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6.15.11 Study: Housing collapse steeper than during Great Depression

June 15 - The author of a study claiming the US housing collapse is now worse than during the Great Depression warned Wednesday that the market likely will continue to fall for the rest of the year before going stagnant. Paul Dales, senior U.S. economist for Capital Economics, predicted home prices would fall another 3 percent over the rest of 2011 before potentially hitting bottom. "Even when that happens, I don't think we're going to see any significant or sustained rises," he told FoxNews.com Wednesday, predicting "a couple years of pretty much no recovery whatsoever." The bleak prediction comes after he released a report estimating that since the collapse began from the pricing peak of 2006, prices have fallen 33 percent -- more than the 31 percent dive recorded between the 1920s and 1930s. The data, from Capital Economics, underscores the trouble the US economy is having emerging from what is described as the worst recession since the Great Depression. "The sharp fall in house prices in the first quarter provided further confirmation that this housing crash has been larger and faster than the one during the Great Depression," the analysis said. [More>>foxnews.com]

6.15.11 Texas man pioneers use of beatless heart, the wave of the future
June 15 -  Craig Lewis, a 55-year-old Texas man who was about 12 hours away from death, became the first human to receive what doctors are calling the "beatless heart."The device two ventricular assist devices intricately tied together, replacing his entire heart was developed by Drs. Billy Cohn and O.A. "Bud" Frazier at the Texas Heart Institute in Houston. They say this new machine, which whirls instead of pulses, is more reliable and could replace existing artificial hearts, which wear out and can cause clotting and strokes. "Every animal created has a pulsitile heart, and to mimic that was the natural way to proceed," said Cohn. "But to make something that actually can beat 100,000 times a day, 35 million times a year, a man-made device has to perform with that kind of endurance." "A car can, but you change the oil and the spark plugs and do the maintenance and they go and go,"  he said. "These pulsating hearts work only a year or two, then fall apart." Older devices would have also been too large to place in women's smaller bodies. The new beatless heart is "self-contained, smaller and a more durable device," said Cohn.  [More>>abcnews.go.com]

6.15.11 Iran's president calls for alliance against West

ASTANA, Kazakhstan (AP) June 15 - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called Wednesday for a security alliance of several former Soviet nations and China to form a united front against the West. Ahmadinejad's address to fellow heads of state at the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Kazakhstan will likely deepen suspicions that the bloc is intended as a counterweight to the United States across the region. In a summit declaration signed by all the member states, the organization also attacked missile defense programs in another apparent dig at the United States. "The one-sided and unlimited development of missile defense systems by one government or a narrow group of governments could cause damage to strategic stability and international security," the document said. Much of Ahmadinejad's  fiery speech was devoted to leveling an exhaustive series of thinly veiled accusations against unnamed Western countries, which he described as “enslavers, colonialists, (and) invaders.” "Which one of our countries (has played a role) in the black era of slavery, or in the destruction of hundreds of millions of human beings?" Ahmadinejad said, opening his address. The SCO was formed in Shanghai in 2001 by China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan to address religious extremism and border security in Central Asia, but it has in recent years attracted interest in full membership from countries like Iran, India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Its scope has since broadened to economic issues, but the organization has struggled nonetheless to forge a clear purpose.  [More>>khaleejtimes.com]

6.15.11 13 killed in drone strikes

WANA MIRANSHAH, Pakistan, June 15 -
13 people were killed as a result of drone strikes in North and South Waziristan, Geo News reported. According to sources the first drone strike took place at 3pm in Wana, South Waziristan. Four missiles targeted two buildings and initial reports indicated that four people were killed. According to a foreign news agency six further bodies were recovered from the wreckage of the buildings.  The second strike targeted a vehicle in Miranshah, North Waziristan at around 7pm. Four missiles were fired on the vehicle and as a result three people were killed. Drones continued to fly over the area after the strikes which created fear amongst the residents. [>thenews.com.pk]

6.15.11 Afghanistan  'most dangerous place for women'
June 15 - 
Survey says war-torn nation worst place for women while Congo, which has "horrific levels of rape," is ranked second.  Afghanistan has been ranked as the world's most dangerous country for women, with Congo taking a close second position, a Thomson Reuters Foundation expert poll has said. Violence, dismal healthcare and brutal poverty afflicts women in Afghanistan, while in Congo there are horrific levels of rape, the survey conducted by TrustLaw, an arm of Thomson Reuters, said on Wednesday. Pakistan, India and Somalia ranked third, fourth and fifth respectively in the global survey of perceptions of threats ranging from domestic abuse and economic discrimination to female foeticide, genital mutilation and acid attacks. "Ongoing conflict, NATO airstrikes and cultural practices combined make Afghanistan a very dangerous place for women," Antonella Notari, head of women change makers, a group that supports women social entrepreneurs around the world, said.

The survey asked 213 gender experts from five continents to rank countries by overall perceptions of danger as well as by six risks. The risks were health threats, sexual violence, non-sexual violence, cultural or religious factors, lack of access to resources and trafficking. Some experts said the poll showed that subtle dangers such as discrimination that don't grab headlines are sometimes just as significant risks for women as bombs, bullets, stonings and systematic rape in conflict zones. "I think you have to look at all the dangers to women, all the risks women and girls face," Elisabeth Roesch, who works on gender-based violence for the International Rescue Committee in Washington, said. "If a woman can't access healthcare because her healthcare isn't prioritized, that can be a very dangerous situation as well.

"Afghanistan emerged as the most dangerous country for women overall and worst in three of the six risk categories: health, non-sexual violence and lack of access to economic resources. Respondents cited sky-high maternal mortality rates, limited access to doctors and a near total lack of economic rights. Afghan women have a one in 11 chance of dying in childbirth, according to UNICEF. Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), still reeling from a 1998-2003 war and accompanying humanitarian disaster that killed 5.4m people, came second mainly due to staggering levels of sexual violence in the lawless east. More than 400,000 women are raped in the country each year, according to a recent study by US researchers. The United Nations has called Congo the rape capital of the world.  [More>>aljazeera.net]

6.15.11 PM: United Jerusalem, recognized Jewish state key for peace

June 15 -
Prime minister, opposition leader butt heads over way to solving Palestinian issue; Livni: Netanyahu will not solve conflict. Wednesday's specially organized Knesset plenum entitled "The failure of the Netanyahu government in political, economic, and social sectors," heated up around the issue of renewed negotiations as Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu prodded the opposition leadership, asking rhetorically whether or not Palestinian recognition of the Jewish state was necessary for peace. Opposition leader Tzipi Livni had an answer for Netanyahu, saying he has not worked for peace nor will he achieve it. The prime minister laid down what he called a "framework" Israel must bring to negotiations, including insistence on a unified Jerusalem and maintaining large settlement blocs under Israeli sovereignty.  He said the Palestinian state will be "broken up" but will have [a] clearly demarcated border. The prime minister, reiterating the platform he laid out before the US Congress last month, said that negotiations for a two-state solution with Israel fully recognized as a Jewish state would lead to peace, and not unilateral moves. [More>>jpost.com]

6.15.11 Syrians flee northern town, tanks deploy in east

(Reuters) June 15 -
Thousands of Syrians fled the historic town of Maarat al-Numaan on Wednesday to escape troops and tanks pushing into the north to crush protests. In the tribal east, where Syria’s 380,000 barrels per day of oil is produced, tanks and armored vehicles deployed in the city of Deir al-Zor and around Albu Kamal on the border with Iraq, a week after tens of thousands of people took to the streets there demanding an end to Assad’s autocratic rule. "Cars are continuing to stream out of Maarat al-Numaan in all directions," one witness told Reuters by phone. "People are loading them with everything: blankets, mattresses on roofs." Syrian forces pushed towards the town of 100,000, which straddles the main north-south highway linking Damascus with Syria’s second city Aleppo, after arresting hundreds of people in villages close to Jisr al-Shughour, near the border with Turkey, residents said.  [More>>khaleejtimes.com]

6.15.11 Pakistan arrests informants who allegedly aided CIA on Bin Laden

June 15 -  Pakistan’s top military spy agency has arrested some of the Pakistani informants who fed information to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the months leading up to the raid that led to the death of Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, the New York Times reported citing American officials. Pakistan’s detention of five CIA informants, including a Pakistani army major who officials said copied the license plates of cars visiting Bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in the weeks before the raid, is the latest evidence of the fractured relationship between the United States and Pakistan. A spokesman of the Pakistani army strongly refuted the news which claimed that an army officer was among the detained suspects regarding Abbottabad incident. "There is no army officer detained and the story is false and totally baseless," Major General Athar Abbas said. The announcement comes at a time when the Obama administration is seeking Pakistan’s support in brokering an endgame in the war in neighboring Afghanistan.  [More>>alarabiya.net]

6.15.11 Qaeda militants raid government buildings, airforce base in south Yemen, 4 killed

ADEN / SANA (Xinhua) June 15 -
Al-Qaeda militants carried out a number of armed attacks targeting Yemen's largest military air base of al-Anad in southern province of Lahj on Wednesday after a series of offensive attacks at police stations and intelligence headquarters earlier in the day, a local military official told Xinhua. A security official in Houta, the provincial capital city of Lahj, told Xinhua that  "armed militants believed to be from al- Qaeda wing opened heavy fires on security guards of some government buildings, including police stations, intelligence headquarters and banks, in the city at Wednesday dawn." A local resident named Nabih said that electricity supply was cut in the city during the clashes, in which sounds of machine guns and mortars were heard, while people were fearing going outside and many shops and markets closed.  Groups of al-Qaeda militants also attacked the al-Anad military air base located to the northeast of Aden province from several directions with heavy machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades, the official told Xinhua on condition of anonymity, adding that fierce clashes are still going on between the two sides after the militants withdrew and then struck back.  [More>>xinhuanet.com]

6.15.11 Eleven dead in twin Afghan suicide blasts

(AP) June 15 - The Taliban targeted top government officials in Afghanistan on Wednesday, killing 11 people in two suicide blasts and firing rockets at the vice president and interior minister, who escaped unhurt. Nine civilians were among those who died in the attacks, which came days after the United Nations warned of an unprecedented rate of civilian casualties in Afghanistan over recent weeks. Two of the strikes hit central Afghanistan, not far from the heavily secured capital Kabul, and were claimed by the militia leading a nearly 10-year insurgency against US-led NATO troops and the Afghan government. In the first, an attacker drove a car laden with explosives towards the education and agriculture departments in Mahmud Raqi, capital of Kapisa province northeast of Kabul.  Officials said the driver blew himself up when he was stopped at a nearby checkpoint. The interior ministry said: "As a result, five civilians and two policemen were martyred and one policeman and three civilians were injured." Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said the militia had carried out the attack which he claimed had targeted the French ambassador to Afghanistan and French soldiers who were visiting the governor's office at the time.  [More>>france24.com]

6.15.11 Fighting takes ominous turn in central Sudan
NAIROBI, Kenya, June 15 - 
United Nations officials said Wednesday that “there is a growing sense of panic” in the volatile Kordofan area of central Sudan, with 60,000 people displaced, aid convoys blocked, ethnic clashes erupting and dozens dead — including possibly several United Nations workers. President Obama urged the Sudanese government to cease "its military actions immediately."  Kordofan lies at the heart of Sudan and is emblematic of many of the country’s problems, home to myriad militias, rival ethnic groups and contested oil wells. Vicious fighting broke out there last week, and there is fear that an escalating conflict in Kordofan could complicate southern Sudan’s secession into an independent country, scheduled for next month. According to United Nations officials and aid workers, the northern Sudanese army has embarked on an aggressive campaign against certain ethnic groups in Kordofan who are aligned with the southern Sudanese.

