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7.08.09 Another US drone strikes in SWA , 35 militants killed
WANA, Pakistan, July 8 - Thirty-five militants were killed when one more US drone launched a strike in South Waziristan Agency (SWA) on Wednesday. The two strikes leave 43 militants killed in a single day. The drone targeted a convoy of militants with 6 missiles in Dhela and Janta areas of SWA in which 35 militants were killed and 5 vehicles were destroyed completely. According to initial reports, so far 35 bodies have been pulled out of the wreckage of vehicles. Nine militants were killed and 5 others injured in an earlier drone strike today in Karwan Manza area of SWA. Meanwhile, the political administration has imposed curfew in North Waziristan Agency today from 9pm to 6am. [>thenews.com.pk; See also,
7.08.09 Pakistan 'created and nurtured' terrorists, concedes Zardari
July 8 - For the first time, Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari admitted that militants and extremists were "created and nurtured" in the country as a policy to achieve some short-term tactical objectives. But they began to haunt the country in the post-9/11 era, Zardari said in a candid admission during an interactive meeting with former senior civil servants at the presidency on Tuesday night. Militants and extremists emerged on the national scene and challenged the state not because the civil bureaucracy was weakened and demoralised, but because they "were deliberately created and nurtured as a policy to achieve some short-term tactical objectives," he said. "Let us be truthful to ourselves and make a candid admission of the realities," Zardari said. [More>>indianexpress.com]
7.08.09 Twin car bombing hits Iraqi city
July 8 - Two car bombs in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul have killed at least nine people and left more than 25 injured. The attacks were reported to have happened within minutes of each other near Shia mosques. The first injured at least seven people in northern Mosul, while the second killed nine and wounded more than 20. As attacks have declined across much of Iraq violence has continued in Mosul, which is home to a volatile ethnic mix of Arabs, Kurds and Christians. [More>>bbc.co.uk]
7.08.09 Chinese police chief urges hardline crackdown on thugs in Xinjiang riot
URUMQI, July 8 - China's top police officer on Wednesday urged no leniency in the punishment of thugs who took part in the Urumqi riot. Meng Jianzhu, state councilor and public security minister, made the remarks when visiting local residents injured by the rioters and family members of those victims in Urumqi, capital of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. In the July 5 riot at least 156 people died and more than 1,000 were injured. Leading rioters should be punished with the utmost severity and those taking part in the riot, who were provoked and cheated by separatists, should be given persuasion and education, Meng said. [More>xinhuanet.com; See also,
7.08.09 Iran protests continue despite crackdown
July 8 - Protests against the reelection of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have moved to a "second level" with his opponents adopting more subtle tactics like writing protests on paper currency, spray painting on walls and using a rarely observed religious holiday for a three day strike. The opposition is also trying to revive street protests by calling for demonstrations on Thursday, which marks the 10th anniversary of Iran's student uprising of 1999. That protest ended when police and Basijis launched a violent raid on the dormitories of Tehran University. The fresh protests are planned at multiple locations in Tehran and other major cities in hopes they can amass a large public showing. [More>>abcnews.go.com]
7.08.09 Tribunals convict 330 of al-Qaeda links
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AFP) July 8 - Special security courts in Saudi Arabia have convicted a number of militants of plotting attacks inside the country with al-Qaeda, the state news agency SPA has reported. The militants were convicted today on charges of conspiring with al-Qaeda, plotting to disrupt national security and financing terrorism, the Bureau of Investigation and Public Prosecution said. Altogether 330 people were convicted in the secret security tribunals, with one sentenced to death, according to Al-Arabiya television which has close links to the Saudi Government. The Bureau of Investigation gave no details on any individuals, but they are believed to be among 991 suspected militants arrested during an al-Qaeda campaign of attacks and assassinations of both Saudis and foreigners around the country between 2003 and 2006.
