A resource for historians and journalists, since 2004

Maravot News of the World
10:34 AM
- San Francisco
Sunday, March 27, 2011
(last post

Search Engines & Filters

Trends, Iraq Casualties

Metric Conversion

kilometer: 0.6214 mile
msedeter: 39.37 inches
centimetre: 0.3937 inch
millimetre: 0.03937 inch
foot: 30.48 cm
Br. stone: 14 pounds
kilogram: 2.2046 pounds
litre: 1.0567 US quarts
hectare: 2.471 acres
– 1 djerib (Turkey)
– 1 jerib (Iran)
– 1 gong qing (China)
0° Celcius: = 32° F

New Chart - Chart showing National Debt & Annual Deficits with Presidents. Democrat administrations are blue, Republican in Red. Click chart for larger image. and discussion. For old Maravot chart click here, News Trends.html.

2009 update (3.05.09)

Western News
Worth frequent visits
Best nose for news

Village Voice
Newsweek Magazine
Time Magazine
The New Yorker magazine
Vanity Fair
Aviation Week
Arch. & Prehistory news
New Scientist

Aral Sea Disaster
oilonline.cHoly Ghosom
information please
DOD News
Le Monde.fr (
in French)
liberation.fr (
in French)
lefigaro.fr (
in French)
Spiegel Online
La Repubblica.It
PeaceReporter.net (Italy)
expatica.com (Spain)
standartnews.com (Bulgaria)
NIS News (Holland)
BBC News
Sky News (London)


The Independent
Belfast Telegraph
cnews.canoe.ca (Canada)
National Public Radio

New York Times.com
Washington Post
Washington Times
ABC News

Fox News


CBS News
WWLTV – New Orleans
Detroit Free Press (Freep)
LA Times

San Francisco Chronicle
El Paso Times (Texas-Mexico)
Banderas News (Mexico)

Financial Times
ino.com (World Indices)
Radio Free Europe
Radio News America
Democracy Now, radio & TV
The Guardian, Nigeria
Business Day (S. Africa)



International Agencies – News

Osama bin Laden fatwas.
This monster's own words will
lead to his destruction
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; Strait of Hormuz oil lane Iran threatens to block
Kazakhstan & neighbors

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.

Middle East Watch

Russia & Ukraine Watch

East Asia Watch

Relevant Works by Mel

News Headlines & Trends

3.25.11 Japanese nuclear officials fear crack in reactor core

March 25 - Possible damage at Fukushima nuclear power plant could cause leak of high levels of radiation. Nuclear safety officials in Japan fear the core of a reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant may have cracked, causing a leak of high levels of radiation. Growing uncertainty over the state of the stricken reactor prompted the government to tell people living within a 12-19 mile (20-30km) radius of the plant to consider leaving their homes temporarily. The government's chief spokesman, Yukio Edano, said 130,000 residents in the area had been encouraged to leave to improve their quality of life, not because their health was at risk. [More>>guardian.co.uk]

3.25.11 Gaddafi continues 'deadly' civilian strikes

March 25 - Libyan leader Col. Gaddafi's ability to use weapons against his people is "diminishing daily" thanks to the onslaught by coalition forces, the Ministry of Defence has said. But MoD spokesman Major General John Lorimer said it was clear that despite "heavy losses" by his forces by coalition operations, Col. Gaddafi was continuing to mount "deadly and indiscriminate attacks" on civilians. "But it is equally clear that our operations have saved many innocent lives already and we are confident that they will continue to do so," he added in his latest briefing on the conflict. NATO has agreed to take over enforcement of the no-fly zone over the country as Western warplanes continue to bombard targets inside Libya.

The military alliance said that it had planned for the UN-mandated mission to last three months and involve dozens of aircraft from the 28-nation bloc. However, NATO is still to decide whether it will broaden its role to take full command of all military operations, including airstrikes to protect civilians on the ground. British Tornado GR4 aircraft took part in the latest coordinated missile strike against Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's forces. "The Tornado aircraft launched a number of guided Brimstone missiles at Libyan armored vehicles which were threatening the civilian population of Ajdabiyah," Defence Minister Liam Fox said in a statement.

3.25.11 Yemen president Saleh addresses thousands in Sana'a

SANA'A, March 25 - President Ali Abdullah Saleh vowed to "stand firm" in the face of a growing campaign for his ouster, in a speech before a huge crowd of regime supporters in the Yemeni capital on Friday. In a speech broadcast on national TV, Saleh said he was prepared to hand over power but only to "safe hands." "We will stand firm with you...steadfast in the face of all challenges," Saleh said, before the crowd broke into applause. He was prepared to make concessions to avoid bloodshed, the Yemeni president said. Yemenis, including soldiers who have defected to the strengthening opposition and tribesman marching in support of the government, poured into Sana'a Friday for rallies. [>gulfnews.com; See also

khaleejtimes.com, March 25, "Saleh says willing to quit under conditions."
: President Ali Abdullah Saleh said on Friday he was ready to cede power to prevent more bloodshed in Yemen but only to what he called "safe hands." Meanwhile, a massive “Day of Departure” street protests against him began in various parts of the country. Western countries are alarmed that al-Qaeda militants entrenched in the Arabian Peninsula country could exploit any chaos arising from a messy transition of power if Saleh, a pivotal US and Saudi ally fighting for his political life, finally steps down after 32 years in power...

3.25.11 Deaths as Syrian forces fire on protesters

March 24 - At least 20 killed near Daraa, a witness tells Al Jazeera, as anti-government protesters defy security crackdown. Syrian security forces have opened fire on anti-government protesters near the city of Daraa, killing at least 20 people, according to one witness. "There are more than 20 martyrs .... they [security forces] opened fire haphazardly," the witness told Al Jazeera. Reuters also reported that heavy gunfire could be heard in the southern city, the focal point for demonstrations against Bashar al-Assad's regime in recent days. Rula Amin, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Damascus, said Syrian forces apparently opened fire after protesters set fire to a statue of the late president Hafer al-Assad. "Eyewitnesses are telling us that when some young men tried to burn down the statue of the late president the security forces started firing live ammunition at the protesters and there were some injured, we think there is one casualty, but we are trying to verify." [More>>aljazeera.net]

3.25.11 Bahrain complains over Hezbollah comments on protests

MANAMA, Bahrain (Reuters) March 25 - After Nasrallah offers help to protesters in Bahrain, FM of Sunni-ruled Gulf kingdom says he will not tolerate threats from a terrorist group. Bahrain has made a formal complaint to the Lebanese government over Shi'ite Muslim Hezbollah's offer of support to mainly Shi'ite protesters demanding reforms in the Sunni-ruled Gulf Arab kingdom. Bahraini Foreign Minister Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmed Al Khalifa said his country would not tolerate threats from what he termed a terrorist group and would consider lodging a complaint to "international sides" if Lebanon was not able to act. The warning highlights growing tensions in the world's largest oil-exporting region between Sunni-ruled Arab countries and non-Arab Shi'ite power Iran, just across Gulf waters. Bahrain has withdrawn top diplomats from Iran in protest over criticism of last week's crackdown on demonstrations. [More>>jpost.com]

3.25.11 Gunmen kill thirteen in ambush of Pakistan Shiites

PESHAWAR, Pakistan, March 25 - Thirteen people were killed when gunmen opened fire Friday on two vehicles carrying Shiite Muslims in Pakistan's lawless tribal region in suspected sectarian violence, officials said. Another 11 people were wounded when the vehicles were ambushed in Bagan, in Kurram district near the Afghan border, and a security official said the victims "were all Shiite Muslims," according to AFP. The area has a history of sectarian clashes between Pakistan's majority Sunni Muslims and minority Shiites. Khalid Umarzai, a senior administrative official, confirmed the incident and said the attackers also kidnapped as many as 35 Shiites travelling in three coaches before fleeing. "At least 13 people were killed and 11 others were wounded in the firing incident today morning," Umarzai told AFP. "Up to 35 others were kidnapped." [More>>alarabiya.net]

3.25.11 800 priceless Egypt artefacts still missing

CAIRO (AFP) March 25 - Egyptian officials said on Friday that 800 priceless artefacts were still missing after armed robbers raided a warehouse near the canal city of Ismailiya in the unrest following a popular revolt. "An inventory of the East Qantara warehouse which houses antiquities from the provinces on the Suez Canal and Sinai has revealed the theft and damage of a large number of artefacts," said Mohamed Abdel Maqsood, an official with Supreme Council of Antiquities for north east Egypt. "We found that 800 antiquities — which go back to the Pharaonic, Roman and Islamic periods — are still missing from the warehouse after 293 items were recovered," he said. Abdel Maqsood said the survey also revealed that “several” artefacts unearthed by French, American and Polish archaeological teams had also been stolen. Robbers raided several warehouses around the country, including the one in Cairo's world renowned Egyptian Museum, after an uprising that toppled longtime leader Hosni Mubarak gave way to looting and insecurity. On Tuesday, the United Nations cultural body UNESCO voiced growing concern for Egypt's archaeological sites and museums. [>khaleejtimes.com]

3.25.11 Archeologists find oldest stone-age tools in southern India

NEW DELHI (Xinhua) March 25 - Archaeologists have discovered India's oldest stone-age tools, up to 1.5 million years old, at a pre-historic site near Chennai, southern India, the Kolkata-based daily The Telegraph reported on Friday. The discovery may change existing ideas about the earliest arrival of human ancestors from Africa into India, the report said. A team of Indian and French archaeologists has used two dating methods to show that the stone hand-axes and cleavers from Attirampakkam are at least 1.07 million years old, and could date as far back as 1.5 million years, said the report. In nearly 12 years of excavation, archaeologists Shanti Pappu and Kumar Akhilesh from the Sharma Center for Heritage Education, Chennai, have found 3,528 artifacts that are similar to the prehistoric tools discovered in western Asia and Africa, it added. Their finding will appear on Saturday in the US journal "Science," according to the report. [>xinhuanet]

