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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
The Allah Controversy March 2010

News Headlines & Trends

06.07.10 Autonomy, not freedom for Tibet: Dalai

June 7 - Maintaining that Tibetans follow the non-violent path for their fight for Tibet, Buddhist spiritual leader the Dalai Lama today said they are not seeking independence but meaningful "autonomy." "We are not seeking independence... we are seeking meaningful autonomy for Tibet. That is the guarantee for preservation of Tibetan culture including language," the Lama told reporters when asked if Tibetans would achieve freedom from China. "Now every Tibetan wants modernized Tibet. Therefore, as far as development is concerned, it is all in the interest of the people," he said. [More>>indianexpress.com]

06.07.10 6 bodies found in cave near Cancun, 3 with hearts cut out; attack on girl's party kills 3

CANCUN, Mexico (AP) June 6 - Police discovered six dead bodies in a cavern near the tourist resort of Cancun on Sunday, three of them cut open and their hearts removed. Authorities are investigating the identities of the four men and two women found dead in the natural cave, said Francisco Alor, the Quintana Roo state attorney general. "They were apparently tortured and their chests were opened to remove the hearts," Alor's office said later in a statement. Three of the bodies had the letter "Z" carved on their abdomens a possible reference to the Zeta drug gang, though officials did not make an explicit connection to cartel violence that has plagued many parts of Mexico.

More than 22,700 people have died nationwide in drug violence since late 2006, when President Felipe Calderon sent soldiers and federal police to battle the cartels. Also Sunday, armed men in two cars barged into a girl's coming-out party in the southwestern town of Coyuca de Catalan, sparking a deadly gunbattle. Some of those attending the "quinceanera" celebration were also armed and returned fire, Guerrero state police said in a statement. Two partygoers and one attacker were killed, while three people were wounded. Police have not yet determined a motive, but the area is plagued by drug trafficking.

06.07.10 Assad: Syria prepared to act against Israel's siege of Gaza

June 7 - Erdogan: Turkey can give Gaza everything it needs if Israel lifts siege; Turkey to Israel: If you have nothing to hide, accept international probe. Syrian President Bashar Assad said Monday that Damascus would stand by "every decision" made by Turkey to see Israel lift its blockade of the Gaza Strip, declaring: "We are not just about condemnation, we are about actions." At a joint press conference in Istanbul with Assad,Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that his government was prepared to supply the Gaza Strip with "everything it needs," adding that Israel's blockade of the Hamas-ruled territory must end immediately. "What happened on the flotilla is a crime against humanity," Erdogan said, referring to the Israel Navy raid on a Gaza-bound aid ship last week that left nine Turkish nationals dead. "Palestine and Gaza are a giant prison and this situation cannot continue," he said. "We can no longer remain silent and we will not be silent anymore regarding anything having to do with Gaza." [More>>haaretz.com; See related stories,

alarabiya.net, June 7, "Iran Red Crescent to send 2 aid ships to Gaza"
: TEHRAN - In a new bid to break Gaza blockade. The Iranian Red Crescent has decided to send two aid ships to Gaza this week in the latest bid to break the blockade imposed on the Palestinian territory by Iran's regional arch foe Israel. Red Crescent director for international affairs Abdul Rauf Adibzadeh told the state IRNA news agency late on Sunday that the decision to send the ships was taken after a meeting with the foreign ministry. "One ship will carry donations made by the people and the other will carry relief workers. The ships will be sent to Gaza by end of this week," Adibzadeh said...The Iranian Red Crescent had previously sent an aid ship carrying food and medicines to Gaza in December 2008, but it was prevented from reaching the territory by the Israeli navy. The decision to send the two ships comes hot on the heels of a report that Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards had expressed readiness to escort aid flotillas to Gaza...

06.07.10 Gov't disturbed by cropped photos

June 7 - Blogger reveals knife excluded from 'Mavi Marmara' photos. A letter was sent to Reuters chief Tom Glocer on Monday expressing the "grave concern of the government of Israel" over the cropping of photographs taken from the Turkish Mavi Marmara ship last week by Minister of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs MK Yuli Edelstein.

Photo of wounded Israeli commando with passenger holding knife. Out of view is another passenger holding a knife and a pool of blood on a railing (images seen at LittleGreenFootballs.com).

The photos, which were published on Sunday in the Turkish Hurriyet daily, showed images of the commandos, their fatigues stained with blood, subdued by passengers aboard the Mavi Marmara ship but excluded the knives held by the aid activists.

At the popular blog LittleGreenFootballs.com, which initially took note of the missing knife, the blog's founder Charles Johnson posted the story along with exhibits of both sets of pictures to the site. Describing the cropping of the images of an "abuse" of photo-imagery by Reuters," Edelstein wrote, "I am sure you are aware that pictures
originally produced by the violent activists aboard the Mavi Marmara and published in the Turkish media clearly show the use of knives against Israeli servicemen. However, when these pictures were initially distributed on the wires by Reuters picture service they were cropped to exclude the knives and blood that bore evidence of the violent intentions of those who participated in the attacks, and provided vital evidence in support of Israel's claims." [More>>jpost.com; See photos from Reuters, daylife.com]

06.07.10 Egypt authorities: Gaza border to stay open indefinitely

June 7 - Biden: US working with Egypt to ease plight in Gaza; VP meets Mubarak in Sharm week after saying Washington backed Israel's right to board Gaza-bound aid flotilla. Egyptian authorities said Monday that the Rafah border crossing to the Gaza Strip would remain open indefinitely, amid a storm of international criticism of Israel's blockade of the enclave. Meanwhile, US Vice President Joe Biden said Monday that he was working closely with Egypt on new ways of dealing with the problems facing the Palestinians in Gaza as a result of the blockade...Cairo has only allowed limited crossing of the border since the Islamist group Hamas took control of Gaza in 2007, sparking criticism from some in the Arab public that it is assisting Israel. Cairo says it is protecting its national security. [Full story>>haaretz.com; See related story,

khaleejtimes.com, June 7, "Gaza barrier to be completed by end summer"
: SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt - Egyptian construction of an underground barrier on the border with the Gaza Strip will be completed "by the end of the summer," a security official said on Monday. Egyptian authorities started building the underground steel barrier last year in a bid they said to stop the smuggling of goods and weapons into the Gaza Strip via a network of underground tunnels. "We will close all the tunnels, for sure," the official told a small group of reporters in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. "We hope to finish by the end of summer," he said when asked when the construction of the barrier would be completed. "It's our right, it's legitimate. We will have goods delivered to (Gazans) over ground. It has to happen before our eyes," he said...

06.07.10 Israeli patrol kills four Palestinians off Gaza coast

(Reuters) June 7 - At least four Palestinian militants were killed Monday after an Israeli naval patrol fired at their boat off the coast of Gaza. An Israeli official said the men were planning a terrorist attack. An Israeli naval patrol killed at least four Palestinian militants in diving gear off the Gaza coast on Monday, Hamas security officials and the Israeli army said, and Israel claimed it had thwarted a planned attack. The spokesman did not say what the army thought was the intended objective of the divers. Hamas security sources said four bodies had been found and a fifth man was missing and was presumed dead...Palestinian militants in Gaza frequently try to attack Israeli border patrols and sporadically fire rockets and mortar bombs at Israel. Attempts to attack from the sea are rare, however. In February, Palestinian militant groups in Gaza sent explosive devices, thought to be primitive sea mines, out to sea intending to hit naval vessels. At least three devices washed up on Israeli beaches and were detonated by sappers. [Full story>>france24.com]

06.07.10 Yemen says second al-Qaeda suspect surrenders

SAN'A, Yemen (AP) June 7 - Yemen said Monday that an al-Qaeda operative turned himself in to authorities in the country's northeastern province, the second such surrender in two days. The development came as Yemen intensified its campaign to drive al-Qaeda militants from their strongholds across this impoverished Arabian Peninsula country. According to a statement by Yemen's Supreme Security Committee, the suspect gave himself up late Sunday in the province of Marib, surrendering to the local governor there. The suspect was identified as Hamza Ali Saleh al-Dayan, who is believed to have trained suicide bombers and helped plan the July 2007 suicide attack that killed seven Spanish tourists and two Yemenis in the same province.

Al-Dayan was among 23 al-Qaeda members who escaped from a Yemeni jail in Feb. 2006, through a tunnel dug under the prison. He was later accused of taking part in the 2008 mortar attack against the US Embassy in San'a that killed a policeman and a young girl at an adjacent school. He and three accomplices fled in a car after that attack. On Saturday, another suspected al-Qaeda operative, Ghalib al-Zayedi, surrendered after lengthy mediation efforts to Marib's Governor Naji bin Ali al-Zayedi, who is also his cousin.