7.08.09 Aussie court cancels Friday prayers for Muslims
CAIRO, July 8 - Muslim turnout for Friday prayers exceeds space limit: court. A Muslim center in Australia can no longer hold Friday prayers in Cannington, Perth, a court ordered Tuesday, citing complaints that the faithful jam the neighborhood on a weekly basis and exceed the center's designated limit. The court complained Muslims attending the congregational prayer, held once every week, exceed their numbers and take over all parking spots in the industrial neighborhood in Perth,western Australia,where the Daawah Association of Western Australia prayer center is located. [More>>alarabiya.net]
7.08.09 H2O researchers: Drink tap over bottled
July 8 - New Reports Say Bottled Water Should Get Stricter Labeling. Consumers know less about the water they pay dearly for in bottles than what they can drink almost for free from the tap because the two are regulated differently, congressional investigators and nonprofit researchers say in new reports. Both the Government Accountability Office and the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization, recommend in reports released Wednesday that bottled water be labeled with the same level of information municipal water providers must disclose. The researchers urged Americans to make bottled water "a distant second choice" to filtered tap water because there isn't enough information about bottled water. The working group recommends purifying tap water with a commercial filter, however. [More>>cbsnews.com]
7.08.09 Cyberattacks hit US and South Korean web sites
SEOUL, South Korea, July 8 - Cyberattacks that have crippled the Web sites of several major American and South Korean government agencies since the July 4th holiday weekend appear to have been launched by a hostile group or government, South Korea's main government spy agency said on Wednesday. Although the National Intelligence Service did not identify whom they believed responsible, the South Korean news agency Yonhap reported that the spy agency had implicated North Korea or pro-North Korea groups. A spokesman at the intelligence agency said it could not confirm the Yonhap report, which said that the spy agency briefed lawmakers about their suspicions on Wednesday. The opposition Democratic Party accused the spy agency of spreading unsubstantiated rumors to whip up support for a new anti-terrorism bill that would give it more power. [More>>nytimes.com; See also,
7.08.09 Top UN official slams W. Bank barrier
July 8 - UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay said Wednesday that Israel must tear down the West Bank security barrier, marking five years since the International Court of Justice declared the barrier illegal and a violation of Palestinian rights. Palestinians charge the complex of walls, trenches, barbed wire and electronic sensors, which were built to stop a wave of deadly Palestinian suicide bombings, is a land grab that cuts people off from their property and basic services. [More>>jpost.com]
7.08.09 74 illegal Afghan immigrants missing after ship sinks
JAKARTA, Indonesia, July 8 - A group of 74 illegal immigrants from Afghanistan are missing after their motor boat sank in the Sape Strait, West Manggarai, East Nusa Tenggara, early Wednesday morning...The accident is the third of its kind in East Nusa Tenggara in the past six months. Last month, 71 illegal Afghan and Pakistani immigrants were rescued after their boast sank off Sumba Island. In January, four of 18 would-be immigrants died after escaping from detention. It is believed that the groups were seeking asylum in Australia. [Full story>>thejakartapost.com]
7.07.09 Michael Jackson's daughter Paris gives tearful good-bye
July 7 - The lavish memorial service for Michael Jackson concluded with the simple, heartbreaking remarks of his 11-year-old daughter Paris. "I just wanted to say, ever since I was born, Daddy has been the best father you could ever imagine," said Paris, flanked by her aunts and uncles and grandmother. "And I just wanted to say I love him so much," said Paris before she clenched her eyes tightly shut, burst into tears and threw herself into Janet Jackson's arms. Paris' unexpected comments were so moving because she and her two brothers have rarely been seen without veils or masks, and other than a few short remarks on home videos, Paris has never before spoken in public.
7.07.09 US considers curbs on speculative trading of oil
WASHINGTON, July 7 - Reacting to swings in oil prices in recent months, federal regulators announced on Tuesday that they were considering trading restrictions on hedge funds and other “speculative” traders in markets for oil, natural gas and other energy products. In a big departure from the hands-off approach to market regulation of the last two decades, the chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Gary Gensler, said his agency would consider new limits on the volume of energy futures contracts that purely financial investors would be allowed to hold.
The agency also announced that it would pull back part of the veil on the oil and gas markets, publishing more detailed information about the aggregate activity of hedge funds and traders who arbitrage between domestic and foreign energy prices. "My firm belief is that we must aggressively use all existing authorities to ensure market integrity," Mr. Gensler said in a written statement. Mr. Gensler announced that his agency will hold several hearings in July and August, the first of which will examine whether to impose federal “speculative limits” on futures contracts for energy products. Oil prices have swung wildly in the last year, hitting about $145 a barrel last summer, then plunging to $33 in December before rising to about $70. [More>>nytimes.com]
7.07.09 Suspected US attack kills 12 in Pakistan: officials
ISLAMABAD (AP) July 7 - Suspected US missiles slammed into a training camp ran by Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud on Tuesday, killing at least 12 militants in the latest in a flurry of strikes against him and his followers, intelligence officials said. The attack took place in the Makeen area of South Waziristan close to the Afghan border, four officials told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to media. The missiles were believed launched by unmanned American planes. [More>>khaleejtimes.com]
7.07.09 Eight Afghan police, 21 rebels killed in border clash
JALALABAD, Afghanistan, July 7 - Fierce fighting erupted near Afghanistan's border with Pakistan Tuesday in which eight policemen and 21 insurgents were killed, a provincial governor said. Nuristan governor Jamaluddin Badar said the militants had arrived from across the frontier and local Afghan villagers had joined the border police in trying to drive them out in battles that continued for hours. "Up to now 21 Taliban were killed and eight police were also killed," Badar said. [More>>thenews.com.pk; See more details,
7.06.09 Medvedev, Obama sign deal to cut nuclear arsenals
MOSCOW (RIA Novosti) July 6 - The Russian and US presidents signed a preliminary agreement on Monday to cut their countries' nuclear arsenals to 1,500-1,675 operational warheads within seven years after a new arms reduction treaty comes into force. The framework deal agreed during Kremlin talks between Dmitry Medvedev and Barack Obama during the US leader's first visit to Russia sets guidelines for a new treaty to replace the START 1 pact, due to expire in December. The two countries' current levels are estimated at over 2,200 warheads.