"They are killing the black people," said a Sudanese aid worker who just escaped from a bombed village on Wednesday and asked not to be identified for safety reasons. "The northern army is slaughtering people who supported the SPLM," the southern-led political party that is active in several parts of northern Sudan. It was difficult to get a clear picture of what exactly was happening because northern Sudanese soldiers were not allowing United Nations monitors to travel freely in the area and have severed access to many villages, some of them heavily bombed. Anglican Church officials said that the violence was spiraling out of control and that Kordofan could become "another Darfur."  [More>>nytimes.com]

6.14.11 Chinese inflation hits three-year high

(AP) June 14 -  China reported a 5.5 percent inflation rate on Tuesday, the highest level in three years, further straining the economy and adding to popular frustration that has sparked protests in recent months. China’s inflation rose to its highest level in nearly three years in May, thanks largely to stubbornly high food prices, adding to economic and social strains that have fanned recent protests. The 5.5 percent rise in the consumer price index reported Tuesday was in line with expectations but higher than April’s 5.3 percent and March’s 32-month high of 5.4 percent. The National Statistics Bureau said the main factor was an 11.7 percent jump in food prices.  While food costs are likely to moderate as supplies improve over the summer months, China is juggling conflicting goals.  By constraining bank lending in an effort to keep prices under control, it is pinching credit to the smaller, private businesses that drive most job creation and much of the country’s growth. The spate of street demonstrations and bombings, from Inner Mongolia in the north all the way to Guangdong in the south, has highlighted the precarious balance the communist leadership is striving to maintain while keeping the world’s second largest economy growing at a stable pace. [More>>france24.com]

6.14.11 Climate change puts the heat on Darwin's Chillingham cattle

June 14 - The blast furnaces that powered the Industrial Revolution had only just begun belching clouds of carbon into the sky when, in 1860, Charles Darwin encouraged a Victorian nobleman to maintain accurate data on an intriguing herd of cattle living feral in the grounds of his medieval castle. He could not have imagined that 150 years later the behavior of their descendants would shed light on a problem that his pioneering contemporaries had set in motion – climate change. Stories of unseasonably warm springs causing daffodils to bloom and birds to arrive prematurely have become perennials in recent years. But only now have scientists observed climate change leading to behavioral changes in mammals. A new study on Northumberland's Chillingham cattle, published in the British Ecological Society's Journal of Animal Ecology, shows climate change is altering when the animals breed, and fewer calves are surviving as a result...Dr. Burthe explained: "Cattle have a nine-month gestation period. Warm springs allow vegetation to start growing earlier, providing the cattle with more nutritious plant growth, and more cows conceive earlier as a result. Winter-born calves don't do very well and are more likely to die before they reach the age of one. This suggests that the cattle are responding to climate change but this is having a negative impact on them."  [Full story>>independent.co.uk]

6.13.11 Lebanon PM: New government to liberate land under occupation of 'Israeli enemy'

(Reuters) June 13 -  Lebanon's Prime Minister Najib Mikati announces long-delayed new government dominated by allies of Iran-backed Hezbollah, which is likely to cause alarm among Western powers. Lebanon's Prime Minister Najib Mikati announced on Monday a long-delayed new government dominated by allies of Iranian-backed Hezbollah, which is likely to cause alarm among Western powers. Mikati was appointed to form a government after Hezbollah and its allies toppled Western-backed former premier Saad al-Hariri's coalition in January over a dispute involving the United Nations backed tribunal investigating the assassination of statesman Rafik al-Hariri, Saad's father. "Let us go to work immediately according to the principles and basis that we have affirmed our commitment to several times, namely ... defending Lebanon's sovereignty and its independence and liberating land that remains under the occupation of the Israeli enemy," Mikati said at the Baabda Presidential Palace. Political wrangling had held up the formation of the cabinet, including disagreements over sensitive posts  [More>>haaretz.com]

6.13.11 US intercepts North Koeran ship carrying missiles to Burma

SEOUL, South Korea, June 13 -
The US Navy intercepted a North Korean ship suspected of carrying missiles to Burma, forcing it to return to the rogue nuclear state, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported Monday. The vessel, The Light, was Sunday reported to have returned to North Korea after drifting in international waters. Gary Samore, the special assistant to President Barack Obama for arms control and weapons of mass destruction, said the US suspected that the vessel was heading to Burma to deliver military equipment such as small arms and missile-related items, according to the report. "We talked directly to the North Koreans. We talked directly to all the Southeast Asian countries, including Myanmar [Burma], urging them to inspect the ship if it called into their port," Samore said. "The US Navy also contacted the North Korean ship as it was sailing to ask them where they were going and what cargo they were carrying." North Korea has been accused of repeatedly flouting international sanctions to deliver arms and possibly nuclear material to other pariah states, such as Burma and Iran. [>foxnews.com]

6.12.11 Iraq says US congressman, delegation not welcome in country

BAGHDAD, June 12 - The US Embassy in Iraq is distancing itself from statements made by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher that led to a government spokesman saying the congressman and his delegation are not welcome in the country. Embassy spokesman David Ranz issued a statement Saturday saying "congressional visitors do not necessarily express the views of the US administration or even a majority of Congress. The visitors this weekend made that clear in their remarks." In widely reported statements after a meeting Friday with Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, the California Republican said he informed the Iraqi leader that his House committee is investigating the killing of Iranian exiles by Iraqi forces. Rohrabacher, the chairman of the Oversight and Investigation Subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, also told reporters during a news conference at the embassy in Baghdad that he suggested Iraq repay some of the cost of the war. "Once Iraq becomes a very rich and prosperous country ... we would hope that some consideration be given to repaying the United States some of the mega-dollars that we have spent here in the last eight years," said Rohrabacher, according to the Agence France-Presse news agency. [More>>cnn.com]

6.12.11 Afghanistan, Pakistan to target Taliban hideouts

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) June 12 -
Afghan officials say Pakistan has agreed in principle to target and eliminate the hideouts of Taliban fighters and other insurgents who refuse to take part in hoped-for peace talks. Presidential spokesman Waheed Omar offered no details Sunday of how the two countries will cooperate. Many Taliban fighters use Pakistan's tribal areas a launching pad for attacks on Western troops in neighboring Afghanistan. Omar and other Afghan officials said they expect "tactical results" from Pakistan in the coming months, but gave no concrete indication of when or how Islamabad will confront the insurgents. Officials also said the planned Afghan peace talks remain open to any insurgent group willing to give up violence. So far, there have been no substantive talks with any insurgent groups. [>foxnews.com]

6.11.11 Rebels back with vengeance at key oil port near Tripoli

June 12 - Libyan rebels battled their way back into a major oil port just 30 miles (50 kilometers) west of Tripoli on Saturday, forcing Muammar Gaddafi's troops to close the vital coast highway and key supply route from Tunisia.  The renewed rebel offensive marked a significant rebound for opposition forces who were crushed and driven out of the city nearly three months ago. Rebels first took Zawiya in early March, but were brutally expelled less than two weeks later in an assault by members of an elite brigade commanded by Colonel Gaddafi's son Khamis. That had left rebels with only tenuous footholds in Libya’s far west. On Saturday, Guma el-Gamaty, a London-based spokesman for the rebels political leadership council, said opposition fighters had taken control of a large area on the western side of the city. A rebel fighter who fled Zawiya at the end of March said “there are clashes inside Zawiya itself.” The rebel, who identified himself only as Kamal, said “the fighters are back in the city,” and that he had spoken with them. [More>>alarabiya.net]

6.12.11 Ash cloud from Chile volcano grounds flights in Australia, New Zealand

WELLINGTON, New Zealand, June 12 -
Dozens of flights were canceled Sunday after an ash cloud from an erupting volcano in Chile drifted thousands of miles over the Atlantic and Indian oceans. Thousands of passengers in Australia and New Zealand were affected. Australia's national carrier, Qantas Airways, canceled 56 flights, including all operations out of Melbourne and the New Zealand hub of Auckland as the dust cloud from Chile's Cordon Caulle volcano spread across the atmosphere. The drifting clouds of fine grit can severely damage airplane engines. Virgin Australia later announced it was suspending 34 domestic flights and one international one from Melbourne on Sunday evening. [More>>msnbc.msn.com]

6.12.11 Diplomat: Over 4,300 Syrian refugees flee into Turkey

AMMAN, Jordan (Reuters) June 12 -
Syrian tanks, helicopters storm border town; estimates of number of refugees reach 10,000; diplomat says Syria implementing   "scorched earth policy " ; resident: Reports of army casualties actually mutinous troops. Syrian tanks and helicopters stormed the town of Jisr al-Shughour on Sunday, residents said, and state television reported heavy clashes between army troops and gunmen opposed to Syrian President Bashar Assad. A senior Turkish diplomat said 4,300 Syrian refugees had crossed the border and were being cared for in hospitals and camps, but a Western diplomat said the number was higher and witnesses said some 10,000 were sheltering near the border. The assault on Jisr al-Shughour, astride a strategic road in northwest Syria, is the latest action by the armed forces to crush demands for political freedom and an end to oppression that pose an unprecedented challenge to Assad's 11-year rule. Residents said earlier that most civilians had fled the town towards the Turkish border about 20 kilometers away and tanks and helicopters were shelling and machinegunning the town. "Heavy confrontations are raging between army units and members of armed organizations taking up positions in the surroundings of Jisr al-Shughour and inside it," state television said. Army units defused bombs and explosive charges planted by gunmen on bridges and roads into the town, it said. "Two members of the armed organizations were killed, large numbers of them arrested, and lethal weapons in their possession were seized." Damascus has banned most foreign correspondents from the country, making it difficult to verify accounts of events. [More>>jpost.com]

6.12.11 Pakistan: fatal explosions in Peshawar, Pakistan

June 12 - At least 34 people have been killed and another 100 injured after two explosions ripped through a busy market area. Two explosions ripped through a busy market in Pakistan's volatile northwestern city of Peshawar, killing at least 34 people and injuring nearly 100. Police said that the first blast was relatively small and drew rescue workers to the site before a larger explosion rocked the market area a few minutes later causing scores of casualties. Jamal Khan, a 22-year-old student who was rushing to the scene as the second blast occurred, said: "The explosion was so huge I will never forget it all my life. It was deafening, and then there was a cloud of dust and smoke. When the dust settled, I saw people crying for help and body parts scattered everywhere." No group claimed immediate responsibility for the bombing, but the Pakistani Taliban have pledged to carry out attacks in retaliation for the American special forces raid that killed Osama bin Laden in an army town outside Islamabad last month.  Initial reports indicated the second blast in Peshawar was caused by explosives placed in a vehicle and detonated by remote control, said Dost Mohammed, a senior local police official. The source of the first explosion was unknown. The attack took place across the street from the offices of the top political agent to Khyber, part of Pakistan's volatile tribal region, and a short distance from army housing units. Peshawar borders the tribal region and has been repeatedly hit by bombings over the past few years.  [More>>guardian.co.uk; See also

timesofindia.indiatimes.com, June 12, "Blasts kill 34 in Pakistan, as CIA chief visits" :
PESHAWAR - Two explosions went off minutes apart in the northwest Pakistani city of Peshawar on Sunday, killing 34 people and injuring nearly 100 in one of the deadliest attacks since the US raid that killed Osama bin Laden last month, officials said. The blasts, one of which was caused by a suicide bomber, occurred just after midnight in an area of the city that is home to political offices and army housing...

6.11.11 US slams 'brutality' as regime deploys helicopter gunships

(AFP) June 11 - The US condemned the "outrageous use of violence" by the regime against protesters Saturday, and stepped up pressure on the president to step down after troops backed by helicopters killed dozens of protesters on Friday. Syrian forces backed by helicopters killed dozens of pro-democracy protesters Friday, as the United States stepped up pressure on President Bashar al-Assad to step down. The latest deaths came as security forces launched a long-feared crackdown in the northwest flashpoint town of Jisr al-Shughur near the border with Turkey.  Protesters poured on to the streets of towns and cities across the country after the weekly Muslim main prayers, many chanting slogans against Assad and in support of Jisr al-Shughur residents.

Security forces shot dead at least 25 anti-regime protesters, including 11 in the northwest, while in Maaret al-Numan in Idlib province, they fired on a large crowd and killed at least 11 people, activists said. Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, reported that helicopters flying over Maaret al-Numan had fired on a police station which protesters had seized from the security forces. State television reported that "armed terrorists" had opened fire there, killing and wounding members of the police and security forces. Nine people were also killed in the port of Latakia, Abdel Rahman added; and another two died in the Bosra al-Harir area of southern Daraa province, the focus of pro-democracy protests that have shaken Syria since mid-March. [More>>france24.com]

6.11.11 Clocks in Sicily inexplicably run ahead

MOSCOW (RIA Novosti) June 11 - 
For over a week digital clocks and watches in Sicily are complicating their owners by running more than 15 minutes fast, local media said. The mysterious time changes caught the attention of two young locals, who set up a Facebook page calling for those affected to come forward. One of the young men, Francesco Nicosia, told French online magazine Rue89 "I realized something was wrong when I started getting to work earlier. After some investigation I noticed that I wasn't the only one who was on time, which is quite rare here in Sicily." Explanations involving aliens, poltergeists, volcanic activity on Mount Etna and solar explosions have been put forward. Among the most credible explanations is electrical disturbance caused by underwater cables. [>en.rian.ru]

6.11.11 A summer firepot, a 'safe' label, and two life-altering explosions

June 11 -
They said it was like napalm: it exploded in a flash, stuck to skin and clothing, and refused to stop burning. A 14-year-old Long Island boy is fighting for his life after he was slathered with blazing, jellylike citronella fuel on May 28, when his cousin tried to light a ceramic firepot to prepare for a backyard wedding reception, but the quart bottle of fuel he was pouring instead burst into flames. In Manhattan, a 24-year-old man has been on and off a ventilator after an almost identical blaze nearly killed him and badly wounded his best friend on June 3 as they were relaxing on the friend’s terrace. The two accidents, less than a week apart, involved the same product: a gel fuel for ceramic firepots, scented with citronella to ward off insects on hot summer nights, and purchased from Bed Bath & Beyond. The fuel is marketed by the retailer as FireGel, "the Safe Pourable Gel."

