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04.08.07 Bomb kills 17 in Iraqi town, destroys shops
MAHMUDIYA, Iraq (Reuters) April 8 A car bomb killed up to 17 people and wounded two dozen in a town south of Baghdad on Sunday, the latest in a spate of attacks outside the Iraqi capital since a new security plan there took effect. The mayor of Mahmudiya, Muaid al-Amiri, said the car bomb targeted industrial workshops and had killed 17 people and completely demolished a three-storey building. Many smaller shops had been levelled and a number of cars destroyed. North of Baghdad, four U.S. soldiers were killed in an explosion near their vehicle on Saturday, the military said. It said the blast took place in Diyala province, another area where violence has spiked since the start of the security crackdown in Baghdad. [More>>thestar.com.my] ; See also xinhuanet.com, April 8, "21 killed in 4 bombs, rocket attack in Iraq Sunday" with special report, "Tension escalates in Iraq."]
04.08.07 Iraq cleric says fight in Diwaniyahis 'trap' by US
NAJAF, Iraq (AFP) April 8 Iraqıs radical Shia cleric Moqtada Al Sadr on Sunday urged his militiamen and security forces to end their three-day-long fight in Diwaniyah, saying it was a "trap" by US-led forces. "He (Sadr) appeals to the Iraqi army and the Mahdi militia not to fall into Americaıs trap by fighting in Diwaniyah,ı" said a statement stamped and issued by the clericıs office in the holy city of Najaf. US and Iraqi soldiers have clashed with Shia militiamen, including from Sadrıs Mahdi Army, in the central city of Diwaniyah since Friday.
04.08.07 Ultra-Orthodox youths clash with police in Jerusalem hametz protest
April 8 Some 100 Ultra-Orthodox Jewish youths clashed with police in Jerusalem on Sunday morning, protesting the sale of hametz (leavened bread) during the week of Passover in Jerusalem restaurants. The conflict began after a rally that took place near Shabbat Square in the Mea Shearim neighborhood. At the end of the rally, the protestors sought to march towards Hillel Street, an area which contains a number of restaurants that sell hametz and non-kosher meat. Police refused to allow the march and instructed the protestors to disperse. Some youngsters succeeded in blocking the street with trash cans and piles of wood. The police then tried to disperse the crowd by force, which led a few iltra-Orthdox Jews to throw rocks at the police. [More>>haaretz.com]
04.08.07 Iran 'bars Iraq PM from airspace'
April 8 Iran has refused to allow an aircraft carrying Nuri al-Maliki, the Iraqi prime minister, on a trip to Asia to cross its airspace overnight, a senior adviser to the Iraqi leader has said. Sadiq al-Rikabi, who is accompanying al-Maliki on the trip to Japan and South Korea, said the jet had entered Iranian airspace on Saturday evening. Al-Rikabi said: "Suddenly the Iranian aviation authorities ordered the pilot to go back. We were obliged to fly to Dubai where we stayed for more than three hours to file a new (flight) plan." He said it was unclear why Iran had barred al-Maliki's jet from crossing its territory. [More>>aljazeera.net]
04.08.07 Thai web crackdown continues
April 8 Thailand's government has shut down a popular political online chat room just days after YouTube was blocked for videos deemed insulting to the king. The political page of Pantip.com said in a notice on Sunday it was closed for national security reasons at the request of the information communication and technology (ICT) ministry. [More>>aljazeera.net ; See also bangkokpost.net, April 8, "Censors extend Internet bans."]
04.08.07 Kuwait warns against Iran nuclear crisis escalating
DUBAI (AFP) April 8 Kuwait's foreign minister warned in an interview published Sunday that wrangling in the stand off over Iran's controversial nuclear program must not be allowed to escalate. "The situation is moving towards escalation and confrontation in the region," Sheikh Mohammed Sabah Al Salem Al Sabah told the pan-Arab daily Al Hayat newspaper. The UN Security Council has imposed two packages of sanctions against Iran over its failure to heed international ultimatums calling on it to suspend its uranium enrichment program.
04.08.07 Iran laughs at Easter 'gift' of humiliation
April 8 The Iranian hostage crisis ended on Thursday with the 15 sailors and marines returned unharmed as a giftı to Britain. Sarah Baxter, Michael Smith and David Cracknell on how Iran played our government and military for fools. In his crisply ironed uniform, Simon Massey described how he thought he was going to die. His mother Carol and sister Hannah listened with quiet pride as he recalled his ordeal: "It was going through my head I was never going to see my family again."