7.06.09 Yemen court condemns seven Shia rebels to death
SANAA, Yemen (AFP) July 6 - A Yemeni court on Monday sentenced seven Shia rebels to death for their role in a series of gunbattles against the security forces near the capital last year that left hundreds of people dead or wounded. The court convicted the seven of "belonging to an armed gang in 2008 to carry out a collective criminal project." It sentenced seven other defendants to jail terms of between 12 and 15 years. "Death to America and death to Israel," the defendants cried out from the dock after the sentences were announced. They are all expected to appeal. [More>>khaleejtimes.com]
7.06.09 140 killed, hundreds injured in riots
(AFP) China says at least 140 people were killed in rioting by Muslim Uighurs in its restive Xinjiang region in the deadliest ethnic unrest reported in the country for decades. The violence in the regional capital Urumqi on Sunday involved thousands of people, and the official Xinhua news agency said the death toll was likely to rise. More than 800 other people were injured in the rampage, it added. "Death toll in Xinjiang riot rises to 140, still climbing," Xinhua reported in its latest dispatch on Monday, after initially saying only three had died. More than 800 other people were injured in the rampage, it added. [More>>news.com.au]
7.06.09 Pakistan jets pound Taliban stronghold, 14 militants killed
ISLAMABAD, July 6 - Pakistani combat jets today pounded Taliban positions in the troubled South Waziristan tribal region as the army claimed 14 militants were killed in clashes with security forces in the northwestern Swat Valley. The jets attacked militant positions in Ladha area of South Waziristan, a stronghold of Pakistani Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud though there were no reports of casualties. The army has said it is preparing for an offensive against Mehsud and his network. In Swat, where an operation against the Taliban is in its final phase, 14 militants were killed in an exchange of fire when troops engaged rebel hideouts in the Tiligram area. A large quantity of ammunition, explosives and detonators were seized during the action.
7.06.09 2 killed in Afghan suicide blast
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan, July 6 - A suicide car bomber killed at least two civilians in an attack outside a major international military base on Monday in Afghanistan's southern Kandahar province, army officials said. The bomber apparently targeted a group of Afghan soldiers and truck drivers providing supplies for foreign troops at the sprawling Kandahar air field south of Kandahar city. "It was a suicide car attack which killed two truck drivers and wounded 10 more of them, along with two Afghan army soldiers," said General Sher Mohammad Zazai in Kandahar. [>thenews.com.pk; See related story,
7.06.09 Sale of most GM assets given green light
NEW YORK (AP) July 6 - Ruling Clears Potentially Major Roadblock To Quick Emergence From Bankruptcy. A bankruptcy judge has ruled that General Motors Corp. can sell the bulk of its assets to a new company, potentially clearing the way for the automaker to quickly emerge from bankruptcy protection. US Judge Robert Gerber said in his 95-page ruling late Sunday that the sale was in the best interests of both GM and its creditors, whom he said would otherwise get nothing. But it appears the ruling will be appealed. A Chicago law firm representing people who have sued GM in several auto accident cases filed paperwork Monday saying it would appeal to US District Court in New York. [More>>cbsnews.com]
7.06.09 World's oldest Christian Bible digitized
LONDON (AP) July 6 - British Library Unites World's Earliest Known Christian Bible Digitally on the Internet. The surviving pages of the world's oldest Christian Bible have been reunited — digitally. The early work known as the Codex Sinaiticus has been housed in four separate locations across the world for more than 150 years. Starting Monday, it became available for perusal on the Web at http://www.codexsinaiticus.org so scholars and other readers can get a closer look at what the British Library calls a "unique treasure."
7.05.09 Iranian clerical group says vote result 'invalid'
TEHRAN (Reuters) July 5 - A pro-reform Iranian clerical group said on Sunday the outcome of last month's presidential vote was "invalid," even though Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has upheld the result. In a sign of a deepening rift among Shi'ite clerics, the Assembly of Qom Seminary Scholars and Researchers also called for the release of Iranians arrested in protests after the hardline president was declared winner of the June 12 vote.
