A resource for historians and journalists, since 2004

Maravot News of the World
6:09 AM – San Francisco
Thu, Apr 26, 2007
(last post)

Search Engines

Get $10 Free when you use Google Checkout!

E-tracking Terrorists

Apply Today for a Free Merchant Account

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

Western News
Worth frequent visits

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

Aral Sea Disaster
Media Matters
information please
DOD News
Le Monde.fr (en français)
liberation.fr (en français)

lefigaro.fr (en français)
Spiegel Online

La Repubblica.It
PeaceReporter.net (Italy)
expatica.com (Spain)
standartnews.com (Bulgaria)
NIS News (Holland)
BBC News
Sky News (London)

The Independent
Belfast Telegraph
cnews.canoe.ca (Canada)
National Public Radio
New York Times.com
Washington Post
Washington Times
ABC News
Fox News


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

San Francisco Chronicle
Financial Times
Radio Free Europe
Radio News America
Democracy Now, radio & TV
The Guardian, Nigeria
Business Day (S. Africa)


International Agencies – News

Osama bin Laden fatwas.
This monster's own words will
lead to his destruction
Definition of fatwa (fatwah)
Maravot News Comment




August 1996

Maps of interest
Click on maps for larger image
Russia, Belarus & neighbors
Israel-Iraq & neighbors
Iran-Afghanistan-Pak.-India; 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

East Asia Watch

More newspapers

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

Halliburton watch.org

Relevant Works by Mel

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

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

News Headlines & Trends

04.25.07 Britain's anti-terror chief offers somber view

LONDON, April 25 – In a somber and wide-ranging assessment of the threat facing his country, Britainıs top counterterrorism police officer, Peter Clarke, said Al Qaeda has survived "a prolonged multi-national assault" and its supporters had established "an inexorable trend towards more ambitious and more destructive attack planning. The only sensible assumption is that we shall be attacked again," Mr. Clarke said on Tuesday night.

He also said around 100 suspected terrorists were awaiting trial in Britain — in addition to several trials currently in progress — and their cases would confirm a trend that has emerged since 2004 for young British Muslims to travel to Pakistan for training and to receive instructions before returning home to plot attacks. Mr. Clarkeıs lecture at the Policy Exchange, a private policy research group, was significant both for its content and its timing. It offered a rare overview of the development of terrorism threats and of police and secret intelligence service counter-measures since Sept 11, 2001.

It was delivered, moreover, as a jury debates verdicts in a terrorism trial that will again focus British attention on the complexities of confronting what Mr. Clarke called "networks within networks, connections within connections and links between individuals that cross local, national and international boundaries." In unusually harsh language, Mr. Clarke also took issue with unidentified persons — presumably government officials — leaking "highly sensitive operational intelligence, often classified."
[More>>nytimes.com ; See related story, timesonline.co.uk, April 25, "Blair rejects terror leak inquiry."]

04.25.07 The great pall of China

April 25 – Explosive growth means China will overtake America this year as world's biggest producer of greenhouse gases. In a seismic shift for the world, China will overtake the United States as the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases this year, far earlier than thought – and present the problem of tackling climate change in even more difficult terms. The Chinese economy, which is now growing at the unprecedented rate of 11 per cent annually, is sending carbon emissions from China's mushrooming coal-fired power stations beyond those of the whole of the US, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said yesterday.

Less than three years ago the Paris-based IEA forecast that China would overtake the US as the world'sbiggest polluter – but not before 2025. More recently it said that China would be first by 2010.

Now, however, the growth of its economy (10 per cent annually for the past three years and now higher) and its underlying power sector are such, said the Fatih Birol, the IEA's chief economist, that the Chinese are expected to overtake the Americans this year.

IEA estimates that the Chinese, who in 2006 are thought to have emitted about 5,600 million tones of carbon dioxide (CO2) to the Americans' 5,900, will this year emit about 6,020 million tones of CO2 to about 5,910 from the US. (Britain by contrast emits about 550 million tones.) It is these emissions from around the world which are causing the atmosphere to warm, with potentially disastrous consequences.
[More>>independent.co.uk ; See related story, newstarget.com, December 21, 2006, "India claims its emissions cause no harm to world's atmosphere."]

04.25.07 UN raps Iraq for withholding 'grim' civilian toll

BAGHDAD (Reuters) April 25 – The United Nations criticised Iraq's government on Wednesday for not disclosing politically sensitive civilian casualty figures and said the humanitarian crisis there was rapidly worsening. Violence continued as a suicide attacker walked into a police station in the volatile Diyala province and detonated a bomb, killing nine and wounding 16, police said. The government also scrambled to alter a US plan to enclose a Sunni enclave in Baghdad with concrete walls, after residents and political parties said it would fan sectarian tension and compared it with Israel's West Bank barrier. The United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) said Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's government had withheld data on civilian deaths amid spiralling sectarian violence between majority Shi'ites and once dominant Sunnis. [More>>thestar.com.my ; See related story, metimes (AFP) April 25, "More that 700,000 Iraqies fled homes since shrine bomb."]

04.25.07 US forces 'kill senior Al Qaeda emir' in Iraq

BAGHDAD (AFP) April 25 – US forces have killed an Al Qaeda kingpin they allege sent 12-year-old Iraqi boys to their deaths as suicide car bombers, a military statement said Wednesday. US command said they had identified a suspect killed northwest of Baghdad April 20 as Muhammad Abdullah Abbas Al Issawi, also known as Abu Akram and Abu Abd Al Sattar, the Al Qaeda "security emir" in eastern Anbar province. "Coalition forces were conducting operations targeting associates of a known senior leader within Al Qaeda in Iraq," the statement said.

"During the operation the terrorists engaged ground forces with small arms fire. Coalition forces used appropriate self-defense measures and engaged the armed men, killing two and detaining one," it said. According to the statement, suicide bomb vests were found at the scene, and "intelligence reports also indicate that his VBIED (car bomb) cell used 12- to 13-year-old children as VBIED drivers."

04.25.07 April bloodiest for UK troops in Iraq since 2003

BAGHDAD (Reuters) April 25 – British troops in Iraq passed a bloody milestone this week with the killing of a 20-year-old gunner in the southern city of Basra. Eleven British soldiers have now been killed in Iraq this month, the highest number of casualties suffered by British forces in a single month since March 2003 when 27 were killed in the opening days of the US-led invasion. British military analyst Tim Ripley said Basra had become more dangerous for British troops following the announcement by Prime Minister Tony Blair in February that the size of the force was to be reduced by a quarter. [More>>khaleejtimes.com]

04.25.07 Eritrea behind 'Chinese oilfield bloodbath,' says Ethiopia

ADDIS ABABA (AFP) April 25 – Ethiopia Wednesday accused arch-foe Eritrea of supporting the rebels who attacked a remote Chinese-run oil venture that killed 74 people, and abducted up to seven Chinese workers. Eritrea immediately denied the claim – the latest in a string of accusations and counter-accusations between the rival neighbors. "The perpetrator of the terrorist attack ... is the self-styled Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), a terrorist wing that is part of the front of destruction led by the Eritrean government," the Ethiopian information ministry said in a statement.