04.08.07 One killed in a blast as PM arrives in Guwahati
GUWAHATI, India (PTI) April 8 One person was killed and 14 others were injured in a bomb blast carried out by suspected ULFA militants in Kumarpara minutes before Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrived in the city to lay the foundation for a bridge over the Brahmaputra river. The blast occurred near a mosque in Kumarpara, Additional Superintendent of Police Rajen Singh said. The bomb was hidden in a motorcycle in the busy area and exploded at about 5.45 p.m. One person died on way to the hospital while 14 others were seriously injured. [>expressindia.com]
04.08.07 Taliban claim to have killed reporter
KABUL, April 8 The Taliban in Afghanistan say they have killed an Afghan reporter who was abducted last month with an Italian journalist. The group said it had killed Ajmal Naqshbandi because the government had refused to meet their demands to release senior figures from prison. The Italian reporter, Daniele Mastrogiacomo, was released after five Taliban members were freed in exchange. Mr. Naqshbandi had been working as an interpreter for the Italian[s]. The Italian news outlet Peace Reporter however has cast doubt on the reported execution by Taliban militants of the Afghan reporter. [More>>thenews.com.pk]
04.08.07 US inks border management pact with Pakistan
ISLAMABAD (PTI) April 8 The US has signed a border management pact with Pakistan to check the movement of Taliban and Al Qaeda insurgents in the restive northern areas bordering Afghanistan. The two countries signed a USD 1 million pact as part of a joint plan to bolster the capabilities of Pakistan's border security forces and enhance the Frontier Corps (FC) by raising an additional 50 platoons to protect the 286-kilometre Frontier Regions border from infiltration by the Taliban and Al Qaeda militants. [More>>expressindia.com]
04.08.07 Smoking while pregnant raises the likelihood of having a girl
April 8 And the chance of giving birth to a boy drops by almost half if both parents are smokers, study shows. Parents who are smokers when they conceive a child are far more likely to have girls than boys, an extensive study by pediatricians has found. The chance of having a male baby drops by almost half if both parents smoke during early pregnancy, amid fresh evidence that smoking could "kill" male foetuses in the womb. Smoking not only reduces the chances of conceiving a male child, but could stop male embryos implanting in the womb and cause miscarriages.
04.08.07 Delayed benefits frustrate veterans
...Hundreds of thousands of veterans, many approaching the winter of their lives, await VA disability claim decisions that will provide or deny a key source of income. The monthly payments, which range from $115 to $2,471 for individuals, are available to veterans of any age whose disability is "a result of disease or injury incurred or aggravated during active military service," according to the Veterans Benefits Administration...[Full story>>washingtonpost.com]
04.08.07 Africa's poisoned inheritanceApril 2 About 50,000 tons of deteriorated pesticides contaminate the continent. Africa is one of the main rubbish bins of the world. However, not many people know that besides the toxic waste coming from the West, there also are tens of thousands of tons of deteriorated pesticides in the continent, which were bought in huge quantities over the last 40 years and were never used. According to the World Health Organization, 200.000 people die every year because of the effects caused by the deterioration of agricultural pesticides, and 750.000 people resort to medical aid. [More>>peacereporter.net]
04.07.07 Outcry over slain Mexico reporter
April 7 Journalists and relatives have called for a probe into the murder of a prominent television reporter in the Mexican resort of Acapulco. Amado Ramirez, a correspondent for TV news network Televisa, was shot dead on Friday as he left a radio station. Security officials said two gunmen were waiting for him as he neared his car. In recent months, Acapulco has been hit by a wave of violence believed linked to the drug trade and control of key coastal smuggling routes. [More>>bbc.co.uk]
04.07.07 Saudi Arabia wants Iran to hand over suspects
RIYADH (Reuters) April 7 Saudi Arabia has asked Iran to hand over suspected militants plotting against the kingdom's security, the Saudi interior minister said in remarks published on Saturday. "We have information on ... wanted people, they are Saudis and they (Iranians) have them and we reiterate to our brothers in Iran to hand them over to us," al-Riyadh newspaper quoted Prince Nayef bin Abdul-Aziz as saying.
