States immediately cancel this weapons sale (and) avoid harming the peace and stability of the Taiwan Straits and Sino-US relations,' foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang said. The Chinese side expresses its strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition to this. We have raised solemn representations with the US side.'

The US Department of Defense this week notified Congress that it plans to sell Taiwan 421 million USD worth of missiles, which would help boost the island's defenses against mainland China. The proposed sale will help improve the security of the recipient and assist in maintaining political stability, military balance, and economic progress in the region,' the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency said. Acquisition of 218 Advanced Medium Range air-to-air missiles and 235 Maverick missiles would help Taiwan 'modernize its armed forces and enhance its defense ability to counter air and ground threats,' it said.

03.02.07 Most Asian markets down in wake of global sell-off, Tokyo's 4-day loss reaches 5.5 percent

HONG KONG (AP) March 2 – Many Asian markets slid again Friday amid lingering jitters over the global sell off sparked this week by the plunge in Chinese stocks. But markets in Hong Kong and Shanghai edged higher as some investors snatched up stocks that had fallen to attractive levels in recent days. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 95.41 points, or 0.49 percent, to 19,442.01 as traders bought Chinese telecommunication stocks. The index had tumbled 1,365 points, or 6.6 percent, in the previous four sessions.

China Mobile rose 0.5 percent after investment bank UBS raised its target price for China's biggest mobile operator by subscribers to HK$108 from HK$80. China Unicom advanced 1.6 percent and China Netcom jumped 1.7 percent. Shares traded on the Chinese mainland wrapped up a turbulent week higher, with the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index rising 1.2 percent to 2,831.53 points after plunging 2.9 percent Thursday. The index tanked 8.8 percent Tuesday in its biggest daily percentage drop in a decade, but bounced back 3.9 percent Wednesday.

03.02.07 Woodchips to fuel European cars

March 3 – A new road fuel made from woodchips and straw will be launched in Europe later this year from a pilot plant developed by Shell and Choren Industries, the German biofuel company. The synthetic diesel, made using a novel biomass-to-liquids (BTL) process, will eradicate many of the current concerns about the biodiesel industry by using waste plant material instead of valuable food crops. The pilot plant, near Freiberg in eastern Germany, will produce 15,000 tonnes a year of synthetic diesel, dubbed Sunfuel.

Most first-generation biofuels, such as ethanol, are made from food crops such as sugar, rapeseed and palm oil. Growing concern about global warming and the consequent rising interest in alternative fuels have caused the cost of food crops to soar. It is the second major investment in biofuels for Shell in as many weeks after it secured a $US80 million ($102 million) grant from the US Government to build a plant in Idaho, which will produce cellulosic ethanol from plant waste and straw. Construction of a much bigger plant in Schleswig-Holstein, costing E500 million ($839 million) and capable of producing 200,000 tonnes of BTL, will begin next year in an effort to quickly bring the product up to commercial scale.

03.01.07 Pakistan makes a deal with the Taliban

KARACHI, March 1 – The Pakistani establishment has made a deal with the Taliban through a leading Taliban commander that will extend Islamabad's influence into southwestern Afghanistan and significantly strengthen the resistance in its push to capture Kabul. One-legged Mullah Dadullah will be Pakistan's strongman in a corridor running from the Afghan provinces of Zabul, Urzgan, Kandahar and Helmand across the border into Pakistan's Balochistan province, according to both Taliban and al-Qaeda contacts Asia Times Online spoke to. Using Pakistani territory and with Islamabad's support, the Taliban will be able safely to move men, weapons and supplies into southwestern Afghanistan. [More>>atimes.com]

03.01.07 It's the thinnest material ever and could revolutionize computers and medicine

March 1 – Scientists have created the thinnest material in the world and predict that it will revolutionize computing and medical research. A layer of carbon has been manufactured in a film only one atom thick that defies the laws of physics. Placed in layers on top of each other it would take 200,000 membranes to reach high enough to match the thickness of a human hair. The substance, graphene, was created two years ago but could be made only when stuck to another material. Researchers have now managed to manufacture it as a film suspended between the nanoscale bars of scaffolding made from gold.

Such a feat was held to be impossible by theorists, backed up by experimentation, because it is in effect a two-dimensional crystal that is supposed to be destroyed instantly by heat. The crystalline membrane, comprising carbon atoms formed into hexagonal groups of six to create a honeycomb pattern, is thought to be able to exist because rather than lying flat it undulates slightly. Un- dulation provides the structure with a third dimension that gives it the strength to hold together, the researchers have reported in the journal Nature.

