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Maravot News of the World
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Faces of the Fallen – Iraq

US & Coalition
Casualties, War in Iraq

Trends, Iraq Casualties

Metric Conversion

kilometer: 0.6214 mile
meter: 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

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

2006 update (2.25.06)

The Chart Showing the National Debt above is still valid: "The debt to the penny," publicdebt.treas.gov.
The debt projection for 2009 is now $10.3 Trillion. Deficit for 2006 is $435 Billion.
OMB Budget FY2007
Interest on Debt 2006
Federal Debt 2006
Fed. Budget Summary 2006

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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; Gulf 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. Click on image for larger view or here for interactive link.

Middle East Watch

Russia & Ukraine Watch

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More newspapers

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

Halliburton watch.org

Relevant Works by Mel

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

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News Headlines & Trends

04.16.07 At least 33 killed in Va. Tech massacre

(CBS/AP) April 16 – A gunman opened fire in a Virginia Tech dorm and then, two hours later, shot up a classroom building across campus Monday, killing 32 people in the deadliest shooting rampage in U.S. history. The gunman committed suicide, bringing the death toll to 33. Students bitterly complained that there were no public-address announcements on campus after the first burst of gunfire. Many said the first word they received from the university was an e-mail more than two hours into the rampage — around the time the gunman struck again.

Virginia Tech President Charles Steger said authorities believed that the shooting at the dorm was a domestic dispute and mistakenly thought the gunman had fled the campus. "We had no reason to suspect any other incident was going to occur," he said. He defended the university's handling of the tragedy, saying: ³We can only make decisions based on the information you had at the time. You don't have hours to reflect on it.²

The FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives believe the gunman, described as a young Asian male, used two handguns in the shootings before taking his own life, sources tell CBS News. One official added that the gunman was "heavily armed and wearing a vest." Sophomore Derek OıDell, who was shot in the arm during the second attack, described the gunman. "He was male, Asian descent and he was about six feet tall wearing a black leather coat and a maroon hat," he told CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric. "And he didn't say anything, which I found very unusual. He just started shooting people and it was truly tragic."

04.16.07 Report: Terror network Jemaah Islamiyah has new hit squad in Indonesia

SINGAPORE (AP) April 16 – Southeast Asian terror network Jemaah Islamiyah has set up an assassination squad and made a target list that includes police, judges and prosecutors, Indonesia's anti-terror chief said in a newspaper report published Monday. The hit squad is believed to have about 100 operatives who would target both locals and foreigners in Indonesia, Maj. Gen. Ansyaad Mbai told Singapore's Straits Times newspaper. The report did not say if the new group would try to kill any people outside Indonesia.

He said the assassination plan was uncovered after a series of raids in Java last month that resulted in the detention of seven suspected members of the al-Qaida-linked Jemaah Islamiyah. The Straits Times said investigators also found charts mapping out the group's new structure, as well as a large arms cache that included M-16 rifles, ammunition, detonators and more than 70kilograms (154 pounds) of TNT explosives.

04.16.07 Sadr ministers quit Iraqi government over US troops

BAGHDAD (Reuters) April 16 – Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr ordered his ministers to quit Iraq's government on Monday in protest at Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's refusal to set a timetable for U.S. troops to withdraw. Sadr's populist movement, which draws its support mainly from Iraq's Shi'ite poor, holds six ministries and a quarter of the parliamentary seats in Maliki's fractious Shi'ite Alliance, a coalition of Shi'ite Islamist parties...While Sadr's support was vital to Maliki taking office, the involvement of his Mehdi Army militia in sectarian violence made his bloc's presence in the government a political liability.

..The Sadrists accused Maliki of "ignoring the will of the people" over the timetable issue and also of failing to improve basic services and of not curbing deteriorating security. Baghdad's Sadr City slum is the cleric's main power base. "The prime minister has to express the will of the Iraqi people. They went out in a demonstration in their millions asking for a timetable for withdrawal," the head of the Sadrist bloc in parliament, Nassar al-Rubaie, told a news conference.

04.16.07 Suicide bomber kills nine police in Afghanistan

KABUL (AFP) April 16 – A suicide bomber blew himself up at a police training ground in northern Afghanistan on Monday, killing nine policemen and wounding 25 others, an interior ministry spokesman said. The attacker, who was on foot, struck at around 9:00 am (0430 GMT) in the relatively peaceful northern city of Kunduz, ministry spokesman Zemarai Bashary said. [More>>khaleejtimes.com ; See more details, metimes.com]

04.16.07 Two British soldiers killed in Iraq as helicopters collide

April 16 – Two British servicemen were killed and another seriously injured yesterday when the helicopters they were travelling in crashed north of Baghdad during a special forces mission. The two Pumas, helicopters flown by the RAF, collided in mid-air in the early hours of the morning south-west of Taji, 12 miles north of the capital. "Initial reports indicate that the crash was an accident and was not a result of an attack by insurgents. An investigation is under way," said the Defence Secretary, Des Browne. Yesterday's deaths come at a particularly difficult time for UK forces in Iraq. With eight deaths so far this month, they bring the total number of fatalities since the 2003 invasion to 142. [More>>independent.co.uk]

04.16.07 Sudan agrees to UN peacekeepers

April 16 – More than 3,000 United Nations troops will be allowed into Darfur, according to Sudanese Foreign Minister Lam Akol. The apparent change of heart comes after months of international pressure, but there is no UN confirmation so far. Mr. Akol told a news conference that Sudan has now fully accepted the second phase of a UN plan to support 7,000 struggling African Union troops there. Under the plan, UN attack helicopters and armored personnel carriers will also be deployed to help AU forces. The four-year Darfur conflict between rebels and pro-government Arab militia has seen more than 200,000 deaths and at least 2.4 million displaced. [More>>bbc.co.uk]

04.16.07 France told US before September 11 of Al-Qaeda

PARIS, April 16 – French intelligence warned their American counterparts, eight months before the September 11, 2001 attacks, that Al-Qaeda planned to hijack a US-bound plane, according to documents seen by AFP. Details of the plot by Osama bin Laden's group was passed to the Central Intelligence Agency's Paris bureau chief eight months before the attacks on New York and Washington, Le Monde newspaper reported in its account on the report.

The plan was to hijack a US-bound plane flying from Frankfurt in Germany and take it to Kandahar in Afghanistan, according to the file by the DGSE external intelligence service. The presumed chief September 11 hijacker, Mohammed Atta, ran an Al-Qaeda cell in the German city of Hamburg.