Up to seven Chinese workers were kidnapped in Tuesday's dawn raid on the oil prospecting facility in Ethiopia's eastern Ogaden region, where the rebel group is fighting for the independence of ethnic Somalis. "Hand-in-glove with the Eritrean government, which hates to see Ethiopia's development, the terrorist forces in the region have acted out this horrendous act of terror," the statement said. Meanwhile, the president of Somali region, Abdulahi Hassen, said that witnesses said that the attackers had been wearing Eritrean army uniforms.
[More>>metimes.com ; See also xinhuanet.com, April 24, "9 Chinese workers killed by gunmen in Ethhiopia, 7 kidnapped."]

04.25.07 Afghan soldiers die in bomb attack

April 25 – At least seven Afghan soldiers have been killed in a roadside bomb blast in southeastern Afghanistan, with an army commander linking the attack to Taliban fighters. Meanwhile, Mullah Dadullah, a Taliban military official, has told Al Jazeera in an exclusive interview that Osama Bin Laden, leader of al-Qaeda network, is still alive. Dadullah said in the interview on Wednesday that Bin Laden planned and supervised the "suicide" operation which targeted Dick Cheney, the US vice-president, in Bargam air force base during his visit to Afghanistan on February 27. Also on Wednesday, a district governor in the same province survived a suicide attack close to his vehicle...Elsewhere, police foiled a suicide attack on Wednesday when they seized a man in the province of Kabul with explosives strapped to his body, Zalmay Khan, deputy police chief, said. [Full story>>aljazeera.net]

04.25.07 US military drops phrase 'long war' against extremists

WASHINGTON, April 24 – The commander of US military operations in the Middle East, Admiral William Fallon, has decided to drop the phrase "long war" to describe the US struggle against terrorism, a defense spokesman said on Tuesday. The phrase was introduced by Fallon's predecessor, General John Abizaid, to convey the scale of a lengthy political and military conflict against Islamic extremists, with similarities to the Cold War. But the new US commander for the Middle East was concerned about how the message was perceived in the region, the Pentagon said, and wanted to stress the US presence in Iraq was not indefinite. [More>>turkishpress.com]

04.25.07 House panel votes to give Gonzales aide immunity

WASHINGTON (AP) April 25 – A House committee voted Wednesday to grant immunity to Monica Goodling, a key aide to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales during the firings of eight US attorneys. She had refused to testify, invoking her Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination. The 32-6 vote by the House Judiciary Committee surpassed the 2/3 majority required to grant a witness immunity from prosecution. A separate vote to authorize a subpoena for Goodling passed by voice vote. [More>>washingtonpost.com]

04.23.07 Boris Yeltsin is dead at age 76

MOSCOW (AP) April 23 – Former President Boris Yeltsin, who engineered the final collapse of the Soviet Union and pushed Russia to embrace democracy and a market economy, has died, a Kremlin official said Monday. He was 76. Kremlin spokesman Alexander Smirnov confirmed Yeltsin's death, but gave no cause or further information. The Interfax news agency cited an unidentified medical source as saying he had died of heart failure. A Communist Party leader in Ekaterinburg and later Moscow during the Soviet Union, Yeltsin became president of Russia in 1991.

Although Yeltsin pushed Russia to embrace democracy and a market economy, many of its citizens will remember him mostly for presiding over the country's steep decline. He was a contradictory figure, rocketing to popularity in the Communist era on pledges to fight corruption — but proving unable, or unwilling, to prevent the looting of state industry as it moved into private hands during his nine years as Russia's first freely elected president. He steadfastly defended freedom of the press, but was a master at manipulating the media.

He amassed as much power as possible in his office — then gave it all up in a dramatic New Year's address at the end of 1999. Yeltsin's greatest moments came in bursts. He stood atop a tank to resist an attempted coup in August 1991, and spearheaded the peaceful end of the Soviet state on Dec. 25 of that year. Ill with heart problems, and facing possible defeat by a Communist challenger in his 1996 re-election bid, he marshaled his energy and sprinted through the final weeks of the campaign. The challenge transformed the shaky convalescent into the spry, dancing candidate. [More>>msnbc.msn.com ; See more details, rian.ru, April 23, Russia's first president, Yeltsin dies at 76 : MOSCOW (RIA Novosti)– Boris Yeltsin, Russia's first ever democratically elected leader (1991-1999), has died at the age of 76 of cardiac arrest...

04.23.07 Russia, Armenia to set up uranium enrichment joint venture in May

YEREVAN (RIA Novosti) April 23 – Russia's nuclear agency plans to set up a joint venture to enrich uranium with Armenia, the agency chief said Monday. In May, we expect to sign an intergovernmental agreement to establish a joint venture with Armenia on uranium enrichment," said Sergei Kiriyenko, on a visit to the ex-Soviet South Caucasus state. "It will be an open joint-stock venture. It should be formed, issued a license to handle uranium, and start operations before the end of the year."

Kiriyenko said earlier Monday the relations between the two countries in the nuclear sphere are entering a new level. "Russia is ready to invest in uranium prospecting and production in Armenia," he said, adding that the country's estimated uranium reserves are "at least 30,000 [metric] tons.
He also said Russia is ready to participate in building a new nuclear power plant in Armenia.

04.23.07 Bargaining begins for 6 million French votes

April 23 – The horse-trading began early today for six million votes on which will depend the result of the French presidential election. The votes in question were those captured by the centrist Francois Bayrou, the former education minister who scored almost 19 per cent in yesterday's first-round ballot. With a near-record turn-out and with voters deserting fringe parties, that was not enough to earn Mr. Bayrou a place in the run-off but leaves him set up as the king-maker when Nicolas Sarkozy and Segolene Royal face-off in the decisive ballot in two weeks' time.

Opinion polls late last night suggested that Mr. Sarkozy, 52, should capture a narrow victory over Ms. Royal, 53, in the May 6 run-off. The former interior minister, an abrasive and plain-speaking rightwinger, captured 31.2 per cent of the first-round vote against almost 26 per cent for Ms. Royal, the Socialist who wants to become France's first female president.

04.23.07 Saving the planet: Battle for the land of Khan

April 23 – A self-taught yak herdsman from Mongolia who forced the closure of polluting mines on the Onggi river is today awarded the world's biggest environmental prize. The Mongolian yak herder Tsetsegee Munkhbayar loves the Onggi river, which provides his people with water and fish. It broke his heart to watch mining companies transform the waterway of his homeland in the steppes into a poisoned mess as they poured toxic slurry from the mines straight into the river.

