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7.21.09 Clinton sees threat in N. Korea ties to Myanmar
BANGKOK, Thailand, July 21 - Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, arriving here for a meeting of Southeast Asian nations, expressed concern on Tuesday about what she called growing evidence of military cooperation between North Korea and Myanmar, which she said could destabilize the region. Declaring that she takes the reports of such cooperation "very seriously," Mrs. Clinton said that expanded military ties between the countries would "pose a direct threat" to Myanmar's neighbors. She singled out Thailand, an ally of the United States and the host of the regional meeting, as being vulnerable to the reclusive and heavily armed dictatorship in Myanmar.
7.21.09 Iran police detain protesters in Tehran clash - witness
TEHRAN (Reuters) July 21 - Iranian riot police clashed with hundreds of pro-reform protesters in central Tehran on Tuesday and detained dozens of demonstrators, a witness said, in the latest unrest over last month's disputed election. The witness said demonstrators were chanting slogans against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the government, including: "Ahmadinejad — resign, resign" and "Death to dictators."
"Police [are] beating protesters who had gathered in Tehran's Haft-e Tir square in defiance of a ban on such demonstrations following the June 12 election, which the opposition says was rigged in favour of Ahmadinejad," the witness said. "Riot police are taking dozens of protesters into their cars and they are taking them away," the witness said. "There are hundreds of riot police and plainclothes (security forces), beating people who gathered to support (opposition leader Mir Hossein) Mousavi," the witness said. [More>>thestar.com.my; See related story,
7.21.09 Chinese websites close amid tightening controls
BEIJING (AP) July 21 - Several Chinee Internet sites and parts of popular web portals went offline Tuesday amid tightening controls that have already left mainland web users without access to Facebook, Twitter and other well-known social networking sites. China stepped up its crackdown on social networking sites in March over online allegations surrounding the treatment of Tibetans, and the blockages continued through the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square demonstrations and the recent ethnic riots in Xinjiang. The harsh measures are also thought to be part of efforts to ensure social stability ahead of the 60th anniversary of communist rule on Oct. 1, when Beijing will mark 60 years of communist rule.
7.21.09 Taliban commander killed in Afghanistan
July 21 - A senior Taliban insurgent commander has been killed in an operation led by Afghan National Security Forces and supported by Australian special forces troops. Chief of Joint Operations Lieutenant General Mark Evans said with the phase of that operation now complete it could be revealed that Mullah Amanullah Akhund was killed after insurgents opened fire on a combined Australian and Afghan patrol. [More>>news.com.au; See related story,
7.21.09 Fourteen killed in Iraq bomb attacks
BAGHDAD (AFP) July 21 - Fourteen people were killed in a spate of bomb attacks in Baghdad and the western city of Ramadi on Tuesday, one of the worst days of violence in Iraq since US troops left its cities three weeks ago. Nearly 100 people were wounded in the attacks, which nearly claimed Iraq's Water Resources Minister, just a day after seven police officers and a soldier were killed. A one-year-old baby and a girl of eight were among four people who died when a bomb exploded at a market in the capital's Shia slum district of Sadr City, police and the defence ministry said. Thirty-four others were wounded. Police defused another bomb in the same market. Another four people, all workers, were killed and 31 wounded in an earlier twin bomb attack in Sadr City, a sprawling neighbourhood in northeastern Baghdad. [More w/several other bombings listed>>khaleejtimes.com]
7.21.09 Lebanon arrests Islamists plotting attacks
BEIRUT, July 21 - Network allegedly also planning attacks outside Lebanon. The Lebanese army said on Tuesday it had uncovered a militant Islamist network that had been plotting to carry out attacks against United Nations peacekeepers in southern Lebanon and the army itself. The army, in a statement, said it had detained the cell's 10 members. A security source said the men belonged to the al-Qaeda-inspired Fatah al-Islam group which fought a 15-week battle with the army in 2007. The network, made up of members of different Arab origins and most of whom came from outside Lebanon, also planned to help "wanted terrorists" get out of the Ain al-Helweh Palestinian refugee camp where many of them are holed up.
7.21.09 Backyard astronomer discovers black spot on Jupiter
July 21 - Armed with a home-made telescope and enjoying clear night skies in the southern hemisphere, an amateur Australian astronomer made an extraordinary discovery in his backyard at the weekend: a dark "scar" the size of the Earth that had suddenly appeared on the planet Jupiter. Anthony Wesley was enjoying his usual evening stargazing from the yard of his rural home in Murrumbateman, near Canberra, when he noticed something different on the gas planet at about 1am on Monday morning (4pm Sunday BST) through his personally designed 14.5in telescope.