04.16.07 Armed men kill 13 Iraqi soldiers

April 16 – At least 13 Iraqi soldiers died when armed men opened fire at a checkpoint they were manning in the northern city of Mosul, Qassim Abdullah, an army major, has said. "A large group of terrorists drove up in five cars and opened fire on the Al-Hadhar checkpoint, before making off," Abdullah said on Monday. He said four soldiers were wounded in the attack. Hadhar is a remote town on a major road south of Mosul, 300km north of Baghdad, in an area where Iraqi security forces often clash with fighters. In a separate incident, two university academics were killed in the city of Mosul.

Armed men ambushed Talal Yunis, dean of the political sciences faculty of Mosul University, and killed him near the campus in the Shurat neighborhood, said police Major Mohammed Ahmed. Attackers also murdered Jaafar Hassan Sadeq, a professor of art history in front of his house in the Kafaat neighborhood, police said. Academics have become a target of choice for extremists opposed to liberal teaching in Iraq, and many hundreds have been killed or fled the country in the chaos since the US-led invasion of March 2003.

04.16.07 Hezbollah says will only disarm if mandated by Lebanese referendum

April 16 – An aide of Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said in an interview published Tuesday that the pro-Iranian organization is prepared to forfeit its weapons if the majority of Lebanon's civilians vote for such a move through a referendum. Nasrallah has urged that a referendum be held. The aide, Hussein Halil, also said in an interview published in the London-based Asharq Al-Awsat that Hezbollah possesses enough weapons to protect Lebanon from Israel, and that even if Syria's border is closed off, the organization will still have an ample supply of arms. [More>>haaretz.com]

04.16.07 ElBaradei calls for nuclear-arms-free Mideast

AMMAN (Xinhua) April 15 – Visiting International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei called here Sunday for the Middle East to be a nuclear-arms-free zone which includes Iran and Israel. "The Middle East should be a zone free of weapons of mass destruction, a zone in which Israel and Iran are both members," Elbaradei was quoted by a royal court statement as saying.

"This is the last chance to build security in the Middle East based on trust and cooperation rather than on the possession of nuclear arms," said ElBaradei, who is in Jordan on the last leg of a three-nation regional tour which also took him to Saudi Arabia and Oman. He said as "Arab countries have joined the Non-Proliferation Treaty while Israel hasn't," there would be an "imbalance," with Israel possessing a nuclear deterrent while Arab states committing themselves to programs for peaceful uses.

04.14.07 Jordan's Abdullah invites Israeli, Palestinian and American delegates to talks

April 14 – Jordan's King Abdullah II has invited politicians and peace activists from Israel, the United States and the Palestinian territories for discussions in Amman as part of an effort to push forward the stalled Middle East peace process, officials said Saturday. Among Israeli politicians due to visit Jordan next week is Knesset Speaker Dalia Itzik. She will visit Amman on Thursday for a few hours to discuss efforts to revive peace talks, Jordanian officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with palace protocol. Itzik, who is also acting president, will be the most senior Israeli official to visit Jordan since Prime Minister Ehud Olmert made a surprise visit to Amman at Abdullah's invitation last December. [More>>haaretz.com]

04.14.07 Moscow police detain over 200 protestors

MOSCOW (CBS/AP) April 14 – Russian opposition leader Garry Kasparov, the former world chess champion, and at least 200 other activists were detained by police Saturday as they gathered for a forbidden anti-Kremlin demonstration in central Moscow, reports CBS News correspondent Svetlana Berdnikova. Among others arrested were youth movement leaders, two Reuters employees and a Russian Radio Echo correspondent.

Ex–premier Mikhail Kasyanov and former parliament deputy, now prominent opposition politician Irina Khakamada managed to escape detention thanks to the groups of supporters who surrounded them during the march. The demonstrators were shouting "Russia without Putin," among other chants. Young people also lit firecrackers. "This regime has shown its true colors and its true face," Kasparov said during a break in courtroom proceedings.

Kasparov said that his arrest was a clear demonstration of Russia's increasing authoritarianism. "Today is an important demonstration of the degeneration of Putin's regime," he said. About 200 Kasparov supporters later gathered outside the police station where he was being held, shouting "freedom for political prisoners." After about an hour, police waded into the crowd, beating some demonstrators with truncheons and kicking them, forcing the crowd to disperse.

04.14.07 Two suicide bombers die in Morocco blasts

RABAT, Morocco (AP) April 14 – Two brothers strapped with explosives blew themselves up near an American cultural center in Casablanca Saturday, and police arrested another three suspects – including one wearing an explosives beltt – hours later, an official said. The attacks came just days after three suspected militants blew themselves up as they were cornered by police in Casablanca, and al-Qaeda claimed suicide car bombings in neighboring Algeria that killed 33 people. The attacks have stoked new fears of Islamic terrorism in North Africa – especially in Morocco, long known for its stability. [More>>nytimes.com]

04.14.07 Iraq bombs slaughter 50

KARBALA, Iraq (AFP) April 14 – A car bomb slaughtered 40 people near a revered Shia shrine in Iraqıs pilgrimage city of Karbala on Saturday, two months to the day after US-led troops launched a security crackdown in Baghdad. Another 10 people were killed in a suicide car bomb attack on a Baghdad bridge, pushing Saturday morningıs death toll to 50 just two days after a suicide bomb attack inside the Iraqi parliament building in a massive breach of security. The car bomb exploded outside a bus station surrounded by a series of shops around 200 metres (yards) from the Imam Hussein shrine in Karbala, where tens of thousands of Shia pilgrims flock every year during the Ashura commemorations in March.

At least 40 people were killed and another 58 wounded, said a medical source at the main Karbala hospital. Women and children were among the casualties, and four Iranians were counted among the wounded at hospital on the second day of the Iraqi weekend. The violence was the latest defiance of a massive security crackdown launched exactly two months ago in Baghdad, where tens of thousands of Iraqi and US troops are patrolling the capital, and since extended to other cities. [

04.14.07 38 Taliban, NATO soldier killed in Afghanistan

KABUL, April 13 – US and Afghan troops backed by warplanes killed more than 35 Taliban militants during a five-hour battle in a bitterly contested area of southern Afghanistan, the US-led coalition said Friday. Meanwhile a NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) soldier was killed in a separate gunbattle with rebels Friday, becoming the 12th foreign soldier to die in Afghanistan in a week. US special forces and Afghan troops also killed three Taliban who pinned down a group of civilian contractors after their helicopter came down in another area. The fighting Thursday in which most of the rebels were killed took place in the Sangin district of Helmand province, which around 1,000 Afghan and international troops wrested from insurgent control at the weekend. [More>>metimes.com ; See also April 13 story, "Two Canadians, 35 Taliban killed in Afghan violence" and related story, aljazeera.net, April 14, "Afghan video shows French hostages."]