Mr. Munkhbayar, 40, decided that if he did not act to save his beloved Onggi river nobody would and so he decided to do something about it. Almost single-handedly, and at considerable personal risk, he took on the mining companies, and it worked. This was the very first time that anyone had stood up for environmental rights in Mongolia, a country which is still opening up after decades of communist rule by the Soviet Union.

Four out of 10 Mongolians are nomadic herdsman and the big debate in the country these days is whether mining is the way of the future or if livestock-rearing, the traditional way the Mongols sustained themselves, is the way forward. Nearly half of the population of Mongolia depends on livestock to survive and large sections of the population still live in a ger, a traditional felt circular tent that has been the dwelling of choice in Mongolia for more than 1,000 years. This is a country where traditional shoes point upwards – the story goes that this is so that they do not harm the land.
[More>>independent.co.uk ; See also aljazeera.net, April 23, "Yak herder halts river pollution."]

04.23.07 Work on Baghdad wall continues as violence kills 29

BAGHDAD (DPA) April 23 – The construction of a three-mile wall around a Sunni neighborhood in Baghdad continued Monday, the military spokesman for the Iraqi government said, despite Premier Nuri Al Malikiıs opposition to the plan. Meanwhile, four bombings across Iraq killed at least 29 people and wounded scores of others as the US military and Iraqi police continued in their attempts to quell violence.

Military spokesman Qassem Atta confirmed the US militaryıs plan to form a 3.5-metre-high concrete wall to enclose Adhamiya district, where tit-for-tat sectarian violence is threatening to spiral out of control. He repeated that it was not the only wall. Witnesses said Monday that construction was indeed continuing under the guard of US soldiers. The area is currently sealed off, they said.
[More>>khaleejtimes.com ; See also nytimes.com, April 23, "Iraqis protest construction of wall" : BAGHDAD, April 23 — American and Iraqi officials appeared today to be moving away from a plan to build a wall around a mostly Sunni neighborhood here. Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki said Sunday he was ordering a halt to construction of the wall around the Adhamiya neighborhood. And American officials, who did not immediately concur, indicated today they would go along with Mr. Maliki...

04.23.07 Senator Reid says Bush is in 'denial' of Iraq situation

April 23 – Bush Rejects Democrats' "Artificial Timetable" for Withdrawing US Forces. President Bush and Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) clashed today over the war in Iraq, with Reid charging that Bush is in "denial" about the situation there and the president strongly rejecting what he calls the Democrats' "artificial timetable" for withdrawing US forces. In brief remarks to reporters at the White House, Bush also said his confidence in Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales has "increased" as a result of his testimony before a Senate committee last week, an appearance he said made clear that his embattled friend and longtime confidant "broke no law" and "did no wrongdoing."

With Congress expected to pass an emergency war funding bill this week that calls for the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Iraq in 2008, Bush conferred with the top US commander in Iraq in the Oval Office this morning and accused lawmakers of trying to "micromanage" the war. He spoke after Reid, the Senate's top Democrat, released excerpts from a speech today in which he calls on Bush to abandon his threat to veto the war funding bill and negotiate a compromise. Reid was scheduled to deliver the speech on the war in Iraq at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington at midday.

04.23.07 Bombs kill eight Afghan agents, police

JALALABAD, Afghanistan, April 23 – Six Afghan intelligence agents and two policemen were killed in remote-controlled bomb blasts in Afghanistan Monday in fresh attacks linked to a growing Taliban insurgency. The six were killed in the eastern province of Laghman where a similar blast Sunday killed two other intelligence agents, a bodyguard, and a driver. The province is about 120 kilometers (75 miles) from Kabul, the capital. [More>>metimes.com]

04.23.07 Iran, EU nuclear talks set for Turkey

LUXEMBOURG (AFP) April 23 – EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana confirmed here Monday that he will meet this week with Iran's top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani in Turkey. Iran on Sunday rejected Western calls for a suspension of its sensitive nuclear activities just days ahead of the crucial talks on its atomic drive. "I will be meeting Larijani on Wednesday in Turkey," Solana told reporters in Luxembourg ahead of an European Union foreign ministers meeting, adding that the talks would be held in Ankara.

Solana and Larijani held several rounds of discussions last year which failed to find a solution to the crisis. They last met face-to-face for informal talks on the sidelines of the Munich security conference on February 11. It remains to be seen what result can come out of Wednesday's meeting, given Iran's insistence on enriching uranium and the EU position that Tehran must freeze the process before full negotiations can begin.

04.23.07 Philippine rebels behead abductees

April 20 – The heads of seven men who were kidnapped by the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group on southern Jolo island have been delivered in sacks to the Philippine army, officials say. The men – six road workers and a factory worker – were seized at gunpoint in two separate incidents on Monday near the town of Parang. Major-General Ruben Rafael, commander of military forces in Jolo, said a group of civilians were ordered to deliver the heads by Albader Parad, the Abu Sayyaf commander who operates in Jolo's mountainous townships of Indanan and Parang. [More>>aljazeera.net]

04.22.07 Afghan blasts, ambush kill 17

KHOST, Afghanistan (AFP) April 22 – Two bomb blasts killed 11 people in Afghanistanıs eastern city of Khost Sunday, while five Taleban fighters rebels and a policeman died in a battle elsewhere, officials said. The deadliest explosion was caused by a suicide bomber, wearing police uniform and riding a motorcycle, who detonated his explosives in a busy meat market in Khost, provincial deputy intelligence director Mira Jan told AFP. Ten people were killed, all of them civilians, provincial public health director Gul Mohammad Mohammadi said.

...Khost, near the border with Pakistan, has recently been hard-hit by violence linked to the insurgency as the Taleban have stepped up the use of Iraq-style suicide bombings and ambushes. The province is across from Pakistanıs tribal North Waziristan region where a controversial deal last year saw government troops scale down their presence which critics said allowed pro-Taleban militants to boost their activity. In the neighboring province of Paktia meanwhile, a mob of Taleban fighters ambushed a police patrol early Sunday, kicking off a three-hour battle, a government spokesman said.
[Full story>>khaleejtimes.com]

04.22.07 Royal catches Sarkozy on eve of French poll

April 22 – A poll on the eve of the French presidential election put Ségolène Royal, the Socialist, neck and neck with her conservative rival Nicolas Sarkozy as a far-right contender surged into third place. The poll, which was not published in France because of a blackout imposed before todayıs first round of voting, showed Jean-Marie Le Pen of the National Front on 17%, his highest score of the campaign. It suggested a last-minute increase in support for the anti-immigration candidate who knocked out his Socialist rival in 2002.

