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News Headlines & Trends

7.14.09 Transplant shows how heart can heal itself

LONDON (AP) - Girl Had Donor Heart Implanted Inside Her Own; Now Plays Sports With Repaired, Natural Heart. British doctors designed a radical solution to save a girl with major heart problems in 1995: they implanted a donor heart directly onto her own failing heart. After 10 years with two blood pumping organs, Hannah Clark's faulty one did what many experts had thought impossible: it healed itself enough so that doctors could remove the donated heart. But she also had a price to pay: the drugs Clark took to prevent her body from rejecting the donated heart led to malignant cancer that required chemotherapy.

Details of Clark's revolutionary transplant and follow-up care were published online Tuesday in the medical journal Lancet. "This shows that the heart can indeed repair itself if given the opportunity," said Dr. Douglas Zipes, a past president of the American College of Cardiology. Zipes was not linked to Clark's treatment or to the Lancet paper. "The heart apparently has major regenerative powers, and it is now key to find out how they work."

7.14.09 Goldman Sachs posts $3.44 billion profit

July 14 - Bank Received $10 Billion in Stimulus Money, But Has Since Paid It Back. Goldman Sachs this morning announced huge profits during its second-quarter: a whopping $3.44 billion, vastly surpassing analyst predictions of a $2 billion profit. The stock market was poised for a sharply higher open today, thanks to the surprisingly higher profits from Goldman. The firm's stock was trading around 150 points today, up more than triple from a low of 52 points a share in November. In this troubled economy, just how did Goldman do it? "They've taken bets. They put their money behind those bets, and they've made a tremendous amount of profit," said Seamus McMahon, president of McMahon Advisory LLC. [More>>abcnews.go.com]

7.14.09 Pakistan militia 'battles Taliban'

July 14 - Members of a pro-government tribal militia have killed at least 23 Taliban fighters in clashes in Pakistan's northwest, local government officials have said. The fighting began late Monday in the village of Anbar in Pakistan's Mohmand region along the border with Afghanistan. Syed Ahmad Jan, a senior regional administrator, said local villagers demanded Taliban fighters leave the area, but the Taliban refused and opened fire, sparking a gun battle that continued into Tuesday morning. At least four tribal militiamen were reported to have been wounded in the fighting. Mohammad Rasul Khan, a local official, said three villagers were missing after the clashes between the 150-strong village force and Taliban fighters. Pakistan's government has been encouraging villagers in the country's northwestern tribal regions to form local militias, known as lashkars, to help push Taliban fighters out of their areas. [More>>aljazeera.net; See also indianexpress.com, July 14, "Fighting kills 32 Taliban militants in Pakistan tribal belt."]

7.14.09 Five killed in Iraq, including three police

BAGHDAD (AFP) July 14 - Five people including three police officers were killed in attacks across Iraq on Tuesday, security and police officials said. In Baghdad, two policemen were shot dead by gunmen as they patrolled in the centre of the capital, an interior ministry official said. One gunmen was also killed in the attack. In the restive northern city of Mosul, meanwhile, an officer was killed and three others injured by a roadside bomb targeting their patrol in the centre of the city, said a police official who declined to be identified. Also in Mosul in a separate incident, a civilian was killed by armed men, the official added. In a town east of Baquba, north of Baghdad, a police officer's nephew was kidnapped and murdered, a security official said. [More>>khaleejtimes.com]

7.14.09 2 marines killed in opium-rich Afghan area

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) July 14 - Two US Marines were killed in a "hostile incident" in southern Afghanistan, where a transport helicopter also crashed killing seven civilians, officials said Tuesday. The Marines were killed in the southern Helmand province on Monday, US military spokeswoman Capt. Elizabeth Mathias said. She did not have other details. Some 4,000 Marines are pushing through Helmand province in the biggest US military operation in Afghanistan since the ouster of the Taliban from power in 2001. The region is the world's largest opium poppy producing area and the Taliban's heartland. [More>>msnbc.msn.com]

7.14.09 Public Debt reaches $11.5 trillion

The US Public Debt reached $11,524 trillion on July 10, 2009. Interest expense on the Public Debt FY 2009 (October 2008 -June 2009) was $320.6 billion. Various news reports have pointed out that the deficit topped $1 trillion for the first time (See foxnews.com (AP) July 13, 2009).

7.13.09 Turkey, EU nations sign Nabucco gas pipeline deal

ANKARA (RIA Novosti) July 13 - Five of the six parties to the Nabucco gas pipeline project signed on Monday an intergovernmental agreement on the transit of Caspian gas to Europe, skirting Russia. The document was signed by Turkey, Austria, Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary. The sixth participant, Germany, did not sign the deal, since it is not a transit country. European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and officials from about 20 countries attended the signing ceremony. A spokesman for the European Commission's energy policy earlier said the agreement was based on the principles "of mutual solidarity, mutual equality and interdependence."

The project, estimated at $7.9 billion, is designed to pump Central Asian gas via Turkey to Austria and Germany through Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary. The pipeline is to go on stream in 2014. Among the potential gas suppliers for the pipeline are Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran and Iraq. The project will be a continuation of the existing Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum pipeline and is to transport 20 billion cubic meters of gas a year. Two-thirds of the pipe length will pass across Turkish territory. Ankara believes that Nabucco will pave the way for the country's future EU integration. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan invited Russia and Iran on Monday to join Nabucco.
[More>>en.rian.ru; See other details, turkishpress.com, July 13, "Intergovernmental agreement on Nabucco pipeline project signed in Ankara" and

Maravot News 1.07.09, article and editorial note,
01.03.09 Europe shivers as gas row widens :Because of the previous pipeline shutoff, the EU sought the development of pipelines that did not pass through Russia. The pipeline from Baku to Turkey's Ceyhan port on the Mediterranean ("Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline,") was a solution to the problem until Russia defended the breakaway South Ossetia region of Georgia in response to a Georgian military attack to regain the region. A week prior to the invasion(s) of South Ossetia Russia persuaded Turkmenistan to reroute it's planned "Nabucco" pipeline to the EU...

7.13.09 'Healthy' girl died of Swine Flu within hours

LONDON, July 13 - A "perfectly healthy" six-year-old girl died of swine flu within hours of being taken to hospital after complaining of a sore throat, it has emerged. Chloe Buckley, from north west London, died on Thursday a day after her GP wrongly diagnosed her illness. Sky reporter Victoria Gatenby said: "Chloe's parents took her to their GP on Wednesday with a sore throat. The GP diagnosed her with tonsillitis, sending her home without Tamiflu, which is the drug that combats swine flu."

The youngster's condition quickly deteriorated and she was taken to the accident and emergency unit at Hillingdon Hospital in Uxbridge. On Thursday she was transferred to St. Mary's Hospital in Paddington, but despite doctors' efforts she died. Chris Spencer, director of education and children's services for Hillingdon Council, said: "This is a little girl who until a few days ago in all our minds was a child that was perfectly healthy so everybody here is in a deep state of shock." The Government's Chief Medical Officer Sir Liam Donaldson said investigations are continuing into whether or not Chloe had underlying health problems.

7.13.09 CIA planned al-Qaeda assassinations in friendly countries, officials say

July 13 - Dick Cheney, the former vice president, ordered a highly classified CIA operation hidden from Congress because it pushed the limits of legality by planning to assassinate of al-Qaeda operatives in friendly countries without the knowledge of their governments, according to former intelligence officials. Former counter-terrorism officials who retain close links to the intelligence community say that the hidden operation involved plans by the CIA and the military to launch operations, similar to those by Israel's Mossad intelligence service, to hunt down and kill al-Qaeda activists abroad without informing the governments concerned, even though some were regarded as friendly if unreliable.