04.14.07 Muslim rebels kill two in Philippines

April 14 – Muslim rebels fired mortar bombs on a Philippines marine base in the southern island of Jolo, killing two soldiers and a child, military officials said on Saturday. Ten soldiers were wounded in the attack in Panamao town by the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) late yesterday, which triggered a gun battle with security forces that continued through the night, Major Eugene Batara said. The attack was led by MNLF commander Habier Malik who embarrassed the military in February when he held a general, a senior government official and their aides hostage for two nights. The hostages were released unharmed after the Government handed over money and food. [More>>theaustralian.news.com.au]

04.13.07 Turkish intrusion in North Iraq would mean war – Kurdish MP

ANKARA (RIA Novosti) April 13 – Turkey's intrusion into the north of Iraq to conduct a military operation against Kurdish separatists based there would be tantamount to a declaration of war, a senior MP in Iraq's Kurdish autonomy said Friday. The Turkish Army chief of staff said Thursday it was necessary to carry out a military operation against Kurdish insurgents in northern Iraq. Gen. Yasr Buyukanit said the Turkish Army was currently conducting large-scale operations in different parts of southeast Turkey against the separatist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), adding that 13 Turkish servicemen had been killed in action against the separatists so far this year. "If Turkey starts an Army operation on Kurdish soil, it would be treated as a direct declaration of war on Iraq as a whole," said Kemal Kerkuki, deputy parliament speaker of the Kurdish parliament, according to ANKA news agency. [More>>rian.ru]

04.13.07 Canberra cleric praises jihadists

(AP) April 14 – The most senior Muslim cleric in Canberra has praised Islamic jihadists in Iraq and Afghanistan. Mohammed Swaiti yesterday called on God to grant "victory to mujahideen (Muslim holy warriors)" worldwide, The Weekend Australian newspaper reports. "God grant victory to the mujahideen in his name in all places," Sheik Swaiti called out twice in Arabic over a microphone at Abu Bakr mosque in Yarralumla in front of about 500 worshippers. "God grant victory to mujahideen in Palestine, and Chechnya and Kashmir and Afghanistan and Iraq."

While Sheik Swaiti translated his sermon into English for non-Arabic-speaking members, the imam of Canberra's only mosque omitted the praise for Islamic jihadists in the English version. After the sermon the Palestinian-born cleric denied he was referring to Muslim holy fighters, saying jihad referred not only to fighting but also to self-discipline.
[More>>theaustralian.news.com.au ; See related stories:

expressindia.com, April 13, "Osama's jihad CDs surface in Bihar."

haaretz.com, April 13, "Security sources: Hamas is arming Islamic Jihad with Qassams."

04.13.07 Malaysia issues fatwa on ghosts

April 13 – A Malaysian museum has closed an exhibition on supernatural beings after Islamic religious authorities issued a fatwa, or decree, against it, state media have reported. The National Fatwa Council had ruled on Thursday that exhibitions on ghosts, ghouls and supernatural beings were forbidden, as they could undermine the faith of Muslims. Abdul Shukor Husin, the council's chair, was quoted as saying that "supernatural beings are beyond the comprehension of the human mind. We don't want to expose Muslims to supernatural and superstitious beliefs," the Berita Harian newspaper quoted him as saying. [More>>aljazeera.net]

04.13.07 Al-Qaeda group claims Iraq parliament attack

DUBAI, April 13 – An alliance of Sunni groups headed by Al-Qaeda in Iraq said in an Internet statement on Friday that it carried out a deadly suicide bomb attack inside the Iraqi parliament building. "After studying the area... a hero from the Islamic state of Iraq wearing an explosive belt infiltrated the apostates of the parliament. Allah used his hand to destroy the group of infidels," the self-styled Islamic Nation of Iraq said in the Internet statement. Thursday's bombing killed one parliamentarian and wounded 22 other people in the legislature's cafeteria, the US military said on Friday, revising the previous day's toll down from eight reported dead and 23 wounded. [>turkishpress.com ; See related stories:

metimes.com, April 13, "Analysis: Al-Qaeda in the Maghreb." : BERLIN – Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb has claimed responsibility for the Algiers bombings, and the world should have been prepared: Only weeks ago, a pair of German terrorism experts issued a paper containing a warning that the group poses an increased terror threat to North Africa, and eventually to Europe...

independent.co.uk, April 13, "A bloody message from Iraq: nowhere is safe" : Nowhere is safe. Insurgents struck in the heart of the Green Zone yesterday, one of the most heavily defended places in Baghdad. The symbolism – and the bloody message – was clear with this attack on the home to the US-imposed democracy. A suicide bomber cleared at least eight rings of security to blow himself up in the Iraqi parliament, killing eight people including three lawmakers as they were eating lunch. It was the most deadly attack mounted from within the Green Zone.

In a separate attack, the Iraqi capital was cut in two as one of the main bridges over the Tigris was blown up earlier in the day. The Green Zone bombing was not only an assault on democracy. It was intended to undermine President George Bush's troop "surge", which is denounced as a sham by so many Iraqis...

04.13.07 Iran seeks talks with US House Speaker Pelosi

TEHRAN (AFP) April 13 – A top MP said on Friday the Teheran parliament would favour talks with US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi after her controversial visit to Iranıs ally Syria, the semi-official Fars news agency reported. "We are ready for talks with US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi," said Mohammad Nabi Rudaki, deputy head of the influential national security commission in Iranıs conservative-dominated parliament.

"Parliamentary talks can discuss bilateral problems and bring US, European and Iranian nations closer. They could also consider Iranıs peaceful nuclear issues," he said. But Rudaki added that ³this willingness does not mean a resumption of political ties with the occupying and bullying US government.²

04.13.07 Rove e-mail sought by Congress may be missing

April 13 – A lawyer for the Republican National Committee told congressional staff members yesterday

that the RNC is missing at least four years' worth of e-mail from White House senior adviser Karl Rove that is being sought as part of investigations into the Bush administration, according to the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. GOP officials took issue with Rep. Henry Waxman's account of the briefing and said they still hope to find the e-mail as they conduct forensic work on their computer equipment. But they acknowledged that they took action to prevent Rove – and Rove alone among the two dozen or so White House officials with RNC accounts – from deleting his e-mails from the RNC server. Waxman (D-Calif.) said he was told the RNC made that move in 2005. [More>>washingtonpost.com]

04.12.07 Two Canadians, 35 Taliban killed in Afghan violence

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan, April 12 – Two Canadian soldiers and 35 Taliban militants were killed in the latest violence to rock insurgency-hit southern Afghanistan, officials said Thursday. The Islamist Taliban fighters were killed late Wednesday in fierce fighting with Afghan and US-led troops in troubled Zabul province, provincial governor's spokesman Gulab Shah Alikhil said. "Initially our troops came under attack. They called for support from the coalition troops, who responded with ground troops and air support. Thirty-five Taliban were killed in the subsequent fighting," Alikhil said.