3.25.11 First sperm are grown in lab

March 25 - Infertile men have received new hope of fathering children after scientists grew mammalian sperm in a laboratory for the first time. A team from Japan developed sperm from fragments of testes from mice and used them to fertilise eggs from which healthy, fertile young were born. "I want to apply our method to other species including humans. The sperm produced in our system should be safe," said Dr. Takehiko Ogawa of Yokohama City University. The research team, reporting their results in the journal Nature, said the success of the mouse sperm held out the promise of discovering new techniques for male infertility. Dr. Allan Pacey, of the University of Sheffield, said success in mice was no guarantee it could be matched in humans but added: "This study is a small but important step in understanding how sperm are formed which may, in time, lead to us being able to routinely grow human sperm in the laboratory." [>independent.co.uk]

3.25.11 Polish children killed by Second World War bomb explosion

March 25 - Two Polish children have been killed by an explosion of munitions left over from the bitter battles of the Second World War. The two, brother and sister, were caught in the blast as they played in a ditch in eastern Poland. The 10-year-old boy was killed on the scene while his nine-year-old sister died later in hospital. "The girl came to us in a very serious condition," said Agnieszka Osinska, a hospital spokeswoman. "She had multiple injuries including a severe head wound, and despite the best efforts of the doctors she failed to regain consciousness." The children's mother and sister who were nearby at the time of the tragedy escaped injury. "I was not far away when I heard a huge explosion," said witness Zdzislaw Milanowicz. "My son thought it was a firework but I knew from my time in the army it was something like a grenade or a mortar shell." Bomb disposal experts said they believe the children had discovered a grenade and somehow detonated it. "We've secured the area and found debris which we believe belong to a Second World War grenade," said Lieutenant Tomasz Dlugi of the Polish army's bomb disposal team. Poland is littered with unexploded munitions left over far from the huge battles played out across the country during the Second World War, but fatalities are rare. [>telegraph.co.uk]

3.24.11 West strikes deep in Libya, Misrata still besieged

TRIPOLI (Reuters) March 24 - Western warplanes hit military targets deep inside Libya on Thursday but failed to prevent tanks reentering the western town of Misrata overnight and besieging its main hospital. Air strikes destroyed government tanks on the outskirts of rebel-held Misrata, but other tanks inside the city were not hit, a resident said, underling the difficulty of the UN backed military mission to protect Libyans from Muammar Gaddafi. Gaddafi's tanks rolled back into Misrata under the cover of darkness and shelled the area near the hospital, which was also under fire from government snipers, residents and rebels said. "The situation is very serious," a doctor in the western town said by telephone before the line was cut off. A resident called Abdelbasset said 6,000 workers and family members from Egypt and other African countries were stuck in the port, under the eye of two Libyan warships which moved in on Wednesday. "They haven't attacked but if they do, the thousands of workers will be the first victims," he said. [More>>thestar.com.my]

3.24.11 Fukushima workers hospitalized with skin lesions after radiation exposure in Japan

March 24 - Three men have been hurt by radiation while working at the stricken Fukushima power plant in Japan, with two taken to the hospital after developing skins lesions on their legs, nuclear safety agents announced Thursday. Officials said the three men were working in the basement of the No. 3 reactor when they were exposed to between 170-180 millisievierts of radiation. Background radiation levels of around 1.5 millisieverts every year are normal and pose no harm, according to the Australian Cancer Council. Nuclear workers are allowed exposures up to 20 millisieverts annually. The news was announced as the battle to gain control of the nuclear crisis was boosted on two fronts, with radiation levels in Tokyo's water subsiding and technicians partially restoring electricity to the control room of a reactor. [More>>news.com.au; See related story,

japantoday.com, March 24, "More than 26,000 dead or missing as nuclear disaster hinders search in Fukushima"
: FUKUSHIMA - The search for missing people following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami has been hindered in Fukushima Prefecture by the nuclear disaster there, rescue workers said Thursday. Self-Defense Forces personnel said it was possible many bodies had been left behind in the disaster area in the prefecture, as they faced difficulty entering areas placed under evacuation orders due to the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Fukushima Prefecture currently accounts for around 8 percent of the death toll. People living in a 20-kilometer radius of the plant have been under directives to evacuate and those within 20 km to 30 km have been advised to stay indoors. SDF rescue workers deployed in Fukushima have thus focused on supporting the evacuation of residents, including bed-ridden hospital patients, rather than searching for the missing, they said. According to the National Police Agency, more than 26,000 people were confirmed dead or remained unaccounted for following the quake and tsunami as of noon—9,700 dead and 16,501 missing...

3.24.11 Two militants killed in Naushera

NAUSHERA, Pakistan, March 24 - Police claimed to have killed two militants while another managed to escape after encounter in Misribanda, Geo News reported on Thursday. Police also recovered huge quantity of arms and ammunition besides suicide jacket from militants’ custody. [>thenews.com.pk; See related story,

khaleejtimes.com, March24, "Bombing kills 5 at police station in Pakistan"
: PARACHINAR, Pakistan - A Taleban suicide bomber rammed a car loaded with explosives into a police station in northwestern Pakistan on Thursday, killing five and wounding more than two dozen people, police said. It was the second attack in as many days against police in Hangu, a district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province that has been hit by militants many times over the past several years. The dead included one officer and four passers-by, said Rashid Khan, the top police official in Hangu. Most of the roughly 30 wounded in the attack in Doaba town were also passers-by, he said. The police tried to stop the bomber to check his car for explosives, but he sped past them into the station, said Khan. The blast also damaged several nearby homes and shops, Khan said. A Taleban spokesman, Ahsanullah Ahsan, claimed responsibility for the attack by phone from an undisclosed location. "We will continue our attacks against security forces," Ahsan told The Associated Press. On Wednesday, a roadside bomb struck a police patrol in Hangu, wounding six officers. Hangu is located close to Pakistan's troubled tribal region, where Taleban and al-Qaeda fighters have flourished. [end]

3.24.11 'More than 100 killed in Syrian anti-government rallies'

March 24 - Britain urges Syria to respect people's right to peacefully demonstrate; 20,000 gather to protest Wednesday's killing of demonstrators. More than 100 protesters have been killed by police gunfire in Deraa, the Syrian city where a recent wave of anti-government protests have taken place, AFP cited human rights activists and witnesses as saying Thursday. Britain urged Syria to respect its people's right to peaceful protest after reports of many deaths when security forces cleared a mosque in Deraa. "We call on the government of Syria to respect their people's right to peaceful protest and to take action about their legitimate grievances," British Foreign Secretary William Hague said. [More>>jpost.com]

3.24.11 Two Grad rockets from Gaza reach deep into Israel

March 24 - Rockets explode near Ashdod, can be heard in Yavneh; Qassam falls in Sderot; at least five mortars strike western Negev; attacks come after day of IAF strikes on militant targets in Gaza. Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip fired two Grad rockets at southern Israel on Thursday, as cross-border tensions continued to escalate. One of the rockets struck south of of Ashdod and the other just north of the city. It was not exactly clear where the second rocket hit, but the explosion could be heard in Yavneh, some 25 kilometers from Tel Aviv. A few hours later a Qassam rocket fell in the city of Sderot, and a mortar fell in Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council.

There were no casualties and no damage was done in both cases. A Grad rocket hit Ashdod and another two struck Be'er Sheva on Wednesday, as well, prompting the Israel Air Force to launch a series of attacks against militant groups and smuggling tunnels in the Gaza Strip. Militants persisted in volleying rockets and mortar shells across the border into southern Israel amid the IAF strikes. Approximately five mortar shells and two Qassam rockets struck Israeli territory overnight, and another rocket was fired at the Ashkelon coast on Thursday morning, after militants fired dozens of rockets and mortars into the western Negev in the days prior. The Hamas rulers of the Gaza Strip said early Thursday that the Israeli strikes had targeted smuggling tunnels along the Gaza-Egypt border, as well as one of its training camps inside the Strip.

3.24.11 Protest camp set up in Jordan capital

March 24 - Demonstrators in Amman vow to continue with their sit-in until demands for political reforms are met. Hundreds of Jordanians have set up a protest camp in a main square in the capital to press demands for the ouster of the prime minister and wider public freedoms. The 500 protesters appeared to be mostly university students or unemployed graduates unaffiliated with any political party. Many said they met through Facebook last month to launch a group called the Jordanian Youth Movement. Ziad al-Khawaldeh, the group's spokesman, said protesters would remain outdoors until Marouf al-Bakhit, the prime minister departs. Other demands include dissolving what is widely seen as a docile parliament, dismantling the largely feared intelligence department and giving greater powers to the people. The group changed its name on Thursday to "Youth of March 24" — marking what members said was the start of an open-ended demonstration. "Today is the dawning of the Jordanian revolution," al-Khawaldeh said. [More>>aljazeera.net]

3.24.11 Iran website recruits 'jihadists' for Bahrain 'war'

DUBAI, March 24 - Promises privacy protection for volunteers. Iranian authorities have licensed a website calling for “war,” including the use of volunteer suicide militants, against what its founders see as the "invasion" of Bahrain by troops from countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Raheel, Arabic for "departure," seeks to mobilize public opinion against the intervention of the GCC joint Peninsula Shield Force in Bahrain. The website features Quranic verses that call for Jihad, or holy war, and backs those calls with photos and videos showing alleged human rights violations by the GCC troops. The website, however, does not show any GCC troops cracking down on civilians in the streets. The website claims that a "redeemer" would wage war against Arab Gulf countries, Israel, and the United states, pointing out that this so-called "redeemer" has played a role in the popular uprisings of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. [More>>alarabiya.net; See related story,

arabtimesonline.com, "Bahrain suspends Lebanon, Iran, Iraq flights"
: MANAMA - Bahrain has suspended flights to and from Lebanon a day after it warned its nationals not to travel there following declarations of support by Iranian-backed Shi'ite group Hezbollah for protests by Bahrain's Shi'ites. Bahrain's state-run Gulf Air also said in a statement on its website that all flights to Iran and Iraq had been suspended until March 31, without giving a reason. The decision highlights growing tensions in the world's largest oil-exporting region between Sunni-ruled Arab countries and non-Arab Shi'ite power Iran, just across Gulf waters. Iran, which supports Shi'ite groups in Lebanon and Iraq, has criticized the intervention in Bahrain by neighboring Sunni-led Gulf Arab states. Street protests against the intervention have also been held in Iraq and Lebanon, which along with Bahrain, are among the few Arab states where Shi'ite Muslims outnumber Sunnis. "This decision was taken after the irresponsible comments and stances from Lebanon against Bahrain, its people and leaders," state-owned Bahrain news agency cited a statement from the Civil Aviation Affairs department as saying. Flights by Gulf Air and Bahrain Air to and from Lebanon have been suspended indefinitely, it added...