04.07.07 Sectarian violence kills dozens in Pakistan
PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) April 7 Gunmen opened fire on Shiite Muslims in a remote town in northwestern Pakistan, triggering gunbattles between majority Sunni and minority Shiites that left at least 40 people dead and 43 wounded, officials said Saturday. The trouble began Friday when unidentified people began shooting at Shiites near their mosque in Parachinar, about 150 miles southwest of Peshawar, the capital of North West Frontier province bordering Afghanistan. Some of the Shiites blamed rival Sunni Muslims for the violence, and burned down Sunni-owned shops and homes. The ensuing riots left at least 40 people dead, said a security official on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to media. [More>>msnbc.msn.com]
04.07.07 Released Iranian diplomat accuses CIA of torture news agency
TEHRAN (RIA Novosti) April 7 An Iranian diplomat abducted in Baghdad in early February and released earlier this week claims he has been interrogated and tortured by the CIA agents, an Iran's news agency reported Saturday. Jalal Sharafi, the second secretary at the Iranian Embassy in Baghdad, was released and repatriated on Tuesday following what he claims an abduction by Iraqi special services working under US control. [More>>rian.ru]
04.07.07 Israel in deadly air raid against Gaza militants
GAZA CITY, Gaza (AFP) April 7 Israel launched an air strike against suspected Gaza militants Saturday, killing one and wounding two, as it made good on threats to get tough over persistent rocket fire from the territory. Israeli fire also wounded a Palestinian militant commander on its most wanted list in the West Bank town of Jenin in what the militant group called a deliberate assassination attempt. Palestinian medics named the militant killed in the Gaza raid as Fuad Maaruf, 22, an activist of the leftist Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP). [More>>metimes.com]
04.07.07 Seven killed in Taliban attack in Afghanistan
KABUL, April 7 Taliban killed Saturday seven people as they attacked a team cleaning the land mines in Afghanistan. According to Afghan police, Taliban attacked the team deputed to clean the land mines in Farrukh province, killing three team members, their three guards and one Afghan woman. Five people including three women were injured in the attack. [>thenews.com.pk ; See related stories,
04.07.07 Attackers set Mosque on fire, locking worshippers in
SANAA, Yemen (Reuters) April 7 Attackers poured fuel over worshippers at a mosque in northern Yemen, locked the doors and set fire to it, wounding 30 people, the official Saba news agency reported. The attack took place on Friday in the northern province of Amran, south of Saada, where troops are battling Shia Muslim rebels who the government says want to install clerical rule in the Sunni-dominated country. It was not immediately clear if the mosque was used by Sunni or Shia worshippers. "Security authorities are investigating to identify the assailants and the motives of this criminal act," Saba quoted Amran Governor Taha Hajar as saying. [More>>khaleejtimes.com]
04.07.07 US air strike hits volatile Iraqi city
DIWANIYA, Iraq (Reuters) April 7 US forces launched an air strike in Diwaniya on Saturday as US and Iraqi troops fought for a second day to overcome Shi'ite militias and bring the city back under government control. A local hospital source and a resident said six people, including two children and a woman, were killed in the missile strike on a home in the centre of the city, 180 km south of Baghdad.
04.07.07 Quake lifts Solomons island metres from the sea
RANONGGA, Solomon Islands (AFP) April 7 The force of this week's Solomons earthquake has lifted an island in the South Pacific archipelago and pushed out its shoreline by tens of metres, exposing surrounding reefs. The remote island of Ranongga in the western Solomon Islands used to have submerged coral reefs that attracted scuba divers from around the world. But since Monday's massive earthquake in the Solomon Islands, the reefs are now exposed above the water and are dying, an AFP reporter and photographer have seen. [More>>turkishpress.com]
04.07.07 Scientists walk out in protest at China's intransigence
BRUSSELS, April 7 Some of the world's best-informed climate change scientists walked out of an all-night drafting session of yesterday's report on global warming, as tempers flared. The protest, which included a prominent US scientist, took place after Chinese diplomats sought to water down a section spelling out the degree of certainty researchers attach to the impact of climate change. During a fractious night of negotiation, China and Saudi Arabia were identified as the countries which sought most systematically to dilute the text. [More>>independent.co.uk]
04.07.07 An archive of despair
BAGHDAD, April 7 (By Sudarsan Raghavan) Saad Eskander Works To Protect Iraq Library From Bombs and Mold. Saad Eskander sat behind his chocolate-colored desk, another day in a promising, but broken, place. Sunlight peeked through bullet holes in the shattered bathroom window of his top floor office at the Iraq National Library and Archive, where he is director. Downstairs, power cuts took a toll on books. And earlier on the morning of March 5, he said farewell to an employee who was fleeing the capital. Her brother had been murdered.