Analysts cautioned that the gap between the frontrunners and Le Pen this weekend was much greater. They said Sarkozy on 27% and Royal on 26% were the most likely finalists in a run-off in two weeksı time. François Bayrou, a centrist calling for a ³national unity² government, had slipped back to fourth with 16%. But with other surveys showing almost four in 10 voters still undecided in the final days of the campaign, the outcome was considered unpredictable. A close race to the finish was forecast by the CSA poll, which put Sarkozy and Royal on 50% in the second round.

04.22.07 In turnabout, infant deaths climb in South

HOLLANDALE, Miss., April 22 – For decades, Mississippi and neighboring states with large black populations and expanses of enduring poverty made steady progress in reducing infant death. But, in what health experts call an ominous portent, progress has stalled and in recent years the death rate has risen in Mississippi and several other states. The setbacks have raised questions about the impact of cuts in welfare and Medicaid and of poor access to doctors, and, many doctors say, the growing epidemics of obesity, diabetes and hypertension among potential mothers, some of whom tip the scales here at 300 to 400 pounds.

"I donıt think the rise is a fluke, and itıs a disturbing trend, not only in Mississippi but throughout the Southeast," said Dr. Christina Glick, a neonatologist in Jackson, Miss., and past president of the National Perinatal Association. To the shock of Mississippi officials, who in 2004 had seen the infant mortality rate — defined as deaths by the age of 1 year per thousand live births — fall to 9.7, the rate jumped sharply in 2005, to 11.4. The national average in 2003, the last year for which data have been compiled, was 6.9. Smaller rises also occurred in 2005 in Alabama, North Carolina and Tennessee. Louisiana and South Carolina saw rises in 2004 and have not yet reported on 2005.

04.22.07 Two Koreas to test run cross-border railways

April 22 – Wrapping up the five-day economic talks, the two Koreas yesterday agreed to test run their cross-border railways on May 17 and to soon begin the discussion of military guarantees for the operation. Seoul also agreed to send the 400,000 tons of rice to the North at the end of next month as part of its humanitarian aid. After nearly a year-long hiatus caused by North Korea's missile launches in July last year, the two Koreas held their 13th economic cooperation talks in Pyongyang. "Both sides agreed to make positive efforts to actualize a military safety guarantee prior to the test runs of the railways," a 10-point agreement released after the talks said. Working-level discussions will be held April 27-28 in Gaeseong for the operation, it said. [More>>koreaherald.co.kr]

04.22.07 Greek, Turkish PMs to inaugurate new gas pipeline

ATHENS, April 21 – The Turkish and Greek prime ministers will this summer inaugurate a new pipeline bringing natural gas from Azerbaijan and other Caucasus producers, the Greek development minister said on Saturday. "In July, prime ministers (Recep Tayyip) Erdogan and (Costas) Karamanlis (are expected) to inaugurate the flow of natural gas from Turkey to Greece," Dimitris Sioufas told state television NET from Ankara. Stretching over 300 kilometres (186 miles), the pipeline is due to start bringing natural gas to European countries this summer. It is subsequently planned to extend to southern Italy, with work on an additional stretch running 220 kilometres (140 miles) underwater and overland across Greek territory due to begin next year. [More>>turkishpress.com]

04.22.07 NTT East, West overcharge internet connection users by Y179 mil

TOKYO, April 22 – Nippon Telegraph and Telephone East Corp. and Nippon Telegraph and Telephone West Corp. said Friday they overcharged users of their Internet connection services by a total of 179 million yen. The two companies overcharged in a total of about 5,700 cases mostly when customers switched their Internet connection to fiber-optic cables from Integrated Services Digital Network lines or Asymmetric Digital Subscriber lines. Cancellation of initial contracts was not appropriately done at the time of switching lines, the companies said. The overcharges occurred at NTT East since October 2002 and at NTT West since March 2003. [>japantoday.com]

04.22.07 Wi-Fi: Children at risk from 'electronic smog'

April 22 – Britain's top health protection watchdog is pressing for a formal investigation into the hazards of using wireless communication networks in schools amid mounting concern that they may be damaging children's health, "The Independent on Sunday" can reveal. Sir William Stewart, the chairman of the Health Protection Agency, wants pupils to be monitored for ill effects from the networks - known as Wi-Fi – which emit radiation and are being installed in classrooms across the nation. Sir William – who is a former chief scientific adviser to the Government, and has chaired two official inquiries into the hazards of mobile phones – is adding his weight to growing pressure for a similar examination of Wi-Fi, which some scientists fear could cause cancer and premature senility.

Wi-Fi – described by the Department of Education and Skills as a "magica" system that means computers do not have to be connected to telephone lines – is rapidly being taken up in schools, with estimates that more than half of primary schools – and four-fifths of secondary schools - have installed it . But several European provincial governments have already taken action to ban, or limit, its use in the classroom, and Stowe School has partially removed it after a teacher became ill.

04.22.07 Suicide bombers kill 12 at Baghdad police station

BAGHDAD (Reuters) April 22 – Two suicide car bombers rammed their vehicles into a Baghdad police station on Sunday, killing 12 people in one of the worst attacks against Iraq's security forces since a security crackdown was launched in the city. The bombings in the mostly Shi'ite al-Bayaa neighborhood in southwestern Baghdad wounded 95, police said. Most of the dead were police while a large number of civilians were among the wounded, police said. The blasts damaged the police station and also largely destroyed a garage next door, collapsing rubble onto a dozen cars.

"Look at the situation Iraqis are living in. You see blasts whenever you try to go out to earn a living," said one witness. US and Iraqi forces have poured thousands of extra troops into Baghdad over the past two months in an attempt to halt Iraq's slide into all-out civil war between majority Shi'ites and minority Sunni Arabs. While the boost in troop levels has reduced killings by sectarian death squads, car bomb attacks still plague the city. A wave of car bombs killed nearly 200 people last Wednesday.
[More>>thestar.com.my ; See related story, khaleejtimes.com, April 22, "Gunmen slaughter 21 of Iraq religious minority."]

04.22.07 Hamas calls for new attacks after IDF soldiers kill nine in 24 hours

April 22 – The Islamic militant group Hamas called Sunday for new attacks on Israel after nine Palestinians were killed by Israel Defense Forces troops in a surge of fighting over the weekend. Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said Sunday that Palestinians must brace for a new round of confrontation. "The blood of our people is not cheap," Barhoum said in a statement. "Therefore we are calling on ... (Hamas' armed wing) and the Palestinian resistance groups to be united in the trench of resistance and to use all possible means of resistance and to respond to the massacres." [More>>haaretz.com]

04.22.07 Thousands flee Somalia fighting

April 22 – As the fighting in Somalia escalates, the United Nations says more than 321,000 residents have fled Mogadishu since February. And residents said more than 200 people have died in five days of fighting between allied Somali-Ethiopian troops and remnants of the ousted Union of Islamic Courts and local clansmen. Some 1,500 African Union peacekeepers from Uganda, who have deployed in the seaside capital since early March, have been unable to stem the escalating violence. [More>>aljazeera.net ; See also independent.co.uk, April 22, "Week's toll may hit 1,000 as bombs pound Somali capital." and washingtonpost.com, April 22, "Fighting eases in Somali capital."]