But survivors and witnesses to the two blazes likened it to a Molotov cocktail without so much as a wick. "It’s just like gasoline in a bottle," said Nancy Reyer, a single mother whose only child, Michael Hubbard, has been clinging to life in a hospital in Stony Brook on Long Island for nearly two weeks. "Watching my son just go up in flames like a tree — it just devastates me. I can’t get that image out of my mind." Relatives of the victims, and one survivor of the two local blazes, said the products came with understated warnings that gave no sense of how dangerous they could be to operate safely, and called for a recall or a ban. [More>>nytimes.com]

6.11.11 Al-Qaeda leader in Africa killed by Somali police

(Reuters) June 11 - Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, one of Africa's most wanted al-Qaeda operatives, was killed by police at a checkpoint in Mogadishu, Somali security official says.  Somali police said on Saturday that Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, one of Africa's most wanted al-Qaeda operatives, was killed in the capital of the Horn of Africa country earlier this week. "We have confirmed he was killed by our police at a control checkpoint this week," Halima Aden, a senior national security officer, told Reuters in Mogadishu. "He had a fake South African passport and of course other documents. After thorough investigation, we confirmed it was him, and then we buried his corpse." Aden said. [>harretz.com; See more details,

bbc.co.uk, June 11, "East Africa embassy bomber Fazul Abdullah killed":
Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, suspected of having played a key role in the 1998 US embassy bombings in East Africa, has been killed in Somalia, officials say. Unconfirmed reports say Abdullah and another man were shot dead by Somali government troops early on Wednesday at a roadblock in the capital, Mogadishu. DNA tests are believed to be under way to confirm the dead men's identities. Abdullah became the most wanted man in Africa after more than 220 were killed and 5,000 hurt in the 1998 attacks. The US FBI put a $5m bounty on his head.

...Born in the Comoros islands in the early 1970s, Abdullah is believed to have joined al-Qaeda in Afghanistan during the 1990s. After the bombings of the US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in 1998, which killed 224 people, the US accused him of involvement and issued a $5m reward for information leading to capture. In 2002, Abdullah was believed to have been put in charge of al-Qaeda operations in East Africa. That year, he was blamed for the bombing of a beach resort in Kenya, which left 13 people dead, and an attempt to shoot down an Israeli passenger aircraft. In 2007, he survived a US air strike on the southern Somali coastal village of Hayo, near the town of Ras Kamboni. In recent years, Abdullah is thought to have fought alongside members of the Somali Islamist militant group, al-Shabab, which declared allegiance to al-Qaeda in 2010...

6.11.11 21 Qaeda suspects, 10 troops killed in south Yemen

SANAA, Yemen (AFP) June 11 -
Ten Yemeni soldiers and 21 suspected Al-Qaeda militants were killed in clashes in south Yemen on Saturday, the defense ministry said on its news website. Fierce clashes erupted in the city of Zinjibar, in Abyan province, between gunmen who have seized control of most of the city and besieged troops from the 25th mechanized brigade, a military official said on 26Sep.net website. "Eighteen terrorists were killed and dozens wounded when gunmen attacked the base of the brigade,” the official said, adding that “nine soldiers fell martyrs." Meanwhile, the official said three "al-Qaeda terrorists" were killed and 10 others wounded, while a soldier was killed and three wounded when gunmen ambushed a military convoy near Loder, also in Abyan. A military official had earlier said that six soldiers were killed and seven civilians wounded in the ambush.  [>khaleejtimes.com]

6.11.11 Fighting erupts in Libyan city of Zlitan as cracks appear among NATO allies

June 11 -
Heavy fighting between troops loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and rebels broke out in a city just 160 kilometers (99 miles) east of Tripoli, potentially opening the coastal road to the capital, just as cracks appeared among NATO allies. Heavy fighting between troops loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and rebels broke out in a city just 160 kilometers (99 miles) east of Tripoli, potentially opening the coastal road to the capital, just as cracks appeared among NATO allies. Colonel Qaddafi’s forces also shelled for the first time the world heritage-listed city of Gadamis, some 600 kilometers (373 miles) southwest of the capital on the Tunisia and Algerian border, opening a new front in the five-month long civil war. With diplomacy stalling, rebels said fighting was erupting on new fronts.

Ahmed Bani, a military spokesman in Benghazi, told Reuters clashes had broken out in Zlitan on Thursday and resumed on Friday with Gaddafi forces killing 22 rebels. Zlitan is one of three towns that are under government control between the rebel-held Misrata and the capital and were it to fall could act as a stepping stone to allow the anti-Gaddafi uprising to spread from Misrata, the biggest rebel outpost in western Libya, to Colonel Gaddafi's stronghold in Tripoli. "Large numbers of troops are surrounding Zlitan from all directions and are threatening its residents with having their women raped by mercenaries if they do not surrender," Mr. Bani said, adding the rebels controlled parts of the city. [More>>alarabiya.net]

6.11.11 Karzai seeks Pakistani help to fight Taliban

June 11 -
Afghan president says Islamabad's help in combating "extremism and terrorism" can restore stability in region.  Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, has called on Pakistan to fight the challenges posed by Taliban and other armed groups to ensure peace and stability in the region. On a two-day visit to Pakistan, Karzai met the Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Saturday and discussed a range of issues including the fight against the Taliban. He earlier met his Pakistani counterpart, Asif Ali Zardari, in Islamabad. "The brotherly role of Pakistan ... together with us in defeating extremism and terrorism and working with us to bring stability in both countries would go a long way," Karzai told reporters after meeting Zardari. "As far as Pakistan is concerned, we categorically said that Pakistan wants a peaceful, stable Afghanistan and we are ready to facilitate any Afghan-led, Afghan-owned process of reconciliation and peace," Tehmina Janjua, a Pakistani foreign ministry spokeswoman, said. During Karzai's meeting with Gilani, both leaders emphasized on the need to improve partnerships between the two neighbors. The Pakistani prime minister talked of special economic and industrial zones in the troubled region between the two countries. "We call upon investors and friendly countries to come forward and invest in these and similar other projects. These will be an investment in peace," Gilani said. [More>>aljazeera.net]

6.11.11 Ahmadiya community fit to be killed, says pamphlets in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD, June 11 -
Pamphlets branding members of the minority Ahmadiya community as "wajib-ul-qatl" (fit to be killed) and inciting people to attack them are being openly circulated in Pakistan's textile industry hub of Faisalabad, according to a media report.  The pamphlets list the names of several Ahmadiya industrialists, doctors and businesses.  The first name is that of a cloth house, three owners of which were gunned down in a brazen attack last year, The Express Tribune newspaper reported.  The pamphlets were issued by the All Pakistan Students Khatm-e-Nubuwat Federation and are being circulated at main shopping plazas and important commercial centers of the city in Punjab province.  "To shoot such people is an act of jihad and to kill such people is an act of sawab (blessing)," the pamphlets say.  The Umoor-e-Aama Jama'at Ahmadiyya of Faisalabad, a group representing the community, reacted to the distribution of such literature by saying that the propaganda campaign is being "carried out unhindered by some fanatic religious groups under the patronage of law enforcing agencies and the provincial government." The Jama'at blamed the Punjab government for ignoring several protests lodged by the province's Ahmadiya community.  It said religious fanatics are being encouraged by inaction on the part of government agencies. [>timesofindia.indiatimes.com]

6.11.11 Bomb explosions kill 20 in Afghanistan

June 11 - A series of
of bombs and explosions killed 20 people in Afghanistan's southern and eastern flashpoints today, among them at least eight children and four women, government officials said. In the deadliest attack, a vehicle hit a mine in Arghandab district of the southern province of Kandahar, one of the main battlegrounds in the nearly 10-year Taliban-led insurgency against the Kabul government and NATO troops. "Today at 10am, 15 civilians were killed, including eight children, four women and three men," the ministry said. One woman was also wounded in the explosion, it added. Mines and crudely made bombs planted on the side of the road are trademark tactics of the Taliban and other Islamist insurgents fighting to bring down the Western-backed government and evict US-led foreign troops. Intended to target Afghan and NATO security forces, the bombs often kill and maim civilians, by the far the most numerous victims in the war. The UN said last year was the deadliest for civilians in nearly a decade of conflict in Afghanistan, with 2777 reported dead, largely at the hands of insurgents but also as a result of NATO military operations. [More>>news.com.au]

6.11.11 Officials: 10 killed in separate attacks in Iraq

BAGHDAD (AP) June 11 -
Twin car bombings in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul and an attack by eight gunmen on the home of a school teacher in the center of the country left at least 10 people dead, government officials said on Saturday. Violence is raking Iraq as the Shiite-led government and other political factions are debating a request for some American forces to remain in the country beyond the Dec. 31 deadline for all U.S. troops to withdraw after more than eight years. While violence is well below what it had been during intense Shiite-Sunni sectarian fighting in 2006 and 2007, militants are again stepping up deadly attacks around the country. That has led to concerns about what happens when the 47,000 U.S. troops still in the country are withdrawn. Police and hospital officials in Mosul said two car bombs exploded in quick succession, killing six people. At least one of the bombs seemed aimed at a police patrol. Mosul is Iraq's third largest city, 225 miles northwest of Baghdad. It has been one of the most stubborn insurgent strongholds. [More>>foxnews.com]

6.10.11 China official: It's too late, US already 'defaulting'

June 10 - As lawmakers scramble to cut a budget deal and avoid defaulting on U.S. debt, the head of a top Chinese rating agency claims it's too late.  Guan Jianzhong, president of Dagong Global Credit Rating Co. Ltd., reportedly told state media that the United States has already defaulted by letting the US dollar weaken. "In our opinion, the United States has already been defaulting," Guan was quoted as saying, according to AFP.  China, likewise, has long come under criticism for allowing its currency to weaken. But while Dagong Global is known for being tough on the US, Guan's words carry extra sting as they follow warnings from three top rating agencies about US finances.  Fitch is the latest to warn the US that its sterling credit rating could be at risk if it fails to raise its $14.3 trillion debt ceiling or fails to rein in its long-term deficits. Moody's and Standard & Poor's have already issued similar warnings.  Meanwhile, lawmakers and White House officials are stepping up the pace of budget negotiations as they try to reach a deal that will persuade Congress to lift the debt  ceiling by Aug. 2 -- the deadline Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner has given lawmakers. After that date, Geithner warns, he would run out of ways to avoid a devastating default on US obligations.  Some Republicans, while wanting to avoid default, claim the administration could extend that deadline further by making severe and immediate spending cuts elsewhere. [>foxnews.com]

6.10.11 100,000 protesters hit the streets in Yemen

SANAA, Yemen (AP) June 10 -
Biggest rally since President Saleh left the country after he was wounded in palace attack. Nearly 100,000 Yemenis protested Friday in a main square of the capital, demanding the president's ouster in the biggest rally since Ali Abdullah Saleh left for Saudi Arabia after he was wounded in an attack on his palace. Saleh's evacuation for medical treatment has thrown Yemen into a dangerous political standoff, with opponents insisting he now be pushed completely out of power and his allies seeking to preserve his rule. Saleh was wounded in a blast that hit a mosque where he was praying in his presidential palace on June 3. Badly burned, Saleh was rushed to Saudi Arabia for treatment along with a number of top officials from his regime who also were wounded in the blast. But the president's allies say he could return within days and have been resisting US and Saudi pressure to start now on a handover of power.