03.01.07 Titan: Larger and larger lakes

February 27 – This radar image, obtained by Cassini's radar instrument during a near-polar flyby on Feb. 22, 2007, shows a big island smack in the middle of one of the larger lakes imaged on Saturn's moon Titan. This image offers further evidence that the largest lakes are at the highest latitudes.

The island is about 90 kilometers (62 miles) by 150 kilometers (93 miles) across, about the size of Kodiak Island in Alaska or the Big Island of Hawaii. The island may actually be a peninsula connected by a bridge to a larger stretch of land. As you go farther down the image, several very small lakes begin to appear, which may be controlled by local topography.

This image was taken in synthetic aperture mode at 700 meter (2,300 feet) resolution. North is toward the left. The image is centered at about 79 north degrees north and 310 degrees west.

02.28.07 How the war on terror made the world a more terrifying place

February 28 – Innocent people across the world are now paying the price of the "Iraq effect", with the loss of hundreds of lives directly linked to the invasion and occupation by American and British forces. An authoritative US study of terrorist attacks after the invasion in 2003 contradicts the repeated denials of George Bush and Tony Blair that the war is not to blame for an upsurge in fundamentalist violence worldwide. The research is said to be the first to attempt to measure the "Iraq effect" on global terrorism. It found that the number killed in jihadist attacks around the world has risen dramatically since the Iraq war began in March 2003.

The study compared the period between 11 September 2001 and the invasion of Iraq with the period since the invasion. The count – excluding the Arab-Israel conflict – shows the number of deaths due to terrorism rose from 729 to 5,420. As well as strikes in Europe, attacks have also increased in Chechnya and Kashmir since the invasion. The research was carried out by the Centre on Law and Security at the NYU Foundation for Mother Jones magazine.

Iraq was the catalyst for a ferocious fundamentalist backlash, according to the study, which says that the number of those killed by Islamists within Iraq rose from seven to 3,122. Afghanistan, invaded by US and British forces in direct response to the September 11 attacks, saw a rise from very few before 2003 to 802 since then. In the Chechen conflict, the toll rose from 234 to 497. In the Kashmir region, as well as India and Pakistan, the total rose from 182 to 489, and in Europe from none to 297.
[More>>independent.co.uk ; See also motherjones.com, March 1, 2007]

02.28.07 Ten dead as bomb rips through Baghdad market

BAGHDAD (AFP) February 28 – A car bomb ripped through a market in Baghdad Wednesday killing 10 people, as the Iraqi government called a conference of regional and world powers to seek help to quell sectarian fighting. The explosion erupted in "Street Number 20," a bustling commercial area of Bayaa, near one of the city's many violent frontlines between rival sectarian communities, defense officials and state television said. National police commandos sealed off the scene soon after the blast, as the casualties were ferried to two of the city's overworked hospitals.

It was the latest in a vicious spate of bombings targeting mainly Shiite crowds in the two weeks since US and Iraqi forces launched a large-scale plan to defeat the insurgency and quell fighting between Sunnis and Shiites. Some progress has been made; many Shiite militia leaders have gone to ground or been arrested in raids by US and Iraqi forces, and Wednesday eight Sunni Al Qaeda militants were killed in airstrikes and six arrested. [

02.28.07 Egypt reports 23rd case of bird flu in humans

CAIRO (Reuters) February 28 – A four-year-old Egyptian girl has caught bird flu after coming in contact with infected domestic poultry, the 23rd case among humans in the North African country, the state news agency MENA said on Tuesday. [More>>khaleejtimes.com]

02.27.07 Iraqi forces crush 'heretic' shiite cult, claim victory over Al-Qaeda Sunnis

NAJAF, Iraq, February 27 – When the "Battle of Zarqa" erupted January 28 in the date palm orchards of Zarqa, 16 kilometers northeast of the holy city of Najaf, the conflict seemed clear. Gunmen battling Iraqi and US forces in a fierce, day-long fight were, say the Iraqi government, a large group of Sunni militants affiliated with Al Qaeda en route to attack the holy shrines in Najaf and the high-ranking Marjaiya clerics, as well as Shiite pilgrims, gathering for the 10-day religious festival of Ashura. The group was heavily armed and even managed to shoot down a US helicopter, killing two American soldiers.