04.22.07 Iran in fresh talks on nuclear plant with Russia

MOSCOW (AFP) April 22 – Iranian officials opened fresh talks this weekend on their country's nuclear power plant at Bushehr with the Russian nuclear contractor that is building it, the company announced Sunday. The latest round of meetings came despite pressure on Iran from the United States and the European Union to freeze its civilian nuclear program. "The Iranian delegation arrived in Moscow on Saturday and started talks with representatives of our company," a spokeswoman for Atomstroiexport, Irina Essipova, told the Itar-Tass news agency.

The negotiations were over problems linked to the financing of the construction of the power station, she told the Ria Novositi agency. Executives from the Russian company returned to Moscow last week after talks in Tehran and Bushehr on fitting out the first reactor, said the news agency. The talks with Tehran focused on financing the project. The visit to Bushehr, in southern Iran, was to deal with technical aspects of the project, which was 95 percent ready, Essipova told Novosti. On Tuesday, Russian security council secretary Igor Ivanov said that Russia would not be able to finish the station on schedule because of technical and financial problems.

04.20.07 Kuwait readies for possible US-Iran war

KUWAIT CITY (AFP) April 20 – US ally Kuwait is to form an emergency team to draw up contingency plans for any conflict between the United States and Iran, a senior minister said in comments published on Friday. The team ... will devise a comprehensive contingency plan to deal with risks that may result in case a war breaks out in the Gulf on the back of the rising US military escalation towards Iran,ı State Minister for Cabinet Affairs Faisal Al Hajji told the Al Watan daily. [More>>khhaleejtimes.com]

04.20.07 Tehran invites West to build nuclear power plants in Iran

April 20 – Tehran on Friday invited Western nations to participate in the construction of nuclear power plants across Iran, in the latest round of the country reiterating its tough stance on a disputed nuclear issue. "The invitation would test the West's good will and restore Iran's trust in the West, shaken after the years of the country's suspension of nuclear activities," Vice President Gholam Reza Aghazadeh said.

It comes after Iran announced on Monday an international bid for the building of two more nuclear power plants, despite international pressures to curb its controversial program. Tehran says the plants would be light-water reactors, each with the capacity to generate up to 1,600 megawatts of electricity and would cost up to $1.7 billion and take up to 11 years to construct. It was not immediately known if there were responses to the bid.
[More>>haaretz.com ; See related story, rian.ru, April 20, "Russia will not pass enrichment technology to other states – Ivanov."]

04.20.07 2 NATO soldiers, 3 rebels killed in Afghanistan

KABUL, April 20 – Two NATO soldiers were killed Friday in separate blasts in southern Afghanistan, while three Taliban rebels died when a bomb that they were planting exploded prematurely, officials said. The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), which has around 37,000 troops in Afghanistan fighting the resurgent Taliban movement, gave no further details about the dead soldiers. [More>>metimes.com]

04.20.07 Too close to call as France prepares to go to the polls

April 21 – France will usher in a new era of change in presidential elections tomorrow in which voters are to choose a successor to President Jacques Chirac. Two main candidates, the conservative former minister Nicolas Sarkozy, and the Socialist former minister Ségolène Royal, have remained steady as the voters' most popular choice to go forward into the decisive second round after tomorrow's first round narrows the field.

But experienced French pollsters and commentators point out that given the high number of undecided voters on the eve of the election - roughly one third of the 44 million strong electorate - there could still be a big surprise that could catapult one of the other two candidates into the second round. On the eve of the election, with the polls pointing in different directions, the first round is too close to call.

François Bayrou, a centrist former education minister campaigning for an end to the left/right divide that has traditionally polarized French political life, and the far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen, are the jokers in the pack who have created a sense of suspense about the outcome. The only thing on which the opinion polls agree is the pecking order of the candidates' popularity. M. Sarkozy, President Chirac's former hardline interior minister, has consistently been in first place, with Mme. Royal, who was a minister under Francois Mitterrand, in second.

04.20.07 Australia's epic drought: The situation is grim

April 20 – Australia has warned that it will have to switch off the water supply to the continent's food bowl unless heavy rains break an epic drought - heralding what could be the first climate change-driven disaster to strike a developed nation. The Murray-Darling basin in south-eastern Australia yields 40 per cent of the country's agricultural produce. But the two rivers that feed the region are so pitifully low that there will soon be only enough water for drinking supplies. Australia is in the grip of its worst drought on record, the victim of changing weather patterns attributed to global warming and a government that is only just starting to wake up to the severity of the position.

The Prime Minister, John Howard, a hardened climate-change sceptic, delivered dire tidings to the nation's farmers yesterday. Unless there is significant rainfall in the next six to eight weeks, irrigation will be banned in the principal agricultural area. Crops such as rice, cotton and wine grapes will fail, citrus, olive and almond trees will die, along with livestock. A ban on irrigation, which would remain in place until May next year, spells possible ruin for thousands of farmers, already debt-laden and in despair after six straight years of drought.

04.19.07 Backlash grows over broadcast of campus killer's video

April 19 – Anger is growing that a disturbing, obscenity-laden video manifesto left by the gunman who shot dead 32 people on an American university campus on Monday has been aired on primetime US television. In a tape and document posted to NBC News in the middle of his killing spree, Cho Seung Hui compares himself to a crucified Jesus, and says that he has been driven to kill in order to champion the downtrodden. He expresses disgust at the debauchery and hedonism he thought he saw on campus at Virginia Tech university, where he was studying English. "You have vandalized my heart, raped my soul and torched my conscience," he intones in the video. Parts of the video were aired on NBC last night, and watched in stunned silence by students on the Virginia Tech campus in the Virginia town of Blacksberg.

But soon a backlash began, and anger was voiced at NBC for running the images. At a press conference today, Colonel Steven Flaherty of Virginia State Police criticized the broadcaster. "What I am concerned about is that a lot of folks saw images that really were very disturbing, things that people in my walk of life usually have to contend with," said Col. Flaherty. "I just hate that a lot of people who aren't seeing that kind of image were exposed to it... We are rather disappointed in the editorial decision to broadcast those disturbing images."
[More>>timesonline.co.uk ; See also abcnews.go.com, April 19, "Psychiatrist: Showing Cho's Video Is 'Social Catastrophe' " :

Shooter Was trying to attempt mortality, showing clips validates his delusions, Welner says. The videos of Seung-hui Cho, the man who fatally shot 32 people at Virginia Tech on Monday and then killed himself, shouldn't have been released because they don't offer the public any greater understanding of the gruesome crime, said Michael Welner, a forensic psychiatrist and ABC News consultant, on "Good Morning America" today. "If anybody cares about the victims in Blacksburg and if anybody cares about their children, stop showing this video now. Take it off the Internet. Let it be relegated to YouTube," Welner said. "This is a social catastrophe. Showing the video is a social catastrophe."