The US-led coalition headquarters said that it had no immediate information on the incident, while the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said that it was not involved. Zabul is one of Afghanistan's most violent regions. Taliban reb
els seized control of a remote district there last week, the latest of several rebel attempts to exert control in southern and western parts of the country. [More>>metimes.com]

04.12.07 Cost of mobile phone calls abroad to be slashed

April 12 – The nasty surprise of a trip abroad being followed by a hefty mobile phone bill could disappear this summer after Euro MPs voted overwhelmingly today to slash the roaming costs companies charge their users. The European Parliamentıs industry committee has endorsed draft legislation that would prevent operators from charging more than 40 cents (27p) per minute for calls made abroad and 15 cents (10p) for those received. Paul Rübig, the Austrian Christian Democrat MEP who is steering the legislation through the Parliament, said afterwards: "Roaming charges are set to tumble. This is a major success for European consumers and a clear signal to Europeıs telecom industry." [More>>timesonline.com]

04.12.07 Revolution in cancer treatment

April 12 – Cancer treatment could be on the brink of a revolution following a study showing that it may be possible significantly to improve the effectiveness of chemotherapy drugs without causing side effects. Scientists have conducted a series of pioneering experiments demonstrating a new way of making tumour cells far more susceptible to attack with extremely low doses of anti-cancer drugs. The development offers hope that the gruesome side effects of chemotherapy, suffered by tens of thousands of cancer patients, may at some point become a thing of the past.

In addition to making chemotherapy more effective at eliminating tumour cells from the body, the study suggests that it is also possible to lower dosage levels to a point where toxic side effects from the drugs are unlikely to occur. The breakthrough was made possible with a revolutionary medical technique called RNA interference, which allows scientists to "silence" certain genes in a pioneering development first highlighted by The Independent in 2002. In one of the experiments, for instance, the scientists found that lung cancer tumour cells can be made to be 10,000 times more sensitive to the anti-cancer drug Taxol – an unprecedented improvement in the power of the treatment.

04.12.07 Civilian claims on US suggest the toll or war

April 12 – In February 2006, nervous American soldiers in Tikrit killed an Iraqi fisherman on the Tigris River after he leaned over to switch off his engine. A year earlier, a civilian filling his car and an Iraqi Army officer directing traffic were shot by American soldiers in a passing convoy in Balad, for no apparent reason. The incidents are among many thousands of claims submitted to the Army by Iraqi and Afghan civilians seeking payment for noncombat killings, injuries or property damage American forces inflicted on them or their relatives.

The claims provide a rare window into the daily chaos and violence faced by civilians and troops in the two war zones. Recently, the Army disclosed roughly 500 claims to the American Civil Liberties Union in response to a Freedom of Information Act request. They are the first to be made public. They represent only a small fraction of the claims filed. In all, the military has paid more than $32 million to Iraqi and Afghan civilians for noncombat-related killings, injuries and property damage, an Army spokeswoman said. That figure does not include condolence payments made at a unit commanderıs discretion.

04.12.07 Leahy: Aides lying about White House-Justice e-mails

WASHINGTON (AP) April 12 – President Bush's aides are lying about White House e-mails sent on a Republican account that might have been lost, a powerful Senate chairman said Thursday, vowing to subpoena those documents if the administration fails to cough them up. "They say they have not been preserved. I don't believe that!" Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy shouted from the Senate floor. "You can't erase e-mails, not today. They've gone through too many servers," said Leahy, D-Vermont. "Those e-mails are there, they just don't want to produce them. We'll subpoena them if necessary." (Read about the White House e-mail)

With that, Leahy headed to his committee, which approved – but did not issue – new subpoenas to compel the administration to produce documents and testimony about the firings of eight federal prosecutors over the winter. Democrats say the firings might have been improper, but that probe yielded a weightier question: Whether White House officials such as political adviser Karl Rove are purposely conducting sensitive official presidential business via non-governmental accounts to evade a law requiring preservation – and eventual disclosure – of presidential records.

04.12.07 Two Philippine soldiers killed, ten wounded in clash with al-Qaeda-linked militants

MANILA (AP) April 12 – Philippine troops battled about 100 al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf militants led by two top terror suspects on a southern island, leaving two soldiers dead and 10 others wounded, officials said Thursday. The Abu Sayyaf group was led by Radulan Sahiron, a one-armed senior commander, and Abu Pula, also known as Dr. Abu, said military spokesman Lt. Col. Bartolome Bacarro.

Two soldiers were killed in the five-hour clash Wednesday, and 10 wounded were taken to a hospital, army spokesman Maj. Ernesto Torres said. He said scores of militants were believed killed, but no bodies were retrieved. There was no word on whether two Indonesians wanted for alleged involvement in the 2002 Bali bombings were among those in the battle in Jolo island's Indanan town, about 950 kilometers(590 miles) south of Manila.

04.12.07 Bomb on Baghdad bridge kills 8, cars in river

BAGHDAD (Reuters) April 12 – A truck bomb killed up to eight people on a major bridge in northern Baghdad on Thursday, destroying most of the steel structure and sending several cars plunging into the River Tigris below, police said. Two main sections of the Sarafiya bridge, a main artery linking east and west Baghdad, collapsed into the river. One army officer on the scene said explosive charges might have also been used to bring down a bridge that local residents said was built by the British in the early 1900s. The blast occurred just before the morning rush hour, sending a cloud of thick smoke into the air.

US and Iraqi forces launched a security crackdown in the capital two months ago that has reduced death squad killings, but car and truck bombs remain a problem. Police put the death toll from the bombing at between five and eight. They said up to 22 people were wounded. Four or five cars had fallen into the river, police said. Police patrol boats and divers searched the muddy waters for survivors.
[More>>thestar.com.my ; See also msnbc.msn.com, April 12, "Explosion rocks Iraqi parliament."]

04.12.07 US seeks control of Europe through missile shield – Gorbachev

KALINGRAD, Russia (RIA Novosti) April 12 – Deployment of US missile-defense bases in Poland and the Czech Republic is an attempt by the US to control Europe, the former Soviet president said Thursday. "It is all about influence and domination in Europe," Mikhail Gorbachev said. "I believe it is wrong that America did not even bother to consult its NATO allies." Asked how Russia could respond to these plans, he only said: "Time will show."