Mr. Wesley told The Times that he had discovered the strange dark blob in between running inside to watch the final rounds of British Open golf on television. "About 11pm I went inside to have a break and watch the golf, and by the time I came back out at about 1am the impact point had rotated around into view," he said. "I couldn't believe it. I thought, "That wasn't there before" and then I realized Jupiter had actually been hit by something." ...Yesterday NASA confirmed Mr. Wesley's discovery and released their own images. The pictures, taken by the American space agency's infrared telescope in Hawaii, show a scar in the atmosphere near Jupiter's south pole. [Full story>>timesonline.co.uk; See NASA photos, nasa.gov]
7.21.09 Asia gets ready for eclipse
BANGKOK, July 21 - Millions of people across Asia will witness the longest total solar eclipse that will happen this century, as vast swaths of India and China, the entire city of Shanghai and southern Japanese islands are plunged into darkness Wednesday for about five minutes. Streams of amateur stargazers and scientists are traveling long distances to witness the once-in-a-lifetime event. Astronomers hope the eclipse will unlock clues about the sun, while an astrologer in Myanmar predicts it could usher in chaos. Some in India are advising pregnant relatives to stay indoors to follow a centuries-old tradition of avoiding the sun's invisible rays.
7.20.09 Stimulus funds spent, but where are the jobs?
BILOXI, Miss., July 20 - The ongoing troubled state of the economy was clearly and instantly on display at the annual summer gathering of the non-partisan National Governors Association which is taking place on the Mississippi Gulf Coast this year. Fewer than half of the nation's 50 governors attended the gathering this year, including the group's chairman, Gov. Ed Rendell, D-Penn. Before introducing a videotaped message from Rendell, the incoming NGA chairman, Gov. Jim Douglas, R-Vt., opened the first session on Saturday by stating Rendell needed to stay put in Harrisburg to deal with his state's "economic and fiscal crisis."
7.20.09 Khatami calls for Iran referendum
July 20 - Iranian reformists, among them Mohammad Khatami, the former president, have called for a referendum to resolve the crisis that has gripped the country since last month's disputed presidential election. Khatami, whose 1997-2005 presidency saw a thaw in the Islamic republic's relations with the West, hit out on Monday at the conduct of the June 12 vote that saw Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, his hardline successor, returned to power. Khatami expressed concern that "public confidence in the system has been damaged," the ILNA news agency reported.
He said calls by Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, another former president, for a consensus between reformists and conservatives on resolving the crisis were the "minimum requirement for getting out of the current situation." A group of reformist clerics founded and led by Khatami said a referendum was essential to restore public confidence.
"As millions of Iranians have lost confidence in the electoral process, the Association of Combatant Clerics insist on the organization of a referendum ... by independent bodies," the group said in a statement. Under the Iranian constitution only Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the country's supreme leader, can organise a referendum. [More>>aljazeera.net]
7.20.09 Apollo's 'Giant leap for mankind' honored
July 20 - 40 Years Later, Moon Landing Remains Benchmark of American Achievement. The measure of what humanity can accomplish is a size 9 1/2 bootprint. It belongs to Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon. It will stay on the moon for millions of years with nothing to wipe it away, serving as an almost eternal testament to a can-do mankind. Apollo 11 is the glimmering success that failures of society are contrasted against: "If we can send a man to the moon, why can't we ..."