3.24.11 Web firm suspects Iran hacked into it

(Reuters) March 24 - An Internet-security company said it was tricked into trying to lure Iranian users to fake versions of major websites, a sophisticated hack it suspects the Iranian government carried out. Comodo Group Inc., a Jersey City, N.J., company that issues digital certificates to assure Internet users of websites' authenticity, said Wednesday it had issued nine such certificates to what turned out to be fraudulent websites set up in Iran. The March 15 attack involved certificates for fake versions of Google Inc.'s Gmail site, Yahoo Inc.'s login page and websites run by Microsoft Corp., Firefox browser maker Mozilla Corp. and Internet telephone company Skype. In theory, an Iranian attempting to log into his Yahoo account, for example, could have been misdirected to a fake site. That would allow the perpetrators to obtain a host of online information including contents of email, passwords and usernames, while monitoring activity on the dummy sites. Since the targeted sites offer communication services, not financial transactions, Comodo said it seemed clear the hackers sought information, not money. It wasn't clear whether anyone fell for the ruse. Comodo said it didn't know how many of the nine certificates were received by the attacker. [>foxnews.com; More at Wall Street Journal]

3.24.11 Police foils bid to ship 16,000 guns to Yemen

DUBAI, March 24 - Dubai Police have foiled a bid to smuggle 16,000 guns to Yemen's northern province of Saada, a Shia rebels' stronghold, Police Chief Lt. Gen. Dahi Khalfan Tamim said on Thursday. Six Arabs have been arrested by Dubai Police who seized the pistols from a warehouse where the shipment was hidden by the gang, Khalfan announced at a press conference. He said the shipment came from Turkey and was to be sent to Yemen via another Gulf country. However, the gang's original plan did not work due to problems in navigation routes. Following this, they took a detour to Dubai and kept the arms, estimated to be of Dhs16 million, at a warehouse here. The police chief said he believes that the arms traders were exploiting the current political situation in Yemen so that the pistols of different sizes could be used for assassinations. He said the arrests and the seizure followed a one-week investigation. [>khaleejtimes.com]

3.23.11 Radioactive iodine exceeding limit for infants found in Tokyo water

TOKYO, March 23 - The Tokyo metropolitan government warned Wednesday that infants should not drink tap water as radioactive iodine exceeding the limit for them was detected in water at a purification plant. The advisory covers Tokyo’s 23 wards and five cities — Musashino, Mitaka, Machida, Tama and Inagi. According to the metropolitan government, 210 becquerels of radioactive iodine were detected per 1 kilogram of water against the limit of 100 becquerels in a survey Tuesday at a water purification plant in the Kanamachi district of Katsushika Ward. But the amount of the radioactive substance detected at the purification plant is lower than the 300-becquerel limit for people other than infants. "The standards are set by considering damage to human health from intake over a long period of time. It is all right to drink the water if there is no substitute drinking water," a metropolitan government official said. In another survey conducted Wednesday, the amount of the substance at the Kanamachi plant was 190 becquerels, the local government said. The detection follows the devastating earthquake earlier this month that crippled Tokyo Electric Power Co’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, which is about 220 kilometers northeast of Tokyo, causing radiation leaks from the plant. [More>>japantoday.com; See related stories,

japantoday.com, March 23, "Work at nuclear plant disrupted again by black smoke"
: FUKUSHIMA - Work to restore power and key cooling functions was disrupted again Wednesday at the crisis-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant after smoke caused workers to evacuate. Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. said it learned at around 4:20pm that black smoke was seen rising at the No. 3 reactor building, leading to evacuation of workers from the four troubled reactors, but added about an hour later that it was receding. The radiation level was unchanged shortly afterward, meaning the smoke caused no massive release of radioactive materials, the government's nuclear safety agency said. Smoke was also seen billowing from the No. 3 building on Monday. It also turned out that the surface temperatures of the No. 1 and No. 3 reactor vessels have topped the maximum levels set by their designers, now that they can be measured due to battery-based backup power, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said...

timesofindia.indiatimes.com (AFP) March 23, "Nuclear fears shut 25 embassies in Tokyo" : OSAKA - The nuclear emergency following the earthquake and tsunami in Japan has led 25 embassies to temporarily shut their doors in Tokyo, foreign minister Takeaki Matsumoto said on Wednesday. Matsumoto provided the figure in an appearance before the lower house foreign affairs committee. Germany, Switzerland and Finland headed the list. As of Tuesday, "eight of them had transferred their functions outside Tokyo or Japan," a foreign ministry spokesman said. "The rest have had their staff stay home. They have been changing its working arrangement day by day," he said...

3.23.11 Libya airforce 'unable to fight'

March 23 - Col. Muammar Gaddafi's air force "no longer exists as a fighting force," the commander of British aircraft operating over Libya has said. Air Vice-Marshal Greg Bagwell said the allies could now operate "with near impunity" over the skies of Libya. He said they were now applying unrelenting pressure on the Libyan armed forces. He was speaking during a visit to RAF aircrew based at Gioia del Colle in southern Italy. "We are watching over the innocent people of Libya and ensuring that we protect them from attack," he said. "We have the Libyan ground forces under constant observation and we attack them whenever they threaten civilians or attack population centres." His comments come as NATO members debate who should lead the intervention, with the US keen to hand over to NATO. They were echoed by Rear Admiral Gerard Hueber, US chief of staff for the Libya mission, who said: "We are putting pressure on Gadaffi's ground forces that are threatening cities." Asked if that meant air strikes, he replied: "Yes." [More>>bbc.co.uk; See related story,

aljazeera.net, March23, "Libyan rebels form 'intermim government'"
: Rebels say they're striving to liberate entire country as battles rage and Gaddafi rails against "fascist assault." Libya's pro-democracy fighters have formed an "interim government" even as forces backing the country's leader, Muammar Gaddafi, press ahead with attacks against them. Heading up the new government as an interim prime minister is Mahmoud Jibril, who had been working as a representative to foreign powers. He is best known on the international stage for meeting Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, which led to France diplomatically recognizing the rebels' transitional council as the sole representative of the Libyan people. Opposition spokesman Nisan Gouriani told Al Jazeera: "The provisional national council is a legislative body, but we need an executive body to take control and provide an administration." He said the rebels' "position has been very clear from the beginning — that Libya is one unit."...

3.23.11 6 dead in new clashes in southern Syria city

DARAA, Syria (AP) March 23 - New violence in a restive southern Syrian city killed as many as six people early Wednesday, making it the deadliest single day since anti-government protests. The activist told The Associated Press that six people died in Daraa when security forces launched an attack near the Al Omari Mosque, where anti-government demonstrators have taken shelter. He said a paramedic was among the dead. The activist spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing reprisals. The weeklong standoff and violence in Daraa is remarkable in a country like Syria, where security is tightly controlled and state allegiance is expected. So far, the protests have been confined to Daraa and a few surrounding areas — as well as small protests in the capital — but that could rapidly change, particularly if the violence continues. [More>>khaleejtimes.com]

3.23.11 Bomb explodes in central Jerusalem, 1 dead, at least 30 hurt

March 23 - Blast caused by explosive device placed next to telephone pole; three people seriously wounded; entrance to the city has been closed. A bomb exploded Wednesday at a crowded bus stop outside the International Convention Center in Jerusalem, just opposite the central bus station. A 59-year-old woman was killed and at least 30 people were wounded in the incident, three of them seriously. All of the casualties have been evacuated to the Hadassah Hospital in Ein Karem. The Magen David Adom emergency services said that there were no fatalities. The blast could be heard throughout Jerusalem and blew out the windows of bus No. 74, traveling from Givat Shaul to Har Homa. The explosive device was apparently hidden in a bag next to a telephone pole. [More>>haaretz.com]

3.23.11 Two Grad rockets hit Be'er Sheva; IAF strikes Gaza launching squad

March 23 - Eight mortar shells hit western Negev between the two attacks on Be'er Sheva, and within hours of another strike on Ashdod; on Israeli lightly wounded, at least eight Palestinians killed over course of Tuesday. Tensions continued along Israel's border with the Gaza Strip on Wednesday morning, as Gaza militants fired two Grad-type Katyusha rocket at the southern city of Be'er Sheva and a barrage of mortar shells on the western Negev. The first rocket struck a street in the middle of a residential area in the city, damaging buildings including a synagogue. A piece of shrapnel penetrated a nearby third-floor apartment upon impact, lightly wounding one man. The second hit an open area in the city. A number of people were treated for shock in both incidents. Gaza militants also fired seven mortar shells at the Eshkol region of the western Negev and another at the Sha'ar Hanegev area. The attacks on Wednesday morning came a mere hours after another Grad fired from Gaza exploded south of the coastal city of Ashdod. Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for each of the attacks. [More>>haaretz.com]