Saleh, who has ruled for nearly 33 years, has held out against a wave of daily protests since late January demanding his removal, throwing the country into turmoil. Before he was wounded, opposition tribesmen rose up and battled for two weeks with government forces in fighting that shook the capital.The United States fears that the impoverished country's power vacuum will give even freer rein to al-Qaeda's branch in Yemen, which Washington believes is the terror network's most active franchise. Already, Islamic militants — some suspected of ties to al-Qaeda — have taken control of at least two areas in the restive south, a provincial capital Zinjibar and a nearby town Jaar. On Friday morning, warplanes hit militant positions north of Jaar, witnesses and security officials said. They said there were casualties but the number was not known. The night before, troops shelled other militant positions near the town with artillery, killing at least six militants, according to medical officials. The medical and security officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the press. [More>>msnbc.msn.com]

6.10.11 'Iran caught 10 times trying to send arms to terrorists'

June 10 - 'Jerusalem Post' obtains report submitted to UNSC detailing Iran's arms smuggling to Hamas, Taliban; reveals regime's clandestine missile tests.' Iran has been caught red-handed in 10 different attempts in recent years to transfer weaponry to terrorists throughout the Middle East, including a recent case, in April, when a shipment of advanced missiles was caught en-route to Taliban forces in Afghanistan, according to a United Nations report obtained Thursday by The Jerusalem Post. The report was submitted three weeks ago to the Security Council by a UN group of experts that monitors compliance with UN sanctions imposed on Iran. The report was leaked to the Internet and obtained by a number of leading Israeli defense analysts. The report documents all 10 cases of arms smuggling, including the case of the Victoria cargo ship, which was stopped by the Israel Navy earlier this year carrying arms for Hamas. In the most recent case cited, British forces in Afghanistan found a weapons shipment of advanced Iranian-made anti-ship missiles and 122 mm. rockets en route to Taliban forces in Afghanistan. In March, Turkish authorities stopped an Iranian cargo plane bound for Syria. At the time, Turkey tried to downplay the news, but the UN report reveals that authorities discovered dozens of AK-47 assault rifles and close to 2,000 mortar shells. The report confirms that the arms originated in Iran and were supplied by the Revolutionary Guard Corps. The report further reveals that Iran test fired two of its most advanced long-range missiles  the Shihab 3 and the Sajil in February. [More>>jpost.com]

6.10.11 Syrian troops raid flashpoint town, US slams 'slaughter'

DAMASCUS (AFP) June 10 -
"Troops on Friday launched a long-feared crackdown in Jisr al-Shughur, as thousands of pro-democracy protesters took to the streets across Syria and the US slammed the "slaughter of innocent lives." "Army units have started their mission to control Jisr al-Shughur and neighboring villages and arrest the armed gangs," state television said, adding that the raid on the northwestern town had been launched "at the request of residents. One witness told AFP that “military forces bombarded the villages around Jisr al-Shughur in their advance on the town.” "Soldiers torched wheat fields in the village of Al-Ziyara," 15 kilometres (nine miles) southeast of Jisr al-Shughur, he said. Rights activists said that most of the 50,000 inhabitants of Jisr al-Shughur had fled many to neighboring Turkey when tanks and troops began midweek converging on the northwestern town and that it was now largely deserted. Syrian state television blamed "armed terrorist gangs" on Wednesday as it ran images of the "massacres" in Jisr al-Shughur which it said had resulted in the deaths of 120 police and troops on Monday. But opposition activists say the deaths resulted from a mutiny by troops who refused orders to crack down on protesters. [More>>khaleejtimes.com; See related story,

haaretz.com (AP) June 10, "Turkey PM: Syria's crackdown on protests is 'savegery' "
Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan suggests that Turkey could support a UN Security Council decision against Syria. Turkey's prime minister has described Syria's crackdown on protesters as "savagery" and accused Syrian President Bashar Assad of taking the situation "too lightly." Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in an interview on ATV television late Thursday that some images coming out of Syria were "unpalatable" and suggested Turkey could support a UN Security Council decision against Syria...

6.10.11 Laden files give new focus to war on terror

Everyone Osama bin Laden ever wrote to, spoke to or even mentioned in the volumes of correspondence seized from his Pakistan hideout is under new scrutiny, American officials say.  Surveillance has been stepped up on possible terrorist targets around the world, as intelligence experts near the end of decrypting and translating material seized from the bin Laden compound.  The trove of material has helped fill in the blanks on how known al-Qaeda operatives work and think, and where they fit in the organization. The CIA and other US counterterror agencies have sharpened their focus on some midlevel members of the group who they now believe may be more important than originally thought, after reading their exchanges with their fallen leader. The al-Qaeda terrorists are keenly aware the United States is watching, and one official said at least two changed travel plans to avoid becoming the target of another Navy SEAL raid or any such counter-terrorism op. The increased surveillance is the result of five weeks of round-the-clock work by a CIA-led team of data analysts, cyber experts and translators. [>timesofindia.indiatimes.com]

6.10.11 Germany directly links bean sprouts and deadly E.coli

(AFP) June 10 - 
German authorities on Friday identified bean sprouts grown in Lower Saxony as a direct source of an E.coli outbreak that has killed at least 31 people and cost European farmers millions in lost sales. Germany Friday said it had found the first direct evidence of killer bacteria in sprouts grown on a north German farm believed to be responsible for contamination that left 31 dead and 3,000 ill. The discovery was made in a packet of vegetable sprouts in the garbage can of two sick people living in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia, the regional consumer affairs ministry announced. This is "the first time an unbroken chain of evidence" has been found linking the bacteria to the farm, the ministry said. The farm, in the Lower Saxony village of Bienenbuettel, has been ordered closed and all its products recalled. [More>>france24.com]

6.10.11 Mexico drugs war: Corruption grows on US border

June 10 -
Mexican drug cartels are increasingly targeting American border guards and customs agents with bribes and sexual favors, a US security official says. Charles Edwards of the US Department of Homeland Security told a Senate committee the cartels were using what he called systematic corruption to smuggle drugs and migrants into the US. He said the cartels were also seeking tip-offs about police investigations. Another official said 127 US agents had been arrested or tried since 2004. Alan Bersin, the US customs and border protection commissioner, said Mexico's offensive against the cartels combined with the rise in the hiring of border agents in recent years has multiplied the risks of corruption. Mr. Edwards named the Zetas cartel as being involved increasingly in systematic corruption. It came in the form of monetary bribes, sexual favors and other methods to encourage border agents to assist drug traffickers, those involved in smuggling undocumented immigrants, or to ignore their activity, he said. [More>>bbc.co.uk]

6.08.11 Brilliant solar flare filmed by NASA

June 8 -
A solar flare, which scientists warn could cause radio blackouts and produce spectacular displays of the northern lights, has been filmed by NASA. [Seetelegraph.co.uk video]

6.08.11 Syria: Massacre feared after army mutiny

June 8 - There are fears Syrian security forces are planning a massacre of anti-regime protesters following an army mutiny in the town of Jisr al Shughur. Activists say elite Syrian forces are heading for the town. Turkey says it is preparing for a mass influx of refugees. Mustafa Osso says witnesses told him that long lines of tanks and thousands of troops were on the move towards Jisr al Shughour on Wednesday. Mr. Osso, who is inside Syria, says many of the troops are from the army's 4th Division, which is commanded by President Bashar al Assad's younger brother, Maher. Britain and France are pushing for a new UN Security Council resolution condemning the Assad regime's brutal crackdown on protests. Syria's draconian media blockade means it is impossible to know for sure what happened in the town in the northwest of Syria.State media has said 120 soldiers were ambushed and killed by armed gangs. More>>news.sky.com]

6.08.11 22 militants killed in US drone strikes in Pakistan tribal belt

ISLAMABAD, June 8 -  Stepping up missile strikes against terrorists in Pakistan's restive tribal belt, US drones targeted an insurgent training camp and a vehicle in North Waziristan on Wednesday, killing at least 22 militants and injuring several others. In the first attack, the drones fired four missiles at a compound being used as a militant training camp in Shawal area of North Waziristan tribal agency, officials were quoted as saying by TV news channels.  Eighteen militants were killed and the compound was destroyed in the attack. Local residents said more persons could be buried in the rubble of the compound. A drone targeted a car in the second attack, killing four militants.  Both attacks, in which several militants were also injured, occurred within minutes of each other. [>timesofindia.indiatimes.com ; See other details, khaleejtimes.com (Reuters)June 7, "Suspected US missile strike kills 22 in Pakistan."]

6.08.11 Radical Muslim cleric's Pentagon lunch: Top DOD lawyers, executive director of CAIR invited

June 8 -
The Pentagon's top lawyers and the executive director of controversial Muslim group Council of American Islamic Relations were invited to lunch with radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki on Feb. 5, 2002, as part of the Defense Department's outreach to moderate Muslims, according to new documents obtained exclusively by the Fox News Specials Unit. For the first time, Fox News is making the document available online. November 2009, a Defense Department employee came forward to tell FBI investigators that the cleric, the first American on the CIA's "kill-or-capture" list, was a guest speaker at the Pentagon five months after 9/11. The internal Defense Department email, obtained by Fox through the Freedom of Information Act, shows that more than 70 people were copied on the luncheon invitation at one of the Pentagon's executive dining rooms.

While most of the names were redacted by the defense department, citing the privacy exemption, the names that remain include Deputy General Counsel Charles Allen, former Deputy General Counsel Whit Cobb, former principal Deputy General Counsel Dan Dell'Orto, former General Counsel William Haynes, Deputy General Counsel Paul Koffsky and former deputy General Counsel Douglas Larsen.  Koffsky, Allen and Dell'Orto responded through a Defense Department spokesman who said they did not go to the lunch. In the case of Mr. Koffsky and Mr. Allen, the spokesman added "Nor do they have any recollection or specific information of who may have vouched for or recommended the cleric."  Cobb said that he did not attend the lunch. Separately, Fox News learned that Haynes believes he did not go either. There was no immediate response from Larsen, who could not be reached through a Washington, D.C., area listing. Cobb, Haynes, Dell'Orto are now attorneys in private practice. According to the email, there was at least one civilian on the guest list.

The email invitation reads: "Mr. Nihad Awad, President of the Counsel on American-Islamic Relations has also expressed interest in attending." Fox News sent questions to Awad though a spokesman at CAIR, including whether he had provided positive recommendations for Awlaki to either the FBI or the Defense Department immediately after 9/11. Fox News also asked whether Awad attended a fundraiser at UC Irvine on Sept. 9, 2001, for the defense of Jamil al-Amin who was later convicted of killing a sheriff's deputy in Atlanta Georgia. Documents show Awad provided a video message for the fundraising event and al-Awlaki went to the fundraiser. On Sept. 10 of that year, al-Awlaki, who has documented ties to three of the five Sept. 11 hijackers, flew back to Washington, landing on the morning of Sept. 11. [More>>foxnews.com]

6.07.11 Cern scientists shatter antimatter record

June 7 -
How do you store a substance which vanishes into thin air the moment it comes into contact with any material known to man, even thin air itself? That was the question vexing scientists attempting to capture antimatter, the mysterious substance that ceases to exist as soon as it encounters its nemesis, matter. Now, an international team at the Cern institute in Switzerland has managed to create 300 atoms of "antihydrogen" and stop them from collapsing into oblivion for a grand total of almost 17 minutes. That might not sound impressive to those without a PhD in particle physics, but it was 5,000 times longer than the 172 milliseconds they had previously achieved. The research, published in the journal Nature Physics, represents a landmark in one of the most potentially profound areas of science.

Antimatter, which has long been the preserve of science fiction, was created in the laboratory for the first time last November. The atoms are the opposite of normal atoms, consisting of negatively-charged protons and positively-charged electrons. If they come into contact with normal atoms they are mutually annihilated. The significance is that scientists believe matter and antimatter should have been created in equal amounts in the Big Bang, destroying each other so that nothing should have been left to form the universe. The fact we exist and that so much matter remained after this cataclysmic battle is one of the greatest scientific puzzles still to be solved.

The team at Cern have now perfected a way of using a magnetic field to hold antihydrogen, the most simple of antimatter atoms, in isolation for much longer than previously possible. This enables them to conduct far more thorough observations and experiments on the substance, the hope being that some of the biggest secrets about how we came into being will eventually be revealed. Professor Joel Fajans, a member of the team from the University of California, told i it was beneficial to keep the antimatter atoms for longer because it guaranteed they would be more stable, making it easier to analyze them with lasers beams and microwaves. He said that had the vacuum been working better it would have been feasible to maintain the atoms for as long as a couple of hours.[>independent.co.uk]

6.07.11 Yemen: Saleh 'gravely wounded' in rocket attack
June 7 -
Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh was more seriously injured in a rocket attack on his compound last week than thought, officials have told US media. Mr. Saleh suffered 40% burns and has bleeding inside his skull after Friday's attack, US officials told AP. The president is receiving treatment in Saudi Arabia after the attack on his palace in Yemen's capital, Sanaa. A senior administration official told the BBC that they were not going to comment on Mr. Saleh's health. "We're not doctors. As [the] Secretary [of State Hillary Clinton] said yesterday, we're focused here and in Sanaa on working toward a peaceful, orderly, non-violent transition, consistent with Yemen's constitution," the official said.  The country's acting leader, Vice-President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, has said Mr. Saleh intends to return within days. But analysts say that the severity of his injuries will have a direct impact on when - and if - he can come back to the strategically important country he has governed for 33 years, and on who will take power if he cannot. It was not immediately clear how severe Mr Saleh's burns and other injuries were but, on Saturday, sources close to the president told the BBC that he had second-degree burns on his chest and face, as well as a piece of shrapnel almost 7.6cm (3in) long under his heart. The president underwent surgery on Monday to remove shards of wood from his chest and treat the heavy burns on his face and chest, AP reports. [More>>bbc.co.uk]

6.07.11 NATO warplanes pound Tripoli in daylight attack

TRIPOLI, Libya, June 7  -
NATO warplanes dropped bombs in repeated low-flying raids Tuesday on targets in and around Col. Muammar el-Gaddafi's compound in their most intense daytime strikes on the Libyan capital since the aerial campaign began two months ago. What appeared to be bunker-busting bombs laid waste to an area of about two acres, leaving a smoking, twisted mass of the steel remains of six or seven buildings that had stood three to four stories high. Officials said that 10 to 15 people had died in the attack, but there was no way to verify that number. Western reporters taken to the area late in the afternoon by Libyan government handlers saw one body that had been pulled from the rubble.