7.20.09 Tajiks say 5 foreign terrorists killed in clash
DUSHANBE, Tajikistan, July 20 - Five militants were killed in a gunfight at a remote military checkpoint near Tajikistan's border with Afghanistan, officials said Monday. Law enforcement agencies issued a joint statement Monday claiming the perpetrators of the attack, which happened Thursday, were suspected terrorists with Russian citizenship. The statement said two of the attackers, aged between 20 and 26, were from Russia's largely Muslim southern fringe, which is beset by daily violence blamed on Islamist insurgents. Regarding the others, one was ethnic Kazakh, one hailed from Tatarstan in Russia, and another was an ethnic Russian, the statement said...Some analysts have speculated that security operations along Pakistan's border with Afghanistan may have compelled militants to return to their home countries in ex-Soviet Central Asia. [Full story>>thejakartapost.com]
7.20.09 Indian taught Hindi to Mumbai attackers: Kasab
MUMBAI, July 20 - Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving terrorist in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, on Monday claimed an Indian named Abu Jindal had taught him and the nine slain terrorists Hindi during their training in Pakistan. Kasab, who confessed to his crime before a special court, said during their training in Pakistan, Jindal taught them Hindi in the camps. Special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said, "I have asked the police to verify the name Jindal and his involvement in the case." Kasab told the special court that he decided to confess to his crime as he came to know that Pakistan has admitted that he was its national. ( Watch ) [More>>timesofindia.indiatimes.com]
7.20.09 26/11, 9/11 terrorists living in Afghanistan: Pakistan
ISLAMABAD, July 20 - Pakistan has termed as baseless the US allegations regarding the presence of culprits involved in terror incidents in the US and India living in Pakistan. Reacting to the statement given by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton alleging that the perpetrators of US 9/11 and Indian 26/11 are in Pakistan, Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit said these culprits were not in Pakistan but in Afghanistan instead. Talking to the media in New Delhi, Clinton had asked Pakistan to act against the culprits of the Mumbai attacks, adding that terrorism was a major problem, which threatened global peace. Pakistan said that it was moving "systematically" in probing the Mumbai terror attacks to bring the perpetrators to justice and there should not be an "iota of doubt" about its intentions. [More>>indianexpress.com]
7.20.09 Eight killed in Iraq violence
MOSUL, Iraq (AFP) July 20 - Eight people were killed, including six police officers, in attacks in the Iraqi cities of Mosul and Ramadi on Monday, security and medical officials said. In one attack, a policeman and a civilian were killed in a drive-by shooting targeting a police patrol in the centre of Mosul, the capital of the northern province of Nineveh. Two traffic policemen were also shot dead — one in central Mosul and the other outside his house. A fourth policeman was killed when a roadside bomb placed on a main road in southern Mosul exploded as he tried to defuse it. In the western city of Ramadi, three people were killed — including two policemen — in a car bomb blast, the second attack there in a week. Four other people were wounded, including two other police officers, in the bombing near the provincial government headquarters in the city centre. [More>>khaleejtimes.com]
7.20.09 Bomb kills 11 civilians in Afghanistan: officials
KABUL, Afghanistan (AFP) July 20 - Eleven civilians were killed and two others wounded when their vehicle struck a roadside bomb planted by insurgents in southwestern Afghanistan, a local government official said Monday. The blast ripped through a minivan Sunday in Farah, a southwestern province troubled by attacks linked to Taliban militants, deputy provincial governor Mohammad Yunus Rasouli told AFP. [More>>arabtimesonline.com; See related story,
7.20.09 Police hold parents of suspected perpetrator of Jakarta bombings
JAKARTA, July 20 - Indonesian police picked up Monday the parents of a suspected perpetrator of last week's bombings at two luxury hotels in Jakarta in which nine people died and 53 others were injured. The state-run news agency Antara reported that the father, 60, and mother, 57, of Nur Said were collected by police at 5:30am from their house in the village of Katekan in Central Java Province.
7.19.09 Police may have found Jakarta bomber's laptop
JAKARTA, Indonesia, July 19 - Indonesian police have recovered a laptop that they believe belonged to one of the bombers of Friday's twin hotel attacks in Jakarta, the country's official news agency said Sunday. The laptop contained information and codes that the attackers may have used to communicate with each other, the state-run Antara News Agency said. The computer was found in a room at the Ritz Carlton, one of two hotels targeted Friday. The other site was the JW Marriott. The blasts killed nine people — including at least two presumed suicide bombers — and wounded more than 50.
7.19.09 Lakhvi mastermind of Mumbai attacks: Pakistan admits in dossier
NEW DELHI, India, July 19 - Suspecting involvement of locals in 26/11, Pakistan has sought from India the interrogation reports of two terrorists Fahim Ansari and Sabahuddin held in connection with the terror attack while giving details of the probe conducted by it. In the 36-page dossier, that contains some annexures [annexes?], Pakistan has informed India about the case details of five terrorists, including Lashkar-e-Taiba commander and "mastermind" Zaki-ur Rahman Lakhvi, who have been arrested, sources said.
7.19.09 Iran's controversial first VP walks out
TEHRAN, July 19 - Hardliners opposed Mashaie's appointment. Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's controversial choice for first vice president, walked away from the job following hardliners' intense opposition to his appointment, Al Arabiya reported Sunday. Mashaie called it quits "three days after his appointment" as first vice president in one of the shortest lived diplomatic posts in Iran. There was no immediate independent confirmation of Mashaie's resignation. On Friday, Ahmadinejad announced Mashaie's appointment, replacing Parviz Davoudi and igniting a series of strong outbursts from hardliners opposing this choice.