"Other candidates' complaints and strong evidence of vote-rigging were ignored ... peaceful protests by Iranians were violently oppressed ... dozens of Iranians were killed and hundreds were illegally arrested," said a statement published on the Assembly's website. "The outcome is invalid." Qom is Iran's centre of Shi'ite learning, about 80 miles (125 km) south of Tehran. The assembly has little political influence but its statement is a significant act of defiance since Qom is the power base of the clerical establishment. [More>>thestar.com.my]
7.05.09 Biden: US will not stand in Israel's way on Iranian issue
July 5 - The US will not stand in Israel's way if Israel believes military action is needed to eliminate Iran's nuclear threat, Vice President Joe Biden said on Sunday, during an interview with ABC's "This Week." Biden opined that the US "cannot dictate to another sovereign nation what they can and cannot do." Speaking to interviewer George Stephanopolous during a three-day visit to Iraq, the US vice president said that Israel can determine for itself "what's in their interest and what they decide to do relative to Iran and anyone else." When questioned if Israel could make that decision "whether [the US] agrees or not," Biden answered in the affirmative, noting, "Any sovereign nation is entitled to do that." [More>>jpost.com]
7.05.09 Belgian surgeons implant heart muscle made from bone marrow
BRUSSELS (RIA Novosti) July 5 - Surgeons in Belgium have carried out the world's first ever operation to implant a cardiac muscle made from a patient's bone marrow, the Belgian news channel VRT reported on Sunday. The unique operation was carried out as part of a US-led global research project to develop methods for replacing damaged heart tissue using stem cells. Acute heart attacks destroy up to 50% of a cardiac muscle's cells. Until now, heart failure patients have been treated with medication or a defibrillator implant. Medical experts say cell-based technology opens strong prospects for the treatment of cardiac disease, and in some cases could prevent the need for heart transplants. However, Doctor Mathias Vrolix, who carried out the surgery, said that at least twelve months had to pass to be sure that the operation was effective. [>en.rian.ru]
7.05.09 Bugs! The critters eating America's forests
July 5 - They may be tiny, but they're marching across the US in their billions, killing vast swathes of woodland. Graham Mole reports on a modern-day plague. America's 4 July bonfires served a dual purpose yesterday. They burned the wood of trees destroyed by a trio of bugs that are devastating parts of the nation's forests. With 750 million acres of forests in the United States, the scale of the problem is massive. Since 1999, the country has lost, on average, 1 percent of its tree cover per year. This means these small insects have killed about 10 percent of all US forests in 10 years. Two of the bugs, says the government, have the potential to destroy $700bn (£429bn) worth of forests. Already, one beetle — the emerald ash borer — has invaded 13 US states and two Canadian provinces. In those places, all movements of firewood are illegal and contractors who have moved logs have been fined by the courts and banned from working in the quarantined areas.
Last month, the emerald ash borer (or EAB) was identified in New York State, home to 700 million ash trees which sustain a profitable furniture industry and even provide the raw material for baseball bats. Ironically, the trees were replacements for elms killed off by Dutch elm disease. America's chestnut trees have also suffered catastrophic damage from blight. The borer, which comes from China, first entered America in the wood of crates shipped to Detroit in the early 1990s, but it was 2002 before it was formally identified. The tiny, creamy-white larvae bore through the bark and adults start emerging in mid-June. The larvae damage causes general yellowing and thinning of the foliage, followed by crown dieback and the eventual death of the tree. The borer has killed around 50 million trees in Michigan and tens of millions in 12 surrounding states and in Canada's Ontario and Quebec. [More>>independent.co.uk]
7.05.09 Islamic group planning coup in Pakistan: Report
LONDON, July 5 - An Islamic militant group based in Britain plans to overthrow the Pakistani government, a British media report said Sunday. Followers of the fundamentalist group Hizb ut-Tahrir have called for a "bloodless military coup" in Islamabad and the creation of a caliphate in which strict Islamic laws would be rigorously enforced, The Sunday Times reported. The group is believed to have been set up in Pakistan in the early 1990s by Imtiaz Malik, a British-born Pakistani who may still be secretly operating as its leader in the country.
7.05.09 16 UN mine-clearing personnel kidnapped in Afghanistan
KABUL, Afghanistan, July 5 - Gunmen abducted 16 mine-clearing personnel working for the United Nations in eastern Afghanistan, a provincial police chief said on Sunday. The men were kidnapped as they traveled between Paktia and Khost provinces on Saturday, said Paktia's police chief Azizullah Wardak. While insurgents operate in the area, Wardak could not say who was responsible for the kidnapping. Similar incidents have happened twice before in Paktia but were resolved successfully, he said. Wardak criticized the demining team, part of the UN's effort to rid the country of decades of planted land mines, for going into the area without informing the police. All of those kidnapped were Afghans.
7.05.09 Forces kill 10 extremists in Swat
MINGORA, Pakistan, July 5 - At least four explosive-packed vehicles have been destroyed in Swat areas of Kokari and Mangaltan, sources said Sunday. The security sources said at least ten extremists have been killed in bombardment by the security forces’ helicopters on the militants’ hideouts in Mangaltan. [>thenews.com.pk; See related stories,
"Six or seven militants were killed and four were injured when jet fighters bombed Taliban hideouts in different parts of Datta Khel" in North Waziristan, Aziz Khan, a tribal police official, said. The air attacks on Sunday morning hit the Bagan, Mohammad Khel and Syed Abad areas, about 20km west of Miranshah, the main district town in the semi-autonomous mountain region bordering Afghanistan...
