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6.17.09 Iran wants nuclear weapon technology - ElBaradei
LONDON (Reuters) June 17 - Iran wants the ability to build nuclear weapons to gain a reputation as a major power in the Middle East, the head of the UN nuclear watchdog said in a BBC interview broadcast on Wednesday. Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said Iran sees nuclear weapons as an "insurance policy" against perceived threats from neighboring countries or the United States. [More>>thestar.com.my]
6.17.09 'Protest leaders may get death penalty'
June 17 - While Iran's opposition announced another day of street demonstrations, an Iranian provincial prosecutor, Mohammadreza Habibi, warned that the "few elements" behind the pro-Mousavi protests could face the death penalty under Islamic law, Reuters cited an Iranian news agency on Wednesday. Habibi, prosecutor-general in the central province of Isfahan, said the elements behind the post-election unrest were controlled from outside Iran and urged them to stop "criminal activities," the Fars News Agency reported. "We warn the few elements controlled by foreigners who try to disrupt domestic security by inciting individuals to destroy and to commit arson that the Islamic penal code for such individuals waging war against God is execution," Habibi reportedly said. [More>>jpost.com; See related story,
6.17.09 Iraq police arrest al-Qaeda leader over Sunni MP's killing
BAGHDAD (AFP) June 17 - Iraqi police arrested a top al-Qaeda operative on Wednesday over the killing of a senior Sunni Muslim MP and human rights advocate who was shot dead in a Baghdad mosque last week. The arrest came after intelligence efforts led police to a house in the western Baghdad neighbourhood of Ghazaliyah, not far from Al-Yarmuk where Harith al-Obaidi was assassinated on Friday.
6.17.09 22 Taliban killed in northwest: Pakistan
ISLAMABAD, June 17 - Pakistani security forces have killed 22 Taliban in the country's restive northwest, the military said Wednesday as its operations against the militants entered their 52nd day. "During the last 24 hours (till Wednesday afternoon), 22 terrorists were killed and 17 were apprehended, while one soldier was injured in Malakand," an Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) statement said. It also said that the return of some of the millions of civilians who had been displaced by the fighting in three districts of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) was proceeding well.
6.17.09 Greek anti-terror police officer shot dead guarding home of witness
June 17 - A plain-clothes policeman was shot dead in Athens early this morning as he was about to go on duty guarding the home of a key witness in Greece's biggest terrorist trial. Two gunmen sprayed the officer with bullets as he was about to get into an unmarked car to guard the home of Sophia Kyriakidou. Her ex-husband Angeletos Kanas has been charged with belonging to the Revolutionary Popular Struggle, an urban guerrilla group believed to be a spin-off from the more notorious 17 November group which was uprooted seven years ago. She had been a key protected witness in the mass trial of the 17 November defendants in March 2003. [More>>timesonline.co.uk]
6.16.09 Reformist supporters in new mass rally in Tehran
TEHRAN, June 16 - Top legislative body says ready for partial re-count. Supporters of defeated Iranian presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi staged a mass rally in Tehran on Tuesday as Iran's top legislative body ruled out annulling a disputed presidential poll but said it was prepared for a partial recount. Iran's English Language Press TV correspondent Homa Lezgi was quoted on its website saying the rally being held at Vanak Square had turned into a "massive" one but did not give any estimate of the size of the crowd. Earlier, state television showed massive crowds gathering at a rival rally called in support of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
6.16.09 British Airways asks staff to work for free
June 16 - British Airways has asked its 40,000 staff to work without pay for up to a month as the ailing airline seeks to cut costs. The group, which made a record £401 million loss in 2008 amid surging fuel prices and a collapse in premium-fare passengers, is seeking to reduce costs dramatically and has already offered staff unpaid leave or a reduction in hours. Willie Walsh, BA's chief executive, has now gone a step further by asking staff to volunteer for between one and four weeks of unpaid work in what he says is a "fight for survival."
6.16.09 Afghan officials demand AJE report
June 16 - Afghan intelligence services holding two Al Jazeera producers have demanded a copy of a report the pair made two days before their detention. Al Jazeera was on Tuesday still awaiting information from the authorities about Qais Azimy and Hameedullah Shah, who were detained after being told to report to the country's intelligence headquarters in Kabul two days before.
6.16.09 Microbes found miles beneath Greenland ice given new life
June 15 - Discovery raises hopes of lifeforms enduring harsh conditions on other planets. Tiny microbes that have been buried below nearly two miles of ice for at least 120,000 years have been revived in the laboratory, in a study that raises the prospect that similar life forms could have survived on other planets. Scientists have found at least two species of miniature bacteria, many times smaller than normal microbes, in an ice core bored deep beneath the surface of a Greenland glacier where they have been trapped for tens of thousands of years.