The CIA apparently did not put the plan in to operation but the US military did, carrying out several assassinations including one in Kenya that proved to be a severe embarrassment and helped lead to the quashing of the programme. A former intelligence official said the plan was hatched in the cauldron of the September 11 attacks when officials were pushing various forms of unilateral action and some settled on the Israelis as an example.

7.13.09 Seventh Christian church bombed in Iraq

BAGHDAD (UPI) July 13 - A Christian church in Iraq was bombed Monday, injuring three children in the latest violent act against a Christian house of worship, Iraqi officials said. An Iraqi Interior Ministry official said Monday's bombing the seventh in recent days occurred when a car bomb exploded and damaged the church in Mosul, CNN reported. Six churches in the Baghdad area were bombed during the weekend, killing four people and wounding 32 others, officials said. [More>>upi.org]

7.13.09 16 killed in blast in Pakistan madrassa used as bomb-making factory

ISLAMABAD, July 13 - At least 16 people, including several children, were killed and 120 others injured when a powerful explosion in a small village in Pakistan's Punjab province flattened a madrassa, which was being used to make bombs, officials said. The blast, which occurred shortly before 10 am local time in the village near Mian Channu in southern Punjab, was caused by explosives stored in the home of madrassa teacher Riaz Ali, local residents said. Ali was a member of a banned religious group, officials said. Police and rescue service officials told reporters that 16 people, including several children, were killed in the blast, which also destroyed dozens of houses.

Muhammad Yousuf Soomra, health officer of Khanewal district, said the toll could rise as more bodies were feared to be buried under the rubble of collapsed homes. It was not immediately known what triggered the blast. Rescue workers found parts of shells and bombs, grenades, rockets and suicide jackets in the rubble of the madrassa. Officials said the seminary was being used to make bombs. Doctors in local hospitals said 120 injured people had been brought for treatment. Over 40 of them were admitted to hospitals while many were allowed to go home after being given first aid. An emergency was declared in all hospitals near Mian Channu.
[>timesofindia.indiatimes.com; See also

indianexpress.com, July 13, "16 killed in blast in Pakistan madrassa used as bomb-making factory"
:.."Jehadi" material, including cassettes with militant propaganda and pamphlets of the Harkat-ul-Jehad al-Islami terrorist group, were also found in the debris of Ali's house, Geo News channel reported. The blast created a crater 40 feet wide and eight feet deep. The explosion flattened about 25 structures, including a rural health centre and the madrassa, a police official said.

7.13.09 Iran to publicly hang 14 Jundallah rebels

TEHRAN, July 13 - Fourteen Sunni rebels from the shadowy group Jundallah are to be hanged in public early on Tuesday in the restive city of Zahedan in southeast Iran, the official news agency said on Monday. The condemned rebels include Abdolhamid Rigi, a brother of Jundallah (Soldiers of God) leader Abdolmalik Rigi. The local judiciary of Zahedan, the capital of Sistan-Baluchestan province bordering Afghanistan and Pakistan, has invited residents of the city to attend the executions due to be carried out at 6:30 am (0200 GMT), it added. Iran accuses Jundallah of launching regular attacks in Sistan-Baluchestan province, which is home to a sizeable Baluch minority of Sunni Muslims. The group strongly opposes the government of predominantly Shiite Iran. [>thenews.com.pk]

7.12.09 Pakistani jets pound militant hide-outs, kill 8

DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan (AP) July 12 - Fighter jets pounded suspected militant hide-outs in the South Waziristan tribal region on Sunday as part of ongoing operations against Pakistani Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud. At least eight militants were killed, intelligence officials said. Meanwhile, gunmen ambushed five police officers and a forestry official responding to reports of a dead body in northwestern Pakistan, killing all six, police said. The fighter jets hit several locations in South Waziristan on Sunday, killing eight militants in one spot, two intelligence officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to media, told The Associated Press.

South Waziristan is part of the lawless tribal region along Pakistan's border with Afghanistan, and top Taliban and al-Qaeda leaders are believed to be hiding there, helping plot attacks on American troops across the border. Pakistan's military has also deployed troops in the region to try to kill or capture Mehsud, who is blamed for orchestrating many of the bloodiest suicide attacks in the country. The army is also battling militants in the Swat Valley. The government has said Swat residents who fled their homes in the fighting can return starting Monday. More than 2 million residents of Swat and surrounding districts have fled since late April.
[More>>khaleejtimes.com; See related story,

indianexpress.com, July 12, "Osama is in Afghanistan, says Pakistan interior minister" : Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and other top operatives of the terrorist network are hiding in Afghanistan, probably in Kunar area, Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik has said, describing as futile US drone attacks within his country as no "big fish" was present there. "If Osama was in Pakistan we would know, with all the thousands of troops we have sent into the tribal areas in recent months. "If he and all these four or five top people were in our areas they would have been caught, the way we are searching," Malik told 'The Sunday Times,' adding that US missile attacks against them in Pakistan are futile. According to information available with Pakistani officials, Osama is in Afghanistan, probably Kunar, as most of the activities against Pakistan are being directed from Kunar, he said...

7.12.09 Taliban saved us from terrorizing police: Afghans

PANKELA, Pakistan (Reuters) July 12 - Afghans say they prefer Taliban to police that rape and steal. As British troops moved into the village newly freed from Taliban control, they heard one message from the anxious locals: for God's sake do not bring back the Afghan police. American and British troops have launched a campaign to seize control of Helmand province, about half of which was in Taliban hands, and restore Afghan government institutions. As the troops advance, they are learning uncomfortable facts about their local allies: villagers say the government's police force was so brutal and corrupt that they welcomed the Taliban as liberators.

"The police would stop people driving on motorcycles, beat them and take their money," said Mohammad Gul, an elder in the village of Pankela, which British troops have been securing for the past three days after flying in by helicopter. He pointed to two compounds of neighbors where pre-teen children had been abducted by police to be used for the local practice of "bachabazi," or sex with pre-pubescent boys. "If the boys were out in the fields, the police would come and rape them," he said. "You can go to any police base and you will see these boys. They hold them until they are finished with them and then let the child go." The Interior Ministry in Kabul said it would contact police commanders in the area before responding in detail.
[More>>alarabiya.net; See related stories,

japantoday.com, July 12, "Attack kills 12 Taliban in southern Afghanistan" : KANDAHAR - International troops and Afghan police killed 12 Taliban insurgents in a gunbattle in southern Afghanistan, police said Sunday. The joint force attacked a compound north of the capital of Uruzgan province where the militants were hiding Saturday evening, sparking the fighting, police spokesman Mohammad Musa said. He said no Afghan police or international troops were killed. In eastern Kunar province, meanwhile, one civilian was killed and five wounded when shelling from a gunbattle between insurgents and Afghan and international forces hit a house...

cbsnews.com, July 12, "2 marines killed in Afghan bomb blast" : KABUL - 3rd US Service Member Dies of Wounds; Americans Being Killed in Afghanistan at Record Pace. A bomb blast killed two U.S. Marines in Afghanistan's dangerous south, where thousands of American troops have deployed in a massive operation to oust Taliban fighters from the country's opium poppy region, officials said Sunday. Some 4,000 Marines moved into Helmand province this month, the largest Marine operation in Afghanistan since the 2001 US invasion. They have met little head-on resistance but remain vulnerable to guerrilla tactics like suicide and roadside bombs. "These terrorist attacks are hard to prevent, can be carried out by a few individuals, and do not require a military force capable of confronting the Marines," said Arturo Munoz, an expert on the tribal environment in Helmand province with the Washington-based RAND Corp...