06.07.10 NATO loses 10 troops in deadly Afghanistan day

June 7 - Ten NATO soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan in the deadliest day in months for the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). In the worst of several attacks, five US soldiers died in an improvised bomb blast in east Afghanistan, the US said. Five other NATO troops were killed in a spate of attacks across the country's restive south, where ISAF is battling the Taliban. The Taliban have been waging a battle to overthrow the US-backed government. [>bbc.co.uk; See more details, msnbc.msn.com]

06.07.10 Indonesian census discovers 157-year-old woman

(AFP) June 7 - Estimates of the size and composition of Indonesia's booming population may remain just that despite an ongoing census, if the "discovery" of a 157-year-old woman is anything to go by. Census officials have said they believe the woman's claims to have been born in 1853, when Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata debuted in Venice, the Crimean War erupted and San Francisco got its first street signs at intersections. "There's no authentic data to prove her age but judging from her statements and the age of her adopted daughter, who's now 108 years old, it's difficult to doubt it," statistics bureau official Jhonny Sardjono said. The only person verified to have lived past 120 years of age was Frenchwoman Jeanne Calment, who died in 1997 at the age of 122. [More>>news.com.au]

06.06.10 Feds arrest 2 NJ men headed to terror camps

June 6 - Federal authorities arrested two New Jersey men late Saturday night as they tried to leave the country for terrorist training camps in war-torn Somalia, according to sources familiar with the investigation. The men, identified as 20-year-old Mohamed Hamoud Alessa and 26-year-old Carlos Eduardo Almonte, were taken into custody by FBI agents and others at J.F.K. International Airport outside New York City. They were set to take separate flights to Egypt and then make their way to Somalia, where an al-Qaeda-linked group known as al-Shabaab has been warring with the nation's fledgling transitional government.

One source called Somalia "the Afghanistan of now," suggesting that the near-anarchist state in Somalia has allowed the country to become a fertile training ground for terrorist recruits from around the world. Alessa, a US citizen, and Almonte, a Jordanian citizen believed to also have dual US citizenship, "grew up" in the United States, becoming the latest in a "disconcerting pattern" of "people living among us" who are radicalized with extremist ideology, one source said. The men did not pose an "imminent threat," but "getting on planes to receive" terrorist training means they posed a broader threat, the source said. Federal authorities have been watching Alessa and Almonte since 2006, when the men's unspecified "internet activity" led the New York Police Department to launch an investigation, ultimately dubbed "Operation Arabian Knight."

06.06.10 Yemen detains 30 foreigners as al-Qaeda suspects

SAANA (AFP) June 6 - Yemeni security forces have arrested more than 30 foreign nationals on suspicion of having links with al-Qaeda, among them three Frenchmen, an American and a Briton, a security official said on Sunday. "Some of them were arrested on suspicion of belonging to al-Qaeda while others were arrested according to lists provided to Yemen security forces by US intelligence," the official told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"Most of those arrested came to Yemen to study Arabic in the same school where Nigerian Omar Farouk had studied," the official said. He was referring to Omar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who allegedly tried to blow up a US airliner over Detroit on Christmas day and who had studied in the Sanaa Institute for the Arabic Language, in the Yemeni capital's old city. "During the month of May, a number of foreigners were arrested, including one Frenchman, one American, one Briton, two Malaysians (and) five Nigerians," the official said. "There are a number of foreigners who were arrested prior to May," including two French nationals arrested in April, he added. The source provided details on one of the French nationals, Jeremy Johnny Witter, whom he said was arrested in May.

06.06.10 Iran offers escort for Gaza ships

June 6 - Supreme leader Khamenei offers military protection for activists. Iran would be willing to send its Revolutionary Guard members to accompany further aid ships to Gaza, Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Sunday in an interview cited by Reuters. "The naval wing of the Revolutionary Guard is ready to assist the peace flotilla to Gaza with all its effort and capabilities," Khamenei's Revolutionary Guard spokesman Ali Shirazi stated.  "If the Supreme Leader issues an order for this then the Revolutionary Guard naval forces will do their best to secure the ships," Shirazi said. "It is Iran's duty to defend the innocent people of Gaza." Last week, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad termed the IDF raid on the Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara as "barbaric" and called for dismantling of "the Zionist regime." Ahmadinejad was speaking to a crowd of tens of thousands, many of them chanting anti-Israeli slogans, gathered at the shrine of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini for a ceremony marking the 21st anniversary of his death. [>jpost.com]

06.06.10 Israel says activists prepared for fight on ship

JERUSALEM (AP) June 6 - Israel's prime minister claimed Sunday that the Turkish activists who battled Israeli naval commandos in a deadly clash last week had prepared for the fight ahead of time - boarding the ship separately from other passengers after they organized and equipped themselves. The comments from Benjamin Netanyahu were the latest in an Israeli campaign to defend its crackdown on Monday that killed nine activists on a flotilla headed to the blockaded Gaza Strip with hundreds of activists and humanitarian supplies on board. The operation has drawn fierce international condemnation, seriously damaged Israeli ties with Turkey, and brought heavy pressure to lift the 3-year-old closure of Gaza. Netanyahu told his Cabinet that "dozens of thugs" from "an extremist, terrorism-supporting" organization had readied themselves for the arrival of the naval commandos.

"According to the information currently in our possession, this group boarded separately in a different city, organized separately, equipped itself separately and went on deck under different procedures," he said. "The clear intent of this hostile group was to initiate a violent clash with IDF (Israeli) soldiers." Netanyahu did not say where the information came from. But Israeli military officials have claimed there is strong evidence that the men who fought the soldiers were hired mercenaries.

06.06.10 Hateful Arab ship cartoons draw rebuke

June 6 - ADL says surge of anti-Semitic cartoons in Arab media post-flotilla. In the wake of the Gaza flotilla affair, Arab world media has seen a surge in publication of political cartoons depicting anti-Semitic stereotypes and "hateful caricatures," the ADL has charged. "In the days since the Israeli naval operation… editorial cartoonists across the Arab world have turned the incident into a cause célèbre, with cartoons punctuated by vicious anti-Israel and anti-Semitic images," according to a statement published by the group over the weekend together with a report that compiled the cartoons. Among the cartoons flagged by the organization as anti-Semitic is one published Wednesday in Qatar's Al-Watan daily that depicts “a stereotypical hook-nosed, black-hatted Jew” floating in water. He holds a bloody machete in one hand and an assault rifle in another, while his lower body is composed of tentacles arranged to spell “dawlat il-irhab,” or “state of terror” in Arabic.

In another, published on the same day in Saudi Arabia's Al-Iqtisadiyya, an Israeli flag flies over a pirate's skull-and-bones, with the Star of David replaced by the Nazi swastika. Such cartoons amount to “”an acceptance, even an obsession with deeply offensive and hateful caricatures of Israelis and Jews” in the Arab world, according to the ADL's national director Abe Foxman. “The cartoonists are fanning the flames of hatred across the region,” he charged. n particular, the report objects to the repeated depiction of Jews as monstrous marine wildlife and satanic figures. The cartoons appeared in mainstream newspapers in Jordan, Egypt, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

06.06.10 Conservatives call for Ground Zero mosque protest

June 6 - Conservative bloggers called for a protest Sunday against plans to build a mosque near the site of Ground Zero in lower Manhattan, where the twin towers of the World Trade Center were destroyed by Islamist hijackers on September 11, 2001. "Building the Ground Zero mosque is not an issue of religious freedom, but of resisting an effort to insult the victims of 9/11 and to establish a beachhead for political Islam and Islamic supremacism in New York," the group "Stop the Islamization of America" says on its website. "Ground Zero is a war memorial, a burial ground. Respect it," says the group, which is run by conservative blogger Pamela Geller. "No one's telling them they can't. We're asking them not to," Geller told CNN's Joy Behar recently. "We feel it would be more appropriate maybe to build a center dedicated to expunging the Quranic texts of the violent ideology that inspired jihad, or perhaps a center to the victims of hundreds of millions of years of jihadi wars, land enslavements, cultural annihilations and mass slaughter," Geller said. [More>>cnn.com]

06.06.10 Pope calls for 'urgent' international action to avert Middle East bloodshed

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AFP) June 6 - Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday called for urgent and concerted international effort to resolve the problems of the Middle East at a mass in the Cypriot capital of Nicosia. He also deplored the dwindling presence of Christians in the region. Pope Benedict XVI wrapped up a visit to Cyprus on Sunday with his eyes on the troubled Middle East, calling for an end to bloodshed and highlighting the plight of the region's Christians. At a mass in a sports arena near the Cypriot capital, he prayed for the success of a synod of Middle Eastern bishops in October which will grapple with the problems. He expressed hope that the meeting "will help to focus the attention of the international community on the plight of Christians in the Middle East who suffer for their beliefs, so that just and lasting solutions may be found to the conflicts that cause so much hardship." "On this grave matter, I reiterate my personal appeal for an urgent and concerted international effort to resolve the ongoing tensions in the Middle East, especially before such conflicts lead to greater bloodshed." [More>>france24.com]

06.06.10 NATO soldiers, cops killed in Afghanistan

KABUL (AFP) June 6 - Five NATO soldiers were killed today in war-torn Afghanistan, the alliance said in a statement, in a day of violence which left another six dead and 26 wounded. The soldiers, members of NATO's US-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), were killed in two separate attacks and a crash, according to a NATO statement. "Three ISAF service members died today as a result of a vehicle accident in southern Afghanistan," the statement said. "In a separate operation, one ISAF service member died today following an improvised explosive device attack in southern Afghanistan. Another ISAF service member died today as a result of an insurgent attack in eastern Afghanistan." The deaths follow the killings of two ISAF soldiers on Friday by small-arms fire in the militant-infested south, where international forces are fighting an increasingly deadly insurgency led by the Taliban. [More>>timesofindia.indiatimes.com]