The authorities identified the remains as those of a man serving as a housecleaner. "Who’s going to look after his children?" said one of the Libyan officials directing the tour, who refused to give his name. "Who is going to take revenge on Obama, Cameron and Sarkozy?" There were no signs of rescue efforts, because of the difficulties of getting heavy equipment through the rubble, the officials said. While the attack ended by mid-afternoon, NATO planes were still circling overhead, drawing nervous glances from the Libyans. But the planes seemed to be reconnaissance craft, and Western reporters had notified NATO officials of the impending tour of the destroyed area.

Among the ruined buildings was a grand reception house and accompanying V.I.P. guesthouse where the South African president, Jacob Zuma, had been received in early April on a brief diplomatic mission on behalf of the African Union. But that attempt proved fruitless, as did a second effort a week ago , because Colonel Qaddafi rejected any deal under which he would leave the country. The NATO attacks have been increasing in frequency since the second peace plan foundered. [More>>nytimes.com; See related story,france24.com, June 7, "Gaddafi vows to fight till death in surprise TV speech."]

6.07.11 Battles rage in al-Qaeda-held Yemen town, 45 dead

SANAA, Yemen (Reuters) June 7  -
At least 45 people were killed in an al-Qaeda-held town in the latest violence in Yemen and protesters took to the streets of the capital on Tuesday to demand that President Ali Abdullah Saleh stay in exile. The army said it had killed 30 Islamist militants, including a local al-Qaeda leader, in the southern town of Zinjibar. A local official said 15 soldiers had been killed in the battles for control of the town seized by militants about 10 days ago. The fighting was another symptom of instability in Yemen, whose leader left for Saudi Arabia at the weekend for surgery on wounds suffered in an attack on his palace in Sanaa. Demonstrators, who have been trying to topple Saleh for months, called a "million-man march" in Sanaa to pile pressure on him to stay away and hand over power permanently. The volatile situation in Yemen, which lies on vital oil shipping lanes, alarms Western powers and neighboring oil giant Saudi Arabia, who fear that chaos would enable the local al-Qaeda franchise to operate more freely there. They see Saleh's absence for medical treatment in Riyadh as an opportunity to ease the president out of office after nearly 33 years ruling the impoverished Arab nation. [More>>thestar.com.my]

6.07.11 Japan doubles estimate of nuclear radiation leak

TOKYO, June 7 -
Japan's government has doubled the estimate of how much radiation leaked from a tsunami-hit nuclear plant and says the damage to the reactors was greater than previously thought.  The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency says in a report that nuclear fuel inside three reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant probably melted through not only the reactor cores but also through the inner containment vessels. The report on Monday said twice as much radiation may have been released into the air as earlier thought. That would be one-fifth of the amount released at Chernobyl instead of the earlier estimate of one-tenth.  NISA said its analysis used a different method than had been employed by the plant's operator last month and is believed to "better reflect reality." [>indianexpress.com]

6.07.11 Palestinian mosque set ablaze in West Bank

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) June 7 -
Arsonists torched a West Bank mosque early Tuesday and scrawled Hebrew graffiti on one of its walls. The Palestinian mayor of el-Mughayer village said a tire was set ablaze inside the mosque in an apparent attempt to burn down the entire building.  No one claimed responsibility for the act, but suspicion fell upon Jewish settlers, both because they have carried out similar acts in the past and because the graffiti read, “Price tag, Aley Ayin.”  “Price tag” is a settler practice of attacking Palestinians in revenge for Israeli government operations against settlers. Aley Ayin is a small, unauthorized settler outpost that was evacuated by security forces last week.  Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the act, calling it “a heinous act of provocation.”  Mayor Faraj al-Nassan said villagers discovered the fire when they went to the mosque for morning prayers. Prayer rugs were burned but the fire did not spread extensively. [>khaleejtimes.com]

6.07.11 70 people accused of anti-Christian violence acquitted in Pakistan

A Pakistani anti-terrorism court on Tuesday acquitted 70 people accused of involvement in violence against the minority Christian community that left eight persons dead in Punjab province's Gojra town nearly two years ago.  The court in Faisalabad gave its verdict due to the absence of five key witnesses, who are not in Pakistan.  The 70 people were arrested on charges of attacking and setting on fire a Christian colony in Gojra in July 2009. Violence erupted at Koriaan village, part of Gojra sub-division and located 160-km from Lahore, when Muslims alleged some Christians had burnt pages of the Quran during a wedding.  The Muslims attacked a Christian colony. Over 50 houses and two churches were set ablaze or ransacked.  Police registered a case under the Anti-Terrorism Act against the suspects but none of them were convicted. Several other suspects were declared innocent during the investigation into the incident. Christian community leaders alleged the police released some of the accused because of political pressure. Reports had said that activists of the banned Sipah-e-Sahaba and Sipah-e-Muhammad were involved in the violence.  Earlier this year, Minority Affairs Minister Shahbaz Bhatti, the only Christian in the federal cabinet, was gunned down by suspected Taliban fighters in Islamabad after he opposed the controversial blasphemy law. [>indianexpress.com]

6.07.11 'UK varsities breeding ground for terrorism'

LONDON, June 7 -
British Home Secretary Theresa May has criticized universities for their alleged “complacency” in tackling radicalization and Islamic extremism on campus. In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, Theresa May said: "I think for too long there's been complacency around universities. I don't think they have been sufficiently willing to recognize what can be happening on their campuses and the radicalization that can take place. I think there is more that universities can do."  Forty universities are reported to be at "particular risk" of radicalization or recruitment on campus, according to the Daily Mail. May told the Telegraph: "They need to be prepared to stand up and say that organizations that are extreme or support extremism or have extremist speakers should not be part of their grouping."

The newspaper said the strategy would contain details of partnerships with YouTube and AOL aimed at combating extremism online, as well as moves to limit access to extremist websites from schools and public libraries. The report will also name the 25 boroughs most at risk from Islamist extremism, including areas of London, Birmingham, Leeds, Bradford and Manchester, it was reported. Among those arrested for terrorism offenses who have been linked to British universities is Umar Barouk Abdulmutallab, the so-called "underwear bomber." He was detained on Christmas Day 2009 accused of trying to blow up a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit. He had graduated from University College London, where he was also president of the Islamic Society.
[>indianexpress.com ; See related story, Maravot News, 6.03.11  London Dispatch / Ray Moseley: Outgoing Israeli envoy says UK is 'hotbed of Islamist extremism']

6.06.11 Chronic unemployment worse than Great Depression

June 6 -
The unemployed have, on average, remained unemployed longer than in the 1930s; Employers wary of job gaps in resumes. There is an unfortunate adage for the unemployed: The longer folks are out of a job, the longer it takes them to find a new one. CBS News correspondent Ben Tracy reports that the chronically unemployed face the hardest road back to recovery, and that while the jobs picture may be improving statistically on a national level, it is not for them. Tinong Nwachan, for example, has far too much time on his hands. When CBS News met the former truck driver he had been out of work for two years. "I don't really tell too many people this but I'm not ashamed or nothing, I'm homeless," Nwachan said. His day job is looking for work at a jobs center in Hollywood. He has plenty of company, including Fabian Lambrecht, who wonders when the economy's improvement will affect them. "They're saying there are more jobs. I'm just wondering where those jobs are," Lambrecht said. About 6.2 million Americans, 45.1 percent of all unemployed workers in this country, have been jobless for more than six months - a higher percentage than during the Great Depression. The bigger the gap on someone's resume, the more questions employers have. "(Employers) think: 'Oh, well, there must be something really wrong with them because they haven't gotten a job in 6 months, a year, 2 years.' But that's not necessarily the case," said Marjorie Gardner-Cruse with the Hollywood Worksource Center. The problem of course is the economy, but some industries, especially certain manufacturing jobs, are not ever expected to come back. Experts say unemployed workers need to be prepared to change careers. [More>>cbsnews.com]

6.06.11 'Designer' pill set to cut melanoma deaths by almost two-thirds

June 6 - A new era in the treatment of skin cancer was heralded by doctors yesterday as they unveiled what has been called the biggest breakthrough in 30 years. A twice-a-day pill that targets a faulty gene present in melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, has been shown to reduce the risk of death by almost two-thirds in patients with the advanced form of the disease. James Larkin of the Royal Marsden Hospital in London, the principal investigator in the UK, said: "This is a pivotal moment. Without question, the results of this trial represent a turning point in the treatment of this disease." Professor Richard Marais of the Institute of Cancer Research, who first demonstrated the importance of the gene in melanoma, said: "This is the biggest breakthrough in melanoma treatment in more than 30 years. The results demonstrate for the first time that a targeted therapy can work and will change our approach to treating this disease. It is an enormous advance in the field." The drug is the first "personalized" treatment for melanoma, designed to target cases of the disease which carry the faulty gene, called a BRAF mutation, which account for about half of all cases. As such, it marks a milestone in the transformation of cancer medicines from blunderbuss treatments for everybody to designer drugs tailored to individual cases. Melanoma has been the fastest rising cancer in the UK over the past 25 years, with more than 10,000 cases a year and 2,000 deaths. It is the second most common cancer in young adults aged 15 to 34 and affects twice as many women as men, although more men die of it. [More>>independent.co.uk]

6.06.11 Four primates in Indonesia on the brink of extinction

June 6 -
Four primates in Indonesia have been included on the list of 25 primates across the world on the brink of extinction. The four primates are the Sumatran orangutan (Pongo abelii), Siau tarsius (Tarsius tumpara), the Javan slow loris (Nycticebus javanicus) and Simakubo or pig-tailed langur (Simias concolor). ProFauna Indonesia chairman Rosek Nursahid said that the International Union for Conservation of Nature had been warning of the matter from as far back as 2000, but there had been no serious response from the government to protect the animals. "The forest, the primates’ habitat, has decreased or has been destroyed and the primates have also been hunted for illegal trade," he said. He said traders could sell a Sumatran orangutan for Rp 2 million (US$230). He has urged people not to buy primates and the government to punish the animal traders. [>thejakartapost.com]

6.06.11 Parents of captured Gilad Shalit file suit in Paris

(AFP) June 6 - The parents of Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier captured by Palestinian militants, are to file a suit in a Paris court on Monday against his kidnapping. Shalit, 24, who has French citizenship, has been held captive since 2006. The parents of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, captured by Palestinian militants in Gaza in 2006, plan to file suit in a Paris court against his kidnapping and illegal confinement, his family told AFP. The parents of Shalit, who has French citizenship, will file suit in Paris against his "kidnapping and illegal confinement," with the aggravating circumstances that he is "held hostage" and may have "suffered from acts of torture or of barbarism." The suit, to be brought by Noam and Aviva Shalit, will argue that his detention is "illegal" and that there is "no doubt" it was intentional. Shalit's father is to file the suit in the early morning. Shalit, now 24, was seized in a 2006 dawn cross-border raid by militants from three Palestinian groups, including Gaza's rulers Hamas. The Islamist group, which took control of Gaza a year after Shalit's capture, has demanded hundreds of prisoners in exchange for his release, including scores of militants responsible for deadly anti-Israeli attacks. The last sign of life received from Shalit's captors was in October 2009 when a video recording showed him looking gaunt but apparently in good health. [>france24.com]

6.06.11 Rebels 'wrest town from Gaddafi forces'

June 6 - Government said to have lost control of Yafran, in Libya's northwest, as NATO chief claims considerable progress. Reports say Libyan rebels have entered the northwestern town of Yafran, previously held by government forces, as the NATO chief says he is confident that people across Libya can start preparing for a future without Muammar Gaddafi, the country's long-time leader. Youssef Boudlal, a Reuters photographer in Yafran, on Monday said the town had been wrested by the rebels. "We are inside the town ... There is no sign of any Gaddafi forces. I can see the rebel flags ... We have seen posters and photos of Gaddafi that have been destroyed," Boudlal said. Al Jazeera's Cal Perry, reporting from the rebel stronghold of Benghazi in eastern Libya, said it was not clear what tilted the balance in the rebels' favour in Yafran. "We do not have details of what provided this breakthrough ... this is a town that has been held by Gaddafi forces since the start of the fighting," he said.