...Welner believes that instead of offering insight, these videos merely offer validation of delusional behavior. "I think that's very important for the viewing audience to understand. This is not him.These videos do not help us understand him. They distort him. He was meek. He was quiet. This is a PR tape of him trying to turn himself into a Quentin Tarantino character," Welner said. "This is precisely why this should not be released. Parents, you should cut the pictures out of the newspaper. Do not let your children see it. Take them out of the room when these videos are shown. Because he's paranoid and his agenda of blaming the rest of the world is unedited."...

04.19.07 Gates: US committed to maintaining Israel's military edge over neighbors

April 19 – US Defense Secretary Robert Gates sought Thursday to ease Israeli concerns about a planned American weapons sale to Gulf Arab allies, saying the U.S. remains committed to preserving Israel's military edge over its neighbors. Gates, who met with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Defense Minister Amir Peretz on his 24-hour trip to Israel, said his meetings did not include any discussions on military action against Iran.

Israeli officials have objected to US plans to sell arms to Saudi Arabia and other moderate Gulf states, fearing it would damage Israel's deterrent capabilities in the Middle East. The New York Times reported earlier this month that Washington has delayed the arms sale package because of the Israeli objections.

04.19.07 Dozen more killed as Iraq mourns blast victims

BAGHDAD (AFP) April 19 – A suicide car bomber killed 12 people outside a Baghdad take-away shop on Thursday, one day after 190 people died in a bombing blitz that brought into question the US-backed security plan for the capital. The latest bomber blew up his car in the central Jadriyah district – a majority Shiite area – killing 12 and wounding 28 and also setting ablaze a nearby truck loaded with gas cylinders, a security official said.

The force of the blast ripped through civilians outside the popular Hassan take-away eatery, where university students had stopped to buy lunch, said a police colonel scrambled to the scene. He counted eight bodies after the attack, most of whom were students, but declined to give his name because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
[More>>khaleejtimes.com ; See related story, metimes.com, April 19, "US surge force ineffectual against Baghdad car bombs" : WASHINGTON – A wave of car bombings that killed 172 people in Baghdad Wednesday underscored the seeming impotence of the vaunted US "surge" force against Sunni extremists willing to inflict mass civilian casualties.

US commanders said that sectarian killings have fallen sharply since additional US combat brigades and Iraqi security forces have converged on the capital to head off an all-out civil war between Shiites and Sunnis. But Sunni extremists made a mockery of beefed-up defenses around the capital with a string of car bombings Wednesday, the worst of which killed 122 people in a busy market area. "Any time someone is determined to kill innocent civilians, and kill themselves to do it, that's a hard attack to stop," said Bryan Whitman, a Pentagon spokesman. Loren Thompson, a military analyst with the Lexington Institute, said that the problem is more fundamental. "These attacks prove that the US military still doesn't have a solution to the core problem in Iraq, which is a mass killing campaign by Sunni extremists," he said...

04.19.07 24 Taliban killed in Afghan battle

KABUL, April 19 – US Special Forces and Afghan soldiers killed 24 Taliban militants in a seven-hour battle and an air strike in southern Afghanistan, the US-led coalition said Thursday. Two coalition troops were also wounded during the overnight clash in the Sangin district of Helmand province, which international forces said they had seized back from insurgent control almost two weeks ago. [More>>thenews.com.pk]

04.19.07 Nine killed as militants attack police station in Nigeria

April 19 – The army killed 25 Islamic fundamentalists in the Nigerian city of Kano after a militant group attacked a police station on Tuesday. The group, said to number up to 300 strong, killed nine policemen and the wife of one of them in the attack and then barricaded themselves in a nearby waterworks before the army arrived to storm the building. Kano, in the north of the country, has a history of fundamentalist sects. In 1982 more than 5,000 people were killed in riots inspired by Islamic fundamentalists and in more recent times a group calling themselves the Taliban attacked police stations in the north until they were wiped out. Many Nigerian newspapers referred to this group as Talibans, while others said they were speaking Arabic.

The motive for the attack on the police station was not immediately clear. Some reports speculated that it was in protest at perceived police inactivity after the murder of a well-known Islamic cleric, Sheik Ja'afar Mahmud Adam, as he led prayers at a Kano mosque last Friday. But Islamic preachers in the city denied that the attack on the police station had anything to do with the dead cleric.

04.19.07 China admits to terrorist camps in Pakistan

BEIJING (PTI) April 19 – In a major blow to Pakistan's counter-terrorism credentials, China has for the first time publicly acknowledged the existence of terrorist camps within the territory of its Œall-weatherı ally. It said that some East Turkistan separatists, who have been fighting for decades to make oil-rich northwest China's Xinjiang province an independent state, received training at the terrorist camps in Pakistan. The damning confirmation came in a court document in the trial of 37-year-old Huseyin Celil, a China-born Uygur-Canadian, who was today sentenced to life imprisonment by a Chinese court in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang, for "taking part in terrorist activities and plotting to split the country."

According to the court documents, Celil joined the East Turkistan Liberation Organisation (ETLO), a listed terrorist group active in central Asia, in November 1997 and was appointed as a senior instructor in Kyrgyzstan. While there, Celil allegedly recruited several people to the ETLO and sent them to terrorist training camps on the Pamir Plateau in Pakistan, the court documents said. Interestingly, the report came hours after Pakistan Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz left Beijing following talks with top Chinese leaders, including President Hu Jintao, during which he discussed counter-terrorism among other things.

During the talks between Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Aziz on Tuesday, the two sides had agreed to cement cooperation in campaigns against "East Turkistan" separatists in Xinjiang and combat cross-border crime. Uygur militants, whom Beijing calls terrorists or separatists, have been struggling for decades to make oil-rich Xinjiang an independent state called East Turkistan.