7.12.09 In Bosnia, each funeral never ends

TUZLA, Bosnia, July 12 - Bone by bone, victims of the Srebrenica massacre are being identified, pieced together and, finally, laid to rest. How many times can you bury your child without going mad? It's a question that has haunted hundreds of Bosnian mothers facing an agonising dilemma: as researchers identify remains scattered around mass graves from the Srebrenica massacre, do they bury the first few bones or wait potentially years for a skeleton to come together?

Many choose to bury whatever fragments turn up first. Then another bone is found and they have to reopen the grave. Months later researchers find another piece, and then another – and each time, the women say, it feels like another funeral. The identification mission being carried out by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) is a monumental task. More than 8,100 men and boys were killed over five days when Bosnian Serb forces overran a United Nations-protected enclave during the 1992-95 Bosnian war. Newly identified Srebrenica remains are buried at a memorial centre each year on the 11 July anniversary of the start of the 1995 massacre, Europe's worst slaughter of civilians since 1945. After the bloodshed
classified by the UN as genocide troops led by General Ratko Mladic scattered the bodies in dozens of mass graves that are still being found. Yesterday, the partial remains of 534 victims were buried. [More>>independent.co.uk]

7.12.09 India's leading alcohol tycoon criticizes 'political hypocrites'

DELHI, India, July 12 - India's leading alcohol tycoon has criticized the "political hypocrites" who control the country's only dry state after more than 130 people died from drinking tainted home-made liquor. In a broadside against Narendra Modi and his senior officials in the western state of Gujarat, Vijay Mallya said it was an open secret that alcohol was available in the state but at increased prices. Poor people were risking their lives as a result.

"The death of more than hundred people resulting from the consumption of spurious liquor is not only tragic but should act as a wake-up call for our political hypocrites," said Mr. Mallya who heads the UB Group, the world's second largest distiller, which produces many of India's best-selling brands. "The farce of prohibition which cannot be enforced leads to illegal, unhygienic and unsupervised production of deadly cocktails which claim innocent lives," Mr. Mallya added.

Several of India's states have passed and then dropped prohibition laws over the years. Cities such as Rishikesh ban alcohol on religious grounds, but Gujarat
birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi, who campaigned strongly against drinking is the only place where alcohol remains illegal state-wide. Mafia gangs and corrupt officials ensure a steady supply, at increased rates.

The perilous nature of the cheaper alterative has been underlined by the deaths of more than 130 people in Ahmedabad after drinking so-called “country liquor”. Plastic pouches of such hooch are often sold for as little as 10 rupees (13 pence). Mr. Modi, a right-wing firebrand who had been named as a possible national leader of the Hindu nationalist BJP before its election failure, has yet to respond to Mr. Mallya's claims. His health minister, Jaynarayan Vyas said: "Mallya has a vested interest and he should be the last person to comment? Similar tragedies have taken place on a much bigger scale in non-prohibition states."

7.12.09 €400bn energy plan to harness African sun

BERLIN, July 12 - It's decision day on a chain of solar generators across the desert that could supply a quarter of Europe's power. The world's most ambitious green energy project is about to take shape. It is a plan for a chain of mammoth sun-powered energy plants in the deserts of North Africa to supply power to Europe's homes and factories by the end of the next decade. In a few days' time a consortium of 20 German firms will meet in Munich to hammer out plans for funding the giant €400bn (£343bn) project, named Desertec. The scheme is being backed by Chancellor Angela Merkel's government and several German industry household names including Siemens, Deutsche Bank, and the energy companies RWE and E.ON. The Munich meeting will also involve Italian and Spanish energy concerns, as well as representatives from the Arab League and the Club of Rome think-tank.

Energy experts have calculated that Desertec could meet at least 15 per cent of Europe's needs, and be up and running by 2019. By 2050, they estimate the contribution could be between 20 and 25 per cent. Although no host countries have been named, Desertec envisages a string of solar-thermal plants across North Africa's desert. The plants would use mirrors to focus the sun's rays, which would be used to heat water to power steam turbines. The process is cheaper and more efficient than the usual form of solar power, which uses photovoltaic cells to convert the sun's rays into electricity.

The project also envisages setting up a new super grid of high-voltage transmission lines from the Mahgreb desert to Europe. Hans Müller-Steinhagen, of German Aerospace, has researched the project for the German government. He said that although the idea behind the scheme had been around for several years, investors had been deterred by the high costs of setting up the infrastructure. Professor Müller-Steinhagen said that similar projects have been operating in the American West for years, but these had failed to gain the appropriate recognition. "Solar thermal power plants were built in California and Nevada, but people lost interest in them because fossil fuels became unbeatably cheap," he said.
[More>>independent.co.uk; Image from desertec.org]

7.12.09 Al-Qaeda releases Swiss hostage

July 12 - A Swiss man held hostage for six months by members of al-Qaeda in Mali has been freed, Swiss and Malian officials say. Werner Greiner — seized in Niger — is the last of six Western hostages held by a group calling itself al-Qaeda in the Islamic Magreb. In May, the group announced on a website that it had killed British hostage Edwin Dyer. The group had been demanding the release of radical Muslim cleric Abu Qatada from a UK prison. "The Swiss Foreign Ministry learnt with joy that the efforts towards the liberation of the last Swiss hostage in Mali have been successful," the ministry said in a statement. [More>>bbc.co.uk]

7.11.09 China raises Xinjiang death toll, adds ethnic detail

URUMQI, China (Reuters) July 11 - China raised the death toll from ethnic rioting in Xinjiang, giving for the first time the ethnicity of the dead, and a big security presence in the city at the centre of the strife prevented protests on Saturday. The official Xinhua news agency said 184 people had died in the July 5 riots in Urumqi, the Xinjiang regional capital, and 137 of those killed were Han Chinese, who form the majority of China's 1.3 billion population. The previous death toll was 156. The latest figure included 46 Uighurs, the largely Muslim people of Xinjiang who share cultural bonds with Central Asian peoples. All but one were men. Uighurs, once a sizeable majority in Xinjiang, now make up 46 percent of its 21.3 million people, according to government statistics. [More>>thestar.com.my]

7.11.09 Zoo may close, euthanize animals

BOSTON, July 11 - The Franklin Park Zoo, the only Boston institution of its kind, may be forced to close and euthanize some of its animals, zoo officials said Friday. Without more state funding, zoo officials said that they will run out of money within months and have to close both Franklin Park and the Stone Zoo in Stoneham. The zoos would be forced to lay off most of their 165 employees and attempt to find new homes for more than 1,000 animals. Zoo officials estimated 20 percent of the animals would not find homes and could be euthanized. [More>>thebostonchannel.com via cnn.com]

7.11.09 In Ghana, Obama preaches tough love

ACCRA, Ghana, July 11 - President Obama traveled in his father's often-troubled home continent on Saturday as a potent symbol of a new political era but also as a messenger with a tough-love theme: American aid must be matched by Africa's responsibility for its own problems. "We must start from the simple premise that Africa's future is up to Africans," Mr. Obama said in an address to Parliament that was televised across the continent. "I say this knowing full well the tragic past that has sometimes haunted this part of the world. After all, I have the blood of Africa within me, and my own family's story encompasses both the tragedies and triumphs of the larger African story."