The US revealed plans in January to deploy elements of its missile defense system in the Czech Republic and Poland to counter possible attacks from Iran or North Korea, whose nuclear programs have provoked serious international concerns. Russia, which has been anxious about NATO bases that have appeared in former Communist-bloc countries and ex-Soviet republics, has blasted the plans to deploy anti-missile systems in Central Europe as a national security threat and a destabilizing factor for Europe. The Bush administration has once again cited Ukraine on a list of 15 countries cooperating with the US on its national missile defense system, the Department of Defense said Thursday.
[More>>rian.ru ; See related stories, thenews.com.pk, April 12, "NATO chief says it cannot ignore Iranian missile threat,"

rian.ru, April 12, "Ukraine not planning US missile shield placement – president,"

kyivpost.com, April 12, "German defense minister says whole of Europe must be protected by missile defense system."
BRUSSELS (AP) - Germany's defense minister said on Thursday that the proposed U.S. anti-missile shield on European territory would leave the south of the continent unprotected, essentially producing new division lines in Europe. Defense Minister Franz-Josef Jung said a missile defense system was in Europe's interest, and called on the United States to discuss its plan with NATO...

04.12.07 India 'successfully' test fires N-capable Agni III

BALASORE, India (PTI) April 12 – India on Thursday test fired its nuclear capable 3,000 km intermediate range ballistic missile Agni-III from the Interim Test Range (ITR) at the Wheeler's Island in the Bay of Bengal off the Orissa coast. Minutes after the launch Defence Ministry said that the test fire was successful. [More>>expressindia.com]

04.12.07 Pakistan tribesmen kill 300 militants: Musharraf

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) April 12 – Pakistani tribesmen have killed 300 foreign, Al Qaeda-linked militants in weeks of fighting in the South Waziristan region on the Afghan border, President Pervez Musharraf said on Thursday. Tribesmen began battling the foreigner militants they had previously sheltered early last month after the foreigners tried to kill a tribal leader. "The people in South Waziristan have risen against the foreigners. They have killed about 300 of them and they will get support from the Pakistan army if they ask for support," Musharraf told a military conference on global counter-terrorism in Islamabad.

Government officials had previously said more than 200 people, most of them Uzbek militants, had been killed in the fighting. The military has said it was not involved. Many foreign militants fled to Pakistan after US-led forces ousted the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001. Since then, many have been involved in fighting both Pakistani security forces and US and NATO troops in Afghanistan. [

04.12.07 Iraqi group 'splits' from al-Qaeda

April 12 – One of Iraq's main armed groups has confirmed a split with al-Qaeda, according to a spokesman for the dissenting organisation. Ibrahim al-Shammari told Al Jazeera on Thursday that the Islamic Army in Iraq had decided to disunite from al-Qaeda in Iraq after its members were threatened. "In the beginning, we were dealing with Tawhid and Jihad organization, which turned into al-Qaeda in Iraq," he said, his identity obscured for security reasons. "Specifically after Abu Musab al-Zarqawi died, the gap between us [and al-Qaeda] widened, because [they] started to target our members." Al-Shammari said al-Qaeda in Iraq was in pursuit of a different agenda to that of the Islamic Army in Iraq. "They killed about 30 of our people, and we definitely don't recognize their establishment of an Islamic state – we consider it invalid." [More>>aljazeera.net]

04.12.07 Turkish army pushes for military operation into Iraq

ANKARA, April 12 – Turkey's army chief pushed for a military incursion into northern Iraq on Thursday to crack down on Turkish Kurd rebels he said had sought refuge there. "If you ask me whether a cross-border operation is needed, yes it is needed. It would be useful," chief of general staff, General Yasar Buyukanit, told a rare press conference. "But there is a second dimension to that: it requires a political decision," he said. "If the armed forces are given this mission, they are strong enough to carry out such operations." [More>>turkishpress.com ; See earlier story, April 10, "Turkish prime minister warns Iraqi Kurdish leader not to threaten Turkey."

04.12.07 Three Israelis get thirteen years in prison for driving suicide bomber

April 12 – Tel Aviv District Court sentenced three Israelis to 13-years in prison Thursday for driving a Palestinian suicide bomber that killed five people at a Netanya shopping mall in 2005. Last month, Kfir Levy of Ramat Gan, Seif Azam of Taibeh and Abd Abu Much of Baka al-Gharbiyah were convicted of manslaughter for driving the bomber from the West Bank into Israel. The suicide bombing took place in July 2005 at a crosswalk near the Sharon Mall in Netanya. In addition to the five killed, 30 people were wounded - five of them seriously

...The prosecutor claimed that Azam and Levy suspected that the man they were bringing into Israel was a terrorist, but did not turn down the business opportunity. Azam also checked one of the terrorist's bags, but when he tried to inspect another bag, the man refused and the smuggler gave in...The terrorist and his handler were dropped off in Taibeh, and they were driven to the location of the attack by a third man, Abbed Abu-Mokh, a resident of Baka al-Gharbiyeh. Abu-Mokh also suspected that he was giving a ride to terrorists, and described the suicide bomber to police as having "the face of a dead man."
[Full story>>haaretz.com]

04.11.07 Congressional panel sees spike in foreclosures – mortgage mess

April 11 – Amid continued signs of deterioration in the nationıs mortgage market, a Congressional panel Wednesday forecast a sharp rise in housing foreclosures, and several Democratic lawmakers called for a federal bailout for borrowers who are at risk of losing their homes. As msnbc.com reported Monday, state and federal regulators are now looking into a pattern of questionable lending practices and outright fraud that has already sparked a wave of criminal and civil actions against various players in the $10 trillion market for residential mortgages.

As hundreds of billions of dollars worth of loans sold to so-called "subprime" borrowers — historically those with shaky credit histories — are now "resetting" to higher monthly payments, many of these borrowers are facing default. And as lenders foreclose on these loans, homes are re-sold quickly, creating further downward pressure on housing prices. Median home prices this year are expected to post their first year-over-year decline in decade, a real estate trade group said Wednesday.

04.11.07 Exclusive: Pentagon to extend service for all soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan

April 11 – The Pentagon will extend the tours of duty for every active-duty soldier in Iraq and Afghanistan. As ABC News first reported Tuesday, this plan was in consideration, but will be announced today by the secretary of defense and chairman of the Joint Chiefs. Forget small extensions and trickles of National Guard troops. Under the plan, deployments for active-duty soldiers will be extended from the current 12 months to 15 months. This will apply to all active-duty soldiers, but not to the National Guard and Reserve.

"These soldiers have paid the price for this policy for four years. Now they are being given an additional burden to bear, and it will be a cause of concern for the soldiers and even more so for the families," said retired Gen. William Nash. The stress on the Army has been compounded by the surge of additional forces President Bush announced in January, a surge Iraq commander David Petraeus wants to extend.
; See also cnn.com, April 11, " Gates: Army tours extended by three months." et al.]