06.06.10 Blasts kill 6 in Baghdad, including policemen

BAGHDAD (AP) June 6 - Suicide car bombing kills at least six people and injures 15 outside a Baghdad police station. Baghdad: Iraqi security officials said that an explosives-packed car driven by a suicide bomber has killed at least six people and wounded 15 outside a Baghdad police station. A second bomb stuck to the underside of a car elsewhere in the capital killed its driver and wounded three passengers. Both explosions came during the early morning rush hour in Baghdad. Two police officers were among the fatalities outside the security station in western Baghdad's Al Amil neighbourhood. The casualties were confirmed by a Baghdad police commander and an official at Yarmouk hospital. [>gulfnews.com]

06.05.10 BP cap collects 6,000 barrels of oil from spill

GRAND ISLE, La, June 5 - Efforts to siphon off oil gushing from a ruptured deep-sea wellhead in the Gulf of Mexico were starting to work, US officials said Saturday, while President Barack Obama defended his handling of the environmental crisis. The containment cap that British energy giant BP clamped over the ruptured wellhead collected about 6,000 barrels of oil on Friday, Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen said at a briefing in Theodore, Ala. On its twitter feed BP said that "a total of 6,077 barrels of oil was collected" on June 4. "Improvement in oil collection is expected over the next several days," the company said. [More w/video>>msnbc.msn.com]

06.05.10 What is consuming Hydrogen and Acetylene on Titan?

PASADENA, Calif. June 03 - Two new papers based on data from NASA's Cassini spacecraft scrutinize the complex chemical activity on the surface of Saturn's moon Titan. While non-biological chemistry offers one possible explanation, some scientists believe these chemical signatures bolster the argument for a primitive, exotic form of life or precursor to life on Titan's surface. According to one theory put forth by astrobiologists, the signatures fulfill two important conditions necessary for a hypothesized 'methane-based life.' One key finding comes from a paper online now in the journal Icarus that shows hydrogen molecules flowing down through Titan's atmosphere and disappearing at the surface. Another paper online now in the Journal of Geophysical Research maps hydrocarbons on the Titan surface and finds a lack of acetylene.

This lack of acetylene is important because that chemical would likely be the best energy source for a methane-based life on Titan, said Chris McKay, an astrobiologist at NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., who proposed a set of conditions necessary for this kind of methane-based life on Titan in 2005. One interpretation of the acetylene data is that the hydrocarbon is being consumed as food. But McKay said the flow of hydrogen is even more critical because all of their proposed mechanisms involved the consumption of hydrogen. "We suggested hydrogen consumption because it's the obvious gas for life to consume on Titan, similar to the way we consume oxygen on Earth," McKay said. "If these signs do turn out to be a sign of life, it would be doubly exciting because it would represent a second form of life independent from water-based life on Earth."
[More>>jpl.nasa.gov via en.rian.ru]

06.05.10 US says 80% of al-Qaeda leaders in Iraq removed

June 4 - About 80% of al-Qaeda's leaders in Iraq have been captured or killed during the past three months, says the country's top US commander. Only eight of the group's 42 chiefs in Iraq remained at large, Gen. Ray Odierno told a Pentagon news conference. But he cautioned against complacency, saying that, even with the setbacks, al-Qaeda was trying to regroup and would remain a problem for years. "I will never take my eyes off of al-Qaeda," said the general. He added that the number of attacks and casualty figures suffered by US troops had fallen to their lowest level since the US-led invasion of the country in 2003. "All of those statistics for the first five months of 2010 are the lowest we've had on record." [More>>bbc.co.uk]

06.05.10 Gaza rocket strikes Israel: Army

JERUSALEM (AFP) June 5 - A rocket fired from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip landed in southern Israel on Saturday morning but caused no casualties, the Israeli military said. "A rocket fired from the Gaza Strip crashed in the western part of the Negev desert without causing any casualties," an army spokesman said. Israel launched a devastating assault on the Palestinian coastal territory in December 2008 aimed at halting rocket fire. Some 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed in the 22-day war. After a year of quiet following the assault, Gaza militants have stepped up rocket fire on the Jewish state, with 60 rockets and mortars striking Israeli territory since January, according to the army. [>timesofindia.indiatimes.com]

06.05.10 Israel commandos board aid ship but no violence

JERUSALEM, June 5 - Gaza blockade illegal, must be lifted: UN's Pillay. Israeli troops boarded an aid ship heading for Gaza on Saturday, but there was no violent confrontation, a military spokeswoman said. "Our forces boarded the boat and took control without meeting any resistance from the crew or the passengers. Everything took place without violence," the spokeswoman told AFP. The move came after the Rachel Corrie refused to respond to four requests from the navy to head for the southern Israeli port of Ashdod, and stayed its course for the Gaza Strip, which is under an Israeli naval blockade...Meanwhile, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said on Saturday Israel's blockade of Gaza is illegal and should be lifted, and reiterated calls for an investigation into Israel's raid on aid supply ships this week...She said that even if the blockade is proven legal under international law, Israel's military operation against the flotilla on Monday must be analyzed from the perspective of Israel's obligation to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza. [Full story>>alarabiya.net]

06.05.10 Report: Erdogan considering visiting Gaza to 'break blockade'

June 5 - Turkish PM may visit Gaza, ask Turkish Navy to accompany another aid flotilla, according to Lebanese newspaper; Turkish military opposes cutting security ties with Israel. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is weighing the possibility of traveling to the Gaza Strip in order to "break the Israeli blockade," the Lebanese newspaper al-Mustaqbal reported on Saturday, according to Army Radio. Erdogan reportedly raised the idea in conversations with close associates and even informed the United States of his intention to ask the Turkish Navy to accompany another aid flotilla to Gaza. The Americans asked Erdogan to delay his plans, in light of tensions on the region, the Lebanese report said. According to the report, Erdogan is under intense political pressure to cancel security agreements with Israel. The Turkish military establishment, however, strongly opposes the idea of cutting security ties with Israel. Erdogan has fiercely criticized Israeli for Monday's raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla, in which nine people, all Turkish citizens, were killed. [>haaretz.com; See background stories,

jpost.com, June 4, " 'Turkey has embraced Iran, Hamas' : Oren responds to fierce criticism of Israel by "friend in the past." A top Israel envoy criticized Turkey's outreach to terror groups Friday, hours after Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was quoted as saying Hamas is not a terrorist organization. "Turkey has embraced the leaders of Iran and Hamas, all of whom called for Israel's destruction," declared Israeli ambassador to the US Michael Oren. "Our policy has not changed but Turkey's policy has changed, very much, over the last few years," he said. "Under a different government with an Islamic orientation, Turkey has turned away from the West."...

jpost.com, June 5, "US to aid boats: 'Go to Ashdod' : White House calls on Gaza flotilla boats to send aid via Ashdod. WASHINGTON – The White House on Friday urged aid boats making their way toward Gaza to accede to Israeli demands that they dock in Ashdod to avoid another violent incident. "We strongly encourage those on board the Rachel Corrie and other vessels to sail to Ashdod to deliver their materials to Gaza," US National Security Council spokesman Mike Hammer said in a statement, referring to a private Irish ship expected to arrive in the vicinity of Gaza Saturday morning...

haaretz.com, June 5, 'Netanyahu: Israel will not allow establishment of Iranian port in Gaza' : PM says passengers on Gaza bound ship Rachel Corrie were peace activists, as opposed to violent clashes with 'Islamic radicals' on Gaza flotilla earlier this week. Speaking after he was updated Saturday on the peaceful takeover of the Gaza bound aid ship "Rachel Corrie," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel would "not allow the establishment of an Iranian port in Gaza."..."Today we saw the difference between a peace flotilla, that we disagree with the activists' views but respect their right to express themselves, and a hate flotilla which was organized by violent radicals who support terrorism," Netanyahu said. In both instances Israel behaved exactly the same way to enforce the blockade on Gaza, aimed to prevent weapons' smuggling to Hamas and to enable civilian goods to enter Gaza after inspection," Netanyahu said...

Maravot News 6.04.10 Israel Navy: 3 commandos nearly taken hostage in Gaza flotilla raid :

Maravot News 6.03.10 (background stories, videos),
06.03.10 Free Gaza official says Iran donations rejected

06.05.10 Bomb at Afghan governor office kills 1, wounds 14

KHANDAHAR, Afghanistan (AP) June 5 - A bomb exploded Saturday outside the provincial governor's office in the Afghan city of Kandahar, killing one policeman and wounding at least 14 civilians, officials said. The attack reflects deteriorating security in the largest city in the country's volatile south — also the Taliban's spiritual home — where NATO is preparing for a major operation seen as key to combating the insurgency. The governor was not in his office at the time. The bombing also comes a day after a national peace conference in Kabul boosted President Hamid Karzai plans to seek negotiations with the Taliban in a bid to end Afghanistan's nearly nine-year war. Kandahar city police Chief Sardar Mohammad Zazai said the explosives were strapped to a bicycle on the street outside the compound where the governor lives and works. The bomb detonated around midday. The governor's spokesman, Zulmai Ayubi, said the 14 wounded included five children. Among the wounded, four were in critical condition, he said. [More>>indianexpress.com]