"But what we saw this morning was rebels rolling into a town just 100 miles from the capital, really on the doorstep of Gaddafi. What propelled this to happen, we still don't know. But what we do know is that the clock certainly seems to be ticking on Gaddafi. This is really the first challenge to the city of Tripoli that we have seen in about four months." The rebel advance came amid intense fighting between forces loyal to Gaddafi and rebels seeking to end his more than four-decade-long rule. It also came as Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO's secretary-general, said damaging or destroying of 1,800 military targets so far in Libya has degraded Gaddafi's power to the extent that he will certainly be forced from power. "We have made considerable progress," he said before a meeting of NATO defence ministers due to take place in Brussels. [More>>aljazeera.net ; See related story,

khaleejtimes.com (AP) June 6, "NATO steps up strikes in Libya
" :
A series of NATO airstrikes targeted sites around Tripoli early Monday as increasingly frequent attacks raised pressure on Gaddafi's regime. The overnight strikes appeared to target sites on Tripoli’s outskirts. It wasn't immediately clear what they targeted — Libyan government officials were not available for comment. They followed pounding explosions that shook Tripoli on Sunday. A NATO statement said those strikes hit missile storage areas and launchers, command and control facilities and a radar system. NATO military craft appear to be increasing the frequency of their strikes around the Libyan capital — the stronghold of Gaddafi's four-decade-old regime. That has added more pressure on a regime that is already shaken by a four-month-old rebel insurgency, as well as several defections and a naval blockade. In Brussels, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said he would use a meeting Wednesday with the alliance’s defense ministers to demand that more countries contribute to the fight against Gaddafi. He did not mention specific nations. Britain and France have been heavily involved since the mission started in March. Also Monday, two rebels were killed in fighting with Gaddafi's forces in the eastern oil town of Brega, 125 miles (200 kilometers) southwest of the de facto rebel capital of Benghazi, a medic said. Gaddafi forces fired mortars at a graveyard in the town of Ajdabiya, a frontline town in the rebel-held east...

6.06.11 Taliban insurgents killed in raid by Aussie forces and Afghan police

June 6 - Australian special forces and Afghan police have dealt a heavy blow to the Taliban by killing two of their leaders in a raid on a meeting of insurgents. One, Mullah Gul Akhund, is known to have only just returned to Oruzgan province to co-ordinate the traditional summer fighting season, the Department of Defence said. In the joint operation conducted last Wednesday, the Australian and Afghan forces rapidly closed in on the gathering in the Karmisan valley, northwest of the Australian base at Tarin Kowt in Oruzgan. Defence said Akhund, the Taliban shadow district governor for Chora, was meeting other insurgents when Afghan police and Australian troops confronted them. "The insurgent group attempted to evade capture and engaged the partnered Afghan and Australian force," Defence said in a statement.

"In the ensuing small-arms engagement, Mullah Gul Akhund was killed. While securing the area, the partnered force found and identified the body of prominent insurgent bomb-maker and tactical commander Shah Mamood." A Special Operations Task Group commanding officer, identified only as Lieutenant Colonel G, said the deaths of the two insurgent commanders would have an immediate and profound effect on the cohesiveness of the central Oruzgan insurgent network during the traditional summer fighting season. He said Akhund was a district-level insurgent commander responsible for co-ordinating several cells dispersed across central Oruzgan. "Importantly, he was a man who was wanted by Afghan authorities for ordering the assassination of government officials and tribal elders and ordering multiple attacks on coalition and Afghan forces,," he said.

"Mullah Gul Akhund is known to have played a key role in the manufacture and facilitation of improvised explosive devices, an indiscriminate weapon that continues to cause harm to many more innocent Afghans than it does (International Security Assistance Force) troops." Lieutenant Colonel G said both Akhund and Mamood had direct links to the senior insurgent leadership. During the operation the Afghan and Australian forces detained several other insurgent fighters and seized a a significant quantity of weapons including assault rifles and grenades. No Afghan or Australian troops were hurt. News of the raid emerged today as the bodies of the two Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan on May 30, Lieutenant Marcus Case and Lance Corporal Andrew Jones, are due to at Melbourne Airport for a ramp ceremony this afternoon. [>news.com.au]

6.06.11 SWA drone attacks death toll rises to 22

WANA, Pakistan, June 6 -
The death toll in three serial attacks by US predators in different areas of South Waziristan Agency (SWA) surged to 22, which also included 7 aliens. Sources said that the first attack at 2:00am in the night firing two missiles on a house killed three persons and wounded two. The second was on a Madressa at 6:00am in the morning resulting in the death of 4 persons and three injured, while 10 more bodies were retrieved from the debris of the smashed house, which has taken the death toll in the two attacks to 17, which also included 7 foreigners, sources said. The third attack followed today at 11:15am, when the drone once again targeted a vehicle at a place called Shawal on the border of South and North Waziristan, which left 5 dead, thus surging the total in three drone sorties to 2. [>thenews.com.pk ; See more details,

timesofindia.indiatimes.com, June 6, "US missile strike kills 18 militants in Pakistan"
PESHAWAR, PAKISTAN - US missiles killed 18 militants in Pakistan's tribal district of South Waziristan on Monday, destroying compounds and a vehicle in the deadliest drone strikes for months, officials said.  Three strikes were reported just days after Pakistani officials said they believed senior al-Qaeda commander Ilyas Kashmiri had died in a similar attack late Friday, also in South Waziristan which borders Afghanistan.  Washington has called Pakistan's semi-autonomous northwest tribal region the most dangerous place on Earth and the global headquarters of al-Qaeda. Taliban and other al-Qaeda-linked networks have carved out strongholds there. The first strike killed seven militants in the early hours in Shalam Raghzai, 10 kilometres (six miles) northwest of Wana, the district's main town.  A second slammed two missiles into a compound in Wacha Dana, 12 kilometres northwest of Wana, killing eight militants, Pakistani officials said. 

The third struck the Bray Nishtar area, which lies on the border with North Waziristan at 10:45am (0545 GMT), about 30 kilometres from the site of the other two raids and about eight hours later...
One of the demolished compounds was near a madrassa and just south of the Ghwakhwa area, where Kashmiri, one of al-Qaeda's most feared operational leaders, was reportedly killed days earlier.  Kashmiri has a US bounty of $5 million on his head. Pakistani officials said he was the target of a Friday drone strike in which nine members of his outlawed Harakat-ul-Jihad al-Islam (HuJI) group died...Monday's attacks bring to 12 the number of strikes reported in Pakistan's tribal areas since US commandos killed al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden in a raid in the garrison city of Abbottabad on May 2...
On Sunday, at least 24 people were killed in two separate bombings in the northwest -- the first at a bus terminal near the city of Peshawar  killing six people and the second killing 18 at a bakery in the garrison town of Nowshera...

6.06.11 'Pakistan fits into US standard of State Sponsors of Terrorism'

WASHINGTON, June 6  - With more evidence emerging about Pakistani establishment's close links with terror groups, the country fits into US standard of State Sponsors of Terrorism (SST) criteria in more than one way which have been designated under this category so far.  The revelations during the ongoing trial of 26/11 suspect Tahawwur Hussein Rana in a Chicago court this past fortnight, and the information that has become public in the aftermath of the killing of Osama bin Laden in a safe house near Islamabad, has provided more evidence than ever to declare Pakistan as SST by the United States, well-informed sources said.  According to the US, State sponsors of terrorism provide critical support to many non-state terrorist groups.  Without state sponsors, these groups would have greater difficulty obtaining the funds, weapons, materials, and secure areas they require to plan and conduct operations.

Till [this] date, the US has designated four countries - Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria - as SST for several reasons, including providing physical safe haven and ideological support to members of terrorist organizations that are designated as Foreign Terrorist Organizations by the US (Cuba, Syria, Iran) and for continuing to permit US fugitives to live legally (Cuba).  The US has also declared them SST for being principal supporter of groups that are implacably opposed to the Middle East Peace Process (Iran), provided weapons, training, and funding to terrorist organizations (Iran), unwilling to bring to justice senior al-Qaeda members (Iran) and the existence of foreign fighter facilitation networks (Syria).  Pakistan provides physical safe haven and ideological support to members of terrorist organizations that are designated as Foreign Terrorist Organization by the US (Lashkar-e-Taiba, Hizbul Mujahideen etc); and for continuing to permit US fugitives and terrorists designated by the UN to live in the country (Osama bin Laden, Dawood Ibrahim etc). [>indianexpress.com]

6.06.11 Violence in Baghdad and central Iraq leaves 21 killed, including five US troops

(AFP), June 6 -
Violence in Iraq left 21 people killed on Monday, including five American soldiers. It is the deadliest day for US troops there in more than two years, with just months to go before all US forces must withdraw from Iraq completely The US military did not give details on how the soldiers died, but an Iraqi interior ministry official and an Iraqi police officer said five rockets struck the sprawling American Camp Victory base on Baghdad’s outskirts. "Five US service members were killed Monday in central Iraq," a US army statement said, without giving further details. Captain Dan Churchill, a US military spokesman, declined to give details on how the soldiers died. The Iraqi officials both said the bodies of two apparent insurgents were found outside the American base, badly burned from two rockets having exploded inside their vehicle. Both officials said five rockets hit Camp Victory. [More>>alarabiya.net]

6.05.11 Al-Qaeda commander 'killed by drone'

June 5  -  A US drone strike has reportedly killed Pakistan's al-Qaeda commander Ilyas Kashmiri, in what would deal a major blow to the terror network a month after Osama bin Laden's death, officials have said. The 47-year-old is one of the most feared operational commanders of the network that bin Laden founded and has been blamed for a string of high-profile attacks on Western targets, as well as in India and Pakistan. He has a maximum US bounty of $5 million on his head and Pakistani officials said he was the target of a US drone strike in South Waziristan on the Afghan border on Friday, in which nine members of his banned group died. His killing would be seen as a huge achievement in the United States after Navy SEALs killed bin Laden in Pakistan, itself feted as the greatest psychological victory over Al-Qaeda since the September 11, 2001 attacks.

A senior Pakistani security official said there were "strong indications" that Kashmiri had been killed, but that it was impossible to provide 100 per cent confirmation so soon after the attack without access to the bodies. The corpses were burnt beyond recognition and swiftly buried. Militants barred access to the site of the attack in Ghwakhwa in South Waziristan, a militant stronghold despite a sweeping Pakistani offensive in 2009. Pakistani officials said Kashmiri had been in the area for several days and that all those killed were from his Harakat-ul-Jihad al-Islam (HuJI) group. Senior security officials explained that confirmation would be difficult unless Kashmiri's family or his group officially announced his death.  "According to our reports, he was present here in this area. We have information that he has been killed but no one has seen his dead body," local administration official Naimat Ullah said. Another security official said two close associates who usually travel with Kashmiri, Amir Hamza and Mohammad Usman, were killed. [More>>news.com.au; See also,

indianexpress.com, June 5, "Taliban's Hamza killed in same drone strike that hit Kashmiri" :
The US drone strike that killed dreaded al-Qaeda-linked terrorist Ilyas Kashmiri in Pakistan's restive tribal belt has also eliminated top Taliban commander Amir Hamza. Kashmiri, a key suspect in the Mumbai attacks, and Hamza were among nine militants killed in the drone strike in Laman village, 20 km from Wana, one of the main towns of South Waziristan tribal agency on Friday night. Three other militants were injured in the attack. Witnesses reportedly saw the bodies of the militants killed in the drone strike lying in an apple orchard on Saturday morning. Local residents buried the bodies in a graveyard in the same area. Hamza, a resident of Wana, was commander of the Mullah Nazir faction of the Taliban, local reports said. Mullah Nazir has an agreement with the government and many Punjabi Taliban fighters are believed to be living in Wana and surrounding areas that are controlled by his group. The US recently gave Pakistan time till July -- the month when NATO and allied forces will begin withdrawing from Afghanistan -- to launch a military offensive in North Waziristan tribal region and capture five most wanted al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders, including Kashmiri, Mullah Omar and Ayman al-Zawahiri.  The other terrorists on the US list Sirajuddin Haqqani and Atia Abdur Rehman.  Reports have said the US and Pakistan had formed joint intelligence teams to track these terrorists. According to security sources, Kashmiri and other senior militant leaders had recently arrived in Waziristan from [the] Khyber tribal region. [end]

6.05.11 Pakistan forces gun down 26 militants

PESHAWAR, Pakistan, June 5 - Pakistani security forces killed 26 Islamist militants believed to have crossed over from Afghanistan on Saturday in the fourth day of fighting close to the border, police said, highlighting the region's instability along the frontier 10 years after the US-led invasion of Afghanistan.  Police officer Bahadur Khan said the insurgents crossed over into Upper Dir from Afghanistan's Kunar province and opened fire on troops. They returned fire, killing 26 of the attackers, he said, adding troops suffered no casualties. It was not possible to independently verify his accounts, and a militant spokesman denied early claims by police of significant casualties. Upper Dir has seen fighting since Wednesday, when dozens, possibly hundreds, of insurgents attacked a security post and killed 25 personnel and five civilians. The clashes forced many residents to flee. Although militants often target security forces, they have rarely launched such attacks from Afghanistan.  Pakistan shares a long, porous border with Afghanistan and it has asked Kabul to take steps to stop any such future attacks from there.  Pakistani intelligence officials said Friday night's drone attack in South Waziristan killed nine people, up from the figure of five reported soon after the strike. They said they were trying to identify the victims in the attack on a large compound. [More>>timesofindia.indiatimes.com]

6.05.11 Death toll mounts to 5 in Peshawar blast

PESHAWAR, June 5 - At least five people were killed and 10 others injured when explosives detonated in a passenger van in Matni, an area located in the outskirts of Peshawar, Geo News reported Sunday. According to initial reports, explosives planted in Kalakhel-bound pick up van went off, killing five passengers including a boy, girl and woman. The driver of the vehicle has been taken into custody, sources said. The sources at Lady Reading Hospital said four bodies and the injured had been brought to the facility. Two of the wounded are said to be in a critical condition.