04.07.07 A top aide to Gonzales resigns, becoming latest fallout casualty
WASHINGTON, April 7 A top aide to Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales resigned on Friday, becoming another casualty of the political storm that has rocked the Justice Department in the aftermath of last yearıs dismissals of eight United States attorneys. The aide, Monica Goodling, had helped to coordinate those dismissals with the White House, an episode that has provoked demands for Mr. Gonzalesıs dismissal. Even Mr. Gonzalesıs allies, including President Bush, say the dismissals were bungled from a public relations and political standpoint.
04.06.07 Freed captives describe Iranian threats and pressure
April 6 The 15 Royal Navy personnel captured by Iran described today how they were blindfolded, bound and subjected to ³constant psychological pressure² during their 13 days in captivity. In their first public appearance since their release, two members of the group read out a dramatic statement at a Royal Marines base in Devon in which they vigorously defended both their decision to surrender to the Iranians who ambushed them in the northern Gulf.
04.06.07 Cheney accuses Pelosi of 'bad behavior' on Middle East trip
(Reuters) April 6 Vice President Dick Cheney accused U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday of "bad behavior" on her Middle East trip, saying she bungled a message for Syria's president that was later clarified by Israel. Cheney harshly criticized Pelosi's visit to Syria this week and declared in an interview, "The president is the one who conducts foreign policy, not the speaker of the House." [More>>haaretz.com]
04.06.07 US, UK, France pushing for UN Committee to examine Lebanon arms smuggling
NEW YORK, April 6 The United States, Great Britain, and France are pushing for the formation of a special United Nations expert committee to examine claims of ongoing weapons smuggling through the Syria-Lebanon border. The initiative is part of a draft presidential statement that has already been circulated among UN Security Council members, and will be discussed beginning Monday. According to sources at the UN headquarters, the initiative includes a proposal for the committee to tour the Syrian-Lebanon border. The committee will be asked to make recommendations regarding how to effectively prevent the arms smuggling. [More>>haaretz.com]
04.06.07 Maliki restores Saddam officers' jobs or pensions
BAGHDAD (AFP) April 6 Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki has ordered that officers of Saddam Husseinıs dissolved armed forces get back either their job or their pension, his office said on Friday. The decision was taken at a cabinet meeting on March 20, a statement said, in the latest bid to wean members of the ousted regime away from the persistent Sunni Arab insurgency. All officers with the rank of lieutenant colonel or above will be offered a pension. Those with the rank of major or below will be absorbed into the armed forces of the US-backed government or into government ministries. [More>>khaleejtimes.com]
04.06.07 Al-Qaeda warned on Iraq activity
BAGHDAD (Reuters) April 6 AN influential Sunni Arab insurgent group has called on al-Qaeda in Iraq to "review" its behaviour in what is evidence of a growing rift between home- grown insurgents and al-Qaeda. The Islamic Army in Iraq, believed to be the largest group of former Baathists and military officers fighting Iraqi and US forces, said it had dealt with al-Qaeda militants with "patience and wisdom" to keep a united ³resistance front. But this was not fruitful," the group said, the first public criticism from the Islamic Army, which is believed to have been operating under the umbrella of Sunni Islamist al-Qaeda in Iraq.
04.06.07 Saudi police kill suspect in death of 4 French
RIYADH, April 6 A suspect in the killing of four Frenchmen in Saudi Arabia was shot dead by police Friday, and a policeman was killed, in a shootout in the holy city of Medina, the interior ministry said. The official news agency SPA quoted a ministry source as saying "this person implicated in the foul crime perpetrated against the four French citizens ... had been hunted by the security services and is called Walid Motlaq Al Raddadi." Raddadi was tracked down to a northern residential area. "When the security forces arrived and began to evacuate residents they came under intense fire from a machine gun and grenades," SPA quoted the source as saying. [More>>metimes.com]
04.06.07 Duma voices concern over NATO buildup near Russia's borders
MOSCOW (RIA Novosti) April 6 Russia's lower house of parliament unanimously issued a statement Friday expressing concern over NATO military buildup near Russia's borders, accusing the alliance of blocking an updated version of Europe's main arms control treaty. "The consistent and unjustifiable obstruction of the adapted version of the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty by the North Atlantic alliance's member states is creating conditions for uncontrolled military buildup near Russian borders, and [poses] a direct threat to the security and stability of the whole of Europe," the State Duma said in its statement. [More>>rian.ru]
04.06.07 Four killed in Kabul blast
April 6 A suicide bomber has killed three civilians and a policeman near Afghanistan's parliament in Kabul. Police said four other people were wounded in the blast early on Friday. Police had stopped the bomber in his car when he blew himself up, a policeman at the scene said. The attack was the third suicide blast in the heavily-secured city this year amid a raging insurgency by the Taliban, ousted by US-led forces in late 2001. [More>>aljazeera.net]
04.06.07 Musharraf says imposition of thinking with force not real Islam
ISLAMABAD, April 6 President General Pervez Musharraf, on the situation at the Hafsa Madrasa in Islamabad, regretted the rigid attitude of the people of the madrisa. The President said the expression of thoughts is not bad but a group could not impose their system of Islam with force. He said imposing the thinking of a specified group with force was not real Islam, adding that suicide bombing is unIslamic. He was addressing the National Lady Health Visitors' Convention here Friday to celebrate the world Health Day observed on Friday. [More>>thenews.com.pk ; See related story, khaleejtimes.com (Reuters) April 6, "Suicide bomb threat rings out in Pakistan capital" : ISLAMABAD The chief cleric of a radical mosque in Pakistanıs capital trumpeted plans on Friday to set up vigilante Islamic courts and exhorted followers to become suicide bombers if their Taleban-style movement was forcibly suppressed. "Our youths will shake their palaces with their suicide attacks," Maulana Abdul Aziz warned the government in a fiery sermon delivered to thousands of followers at Lal Masjid, or Red Mosque, in central Islamabad...