06.04.10 BP: Cap in place, oil leak 'part of the design'

June 4 - Company will begin closing 4 vent valves on containment device in effort to stanch massive oil flow. British Petroleum's latest efforts to contain the massive Gulf oil spill were going according to plan, despite the fact that oil appeared to continue spewing into the sea, a BP executive said Friday. "We do have the cap successfully in place. … And the oil you see escaping right now is actually part of the design," BP's chief operating officer Doug Suttles told CBS "The Early Show" Friday. "What we have is four vent valves on the top of this cap. We'll be successfully closing those vent valves through the course of the day." Suttles said the valves have been left open to avoid drawing water into the containment device. The company will begin closing the vents in an effort to "capture the vast majority of the flow," Suttles said. Suttles said the goal is to capture more than 90 percent of the flow, which has spewed between 21 million and 46 million gallons of oil since a rig exploded on April 20 about 50 miles from the Louisiana coast, killing 11 workers. BP was leasing the rig and is responsible to fix and clean up the spill. [More>>cbsnews.com]

06.04.10 Hamas is not terrorist group: Turkey's Erdogan

ANKARA, June 4 - Around 10,000 protest against Israel in Istanbul. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday he did not view radical Palestinian group Hamas, Israel's arch-foe, as a terrorist organization. "Hamas are resistance fighters who are struggling to defend their land. They have won an election," Erdogan said in a public speech in the central city of Konya, broadcast live on television, as up to 10,000 people rallied in Istanbul, shouting anti-Israeli slogans. "I have told this to US officials... I do not accept Hamas as a terrorist organization. I think the same today. They are defending their land," he said. The United States and the European Union blacklist Hamas as a terrorist group despite its victory in Palestinian elections in 2006. Erdogan made the remarks in an angry tirade against Israel after Monday's raid on a flotilla carrying aid to the Gaza Strip, which claimed the lives of nine Turks and plunged already strained ties between the once-close allies into deep crisis. [More>>alarabiya.net]

06.04.10 Israel Navy: 3 commandos nearly taken hostage in Gaza flotilla raid

June 4 - According to preliminary navy investigation, some passengers on the Mavi Marmara boat dragged three unconscious commandos into one of the passenger halls below deck. During Israel's takeover of a Turkish ship in the Gaza-bound aid flotilla this week, some passengers tried to take captive three commandos who lost consciousness as a result of the activists' blows, according to early findings of a navy investigation. The three were dragged into one of the passenger halls below deck and were held there for several minutes. After dozens of other commandos began searching the ship, the Mavi Marmara, the three soldiers regained consciousness and managed to join their comrades. The operation on the Mavi Marmara began at about 4:30am on Monday. Because of the presence of hard-core activists including members of the IHH, the Turkish group organizing the aid convoy, most attention went to that ship. Navy chief Eliezer Merom and the head of the naval commandos, Lt. Col. A., were on vessels next to the ship. Lt. Col. A. climbed on the Mavi Marmara during the takeover.

As seen on a video documenting the takeover, the first four commandos to rappel onto the deck were attacked by activists with bars, axes and knives. The fourth commando, K., saw his team leader on the deck, with a Turkish activist holding the pistol he had grabbed from him and pointing it to his head. K. jumped from the rope and managed to shoot the activist holding the gun. This happened 20 seconds after the first soldier landed on the deck. The commanders of the first unit were hit by the mob as they landed. One of the soldiers managed to fix another rope, after there were problems with the original one, for 10 more soldiers to land. The commandos cared for the wounded and took over part of the upper deck of the ship.

At this stage, six minutes into the operation, another force landed from a second helicopter, led by a major. At that point they realized that three commandos were missing and they began looking for them. A short while later the naval commando chief landed along with dozens more soldiers, some of whom climbed from boats. Others landed from a third helicopter. The search involved limited shooting, in the bridge and on the lower deck, until the three men were recovered. The head of the naval commandos gave orders by radio to use live fire, two minutes after the incident had begun. Shots had been fired earlier, but Lt. Col. A. later explained that in his orders he wanted to make sure that the troops realized that "the mood of the incident had changed."

The soldiers reported that the activists had fired on them during the confrontation and that at least two commandos suffered gunshot wounds. After the incident, 9mm bullet casings were found — a kind not used by the naval commandos. The Israel Defense Forces says that during the operation a number of pistols and an M-4 rifle were taken from soldiers, but they believe that the Turkish activists had other weapons. The captain of the ship told the naval commando chief that the guns were thrown overboard before the ship was completely taken over...Post-operation assessments have the number of hard-core activists involved in the fighting at between 60 and 100. It appears that they were well trained and experienced, especially in view of the arsenal found and code books used to pass on orders from group leaders. Among the rioters, in addition to Turks, were Yemenis, Afghans and one person from Eritrea. All were apparently experienced in hand-to-hand fighting. Some of them did not retreat when shots were fired..."No real peace activist was injured. No soldier was killed, even though it came pretty close. In the end the ships are docked at Ashdod. It was very complicated and the result is near perfect."
[Full story>>haaretz.com; See related stories,

haaretz.com, June 4, "IDF video shows flotilla passengers tell Israel Navy to 'go back to Auschwitz' : The IDF Spokesperson released on Friday an audio recording of an exchange between Israel Navy ships and passengers on the Gaza-bound Turkish ship Mavi Marmara. In the recording, an Israeli Navy radio operator warns of the ship's approach into Israel's naval blockade when a passenger says in response, "Shut up, go back to Auschwitz." The release of the recording is another step taken by the Israel Defense Forces to solidify the claim that the passengers of the Mavi Marmara were determined to attack the soldiers who boarded the deck...

jpost.com, June 4, " 'Guns may have been thrown overboard' " : Gun-sights, cartridges and coded plans found on 'Marmara.' Firearms may have been thrown overboard by passengers of the Mavi Marmara, Israel Radio reported Friday, citing IDF sources. According to the report, gun-sights and rifle cartridges not fitting IDF weapons were discovered upon inspection of the ship, leading defense officials to believe that there may have been weapons on board when the ship set out from Turkey aside from the knifes, rocks and slingshots found in the search. Coded messages apparently alluding to scenarios of soldier-kidnapping and soldier fatalities were also found on board the ship. Some of those aboard the ship recorded messages saying they intended to become shahids, martyrs for the cause of war against  infidels. A Reuters report appeared to corroborate on Friday claims of an attempt to kidnap a soldier during the raid of the ship.

Andre Abu Khalil, a Lebanese cameraman for Al-Jazeera TV who was aboard the Mavi Marmara, told Reuters that some 20 Turkish men had tried to prevent the boarding commandos from reaching the wheelhouse and commandeering the ship. Using slingshots, metal pipes and bats they initially succeeded in wounding and overpowering four Israeli soldiers and dragging them below the deck. After standoff lasting approximately ten minutes, the Israelis opened fire, the man said. A makeshift hostage negotiation took place aboard the ship, according to the cameraman. One activist used a megaphone to tell the commandos the four captive soldiers were well and would be released if they provided medical help for the wounded passengers. An Israeli Arab MK — presumably Haneen Zuabi — was said to have mediated in the negotiations, and the soldiers acquiesced. The wounded were subsequently brought up to the top deck to be airlifted off the ship. [end]

cnn.com, June 4, "Autopsies reveal 9 men on Gaza aid boat shot, 5 in head" : ISTANBUL - Autopsy results by forensics experts in Istanbul revealed that all nine of the men killed by Israeli commandoes aboard the humanitarian convoy that had planned to dock in Gaza died of gunshot wounds. The autopsy results give clues about how the violence unfolded after Israeli commandoes stormed the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara in the pre-dawn hours on Monday. Five of the men died with bullet wounds to the head, said Dr. Haluk Ince, the director of Istanbul's Medical Examination Institute, said Friday. One casualty, a 19-year-old dual national Turkish-American citizen named Furkan Dogan, was found to have bullet wounds in his head and multiple bullets in his body, Ince said...In one instance, a gunshot victim had been shot at extremely close range...

belfasttelegraph.co.uk, June 4, "Activists reject Gaza cargo deal" : The crew of one of the last ships on a flotilla carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza have rejected an offer to unload its cargo in Israel and accompany it across the border. The Irish/Malaysian owned vessel, MV Rachel Corrie, has vowed to continue to sail into an exclusion zone where there was a deadly commando attack by Israeli troops earlier in the week. Activists refused to accept a deal brokered between officials from the Irish and Israeli Governments as the vessel sailed in international waters just 100 miles from Gaza. First mate Derek Graham said the aim of the flotilla was not just about bringing aid to Palestine. "We are trying to highlight the situation that Gaza is under siege by air, sea and land and we are trying to break that siege," said the electrician, who has been on four of the five voyages which docked in Gaza. "We want to show this siege is illegal and subjecting a nation to poverty. If we bring this cargo to Ashdod it's only a fraction of what they need. We need to be able to do this continuously."

Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Micheal Martin said he fully accepted the decision to continue with the journey. "If, as is their stated intention, the Israeli government intercepts the Rachel Corrie, the Government demands that it demonstrate every restraint," Mr. Martin warned. "Those on board the Rachel Corrie have made clear their peaceful intentions and have stated that they will offer no resistance to Israeli forces. Based on these assurances, there can be no justification for the use of force against any person on board." Eleven people are on the aid ship, which is just ten miles further out from where a flotilla was stormed by troops leaving nine activists dead...