6.05.11  Naksa Day: 6 reported dead, 12 hurt on Israel-Syria border

June 5 - Syrian television on Sunday reported that six people were killed and 10 injured along the Syria-Israel border in the Golan Heights near Majdal Shams, reportedly from IDF fire. The IDF spokesperson said that the only information it had on deaths on the border were Syrian reports and therefore, it could not confirm the number of people killed or if there were any deaths. After several hours of clashes, IDF began allowing Red Cross teams access to the Syrian border area in order to evacuate wounded protesters, Channel 10 reported. Two armed men were identified near the border fence in Kunetra, on the Syrian side of the border, the IDF Spokesman told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday afternoon. [More>>jpost.com]

6.05.11 Iran to complain to FIFA over hijab ban

TEHRAN (Xinhua) June 4  - Iran will file a complaint against the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) official, who banned the country's women football team from playing in an Olympics qualifier match, over their hijab, the English language satellite Press TV reported on Saturday. According to the report, on Friday, a FIFA official banned the Iranian women's national soccer team from playing against Jordan in the second round of the qualifiers for the 2012 London Olympic Games in the Jordanian capital city, Amman, due to their hijab cover. Hijab refers to both the head covering traditionally worn by Muslim women and modest Muslim styles of dress in general. "We have already held talks with the president of the FIFA about the participation of Iranian women in matches with full Islamic hijab," the Iranian Football Federation Chief, Ali Kaffashian, was quoted as saying on Saturday. "Unfortunately, however, I do not know why the official in charge of the matches refused to let our team play," said Kaffashian. "Therefore, we will file a complaint to FIFA against the official in charge of the games," he said according to the report. Jordan was announced to have won 3-0 after the Iranian team refused to remove their hijab, said the report. [>xinhuanet.com]

6.05.11  Bombs hit Iraq oil tanks in rare southern attack

(Reuters) June 5 - A bomb attack against an Iraqi oil storage depot set one tank ablaze on Sunday in a rare assault on strategic southern oilfields, but the country's crude exports were unaffected, Iraqi oil officials and police said. The attack underscored the complex task Iraq faces in protecting and building up its oil infrastructure as the last US troops prepare to withdraw from the OPEC country at the end of the year when a bilateral security pact finishes. Dhiya Jaffar, head of the state-run South Oil Company, told Reuters the attack set ablaze one tank at the Zubair 1 storage facility, but the explosion had not affected pumping to Al Fao port, where crude exports are dispatched. "Production has been adjusted so daily production levels and export levels are not affected. Exports are continuing at the same rate," Jaffar told Reuters An Iraqi police source said bombs targeted four tanks at the facility, but only one of the tanks hit contained crude and ignited. Another bomb hit an empty tank and bombs at two other tanks were disactivated, the police source said. [More>>khaleejtimes.com]

6.03.11 Life found 1.3 km beneath the Earth's crust

June 3 -
Scientists discovered tiny worms in deep earth where it was thought creatures could not survive, Science News reported. The discovery of the worm "Halicephalobus mephisto," and "Plectus aquatilis," found 1.3 kilometers deep in South African mines, hints that habitable environments may exist on other planets, such as Mars, according to the report.  They are the deepest-living known "multi-cellular" organism and survive up to 41 degrees Celsius and at very low level of oxygen.  Dr. Gaeton Borgonie of the University of Ghent in Belgium found them in the samples of water and soil from the South African gold mines by placing filters over the mines’ bore-holes.  The report showed that the water in which the worms were found is at least several thousands years old and the scientist believed that the animals originally lived on the surface but were washed down through the crack by rainwater. [>koreaherald.com]

6.03.11 China meets Libya rebels in latest blow to Gaddafi

RIPOLI (Reuters) June 3 -
China made its first confirmed contact with Libyan rebels in the latest diplomatic setback for Muammar Gaddafi, and France said on Friday it was working with those close to the veteran ruler to persuade him to leave power. The meeting in Qatar between a Chinese diplomat and the leader of the rebel National Transitional Council follows a spate of defections by high profile figures this week including top oil official and former prime minister Shukri Ghanem. Libyan rebels and NATO have made Gaddafi's departure a condition for agreeing a ceasefire in a conflict that has killed thousands, but he emphatically told visiting South African President Jacob Zuma this week he would not leave Libya. A NATO-led military alliance extended its mission to protect civilians in Libya for a further 90 days this week, and France said it was stepping up military pressure as well as working with those close to Gaddafi to try to convince him to quit. "He is more and more isolated," French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe Juppe told Europe 1 radio. "There have been more defections around him and we have received messages from his close entourage which has understood that he must leave power." [More>>thestar.com.my]

6.03.11  London Dispatch / Ray Moseley: Outgoing Israeli envoy says UK is 'hotbed of Islamist extremism'

LONDON, June 3 - Britain is the "hub of delegitimization of Israel" and a "hotbed of Islamist extremism." It is a "haven for disingenuous calls for a one-state solution," a euphemism for Israel’s destruction. Ron Prosor, the outgoing Israeli ambassador to the United Kingdom, has been sounding such warnings during most of his four years in London and is departing with a final blast of the trumpet, even while saying he admires Britain and its values of fair play and even-handedness. A high flyer in the Israeli diplomatic service, Mr. Prosor, 52, is leaving to become Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, where his first big task will be to confront a Palestinian move in September to persuade the General Assembly to declare Palestinian independence. In a farewell interview on BBC Radio on Friday, Ambassador Prosor emphasized what he called the “demonization” of Israel on British university campuses. He spoke on 70 campuses during his posting here and said there was not one in which he was not given a rough ride — often branded a war criminal outside meeting halls and subjected to heckling inside.  In another farewell blast, a column in the Daily Telegraph, Mr. Prosor said radical students "have hijacked the discourse from the majority" and "hard-line Arab and Muslim speakers are hosted with impunity." Tomorrow’s leaders in Britain, he said, are being educated in an environment in which "visceral hatred of Israel is not the exception but the norm." "We are not angels," he told the BBC. But he added that the average Israeli views the conflict in the Middle East from a different perspective than that of many people in Britain. The Israeli public, he said, is influenced by the growing strength of Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza and the West Bank, two organizations that do not recognize Israel’s right to exist. [More>>alarabiya.net]

6.03.11  New al-Qaeda video: American Muslims should buy guns, start shooting people

June 3 - In a new video message released on the internet Friday, American-born al-Qaeda spokesman Adam Gadahn calls on Muslims living in America to carry out deadly one-man terrorist acts using fully automatic weapons purchased at gun shows, and to target major institutions and public figures. "What are you waiting for?" asks Gadahn in English, and then adds that jihadis shouldn't worry about getting caught, since so many have been released. "Over these past few years, I've seen the release of many, many Mujahideen whom I had never even dreamed would regain their freedom." The two-part, two hour video appeared on jihadi websites Friday with images of jihadi leaders as well as snapshots of alleged underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab and accused Fort Hood shooter Major Nidal Hasan. Both Hasan and Abdulmutallab are charged with carrying out attacks inside the US. Called "Do Not Rely on Others, Take the Task Upon Yourself" and produced by al-Qaeda's media arm, as Sahab, the tape mixes Gadahn's new message with clips from old videos of Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri and other al-Qaeda leaders praising one-man attacks. They call on jihadis in the West to carry out lone wolf operations. Gadahn sounds the same theme in his message, a series of soundbites interspersed throughout the video and accompanied by images of US airliners, bombmaking and the logos of US companies. "Muslims in the West have to remember that they are perfectly placed to play an important and decisive part in the Jihad against the Zionists and crusaders, and to do major damage to the enemies of Islam, waging war on their religion, sacred places, and things, and brethren," says Gadahn. "This is a golden opportunity and a blessing." [More>>abcnews.go.com]

6.03.11 Yemen's Saleh in military hospital after attack

SANAA, June 3 - Saleh, Prime Minister Ali Mohammed Mujawar and Abdulaziz Abdulghani, head of Yemen’s consultative council, are being treated in the same hospital, added the official without elaborating. Medics said that Mujawar was suffering from burns to his face but did not give any information on Saleh’s condition. A ruling party official told AFP earlier that Saleh was lightly wounded in his head. Embattled Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh who was wounded in an attack on his palace on Friday is receiving treatment at the defence ministry hospital in Sanaa, a leader of the ruling party said. [>khaleejtimes.com]

6.03.11  Rights group: Syrian forces kill 34 in Hama crackdown

BEIRUT (Reuters) June 3 - Activists say death toll likely to rise due to high number of seriously injured; thousands turn out after Friday prayers in nation-wide protests; hundreds defying curfew in Deraa, chanting: "No dialogue with killers."   Syrian security forces shot dead at least 34 demonstrators in Hama on Friday, an activist said, in one of the bloodiest incidents in their crackdown on an 11-week revolt against Syrian President Bashar Assad's rule. At least 34 people were killed in the Syrian city of Hama on Friday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. "Because there are many people who have severe injuries, I expect the death toll to rise," the Observatory's Rami Abdulrahman told Reuters. "These figures are not from all the hospitals," he said.  In a pattern seen every Friday since mid-March, protesters have marched out of mosques after noon prayers, to be met by security forces intent on crushing a revolt against Assad, in power in Syria for the last 11 years. Three residents said security forces and snipers fired at tens of thousands of demonstrators gathered in the city center in one of the biggest protests seen so far in Hama, and scores of wounded were taken to a nearby hospital. "The firing began from rooftops on the demonstrators. I saw scores of people falling in Assi square and the streets and alleyways branching out. Blood was everywhere," a witness who gave his name as Omar told Reuters from Hama. [More>>jpost.com]

6.03.11 17 killed, over 50 wounded by roadside bomb in Tikrit, Iraq

BAGHDAD, Iraq (Xinhua) June 3 - A roadside bomb claimed 17 lives and injured more than 50 on Friday in Iraq's northern city of Tikrit, hometown of the toppled leader Saddam Hussein, a local police source said. The explosion happened near a mosque in the well-known Presidential Palace site when people finished their noon prayer and headed for home. The incident killed 17 people and wounded over 50 others, some of whom were government officials, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media. The extravagant Presidential Palace which was once occupied by US Military now houses many government offices and a police headquarter. Tikrit, some 170 km north of Baghdad, is the capital city of the Sunni-dominated Salahuddin Province which is rife with violence and attacks. [>xinhuanet.com]

6.02.11 E. Coli outbreak is a new strain

June 2 - A leading microbiologist has warned the E. coli outbreak may worsen. The World Health Organization says the E. coli outbreak in Germany is a completely new strain of the bacteria. The infection can cause the deadly complication haemolytic-uraemic syndrome (HUS) affecting the blood and kidneys. More than 1,500 people have been infected and 17 have died: 16 in Germany and one in Sweden. In the UK, three British nationals have been infected all had visited Germany. Aphaluck Bhatiasevi, a WHO spokesperson, is reported as saying: "This strain has never been seen in an outbreak situation before." Scientists at the Beijing Genomics Institute in China are also reported as saying: "This E.coli is a new strain of bacteria that is highly infectious and toxic." Preliminary genetic analysis of the outbreak suggests the bacteria is unique.

Early evidence suggests the bacteria has genes from two distinct groups of E. coli: enteroaggregative E. coli (EAEC) and enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC). Dr. Paul Wigley, reader in foodborne diseases at Liverpool University, said: "One nasty bacteria seems to have acquired a toxin from another nasty bacteria which has resulted in an even nastier bug. It seems it is producing two toxins which cause the damage and lead to bloody diarrhoea and damage to tissues including the kidneys." The Health Protection Agency told the BBC it was only beginning to understand what this means. The outbreak remains centred on Germany, where there have been 1,064 cases of bloody diarrhoea and 470 cases of the potentially deadly complication in the blood and kidneys.