04.06.07 YouTube asked to delete video posts on Tokyo governor candidates
TOKYO, April 6 The Tokyo metropolitan election management committee on Thursday asked the YouTube video posting website to delete posts of official campaign broadcasts by some candidates for the gubernatorial election slated for Sunday, citing "fairness" in election campaigning. The popular www.youtube.com carries an unedited broadcast version of a certain candidate who made radical political statements aired on TV in Japan as well as posts of the broadcast edited with music and subtitles added. [>japantoday.com]
04.06.07 Suicide bomber explodes chlorine truck
(AFP) April 6 A suicide bomber exploded a truck full of chlorine near a police station killing at least 27 people in the restive western city of Ramadi. "At least 27 people, many of them women and children, have been killed in the attack," an officer said, specifying that another 30 were wounded. He said the bomber was targeting a police station, but blew himself up "200m away from it near the residental area of Al-Tamim." The explosion occurred next to a market and residential buildings, he said. [More>>theaustralian.news.com.au ; See also nytimes.com, April 6, "Chlorine attack kills 20 in Iraqi town."]
04.06.07 Bird flu kills teenager, raising country's toll to 73
JAKARTA (AP) April 6 An Indonesian teenager died of bird flu in the bustling capital, bringing the toll in the country hardest hit by the virus to 73, a health ministry official and doctor said Friday. The 15-year-old girl was admitted to the Sulianti Saroso Hospital for Infectious Diseases on Monday and died late Thursday, said Sardikin Giriputro, a doctor at the facility. "By the time she arrived, it was too late," he said. "She died after experiencing multi-organ failure." Health Ministry official Muhammad Nadirin confirmed that the girl's lab tests showed she had contracted the H5N1 virus, apparently after coming into contact with infected pet birds at her home in central Jakarta. [More>>thejakartapost.com ; See related story, thejakartapost.com, (AP) April 6, "Cambodian girl dies from bird flu."]
04.05.07 Report: Syria promised Pelosi to help mediate on captured IDF troops' fate
(AP) April 5 Syrian officials promised visiting US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to assist in the mediation efforts between Israel, Hamas, and Hezbollah over the fate of captured Israel Defense Forces troops, the London-based Arabic-language newspaper Al-Hayat reported Thursday. According to the newspaper, the officials promised to "exert the maximum effort" in order to help the sides reach a prisoner exchange agreement. It was also agreed that US Congressman Nick Rahall (D-West Virginia), himself of Lebanese descent, would act as a mediator on the issue. [More>>haaretz.com ; See related story, independent.co.uk, April 5, "I was right to have talks with Assad, insists Pelosi" : ...Earlier this week, Mr. Bush had criticised Mrs. Pelosi's trip, saying such delegations had little impact. "Sending delegations doesn't work. It's simply been counterproductive," he said. But members of Mrs. Pelosi's delegation disagreed. Congressman Tom Lantos, head of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said the meeting strongly reinforced the potential benefits of talking to Syria. "This is only the beginning of our constructive dialogue with Syria and we hope to build on this visit," he said.
04.05.07 Iran hostages are back in Britain
April 5 Fifteen Royal Navy personnel detained at gunpoint in the Gulf touched down back at home in Britain today, arriving at Heathrow on a British Airways flight from Tehran just after midday. The eight sailors and seven Marines, who had swapped their shiny new Iranian suits for their naval uniforms during the flight, posed briefly for photographs before crossing to two Sea King helicopters waiting to take them to a Royal Marine base in Devon.