6.15.09 Top cleric calls for inquiry as protesters defy ban in Iran
TEHRAN, June 15 - Hundreds of thousands of people marched in silence through central Tehran on Monday to protest Iran's disputed presidential election in an extraordinary show of defiance that appeared to be the largest demonstration in Iran since the 1979 revolution. The march began hours after Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, called for a inquiry into opposition claims that the election was rigged in favor of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
The ayatollah's call — announced every 15 minutes on Iranian state radio throughout the day — was the first sign that Iran's top leadership might be rethinking its position on the election. Mr. Khamenei announced Saturday that the election results showing a landslide victory for Mr. Ahmadinejad were fair, but on Sunday he met with Mir Hussein Moussavi, the former prime minister and moderate who was the main opposition candidate, to listen to his concerns. As evening fell, Iranian state television reported that shots had been fired at the rally, and an Associated Press photographer reported that one person had died. [More>>nytimes.com]
6.15.09 Nine foreign hostages killed in Yemen
SAN'A, Yemen (AFP) June 15 - Nine missing foreigners in Yemen have all turned up dead, said a Yemeni official Monday, apparently executed by their kidnappers in the impoverished nation in the Arabian peninsula. The nine foreigners, including seven German nationals, a Briton and a South Korean, disappeared last week while on a picnic in the restive northern Saada region of Yemen. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press, announced the discovery of the remaining six bodies Monday after three others had been found mutilated earlier in the day. [More>>khaleejtimes.com]
6.15.09 9 militants, security man die in Lower Dir clash
DIR, Pakistan, June 15 - Nine militants are reported killed in a clash in Tehsil Maidan of Lower Dir. According to sources, a security man has been killed and four others injured. Severe fighting erupted between security forces and militants in Tehsil Maidan of Lower Dir in which 9 militants are reported killed. Meanwhile, security forces are targeting militants hideouts in Tehsil Maidan where [a] search operation is also underway. [>thenews.com.pk; See related story,
6.15.09 Fears rise over homegrown jihadism
WASHINGTON (AP) June 15 - Recruiting station rampage sparks concerns about rise of radicals born and bred in US. Carlos Bledsoe's transformation from Tennessee youth to an American-born Islamic extremist charged in a bloody rampage outside an Arkansas military recruiting station may signal an ominous new wave of violent homegrown jihadists, counterterror officials say. National security officials have long feared the emergence of a new breed of American militants who would raise little suspicion as they move in and out of the country carrying out the aims of terrorist groups like al-Qaeda.
6.15.09 US commander sees fewer foreign fighters in Iraq
BAGHDAD (Reuters) June 15 - Iraq has seen a significant fall in the number of foreign fighters arriving to battle US and local forces, and efforts by neighboring Syria are starting to bear fruit, US General Ray Odierno said on Monday. Foreign militants including members of Sunni Islamist al-Qaeda have been drawn to Iraq since the US military invaded in 2003. They have been blamed for some of the worst attacks on US troops and Iraq's majority Shi'ite Muslim-led government.
"We have seen a significant decrease in the flow of foreign fighters into Iraq in the last eight to 10 months," Odierno, the commander of US forces in Iraq, told a news conference alongside the Iraqi defence and interior ministers. "For the most part it has just been a trickle ... We have seen some fighters coming through Syria, but Syria has been taking some action over the last few weeks, so hopefully that will continue," Odierno said. [More>>khaleejtimes.com]
6.14.09 Author of torture memos can be sued
SACRAMENTO, CA (AP) June 13 - A convicted terrorist can sue a former Bush administration lawyer for drafting the legal theories that led to his alleged torture, ruled a federal judge who said he was trying to balance a clash between war and the defense of personal freedoms. The order by US District Judge Jeffrey White of San Francisco is the first time a government lawyer has been held potentially liable for the abuse of detainees. White refused to dismiss Jose Padilla's lawsuit against former senior Justice Department official John Yoo on Friday. Yoo wrote memos on interrogation, detention and presidential powers for the department's Office of Legal Counsel from 2001 to 2003.
6.14.09 Many in Congress hold stakes in health industry
WASHINGTON, June 14 - As President Obama and Congress intensify the push to overhaul health care in the coming week, the political and economic force of that industry is well represented in the financial holdings of many lawmakers and others with a say on the legislation, according to new disclosure forms. The personal financial reports, due late last week from members of Congress, show that many lawmakers hold investments in insurance, pharmaceutical and prescription-benefit companies and in hospital interests, all of which would be affected by the administration's overhaul of health care. The lawmakers’ stakes are impossible to quantify because the reports ask for ranges of value for each asset, and because many officials’ holdings are in stock index and mutual funds. The Senate majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, for example, has interests in a stock index fund for the health care sector of more than $50,000 and up to $100,000. [More>>nytimes.com]
6.14.09 Yemen arrests suspected al-Qaeda financier
Sa'na, Yemen (AP) June 14 - Yemen has arrested a Saudi man suspected of financing al-Qaeda cells in Yemen and Saudi Arabia, an Interior Ministry official said Sunday. The official, who did not give an exact date of the arrest, said that authorities captured "the biggest and the most influential" money provider for al-Qaeda in Yemen and Saudi Arabia. Hassan Hussein Bin Alwan, a Saudi, was in charge of financing attacks in the two neighboring countries, added the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the press. The announcement indicated that al-Qaeda and other Islamic extremists are still actively attempting to destabilize the Saudi monarchy that holds a quarter of the world's proven oil reserves, as well as neighboring Yemen, the region's poorest nation. [More>>thejakartapost.com]
6.14.09 Foreigners 'kidnapped' in north Yemen
June 14 - Nine foreign nationals, mostly women and children, have been kidnapped by Shia rebels in a mountainous area of northern Yemen, officials have said. The group of seven Germans, including three children, a Briton and a Korean, had been on a picnic on Friday in Saada, Yemen's interior ministry said. State-run media said the foreigners, among them two nurses, had been working at Jumhuri hospital in the region.