04.19.07 China economy surges 11 percent

BEIJING (AP) April 19 – China's sizzling economy surged 11.1 percent in the first quarter, causing the country's Cabinet to declare Thursday it will take steps to keep the economy from overheating. The pledge by the State Council came after the government announced that inflation rose to its highest level in more than two years...Worries that Chinese authorities would raise interest rates to curb growth in Asia's second-biggest economy prompted regional stock markets to drop sharply. European markets also opened lower. [Full story>>washingtonpost.com]

04.19.07 DVD chain sounds the death knell for high street stores

April 19 – Britain's second-biggest DVD rental chain sounded the death knell for the £330 million market yesterday after saying that it will ³substantially² miss targets this year after a dismal Easter. Shares in ChoicesUK fell 50 per cent and Anthony Skitt, its chief executive, said that there were unlikely to be any standalone rental stores on the high street in five yearsı time. He told The Times: "Clearly, standalone stores are becoming less viable. Thatıs as plain as the nose on your face."

A sharp downturn over Easter, sparked by the warm weather, meant that ChoicesUK will accelerate plans to close or sell 70 loss-making or less profitable stores. This will leave the chain with 120 sites. Mr. Skitt said that even these would have to put more emphasis on computer games and confectionery to survive. "Business died a death over Easter," he said. The gloom comes just two weeks after Apollo Video Film Hire, the countryıs third-biggest rental chain, went into liquidation. Blockbuster, the market leader, is also understood to be considering closing 24 of its 700 UK outlets. A spokeswoman for the American-owned chain refused to comment. Britainıs video and DVD rental market has gone into meltdown over the past two years with the growth of online rentals and internet film piracy.

04.19.07 Caste discrimination flourishes in modern India, activists say

NEW DELHI (AP) April 19 – A group of young Indian boys, arms wrapped around each other, gathered at an invisible line in the dirt, refusing to cross. "We will get polluted,'' one boy shouted as they peered into a section of the village reserved for dalits, or the "untouchable" caste. The scene opens a new documentary released Thursday that examines India's outlawed, but persistent, caste system.

The film, "India Untouched: Stories of a People Apart," documents the lives of some of the country's estimated 160 million dalits, the people on the lowest rung of the complex Hindu social order who for centuries have suffered severe discrimination. The film, made at the request of several dalits' rights groups in India, shows that the persecution continues, even as India emerges as a new economic power, dalit activists said.

..."The film is dedicated to all those who deny the existence of untouchability," said director Stalin K., who refuses to use his last name because it signals his caste..."No group was spared," Stalin said, pointing to the film's display of caste discrimination by Muslim, Christian and Sikh communities.
[Full story>>thestar.com.my]

04.19.07 Police detain 10 over Turkish murders

MALaTYA (AFP) April 19 – Police have detained 10 suspects in the gruesome murder of three people at a Christian publishing house in eastern Turkey. Yesterday's killings in the city of Malatya fuelled fears among Turkey's tiny Christian community and raised concerns over religious freedom in this mainly Muslim country seeking to join the European Union. The victims, one of them a German, were found tied to chairs with their throats slit at the Zirve (Summit) publishing house, which is owned by Turkey's Protestant community.

Five suspects, including a man who jumped out of a third floor window to escape capture, were detained at the scene of the crime. Announcing the arrest of the other five, Malatya Governor Halil Ibrahim Dasoz gave no details, but said they were all of the same age group – young men aged 19 and 20. Turkish newspapers said all the suspects apprehended at the scene were carrying copies of a letter that read: "We did it for our country. They are trying to take our country away, take our religion away."

They lived together at a local dormitory run by a religious foundation, media reports said. Police have yet to make a statement on the motives for the murders, but the press agreed today that nationalist and religious zeal were the likely cause. "We did not do this for ourselves, but for our religion... Let this be a lesson to the enemies of our religion," one of the suspects allegedly said in his testimony, the mass-circulation daily Hurriyet reported.

04.18.07 Three killed in Turkey attack

April 18 – Three people have been killed in an attack on a Turkish publishing house which prints Bibles and other Christian literature. Reports said the victims' throats had been cut and that police had detained six people in connection with the incident on Wednesady at the Zirve publishing house in Malatya. Television pictures showed casualties being carried out of the building and one man being restrained by police.

Nationalists had previously held a demonstration outside the publishing house, accusing it of proselytizing, the private Dogan news agency reported. The Zirve publishing house has been the site of previous protests by nationalists accusing it of proselytizing in this 99 per cent Muslim but secular country, the news agency said.

04.18.07 US says Lebanon's Hezbollah still getting arms via Syria

WASHINGTON, April 18 – Syria or Iran continue to provide weapons to the Shiite militia Hezbollah in Lebanon in violation of a UN arms embargo, a senior US official said Wednesday. "The border between Lebanon and Syria remains highly porous," Assistant Secretary of State David Welch told a Congressional panel. Welch said Washington agreed with a recent report by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon asserting "serious breaches" of the arms embargo imposed under a UN Security Council resolution which ended last year's war between Israel and Hezbollah. [More>>turkishpress.com]

04.18.07 Iran secret services 'trying to recruit' Israelis

JERUSALEM, April 18 – Iranian secret services have been trying to recruit Israelis of Iranian origin to spy on the Jewish state, the Israeli domestic security service Shin Beth said Tuesday. Iranian agents posing as consulate workers have on at least 10 occasions approached Israelis applying for authorization to visit their relatives in Iran at Tehran's consulate in Istanbul, it said in a statement. The Ha'aretz daily said that the Shin Beth had detained one Israeli of Iranian decent upon his return from Iran and the man had admitted being recruited and accepting money to cover his costs. [More>>metimes.com]

04.18.07 Bombs kill nearly 200 in Baghdad after PM's pledge

BAGHDAD (Reuters) April 19 – Car bombs killed nearly 200 people in Baghdad on Wednesday in the deadliest attacks since U.S. and Iraqi forces launched a security crackdown aimed at halting the country's slide into civil war. One car bomb alone in the mainly Shi'ite Sadriya neighborhood killed 140 people and wounded 150, police said, making it the worst single insurgent bomb attack in Baghdad since the US-led invasion in 2003. Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki condemned the perpetrators as "vampires" and "soldiers of satan" and ordered the arrest of the Iraqi army commander in charge of security in Sadriya for failing to secure the neighborhood.

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, speaking in Tel Aviv on a visit to the region, called the bombings "horrifying" and indicated Sunni Islamist al Qaeda was to blame. The apparently coordinated attacks – there were several within a short space of time – occurred hours after Maliki said Iraq would take security control of the whole country from foreign forces by the end of the year.

04.17.07 Police name Virginia Tech shooter

BLACKSBURG, Virginia, April 17 – Police identified the gunman who killed 32 people on the Virginia Tech campus before turning the gun on himself as student Cho Seung-Hui, university police Chief Wendell Flinchum said Tuesday. The 23-year-old South Korean and resident alien lived at the university's Harper Hall, Flinchum said. He was an English major, the chief said.

Flinchum said ballistics tests showed that one of the two guns recovered at Norris Hall, where 30 people and the gunman died, was used in the Norris shooting and an earlier shooting at a dormitory that left two dead. The university and police are still in the process of releasing the names of the 32 people killed in Monday's shootings. A doctor at a Blacksburg hospital described the injuries he saw Monday as "amazing" and the shooter as "brutal."