Maravot News (background stories, videos),
06.03.10 Free Gaza official says Iran donations rejected

06.04.10 Russia, China to try to prevent conflict on Korean Peninsula - Lavrov

BEIJING (RIA Novosti) June 4 - Russia and China will try to prevent a conflict breaking out on the Korean Peninsula, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday. "Both Russia and China are deeply concerned about what is happening. The Korean Peninsula is practically on the verge of military and political crisis," Lavrov said at a meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi in Beijing. "We are confident that the situation cannot be allowed to develop into the sphere of uncontrolled tension, which could lead to a full-scale conflict between North and South Korea. Russia and China will do all they can to prevent this," he said. [More>>en.rian.ru]

06.04.10 Afghan 'jirga' endorses Taliban peace pact

(Reuters) June 4 - Tribal leaders gathered on the final day of a traditional assembly hosted by President Hamid Karzai have endorsed a peace plan offering an amnesty and job incentives to induce Taliban fighters to give up their armed struggle. Afghan tribal elders and religious leaders formally endorsed President Hamid Karzai's proposals to seek peace with the Taliban to end nine years of war at a traditional assembly on Friday. Karzai called the "peace jirga" to win national support for a peace plan consisting of offering an amnesty, cash and job incentives to Taliban foot soldiers while arranging asylum for top figures in a second country...The 1,600 delegates, chosen to represent Afghan tribes, politics and geography, also urged the warring sides to declare a ceasefire to allow peace efforts to move forward. {Full story>>france24.com]

06.04.10 Surveillance cameras in Birmingham track Muslims' every move

June 4 - About 150 car numberplate recognition cameras installed in two Muslim areas, paid for by government anti-terrorism fund. Counterterrorism police have targeted hundreds of surveillance cameras on two Muslim areas of Birmingham, enabling them to track the precise movements of people entering and leaving the neighborhoods. The project has principally been sold to locals as an attempt to combat antisocial behavior, vehicle crime and drug dealing in the area. But the cameras have been paid for by a £3m grant from a government fund, the Terrorism and Allied Matters Fund, which is administered by the Association of Chief Police Officers. About 150 automatic numberplate recognition (ANPR) cameras have been installed in Washwood Heath and Sparkbrook in recent months. Birmingham's two predominantly Muslim suburbs will be covered by three times more ANPR cameras than are used to monitor the entire city centre. They include about 40 cameras classed as "covert," meaning they have been concealed from public view. [More>>guardian.co.uk]

06.03.10 BP cuts pipe, set for latest cap attempt

PENSACOLA, Florida, June 3 - Riser pipe cut with giant shears; oil containment unit could be in place within hours, Coast Guard says. BP sliced off a pipe with giant shears Thursday in the latest bid to curtail the worst oil spill in US history, but the cut was jagged and placing a cap over the leak will now be more challenging, a Coast Guard official said. BP turned to the shears after a diamond-tipped saw became stuck in the pipe halfway through the job, yet another frustrating delay in six weeks of the Gulf of Mexico spill. The cap will be lowered and sealed over the next couple of hours, Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said. It won't be known how much oil BP can siphon to a tanker on the surface until the cap is fitted, but the irregular cut means it won't fit as snug as officials had hoped.

"We'll have to see when we get the containment cap on it just how effective it is," Allen said. "It will be a test and adapt phase as we move ahead, but it's a significant step forward." Even if it works, BP engineers expect oil to continue leaking into the ocean. The latest attempt to control the spill, the so-called cut-and-cap method, is considered risky because slicing away a section of the 20-inch-wide riser could remove kinks in the pipe and temporarily increase the flow of oil by as much as 20 percent. Allen said it was unclear whether the flow had increased.

06.03.10 Free Gaza official says Iran donations rejected

LARNACA, Cyprus (AP) June 3 - A leader of a group involved in the flotilla that tried to breach Israel's blockade of Gaza says the group was offered donations from Iran, but turned them down. Greta Berlin, of the Free Gaza movement, says the group does not accept donations from radical countries or groups. She said the group's largest single donation — euro300,000 (US$368,000) from a fund-raising drive by former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad — was used to buy three ships. Berlin said Thursday that the group, formed in California four years ago, has about euro38,000 (US$46,600) left in the bank, but received euro7,000 Wednesday from supporters around the world. Israeli commandos stormed boats in the flotilla on Monday, and nine activists were killed. [>thejakartapost.com; See related stories:


VeraFortune RT @TheJonMark: 'Peaceful', 'Humanitarian', 'Civilian' #Flotilla Had an Arsenal--WATCH: http://bit.ly/9iEE0L #TCOT #StandWithIsrael #Israel

rebmark A few things you ought to know about the 2010 Free #Gaza #Flotilla Incident off the coast of Gaza. http://bit.ly/gzfltll

timesonline.co.uk, Jun 3, "Turkish charity that sent aid convoy to Gaza 'has links to terrorism' : The Turkish charity at the centre of the raid by Israeli forces on an aid vessel in the Mediterranean was under intense scrutiny last night over its alleged links with militant organizations. Despite their claims to be an entirely peaceful organization, The Foundation for Human Rights, Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (IHH) has a history of involvement in Islamic extremism around the world and has been linked with an attempted bombing of an airport in the US. The charity had 40 members on the Turkish-owned ship Mavi Marmara when it was boarded by Israeli Navy commandos on Monday. Nine people died in the operation. Israeli security sources said that about 40 people set upon their commandos as they abseiled from a helicopter on to the upper deck of the ship, armed primarily with paintball guns intended for use in crowd control.

The troops found themselves facing a crowd armed with metal pipes, knives and stun grenades. The activists tied the rope used by the soldiers to a railing on the ship, in the hope of bringing down the helicopter, officials said — forcing the commander to cut the rope and leave four commandos on the deck below. Security sources said that the assailants used a saw to cut metal bars from the ship's railings. The IHH, which Israel says has links with the Palestinian group Hamas, first gained attention in the 1990s. Jean-Louis Bruguière, a French investigating magistrate and an authority on counter-terrorism, has said that in the mid-1990s the group's leader, Bulent Yildirim, made efforts to "recruit veteran soldiers in anticipation of the coming holy war. In particular, some men were sent into war zones in Muslim countries in order to acquire combat experience."

Mr. Bruguière testified at the US trial of Ahmed Ressam, dubbed the Millennium Bomber, that the IHH had played an important role in a failed plot to bomb Los Angeles airport. A 2006 report by the Danish Institute for International Studies described the group as a front for funding terrorist organizations and sending Mujahidin to fight in countries such as Afghanistan, Bosnia and Chechnya. The IHH, which is not on US or European terrorist lists, denies accusations of ties to terrorist groups. The Intelligence and Terrorism Information Centre (ITIC) — an Israel-based NGO with close ties to the country's military — does not dispute the IHH's legitimate philanthropic activities, but it says it is an overt supporter of Hamas, branded by Israel, the EU and US as a terrorist organization.

The ITIC says it has evidence that the IHH has helped to provide weapons and funds for Islamic terrorist groups in the Middle East. The Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth said that some security officials believed there was a link between the ship, which was purchased for the trip by the IHH, and Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AK). The IHH had been unable to charter a ship for the risky voyage, and had resorted to buying the Mavi Marmara for €900,000 (£750,000); money it said it had raised from its members in Turkey. It also bought the 10,000 tones of aid intended for Gaza, including electric wheelchairs and pre-fabricated houses...According to reports in the Israeli press, some of the men who tackled the commandos were equipped with night-vision goggles, gas masks and life vests. Others had ceramic vests to stop bullets, security officials said. About a hundred of the passengers were carrying wads of $10,000 on them — a total of about $1 million; money the authorities say was bound for Hamas, which controls Gaza...

telegraph.co.uk, June 3, "Gaza flotilla: Turkey accused of behaving like Iran by Israel" : Israeli officials pointed to links between the leading political party and IHH, the organization which owned the Mavi Marmara, the flagship of the aid flotilla on which commandos shot nine Turkish activists dead, and which Israel has linked to al-Qaeda. Avigdor Lieberman, foreign minister, said that Turkey was "simply of no interest" and that Turkey may once have been a friend of Israel but "internal changes in Turkish society" had caused the split, as they had between Israel and Iran in 1979. "We didn't start this provocation, we did not send bullies with knives and metal rods to Turkey," he said. "In this case, the entire blame, all of it, from beginning to end, is that of Turkey. We have nothing to apologize for. On the contrary."

Israel recognizes IHH to be a charitable organization but also points to 2006 Danish research alleging links to terrorism. The research, by an American scholar, said it was a used as a front organization to send mujahidin to Afghanistan and Chechnya. The purchase by the group of the Mavi Marmara for £750,000 has also highlighted its relationship with Turkeys ruling political part, a religiously oriented party which has swung Turkey away from its close alignment to America and western Europe. The ferry was sold to the IHH by the Istanbul Fast Ferries Co, an operation controlled by the AKP-run municipal government. Binali Yildirim, the current transport minister and a prominent member of the cabinet, was previously general manager of the company.

He forged close links to Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the prime minister, when he worked at the company and Mr. Erdogan was mayor of Istanbul. The IHH has claimed to have raised money from a number of Islamic organizations and figures with close links to the AKP. These include two prominent members of the AKP and mayors of local governments in Istanbul. Wealthy businessmen linked to the AKP have been known to give large sums of the money to the IHH. "The same constituency of people with extremely conservative Muslim views have given their support to the IHH and the AKP," said Ziya Meral, a researcher on the AKP's grassroots political support...

Maravot News article 06.02.10 Israel expels activists as Gaza fallout spreads ; foxnews.com story June 2, "Gaza clash: Turkish charity's terror links" and
Maravot News article
06.01.10 UN council condemns deaths in flotilla incident ; haaretz.com story June 1, "Police interrogate Islamic movement chief Sheikh Raed Salah over role in Gaza flotilla clashes."