6.02.11 Goldman Sachs 'issued with subpoena' over actions during credit crisis

June 2 -Manhattan's district attorney believed to have questions about Goldman Sachs's behavior before and during financial crisis. Manhattan's top law enforcer is believed to have issued subpoenas to Goldman Sachs as he investigates the firm's activity during the credit crisis. Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. is pursuing claims made by an official senate investigation into Wall Street's role in the housing market collapse. The report, published in April, singled out Goldman Sachs for particular criticism, accusing the bank of misleading buyers of mortgage-linked investments. The bank encouraged buyers to invest in mortgage-related securities even as it was betting heavily against the mortgage market, according to the report.

Senator Carl Levin, a persistent critic of the bank, accused Goldman executives, including chief executive Lloyd Blankfein, of giving "misleading and inaccurate" evidence to the committee. Goldman said its executives' testimony was "truthful and accurate." The report was referred to the US department of justice and the financial watchdog the securities and exchange commission, which are also investigating. Vance, the son of president Jimmy Carter's secretary of state, was appointed Manhattan's district attorney in 2009. Earlier this year he said that his office had active investigations into Wall Street "across the board" and called for the his powers to be expanded in order to tackle large-scale white-collar crime. The Manhattan DA's office has tackled many high-profile white-collar cases, from BCCI to Tyco. A subpoena is only a request for information and does not mean the company is a target of a criminal investigation.

6.02.11 MI6 attacks al-Qaeda in 'Operation Cupcake'

June 2 - British intelligence has hacked into an al-Qaeda online magazine and replaced bomb-making instructions with a recipe for cupcakes. The cyber-warfare operation was launched by MI6 and GCHQ in an attempt to disrupt efforts by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsular to recruit "lone-wolf" terrorists with a new English-language magazine, the Daily Telegraph understands. When followers tried to download the 67-page colour magazine, instead of instructions about how to “Make a bomb in the Kitchen of your Mom” by “The AQ Chef” they were greeted with garbled computer code. The code, which had been inserted into the original magazine by the British intelligence hackers, was actually a web page of recipes for “The Best Cupcakes in America” published by the Ellen DeGeneres chat show. Written by Dulcy Israel and produced by Main Street Cupcakes in Hudson, Ohio, it said "the little cupcake is big again" adding: "Self-contained and satisfying, it summons memories of childhood even as it's updated for today’s sweet-toothed hipsters." It included a recipe for the Mojito Cupcake “made of white rum cake and draped in vanilla buttercream” and the Rocky Road Cupcake "warning: sugar rush ahead!" [>telegraph.co.uk]

6.02.11 Ex-bin Laden associate captured by NATO

June 2 - NATO said today it captured a senior al-Qaeda operative and former Osama bin Laden associate in northern Afghanistan. NATO said the man was based in Pakistan and was a former associate of bin Laden, who was killed in a US raid in Pakistan on May 2. NATO also said the captured man may have been with the al-Qaeda leader in 2001. NATO did not release the detainee's name nor other details except to say he was captured yesterday during an operation in Nahri Shahi, in northern Balkh province. NATO said he is one of several senior al-Qaeda and Taliban insurgents captured in the province since February. It said a total of 35 people associated with al-Qaeda and the Taliban have been captured in Balkh during that period. Also in the north, the German army said one of its soldiers was killed and five others were wounded in a bomb attack in the province of Baghlan. A spokesman for the Bundeswehr Operations Command in Potsdam, Germany, said the attack on the German soldiers took place on Thursday morning about 35 kilometres south of the city of Kunduz. [More>>news.com.au]

6.02.11 Pakistan: 63 die in border clash with militants

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) June 2 - Fighting between militants who crossed into Pakistan from Afghanistan and attacked a Pakistani checkpoint killed 25 troops, three civilians and 35 insurgents, police said on Thursday, in some of the deadliest clashes in recent months. The fighting, which began Wednesday and continued into Thursday, came as a top Pakistani general said the military plans to stage an operation against militants in a tribal region that juts deep inside Afghanistan, but denied media reports of an upcoming offensive in North Waziristan, the tribal area where the US has been pushing for action. Pakistan's northwest border with Afghanistan has for years been a stomping ground for Islamist extremists, some of whom focus on attacks against Western forces across the border, some who attack the Pakistani state and others who plot terrorism against the West.

Pakistan has taken action against militants in the northwest, but they have proved to be resilient. The clashes erupted Wednesday in Shaltalo town in Upper Dir district. Upper Dir lies just outside the tribal belt, but it too has witnessed al-Qaeda and Taliban militant activity and been the focus of military offensives. Police said some 200 militants crossed over into Pakistan from Afghanistan, and went after a checkpoint manned by police and paramilitary troops. Regional police chief Ghulam Mohammed said 25 security troops and three civilians died, while 35 militants were killed. He said many of the attackers had fled back to Afghanistan as the fighting wound down on Thursday. Mohammed said the situation was now under control, and funerals were being arranged.

On Wednesday, army Lt. Gen. Asif Yasin Malik, who oversees military operations in the tribal areas and other parts of the northwest, said the Kurram tribal area would be the next target of an offensive after local leaders there requested it. Malik said operations would be launched there with the government's backing, but declined to give any more operational details. Kurram has seen sectarian violence between Shiite and Sunni Muslims for years, but is also home to militants with other aims. According to some accounts, the Haqqani network, a faction of the Afghan Taliban, was shifting fighters there from North Waziristan tribal region. The Haqqani network is considered one of the biggest threats to US forces in Afghanistan, partly because its fighters can retreat across the border to North Waziristan, where they have bases and have been left alone by the Pakistani army.

The US has pushed the Pakistani military go after the Haqqanis and other factions in North Waziristan. The pressure has increased since the American raid that killed Osama bin Laden in a garrison city in Pakistan's northwest and deeply embarrassed the army. But officials here have resisted, saying their troops are stretched on other fronts, and that their priority is eliminating insurgents who attack Pakistan, which the Haqqanis have not done. Malik said Wednesday that that position has not changed, and dismissed recent "media hype" about an imminent offensive in North Waziristan. "There is no change in North Waziristan in past months and weeks," Malik said. "We will undertake an operation when we want to, when it's in the national interest."
[>timesofindia.indiatimes.com; See also

thenews.com.pk, June 2, "34 police, 45 Taliban killed in Dir attack"
PESHAWAR, Pakistan - : Hundreds of heavily armed Taliban besieged a Pakistani checkpost on the Afghan border for a second day Thursday, killing 28 police and six civilians in the deadliest fighting for months. A senior police official told AFP that 500 militants, including Afghan Taliban from across the border and Pakistani Taliban, took part in the attack which began before dawn on Wednesday and continued throughout Thursday. Police said there were reports of up to 45 militants killed in the clashes, but the information could not be confirmed independently. Fighting was concentrated around the Shaltalu police checkpoint, surrounded by mountains and forest in the northwestern district of Upper Dir, about six kilometres (four miles) from the border with Afghanistan's Kunar province.

Taliban and other al-Qaeda-linked militants have carved out strongholds on both sides of the porous Afghanistan-Pakistan border, a region that the United States has called one of the most dangerous places on Earth. The Pakistani military sent reinforcements and helicopter gunships in a bid to quell the attack in an area accessible on the ground only by foot. "Fighting is still going on in some parts near the checkpost, which was attacked by around 500 Pakistani and Afghan Taliban," regional police chief Qazi Jamil ur-Rehman told AFP. He said 34 people were killed in the attack, including 28 policemen and six civilians, among them two women and two children, who died when mortar rounds struck 15 houses. He had earlier put the death toll at 28. Rehman said 21 security forces personnel and 11 civilians were wounded, and that there were reports of up to 45 militants killed in the fighting...

6.02.11 Another Pakistani reporter killed and this time, all eyes are on the ISI

June 2 - The first alert I received was on Monday, when Amnesty International's Sam Zarifi posted a brief report in the Pakistani daily, Dawn, titled, "Journalist Saleem Shahzad goes missing." “Keeping an eye on this unsavory turn of events. Hoping for a quick and happy resolution,” wrote Zarifi. By Wednesday, Shahzad’s relatives had identified his body, which was found about 100 miles from his abandoned car. Shahzad was abducted Sunday evening in the plush, highly secured F-6/2 neighborhood of Islamabad while he was on his way to do an interview with the Dunya News channel about his latest piece on the alleged links between al-Qaeda and Pakistani Navy officials published in the Hong Kong-based Asia Times Online. Citing unnamed naval officials, the piece alleged that a May 22 attack on the Pakistani Navy's main base in Karachi was carried out because the Navy refused to release officials arrested on suspicion of al-Qaeda links. The Karachi base attack in which 10 people were killed and two US surveillance planes destroyed was deeply embarrassing for Pakistan's all-powerful military. Like the Oct. 2009 attack on the Army headquarters in Rawalpindi, it was proof that the Pakistani military has been infiltrated by militants. As I have frequently said, the Pakistani military is adept at a whole load of things from real estate, to running cement and cornflakes factories, to running the whole damn country. While they’re at it, the military's also particularly good at seeking and getting billions of dollars of US aid. [More>>france24.com]

6.02.11 Yemen fighting intensifies, US envoy in talks

SANAA, Yemen (Reutes) June 2 - Forces loyal to President Ali Abdullah Saleh battled with tribal fighters in Yemen’s capital on Thursday in overnight clashes that killed dozens as a US envoy flew around the region to try and stop a civil war. Ferocious fighting in the streets of Sanaa which grew out of protests against Saleh’s rule since January has killed at least 135 people in the past 10 days calling into question the future of the troubled state. Saleh has reneged on deals by regional leaders to secure a peaceful end to his nearly 33 years in power. US President Barack Obama's top counter-terrorism adviser arrived on Wednesday in the region to reinforce the drive to oust him. Global powers are worried that Yemen, home to a wing of militant group al-Qaeda known as AQAP and bordering the world’s biggest oil exporter Saudi Arabia, could become a failed state raising risks for world oil supplies. [More>>khaleejtimes.com]

6.02.11 Syrian troops bomb town near Homs, killing 15 people

(AP) June 2 - The latest deaths bring to 58 the number of people killed by Assad's forces in the town of Rastan in the past three days. Activists say Syrian government troops are pounding a central town with artillery and gunfire, killing at least 15 people. The Local Coordination Committees, which help organize and document the country's protests, said the deaths occurred in the town of Rastan Thursday. The latest deaths brings to 58 the number of people killed by President Bashar Assad's forces in the town of Rastan in the past three days. The army has been conducting military operations in Rastan and nearby towns in the central province of Homs since Saturday. Since mid-March, when protests swept Syria inspired by uprisings across the Arab world, the regime has killed more than 1,100 people, according to human rights groups. The Syrian opposition called for more protests on Friday, the Muslim day of prayer, to commemorate the nearly 30 children who have also been killed in the uprising. [More>>haaretz.com]

6.02.11 Security forces attack Bahraini protesters

June 2 - Bahraini troops attack anti-government protesters in villages near the capital, hours after martial law is lifted. Bahraini troops have attacked anti-government protesters in several villages near the capital Manama, witnesses say. Despite the lifting of martial law on Wednesday, regime forces fired tear gas on protesters who had poured into the streets to stage protest rallies in villages around Manama, including Diraz, Bani Jamrah and Karzakan, according to witnesses. One activist reported a heavy security presence in Bani Jamrah and said about 30 women had gathered in front of his house, but security forces used batons and tear gas to disperse them. "With the end of the emergency situation, the security would not be here but they still are," said Ali Zirazdi, a 30 year-old man, who said police had fired tear gas after a few hundred people gathered in the predominantly Shia village of Diraz. "The security presence is even stronger and their approach now is as soon as they hear of any protest in advance, they come down to stop it from happening," Zirazdi added. Opposition activists in Bahrain called for a "fresh wave" of anti-government protest rallies across the country on Wednesday, as a state of emergency imposed during a March crackdown on protesters has ended. [More>>aljazeera.net]

6.02.11 Gaddafi committed war crimes, says UN panel, but rebels also stand accused

June 2- The United Nations human rights forum said on Wednesday a fact-finding mission in Libya has concluded that Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's forces committed war crimes and crimes against humanity, as NATO extended its Libya air war by three months. It also said the mission found some evidence of war crimes by opposition forces. "The Commission has reached the conclusion that crimes against humanity and war crimes have been committed by the Government forces of Libya," the Human Rights Council said in a statement. "The Commission received fewer reports of facts which would amount to the commission of international crimes by opposition forces, however, it did find some acts which would constitute war crimes," the Geneva-based council said. [More>>alarabiya.net]


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