3.23.11 Mubarak could face murder charges: fact-finding panel

DUBAI, March 23 - Egypt committee charges Mubarak, ex-minister of killing protesters. A fact-finding committee, set up to probe the violence that accompanied Egypt's demonstrations, has filed charges against former president Hosni Mubarak and the-then interior minister Habib al-Adly for intentional murder of protesters. More than 380 protesters were killed during the demonstrations, which kicked off on Jan. 25 and ended by forcing the strongman to step down on Feb. 11. after handing over the authority to the army. Thousands of demonstrators were also injured during the protests when police forces fired rubber bullets, live ammunition, water cannon and tear gas at peaceful protesters. Al-Ahram daily reported on Wednesday that the fact-finding committee submitted its charges to the Public Prosecutor, accusing Mubarak as the head of the government as being "criminally responsible for the death of the protesters." [More>>alarabiya.net]

3.23.11 Biofuel policy is causing starvation, says Nestlé boss

March 23 - Soaring food inflation is the result of "immoral" policies in the US which divert crops for use in the production of biofuels instead of food, according to the chairman of one of the world's largest food companies. Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, the chairman of Nestlé, lashed out at the Obama administration for promoting the use of ethanol made from corn, at the expense of hundreds of millions of people struggling to afford everyday basics made from the crop. Mr. Brabeck-Letmathe weighed in to the increasingly acrimonious debate over food price inflation to condemn politicians around the world who seem determined to blame financial speculators instead of tackling underlying imbalances in supply and demand. And he reserved especially pointed remarks for US agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack, who he said was making "absolutely flabbergasting" claims for the country's ability to cope with rising domestic and global demand for corn. "Today, 35 per cent of US corn goes into biofuel," the Nestlé chairman told an audience at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in New York yesterday. "From an environmental point of view this is a nonsense, but more so when we are running out of food in the rest of the world. It is absolutely immoral to push hundreds of millions of people into hunger and into extreme poverty because of such a policy, so I think I insist no food for fuel." [More>>independent.co.uk]

3.23.11 New home sales plunge to record low

(Reuters) March 23 - New single-family home sales unexpectedly fell in February to hit a record low and prices were the lowest since December 2003, a government report showed on Wednesday, suggesting the housing market slide was deepening. The Commerce Department said sales dropped 16.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted 250,000 unit annual rate, the lowest since records began in 1963, after an upwardly revised 301,000-unit pace in January. Sales plunged to all-time lows in three of the four regions last month. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast new home sales edging up to a 290,000-unit pace last month from a previously reported 284,000 unit rate. [More>>foxbusiness.com]

3.22.11 No. of dead or missing tops 22,000; bodies buried in rare measure

TOKYO, March 22 - The number of those who were killed or remain unaccounted for following the devastating March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan topped 22,000 on Tuesday, the National Police Agency said. The death toll reached 9,080 in 12 prefectures, while the number of missing came to 13,561 in six prefectures as of 6pm, the NPA said. In the severely damaged prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima, meanwhile, at least 125 children and students from kindergarten to college levels were killed, while around 1,600 remain unaccounted for as of Tuesday morning, according to the education ministry. The numbers of such child and student fatalities will inevitably rise, as many of them remain missing, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology said. It also said 5,681 schools in 23 prefectures were damaged or submerged, while 3,398 schools in 16 prefectures have been suspended. The police have so far conducted autopsies on 8,360 bodies, of which some 4,670 have been identified, and among them around 4,150 were returned to their families, according to the NPA. [More>>japantoday.com; See related story,

japantoday.com, March 22, "All 6 nuclear reactors reconnected to external power"
: FUKUSHIMA - All six reactors at the quake-stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant were reconnected to external power, plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Tuesday, although smoke detected at the No. 2 and No. 3 reactors the day before had temporarily hampered efforts to restore power and cool down spent nuclear fuel pools. Tokyo Electric said that it is also close to restoring lighting in the control room for the No. 3 and No. 4 reactors, a move that is expected to allow for more intensive work to bring the nuclear crisis under control and to restore the reactors’ key cooling functions. Earlier in the day, industry minister Banri Kaieda acknowledged that the progress in electricity restoration is good news but added that the situation involving the reactors remains " extremely tough." The spokesman of the government's nuclear safety agency, Hidehiko Nishiyama, told a separate press conference in the afternoon that if electricity starts to work, the actual condition of the plant would become "visible" and authorities would be able to check whether the current measures are sufficient to contain the crisis. He also gave reassurance that it is unlikely that the situation would worsen and develop into a critical "meltdown," with spent nuclear fuel rods reaching criticality again...

3.22.11 Gaddafi shells towns; rebels pinned down in east

TRIPOLI (Reuters) March 22 - Muammar Gaddafi's forces attacked two west Libyan towns, killing dozens while rebels were pinned down in the east and NATO tried to resolve a heated row over who should lead the Western air campaign. With anti-Gaddafi rebels struggling to create a command structure that can capitalise on the air strikes against Libyan tanks and air defences, Western nations have still to decide who will take over command once Washington pulls back in a few days. In the latest fighting on Tuesday, Gaddafi's tanks shelled the rebel-held western town of Misrata and casualties included four children killed when their car was hit, residents said, adding the death toll for Monday alone had reached 40. Residents painted a grim picture of the situation in Misrata which has been under siege by Gaddafi loyalists for weeks, with doctors operating on people with bullet and shrapnel wounds in hospital corridors and tanks in the city centre. "The situation here is very bad. Tanks started shelling the town this morning," a resident, called Mohammed, told Reuters by telephone from outside the city's hospital, adding: "Snipers are taking part in the operation too. A civilian car was destroyed killing four children on board, the oldest is aged 13 years." [More>>thestar.com.my; See related stories,

aljazeera.net, March 22, "Misurata shelled as battle for Libya rages"
: Children reported killed as Gaddafi forces bombard western city, while fierce fighting rages further east in Ajdabiya. Forces loyal to longtime Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi have shelled Misurata, pressing their siege of the embattled western city. Four children were killed in the shelling on Tuesday, a resident named Mohammed Ahmed told the Reuters news agency. The children were killed while trying to flee their home, a rebel spokesman told Al Jazeera. Gaddafi's regime has encircled Misurata for days, bringing in tanks and stationing snipers on rooftops, in an attempt to choke off one of the only cities in the west where a strong rebel presence remains. Shelling there killed at least 40 people on Monday, Ahmed said. Misurata lies around 200km east of Tripoli, the capital, and is home to a major oil refinery. Libyan government spokesman Ibrahim said Misurata, Libya's third-largest city, was "liberated three days ago" and that Gaddafi's forces were hunting "terrorist elements." But a spokesman for opposition fighters in the city told the AFP news agency that the opposition remained in control despite an onslaught by Gaddafi loyalists, who he said opened fire with tanks and set snipers on roofs to gun down people in the streets...

telegraph.co.uk, March 22, "Libya: rebels push on to the disputed town of Ajdabiya"
: The rebels raced each other along the Tripoli road making pell-mell for the disputed town of Ajdabiya. They charged ahead, convinced war planes were in the air again. Buoyed by the sight of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's tanks lying smashed and charred along the route, the disparate column of pickups and saloon cars had chased government troops almost 90 miles out of the opposition stronghold of Benghazi. But it wasn't supposed to be like that. The Daily Telegraph has learned that commanders have begun coordinating attacks with coalition leaders to enable French and British war planes to bomb Gaddafi targets before rebel fighters advance. Yet there was no sign of anything reining in the chaotic advance not until the sound of Katyusha rockets slamming into the sandy soil sent the ranks of volunteers into a frenzied panic of honking three-point turns. Bullet rounds fizzed through the air past our ears. It felt like an ambush. The revolutionary soldiers had been lured too close to the town where they were horribly exposed on the road. They retreated just as fast as they had advanced, finally stopping to catch their breath about 10 miles from Ajdabiya...

abcnews.go.com, March 22, "'You'll die tonight' : Jailed journos recount Libya horrors" : A war photographer for the New York Times, the only woman in a group of four journalists captured in Libya last week, said that she was sexual assaulted and threatened with death by Libyan soldiers while in captivity. Lynsey Addario and her colleagues were released into the custody of the Turkish Embassy in Libya Monday, after a six-day ordeal. The team was detained last Tuesday when pro-Gaddafi forces stopped their car at a checkpoint near the war-torn city of Ajdabiya. The soldiers pulled them out of the car and the group tried to make a run for it. The soldiers quickly caught them and considered shooting them, they told the Times. But the soldiers instead chose to detain them after realizing they were Americans.

Addario's shoelaces were removed and a soldier used them to bind her ankles, she said. Once immobile, the soldier punched her in the face, laughing as he struck her. "Then I started crying and he was laughing more," she told the Times. The soldier then groped her breasts, setting off two days of disturbing sexual assaults by a series of armed men, she said. "There was a lot of groping," she told the paper. "Every man who came in contact with us basically felt every inch of my body short of what was under my clothes." As the fighting in Ajdabiya died down, the group was transported out of town. On the way, one soldier threatened to decapitate photographer Tyler Hicks; another stroked Addario's head and threatened her with death. "He was caressing my head in this sick way, this tender way, saying: 'You're going to die tonight. You're going to die tonight,'" she said...