But, he continued, Africa must put the past behind it. “It is easy to point fingers and to pin the blame for these problems on others,” he said. “Yes, a colonial map that made little sense helped to breed conflict. The West has often approached Africa as a patron, or a source of revenue, rather than as a partner. But the West is not responsible for the destruction of the Zimbabwean economy over the last decade or wars in which children are enlisted as combatants.” The continent's future, he said, depends on good governance, “which has been missing in far too many places for far too long.” "That is the change that can unlock Africa's potential," he said. “And that is a responsibility that can be met only by Africans.”

7.11.09 Spam-proof your cell phone, inbox too

July 11 - (By Kim Komando) Is There Any Way to End That Junk E-Mail? Some Handy Hints. Spam is the bane of computer users everywhere, accounting for more than 90 percent of e-mail. And, now, cell phones are getting spam. There is no foolproof solution to spam, but you can banish most of it. You'll find links to software and sites mentioned on my site at www.komando.com/news.

Use a Good E-Mail Filter

Your first line of defense is a spam filter. Filters screen incoming messages; spam is killed before it hits your inbox. Good spam filters don't rely on sender information. Rather, they use Bayesian filters. These filters improve as you use them. I recommend a free filter like MailWasher, POPFile, Spamato, or SpamBayes. Webmail providers usually have built-in spam filters. Make sure yours is activated. Tag spam that reaches your inbox to improve accuracy. [More>>abcnews.go.com]

7.11.09 Bush surveillance program was massive, report says

WASHINGTON, July 11 - The Bush administration built an unprecedented surveillance operation to pull in mountains of information far beyond the warrantless wiretapping previously acknowledged, a team of federal inspectors general reported Friday, questioning the legal basis for the effort but shielding almost all details on grounds they’re still too secret to reveal. The report, compiled by five inspectors general, refers to “unprecedented collection activities” by US intelligence agencies under an executive order signed by President George W. Bush after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. Just what those activities involved remains classified, but the IGs pointedly say that any continued use of the secret programs must be "carefully monitored." [More>>japantoday.com]

7.11.09 This bloody war: Eight British soldiers killed in 24 hours

July 11 - Five British soldiers were killed yesterday in a devastating roadside bombing, the largest number to die in one single attack, bringing to eight the number killed in the most deadly 24 hours of the Afghan campaign. With it another bleak and poignant milestone was reached and passed: the lethal toll in forces' lives lost in the conflict is now more than that in the whole of the Iraq war. The sombre unfolding statistics reflect the rising ferocity of this defining war between the West and fundamentalist Islam. Fifteen British soldiers died this week alone as UK and US forces launched a massive operation against the Taliban in Helmand. The latest deaths took the number killed in Afghanistan to 184, five more than Iraq. [More>>independent.co.uk]

7.11.09 Deadly car bomb blast hits Mosul

July 11 - At least five people have been killed after a car laden with explosives blew up in a market in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. Nearly 40 people were also killed in the bombing on Saturday in an eastern area of the northern city, predominantly inhabited by the Shia Muslim minority Shabak ethnic group. There are frequent attacks in Mosul and the surrounding Nineveh province, which remains a stronghold of al-Qaeda in Iraq. Two suicide bombings in Tal Afar, not far from Mosul, killed 34 people and wounded around 60 on Thursday. [More>>ajazeera.net]

7.10.09 Japan wholesale prices take record plunge; deflation returning?

TOKYO (AP) July 10 - Japan's central bank said Friday that wholesale prices fell 6.6 percent in June from a year earlier, the biggest fall on record and the latest sign that deflation is returning to the country. The Bank of Japan's corporate good price index, which tracks the cost of a wide range of products sold domestically, declined for the sixth straight month. On a monthly basis, prices slipped 0.3 percent from May. The yearly fall was the largest since the central bank began keeping comparable data in 1960. Deflation can hurt economic growth because it cuts into company profits as prices fall. [More>>thestar.com.my; See related stories,

xinhuanet.com, July 10, "China's imports, exports continue falling, but rate eases" : BEIJING - China's imports and exports continued falling year on year in June, but the pace of decline eased, the General Administration of Customs announced Friday. Exports dropped 21.4 percent year on year to 95.41 billion US dollars, but the figure was up 7.5 percent from May. June imports totaled 87.16 billion US dollars, down 13.2 percent year on year, but were up 15.6 percent from May. During the first half, exports totaled 521.53 billion US dollars, a decrease of 21.8 percent over the same period last year. Imports amounted to 424.59 billion US dollars in the first six months, down 25.4 percent. China's trade surplus stood at 96.94 billion US dollars in the first half, down 1.3 billion US dollars, or 1.3 percent, year on year. The European Union was the leading trade partner of China in the first half, with a bilateral trade volume of 159.97 billion US dollars, down 20.9 percent year on year. The US and Japan were the second and third largest trade partners....

timesonline.co.uk, July 10, "Factory prices fall at fastest pace since 2001" : The price of British-made goods fell at the sharpest pace in 8 years in June, putting further downward pressure on inflation. Factory gate prices fell by a bigger-than-expected 1.2 percent in the year to June — four times larger than the 0.3 percent decline recorded for May and the sharpest decline since the end of 2001, as manufacturers battled dwindling demand. Howard Archer, chief UK and European economist at IHS Global Insight, said: "Although the rate of decline in manufacturing activity has slowed substantially, increased spare capacity and still difficult conditions are maintaining pressure on firms to price competitively to gain business." The difficulties facing manufacturers was further underlined by core producer price inflation, which strips out volatile food and energy prices, that fell sharply from 1.2 percent in May to 0.1 percent in June...

nytimes.com, July 10, "As imports slow, trade deficit narrows" : The United States trade deficit eased in May to its lowest level in almost a decade as exports jumped 1.6 percent while the recession continued to dampen the American appetite for imports. According to Commerce Department data released on Friday, the difference in United States trade flows unexpectedly narrowed by 9.8 percent, to $26 billion from $28.8 billion, after economists anticipated that the deficit would widen to $30 billion. It was the smallest deficit since November 1999.

Reflecting persistent weakness in global economic activity, United States imports were down 0.6 percent from April. Demand for auto parts from abroad has fallen sharply amid turmoil at Detroit's struggling automakers. Imports of foreign crude oil also dropped as fuel consumption remains subdued in an extended recession. The rise in exports was largely driven by sales of petroleum products, chemicals and industrial machinery. The figures were also helped by Boeing, which posted 20 orders for aircraft in May...

7.10.09 AIG bonuses: $235 milllion to go

NEW YORK, July 10 - Troubled insurer AIG has asked the government's 'pay czar' to review hundreds of millions more in bonus payments to employees of its most crippled division. Bailed-out insurer AIG again found itself in the crosshairs of bonus rage on Friday over its plans to pay $2.4 million in executive bonuses next week. But the larger issue is how AIG will deal with its obligation to pay roughly $235 million still owed to employees of its crippled financial products division. The contentious issue of the bonuses resurfaced late Thursday after The Washington Post reported that AIG was seeking the government's consent to make a scheduled performance bonus payment of $2.4 million to 43 of its top-ranking executives.