6.14.09 Pakistan tribal warlord vows to take on Baitllah Mehsud
LONDON, June 14 - A top Pakistani tribal leader has vowed to wipe out the feared warlord Baitullah Mehsud, who has pushed Pakistan close to collapse. 30-year-old Qari Zainuddin, the leader of Taliban tribesmen opposed to Baitullah, said he had mobilised 3,000 armed followers and will attempt to wipe out the Pakistani Taliban chief and drive his al-Qaeda supporters from the country. Baitullah, who has challenged the Pakistan Army in the lawless South Waziristan tribal area, is considered a global terrorist threat by Western intelligence agencies.
6.14.09 31 terrorists killed in army operation: ISPR
RAWALPINDI, June 14 - Thirty-one terrorists including few foreigners were killed in Malakand, Bannu and South Wazirastan Agency and 50 were injured during last 24 hours. One Security forces personnel embraced Shahadat while 4 were injured. According to ISPR, consolidation and search operation continues at Kabbal in Swat. One security forces personnel embraced Shahadat and three were injured in exchange of fire with terrorists in Kabbal. One security forces personnel was injured due to miscreants fire at Kalla Kalle. Consolidation and search operation is being carried out in Godhand Banda and Arkot Qila Consolidation of positions is being carried out at Chuprial and road Wainai — Sijbant has been opened. Security forces consolidated positions at Ring contour and heights east of Chuprial. Huge cache of arms and ammunition has been recovered from tunnels. Cordon and search operation is being carried out at Loe Namal and Kuz Shaur. [More, with list of other operations>>thenews.com.pk; See related story,
6.14.09 IAF bombs Gaza smuggling tunnels after Qassam hits Negev
June 14 - Israel Air Force warplanes bombed two weapons-smuggling tunnels in the southern Gaza Strip early Sunday, shortly after Palestinian militants in the Hamas-ruled territory fired a Qassam rocket into the Negev. An Israel Defense Forces spokesperson said the air strike was launched in response to the rocket, which struck the western Negev on Saturday, ending a four-week lull in cross-border rocket attacks from Gaza. Palestinian medical officials said the four local workers sustained light injuries. No Palestinian group claimed responsibility for firing the rocket. [More>>haaretz.com]
6.13.09 North Korea vows to wage war in response to isolation attempts
MOSCOW (RIA Novosti) June 13 - North Korea said Saturday it will respond with war to attempts by the United States and its allies to isolate the reclusive state, and that it will start enriching uranium and using plutonium for military purposes. The UN Security Council on Friday toughened old sanctions against North Korea and imposed new ones following Pyongyang's unauthorized nuclear test May 25. The fifteen Council members supported resolution 1874 which in particular expands the arms embargo and allows searches of the nation's ships on high seas, but does not authorize use of force.
6.13.09 Ahmadinejad re-elected; protests flare
TEHRAN, June 13 - The Iranian government declared an outright election victory for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Saturday morning, and riot police officers fought with supporters of the opposition candidate, Mir Hussein Moussavi, who insisted that the election had been stolen. After a mostly quiet morning in Tehran, Moussavi supporters began filtering onto the streets. By early afternoon, thousands had come together, many of them wearing the trademark green of his campaign, chanting angrily that they would fight on as Mr. Moussavi had urged them to do on Friday night when he claimed that he had won and that there had been voting “irregularities.”
6.13.09 Pakistani warplanes strike Taliban's Waziristan redoubt
(Reuters) June 13 - Pakistani warplanes struck a stronghold of Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud today, hours after President Asif Ali Zardari vowed to wage war against militancy "to the end." US officials, thankful that their nuclear-armed ally has gone on the offensive to stop the Taliban tide sweeping across the northwest, said they believed an operation had begun against Mehsud's forces in the South Waziristan, at the southeast extremity of the tribal belt bordering Afghanistan. "We will continue this war to the end," Zardari said in a televised address to the nation broadcast in the early hours of this morning. [More>>independent.co.uk; See other details,
6.12.09 Interview: UN official sees promising prospect of Trans-Asian Railway Network
BANGKOK (Xinhua) June 12 - Chief of UN Asia-Pacific regional arm Dr. Noeleen Heyzer said Thursday the Intergovernmental Agreement on [the] Trans-Asian Railway Network, with China being an important party, will play a significant role in boosting intra-regional trade. "The agreement is a framework for coordinating the approach for railway development in [the] Asia-Pacific region. It links basically the hinterland of Asia to the coastal area of development," said the executive secretary of [the] United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), in an interview with Xinhua at the ESCAP headquarters on Thursday, right after a ceremony marking the agreement coming into force.