7.05.09 Blast near south Philippine cathedral kills 3
MANILA, Philippines, July 5 - Suspected Muslim guerrillas detonated a bomb near a Roman Catholic cathedral in the southern Philippines on Sunday, killing at least three people and wounding 48 others. Eight were in critical condition. he bomb exploded outside the Immaculate Conception cathedral in Cotabato city as churchgoers walked out after attending Mass. Two passers-by were killed instantly in the attack and a third died on the way to a hospital, said regional military commander Maj. Gen. Alfredo Cayton. [More>>japantoday.com]
7.05.09 Egypt deports 20 French suspected Islamists
CAIRO, July 5 - French "Islamists" may have links to Cairo bazaar bombing. Egypt has expelled about 20 suspected French Islamists over the past month, an Egyptian security official told AFP Saturday. "About 20 French Muslims detained in the investigation into the Cairo attack in February that cost the life of a French girl have been expelled, little by little," the official said, declining to be named. He said that no charges were filed against the French nationals but they were considered religious extremists and undesirable in Egypt...The identities of the 20 French nationals were not released. [Full story>>alarabiya.net]
7.05.09 Police use 'cattle prods, guns' in Uighar dispute
BEIJING (AFP) July 6 - Violence has broken out in the capital of China's mainly Muslim northwest region of Xinjiang, where an unknown number of people attacked passers-by and torched vehicles. The state news agency Xinhua said police are rushing to restore order in Urumqi, capital of the restive Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. Activist groups said thousands of protesters from the Uighur ethnic group clashed with police yesterday and two people had died. [More>>news.com.au]
7.03.09 EU angered over Iran trial threat
July 3 - European Union nations are considering recalling their ambassadors to Iran after it was suggested that local British embassy staff would face trial over their alleged role in protests over the disputed presidential election. Foreign ministries from across the 27-nation bloc reportedly summoned Iran's ambassadors on Friday to protest over the comments by Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, the head of Iran's powerful Guardian Council. "In these incidents, their embassy had a presence, some people were arrested. Naturally they will be put on trial, they have made confessions," Jannati said during Friday prayers in Tehran. At least nine Iranians working for the British embassy in Tehran have been detained since mass protests broke out after defeated presidential candidates complained that the results of the June 12 poll was rigged. [More>>aljazeera.net]
7.03.09 US drone strike kills fifteen in Pakistan
ISLAMABAD (AP) July 3 - US missiles struck a training facility operated by Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud and a militant hide-out Friday, killing 15 people and wounding 27 others, intelligence officials said. The two attacks by drone aircraft took place in South Waziristan, a Mehsud stronghold close to the Afghan border where Pakistani troops are gearing up for a military offensive, two officials said on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media. They took place as US Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano met government officials in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad. She discussed topics of "mutual interest" with them, a US Embassy spokesman said. [More>>khaleejtimes.com; See related story,
7.03.09 Marines push deeper into S. Afghan towns
(AP) July 3 - One Marine Killed, Several Injured in Helmand Province Operation; Little Resistance from Taliban Reported. US Marines moved into villages in Taliban strongholds in southern Afghanistan on Friday, meeting little resistance as they tried to win over local chiefs on the second day of the biggest military operation here since the fall of the Taliban government in 2001. One Marine was killed and several others injured or wounded on Thursday, when some 4,000 Marines launched the operation Helmand province — a remote area that is the center of the country's illegal opium cultivation, which helps finance the insurgency. So far, however, there has been little resistance from the Taliban, according to a military spokesman Capt. Bill Pelletier. [More>>cbsnews.com]
7.03.09 Russia opens route for US to fly arms to Afghanistan
MOSCOW, July 3 - The Russian government has agreed to allow American troops and weapons bound for Afghanistan to fly over Russian territory, providing an important new corridor for the United States military as it escalates efforts to win the eight-year-old war, officials from both sides said Friday. The agreement, to be formally announced when President Obama visits here on Monday and Tuesday, represents one of the most concrete achievements of the effort to rebuild a relationship severely strained by last year's war between Russia and Georgia. The new transit route will give American forces more alternatives as they encounter increasing trouble elsewhere.
"Afghanistan is one of the areas where we must cooperate," Mikhail Margelov, chairman of the foreign affairs committee in Russia's upper house of Parliament, said in an interview. Russia understands, he said, that the United States and NATO forces in Afghanistan are effectively defending Russia's southern flank. Until now, Russia has allowed only restricted use of its territory for the Afghan war, permitting shipments of nonlethal supplies by train. Under the new agreement, American officials said, military planes carrying lethal equipment as well as troops will be allowed to make thousands of flights a year through Russian airspace. [More>>nytimes.com]
7.03.09 Israeli navy performs 'unusual' drill in Suez
JERUSALEM, July 3 - An Israeli submarine sailed the Suez Canal to the Red Sea as part of a naval drill last month, defense sources said on Friday, as an Israeli minister warned against the expanding population of Arab Israelis that do not "love" Israel. A defense source said the Israeli navy held an exercise off Eilat last month and that one of Israel's Dolphin-class submarines took part, having travelled to the Red Sea port though Suez, in the unusual maneuver that was described as a show of strategic reach in the face of Iran. [More>>alarabiya.net]
7.03.09 'Fighter influx' for Somali group
July 3 - An Islamist commander in Somalia has told the BBC there has been an influx of fighters from overseas joining their battle against the interim government. The al-Shabab militant leader, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said several hundred foreigners had joined their militia, many from Pakistan. [More>>bbc.co.uk]
7.02.09 Pakistan's Taliban chief Fazlullah may be dead: Reports
ISLAMABAD, July 2 - Pakistan's Taliban chief Maulana Fazlullah may have been killed during an operation in the restive Swat Valley, a media report said on Thursday. The The security forces had traced a phone call of Fazlullah, who was giving directions to his commanders for conducting more attacks, the News International quoted sources as saying.