Sunni attacks on Shia pilgrims during holy days have occurred before. Thus the claim of government ministers in Baghdad and the Iraqi national security advisor, Muaffaq Al Rubaie, seemed plausible. Najaf was about to be attacked by Al Qaeda elements, they claimed, and in an effort to avert the attack, "hundreds of foreign fighters" had been killed. But only one day later the picture looked quite different. The approximately 300 fighters killed in the battle turned out not to be Sunni insurgents as the government had claimed but Shiite members of the little-known cult Jund Al Samaa, or Soldiers of Heaven. This religious sect was led by a man named Dhia Abdel Zahra Al Garawi, who claimed he was the Imam Mehdi, whom Shiite believe to be the Muslim messiah.

02.27.07 Ottawa puts an end to anti-terror provisions

OTTAWA, Canada February 27 – The House of Commons has put an end to special anti-terrorism provisions introduced to parliament in the wake of the World Trade Center terrorism attacks. In a decisive 159-to-124 vote against extending two controversial parts of the Anti-Terrorism Act, the Opposition has relegated to history the provisions it enacted over five years ago. But Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion's bid to present a united front failed. As expected by Hill observers, a number of Liberal MPs did not attend the vote, including Bill Lee and Roy Cullen...The provisions allowed suspected terrorists to be detained without specific charge, and also allowed courts to force testimony about alleged terror plots at investigative hearings. They were to expire automatically Thursday without parliamentary approval to renew them. [Full story>>theglobeandmail.com]

02.27.07 Cheney unhurt in blast outside Afghan base

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) February 27 – A suicide bomber attacked the entrance to the main U.S. military base in Afghanistan Tuesday during a visit by U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, killing up to 23 people and wounding 20 more. The Taliban claimed responsibility and said Cheney was the target. Cheney was unhurt in the attack. About two hours after the blast, Cheney left on a military flight for Kabul to meet with President Hamid Karzai and other officials, then left Afghanistan. The vice president had spent the night at the sprawling Bagram Air Base. He ate breakfast with the troops, and met with Maj. Gen. David Rodriguez, the commander of US troops in Afghanistan.

He was preparing to leave for the meeting with Karzai when the suicide bomber struck about 10 a.m. (12:30 a.m. ET), sending up a plume of smoke visible to reporters accompanying him. US military officials declared a "red alert" at the base. (Watch the scene at base where bomb went off Video) "I heard a loud boom," Cheney told reporters. "The Secret Service came in and told me there had been an attack on the main gate."

He said he was moved "for a brief period of time" to a bomb shelter on the base near his quarters. "As the situation settled down and they had a better sense of what was going on, I went back to my room," Cheney added. Asked if the Taliban were trying to send a message with the attack, Cheney said: "I think they clearly try to find ways to question the authority of the central government. Striking at Bagram with a suicide bomber, I suppose, is one way to do that," he said. "But it shouldn't affect our behavior at all."

02.27.07 Iran, Syria and US to attend Baghdad talks – Iraq

BAGHDAD (Reuters) February 27 – Officials from regional states including Iran and Syria will join U.S. and British envoys at a meeting in Baghdad next month to seek ways to stabilize Iraq, the Iraqi foreign minister said on Tuesday. The mid-March meeting would be a chance for Western and regional powers to try to bridge some of their differences over Iraq, Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari said. "Our hope is that this will be an ice-breaking attempt for maybe holding other meetings in the future. We want Iraq, instead of being a divisive issue, to be a unifying issue," Zebari said by telephone from Denmark where he is on a visit. [More>>thestar.com.my ; See also rian.ru, February 27, "Iran calls for Muslim, non-aligned states to engage in nuclear talks."]

02.27.07 Wall Street plunge sends London reeling

February 27 – A triple hit left London shares reeling, with the FTSE 100 index heading for its sharpest points fall in eight months. Markets were spooked by a warning of a US recession from Alan Greenspan, the former US Federal Reserve chairman, along with Shanghai's biggest one-day percentage fall in a decade. Threats of a windfall tax on mining companies in South Africa also hurt sentiment.

The blue-chip FTSE fell as much as 111.5 to 6323.2 – its biggest points loss since June of last year, when the threat of higher US interest rates sent the benchmark into reverse by 143.3 points. The broader FTSE 250 index reached 11,330.60, down 281.8 points. That decline was mirrored in European markets, which took their lead from the Far East. The Shanghai & Shenzhen 300 index tumbled 9.3 per cent, its largest fall since its inception in 2005, while the broader composite index dropped 8.8 per cent to register its worst drop in ten years. Meanwhile, futures markets pointed to a weaker opening on Wall Street after Alan Greenspan suggested that the US may slip into recession by the end of the year.
[More>>timesonline.co.uk ; See also xinhuanet.com, February 27, "Chinese shares slump sharply, down 8.84%."]