6.12.09 UN Security Council adopts stiffer curbs on North Korea
UNITED NATIONS, June 12 - The Security Council unanimously passed a resolution on Friday to tighten sanctions targeting North Korea's nuclear and missile development programs, including encouraging United Nations members to inspect cargo vessels and airplanes suspected of carrying weapons and other military materiel. China and Russia, key North Korean allies, were heavily involved in drafting the resolution during the nearly three weeks since North Korea's May 25 underground nuclear test, but they resisted making the inspections and some other measures mandatory, so it remains unclear what impact the sanctions will have.
Pyongyang has shown itself able to withstand the pressure of sanctions in the past. But in trying to cut off all financial transactions related to the military, as well as imposing a complete arms export ban and almost total import ban, the Council is hoping to push North Korea to return to talks about dismantling its nuclear and missile development programs. [More>>nytimes.com]
6.12.09 Suicide bombers strike Pakistan mosque, seminary
LAHORE, Pakistan (AP) June 13 - Suicide bombers attacked a mosque and a religious school within minutes Friday in two Pakistani cities, leaving one of the country's most prominent anti-Taliban clerics dead in what authorities called a targeted killing. No one immediately claimed responsibility for either blast, but relatives of Sarfraz Naeemi said he had received death threats recently after condemning suicide attacks as un-Islamic and the Taliban as murderers.
6.12.09 Iraqi teenager kills MP in mosque gun rampage
BAGHDAD, June 12 - Four others killed in attack on head of Iraq's Sunni bloc. A teenage gunman killed the head of the Iraqi parliament's biggest Sunni bloc on Friday, police and a party officials said, adding four others were killed in the grenade and gun attack in a mosque in Baghdad. Another 12 people were wounded and the gunman, who witnesses said appeared to be around 15 years old, was killed as he tried to flee the scene. The slain lawmaker was identified as Harith al-Obaidi, who was head of the Accordance Front and also a member of the parliament's human rights committee.
6.12.09 Al-Qaeda fighters move into Horn of Africa, officials say
WASHINGTON, June 12 - Al-Qaeda operatives are leaving the battle zones along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border and heading for Somalia and Yemen, where they have set up training camps, according to US intelligence officials. The officials believe that al-Qaeda may see the Horn of Africa as its new headquarters after dozens of attacks from US drones along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. The officials could not be named because of the sensitive nature of the information. However, CIA Director Leon Panetta said the intelligence agency is keeping tabs the region as a possible destination for fleeing al-Qaeda operatives. "Our concern right now is that likely safe havens are areas in the Horn of Africa, like Somalia and Yemen, that are countries that because of their political status can be attractive to al-Qaeda in order to operate there," Panetta said Thursday. [More>>cnn.com]
6.11.09 W.H.O. raises alert level as flu spreads to 74 countries
GENEVA, June 11 - The World Health Organization raised its alert on swine flu to the highest level on Thursday, in its first designation of a global pandemic in 41 years. Calling further spread of the virus “inevitable,” the organization's director general, Margaret Chan, said, "We are at the earliest days of a global pandemic." The new H1N1 strain, she said, is "spreading easily from one person to another, and from one country to another" in more than one region of the world. But the pandemic is "moderate" in severity, she noted, with the overwhelming majority of patients experiencing only mild symptoms and a full recovery, often in the absence of any medical treatment. And scientists are painstakingly tracking its every movement. [More>>nytimes.com]
6.11.09 Foreclosures slow 6 percent in May
June 11 - But May Still Has the Third-Highest Number of Foreclosures on Record. The number of homes that received some type of foreclosure notice in May actually decreased 6 percent from April, a bit of good news for a battered housing market. But before anybody celebrates, the number of filings — on 321,480 U.S. homes — was still up 18 percent from the same time last year, according to RealtyTrac, an online company that tracks foreclosure properties. May also brought the third-highest monthly number of foreclosure filings in the company's record and the third month in a row when the number of homes receiving foreclosure notices exceeded 300,000. Nevada still has the highest foreclosure rates with one in every 64 homes receiving some notice of foreclosure in May. California came in second with one in every 144 homes receiving a foreclosure notice. [More>>abcnews.go.com]
6.11.09 Peres urges temporary-bordered Palestinian state
JERUSALEM, June 11 - US skeptical over Netanyahu's awaited speech. President Shimon Peres said on Thursday that Israel and the Palestinians should agree on a Palestinian state with temporary borders as a first step towards ending the Middle East conflict, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is due to outline his government's policies on the peace process at a speech on Sunday. "The roadmap outlines a clear path and (the sides) should implement the second stage of the roadmap — declaring a Palestinian state with temporary borders," Peres' office quoted him as saying. Israel and the Palestinians should further make "a clear commitment that the borders will become permanent within a limited period," he said at a meeting with the European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana. [More>>alarabiya.net]
Editorial note: There is presently a concrete "security fence" on the borders of the West Bank and Gaza territories, separating Palestinians from Israel. Also, there is the question of Jerusalem. Israeli and Palestinian leaders have consistently maintained that Jerusalem is the capital of their state and neither side has been willing to compromise on the status of Jerusalem. The creation of a temporary-bordered Palestinian state seems to be a mute point.