7.02.09 US soldier sold to Afghan militant clan, official says
KABUL, Afghanistan, July 2 - The American soldier abducted in southeastern Afghanistan is now being held by a notorious militant clan, a senior US military official said. This soldier and three Afghan soldiers were captured by low-level militants and then quickly "sold" to the clan and network led by warlord Siraj Haqqani — believed to be deeply involved in the action. The Haqqanis — who operate on both sides of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border and are well known to the US military — are assembling shuras, or local councils of leaders, to talk and try to "legitimize" what they have done, the official said. US, Afghan and Pakistani troops are sealing off the area and also are talking to tribal chiefs, village elders and leaders. They are telling them to "do the right thing and solve this," the official said. [More>>cnn.com; See related story,
7.02.09 Deadly blast targets Iraqi troops
July 2 - At least three people have been killed in two bomb blasts in Baghdad — the first such attacks in the capital since the US military's withdrawal from urban areas. Two civilians were killed and 15 others injured when a car bomb exploded at a market in the Doura district in southern Baghdad on Thursday, police sources told Al Jazeera. Earlier, an Iraqi soldier was killed and 10 others injured in a roadside bomb blast directed at an army patrol in the Abu Nawas area of the city, an interior ministry official said. The blasts came a day after police reported a day of calm in Baghdad, saying there had not been a single bombing in the capital on Wednesday. [More>>aljazeera.net]
7.02.09 Hamas, Israel reject Amnesty claims
July 2 - Hamas joined Israel on Thursday afternoon in rejecting a 105-page Amnesty International report that accused Israel of the reckless use of weapons and wanton destruction during Operation Cast Lead, and Gaza terror groups of committing war crimes by firing rockets at the Israeli civilian population. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri called the report "unbalanced, unfair and unprofessional," blasting what he said was a comparison of the aggressors to the victims. Zuhri called the firing of rockets "self defense," saying it was a legitimate response to Israel's actions. On Wednesday night, the IDF said it was surprised that "a respectable organization" like Amnesty did not appropriately portray the unbearable reality of constant rocket attacks that Israeli citizens suffered from for the past eight years. [More>>jpost.com; See also
7.02.09 Meat-free diet 'could reduce cancer risk'
July 1 - A meat-free diet could reduce the risk of developing cancer, according to a new study. More than 61,000 people were monitored over 12 years by Cancer Research UK scientists from Oxford, who found that vegetarians were 12% less likely to develop cancer than people who ate meat. The risk was almost halved for cancers of the blood including leukaemia, multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma where vegetarians' risk was 45% lower than meat eaters. People who ate fish but no meat also had a "significantly lower" chance of developing many cancers, according to the research which was published in the British Journal of Cancer today.
7.02.09 Vegetarian diet found to weaken bones
(AFP) July 2 - People who live on vegetarian diets have slightly weaker bones than their meat-eating counterparts, Australian researchers said. A joint Australian-Vietnamese study of links between the bones and diet of more than 2700 people found that vegetarians had bones 5 percent less dense than meat-eaters, said lead researcher Tuan Nguyen. The issue was most pronounced in vegans, who excluded all animal products from their diet and whose bones were six percent weaker, Mr. Nguyen said. There was "practically no difference" between the bones of meat-eaters and ovolactovegetarians, who excluded meat and seafood but ate eggs and dairy products, he said.
7.02.09 Jobless rate at 9.5 percent; 26-year high
July 2 - Employers cut 467,000 jobs in June; Data suggests road to economic recovery may be bumpy. US employers cut a larger-than-expected 467,000 jobs in June, driving the unemployment rate up to a 26-year high of 9.5 percent, suggesting that the economy's road to recovery will be bumpy. The Labor Department report, released Thursday, showed that even as the recession flashes signs of easing, companies likely will want to keep a lid on costs and be wary of hiring until they feel certain the economy is on solid ground. June's payroll reductions were deeper than the 363,000 that economists expected and average weekly earnings dropped to the lowest level in nearly a year. However, the rise in the unemployment rate from 9.4 percent in May wasn't as sharp as the expected 9.6 percent. [More>>cbsnews.com; See related story,
6.30.09 UK economy shrinks at fastest rate for 50 years
June 30 - The UK economy shrank by 2.4 per cent in the first quarter at the fastest rate in more than 50 years and far worse than expected, according to official figures today. Revised figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that, between January and March, the economy contracted by its fastest pace since 1958. The ONS revised down its initial estimate, showing a contraction of 1.9 percent. Analysts had predicted that the revised numbers would show a 2.1 percent fall in GDP.