3.22.11 Syrian governor sacked after 7 protesters killed

DAMASCUS (AP) March 22 - A Syrian official says the governor of a southern province where a deadly government crackdown killed seven protesters has been sacked. The official says Faisal Kalthoum was fired from his position in Daraa on Tuesday. The official spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations. Protests inspired by uprisings across the Arab world have erupted in parts of Syria, but authorities quickly suppressed them. Three consecutive days of protests in Daraa started on Friday and turned violent as security forces fired on protesters. The state order to remove Kalthoum, in post since 2006, could help ease tension in Daraa as residents accused him of being corrupt. [>khaleejtimes.com]

3.22.11 Palestinians: IDF shells kill 4 Gazans, including children

March 22 - France expresses concern over escalation, calls for restraint on all sides; IDF says fired at Kassam launch location, blames Hamas for operating in civilian areas; Hamas: "Escalation will be met with escalation." Palestinians reported that four people were killed, including several children, and several others were injured when IDF tank shells hit a house east of Gaza City on Tuesday afternoon. Palestinian medics said the dead youths were aged 12, 16 and 17. The 58-year-old owner of the house was also killed. The IDF spokesperson said that the strike followed the launching of four Kassam rockets that exploded in the Sha'ar Hanegev Regional council a short time earlier. The statement added that the shells targeted the location where the Kassam rockets were fired from and that it appeared that civilians who were not involved in the firing of the Kassams were inadvertently hit. The spokesperson added that it holds Hamas responsible for continuing to operate from inside civilian population centers. A short time earlier, four Kassam rockets exploded in open fields in the Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council. No injuries or property damage was reported. France said on Tuesday it was concerned about an escalation in violence in the Gaza Strip this week and called on both sides to show restraint. [More>>jpost.com]

3.22.11 Hamas protests UN plans to teach Gazans about the Holocaust

(AP) March 22- Recognizing the Holocaust is often seen by some Palestinians as tantamount to acknowledging Jewish land claims. The United Nations has launched a new plan to teach the Holocaust in Gaza schools, drawing fierce condemnation from Gaza's militant Hamas rulers, school teachers - and even the body tasked with peace negotiations with Israel. If implemented, it would be the first time most Palestinian children learn about Jewish suffering. But the outcry underscores how sensitive the issue is to Palestinians. "Playing with the education of our children in the Gaza Strip is a red line," Hamas Education Minister, Mohammed Asqoul told a website of the group. He said Hamas will block attempts to teach the Holocaust regardless of the price. The uproar erupted after a UN official told a Jordanian daily in February that UNRWA, the main UN agency serving Palestinian refugees, would introduce a short case study about the Holocaust to Gaza students as part of its human rights curriculum.

"Instead of pre-emptive accusations, it is important for Palestinians ... to fully understand the tragedies and suffering that happened to all people through generations, without divvying up facts and taking things out of context," the official, Sami Mushasha, was quoted as saying. UNRWA representatives refused to comment on the record, but one official said the agency was committed to introducing the curriculum for the next school year, beginning in September. He added that officials were hesitating because they feared Hamas would incite loyalists to damage UN schools or harm their teachers if they introduce the materials. He requested anonymity because he was barred from discussing the matter with the media.

3.22.11 Yemen opposition says reject Saleh early poll offer

DUBAI/SANAA, March 22 - Fresh defections give new blow for Yemen's Saleh. A coalition of Yemeni opposition groups rejected an offer on Tuesday by President Ali Abdullah Saleh, facing protester demands to resign, to leave office after organizing parliamentary elections by January 2012. "The opposition rejects the offer as the coming hours will be decisive," Mohammed al-Sabry, spokesman for the main umbrella opposition group, told Reuters. Meanwhile, Saleh's media secretary Ahmed al-Sufi told Reuters that "President Ali Abdullah Saleh said he will hand over power through (parliamentary) elections and the formation of democratic institutions at the end of 2011 or January 2012." "Ali Abdullah Saleh does not seek power. Ali Abdullah Saleh will not leave without knowing who he is handing over to." Fresh defections on Tuesday gave another blow to Saleh as a number of diplomats and a former minister backed pro-democracy protestors demanding an end to the strongman's 32 year-rule. [More>>alarabiya.net]

3.22.11 Karzai identifies future Afghan areas

(Reuters) March 22 - President Hamid Karzai named seven areas of Afghanistan Tuesday which will be fully controlled by Afghan security forces, representing the first stage of the transition from NATO-led troops to national forces due to be completed by 2014. Afghanistan's leader announced on Tuesday seven areas would be included in the first phase of a gradual transition of security from NATO troops to Afghan forces in July, including volatile cities in the south and north. The announcement was the first tentative step in a long process that will end with the withdrawal of all foreign combat troops from Afghanistan by 2014, a process agreed by US and NATO leaders last year. "Transition is the right of the Afghan people and, therefore, we should stand on this right and we want this transition to happen," Afghan President Hamid Karzai told a graduation ceremony for Afghan military officers on a base at Kabul airport. [More>>france24.com]

3.22.11 NASA's Orion Moon Craft unveiled at new spaceflight facility

March 22 - Is this the future of manned missions into deep space?  Lockheed Martin on Tuesday unveiled the first Orion spacecraft, a part of what NASA had planned as the sprawlingly ambitious Constellation project that would offer a replacement for the space shuttle and a means to ferry humans into outer space and back to the moon. Orion and the companion Ares heavy-lift rocket were part of Constellation, a program cancelled under President Barack Obama's 2011 budget proposal. Instead Obama urged NASA to work toward sending humans to an asteroid and then on to Mars. Reports indicated NASA intended Orion to be merely a crew-escape vehicle.  But NASA and Lockheed Martin had other plans for the project, and pushed ahead on the Orion space capsule despite their ambiguous status. Tuesday Lockheed Martin showed off the fruits of its labor and it's far more ambitious than a crew-rescue ship. 

"Our nation's next bold step in exploration could begin by 2016," said John Karas, vice president and general manager for Lockheed Martin's Human Space Flight programs. “Orion was designed from inception to fly multiple, deep-space missions. The spacecraft is an incredibly robust, technically advanced vehicle capable of safely transporting humans to asteroids, Lagrange Points and other deep space destinations that will put us on an affordable and sustainable path to Mars.” A spokeswoman for Lockheed Martin pointed FoxNews.com to NASA's latest authorization act, from Oct. 11, 2010, which underscores the wide role the Orion craft could play.  "Orion is going to evolve from what it was under the previous Constellation program into what it needs to become as part of the multipurpose crew vehicle," NASA spokesman Bob Jacobs told the Associated Press.

3.20.11 Fresh explosions rock Libyan capital

March 20 - US says operation "effective" in degrading Gaddafi air defences as international forces launch second night of attacks. Loud explosions have rocked the Libyan capital, Tripoli, a day after international forces launched an operation to enforce a no-fly zone over the North African country. Anti-aircraft tracer fire erupted in Tripoli late on Sunday, indicating a second wave of incoming jets aimed at targets belonging to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. Britain's ministry of defence said one of its submarines had again fired guided Tomahawk missiles on Libyan air defence systems on Sunday. Gunfire could also be heard from the area around Gaddafi's residence in the Bab el-Aziziya barracks in the south of Tripoli, with reports of separate explosions coming from the same area. Al Jazeera's Anita McNaught, reporting from the capital, said it was not immediately clear where the explosions had occurred as journalists were not allowed to visit the sites targeted. "The principle firing happened around nine o'clock in the evening local time and that's when we believe there was a strike in the region of Gaddafi's compound," she said. [More>>aljazeera.net; See related stories,

bbc.co.uk, March 20, "US to had over military command in coming days"
: The US has said it expects to hand over control of military operations against Libya within days to either a UK-France coalition or NATO. Meanwhile in Tripoli, journalists were shown a ruined building in Col Muammar Gaddafi's compound that officials said was hit by a missile late on Sunday. The UK said it again launched Tomahawk missiles as part of a coordinated strike on Libyan air defences. Earlier, the Pentagon said Libya's air defences were effectively degraded. US Defence Secretary Robert Gates said that while the US will continue to play a part in military operations against Col Gaddafi's forces, it "will not have the pre-eminent role." "I think there is a sensitivity on the part of the Arab League to being seen to be operating under a NATO umbrella," Mr. Gates said. "And so the question is if there is a way we can work out NATO's command and control machinery without it being a NATO mission and without a NATO flag, and so on." Mr. Gates also said a break-up of Libya would be a formula for instability. The east of the country, where the month-old revolt began, has historically been much more opposed to Col Gaddafi's rule, while the west and the area around Tripoli constitute his heartland....

guardian.co.uk, March 20, "Coalition attacks wreak havoc on ground troops"
: Air strikes hit Gaddafi's forces hard, but revolutionary leaders appeal for more. The dozen or so men clustered behind the last smouldering tank looked as if they had died while they slept. Their blankets bore no burn marks so perhaps it was the force of blasts powerful enough to rip the turrets off the Russian-made tanks and toss them 20 metres or more across the open field near Benghazi that killed Muammar Gaddafi's soldiers. The air attack came at 4am , after the tanks pulled back from a day-long assault on the rebel stronghold of Benghazi. The crews chose to rest in a field about 10 miles from the de facto capital of the anti-Gaddafi revolutionaries. It must have seemed safe to the soldiers. The rebels were far away and the tank crews would have seen any threat approaching by road. They gathered to eat and sleep behind the tank furthest into the field. But it was no protection from the threat in the sky. The tanks and their operators were sitting ducks in the open and probably never heard the planes. The French pilots did not even have to be concerned about the risk of harming civilians...

cnn.com, March 20, "Coalition targets Gaddafi compound" : TRIPOLI, Libya - Airstrikes Sunday in the heart of Moammar Gadhafi's Tripoli compound had a military objective, but also no doubt brought a message of allied resolve to the Libyan leader's doorstep. A coalition military official confirmed to CNN that the compound was targeted because it contains capabilities to exercise command and control over Libyan forces. The coalition's goal is to degrade Gadhafi's military capabilities. The official, who was not identified because of the sensitivity of the information, insisted that neither Gadhafi nor his residence was the intended target. The leader's whereabouts were not known...