6.11.09 Six arrested in suspected plot to attack G8 summit: Reports
ROME, June 11, At least six people have been arrested on suspicion of planning an attack on the Group of Eight summit next month in Italy, news reports said on Thursday. The six were arrested on Wednesday and accused of criminal association for purposes of terrorism and arms possession, one month ahead of the July 8-10 summit of leading industrialized nations, the ANSA news agency said. The probe began two years ago when the summit was set to be held at the Sardinian island of La Maddalena, the reports said. [More>>timesofindia.indiatimes.com]
6.11.09 Suicide attack in Peshawar kills 3, injures 13 cops
PESHAWAR, June 11 - Three people were killed and 13 policemen injured in a suicide attack at Ring Road in Peshawar on Thursday. The blast also destroyed two police mobile vans, sources said. The injured are being taken to nearby hospitals as relief activities have gone underway at the site of the blast. According to details, two persons on a motor-cycle hurled a hand grenade at Ring Road and when police was stationed in the area a suicide bomber came up and blew himself up, killing three people and injuring 13 policemen. Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani has ordered inquiry into the attack. Forensic experts are gathering evidence from the wreckage which spread across the site of the incident. [>thenews.com.pk; See related story,
khaleejtimes.com (Reuters) June 11, "Pakistan kills scores of Taliban in new combat zones" : BANNU - Pakistan unleashed helicopter gunships and artillery to kill scores of Taliban fighters, officials said on Thursday, after opening a second front against militants near their stronghold in the Waziristan tribal region...Standing at the gateway to Waziristan, Bannu is 150 km (90 miles) southwest of Peshawar, the capital of North West Frontier Province (NWFP), where a suicide truck bomb attack on a luxury hotel killed at least nine people on Tuesday. A military statement said on Thursday that during the last 24 hours 66 militants had been killed in fighting mostly in Bannu and South Waziristan, but also Swat.
6.11.09 40 Taliban killed in Afghan operations: officials
HERAT, Afghanistan (AFP) June 11 - Security forces killed more than 40 Taliban rebels in operations in western Afghanistan, officials said Thursday, as sweeps continued of militant hotspots ahead of August elections. Twenty-five Taliban were killed on Wednesday in the troubled northwestern Badghis province, on the border with Turkmenistan, in an operation that involved Afghan security forces and NATO troops, the military said. Another 10 were wounded, said Afghan army spokesman for the western region, Abdul Basir Ghori.
6.11.09 Many dead in Philippines fighting
June 11 - At least eight people have been killed in heavy fighting in the southern Philippines, the military has said. Two soldiers and six members of a group holding an Italian Red Cross hostage were said to be killed on Thursday. There was no immediate confirmation on the physical state of Eugenio Vagni, the 62-year-old Italian who was abducted by the Abu Sayyaf group nearly five months ago. A marine combat patrol came upon about 150 heavily armed Abu Sayyaf fighters near the town of Indanan on southern Jolo island at dawn, the military said. "A fierce firefight ensued and is still ongoing," Lieutenant Colonel Edgard Arevalo , a navy spokesman, told AFP news agency. He said the Abu Sayyaf unit was led by Albader Parad and Abu Pula, two senior commanders of the group thought to be holding Vagni. [More>>aljazeera.net]
6.11.09 China protests moving of detainees
BEIJING, June 11 - The Chinese government protested Thursday over the decision by the American government to resettle a group of Chinese Muslims to the isolated archipelago of Palau. The Uighur men, former detainees at Guantánamo Bay, have been in a state of limbo since they were cleared of wrongdoing last fall. In a news conference in Beijing, a Foreign Ministry spokesman, Qin Gang, called the detainees "terrorist suspects" and demanded they be sent back to China as soon as possible. He said that the United States was ignoring international laws on terrorism in not doing so. Shortly afterward, the United States announced that it had sent four Chinese Muslims who had also been detained at Guantánamo to the island of Bermuda.