But there's still the $235 million in retention bonuses owed to about 400 employees of AIG's Financial Products (FP) division that the company has to deal with. Public furor erupted in March when it was revealed that AIG had paid out $165 million of retention bonuses to those employees. AIG put the issue before Kenneth Feinberg, the Obama administration's pay czar. Feinberg is tasked with reviewing bonuses and retirement packages for the 100 highest-paid executives at AIG (AIG, Fortune 500), Citigroup (C, Fortune 500), Bank of America (BAC, Fortune 500), General Motors, GMAC, Chrysler and the now defunct Chrysler Financial.

7.10.09 Kasab trained by Pakistan marines: Report

NEW DELHI, July 10 - Mohammad Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone captured terrorist for the audacious Mumbai terror attack, was trained by Pakistan marines, an elite unit of the Pakistan Navy. In its latest issue, The Week quoting Kasab's interrogation report by an intelligence agency said he and nine others who struck Mumbai last November were taught combat techniques by the Pakistan marines after being extensively trained by the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) at its various camps.

The report said the terrorists underwent crash courses in surveillance, reading topographical maps, sniping positions, urban warfare and kidnapping. The magazine also said Kasab's interrogators think that the terrorists could in "all possibility" have done a recce of the targets in Mumbai much ahead of 26/11. It said that a senior Research and Analysis Wing officer had said that Ismail, the leader of the pack, did the recce with the help of local elements. Kasab told the interrogators that he and his comrades were taken to sea briefly in the initial stages of the intensive training programme. "The acclimatization drills continued for two months in two separate installments. Nautical miles increased in time. And at a later stage, they were taught the specialised techniques in a 'built up' pool," the magazine said in a statement.

7.10.09 Police deaths in Pakistan fighting

July 10 - At least four policemen have been killed in Pakistan's tribal belt after about dozen suspected Taliban fighters attacked a checkpoint, officials say. The officials said on Friday that 20 to 25 fighters targeted the post manned by local tribal police overnight near Khar, the main town in the semi-autonomous region of Bajaur. Taliban fighters have a significant presence in the area, the officials said. "The armed militants attacked the post killing all [four] policemen inside," Adialat Khan, a local government official, told the AFP news agency. He said the post, set up to conduct security checks on the main road heading into Khar, was destroyed. [More>>aljazeera.net; See related story,

bbc.co.uk, July 10, "Swat Taliban chief 'near death' " ; The leader of Taliban militants in Pakistan's Swat district has been critically wounded and is close to death, the BBC has learned. The information about Maulana Fazlullah confirms statements from senior government and security officials. A former village cleric, he founded the branch of the Taliban movement which eventually took over the Swat valley. After a recent offensive, Pakistan's army says it has almost defeated rebels in that sector of the north-west. It has been battling Taliban militants there for about two months and the government says it has regained control of the region...

7.10.09 Iranian police chief defends arrests,opposition remains defiant

CAIRO (AP) July 10 - Tehran's police chief would not say how many people were arrested during opposition protests that erupted a day earlier in the Iranian capital — in the latest attempt to revive street demonstrations over the country's disputed election.

"Iranian Elections" Cartoonist: Muhammad Saba'ne.
Source: Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (PA), June 21, 2009. (from mimri.org)

The lack of an overwhelming crackdown — despite authorities' vows to "smash" anyone who joined the marches — could suggest the country's leadership is hoping Thursday's protests would be a one-time event and will subsequently weaken. Click for photos from Iran. Several thousands demonstrators marched down Tehran's main avenues in Thursday's protests, chanting "down with the dictator" and slogans in support of Mir Hossein Mousavi, the pro-reform candidate who contends he was defrauded of victory in June 12 presidential elections. [More>>foxnews.com; See Arab points of view of Iran's election expressed through cartoons in Arab media at memri.org;

See related post from twitter.com: (#IranElection)
Fraud: http://bit.ly/Pit9n : sciencenews.org, July "Statistical tests suggestive of fraud in Iran’s election " : An American statistician says strong statistical evidence backs up the claims of Iranian protestors that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's victory in the June election was fraudulent. Walter Mebane of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor analyzed Iranian election data and found anomalies strongly suggesting that ballot boxes were stuffed with extra votes for Ahmadinejad. Mebane also identified 81 towns where further investigations are likely to find evidence of fraud.

"This suggests that the actual outcome should have been pretty close," says Mebane, who described his analysis on a paper posted on his website June 15 and updated June 29. The official results showed Ahmadinejad getting almost twice as many votes as his closest rival. "His data is highly, highly, highly suggestive that something odd was going on," says political scientist Henry Brady of the University of California, Berkeley. "Someone who really knows the geopolitical makeup of Iran might be able to take this analysis further. I hope the CIA has someone doing that."

The best relationship the model found produced 81 outliers out of 320 towns in the analysis, a strikingly high percentage. Another 91 fit the model, but poorly. In the majority of these 172 towns, Ahmadinejad did better than the model would have predicted. "This is not necessarily diagnostic of fraud," Mebane says. “It could just be that the model is really terrible.” But since the first analysis gives evidence of fraud, the cities the model flags as problematic are the sensible ones to scrutinize.

7.10.09 New al-Qaeda book on 'Muslim spies' released on internet

DUBAI, July 10 - A new book published by al-Qaeda shows that the terrorist group is under intense pressure and in "deathly fear" of US counterterrorism efforts in Pakistan, terror experts say. The 150-page book, titled "Guide to the Laws Regarding Muslim Spies," was recently posted on jihadist Web sites. It was written by a senior al-Qaeda commander, Abu Yahya Al-Libi, and features an introduction by Ayman Al-Zawahri, the No. 2 man in al-Qaeda. The book accuses some in al-Qaeda's ranks of being spies who provide intelligence, including information about al-Qaeda camps and safe houses, to US forces. According to the book, these "Muslim spies" have allowed the US to use its Predator drone campaign to paralyze al-Qaeda leadership.

"It would be no exaggeration to say that the first line in the raging Crusader campaign waged by America and its allies against the Muslims and their lands is the network of spies, of various and sundry sorts and kinds," says the book, translated by the Washington-based Middle East Media Research Institute, or MEMRI "Their effects are seen: carnage, destruction, arrest, and pursuit, but they themselves remain unseen, just like Satan and his ilk who see us while remaining unseen." Terror experts have called the book unique in its weak and worried tone.

"I haven't ever seen this kind of language from senior al-Qaeda commanders before," said Daniel Lev, who works for MEMRI. "In general, al-Qaeda speaks in a very triumphant tone," but in the new book Al-Libi speaks of the group's dire straits and serious problems, Lev added. "Such an admission of distress on the part of a senior al-Qaeda commander makes this a very unique book in terms of the author."