04.05.07 New measures to tackle extremist preachers
April 5 The Government could use Asbos in a fresh effort to tackle extremist preachers and other "radicalisers," he Attorney General announced today. According to new guidance drawn up by Lord Goldsmith, extremists who preach hate and violence should be made to "face the full force of the law," with more efforts to prosecute them under existing legislation and to use Anti Social Behavior Orders (Asbos) to prevent them holding meetings and leading young people astray. The attempt to invigorate the legal fight against radical extremists coincides with the publication today of a six-point plan by the Department of Communities and Local Government aimed at reining in power of violent ideologies across society.
04.05.07 Iran's air defense can repel US air strikes Russian brass
MOSCOW (RIA Novosti) April 5 Iran has air defense systems capable of repelling possible United States air strikes, a high-ranking Russian military official said Thursday. A Kuwaiti newspaper warned Wednesday that the United States was planning a missile strike against Iran some time in April. In an editorial citing unnamed Washington sources, As-Siyasa said air-to-surface missiles could be used in US strikes against Iran, but that no ground operation would be launched to avoid casualties among US service personnel.
04.05.07 Ten British, US troops killed in Iraq
BAGHDAD, April 5 Six American and four British soldiers were killed in separate attacks in Iraq, coalition forces announced on Thursday, as Britain prepared to transfer security for another province to local troops. Following one of the bloodiest recent 24-hour periods for foreign troops in Iraq, the US military announced that a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter had crashed south of Baghdad, injuring four personnel.
04.05.07 YouTube website blocked in Thailand for clip "offending" Thai king
BANGKOK (Xinhua) April 5 Thailand's Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has blocked the popular video-sharing website YouTube indefinitely until a video clip considered insulting to the highly-revered Thai King is removed from the website. The ICT minister Sitthichai Pookaiyaudom was quoted by the state media Thai News Agency as saying on Thursday that the ministry ordered state-owned CAT Telecom to block the website (www.youtube.com) after its owner, Google Inc, failed to remove the clip as requested by Thai authorities.
04.05.07 Playboy Indonesia 'not pornography'
April 5 The editor-in-chief of Playboy Indonesia has been found innocent of violating indecency laws in the world's most populous Muslim nation and will not face time behind bars. Erwin Arnada had faced a maximum punishment of more than two years in prison in a case closely watched by conservative Muslim groups. Arnada, who had vowed to continue publishing the magazine whatever the court's decision, later described the verdict as victory for press freedom. [More>>aljazeera.net ; See also thejakartapost.com, April 5, " 'Playboy' editor-in-chief found not guilty."]
04.05.07 Tamiflu banned for teenagers
SEOUL, Korea April 5 The government yesterday banned medical doctors and pharmacists from prescribing the anti-flu drug Tamiflu to teenagers following recent reports that several patients in Japan exhibited suicidal behavior after taking the medication. The Korea Food and Drug Administration said it has prohibited prescriptions of the drug to those aged between 10 and 19 except for patients who are at high risk of developing serious flu-related symptoms. The agency has been preparing measures to tackle the potential side-effects of the influenza-fighting drug after several young patients who took the drug committed suicide or harmed themselves in Japan last month. [More>>koreaherald.co.kr]
04.04.07 Pakistan tribal assault leaves 250 dead in a month
WANA, Pakistan (AFP) April 4 Pakistani tribesmen beating war drums Wednesday launched their biggest assault yet against foreign Al-Qaeda militants in a border region after weeks of fighting that have left 250 people dead. Islamabad says the offensive by about 1,000 conservative local tribesmen will cut cross-border attacks in Afghanistan, and shows the success of a peace deal in the lawless South Waziristan region that was criticized by the West. Forty-four Uzbek, Chechen and Arab Islamic rebels were killed on Wednesday along with five tribesmen in heavy rocket and mortar clashes, the mountainous region's top administrator Hussainzada Khan told AFP. "Intense fighting is still going on," he said. [More>>turkishpress.com]
04.04.07 Pelosi: Israel wants Syria talks
April 4 Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the US House of Representatives, has told Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president, that Israel is ready for peace talks. Pelosi passed on the message from Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, during talks with the Syrian leader in Damascus. "[Our] meeting with the president enabled us to communicate a message from Prime Minister [Ehud] Olmert that Israel was ready to engage in peace talks," Pelosi said.
