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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 IranApril 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.
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.
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.
...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.
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.
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.
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 all-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."
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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