6.30.09 Ruth Madoff faces fresh fight for her fortune
June 30 - Wife of the Wall Street swindler has given up $80m but could face a battle for the remainder of her fortune. Ruth Madoff, the 68-year-old wife of the jailed Wall Street swindler, broke her long silence yesterday to claim she had been "betrayed and confused" by her husband's scam. Mrs. Madoff had not been charged with any crimes but has been vilified by her husband's victims and left ostracized within New York high society. Court documents released on Friday revealed that she gave up her potential claim to more than $80 million worth of assets though she has held onto $2.5 million that prosecutors could not directly link to the fraud.
6.30.09 Bomb kills 25 in Kirkuk as US troops withdraw from Iraq cities
(Reuters) June 30 - A car bomb in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk killed at least 25 people on Tuesday, just after US troops handed over full control of Iraq's cities to the domestic security forces six years after the invasion. The bomb, which wounded at least 40 people, struck a busy market in a largely Kurdish part of Kirkuk, a city viewed as a potential flashpoint between the Shi'ite Arab-led central government and Kurds. Police said the death toll could rise. Many Iraqis fear the US pullback from towns and cities and into rural bases, the first step toward a full US withdrawal by the end of 2011, leaves them open to attack. But the government declared Tuesday a holiday, "National Sovereignty Day," and held a parade to show off the military muscle it will use against a stubborn insurgency. [More>>haaretz.com; See related story,
6.30.09 Taliban scrap peace deal in Pakistan
(AP) June 30 - Taliban militants in a tribal region bordering Afghanistan say they have pulled out of a peace deal with the government, raising the prospect of wider unrest as the Pakistani army extends its efforts to eliminate insurgents. The militants in North Waziristan blamed continuing US missile strikes and army offensives against the Taliban for their decision, which was announced in the wake of a Taliban ambush that killed 16 soldiers. Separately, a car bombing in Pakistan's southwest killed four people Tuesday, police said — a reminder of how insecurity in the country stretches far beyond the northwest regions near Afghanistan. Government leaders and Taliban representatives reached the North Waziristan deal in February 2008, but few details have been released about it. US officials have criticized peace deals with militants or tribes representing them in the border region, saying they allow the insurgents to gain strength. [More>>indianexpress.com]
6.30.09 Muslims offer 100,000 Qurans to US leaders
DUBAI, June 30 - "Share the Quran" inspired by Obama's Muslim outreach. America's top Muslim civil liberties advocacy group launched its "Share the Quran" campaign on Tuesday in which it will hand out 100,000 free copies of Islam's holy book in an effort to reach out to the country's elected officials and influential opinion shapers. The initiative, which has been labeled an educational campaign, was announced by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) at a press conference in Washington and was said to be prompted by President Barack Obama's recent speech in the Egyptian capital of Cairo in which he repeatedly quoted from the Quran to reach out to Muslims.
Editorial note (Mel Copeland) "Confusion on the Koran" : The Quran (Koran) is a curious document. In many places it claims that it was recited (Koran means 'recital') to confirm that the Jewish Scriptures and Gospel of Christ are true. It also recognizes Jesus as the "Messiah" (Greek: "Christ"). At the same time, as it should be an advocate of peace, fulfilling the Gospel of Christ, it advocates killing unbelievers. See Maravot News 4.09.09 article 4.07.09 US Muslims urge Obama to focus on civil rights with editiorial note "Confusion over the teachings of the Koran." (reprinted from Maravot News 12.04.08)
Koran's Confirmation of the Bible
Koran advocates violence against unbelievers (kuffar) / enemies:
Islamic scholars teachings against unbelievers - "kuffars": In an editorial note of Maravot News 8.08.05, article 8.07.05 Inside the sect that loves terror (a short article on the London Tube bombing worth reading) we referred to an Islamic scholar's website, as follows:
6.30.09 Spain closes Gaza bombing case against Israeli officials
June 30 - Spanish Judge Fernando Andreu cannot investigate the IAF bombing in Gaza on July 22, 2002 that killed Hamas terrorist Sheikh Salah Shehadeh and 14 others, Spain's National Court ruled Tuesday. Earlier this month, the Jerusalem Post reported exclusively that the Spanish Appellate Court was due to make a decision on the matter. The Penal Hall of the court decided, in a vote of 14 against 4, not to proceed with the war crimes allegations against seven senior Israeli officials, including former IDF chiefs of staff Dan Halutz and Moshe Ya'alon, and former defense minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer. The panel supported prosecutors who opposed the probe on the ground that Israel was already investigating the attack, the court said in a statement. The judges announced only their decision, not the specific legal reasoning behind it. The court said that the reasoning would be published in a matter of days. [More>>jpost.com]
6.30.09 North Korean ship turning around
June 30 - Report: Kang Nam, Under Threat Of UN Resolution, Changes Course. The North Korean ship Kang Nam has turned around and is heading back toward the south coast of China, reports CBS News national security correspondent David Martin. The ship, which left a North Korean port on June 17, is the first vessel monitored under UN sanctions that ban the regime from selling arms and weapons-related material. It is currently in the vicinity of the Parcel Islands 100 miles off Vietnam, Martin reports, adding that there is no specified reason as of now for why it has changed course. "With still no long range missiles on the launch pads and no time to get them ready for a July 4 launch, it would appear the temperature is being lowered," Martin said of North Korea's threats to launch missiles at Hawaii on the US's Independence Day. [More>>cbsnews.com]
6.29.09 Madoff sentenced to 150 years for Ponzi scheme
June 29 - For one brief moment on Monday morning, Bernard L. Madoff stood up in a Manhattan courtroom and turned to face the people who lost their life savings to his huge Ponzi scheme. "I’m sorry," he told them. "I know that doesn't help you." What did help some of the victims — if anything could — was the sentence Mr. Madoff received minutes later: 150 years in prison for operating one of the largest frauds in Wall Street history, an operation that ensnared millionaires, private foundations, a Nobel Prize laureate and hundreds of small investors who lost their life savings to an investment guru they had trusted completely. In pronouncing the sentence — the maximum he could have handed down — Judge Denny Chin turned aside Mr. Madoff's own assertions of remorse and rejected the suggestion from Mr. Madoff's lawyers that there was a sense of "mob vengeance" surrounding calls for a long prison term. Mr. Madoff's crimes, the judge said, were "extraordinarily evil." [More>>nytimes.com; See related story, haaretz.com, June 29, "In pictures / The victims of Bernard Madoff's fraud scam."]