06.03.10 Turkey says ties with Israel 'will never be the same'

ANKARA, (AFP) June 3 - Turkey's ties with Israel suffered "irreparable" damage and "will never be the same" after the deadly raid on aid ships bound for Gaza, Turkish President Abdullah Gul said today. "From now on, Turkish-Israeli ties will never be the same. This incident has left an irreparable and deep scar" on relations, he said in televised remarks. Gul added that Monday's attack by Israeli forces, in which eight Turks and a US national of Turkish origin were killed, "is not an issue that can be forgotten... or be covered up." "Israel has made the biggest mistake in its history. It will realize this better in the future. Turkey will never forgive this attack," he said. The bodies of the nine victims were brought to Turkey early today along with more than 450 activists and 19 wounded deported by Israel after being captured in the raid. Turkey's Anatolia news agency reported that the victims were shot dead after forensic experts found bullet marks on their bodies. Turkey has already recalled its ambassador to Tel Aviv and scrapped joint war games with Israel in an angry response to the attack. [>timesofindia.indiatimes.com]

06.03.10 Arabs seek UN push to end Israel's Gaza siege

CAIRO / UNITED NATIONS - Israel must lift Gaza blockade immediately: UN chief. Arab states will ask the UN Security Council to demand an end to Israel's blockade of Gaza, the Arab League chief said on Thursday after ministers met to respond to Israel's attack on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla, as the UN chief Ban Ki-moon urged Israel to lift Gaza blockade immediately. Defending Israel's enforcement of its blockade, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday it was vital for security and would stay in place..."The Arab League will go to the Security Council and demand lifting of the blockade from Gaza," the League secretary general, Amr Moussa, told a news conference after the talks. [Full story>>alarabiya.net]

06.03.10 Irish aid ship delays voyage to Gaza

June 3 - An Irish-owned aid ship headed for Gaza is delaying its voyage for a while to get equipped with video capabilities and satellite transmission to record what is happening at any given moment on the vessel, a Free Gaza Movement activist told CNN. The MV Rachel Corrie, named for an American activist killed in Gaza several years ago, was expected to arrive late Friday or early Saturday off the coast of Gaza. Israel was offering to unload it in its Ashdod port, screen the material and then deliver it to Gaza, but fears of another high-seas confrontation were in the offing. Adam Shapiro, Free Gaza board member, said the additions to the ship are being made for safety purposes.

Shapiro said Israel has made it clear it would intercept the ship and he hopes recording technology on the ship will make a difference in the behavior of any soldiers who board the vessel. "Israel will be sensitive to the fact that we'll be recording what's happening and streaming it live," said Shapiro, who didn't identify where the Rachel Corrie is docking. He said it will head toward Gaza within the week. An Israeli government official, who spoke on background because of the diplomatic sensitivity of the issue, told CNN the government is offering to receive the ship's cargo, as it has offered other vessels, if it docks at Ashdod port. That was the same deal rejected by the flotilla of six ships bound for Gaza before Israeli commandos raided one of them Monday.

06.03.10 Kidnap Saudi royals and Christians, urges al-Qaeda

(AFP) Al-Qaeda has urged its supporters in Saudi Arabia to kidnap Christians and Saudi princes to press for the release of a female militant the group says was nabbed north of Riyadh. "Form cells to kidnap Christians and princes from the Saud family and their top officials of ministers and officers," Saeed al-Shihri, a prominent Saudi leader of al-Qaeda franchise in Yemen, said in an audio message released yesterday. He said "preacher" Heila al-Qsayer, a widow of a Saudi al-Qaeda militant killed six years ago by the Saudi authorities, was arrested in Qassim, north of the capital, but did not specify when. "We tell our soldiers: You have to kidnap in order to release the prisoners," he said. The Dubai based Al-Arabiya news channel described Qsayer as "the most dangerous woman" in al-Qaeda in Saudi Arabia. Shihri, who is purportedly number two in the Yemen-based al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, insisted families of prisoners held in Saudi Arabia should take up arms to secure their release instead of grovelling to officials. [More>>news.com.au; See also alarabiya.net]

06.03.10 Iraq bomb deaths blamed on 'useless' detectors

BAGHDAD, June 3 - A bomb-detector long exposed as useless continues to be used by the Iraqi army and police at hundreds of checkpoints in Baghdad as their chief method of finding out if vehicles contain explosives and weapons. The continuing reliance of the Iraqi security forces on the instrument may explain how al-Qaeda has succeeded in sending vehicles packed with explosives undetected into Baghdad, where they have killed and wounded several thousand people over the last year. The bomb-detectors, known as "sonars" to Iraqis, are hand-held devices with a "wand" that is supposed to twitch if there are explosives or weapons present. It is meant to work on the same principle as water-divining rods and has no power source, relying instead on the static electricity generated by the movement of the person holding it.

The British and American governments, numerous independent experts and repeated tests have shown that the ADE-651, manufactured by the ATSC company in the UK, does not work. Jim McCormick, the managing director of ATSC, was arrested on suspicion of fraud in January, and the British Government banned the export of the ADE-651. At the same time the Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, ordered an investigation into how the bomb-detectors had been purchased at a cost of $85m (£58m) by the Iraqi security forces in 2008 and 2009. Yesterday, ATSC was not answering the phone number given on its website.

06.03.10 8 Afghan civilians killed in fighting, bombing

KABUL (AP) June 3 - A clash between Afghan forces and Taliban militants left four civilians dead in a southern district where a major NATO operation early this year was meant to reassert government control, a provincial official said Thursday. Also, a roadside bombing in the same province killed four other civilians. The clash happened early Wednesday after militants fired on an Afghan forces patrol in Marjah district, sparking a gunbattle, Helmand provincial spokesman Daoud Ahmadi said. The civilians — three men and one woman — were killed when a rocket hit a house, he said. [More>>khaleejtimes.com]

06.02.10 Israel expels activists as Gaza fallout spreads

JERUSALEM, June 2 - France, Nicaragua join chorus of condemnation over botched raid on aid flotilla; US response muted. Israel on Wednesday quickened the pace of expelling detained activists from a Gaza-bound flotilla as the diplomatic fallout from its deadly raid on the ships widened. All of the nearly 700 activists from the aid ships were at Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv, waiting to be deported, airport officials said. Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein said Israel decided not to prosecute any of them, writing in an order Wednesday that "keeping them here would do more damage to the country's vital interests than good." Meanwhile, Turkey's parliament called on the government Wednesday to review all ties with Israel as the country prepared a huge welcome home for hundreds of Turks detained after the raid. With relations with Turkey at a new low, Israel ordered families of its diplomats out of that country. Israel has come under harsh international condemnation after its commandos stormed a six-ship aid flotilla Monday in international waters, setting off clashes that killed nine activists and wounded dozens. The activists were trying to break the three-year-old Israeli and Egyptian naval blockade of the Gaza Strip.

British Prime Minister David Cameron Wednesday called on Israel to lift the blockade of the Gaza Strip and said the deadly raid on the aid flotilla "completely unacceptable." Cameron told lawmakers in the House of Commons that the blockade "just strengthens Hamas' grip on Gaza" and should be lifted. Authorities say 42 British nationals were among hundreds of activists awaiting deportation after being detained by Israel. Turkish and Greek protesters were to fly home on special planes sent by their
respective governments, while others from the nearly 20 nationalities on the ships were traveling home on commercial flights. A big homecoming rally to celebrate the activists was being held later Wednesday in Istanbul's main square. [More>>cbsnews.com; See related stories,

YouTube videos:

Close up footage of Marmara Savages attack
Weapons found on the Flotilla ship Mavi Marmara
Demonstrators use violence against Israeli Navy
IDF - Navy warns flotilla

haaretz.com, June 2, "Video: Gaza flotilla activists attacking Israel Navy commandos" : Since the raid of the ship and the ensuing international criticism, Israel has released a number of videos to show the military's version of the story that the soldiers shot and killed the nine activists in acts of self-defense. Amid an ongoing public relations war surrounding the Israel Navy's deadly raid of a Gaza-bound humanitarian aid flotilla earlier this week, the Israel Defense Forces on Wednesday released another video depicting the activists attacking commandos who stormed the ship. The video depicts passengers on the Turkish-flagged Mavi Marmara hurling stun grenades and boxes and spraying water at the commandos as they lowered themselves onto the ship. The activists are seen armed with iron bars and batons which they readily use against the soldiers. Since the raid of the ship and the ensuing international criticism, Israel has released a number of videos to show the military's version of the story — that the soldiers shot and killed the nine activists in acts of self-defense...