02.27.07 Poverty gap in US has widened under Bush

February 27 – The number of Americans living in severe poverty has expanded dramatically under the Bush administration, with nearly 16 million people now living on an individual income of less than $5,000 (£2,500) a year or a family income of less than $10,000, according to an analysis of 2005 official census data. The analysis, by the McClatchy group of newspapers, showed that the number of people living in extreme poverty had grown by 26 per cent since 2000. Poverty as a whole has worsened, too, but the number of severe poor is growing 56 per cent faster than the overall segment of the population characterized as poor – about 37 million people in all according to the census data. That represents more than 10 per cent of the US population, which recently surpassed the 300 million mark.

The widening of the income gap between haves and have-nots is nothing new in America – it has been going on steadily since the late 1970s. What is new, though, is the rapid increase in numbers at the bottom of the socio-economic pile. The numbers of severely poor have increased faster than any other segment of the population. "That was the exact opposite of what we anticipated when we began," one of the McClatchy study's co-authors, Steven Woolf of Virginia Commonwealth University, said. "We're not seeing as much moderate poverty as a proportion of the population. What we're seeing is a dramatic growth of severe poverty."

02.27.07 Insider believed behind attack on Iraq VP

BAGHDAD (AFP) February 27 – Police probing how a bomb was smuggled into a Baghdad ministry in a bid to kill Iraq's Shiite vice-president believe that the attack was carried out by an insider, a security official said Tuesday. "Thirty-five employees of the public works ministry are now under interrogation by the interior ministry about how the bomb was brought into the building," the official said on condition of anonymity. "Most of them are bodyguards and ministry security men," he said, adding that those wounded in the explosion will be questioned once they recover.

Vice-President Adel Abdel Mehdi escaped with little more than a few scratches when a bomb exploded Monday next to a room in the ministry where he was attending a function, but five people were killed. The attack came as a city-wide security plan failed to halt the vicious sectarian carnage between Sunni and Shiite armed groups in Baghdad, which has seen a surge in bomb and mortar attacks since Saturday..."They started preventing visitors from entering the ministry a day earlier, so the criminal must be from inside. Early investigations indicate that an employee ... smuggled TNT into the building," he said.
[Full story>>metimes.com]

02.27.07 Twenty-two including six officials killed in Iraq bomb blasts

BAGHDAD, Twenty-two people including six police officials were killed and dozens others injured in suicide attacks and bomb blasts in Iraq today (Tuesday). According to police, a suicide truck bomber targeting an Iraqi police station in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul killed seven policemen and wounded 47 people, including 32 civilians. In another incident, a car bomb in Karrada killed five people and wounded 10 when it exploded shortly after an official convoy passed by, a police source said.

A suicide bomber wearing an explosive belt killed four people and wounded six others in the reception of a company specializing in manufacturing cement barriers for the Iraqi security forces in the town of al-Baaj, about 100 km (60 miles) west of Mosul, police said. A car bomb killed two people and wounded four others in a busy commercial street in the predominantly a district of Karrada in central Baghdad, police said. A roadside bomb in Tayaran Square in central Baghdad killed two people and wounded 11, police said. A roadside bomb wounded three policemen in Zayouna in eastern Baghdad, a police source said.

02.27.07 Iraq moving in 'negative' direction: US official

WASHINGTON, February 27 – Security in Iraq is "moving in a negative direction" and that the term "civil war" aptly describes elements of the conflict there, US intelligence chief Michael McConnell said on Tuesday. "Unless efforts to reverse these conditions gain real traction during the 12-18 month time frame ... we assess that the security situation will continue to deteriorate at rates comparable to the latter half of 2006," McConnell told lawmakers on the Senate Armed Services Committee. The director of national intelligence also said "the term 'civil war' accurately describes key elements of the Iraqi conflict" including the hardening of sectarian divisions and population "displacements." [>turkishpress.com]

02.27.07 Kuwait finds new cases of deadly bird flu

KUWAIT CITY (AFP) February 27 – Kuwait has confirmed seven more cases in birds of the avian flu strain that is dangerous to humans, bringing the total number to 39, the health ministry said on Tuesday. Four chickens, two turkeys and a falcon that were found dead at two locations were found to be infected with the avian flu,ı ministry spokesman Ahmed Al Shatti said. He said all the cases detected so far were of the deadly H5N1 strain. But he added that 58 people who had been in contact with the infected birds had all tested negative for the disease. [More>>khaleejtimes.com]


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


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