3.20.11 Progress at Japan reactors; new signs of food radiation

TOKYO, March 20 - Japan appeared to make moderate progress in stabilizing some of the nuclear reactors at the stricken Fukushima Daiichi power plant on Sunday, but at the same time it disclosed new signs of radioactive contamination in agricultural produce and livestock. The government said it was barring all shipments of milk from Fukushima Prefecture and shipments of spinach from Ibaraki Prefecture, after finding new cases of above-normal levels of radioactive elements in milk and several vegetables. Relatively high levels were also found in spinach from Tochigi and Gunma Prefectures to the west, canola from Gunma Prefecture and chrysanthemum greens from Chiba Prefecture, south of Ibaraki. The emergency efforts to mitigate damage at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, meanwhile, brought some notes of relief in the face of persistently dire conditions. The authorities said they had restored water pumps to two damaged reactors, Nos. 5 and 6, that were not of central concern, putting them under control in a state known as "cold shutdown." But another reactor that has proved more worrisome, No. 3, continued to bedevil engineers. [More>>nytimes.com; See related story,

thenews.com.pk, March 20, "Japan dead, missing near 21,000 amid atomic crisis" : KAMASHI, Japan - Workers were close to restoring power to a nuclear plant's overheating reactors Sunday as the toll of dead or missing from Japan's worst natural disaster in nearly a century neared 21,000. Amid the devastation on the northeast coast left by a March 11 quake and tsunami, police reported an astonishing tale of survival with the discovery of an 80-year-old woman and her 16-year-old grandson alive under the rubble. "Their temperatures were quite low but they were conscious. Details of their condition are not immediately known. They have been already rescued and sent to hospital," a spokesman for the Ishinomaki Police Department said. They were in the kitchen when their house collapsed but the teenager was able to reach food from the refrigerator, helping them survive for nine days, broadcaster NHK quoted rescuers as saying. But with half a million tsunami survivors huddled in threadbare, chilly shelters and the threat of disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant stretching frayed nerves, the mood in the world's third-biggest economy remained grim. Food contaminated with radiation was found for the first time outside Japan
where milk and spinach have already been tainted by a plume from Fukushima as Taiwan detected radioactivity in a batch of imported Japanese fava beans. The discovery of traces of radioactive iodine in Tokyo tap water, well to the southwest of the crippled atomic power plant on the Pacific coast, compounded public anxiety but authorities said there was no danger to health...

3.20.11 Hamas digging 'terror tunnels' along border with Israel

March 20 - Gaza groups now have more dangerous missiles, and are working on improved communications systems. Facing a possible new conflict against Hamas, concern is growing within the IDF regarding increased efforts by Palestinian terrorist groups to dig tunnels under the border that could be used to infiltrate into Israel and perpetrate attacks. According to IDF sources, the number of tunnels has grown in recent years. Hamas is under orders to dig "terror tunnels" along the border. Hamas has split into five different regional brigades north, Gaza City, central Gaza, Khan Younis and Rafah. The exact number of tunnels is unknown to the IDF. Tunnels have been used in the past by Hamas and other terrorist groups to infiltrate into Israel. The terrorists who abducted Gilad Schalit from his military post near Kerem Shalom, in June 2006, crossed into Israel through an underground tunnel. Palestinian terror groups in Gaza have made some major improvements to their military capabilities since Operation Cast Lead over two years ago, it is understood. One of these improvements has been in missile capability, with the addition of new long-range rockets, like the Iranian-made Fajr-5 that has reportedly been smuggled into Gaza and can reach Tel Aviv. Hamas and Islamic Jihad are also believed to have obtained new guided anti-tank missiles like the Kornet, Fagot and Sagger, one of which was fired at an IDF patrol on Friday. The IDF believes that Hamas is also working to improve its communication capabilities. [More>>jpost.com; See related story,

foxnews.com, March 20, "Israeli military: Rocket from Gaza hits Israel in fresh wave of violence"
: JERUSALEM - Palestinian militants fired a rocket into southern Israel on Sunday, while Israeli troops killed two Palestinians in a fresh wave of violence along the volatile border with Gaza. The violence came a day after Palestinian militants fired some 50 mortar shells into Israel -- the heaviest Palestinian assault since a bruising Israeli military offensive two years ago. Israel and Gaza's Hamas rulers have largely honored an informal cease-fire since the 2009 war, in which the Islamic militant group suffered heavy losses. Israel says the Iranian-backed Hamas has recovered, and a pattern of rocket attacks and Israeli reprisals has gained steam in recent weeks. The Hamas-allied Popular Resistance Committees claimed responsibility for Sunday's rocket attack, which caused no injuries or damage. Gaza Health Ministry spokesman Adham Abu Salmia said a 22-year-old man in Gaza suffered moderate shrapnel wounds from Israeli tank fire after the rocket attack. The Israeli military said militants fired upon troops patrolling the Gaza-Israel border, and troops returned fire, identifying one hit...

3.20.11 Clerics urge Yemen army to ignore orders

SANAA, Yemen, March 20 - Human rights minister and UN ambassador quit. Muslim clerics urged Yemeni soldiers to disobey orders and a third minister resigned after the gunning down of more than 50 protesters calling for an end to President's Ali Abdullah Saleh's rule. Leading clerics said Saleh was responsible for the slaughter following Muslim prayers in Sanaa on Friday, the worst day of bloodshed in more a month of violent unrest. "We call on the army and security forces to not carry out any order from anyone to kill and repress" demonstrators, a group of influential clerics in the deeply religious country said in a joint statement. They also called for Saleh's elite Republican Guard troops to be withdrawn from the capital, where anti-regime protesters have continued a sit-in near Sanaa University despite a state of emergency called after Friday's violence. [More>>alarabiya.net]

3.20.11 Violence in Syria after protester's death

DARA'A, Syria, March 20 - Protesters set on fire courthouse, cars and buildings in the Syrian town of Dara'a. Hundreds of protesters set alight to the courthouse, other buildings and cars in the southern Syrian town of Dara'a on Sunday during protests. The violence came after at least one person was killed and more than 100 wounded, including two in critical condition, when security forces used live rounds against thousands of protesters on a third straight day of demonstrations in the city, rights activists said. The protesters in Dara'a, where four other people were killed on Friday, according to rights groups, have been demanding an end to 48 years of emergency law, the release of political prisoners and greater freedoms. Protesters also torched offices of mobile phone providers MTN and Syriatel and tried to march on the home of the town's governor, but security forces used warning shots and tear gas. Several hundred protesters set off from the town's old city and started torching buildings, cars and the courthouse despite attempts by security forces to disperse them. Unable to march to the governor's house, protesters set alight trees outside the residence, witnesses said. [>gulfnews.com]

3.20.11 Oman protesters demand ouster of more ministers

MUSCAT, Oman, March 21 - The Omani protesters, in fresh demands, have asked the ouster of some more ministers, the most notable among them being the Minister of Manpower, Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser Al Bakri. Eyewitnesses said that a group of protesters gathered at Al Khuwair, the area where maximum ministry offices are located in Muscat, holding placards demanding the ouster of various ministers including Bakri. Bowing to popular demands, the government had recently reshuffled the ministerial cabinet and appointed 11 new ministers, while removing corruption-accused members. Bakri has been in the thick of action in recent weeks trying to mediate in the wave of protests that have rocked the private sector of Oman. The ministry of manpower acts like a regulator for the private sector's human resources development and monitors the implementation of Omanization ratios in companies. Most recently, Bakri intervened to defuse tensions at Rusail Industrial Estate, which had been shut down by protests, which turned nasty for almost two days threatening economic activity in a major way. In other private sector demonstrations, the protesters had refused to budge until Bakri appeared personally and pacified them by assuring them that their demands would be met. Bakri, who was previously the undersecretary of Water Resources Affairs at the Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources, was appointed as Minister of Manpower in 2008. [>khaleejtimes.com]

3.20.11 Morrocans march for democratic reforms

(Reuters0 March 20 - Thousands took to the streets in several cities across Morocco Sunday to press for better civil rights and an end to corruption, saying that the king had not kept the promises of democratic reforms made in the wake of previous demonstrations. Thousands took to the streets in cities across Morocco on Sunday demanding better civil rights and an end to corruption in the moderate North African country where the king this month promised constitutional reform. "Morocco should start drawing some serious lessons from what's happening around it," said Bouchta Moussaif, who was among at least two thousand people marching alongside the city's medieval walls in the capital Rabat. Thousands joined protests in Casablanca, the country's biggest city, in Tangiers in the north, and in Agadir on the Atlantic coast where witness Hafsa Oubou said several thousands were marching. Unrest has swept across North Africa since December, toppling regimes in Tunisia and Egypt, prompting international military intervention against Libya, and protests in Algeria. "The king did not meet the demands made during the first nationwide protest, that's why we are here again. He promised to reform the constitution and we all know how far those promises have got us," Moussaif said. [More>>france24.com]