6.10.09 Fiat completes takeover of Chrysler
June 10 - With the touch of pen to paper and a simple wire transfer, Chrysler completed its alliance with Fiat on Wednesday morning, largely ending its quick trip through bankruptcy. The reorganization was completed in 42 days. The last obstacle to an exit — a temporary stay imposed by the Supreme Court — was lifted late Tuesday, after the nine justices declined to hear a challenge of the deal by three Indiana state funds and several consumer groups. The wire transfer, from the federal government, gives Chrysler $6.6 billion in exit financing.
6.10.09 Administration takes aim at executive pay
WASHINGTON (AP) June 10 - The Obama administration will give a new Treasury official power to reject executive pay packages at firms that receive government assistance and wants legislation that would seek to tame compensation across the corporate world, an administration official said Wednesday. President Barack Obama will ask Congress to give shareholders a nonbinding voice on executive pay in an effort to link compensation to long-term performance rather than short-term gains, the official said. The president also will seek legislation that requires corporate compensation committees to be independent from corporate management. The move would give the Securities and Exchange Commission authority to strengthen the independence of the corporate panels that set executive pay. [More>>cbsnews.com]
6.10.09 Air France passengers 'had terror links'
June 10 - Two passengers have same names as terrorists, trying to establish dates of birth, family, French security services say link "highly significant." Two passengers with names linked to Islamic terrorism were on board the Air France flight that crashed in the Atlantic Ocean, killing all 228 on board, it has emerged. French secret servicemen established the connection while working through the list of those who boarded the doomed Airbus in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on May 31. Agents are now trying to establish dates of birth for the two dead passengers, and family connections, Fox News reports. There is a possibility that the name similarities are simply a "macabre coincidence," the source added, but the revelation is still being "taken very seriously." [More>>news.com.au; Source story>>news.sky.com]
6.10.09 Car bomb rips through south Iraq market, 33 killed
BAGHDAD (Reuteres) June 10 - A car bomb ripped through a crowded market in southern Iraq on Wednesday, killing at least 33 people and prompting angry protests by residents about the failure to protect them, officials and witnesses said. Police swiftly locked down Al-Bathaa, a Shi'ite Muslim town 30 km (20 miles) west of Nassariya that has seen little violence, while hospital officials appealed for help from neighboring cities to cope with the wounded. Colonel Aziz al-Atabi, media director for the Iraqi army's 10th division, said 33 people were killed and 70 wounded. The governor of Nassariya blamed the attack on al-Qaeda. [More>>khaleejtimes.com]
6.10.09 23 extremists killed in last 24 hours: ISPR
RAWALPINDI, Pakistan, June 10 - At least 23 extremists have been killed killed in various areas of Malakand and Dir, during the last 24 hours of Operation Rah-e-Raast, Geo News reported Wednesday. While Wali Ullah, aterrorist commander handed over himself to Army, 2 soldiers embraced Shahadat and 12 soldiers were injured including 2 officers. According to ISPR press release, Jani Khel is the staging area of all militants operating in D.I Khan, Bannu, Kohat and Peshawar. Reportedly 600-800 terrorists reached Jani Khel from Miran Shah and Razmak. They were planning to strike at different places in NWFP. Security forces engaged suspected terrorists locations at Jani Khel with heavy fire. Clearance operation in area Zaidi Akbar Khan is in progress.[More, with a detailed list of operations>>thenews.com.pk]
6.09.09 N. Korea threatens nuclear offensive
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) June 9 - North Korea said Tuesday it would use nuclear weapons in a "merciless offensive" if provoked - its latest rhetoric apparently aimed at deterring any international punishment for its recent atomic test blast. The tensions emanating from Pyongyang are beginning to hit nascent business ties with the South: a Seoul-based fur manufacturer became the first South Korean company to announce Monday it was pulling out of an industrial complex in the North's border town of Kaesong. The complex, which opened in 2004, is a key symbol of rapprochement between the two Koreas but the goodwill is evaporating quickly in the wake of North Korea's nuclear test on May 25 and subsequent missile tests. Pyongyang raised tensions a notch by reviving its rhetoric in a commentary in the state-run Minju Joson newspaper Tuesday. [More>>jpost.com; See more details,
cnn.com, June 9, "Life inside a North Korean prison" : American journalists Euna Lee and Laura Ling have been sentenced to 12 years of hard labor in North Korea. What kind of conditions would they face in a North Korean prison? Not much is known about them. But through the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, we have satellite maps showing the layout of one prison. T. Kumar is the advocacy director for Asia and the Pacific at Amnesty International and he has studied the prison conditions in North Korea. He spoke to John Roberts on CNN's "American Morning" Tuesday.
6.09.09 Treasury lets 10 big banks start to repay bailout money
June 9 - The Treasury Department cleared the way for 10 big banks on Tuesday to start repaying billions of dollars in taxpayer aid, a crucial step in easing the government's grip after an unprecedented series of interventions. JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs were among the banks deemed strong enough by federal regulators to leave the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, after months of lobbying and strong performances on recent stress tests.