04.04.07 Fox-in-the-henhouse government
April 4 (Editorial by Ruth Marcus) The Bush administration's House of Straw seems to be blowing apart, buffeted by alternating gusts of scandal and incompetence. The tornado of disastrous headlines a Pentagon that can't take proper care of its wounded, a Justice Department that can't be trusted to follow the law or tell the truth to Congress, a top White House aide who lied to a grand jury has been so overpowering that the day-to-day outrages of life in the Bush administration tend get overlooked.
04.04.07 Iran will release hostages as Easter present
April 4 Iran will release the 15 British military personnel seized in the Gulf 12 days ago as an Easter present to the British people, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced today. After decorating the members of the Iranian coast guard that captured seven Royal Navy sailors and eight Royal Marines on March 23, Mr. Ahmadinejad said he was prepared to forgive Britain for trespassing into Iranian territorial waters and would release the personnel in time for Easter.
04.04.07 Gunmen kidnap 22 Iraqi shepherds
KARBALA, Iraq (AFP) April 4 Gunmen wearing police uniforms seized 22 shepherds and their sheep in southern Iraq Wednesday in the latest mass abduction of Shiite workers by presumed Sunni insurgents. Traveling in three cars, the kidnappers swooped on the shepherds in an isolated desert area north of the Shiite shrine city of Karbala and took their truck, herd, and weapons, said Karbala police spokesman Rahman Mushawi. The victims were forced into vehicles and driven toward the neighboring Sunni province of Anbar, a hotbed of Al Qaeda and Sunni insurgents opposed to the Shiite-led government and its US backers. [More>>metimes.com]
04.04.07 Kuwaiti media warns of planned US strike against Iran in April
ABU DHABI (RIA Novosti) April 4 A Kuwaiti newspaper warned Wednesday that the United States is planning a missile strike against Iran some time in April. In an editorial citing unnamed Washington sources, As-Siyasa said air-to-surface missiles could be used in US strikes against Iran, but that no ground operation would be launched to avoid casualties among US service personnel.
04.04.07 Pakistan, India agree to implement IPI gas pipeline project
NEW DELHI, April 4 Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz and his Indian counterpart Dr. Manmohan Singh have agreed to implement the Iran, Pakistan, India gas pipeline in a meeting Wednesday on the sidelines of South Asian summit here. [More>>thenews.com.pk]
04.04.07 Bird flu kills Indonesian woman, raising toll to 72
JAKARTA (AP) April 4 A woman died of bird flu in Indonesia's bustling capital, a Health Ministry official said Wednesday, raising the country's toll to 72. The 23-year-old maid died almost immediately after arriving at Persahabatan hospital on Sunday, said Muhammad Nadirin after lab tests came back positive for the H5N1 virus. Bird flu has killed at least 170 people since it began ravaging Asian poultry stocks in 2003, hitting Indonesia the hardest, according to the World Health Organization. It remains hard for people to catch, and most human cases have been linked to contact with sick birds. But experts fear it could mutate into a form that spreads easily among people, potentially sparking a pandemic that could kill millions. [>thejakartapost.com ; See related story, khaleejtimes.com, April 4, "Bird flu tests on four Asians in Kuwait 'positive.' "]
04.04.07 Loss of coral may cause food supply crisis
April 4 More than half of the tropical coral reefs in the world where governments collect data on fishing levels are being degraded beyond repair, according to a global survey of reef fisheries. The findings suggest that it would take an additional area of tropical coral four times the size of the Great Barrier Reef the biggest reef system in the world to sustain current fishing levels.
04.03.07 Pirates seize merchant ship and crew
LONDON (Reuters) April 3 Pirates have hijacked an Indian-flagged merchant ship in Somali waters, the second ship to be seized in the region in five weeks. The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) said today pirates seized the ship and its crew close to Mogadishu late yesterday. "We are seeking confirmation of the name of the ship and details of the crew from its owners," IMB director Pottengal Mukundan said. Trade press reports named the vessel as the Nimatulah or N'imatullah with 14 Indian crew members aboard. The latest hijacking follows the capture of a UN-chartered freighter, the Rozen, with its crew of six Kenyans and six Sri Lankans in late February. The crew are still being held off the coast of the semi-autonomous Puntland region. [More>>theaustralian.news.com]
04.03.07 US House speaker in controversial Syria trip
DAMASCUS (AFP) April 3 US House speaker Nancy Pelosi is due in Syria on Tuesday, becoming the highest-ranking American politician to visit in years, on a mission slammed by the White House as undermining US policy. The leading Democrat said in Beirut on Monday that her planned visit to Damascus was important, despite the anger it has stirred in the administration of President George W. Bush. "We think itıs a good idea, thatıs why weıre doing it," Pelosi told journalists before leaving for Amman, from where she was to fly to Damascus.