"They are in deathly fear of airpower," said McInerny, a retired lieutenant general in the US Air Force. "Whether it's unmanned drones or whether it's fighters or bombers using precision weapons, they are deathly afraid." The book also displays a deep-seated paranoia of hidden enemies, according to MEMRI. It claims that anyone — from the old and infirm to the imam of a mosque — could be a US spy.
[More>>thenews.com.pk; See also memri.org report]

7.10.09 Egypt seizes explosives linked to terror suspects

ISMAILIA, Egypt, July 10 - 700 Kg found with terror suspects: Egyptian state security. Egypt has seized a cache of explosives in a mountainous area near its border with Israel, a security source said on Friday, one day after 26 people were arrested on suspicion of targeting the Suez Canal. In the latest of crackdowns on terror cells, an unnamed Egyptian security source said 700 kg (1,540 lb) of explosives were [seized] on Thursday evening in a mountainous area south of el-Arish and was likely to be smuggled to Gaza. The source added that residents had alerted security forces to the cache, which was buried two meters (6.6 feet) below the ground. No one was arrested, but there was evidence the cache had been used recently, the source said. On Thursday, Egypt's interior ministry said it had arrested 26 people suspected of plotting to target oil pipelines and foreign ships in the Suez Canal, which separates the Sinai Peninsula from the rest of Egypt. [More>>alarabiya.net]

7.10.09 Russian police seize 16 tons of drugs in first half of 2009

MOSCOW (RIA Novosti) July 10 - Drug police in Russia have seized 16 tons of various drugs since the beginning of the year, the head of Federal Drug Control Service said on Friday. "Law enforcement bodies have seized 16 tons of various drugs in the past six months," Viktor Ivanov said at a roundtable on Afghan drug production, adding that this was less than the figure for the same period of 2008. He highlighted the increase in the smuggling of Afghan heroin.

"From 30 % to 50% of the heroin produced in Afghanistan is smuggled into Russia," Ivanov said. "Ninety percent of drug addicts in Russia use heroin from Afghanistan, the trafficking of which is continuously increasing." Ivanov also said that during President Barak Obama's visit to Moscow, the US and Russia decided to establish a bilateral working group to tackle the trade in drugs from Afghanistan. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will head the group. [>en.rian.ru]

7.10.09 South Korea says attackers used IP address in 5 nations

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) July 10 - South Korea said Friday it had identified and blocked five IP addresses used to distribute computer viruses that caused a wave of Web site outages in the US and South Korea. South Korean and American officials have said they believe North Korea was behind the attacks, but none of the blocked Internet Protocol addresses — the Web equivalent of a street address or phone number — were for computers in North Korea. The addresses point to the computers that distributed the virus that triggered so-called denial of service attacks in which floods of computers try to connect to a single site at the same time, overwhelming the server. They were in Austria, Georgia, Germany, South Korea and the US, an official from the state-run Korea Communications Commission said. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media on the record.

The latest evidence does not clear North Korea of involvement. It is likely that the hackers used the identified IP addresses to disguise themselves — for instance, by accessing the computers from a remote location — though blocking them helps prevent those computers from being used again to distribute viruses. US officials have also said some IP addresses have been traced to the North. And South Korean officials have said the attacks could have been carried out by sympathizers who worked outside of North Korea. IP addresses can also be faked or masked, hiding their true location.

7.10.09 Somali Islamist hardliners behead 7 'Christians'

MOGADISHU, Somalia, July 10 - Victims executed for being 'Christian followers' and 'spies.' Somalia's hard-line Islamist rebels beheaded seven people on Friday for being "Christians" and "spies" in the latest implementation of strict Sharia law by the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab movement, witnesses said. Though al-Shabaab has carried out such punishments before in regions it controlled, the beheadings on Friday were thought to be their largest number of executions at one time, Somalis said. "Al-Shabaab told us that they were beheaded for reasons they described as being Christian followers and spies," said one relative, who gave his name only as Aden, after the executions in the south-central town of Baidoa. The group beheaded three people in the region last month. [More>>alarabiya.net]

7.09.09 Hundreds protest in Iran, defying crackdown vow

TEHRAN (AP) July 9 - Hundreds of young men and women chanted "death to the dictator," confronting police wielding batons and firing tear gas in the capital Thursday as opposition activists sought to revive street protests despite authorities' vows to "smash" any new marches. For days, supporters of opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi have been calling for new protests in Tehran and other cities on Thursday, their first significant attempt to get back on the streets since security forces crushed massive demonstrations nearly two weeks ago in Iran's postelection turmoil. Tehran governor Morteza Tamaddon warned that any new march Thursday would meet the same fate. [More>>thejakartapost.com; See also nytimes.com, July 9, "Latest updates on Iran election protests." (with video clips from blogs).

7.09.09 China says Urumqi rioters have al-Qaeda links

BEIJING, July 9 - China said Thursday that those involved in Sunday's killing and mayhem in the northwestern city of Urumqi were members of terrorists groups with links with al-Qaeda. It was seeking the cooperation of foreign governments to track down links and people involved in supporting the rioters from overseas locations. The matter came up for discussion on Thursday at an urgently convened meeting of the nine-member Politburo of the Communist Party of China betraying the party's fear of a possible reoccurrence of violence or its spread to other parts of the country.

The meeting was presided over by the party's general secretary and Chinese president Hu Jintao, who left the G-20 summit in Rome to focus on the crisis in Urumqi, the capital of the restive region of Xinjiang. The Politburo took a significant political decision promising leniency to participants in the riots, who were misled by leaders of the agitation. The move is apparently aimed to drive a wedge among the supporters of the World Uighur Congress by weaning away a section of the followers.
[More>>timesofindia.indiatimes.com; See related stories,

thejakartapost.com, July 9, "Chinese-Indonesians call on Muslim nations to help Uighur" : The Indonesian Chinese Muslim Association (PITI) has criticized China's brutality against the Uighur Muslim minority, and regretted the silence of Muslim nations regarding the group's decades of suffering discrimination and persecution. "The Chinese Muslims are on the periphery [of the Muslim world]. They have long been persecuted, but they are neglected," PITI spokesman Steven Indra Wijaya told The Jakarta Post. "We are calling on all Muslims to cast aside their [ethnic] identities and help the Uighurs."

turkishpress.com, July 7, "ATAA condemns violence against Turkic uighurs in China"
: The Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA) condemns the hate crimes and killings that have occurred against Uighur Turks in the Xinjiang province of China. Since Sunday, ethnic Hans, armed with clubs lead pipes, shovels and meat cleavers, have killed over 150 and seriously wounded over 1000 Uighurs. Mostly Uighur elderly and woman engaged in a peaceful demonstration for Uighur rights and self-determination in what is commonly referred to as "East Turkistan." They waived Tibetan and East Turkistan flags, tearfully mourned the deaths and oppression, and demanded the release of Uighur men who had been seized from their homes by the Chinese military.

The Turkic Uighurs, a mainly Sunni Muslim group with a distinct culture, is the largest ethnic group in the heart of Xinjiang, an oil-rich region in western China. However, the Uighurs have been oppressed by the Han, the dominant ethnic group in the country, despite equal rights guarantees in the Chinese Constitution. At least 1,434 people are being held by the Chinese authorities. Information on the fate of the Uighurs has become difficult to obtain, as Chinese authorities have imposed curfews, cut off mobile and internet services, sent armed units into neighborhoods, and clamped down on visitations to the region.

Maravot News 1.27.05 article
1.27.05 Explosive situation in Xinjiang – Muslim separatists? Jan. 28 – B. Raman inquires whether the explosions reported Jan. 22 by China Daily were related to the separatist movement of the Muslim Uighurs: "The China Daily reported on January 22 that 13 persons were killed and 18 others injured in two separate explosions in China's Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, coinciding with the Eid-al-Adha religious festival. In the first incident, nine passengers were killed instantaneously and two others later died after an explosion on January 20 in a minibus carrying 18 people at the Dushanzi overpass in Kuitun, in the Yili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture. The place where the explosion took place is about 200 kilometers from the Kazakhstan border. Most of the victims were reportedly ethnic minorities (Uighurs?) and not Han Chinese.