6.29.09 Aerial strikes, ground clashes kill 21 in Pakistan
ISLAMABAD, June 29 - At least 21 people, most of them militants, were killed as Pakistani jets bombarded terrorist hideouts in Taliban commander Baitullah Mehsud's stronghold of South Waziristan, where the Army is readying for a full-scale ground offensive. Fifteen militants were killed when fighter jets pounded three hideouts, including one established in a school in Ladha and Sam areas of South Waziristan. Air strikes and artillery have targeted areas dominated by Mehsud tribesmen ahead of a planned offensive by ground forces codenamed "Operation Rah-e-Nijat (Path of Salvation)".
6.29.09 Bombing kills four foreign troops in central Afghanistan
KABUL, Afghanistan (DPA) June 29 - Four international soldiers were killed Monday in a roadside bombing outside Kabul, said a spokesman for the government of Maidan Wardak province. Shahidullah Shahid said the troops died when their convoy was hit by a roadside bomb in the Jalrez district, about 40 kilometers west of Kabul. [More>>khaleejtimes.com]
6.29.09 World tells Honduras to reinstate ousted president
TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (AP) June 29 - Western Hemisphere leaders turn up pressure on Honduras to reinstate ousted president. Honduras' newly appointed leader vowed Monday to resist pressure from across the Americas to reinstate the president ousted in a military coup, as protesters burned tires outside the occupied presidential palace. Leaders from Hugo Chavez to Barack Obama called for the reinstatement of Manuel Zelaya, who was arrested in his pajamas Sunday morning by soldiers who stormed his residence and flew him into exile. Roberto Micheletti, appointed president by congress, insisted that Zelaya was legally removed by the courts and Congress for violating Honduras' constitution — allegedly to extend his rule. Zelaya's ouster was Central America's first coup in at least 16 years, a blow from the barracks that reminded many of the military dictatorships the region has tried to bury in its past. [More>>abcnews.go.com]
6.29.09 Historic moment in Iraq marked by little fanfare, mixed feelings
BAGHDAD, June 29 - Tuesday marks the long-anticipated deadline for American troops to pull out of Iraqi towns and cities, but on Monday, there will be no long lines of tanks rolling out of Baghdad or thousands of troops marching out of other cities. The US military has been gradually pulling its combat troops out of Iraq's population centers for months to meet the deadline agreed to by Washington and Baghdad.
6.29.09 President Ahmadinejad orders inquiry into 'suspicious' death of Neda
June 29 - President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran has ordered an inquiry in to the "suspicious" death of Neda Soltan, the woman shot by government militiamen during a protest in Tehran. The President sent a letter to the chief of Iran's judiciary, Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, requesting a serious investigation to help to identify and prosecute "the elements" behind the killing earlier this month. "Given the many fabricated reports around this heartbreaking incident and the widespread propaganda by the foreign media... it seems there is clear interference by the enemies of Iran who want to misuse the situation politically and tarnish the clean image of the Islamic republic," the president wrote. [More>>timesonline.co.uk; See related stories:
6.29.09 1 killed, 15 injured in S. Philippine market blast: military
COTABATO, Philippines, June 29 - One civilian was killed while 15 others were wounded as a homemade bomb exploded in a public market in southern Philippines Monday morning, the military said. Major Randolph Cabangbang, a regional military spokesman, said the blast occurred at 06:00 a.m. local time at Kitango village of Datu Saudi Amputuan town in Maguindanao province. A local witness earlier told Xinhua that at least three people were killed and seven others were injured when the improvised explosive device, hidden in front of a cafeteria, went off. Military bomb experts were sent to secure the scene and investigate the incident. Roads to the Kitango market were closed, witnesses said. [>xinhuanet.com]
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