04.03.07 Bush criticizes Democrats over war funds
WASHINGTON (AP) April 3 President Bush expressed frustration on Tuesday with the congressional debate on Iraq war spending and accused majority-party Democrats of being "more interested in fighting political battles in Washington than providing our troops what they need." Bush, speaking with reporters in the Rose Garden of the White House, renewed his veto threats on both a House and Senate spending bills.
04.03.07 US denies doing preparation of war with Iran
WASHINGTON (Xinhua) April 2 The White House renewed on Monday its denial of increasing rhetoric that the United States is preparing for war against Iran. "We reject any notion that suggests that we are ratcheting up the language in terms of trying to prepare to go to war with Iran. That is certainly not the case," White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said at a news briefing. The reiteration by the White House occurred at the time when US aircraft carrier Nimitz and its support ships are leaving for the Persian Gulf to join another aircraft carrier strike group already in that region. [More>>xinhuanet.com ; See related stories, rian.ru, April 3, "US must think twice before striking Iran Russian brass." and haaretz.com, April 3, "Iran: If Russia won't deliver atomic fuel we will make it ourselves."]
04.03.07 Abducted Iran diplomat freed in Iraq
BAGHDAD (AFP) April 3 A senior Iranian diplomat who was seized at gunpoint from a Baghdad street two months ago has been released, an embassy official said Tuesday. Jalal Sharafi, second secretary in Iran's mission to the world's most dangerous capital, was released by his captors Monday, the official said. The 40-year-old was seized in Karrada, a predominantly Shiite southeastern district of Baghdad, February 4 by gunmen dressed in Iraqi army uniforms outside a branch of the Iranian state-owned Bank Melli.
04.03.07 The botched US raid that led to the hostage crisis
April 3 A failed American attempt to abduct two senior Iranian security officers on an official visit to northern Iraq was the starting pistol for a crisis that 10 weeks later led to Iranians seizing 15 British sailors and Marines. Early on the morning of 11 January, helicopter-born US forces launched a surprise raid on a long-established Iranian liaison office in the city of Arbil in Iraqi Kurdistan. They captured five relatively junior Iranian officials whom the US accuses of being intelligence agents and still holds. In reality the US attack had a far more ambitious objective, The Independent has learned. The aim of the raid, launched without informing the Kurdish authorities, was to seize two men at the very heart of the Iranian security establishment.
04.03.07 381 civilians killed in Somalia battles
MOGADISHU, April 3 The United States, Europe and African countries pushed for peace in Somalia on Tuesday after heavy fighting in Mogadishu that killed 381 civilians and wounded up to 700. Diplomats from an International Contact Group on Somalia met in Cairo to discuss how to stop the fighting and staunch a torrent of refugees. More bodies were expected to be unearthed in crumpled buildings after four days of battles that ended on Sunday and which aid agencies say were the bloodiest for 15 years. [More>>thenews.com.pk]
04.03.07 French set new rail speed record
April 3 A French high-speed train (TGV) has smashed the world record for a train on conventional rails by a big margin, reaching 574.8km/h (356mph). The previous TGV record was 515km/h (320mph), set in 1990. The record attempt by a modified TGV took place on a track between Paris and the eastern city of Strasbourg.
04.03.07 Justices say E.P.A. has power to act on harmful gases
WASHINGTON, April 3 In one of its most important environmental decisions in years, the Supreme Court ruled on Monday that the Environmental Protection Agency has the authority to regulate heat-trapping gases in automobile emissions. The court further ruled that the agency could not sidestep its authority to regulate the greenhouse gases that contribute to global climate change unless it could provide a scientific basis for its refusal. [More>>nytimes.com ; See also independent.co.uk, March 31, "Bush loses power over greenhouse gas emissions."]
04.03.07 Tsunami death toll rises higher
HONIARA, Solomon Islands (AP) April 3 Survivors scavenged for food and drinking water in towns hammered by a tsunami on the Solomon Islands' west coast, while officials said the death toll was at 28 and would rise higher as they struggled to reach remote communities. The first television footage of the devastated region taken by helicopter after Monday's double-hit disaster a huge undersea earthquake followed minutes later by a surging wall of water showed building after tin-and-thatched-roof building collapsed along a muddy foreshore.
Launched: 10.25.04 / 11.02.04
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