04.11.07 White Housse opposes legislators plan to visit Iran

WASHINGTON (Xinhua) April 11 – The White House reiterated on Wednesday its objection to plans by Democratic leaders of Congress to visit Iran. "On a day when the US military reports additional evidence of Iran's meddling in Iraq with weapons and training that are being used to kill our soldiers, it's troubling that some Democrats are making travel arrangements to visit Tehran," White House deputy press secretary Dana Perino said at a briefing. Such trips would be "unproductive and unhelpful – and that applies to all members of Congress, Republicans and Democrats," Perino said. [More>>xinhuanet.com]

04.11.07 Robert Fisk: Divide and rule – America's plan for Baghdad

April 11 – Revealed: a new counter-insurgency strategy to carve up the city into sealed areas. The tactic failed in Vietnam. So what chance does it have in Iraq? Faced with an ever-more ruthless insurgency in Baghdad – despite President George Bush's "surge" in troops – US forces in the city are now planning a massive and highly controversial counter-insurgency operation that will seal off vast areas of the city, enclosing whole neighborhoods with barricades and allowing only Iraqis with newly issued ID cards to enter.

The campaign of "gated communities" - whose genesis was in the Vietnam War - will involve up to 30 of the city's 89 official districts and will be the most ambitious counter-insurgency programme yet mounted by the US in Iraq.

The system has been used – and has spectacularly failed – in the past, and its inauguration in Iraq is as much a sign of American desperation at the country's continued descent into civil conflict as it is of US determination to "win" the war against an Iraqi insurgency that has cost the lives of more than 3,200 American troops. The system of "gating" areas under foreign occupation failed during the French war against FLN insurgents in Algeria and again during the American war in Vietnam. Israel has employed similar practices during its occupation of Palestinian territory – again, with little success.

But the campaign has far wider military ambitions than the pacification of Baghdad. It now appears that the US military intends to place as many as five mechanized brigades – comprising about 40,000 men – south and east of Baghdad, at least three of them positioned between the capital and the Iranian border. This would present Iran with a powerful – and potentially aggressive – American military force close to its border in the event of a US or Israeli military strike against its nuclear facilities later this year.

04.11.07 Italian care group pulls 38 staff from Kabul

ROME (AFP) April 11 – Nearly 40 staff from the Italian aid organization Emergency left Kabul Wednesday amid tension with the Afghan government, the care group said. The move comes three days after the Taliban killed an Afghan reporter kidnapped along with Italian journalist Daniele Mastrogiacomo, and as an Emergency employee is believed to be held by Afghan authorities. "They left Kabul for a calmer place in order to talk about the situation," a spokesman for the Italian nongovernmental organization, based in Milan said.

Carlo Garbagnati, the vice-president of Emergency, was quoted by the ANSA news agency as saying that the group comprising 30 Italians and eight other expatriates had gone to Dubai for the time being. He said that their departure was due to "the lack of security."
[More>>metimes.com ; See also independent.co.uk, April 11, "Aid agency threatens to leave Afghanistan after Kabul accuses it of al-Qaeda links."]

04.11.07 US: Iran training Iraqi bomb makers

BAGHDAD (AP) April 11 – Iran has been training Iraqi fighters in Iran on the assembly of deadly roadside bombs known as EFPs, the U.S. military spokesman said on Wednesday. "We know that they are being in fact manufactured and smuggled into this coun

try, and we know that training does go on in Iran for people to learn how to assemble them and how to employ them. We know that training has gone on as recently as this past month from detainees debriefs," Maj. Gen. William Caldwell, the US military spokesman, said at a weekly briefing.

EFP stands for explosively formed penetrator, deadly roadside bombs that hurl a fist-size lump of molten copper capable of piercing armor. In January, US officials said at least 170 US soldiers had been killed by EFPs. Caldwell also said on Wednesday that the U.S. military had evidence that Iranian intelligence agents were active in Iraq in funding, training and arming Shiite militia fighters.
[More>>msnbc.msn.com ; See also nytimes.com, April 11, "US general says Iran training Iraqi militants on bombs."]

04.11.07 Google to spotlight Darfur crisis

April 11 – Google has begun using its Google Earth satellite mapping service to draw attention to the crisis in Sudan's Darfur region. The project, inaugurated on Tuesday, means that when Google Earth users scroll over maps of the region, they are presented with statistics on the number of villages destroyed and people displaced. In addition, Google Earth has superimposed icons of flames onto the map to represent destroyed villages and tents to represent refugee camps. The project, run in conjunction with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, also provides high resolution images of destroyed villages and houses. [More>>aljazeera.net ; Darfur google satellite maps.]

04.11.07 Morocco on alert for new suicide attacks

CASABLANCA, Morocco (AFP) April 11 – Moroccan security forces hunted for 10 possible suicide bombers Wednesday, a day after three militants blew themselves up in Casablanca as they were chased by police. "We are searching Casablanca for about 10 extremely dangerous terrorists, as they are ready like those yesterday to blow themselves up," police said as they released the identities of those who died Tuesday. [More>>metimes.com]

04.11.07 Bodies lie in Baghdad street after US and Iraqi troops battle gunmen

BAGHDAD (AP) April 11 – Bodies lay scattered across two central Baghdad neighborhoods on Wednesday after a raging battle that left 20 insurgents and four Iraqi soldiers dead, and 16 US soldiers wounded, witnesses and officials said. The fighting in Fadhil and Sheik Omar, two Sunni enclaves, was the most intense since a massive push to pacify the capital began two months ago.

Iraqi soldiers held a security cordon around Fadhil on Wednesday, and residents hid frightened in their homes, a witness told The Associated Press by telephone, on condition of anonymity out of fear for his safety. The Muslim Scholars Association, a Sunni group, issued a statement quoting witnesses as saying Tuesdayıs battle began after Iraqi troops entered a mosque and executed two young men in front of other worshippers. Ground forces used tear gas on civilians, it said. "The association condemns this horrible crime carried out by occupiers and the government," the statement said.

04.11.07 Citigroup cuts 17k jobs, India headcount to rise

NEW YORK, April 11 – The world's largest financial services firm Citigroup Inc. said it will eliminate 17,000 jobs or nearly five percent of its global workforce, even as it plans to move 9,500 positions to India and other low-cost locations. With an aim to cutting its annual expenses by 4.6 billion dollars in the next three years, the US-based banking giant said that its restructuring plans also include shutting down some offices and relocating employees.

While announcing these large-scale job cuts, Citigroup said that its total head count would continue to grow in 2007, but the rate of growth, excluding acquisitions, new branches and other investments, would slow significantly. The company could move a large chunk of its jobs – which could be in the range of 5,000-8,000 – to India, especially for equity research, investment banking and back-office transaction-related activities, sources close to the development said.