The 10 banks are expected to return about $68.3 billion to the Treasury Department, more than double the administration's initial estimate of about $25 billion in funds to be returned this year. The Treasury did not identify the banks, allowing them to come forward individually. They include American Express, Bank of New York Mellon, the BB&T Corporation, Capital One Financial, the State Street Corporation and US Bancorp. Along with JPMorgan and Goldman, they all passed the stress test and applied to return their TARP funds. [More>>nytimes.com]
6.09.09 Pakistan renews announcement of bounty on Fazlullah's head
ISLAMABAD, June 9 - Pakistan on Tuesday renewed the announcement of a bounty of Rs 50 million on the head of Maulana Fazlullah, Taliban commander in the restive Swat valley as troops were reported to be closing in on his hideouts. The government issued an advertisement in the country's leading newspapers that it would pay Rs 50 million for information that would help authorities capture Fazlullah "dead or alive." Along with Fazlullah, rewards up to 10 million were offered for 20 of his deputies, including his spokesman Muslim Khan.
6.09.09 At least 3 killed, 39 wounded in east Afghan blast
KABUL, Afghanistan (RIA Novosti) June 9 - At least three people were killed and another 39, most of them civilians, wounded in an explosion in east Afghanistan early on Tuesday, a local police chief said. The blast occurred in Asadabad, the capital of the Kunar province, after a vehicle in an ISAF troop convoy crashed into a building when its tire burst, Gen. Abdul Jalal Jalal said. Witnesses said the explosion occurred when a foreign soldier threw a grenade into a crowd. The International Security Assistance Force has denied the reports, saying that the grenade was thrown by a militant.
6.09.09 Malaysia to deport foreign prisoners
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AFP) June 9 - Malaysia plans to deport foreign prisoners and allow them to serve out the rest of their sentences in their home countries to cut costs and overcrowding in local jails, reports said today. Proposed legal amendments will allow a prisoner-transfer agreement with other countries to ease congestion in Malaysia's 30 prisons, Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said. "As of May, 41 percent or 15,279 of the 37,242 inmates serving time in our jails are foreigners,"' the minister told the New Straits Times newspaper. [More>>news.com.au]
6.08.09 N. Korea sentences 2 US journalists to 12 years of hard labor
WASHINGTON, June 8 - The United States government and Western rights groups protested Monday after North Korea's highest court sentenced two American journalists to 12 years of hard labor, a move that introduced another complicating factor into Washington's stand-off with North Korea over its nuclear and missile tests and its broader nuclear ambitions. The two journalists — Laura Ling, 32, and Euna Lee, 36 — were detained by North Korean soldiers at the Chinese border on March 17 and charged with illegally entering North Korean territory and “hostile acts,” but not with the more serious charge of espionage as some had feared. The North's official news agency, KCNA, announced the conviction and sentence in a report monitored in Seoul.
6.08.09 Anti-Islam advocate wins European seat
LONDON (aFP) June 8 - Nick Griffin, leader of the far-right British National Party, has won a seat in the European Parliament. Mr. Griffin, standing in the Northwest of England region, was the second candidate of the anti-immigration party to be elected. Hours earlier, Andrew Brons won the party's first European seat in the nearby Yorkshire and the Humber region. Both seats were at the expense of Prime Minister Gordon Brown's Labour Party, which suffered a devastating result across the country.
6.08.09 Saudi police want cameras to catch immorality
DUBAI, June 8 - MPs slam suggestion as an invasion of privacy. Saudi Arabia's religious police caused a stir this week after they told a parliament session they planned to install cameras in shopping malls to monitor and catch people committing what they labeled as "indecent behavior." Members of Saudi's Shura Council, or Consultative Assembly, urged the Committee for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, or religious police, to reconsider its decision, which they slammed as an invasion of privacy...The committee has field officers all over the kingdom and their job is to make sure that unrelated men and women do not mingle and that stores close during prayer times. They also cooperate with the police to combat the use of alcohol and drugs. [Full story>>alarabiya.net]
6.08.09 Lashkar tightening noose around extremists
UPPER DIR, Pakistan, June 8 - The lashkar comprising the local tribesmen narrowed the noose around the extremists in Upper Dir and took control of the Shotkas, sources said Monday. There are reports that at least 13 extremists have been killed in gunship helicopters bombardment at the hideouts in Doogdarra. According to sources, the lashkar comprising thousand of volunteers from the local tribes have taken in their cordon the 300 extremists. The lashkar sealed the roads linking Swat to Upper Dir and now making advance towards other areas. The number of extremists killed in the area rose to 29. The locals rose in protest against the militants on the suicide attack at the Jamia Mosque in Upper Dir area of Hayagai Sharqi. Both the sides are employing modern and heavy weapons. [>thenews.com.pk; See other details,
6.08.09 Hizbullah: Our weapons are off limits