3.18.11 Ceasefire as Tornados head to Libya

March 18 - The Libyan government has announced an immediate ceasefire, less than two hours after Prime Minister David Cameron said British fighter jets would be deployed to enforce a United Nations no-fly zone. Foreign Minister Mousa Kousa said Libya was declaring an immediate ceasefire and stopping all military operations against rebels. He said the government would also "open dialogue channels" to ensure there was sustained peace in Libya. International relations experts said the strategic move gives the regime of dictator Muammar Gaddafi breathing space as the UN-backed states work on a response. [More>>news.sky.com; See related stories,

washingtonpost.com, March 18, "Libya declares cease-fire after UN paves way for airstrikes, naval attacks against Gaddafi"
: TRIPOLI - The Libyan government declared an immediate cease-fire Friday in a bid to head off Western military intervention on behalf of rebels seeking to overthrow longtime leader Moammar Gaddafi, hours after the UN Security Council authorized a no-fly zone and the use of "all necessary measures" to protect civilians. The United States, Britain and France reacted cautiously to the declaration, saying they will judge Gaddafi by his actions. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton demanded that Libyan government forces move away from eastern Libya where they have been waging an offensive against rebel-held cities. Libyan Foreign Minister Musa Kusa told reporters Friday that as a United Nations member, Libya had no choice but to accept the UN Security Council resolution...

cbsnews.com. March 18, "Libya announces cease-fire but attacks continue"
: ...At a news conference in Tripoli, foreign minister Moussa Koussa said military operations have been suspended, reports CBS News correspondent Mark Phillips. However, according to reports by Al Jazeera, the cease-fire has not taken effect, with clashes between rebels and forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi continuing near the southern entrance of Ajdabiya. Rebels in the towns of Rajban and Zentan said the announced ceasefire has made no difference to the situation on the ground and that they are still being attacked by Gaddafi's militias. Gaddafi's tanks are also said to continue to bomb the city of Misrata, the last rebel-held city in the western half of the country. A doctor said this morning at least six people there were killed...

3.18.11 Japan weighs need to bury nuclear plant; tries to restore power

TOKYO (Reuters) March 18 - Japanese engineers conceded on Friday that burying a crippled nuclear plant in sand and concrete may be a last resort to prevent a catastrophic radiation release, the method used to seal huge leakages from Chernobyl in 1986. But they still hoped to solve the crisis by fixing a power cable to two reactors by Saturday to restart water pumps needed to cool overheating nuclear fuel rods. Workers also sprayed water on the No.3 reactor, the most critical of the plant's six. It was the first time the facility operator had acknowledged burying the sprawling 40-year-old complex was possible, a sign that piecemeal actions such as dumping water from military helicopters or scrambling to restart cooling pumps may not work. [More>>thestar.com.my]

3.18.11 Yemen troops shoot protesters dead

March 18 - At least 35 killed and hundreds wounded in capital of Sana'a after government troops and loyalists open fire on marchers. At least 35 people have been shot dead and hundreds wounded in Sana'a after soldiers and plain-clothed government loyalists opened fired on protesters trying to march through the Yemeni capital. The death toll, which is expected to rise, is the highest seen in more than a month of violence in Yemen, with protesters demanding that President Ali Abdullah Saleh step down. The protest on Friday had started peacefully. Tens of thousands filled a mile-long stretch of road by Sana'a University for a prayer ceremony mourning the loss of seven protesters killed in similar violence last weekend. As the prayers came to an end, however, the sight of black smoke from a burning car caught the attention of protesters, who began surging towards it. Witnesses say the first shots were fired by security forces trying to disperse the protesters and they were joined by plain-clothed men who fired on the demonstrators with Kalashnikovs from the roofs of nearby houses. A nearby mosque was transformed into a chaotic makeshift hospital for injured protesters. The wounded, most of them men in their early 20s, were suffering from the effects of teargas and bullet wounds, many having been shot in the chest. [More>>guardian.co.uk]

3.18.11 6 mortar shells fired from Gaza hit western Negev

March 18 - No injuries, damage reported as projectiles hit Eshkol regional council; earlier 4 shells fired, IDF patrol comes under fire near border fence. Six mortar shells fired into Israel by Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip hit near the security fence in the Eshkol regional council on Friday afternoon. Earlier Friday, four mortar shells fired from Gaza hit the western Negev, bringing the Friday total to ten mortar shells. The projectiles landed in open areas, causing no casualties or damage. In addition, shots were fired at IDF soldiers patrolling the security fence on the southern border with Gaza, Friday morning. No injuries were reported and no damage was caused as a result. [>jpost.com]

3.18.11 Jordanians take to streets to protest

(AP) March 18 - Hundreds of Jordanians calling for reforms demonstrated peacefully today, rejecting the beginning of a national dialogue as insufficient. It was the 11th straight week of Friday protests. On Saturday, the first meeting of the dialogue committee is set to start work on reforms in Jordan's regime, in which the king has the final say on important issues, though the parliament is an elected body. The demonstrators say the parliament was chosen through a distorted map of election districts favouring the backers of King Abdullah II, and it must be replaced. The king has given the 53-member committee three months to draft new laws for parliamentary elections and political parties. While these are key demands for the protesters, some opposition figures have refused to participate, saying the government appointed people without consulting them, and some political groups were not represented.

The committee's chairman, Taher Masri, who also heads Jordan's Senate, has promised a national dialogue that "leads to better democratic life" in Jordan, but the protesters said they were not convinced. "I would call the national dialogue stillborn," said Sabri Akroush, an independent activist. About 1,500 demonstrators from Islamic Action Front, the country's largest opposition party, joined leftists and independents marching past the al-Husseini mosque in Amman's downtown market district after Muslim prayers. Waving Jordanian flags, they chanted, "No to the National Dialogue Committee, dissolve the parliament." The largely peaceful demonstrations inspired by uprisings across the Middle East have not threatened the monarchy but are calling for US-allied King Abdullah to relinquish some of his sweeping powers.

3.18.11 Iran cracks down on web dissident technology

March 18 - Iranian security authorities have launched a new crackdown on dissidents online by blocking US government-backed technology that allows them to speak out safely. Internet freedom activists believe the regime in Tehran has implemented highly sophisticated internet surveillance technology and that an information "arms race" is now inevitable. The crackdown targeted Tor, a free piece of software that allows anyone to connect to internet via a global private network that hides computer IP addresses, which could be used by authorities to identify and locate dissidents. It also encrypts the contents of users' internet communications, making eavesdropping on emails, Facebook, Twitter and other applications more difficult.

On average, around 250,000 computers worldwide are connected to the Tor network at any time, making it the leading anti-surveillance technology online. But in mid-January, as revolutionary fervor swept the Middle East, the number of computers connected to the Tor network via one major Iranian broadband provider collapsed almost overnight from more than 11,000 to zero. Investigations by the Tor Project, the not-for-profit company that runs the system, have since revealed that, crucially, other encrypted traffic such as internet banking was still flowing. It meant Iranian authorities had for the first time found a way to identify and block only Tor connections, and therefore a way to potentially identify dissidents.

3.17.11 Japan nuclear reactor water-bombing has little effect

March 17 - Radiation levels rising rather than falling after No 3 reactor doused with hoses, while helicopters appear to miss their target. Attempts to cool down a stricken reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan have suffered a further setback with radiation levels rising rather than falling after attempts to douse it with high-pressure hoses. Six fire engines and a police water cannon were sent in on Thursday evening to spray the plant's No 3 reactor. But afterwards radiation emissions rose from 3,700 microsieverts per hour to 4,000 per hour, the Kyodo news agency quoted Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) as saying. An earlier attempt in which military helicopters dropped thousands of litres of water on the plant also appeared to have failed. As part of the desperate new tactics to avert nuclear meltdown, Chinook helicopters targeted the No 3 reactor's spent fuel rod pool, which is overheating and at risk of releasing dangerous radioactive steam.

Two helicopters flying at less than 300 feet dumped four loads of water. Footage suggested much of it missed the target. Emergency crews and the military are trying to cool the reactor and replenish a pool containing spent fuel rods. Tepco has been unable to take precise measurements but the pool at No 3 is feared to be almost empty, raising the risk that the rods will overheat and melt, releasing dangerous levels of radiation. Steam believed to have been caused by water boiling in the pool has been seen rising from it since Wednesday. Officials are also worried that the No 4 reactor's spent fuel pool might be running low. "The highest priority now is to pour adequate water onto the No 3 and No 4 reactors, especially in their spent fuel pools,"' said Hidehiko Nishiyama, a spokesman for the government's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency who was quoted by the Kyodo agency.
[More>>guardian.co.uk; See earlier status report, Maravot News 3.16.11, (japantoday.com) 3.16.11 Status of quake-stricken reactors at Fukushima nuclear power plants]

3.17.11 Gaddafi calls ceasefire as tough UN action looms

TRIPOLI (AFP) March 17 - Libya's army said it would halt operations from Sunday to allow rebels to lay down their arms, softening repeated threats by Muammar Gaddafi to crush them, as world powers edged towards adopting tough measures to shut down the strongman's military machine. With urgent talks under way at the UN Security Council, amid warnings of an imminent bloodbath in the oil-rich North African nation, insurgents claimed they had shot down warplanes trying to bomb their bastion of Benghazi and also disputed claims of territorial gains by Gaddafi forces. Diplomats at the UN Security Council said a draft resolution being negotiated by major powers calls for all necessary measures short of an occupation to protect civilians, and a meeting was set for Thursday afternoon to discuss it. [More>>khaleejtimes.com]

3.17.11 27 US Congressmen urge RI to annul bans on Ahmadiyah sect

JAKARTA, Indonesia, March 17 - Twenty-seven members of the US Congress have sent a letter to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to revoke government regulations that discriminate against the Ahmadiyah sect and religious minorities. In the letter dated March 15, the Congressmen expressed their "deep concern" on decrees issued by provincial authorities, including East and West Java governors banning Ahmadiyah from practicing its religion publicly. "We also ask that you immediately revoke the decree that bans Ahmadiyah from conducting religious activities in the country and repeal the country's long-standing blasphemy law, which is used to prosecute religious minorities who exercise their right to freedom of religion expression," they said in a statement received by The Jakarta Post on Thursday.