"There wasn't a shooting victim that didn't have less than three bullet wounds in them," said Dr. Joseph Cacioppo of Montgomery Regional Hospital.
[More>>cnn.com ; See related stories:

rian.ru, April 17, "Gun laws, mental problems caused tragedy in Virginia – Russian experts" : MOSCOW, April 17 (RIA Novosti) – Bad laws and the stresses of the modern world are the main reasons for mass murders like Monday's mass shooting at a US college in Virginia, Russian experts said Tuesday. On Monday, the United States experienced its bloodiest mass shooting ever when an armed assailant killed at least 32 and wounded over 20 on the campus of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute before killing himself.

"In my opinion, these repeated cases of completely unprovoked shootings in the United States reflect some sort of a systematic collapse of American legislation, particularly involving the right to own guns," Sergei Oznobishchev, the director of the Russian institute for strategic evaluation and analysis, said. The expert said that the most recent US tragedy should be an issue of concern not only to Americans, but to Russians as well, who must draw the necessary conclusions in order to prevent similar incidents in Russia. "If firearms in Russia were to become as widespread as they are in the United States, we would see similar tragedies," he said.

Oznobishchev said the modern world is hard on people with psychological frailties, and their mental health problems often deteriorate as the result of everyday conflicts involving family, work and other issues. "American civilization is so ubiquitous and overwhelming that it simply depresses ordinary people," he said. "When combined with the constitutional right to bear arms conceived by the Founding Fathers of the American Constitution," the results can be disastrous, he said. The expert also said that tragedies like the one in Virginia, which shocked not only the United States but the rest of the world, as well, would probably reoccur in the future.

"I am afraid they could continue. People who pick up firearms often take revenge not on any specific individual, but rather on the whole world," the Russian expert said. "Such cases are reflections of powerless human beings caught up in a huge and often heartless technocratic society."

cbsnews.com, April 17, "Virginia Tech killer used easy-to-get guns" : ...the weapons used in the massacre were a 9 mm semi-automatic handgun and .22-caliber pistol. Both are readily available in gun shops across the United States and particularly accessible in the commonwealth of Virginia, which recently earned a C-minus rating by the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. "Itıs much too easy to get guns in the state of Virginia," said Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Center. Thatıs in part because there's no gun registration, no mandatory waiting period to purchase weapons. The only major restriction: a limit of one gun purchase per month.

It remains unclear where the shooter purchased his pistols, CBS News chief investigative correspondent Armen Keteyian reports. But CBS News discovered there was a gun show just 25 miles from Blacksburg last weekend where 405 guns were sold...

04.17.07 US man jailed for terror funding

April 17 – A US court has sentenced a Moroccan-born bookstore owner to 13 years in prison for his role in a conspiracy to fund "terrorist" groups abroad after he was caught on tape by government informants. Abdulrahman Farhane, 52, was sentenced in New York on Monday after pleading guilty in November to money laundering and lying to federal agents. The sentencing was the first in a case that also caught a New York jazz musician and martial arts expert, a Florida doctor, and a Washington taxi driver. The musician, Tarik Shah, and the taxi driver, Mahmud Faruq Brent Al Mutazzim, have pleaded guilty to agreeing to provide material support to terrorist organisations and are awaiting sentencing. [More>>aljazeera.net]

04.17.07 Iraq: US casualties mount as Sadr quits government

BAGHDAD (AFP) April 17 – American military casualties in Iraq for the month so far climbed to 50 on Tuesday, US command said, reporting another soldier killed by a type of bomb linked by the military to Iranian-backed groups. An attack by an ³explosively-formed projectile² or EFP was carried out on Monday in southern Baghdad on the same day as radical Shiite cleric Moqtada Al Sadrıs anti-American faction pulled out of the Iraqi government.

Previously, US commanders have accused Teheran of supplying armour-piercing EFPs to Shiite militants, and Sadr himself is said to be in hiding in Iran in order to avoid a crackdown on his Mahdi Army militia. "An explosively formed projectile targeting an MND-B patrol killed one soldier and wounded two others in a southern section of Baghdad," an overnight statement from the US military said.

04.17.07 Iraq group: We make own rockets

BAGHDAD (AP) April 17 – A top Iraqi insurgent leader claimed in an audiotape posted online Tuesday that his al-Qaida-linked group had begun manufacturing its own rockets. The voice was said to be that of Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, head of the Islamic State of Iraq, an umbrella group that includes al-Qaida in Iraq. The tape was posted on an Islamic Web site frequently used by militant groups, but its authenticity could not be independently verified.

The rockets called al-Quds-1, or Jerusalem-1 "have moved into the phase of military production with an advanced degree of range and accuracy," al-Baghdadi said, without elaborating. Insurgents in Iraq have used a range of Soviet-era rockets like Katyushas, and shoulder-fired ground-to-air Sam-7 missiles most of which were looted from Saddam Hussein's massive depots in the lawless days and weeks that followed the collapse of his regime. Recently, the U.S. has accused Iran of funneling Iranian-made weapons to insurgents in Iraq mostly to Shiite militias but to some Sunnis as well. [More>>abcnews.go.com]

04.17.07 Rates head towards 6% as inflation soars

April 17 – Pound hits $2 after sudden jump in inflation convinces the City that the Bank of England will raise interest rates next month. Economists began to predict that interest rates could now peak at 6 per cent rather than the 5.5 per cent earlier hoped after today's shock rise in inflation in March to 3.1 per cent. The higher than expected March inflation rate means Mervyn King, the Governor of the Bank of England, has written an explanatory letter to Gordon Brown, the Chancellor of the Exchequor, for the first time.

Mr. Brown's opposite number in the Conservative Party George Osborne claimed that the Chancellor's "reputation for economic competence is unravelling before our eyes." Howard Archer chief UK economist at Global Insight said: "Although we currently forecast that interest rates will peak at 5.5 per cent, there is clearly a markedly increased possibility that they will reach 5.75 per cent or even 6 per cent." There is also a growing consensus that the Bank may raise interest rates by half a point rather than the usual quarter point next month, to try to kill off rising inflation in one blow.


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?


*Visitor statistics on maravot.com from 1&1.com. 41,128 page views in March 2007.

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

Maravot's Homepage

Launched: 10.25.04 / 11.02.04
Updated: 4.17.07; 4.18.07; 4.19.07; 4.20.07; 4.22.07; 4.23.07; 4.25.07

Copyright © 1981-2007 Maravot. All rights reserved
Copyright © 1981-2007 Mel Copeland. All rights reserved
Background: tile from Cicero's villa (Marcus Tullius Cicero 106 B.C. - 43 B.C.)