Liu Yaohua, head of the Public Security Department of the Xinjiang Autonomous Region, was quoted as saying that 19 people were on the bus. A man and a woman got off during the trip, while a man in his 40s, carrying a black canvas bag, got on when the bus approached the overpass. The blast took place at the right rear of the bus...the French news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP) quoted unnamed Chinese officials as saying they could not rule out the possibility that the blast is linked to the separatist movement of the Muslim Uighurs, the non-Han natives of the province, some of whom have been fighting for an independent state for the Uighurs of Xinjiang and the adjoining Central Asian Republics, to be called East Turkestan.

7.09.09 Egypt nabs Palestinian-led terror cell 'plotting Suez attacks'

(Jerusalem Post/AP) July 9 - Egyptian authorities have arrested 25 al-Qaeda-linked terrorists on suspicion of plotting attacks on oil pipelines and ships crossing the Suez Canal. The Egyptian Interior Ministry said the new cell was led by a Palestinian and included 24 Egyptians, mostly engineers and technicians. They planned to use mobile phones to detonate explosives against ships crossing the Canal, the statement said. The group learned how to make car bombs through communicating with al-Qaeda terrorists on jihadi Web sites, according to an Interior Ministry statement. The detainees confessed to funding their activities through contributions from Islamic charities abroad and in one case robbed a jewelry store and murdered its Coptic Christian owner. [>jpost.com; See more details,

haaretz.com (AP) July 9, "Egypt arrests Palestinian-led cell over Suez terror plot"
: ..."They believe in takfiri and jihadi thought," the statement said, referring to the radical Sunni Muslim ideology espoused by militant groups like al-Qaeda...In April, Egypt announced it had disrupted a militant cell linked to Lebanon's Shi'ite Hezbollah movement which also planned to target the Suez Canal. One of the suspects in Thursday's case also crossed into Gaza Strip to meet up with the Palestinian Army of Islam group to receive instructions on attacking vital and important targets in Egypt, the ministry added...In May, Egypt announced arrests of seven alleged members of the same Palestinian Army of Islam for the bombing in February at Cairo's Khanel-Khalili bazaar that killed one French woman.

Editorial note: "Confusion on the Koran." Wikipedia.org says of "takfiri" : A Takfiri (from the Arabic word تكفيري) is a Muslim who practices Takfir, which is to accuse other Muslims of apostasy. The term Takfir derives from the word kafir (impiety) and is described as when "...one who is, or claims to be, a Muslim is declared impure."[1] Those to whom Takfir is applied are considered excommunicated in the eyes of the Muslim community. According to Islamic or Sharia law, they can no longer benefit from the protection of the law, and as such are condemned to death. The severe implications of such punishment has resulted in a rigorous set of rules being formulated under orthodox Islam to determine whether an accused party is guilty of apostasy or not. In principle the only group authorised to declare a Muslim a kafir are the ulema, and this only once all the prescribed legal precautions have been taken.[1] However a growing number of splinter Salafist groups labelled by some scholars as Salafi-Takfiris[2] have split from the orthodox method of establishing takfir through the processes of the law, and have reserved the right to declare apostasy themselves...

For more information on kafirs or kuffars see Maravot News 7.08.09 article
6.30.09 Muslims offer 100,000 Qurans to US leaders and editorial note, "Confusion on the Koran"....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:

An interesting site by an Islamic scholar defines what "kuffar" (disbelievers) means. His site, renaissance.com.pk Arguments and Rational details the Koran's verses and traditional and modern applications of the verses dealing with disbelievers: identifying them, punishing them, preaching to them and "'displaced directives." His argument refers heavily to Old Testament verses that set the foundation for verses of the Koran involving the punishment of disbelievers. The site (Punishing the Disbelievers) says, "In other words, what authorizes a Messenger to punish the Kuffar is that it can be ascertained in this very world that they are guilty of denying the basic truths in spite of being convinced about them. Good and evil are elucidated with ultimate clarity and people who accept evil do so not because of any confusion but because of their own stubbornness.

So it can be concluded that since a Messenger reveals the basic truths in their ultimate form and those who deny it do so because of their stubbornness and even confess their sins, a Messenger has the perfect justification to punish his people after they have denied him." But in other places says, (Misplaced Directives) "In other words, what is construed from this Hadith is that a Muslim will be rewarded with Paradise if he kills a non-Muslim. Consequently, Imam Abu Da¹ud, the celebrated Muslim scholar and compiler of Hadith has placed this Hadith in a chapter entitled: (bab fi fadli man qatala kafiran: Chapter on the Reward of a Muslim who Kills a Kafir). Again, it needs to be appreciated that these words relate to the Idolaters of the Prophet¹s times who had lost their right to live after they had deliberately rejected the truth. These words are not related to later Muslims."...

Part of the problem involving Islamic jihadism might be attributed to the failure of Arab organizations to define "terrorism." The "Arab convention for the Suppression of terrorism, 1998" (and subsequent meetings) addressed the issue in an oblique way, endorsing UN conventions and agreements while at the same time declaring that freedom fighters have a right to exercise violence to preserve an Arab country:

"(Preamble)...Being further committed to the Pact of the League of Arab States, the Charter of the United Nations and all the other international convents and instruments to which the Contracting States to this Convention are parties, Affirming the right of peoples to combat foreign occupation and aggression by whatever means, including armed struggle, in order to liberate their territories and secure their right to self-determination, and independence and to do so in such a manner as to preserve the territorial integrity of each Arab country, of the foregoing being in accordance with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and with the Organization's resolutions..."

Al-Qaeda and other jihadist organizations claim that they are fighting for the restoration of the Arab caliphate or the world dominion of Islam (in the context of the jihadists' views and sharia law). Individual Moslem states have adjudicated against certain jihadists, such as the recent trial of 300 al-Qaeda-linked prisoners in Saudi Arabia, recorded in Maravot News 7.08.09 article 7.08.09 Tribunals convict 330 of al-Qaeda links. While distinctions may have been made in individual cases against terrorism Arab nations seem to be mute whether a Palestinian suicide bomber et al., as in Afghanistan or Pakistan, constitutes terrorism. It may be that to resolve the conflict Moslems have in addressing the issue of terrorism Moslems will need to address the words "takfiri" and "kafir"and whether any person or government can murder others on behalf of allah, God, or any other god.

Mel Copeland

7.09.09 American jihadist attacks Obama in extremist audio tape

July 9 - An American jihadist tied to al-Qaeda has released an extremist audiotape attacking President Obama, calling for American Muslims to leave the US and join the armed Islamic struggle around the world. Abu Mansoor al-Amriki, an apparent American citizen, is a member of the Somalia-based Islamist militant group al-Shabaab and speaks in English with a flat American accent addressing American Muslims. Titled "A Response to Barack Obama: The Beginning of the End," the tape is a belated reply to Obama's speech in Egypt addressed to the Muslim world. In it, Abu Mansoor praises Osama bin Laden and refutes various points Obama made during his speech from Cairo. [More>>abcnews.go.com]

7.09.09 Militancy-infested Pakistan, Afghan top priority for G-8 leaders

July 9 - Describing terrorism as one of the greatest challenges to global peace and security, leaders of the elite G-8 club today denounced the scourge in all its forms and manifestations regardless of motivation and said that militancy-infested Pakistan and Afghanistan remained a top priority for them. The G-8 Declaration on Counter-Terrorism, adopted after a summit of leaders, including US President Barack Obama, in this mountain town, said terrorism continued to represent one of the greatest challenges to international peace, stability and security.