The Congressmen also referred to the brutal attack on Ahmadiyah members in Cikeusik, Pandeglang, Banten, last month that killed three Ahmadis in the presence of police officers. In the statement signed by all 27 Congress members, they also contended that the decree that banned Ahmadiyah had led to escalating violence toward religious minorities. "Not only do the decrees recently issued in East and West Java run contrary to the principles of international human rights, but we also fear that they will only serve to embolden extremists and exacerbate violence against the Ahmadiyah community," they said.
[>thejakartapost.com; See earlier reports:

Maravot News 3.03.11, article,
3.03.11 South Sulawesi outlaws Ahmadiyah;
Maravot News 10.04.10, article
10.01.10 Mosque, houses of Ahhmadiyah followers burned down;
Maravot News 8.31.10 article
8.30.10 Ahmadiyah must be disbanded: Minister ;
Maravot News 5.03.08 article
4.28.08 Indonesia protesters torch mosque of 'heretical' Muslim sect.

3.17.11 Malaysia government accused of desecrating 5,000 Bibles

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AFP) March 17 - Malaysia's main Christian grouping accused the government Thursday of desecrating 5,000 imported Bibles seized by custom authorities in this Muslim-majority country. The accusation aggravates a dispute over the distribution of Malay-language Bibles containing the word "Allah" as a translation for God. The government has banned the use of "Allah" in non-Muslim texts, saying it could confuse Muslims or even be used to convert them. The dispute has caused authorities to hold 5,000 Indonesian-made Bibles at a Malaysian port since March 2009. The Prime Minister's Department agreed earlier this week to release those Bibles as well as 30,000 others at another port on Borneo island. However, Christian leaders said the 5,000 Bibles have been stamped with serial numbers, government seals and warnings that the books are meant for Christians only. "The Christian community in Malaysia is deeply hurt that the government has desecrated and defaced the Bible," the Christian Federation of Malaysia, which represents most of the country's churches, said in a statement.

Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein acknowledged that the Bibles were stamped, but insisted this was standard practice and not meant to deface the books. Hishammuddin voiced frustration that Christian leaders were unwilling to accept the matter. But the Christian federation said it has been patient in trying to resolve religious disputes, claiming that its "good faith has not been reciprocated by the government." The Prime Minister's Department said Tuesday that it was releasing the Bibles to help ease religious friction. But it also assured Muslims that the announcement would not undermine their interests in an ongoing court case on whether non-Muslims have the constitutional right to use "Allah." The government is appealing a December 2009 court ruling that religious minorities — mostly Christians, Buddhists and Hindus — have the right to use "Allah." The verdict caused a brief surge in tensions last year, when 11 churches were attacked by firebombs amid anger among some Muslims.
[>msnbc.msn.com; See earlier reports:

Maravot News 3.16.11
article 3.15.11 Government agrees to release impounded BM Bibles;
Maravot News 1.11.10
01.09.10 Malaysian churches firebombed over 'Allah' row;
01.08.10 3 Malaysian churches firebombed in 'Allah' dispute;
01.06.10 Malaysia court reinstates Allah ban pending appeal.
Maravot News, 1.05.10 article 01.01.10 Use of word 'Allah' not exclusive to Muslims: Malaysian court and editorial note: "Confusion on Islam."

For a discussion on the Allah issue in a broader perspective of reconciliation of the faiths see "The Allah Controversy."

3.17.11 US drone strike 'kills 40' in Pakistani tribal region

March 17 - At least 40 people have died in a US drone strike in the Pakistani region of North Waziristan, local officials say. Most of the victims were believed to be civilians attending a tribal meeting near the regional capital, Miranshah. Earlier reports had said militants were among the dead. The area is an al-Qaeda and Taliban stronghold and US drones regularly target the region. The latest deaths come amid rising anti-US anger in Pakistan after a CIA contractor was acquitted of murder. The freeing of Raymond Davis has sparked protests across Pakistan. Many people are angered that so-called "blood money" reported to amount to more than $2m (£1.24m) was paid to the families of the two men he killed in Lahore. The relatives then pardoned him under Sharia law and the court freed him.

...Officials say two drones were involved in the latest attack, in the Datta Khel area 40km (25 miles) west of Miranshah. One missile was fired at a car carrying suspected militants. Local tribesmen say the drones then fired another three missiles at their meeting, or jirga. Our correspondent says the vehicle was moving close to the site where the jirga was being held in the open. The missiles hit the vehicle as well as the jirga. According to the tribesmen, they meeting was being held to discuss a local land dispute over the ownership of chromite deposits in the area. They say that no militants were present at the time. Officials said the drones were targeting militants linked to Taliban commander Hafiz Gul Bahadur. One of his commanders, identified as Sharabat Khan, was in the vehicle hit in the attack and was killed, one local official told the BBC.
[Full story>>bbc.co.uk]

3.17.11 Iran warns against military intervention in Bahrain, recalls ambassador

TEHRAN (Xinhua) March 17 - Iran warned against the consequences of military interventions of foreigners in Bahrain and recalled its ambassador from Manama due to the relevant disputes, local media reported on Thursday. In telephone conversations with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari and Kuwaiti Deputy Prime Minister Muhammad al-Sabah on Wednesday over the recent developments in Bahrain, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali-Akbar Salehi talked about the military meddling in Bahrain. [The] Iranian foreign minister called for the continued consultations between regional countries to prevent a humanitarian crisis in the Gulf kingdom. Iranian Parliament (Majlis) Speaker Ali Larijani also warned against foreign military intervention in Bahrain, saying the "tragic occurrence, would exacerbate the situation in the country." "The entering of foreign forces into Bahrain will complicate the situation in the region and make it difficult to find a solution to the ongoing crisis in the country," Larijani was quoted as saying by satellite Press TV. [More>>xinhuanet.com]

3.17.11 Nuclear and weapons materials discovered, bound for Iran

UNITED NATIONS (AFP) March 17 - South Korea and Singapore intercepted in December suspected nuclear and weapons materials bound for Iran, diplomats said Thursday. South Korea and Singapore have intercepted suspected nuclear and weapons materials bound for Iran that breach UN sanctions imposed on the Islamic republic, diplomats said Thursday. The two seizures, made in the past six months but only revealed now, add to a growing list of alleged Iranian attempts to breach an international arms embargo, which are bringing mounting pressure to tighten sanctions, they said. "South Korea authorities found more than 400 suspicious tubes in a jet cargo at Seoul airport in December," one diplomat told AFP, giving details from a report to the UN Iran sanctions committee. The tubes could be used for nuclear facilities, the diplomat said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the seizures had not been made public. "In September, aluminium powder that can be used for rockets was found on a ship in Singapore harbor," the diplomat added. In each case the product was destined for Iran. [More>>gulfnews.com]

3.17.11 'Dozens injured' in renewed Yemen protests

March 17 - Security forces use live fire and tear gas to disperse protesters demanding president's ouster, activists say. Dozens of people have been reported injured in Yemen as security forces used live fire and tear gas to disperse protesters demanding the ouster of president Ali Abdullah Saleh. Activists in the southern city of Taiz said police opened fire on pro-democracy protesters on Thursday, leaving many wounded. Meanwhile, at least 20 people were injured in the capital, Sanaa, as security forces reportedly fired live bullets and tear gas at thousands of anti-government protesters camping outside a university. The incidents came a day after at least 120 people were wounded in renewed clashes between pro- and anti-government protesters in the port city of al-Hudayah. Ten protesters were shot, and dozens were stabbed and hit with rocks, a medical official told the Associated Press news agency. Yemen, the Arabian Peninsula state neighboring oil giant Saudi Arabia, has been hit by weeks of protests set in motion by uprisings in North Africa that have toppled long-serving leaders in Tunisia and Egypt and have spread to the Gulf states of Bahrain, Oman and Saudi Arabia. [More>>aljazeera.net; See related story,

alarabiya.net, March 17, "Three Qaeda militants, 2 policemen killed in Yemen"
: SANAA - Security forces arrest Qaeda chief in Yemen's Taez. Al-Qaeda members launched an attack on a security post in Yemen's eastern province of Marib on Thursday, leading to the deaths of three militants and two policemen, officials said. The clashes took place near an oil field at Safer in Marib, where tribal fighters had sabotaged an oil pipeline on Tuesday, according to security officials and tribal sources. "A group of al-Qaeda members in two vehicles... attacked a security post in Marib... where they clashed with security forces, causing the death of two police and three al-Qaeda elements and wounding others," said the official.


    *Visitor statistics on maravot.com from 1&1. com. monthly visitors between 40,000-45,0000.
    Privacy Policy: We do not store any personal data from you. We have no way of knowing any vital information about you not even your name. Third-party distribution: We do not distribute information about your site usage to any third party. We are not responsible for the content of links from our site. Usage data: supplied by our Web Hosting service, 1and1.com, which consists of usage reports, such as page views / impressions and web pages visited, visitors' servers and geographical data (ISP's and country of origin).

    Maravot's Homepage

    Launched: 10.25.04 / 11.02.04 – | — |
    Updated: 3.17.11; 3.18.11; 3.20.11; 3.22.11; 3.23.11; 3.24.11; 3.25.11

  • Copyright © 1981-2011 Maravot. All rights reserved
    Copyright © 1981-2011 Mel Copeland. All rights reserved
    Background: tile from Cicero's villa (Marcus Tullius Cicero 106 B.C.- 43 B.C.)