en.rian.ru, June 2, "Gaza refuses to accept Freedom Flotilla cargo from Israel" : Authorities in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday refused to accept humanitarian cargo seized by Israeli authorities during their deadly attack on an international aid convoy in neutral waters. At least seven truckloads of goods seized when Israeli military stormed the Freedom Flotilla in the Mediterranean Sea are currently waiting for the permission to enter Gaza on the Kerem Shalom border crossing between Israel and the coastal enclave. "Firstly, Israel should release all the detained [activists], secondly, it must ask the cargo owner, Turkey, what to do next. If Turkey agrees to transport the cargo to Gaza by land, we will be glad to receive it. If it doesn't, we will respect their decision," said Ziad al-Zaza, economy minister in the Hamas government. "We are not going to communicate with the Israelis on the issue," he added. The six-ship Freedom Flotilla was carrying some 10 metric tons of aid to the Gaza Strip to alleviate the humanitarian crisis caused by the Israeli blockade when Israeli commandos dropped on board from helicopters and opened fire. Nine activists are confirmed dead, while Arab media reports put the death toll at close to 20. Israel initially proposed to transport the humanitarian cargo by land, but the proposal was rejected. [end]

cnn.com, June 2, "New aid ship heads for Gaza, days after flotilla raid" : Two days after Israel's deadly raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla, another ship packed with activists and assorted supplies sailed defiantly toward the Palestinian territory. The Rachel Corrie, a ship named for an American activist killed in Gaza several years ago, was planning to arrive in Gaza late Friday or early Saturday. The vessel left Ireland carrying 550 tons of cement, educational materials, toys and medical equipment the latest effort by peace activists to deliver supplies and break Israel's blockade of Gaza. Free Gaza Movement activist Derek Graham said that once the Rachel Corrie reaches Gaza, they intend to unload the vessel and return to Ireland...

indianexpress.com, June 2, "Flotilla attack: Israel cries foul, drags India into row" : In an unusual step, Israel, which is facing global criticism for attacking an aid flotilla, has said violent incidents in countries like India and Pakistan in the past one month which claimed 500 lives have been "ignored" while it is being condemned for its "unmistakably defensive actions."...

foxnews.com, June 2,
"Gaza clash: Turkish charity's terror links" : The United Nations Security Council can't decide how to sanction Iran or punish North Korea over killing 46 South Korean Sailors in last month's unprovoked attack on one of its submarines.  But on Monday, the UN called an emergency session to take Israel to task over the boarding of a Turkish registered boat on its way to deliver aid to Gaza which led to at least nine deaths following violent altercations between Israeli forces and a significant number of armed protestors. Yet the Turkish group that funded and ran the boat the Mavi Marmara, where the confrontation occurred is documented as having ties to terrorists, was named in federal court papers as playing a role in the failed millennium bomb plot and is named in a C.I.A. report in 1996 as having links to terrorist groups...

The Foundation for Human Rights and Humanitarian Relief (IHH) is a Muslim charity and non-government organization (NGO) that was formed in 1992 with the goal of assisting Muslims in Bosnia. Since then it has branched out to many places including Lebanon, Pakistan, Sudan, Somalia and the Palestinian territories. According to a report by the Israeli based Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, IHH is a “radical Islamic Organization with an anti-Western orientation.” Written by Jonathan Fighel, the report says "besides its legitimate philanthropic activities, it supports radical Islamic networks, including Hamas, and that at least in the past, even global jihad networks."
Fighel's report also notes that the C.I.A. report that was declassified in 2001 and titled “International Islamic NGOs and Links to Terrorism” states that the IHH had links with extremist groups in Iran and Algeria and was either active or facilitating activities of terrorist groups operating in Bosnia.

IHH's Oguzan Ulas, told Fox News from its headquarters in Istanbul, Turkey that his organization has "no relation to radical Islamic groups," and that it was "a rubbish accusation." Ulas blamed this on a smear campaign by the Israelis against his group. As to his organization's support of Hamas he said that it disagrees with the US government's designation of Hamas as a terrorist group and that IHH "openly accepts Hamas." Steve Emerson, a leading terrorism expert, tells Fox News that IHH was banned by Israel in 2008 for its affiliation with Hamas and the so-called "Union of Good." The Union of Good is a coalition of Islamic groups led by Muslim Brotherhood leader Yousef Al Qaradawi who has issued Fatwas calling for the killing of Americans and Jews...

ustreas.gov, November 12, 2008, "Treasury designates the Union of Good" : WASHINGTON DC -
The US Department of the Treasury today designated the Union of Good, an organization created by Hamas leadership to transfer funds to the terrorist organization. "Terrorist groups such as Hamas continue to exploit charities to radicalize vulnerable communities and cultivate support for their violent activities," said Stuart Levey, Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.  "The US Government will continue to expose and undermine the activities of charities working on behalf of Hamas and other terrorist groups.  At the same time, we are working with the charitable sector to expand the range of legitimate alternatives for providing charitable assistance to the Palestinian people."  Union of Good was designated today under Executive Order 13224, which targets terrorists, terrorist organizations, and those providing financial, technological, or material support to terrorists, terrorist organizations, or acts of terrorism. Any assets the Union of Good holds under US jurisdiction are frozen and US persons are prohibited from engaging in any transactions with the Union of Good...

06.02.10 Two suicide bombers killed, one captured in Kabul

KABUL, Afghanistan, June 2 - Two suicide bombers were killed Wednesday and another captured alive after they fired a rocket at a tent where hundreds of Afghan delegates were meeting to discuss peace, an official said. "Three suicide bombers wearing burqas entered a house which was under construction. They fired one RPG (rocket-propelled grenade) towards the tent," Ghulam Farooq Wardak told delegates to the assembly taking place in Kabul. "Thank God, two of them were killed, paying for their crimes. The third has been captured," Wardak, organiser of the "peace jirga," said. [>thenews.com.pk; See other details,

thejakartaost.com, June 2, "Militants attack as Afghan peace conference starts"
: But the attack underscored the weak grip of Karzai's government in the face of the Taliban insurgency, which has strengthened despite record numbers of US forces in country. "My dear Taliban, you are welcome in your own soil. Do not hurt this country, and don't destroy or kill yourselves," Karzai told the some 1,600 delegates in his opening address, which was broadcast nationally on state television. But he said militants who caused the deaths of Afghans an apparent reference to al-Qaeda leaders deserved no sympathy. "Those people who are killing innocents, punish them," Karzai said. Karzai said years of violence and infighting had driven thousands of Afghans to join the Taliban and another major insurgent group, Hizb-i-Islami, out of fear. He said continuing fighting would only prevent the withdrawal of international forces from Afghanistan. "Make peace with me and there will be no need for foreigners here," Karzai said. About 10 minutes into his speech, Karzai was briefly interrupted by an explosion outside, which police said was a rocket. Karzai heard the thud, but dismissed it, telling delegates, "Don't worry. We've heard this kind of thing before."...

06.02.10 Spanish towns consider Islamic veil ban

MADRID (AFP) June 2 - Several Spanish towns with immigrant populations are considering banning the full-face Islamic veil, media reported Wednesday. The city of Lerida in Catalonia banned the burqa last week and others in same wealthy northeastern province now want to follow. "Political parties' crusade against the burqa is spreading in Catalonia, to the perplexity of Muslims," El Pais newspaper wrote, adding that six towns were to debate a ban on wearing the veil in public. [More>>khaleejtimes.com]

06.01.10 UN council condemns deaths in flotilla incident

UNITED NATIONS, June 1 - Israel holds 480 activists, to expel 48: report. The UN Security Council on Tuesday condemned acts that caused the deaths of civilians during an Israeli operation against an aid flotilla heading for Gaza and called for an impartial investigation. In a carefully crafted formal statement adopted after more than 10 hours of closed-door negotiations and which quickly gave rise to conflicting interpretations, the council requested the immediate release of ships and civilians held by Israel. Israel, meanwhile, said it has detained 480 pro-Palestinian activists captured in its deadly commando raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla and will expel 48 others, public radio reported Tuesday. Those detained were being held at the southern Israeli prison of Ashdod, while the other 48 were being taken to Ben Gurion international airport to be sent back to their home countries, said the report. Israeli officials would question the detainees before deciding whether to free them or prosecute them. Another 45 activists, most of them Turkish, were being treated in various hospitals. [Full story>>alarabiya.net; See related stories:

haaretz.com, June 1, "Police interrogate Islamic movement chief Sheikh Raed Salah over role in Gaza flotilla clashes"
: June 1 - Israeli-Arab leaders declare general strike to protest clash, call international community to investigate flotilla's interception. Ashdod police interrogated Sheikh Raed Salah, the head of the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, Tuesday over his role in the clashes between pro-Palestinian activists and Israeli troops following the Israel Navy raid on the Gaza aid flotilla. MK Hanin Zoabi (Balad), who was also arrested and interrogated over her participation in the Gaza aid flotilla, was released from police custody early Tuesday. The other members of the Arab sector who were arrested fro their participation in the flotilla Mohammed Zeidan, the head of the Arab Higher Monitoring Committee and Sheikh Hammad Abu Daabes, the head of the Southern Wing of the Islamic Movement in Israel - remain in police custody. The Higher Arab Monitoring Committee declared a general strike in Israel's Arab sector yesterday to protest the flotilla clash, an unusual step the group has tried to avoid in recent years. The committee held an emergency meeting at its Nazareth offices, including the heads of all the country's Arab political groups and parties.

washingtontimes.com, June 1, "Activists again to challenge Gaza blockade"
: JERUSALEM (AP) - Pro-Palestinian activists sent another boat to challenge Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, and Egypt declared it temporarily was opening a crossing into the Palestinian territory after a raid on an aid flotilla that ended with Israeli soldiers killing nine activists. The raid provoked ferocious international condemnation of Israel, raised questions at home and appeared likely to increase pressure to end the blockade that has deepened the poverty of the 1.5 million Palestinians in the strip. Turkey, which unofficially supported the flotilla, has led the criticism, calling the Israeli raid a "bloody massacre" and demanding that Washington condemn the raid. The White House has reacted cautiously, calling for disclosure of all the facts...

thenews.com.pk, June 1, "Turkey urges Israel to lift 'inhumane' Gaza embargo" : ANKARA - Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan urged Israel on Tuesday to lift its "inhumane embargo" on Gaza as soon as possible, in a speech to parliament in which he criticized an Israeli raid on a Turkey-backed aid convoy. Erdogan said the international community should carry out an investigation into the operation by Israeli commandos to stop a Turkish vessel carrying aid to Gaza. At least nine people were killed during the storming of the vessel. [end]

alarabiya.net, June 1, "Erdogan blasts israel for 'massacre' on aid ships" : ANKARA - Turkey's hostility is as strong as its friendship: PM. Israel should be "punished" for its "bloody massacre" on aid ships bound for Gaza, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday, as he warned the Jewish state not to test Turkey's patience. "The bloody massacre Israel carried out against ships carrying aid to Gaza deserves condemnation," Erdogan told lawmakers from his ruling Justice and Development Party, in an angry tirade against Israel...