04.11.07 'North Korea now ready to shut down nuke facilities'

April 11 – After weeks of stalemate over a financial dispute, North Korea is now ready to shut down its main nuclear facilities and accept U.N. nuclear inspectors, news reports said yesterday. The communist regime expressed satisfaction with the latest resolution of the Banco Delta Asia issue and said that it would shut down its main nuclear facilities, Reuters reported, quoting an NBC news report.

Chief North Korean nuclear negotiator Kim Kye-gwan made the pledge during a dinner meeting with a US delegation to Pyongyang led by New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, NBC quoted members of his team as saying. Kim was also quoted as saying the North would allow International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors, expelled in 2002, back into the country within a month.

04.11.07 Two bombings in Algiers kill 17 – official agency

ALGIERS (Reuters) April 11 – Bombs killed 17 people in Algiers on Wednesday, with one of them targeting the prime minister's headquarters at the centre of the Algerian capital, the official APS news agency said. Nine people were killed in the blast at Prime Minister Abdelaziz Belkhadem's headquarters, APS said, adding 32 people were wounded. A second bomb hit Bab Ezzouar on the city's eastern outskirts, killing eight and wounding 50, it said.

Police sources said the attack on the government building was a suicide bombing...Wednesday's attack was the first major bombing in central Algiers in several years. Violence in Algeria has been on the rise since the main guerrilla group, the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), adopted a new name in January and deepened its ties to al Qaeda.

04.10.07 US forces in heavy clashes in Baghdad

BAGHDAD (Reuters) April 10 – US and Iraqi forces backed by attack helicopters fought gunmen in Baghdad on Tuesday, witnesses said, in the heaviest battle in the capital since a major security crackdown was launched in February. Police said a total of 10 people had been killed and 13 wounded in the fighting. Gunmen hit two helicopters with ground fire but both returned to base, the US military said. Northeast of Baghdad, a woman suicide bomber strapped with explosives under an Islamic gown killed 17 recruits outside a police station in the town of Muqdadiya, police officials said. Two witnesses including a local journalist said Apache attack helicopters hovering low over the Sunni insurgent stronghold of Fadhil in Baghdad repeatedly fired rockets at buildings where gunmen had holed up. [More>>thestar.com.my ; Seealso thenews.com.pk, April 10, "36 killed in Iraq violence, 9 corpses recovered."]

04.10.07 Feingold introduces Iraq Redeployment Act of 2007, to end US military involvement in Iraq

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 10 (Report by David Swanson) US Senator Russ Feingold introduced legislation today to effectively end US military involvement in Iraq. The bill, supported by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, requires the President to begin safely redeploying US troops from Iraq 120 days from enactment, as required by the emergency supplemental spending bill passed by the Senate. The bill ends funding for the war, with three narrow exceptions, effective March 31, 2008. In addition to Reid, the bill is cosponsored by Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chris Dodd (D-CT), Ted Kennedy (D-MA), John Kerry (D-MA), Pat Leahy (D-VT), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI). If the President vetoes the emergency supplemental spending bill, Reid has said he will work to ensure Feingoldıs bill gets a vote in the Senate before Memorial Day.

"The President says he will veto legislation already passed by the Senate that both funds the troops and responds to Americansı demands for an end to the Iraq war," Feingold said. "Since the President refuses to change his failed Iraq policy, that responsibility falls on Congress. By setting a date after which funding for the Presidentıs failed Iraq policy will end, we can give the President the time and funding he needs to safely redeploy our troops so we can refocus on the global terrorist networks that threaten the lives of Americans."

The language of the legislation reads:

(a) Transition of Mission – The President shall promptly transition the mission of United States forces in Iraq to the limited purposes set forth in subsection (d).

(b) Commencement of Safe, Phased Redeployment from Iraq – The President shall commence the safe, phased redeployment of United States forces from Iraq that are not essential to the purposes set forth in subsection (d). Such redeployment shall begin not later than 120 days after the date of the enactment of this Act.

(c) Prohibition on Use of Funds – No funds appropriated or otherwise made available under any provision of law may be obligated or expended to continue the deployment in Iraq of members of the United States Armed Forces after March 31, 2008.

(d) Exception for Limited Purposes – The prohibition under subsection (c) shall not apply to the obligation or expenditure of funds for the limited purposes as follows:

(1) To conduct targeted operations, limited in duration and scope, against members of al Qaeda and other international terrorist organizations.

(2) To provide security for United States infrastructure and personnel.

(3) To train and equip Iraqi security services.


04.10.07 Roh admits secret N.K. contacts

April 10 – President Roh Moo-hyun [South Korea] said yesterday that he ordered one of his personal aides to secretly contact North Korean officials last year for a possible inter-Korean summit, but dismissed criticism that he violated relevant laws in pursuing the secret contact. The remark added fuel to a political dispute over the clandestine mission carried out by his confidant Ahn Hee-jung in Beijing last October. The parliamentary majority Grand National Party is seeking a parliamentary investigation.

"My instruction on any unofficial contacts with North Koreans belongs to the president's inherent authority. (Those) contacts pose no problems politically or legally," Roh said at a cabinet meeting...Ahn met a North Korean diplomat for discussions on a possible summit between Roh and North Korean leader Kim Jong-il. Ahn said last month that the president told him to travel to Beijing to confirm the North's earlier message on an inter-Korean summit...
[Full story>>koreaherald.co.kr]

04.10.07 Iraqis demand US ouster

BAGHDAD (AP) April 10 – Tens of thousands of Shi'ites – a sea of women in black abayas and men waving Iraqi flags – rallied yesterday to demand that US forces leave their country. Some ripped apart American flags and tromped across a Stars and Stripes rug. The protesters, including some Iraqi soldiers in uniform, marched about three miles between the holy cities of Kufa and Najaf to mark the fourth anniversary of the fall of Baghdad. In the capital, streets were silent and empty under a hastily imposed 24-hour driving ban. [More>>washtimes.com]

04.10.07 Israel must quit Arab land to coexist: king

AMMAN (AFP) April 10 – Jordanıs King Abdullah II urged Israel to end its occupation of Arab land to guarantee peaceful coexistence with the worldıs Muslims and warned against a hasty US troop pullout from Iraq, in an interview with AFP on Tuesday. "Israel, the European states and the United States should realize that the Palestinian issue does not only concern the Palestinians but also has the sympathy of all Muslims from Indonesia to the Maghreb states," he said. "If Israel wants to coexist with more than a billion Muslims, it should end its occupation of Palestinian and Arab lands."