"We reiterate, in the strongest terms, our firm condemnation of this phenomenon in all its forms and manifestations. All acts of terrorism
by whomever committed are criminal, inhumane and unjustifiable, regardless of motivation, especially when they indiscriminately target and injure civilians," it said. In particular, the G-8 declaration said suicide bombings and recruiting of the young or disadvantaged to carry out such acts as well as abductions and the taking of hostages were repugnant practices. [More>>indianexpress.com]

7.09.09 Obama, world leaders announce climate change agreements

July 9 - President Obama and other world leaders at the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate today announced international commitments to reducing polluting emissions worldwide -- but also acknowledged there is a long way to go in addressing the problem of global warming. "We've made a good start, but I'm the first one to acknowledge progress on this issue will not be easy," Mr. Obama said from L’Aquila, Italy. "It is no small task for 17 leaders to bridge their differences on climate change." The countries represented at the forum agreed to recognize the scientific view that the increase in global average temperature above pre-industrial levels should not exceed two degrees Celsius. [More>>cbsnews.com]

7.09.09 Boldness of Qaeda affiliate in Africa raises fears in West

WASHINGTON, July 9 - Al-Qaeda's affiliate in North Africa has carried out a string of slayings, bombings and other lethal attacks against Westerners and African security forces in recent weeks that have raised fears the terrorist group may be turning a more deadly corner. American and European security counterterrorism officials say that the attacks may signal the return of foreign fighters from the battlefields of Iraq, where they honed their bomb-making skills. The attacks also reflect al-Qaeda's growing tentacles in the northern tier of Africa, outside the group's main sanctuary in Pakistan's tribal areas, the officials say.

In just the past month, the group has claimed credit for killing a kidnapped British hostage in Mali, killing an American aid worker in Mauritania, murdering a senior Malian army officer in his home and ambushing a convoy of nearly two dozen Algerian paramilitary forces. Last weekend, fighters from the Algeria-based affiliate, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, ambushed a Malian army patrol in Mali's northern desert, killing nearly a dozen soldiers and capturing several others, American military officials said. Several militants were also killed.

7.09.09 US criticized over Babylon damage

July 9 - American troops and contractors caused substantial damage to the archaeological site at Babylon in Iraq after the 2003 invasion, a new UN report says. The report says key structures were harmed and the site was subjected to "digging, cutting and levelling." But UN cultural officials stress the damage did not begin when the Americans arrived, or end when they left. The US says looting while Babylon was under their control would have been worse had they not been there at all. The new report was issued on Thursday in Paris by the UN's cultural agency, UNESCO. It comes after five years of investigations by Iraqi and international academics, some of whom have previously been critical of damage caused when US troops were based at Babylon in 2003 and 2004. The 4,000-year-old city south of Baghdad was once home to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

The UNESCO report says troops and contractors dug long trenches through the ancient ruins, bulldozed hilltops and drove heavy vehicles over the fragile paving of pathways which were once held sacred. Experts say that, among the most famous structures harmed, were the city's Ishtar Gate and a main processional street. Archaeologist John Curtis, of the British Museum - who has visited Babylon, said: "There has indeed been a considerable amount of damage." He said dragon carvings from the Ishtar Gate seemed to have been vandalized by looters while the area was under the control of American forces.
[More>>bbc.co.uk; See background story, Maravot News 1.17.05, 1.15.05 US-led troops trash Ancient site of Babylon]

7.09.09 Forces kill 7 extremists in Orakzai Agency

PESHAWAR, July 9 - At least seven extremists were killed and several others injured in the security forces’ action in Lower Orakzai Agency on Thursday. According to sources, the military gunship helicopters, later fighter jets, pounded the suspected hideouts of militants in Lower Orakzai Agency areas of Chapri Feozkhel, Bahram Garh, Girajona and Astarsam. According to preliminary reports, seven extremists were killed and various are injured. [>thenews.com.pk]

7.09.09 Afghan truck blast claims children's lives: Police

KABUL, Afghanistan, July 9 - Truck explosion comes amid increase of western troops. An overturned truck rigged with explosives blew up near Kabul on Thursday, killing 25 people including many school students in one of the deadliest blasts this year in war-torn Afghanistan, police said. Loaded with firewood, the truck overturned overnight about 30 kilometers (19 miles) south of the capital in Logar province and exploded as authorities were trying to remove the vehicle in the early morning, they said. The attack comes as Western militaries boost their troop deployments to Afghanistan ahead of key presidential and provincial council elections scheduled for August 20. "In the explosion today 21 civilians and four policemen have been martyred," provincial police chief Ghulam Mustafa Mohsini told AFP. At least 13 of those killed were children from a nearby school, said Kamaluddin Zadran, a provincial official [More>>alarabiya.net]

7.09.09 Scores killed in Iraqi bombings

July 9 - More than 40 people have been killed in Iraq in what is being described as the bloodiest day in the country since US troops pulled back from cities and towns. Two suicide bombers struck the northern town of Tal Afar, killing at least 34 people, while in Baghdad, the capital, at least seven people died when two bombs hidden in market rubbish went off. The number of people wounded in Thursday's attacks exceeds 90. Khaled Omar, a police colonel in Tal Afar, said the attacks took place near a building used to interrogate suspects in "terrorist attacks."

The coordinated attacks came a day after a double car bombing in the city of Mosul killed at least 14 people and wounded 33. Tal Afar, in Nineveh province close to the Syrian border, was the scene of one of the deadliest attacks in Iraq since the US-led invasion, killing at least 152 people in 2007. Nineveh province is said to be a stronghold of al-Qaeda and other armed groups opposed to the US presence. It is also the scene of growing tensions between the regions Arab, Kurd and Turkmen communities.
[More>>aljazeera.net; See also

japantoday.com, July 9, "34 killed by bomber in northern Iraq: 6 dead in Baghdad blast" :
BAGHDAD - A suicide bomber on Thursday killed at least 34 people and injured 70 near a judge's house in northern Iraq, and a bomb attack in Baghdad killed six people, authorities said.

7.09.09 Secret to a longer life lies on Easter Island

July 9 - Scientists have found an anti-ageing drug that works on mice – and could do the same for humans. A drug originating on Easter Island, the mysterious South Pacific home of a lost statue-building people, may become the first substance to slow down human ageing, new research indicates. Rapamycin, a pharmacological product used to prevent rejection in organ transplants, has been found to extend the lifespan of mice by up to 38 per cent, raising the possibility that it may delay ageing in people. Hitherto a matter for science fiction, the idea of an anti-ageing drug which would allow people to prolong their natural lifespan and also to avoid age-related diseases is now being seriously considered for the first time as a result of the findings by American researchers.

Rapamycin is a bacterial product originally found in a soil sample from Easter Island, the Polynesian extinct volcano famous for its monumental statues erected hundreds of years ago by the island people, and known in the region as Rapa Nui
hence the drug's name. Originally developed as an anti-fungal agent, rapamycin was soon found to have powerful immuno-suppressant properties and thus be valuable for preventing rejection of transplanted organs. It was also found to delay the ageing process when used experimentally with three sets of lower organisms: yeast, nematode worms and fruit flies. Now, however, it has been shown to affect the ageing of mice the first time that this has ever been shown with a mammal. [More>>independent.co.uk]


09.11.05 When a nation lacks a competent leader it invites disaster – the legacy of Bush
"Using force the George W. Bush way – Bush's crusade"
11.25.04 Why the Crusade & Jihad?


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