Background on Turkey's role in attack:

Maravot News 5.31.10 article
05.25.10 Turkey to Israel: Lift blockade of Gaza : Turkey urged Israel on Tuesday to lift its blockade of Gaza and allow a Turkish-led convoy of ships carrying humanitarian aid to enter the Hamas-controlled enclave...Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said his government had been in touch with Israel about the aid convoy.

06.01.10 Egypt opens Gaza border following IDF raid on aid flotilla

June 1 - Egypt opens Rafah crossing amid a storm of international criticism of Israel's blockade of the enclave, to let Palestinians cross until further notice. Egypt opened its border with the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, letting Palestinians cross until further notice amid a storm of international criticism of Israel's blockade of the enclave, officials in Egypt and Gaza said. The move, urged by the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas against whom the embargo has been directed, prompted dozens of people to race to the crossing point in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah, though the gates appeared still to be closed. It is the only point on Gaza's borders that is not fully controlled by Israel. Cairo, coordinating with Israel, has opened it only sparingly since Hamas Islamists, who are allied to Egypt's opposition, seized control of Gaza three years ago. [More>>haaretz.com]

06.01.10 3 terrorists killed in Gaza

June 1 - Islamic Jihad says fighters shot down after firing Kassam rocket. An Islamic militant group in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday said three of its members had been killed in an Israeli airstrike in northern Gaza. The Iranian-backed Islamic Jihad group said its fighters were killed shortly after firing two rockets into southern Israel. Israeli authorities said the rockets landed in open areas and caused no injuries. The IDF confirmed it had carried out an airstrike Tuesday, and Gaza's chief medical examiner said there were three deaths. Tensions have been high since Israeli naval commandos boarded a flotilla carrying hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists to Gaza on Monday, causing a violent clash. Nine activists were said to have been killed in the incident, and several IDF commandos were wounded. Earlier on Tuesday, two would-be Palestinian terrorists were killed on the Gaza border as the IDF foiled an infiltration attempt. No casualties were reported among the troops. "Two Palestinian terrorists were identified infiltrating into Israel from the southern Gaza Strip earlier this morning. The soldiers on the scene exchanged fire with the terrorists, killing them both," the IDF Spokesperson said of the event in a statement released later in the day. [>jpost.com]

06.01.10 Report: Man held in Canada is US terror suspect

June 1 - Details emerged Monday about a passenger who was removed from an Aeromexico flight from Paris to Mexico City on Sunday afternoon, including his alleged links to al-Qaeda, NBC reported. The man, who was thought to be headed to the United States via Mexico, was removed from the flight when it was diverted to Montreal, Canada. CBC, Canada's national broadcaster, reported that the man's name is Abdirahman Ali Gaall. NBC reported that Gaall is a Somali national but holds US residency. His wife is an American citizen.

Senior US counterterrorism officials told NBC that Homeland Security had asked law enforcement in Houston to be on the lookout for the man
a suspected member of al Shabaab, an al-Qaeda ally based in Somalia, early last week. He was the subject of a terror warning issued for the US-Mexico border and as such was included on the US no-fly list. He is due to face an immigration court in Canada on Wednesday. Aeromexico Flight 006 was diverted to Montreal airport after being denied access to American air space, the US Transportation Security Administration said. All 150 passengers were taken off the plane and had their bags searched before the flight was allowed to continue to its destination, the TSA confirmed. [>foxnews.com]

06.01.10 Strike is said to kill a top Qaeda leader

WASHINGTON, June 1 - The operational leader for al-Qaeda in Afghanistan was killed in an American missile strike in Pakistan's tribal areas in the last two weeks, according to a statement the group issued late Monday that American officials believe is correct. The militant leader, Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, an Egyptian, was a top financial chief for al-Qaeda as well as one of the group's founders, and was considered by American intelligence officials to be the organization's No. 3 leader, behind Osama bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri, another Egyptian. "His death will only be a severe curse by his life upon the infidels," al-Qaeda said in a statement issued to jihadist Web sites and translated by the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors statements by jihadists.

A United States official said American intelligence analysts believed the statement from al-Qaeda was accurate. They said the death of Mr. Yazid, also known as Saeed al-Masri, was a significant setback to al-Qaeda's ability to help plan and support cross-border attacks against American and allied forces in Afghanistan from its haven in Pakistan's tribal areas. Mr. Yazid was killed on May 22 in a drone attack in North Waziristan, a senior Pakistani intelligence official said on Tuesday. The official said he was in the village of Boya, about 16 miles along a dirt track west from Miranshah, the main town in North Waziristan, when the missile struck. Mr. Yazid was considered to be the overall commander for al-Qaeda for Afghanistan and Pakistan, the official said.
[More>>nytimes.com; See other details,

timesofindia.indiatimes.com, June 1, "Al-Qaeda announces death of top leader Yazid: SITE" : ..
.Yazid, an Egyptian national also known as Sheikh Said, was said to be a founder member of al-Qaeda and a former treasurer to bin Laden. The SITE statement did not say how Yazid died, but said the message from al-Qaeda to jihadist forums said his wife, three of his daughters, his granddaughter, and other men, women, and children, were killed. Yazid was on the list of individuals, organizations and charities whose assets were frozen by the US Treasury in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the US. According to the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, it was Yazid who transferred funds via Dubai for Mohammed Atta, Marwan al-Shehhi and Wal al-Shehri, three of the September 11 hijackers who flew aircraft into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon. Yazid, said to be a former member of the Egyptian Jihad, has appeared in a number of videos released by al-Qaeda since he first appeared as head of al-Qaeda in Afghanistan in May 2007. His last public statement was in a message released on May 4, SITE said.

06.01.10 Extremists storm hospital in attempt to retrieve gang member

June 1 -Gunmen disguised as police stormed a Lahore hospital on Tuesday morning, in an audacious attempt to reach an injured fellow gang member who was being treated there after the group launched a deadly attack on two mosques last Friday. One of our Observers in the city sent us CCTV footage of the hospital attack. The shootings in the two mosques last Friday were an attack on Ahmadi followers, a peace-promoting sect which believes that the meaning of Islam has been lost over time. Eighty people were killed, and dozens were injured, including one of the gunmen, "Moaz" or Amir Moavia. He was taken to Jinnah Hospital for treatment and placed under police supervision. On Monday night gunmen from the same group broke into the hospital from the roof and attempted to either rescue or kill Moaz, in order to stop him from providing the police with information concerning their activities. The mission was ultimately unsuccessful, but in their attempt to reach their target the gunmen killed six people. [More>>france24.com]

06.01.10 High blood pressure: How to beat the invisible killer

June 1 - High blood pressure can happen at any age – yet many sufferers don't even know they have it. What are the risks and how can we prevent it? By Jeremy Laurance. High blood pressure is common, mostly symptomless, and potentially lethal. Known as the silent killer, it is a direct cause of more than 100,000 strokes each year (two thirds of the total). It also increases the risk of heart disease, kidney problems and blindness. A quarter of adults have high blood pressure, and among those over 60 the proportion rises to half. But many people don't know they have it. An estimated 18 per cent of men and 13 per cent of women with high blood pressure are not receiving treatment that could protect them from an early death. High blood pressure is not just a problem for older people. Blood pressure can rise at any age. One in 10 men aged 25-34 years have high blood pressure compared with approximately two in five men aged 35-44 years, according to the Blood Pressure Association. Fewer women are affected at a young age, but one in 10 women in their twenties are affected...

Is the problem getting worse?

Yes — because we are an ageing population and our arteries get stiffer as we get older. Modern Western lifestyles are also making high blood pressure increasingly common. It is almost unknown in parts of the world such as rural Africa, where factors such as poor diet lack of exercise, excess salt and too little fruit and vegetables don't apply. This is so even though Africans have an underlying genetic propensity to high blood pressure. The problem is now so widespread in the West, with half the over- sixties affected, that high blood pressure has come to represent normality.

What is high blood pressure?

As the heart pumps the blood around the body it exerts pressure on the artery walls. If you have high blood pressure, it means your heart is having to work harder to pump the blood. This can weaken the heart or damage the artery walls, resulting in a blockage or a rupture of the walls (hemorrhage). High blood pressure is defined as a sustained pressure of 140/90mm Hg or over.
[Full story>>independent.co.uk]


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