The king also urged the Israeli people to accept an Arab peace plan adopted at a summit in Saudi Arabia last month, saying it ²reflects collective Arab will to build peace that puts an end to years of violence and suffering. "They also should acknowledge that this is a unique opportunity in the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict and that it is time they work to convince their leaders of the need to resume peace negotiations," he said. [

04.10.07 Turkish prime minister warns Iraqi Kurdish leader not to threaten Turkey

April 10 – The Turkish prime minister yesterday warned Iraqi Kurds against interfering in Turkey's Kurdish-majority southeast, saying "the price for them will be very high." Recep Tayyip Erdogan was reacting to comments by Massoud Barzani, leader of the Kurdish autonomous region in Iraq, who said Iraqi Kurds would retaliate to any Turkish interference in northern Iraq by stirring up trouble in Turkey's southeast. "He's out of place," Erdogan said of Barzani. "He'll be crushed under his words." The verbal sparring was set off by Barzani on Saturday when he said in an interview with al-Arabiyah television that Iraqi Kurds could "interfere" in Kurdish-majority Turkish cities if Ankara interfered in northern Iraq. [More>>independent.co.uk]

04.10.07 Two UN nuclear inspectors begin visit to Iran nuclear facility

(Reuters) April 10 – Two United Nations nuclear inspectors began a week-long trip to Iran on Tuesday to visit the country's Natanz uranium enrichment facility, a day after Tehran declared it had begun industrial atomic work at the site. An Iranian official confirmed the inspectors' arrival to Reuters and said they were on a routine visit. He gave no further details. Inspectors from the UN watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), routinely visit Natanz in central Iran and other declared nuclear sites although Tehran curtailed more intrusive snap inspections last year in retaliation for its case being sent to the UN Security Council. [More>>haaretz.com]

04.10.07 Russia doubts Iran nuclear claim

April 10 – Russia says it has not seen any indication that Iran has made the breakthrough in its nuclear programme that Tehran claims. The comments made in a statement by the Russian foreign office on Tuesday come a day after Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, said his country is now able to enrich uranium on an "industrial scale." [More>>aljazeera.net ; See also turkishpress.com, April 10, "No way to verify Iran's nuclear claims: EU."]

04.10.07 Second suicide blast rocks Morocco

CASABLANCA, Morocco (AFP) April 10 – A second suicide bomber blew himself up Tuesday in the Moroccan port city of Casablanca, hours after another suicide blast during a police raid in the same area, an AFP journalist saw. The journalist saw the torn and dismembered remains of the bomber in the street following the blast around 1530 GMT. Another body lay nearby but it was not clear if there were any fatalities other than the bomber. [>turkishpress.com]

04.10.07 Ethiopia says it is holding 41 terrorism suspects

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, April 10 – The Ethiopian government said late Monday that it was holding 41 terrorism suspects of 17 nationalities arrested in Somalia. "Today, international terrorism is a clear and present danger to Ethiopia's national security. Ethiopia's concern is not ideologically motivated. The danger is real, concrete, and palpable," read a foreign ministry statement. "What is going on currently is a confrontation with international terrorism in which ... terrorists from 17 countries have been involved. Ethiopia has the legitimate right to defend itself from this danger," the statement continued, adding that Ethiopia was holding 41 suspects arrested in Somalia.

The announcement follows accusations from Human Rights Watch (HRW) late last month that Addis Ababa, along with the governments of Kenya, Somalia, and the United States, was secretly detaining hundreds of people fleeing clashes in Mogadishu. In a March 30 statement, the rights panel detailed "arbitrary detention, expulsion, and apparent enforced disappearance of dozens of individuals who fled the fighting" between Ethiopia-backed Somali troops and the powerful Islamist movement from December through January 2007.

"Dozens of people have effectively disappeared into Ethiopian detention facilities," said Georgette Gagnon, HRW's deputy Africa director. "It's imperative that the Ethiopians acknowledge the people they are holding and permit independent international access to them."

04.10.07 China trade surplus takes a plunge

April 10 – Figures indicate that imports are rising faster than exports, as Beijing disputes a US copyright complaint. China's trade surplus slumped last month, as the Government hailed moves to encourage imports and cut tax relief on exports. The surplus, which measures the difference between exports and imports, tumbled by 38.6 per cent to $6.9 billion (£3.5 billion) in March, compared with the same month last year. Government figures show exports up 6.9 per cent to $83.4 billion last month, while imports rose 14.5 per cent to $76.6 billion. The surplus marks a sharp fall from recent months. It was $23.8 billion in February and $15.9 billion in January. [More>>business.timesonline.co.uk ; See related story, nytimes.com, April 10, "US toughens its position on China trade."]

04.10.07 Mortgage woes could be 'tip of the iceberg'

April 10 – Fraud, abusive lending crushes dreams for millions of home owners. Mark and Kerrie Russo, a Jackson, N.J., couple raising two young daughters, are struggling to hang on. Less than a year after buying a home in 2005, which they financed with a 30-year fixed rate loan based on a solid credit history, a local mortgage broker began sending letters offering to refinance their loan. A new product, the sales pitch said, allowed home owners flexibility to choose from a menu of different payments from one month to the next.

What the broker didnıt explain, Kerrie Russo says, is that this was a "negative amortization" loan — an expanding debt that buried the couple deeper in hock even as they thought they were paying down their mortgage balance. Like many borrowers who were sold mortgages they couldnıt afford, Russo says that when she called the broker to complain, she was told that because she failed to read the fine print, the responsibility for getting in too deep was hers. [

04.10.07 Life returns to a dead sea

April 10 – Once the world's fourth largest body of inland water, the Aral Sea became a victim of the Soviet era after rivers were diverted for crops. Now the tide is turning in its favour. Seen from space, the Aral Sea looks like a collapsed pair of lungs and a sliver of liver that have atrophied in the fierce central Asian sun. Once the world's fourth largest source of inland water, the lake has shrunk to a third of its original size in five decades and it was not so long ago that experts predicted its total demise by 2020. But against the odds the tide appears to be turning in ecologists' favour and the sea staging an unlikely comeback. In a rare story of man remedying his past mistakes – at least in part – the Aral Sea is being gradually resuscitated and water is being pumped into its atrophied organism once again.

Experts concede that it is probably too late to save "the patient's" shrivelled lungs, giant basins of water that seem destined to shrink still further, perhaps resembling small gall stones before the last drop of water runs into the sand. But the sea's "liver"– a body of water known as the Northern Aral Sea after the original sea split into three parts – can, they say, be spared and enlarged and given a second lease of life few thought it would ever have. The sea straddles two countries – Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan – and it is the northern sliver, which is in Kazakhstan, that appears to have a future.
[More>>independent.co.uk ; See also Aral Sea Disaster .]


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


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