June 8 - After losing to the Western-backed coalition in the Lebanese elections, Hizbullah on Monday warned that its weapons arsenal was not up for debate. "The majority must commit not to question our role as a resistance party, the legitimacy of our weapons arsenal and the fact that Israel is an enemy state," senior Hizbullah member Mohamed Ra'ad told AFP. The Western-backed coalition defeated Hizbullah and its allies, according to official results Monday, dealing a stunning setback to the Iranian-backed group, and setting the stage for renewed political deadlock in the volatile nation. The winners celebrated in the streets, setting off fireworks and driving around in motorcades honking hours before the official results were even announced. [More>>jpost.com]
6.08.09 Deadly Baghdad blast strikes bus
June 8 - A bomb explosion on a minibus has killed seven people and wounded dozens more at a bus terminal in southern Baghdad, Iraqi officials say. The attack took place on Monday in a majority Shia neighbourhood of Dora. Dora, a mixed district, has been one of the Iraqi capital's most dangerous areas. "Seven people were killed and 24 wounded after an IED (improvised explosive device) was attached to the bus," an interior ministry official said. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast. In a separate development, Iraqi police arrested five US contractors in connection with the murder of a colleague, officials said on Sunday. [More>>aljazeera.net]
6.08.09 11 killed in brutal Narathiwat mosque massacre
BANGKOK, Thailand, June 8 - Insurgents open fire on Thai Muslims who were praying in a mosque in Narathiwat on Monday, killing 11 and injuring many others. It was unclear how many gunmen were involved in the bloodiest incident in the volatile region in months. Police initially said that a group of about five heavily-armed men broke into Al Pukon Mosque in Joh I Rong district through the back door and sprayed the bullets on about 50 people inside the mosque. Police said ten of them, including an Imam, died instantly at the scene. About 12 others were injured. However, later reports said only two gunmen carried out the attack.
6.07.09 Missing $165m: Madoff cleaned London out just before his arrest
LONDON, June 7 - Bernie Madoff, the $60bn fraudster, ordered his London office to sell its $165m portfolio of UK gilts only a month before he confessed to the FBI that his business was a "big lie." The London directors followed his instructions, transferring the sale proceeds to Madoff's New York office. However, it is still not clear where this money went to. The Independent on Sunday has established that in the middle of November last year Madoff phoned Chris Dale, the finance director of Madoff Securities International (MSI), the London affiliate, and told him to sell the entire gilts portfolio. Madoff then instructed Mr. Dale to transfer the money to his New York business, whereupon he would buy US treasuries on London's behalf.
6.07.09 Peru protest violence kills 22 police
BAGUA, Peru (AP) June 7 - Curfew announced after clashes sparked by operation to break up roadblock by Amazon Indians opposed to land exploitation. Peru is struggling to contain the country's worst political violence in years after nine more police officers were killed yesterday in a bloody standoff with Amazon Indians opposed to government efforts to exploit oil, gas and other resources on their lands. The deaths brought to 22 the number of police killed since security forces moved on Friday to break up a roadblock manned by 5,000 protesters. Protest leaders said at least 30 Indians, including three children, died in the clashes. Authorities said they could confirm nine civilian deaths. The cabinet chief, Yehude Simon, said 155 people had been injured, about a third of them from bullet wounds. He announced a 3pm to 6am curfew, taking effect immediately. [More>>guardian.co.uk]
6.07.09 Shootout kills 16 in Mexican resort
ACAPULCO, Mexico (AP) June 7 - Soldiers fought for two hours with armed men apparently holding police hostage at a house in Acapulco, leaving one soldier and 15 gunmen dead, a military official said Sunday. Three soldiers and three Mexican bystanders were wounded. Several Mexican tourists were evacuated from small hotels in the old Acapulco neighborhood, which was once popular with Hollywood stars but has since become run-down. The gunbattle erupted Saturday night when soldiers received a tip about the presence of armed men at a gated house, said an army colonel who led the operation and spoke on condition of anonymity for security reasons. The gunmen opened fire and hurled some 50 grenades at soldiers who arrived at the house, according to the colonel, who wore a ski mask as he led reporters through the scene. Several gunmen tried to flee, but crashed their car into a Humvee blocking the gate. At one point during the fighting, armed men with grenades arrived in a car to reinforce the gunmen in the house, but they died in the shooting, the colonel said. [More>>nytimes.com]
6.07.09 Pakistani villagers rise up against Taleban, kill 13
ISLAMABAD (DPA) June 7 - Hundreds of people have risen up against Taleban fighters in a district in Pakistan's north-western region, killing several as troops continued operations against the militants elsewhere in the region, officials and media reports said on Sunday. The armed locals turned on Taleban fighters in Hayagai, a remote village in Upper Dir district after a suicide bombing at a mosque in the area on Friday killed at least 49 people, minutes before the start of early afternoon prayers. The militias from Hayagai had stormed six nearby Taleban-held villages to avenge the mosque attack, Urdu-language Geo television news channel reported. Thirteen militants, including some "foreigners," were killed in the raids, according to the report that cited unnamed sources. The term "foreigners" is used locally for Arab and Central Asian militants linked to the al-Qaeda terrorist organization. [More>>khaleejtimes.com]
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