7.19.09 US condemns video of captured G.I.
KABUL, Afghanistan (Reuters) July 19 - The US military denounced on Sunday the release of a video showing a soldier captured in Afghanistan, describing the images as Taliban propaganda that violated international law. The video shows Private Bowe Bergdahl in traditional Afghan dress, being prompted in English by his captors to call for US forces to be withdrawn from Afghanistan. The US military confirmed the identity of the Ketchum, Idaho native, saying he served with the 1st Battalion of the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment. His identifying dog tags are displayed to the camera by his captors in the video. "We condemn the use of this video and the public humiliation of prisoners. It is against international law," US military spokesman Colonel Greg Julian said. "We are doing everything we can to return this soldier to safety." The US military has been distributing leaflets this week seeking the release of Bergdahl, missing since late June. [More>>nytimes.com]
7.19.09 Netanyahu: Israel rule over Jerusalem not up for discussion
July 19 - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that Israel's sovereignty over Jerusalem was not a matter up for discussion. The prime minister's comments came after the U.S. State Department told Israeli envoy Michael Oren that Israel must halt a construction project in East Jerusalem. Netanyahu told ministers at the weekly cabinet meeting that Jerusalem is the united capital of Israel and that all citizens are allowed to purchase property in any part of the city they choose. "Imagine what would happen if someone were to suggest Jews could not live in or purchase [property] in certain neighborhoods in London, New York, Paris or Rome," he said.
Diskin made the comments during the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem. He also told the ministers that the Palestinian Authority and its security forces have been working actively to thwart the sale of Palestinian land to Jews, particularly in East Jerusalem...The Shin Bet chief's briefing came after it emerged that the United States has demanded Israel halt a construction project in East Jerusalem, which would see a hotel converted into housing units. The Jerusalem municipality said it signed a deal for the project under completely legal terms, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated Sunday that Jerusalem would not be included in any discussion on settlement construction. But the PA responded harshly to Netanyahu's declaration, saying peace was impossible without Jerusalem as a Palestinian capital.
7.19.09 Two police, 35 militants killed in Afghan unrest
JALALABAD, Afghanistan, July 19 - Afghan commandos backed by foreign forces killed 35 militants in southern Afghanistan, the defence ministry said Sunday, as a suicide bomber killed two police at a border post. The bombing on Sunday at Torkham, a key border crossing between Afghanistan and Pakistan in Nangarhar province, was the latest in a surge of violence weeks ahead of the war-torn country's second presidential elections.
7.18.09 Shuttle, space station crews have record-setting rendezvous
July 18 - It's the biggest meeting ever so far from Earth. Shortly before 4 p.m. ET Friday, the seven crew members of the Space Shuttle Endeavour opened a hatch and entered the international space station, where they greeted the six crew members who were already there with hugs. "It's pretty exciting to have 13 crew members aboard the International Space Station," said ISS Flight Engineer Koichi Wakata, a Japanese astronaut who is slated to return to Earth aboard the shuttle. The space station's crew was expanded to six less than two months ago, after the latest module was added. Prior to that, its standard crew size was three.
7.18.09 New images of Moon landing sites
July 18 - A US spacecraft has captured images of Apollo landing sites on the Moon, revealing hardware and a trail of footprints left on the lunar surface. The release of the images coincides with the 40th anniversary of the first manned mission to land on the Moon. The descent stages from the lunar modules which carried astronauts to and from the Moon can clearly be seen. The image of the Apollo 14 landing site shows scientific instruments and an astronaut footpath in the lunar dust. It is the first time hardware left on the Moon by the Apollo missions has been seen from lunar orbit. The pictures were taken by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft, which launched on 18 June. The spacecraft is carrying three cameras on board: one low-resolution wide-angle camera and two high-resolution narrow-angle cameras mounted side-by-side. [More>>bbc.co.uk; See more photos, nasa.gov]
7.18.09 Four million British identities are up for sale on the internet
July 18 - The identities of more than four million Britons are being offered for sale on the internet, The Times has learnt. Highly sensitive financial information, including credit card details, bank account numbers, telephone numbers and even PINs are available to the highest bidder. At least a quarter of a million British bank and credit card accounts have been hacked into by cybercriminals, exposing consumers to huge financial losses. Most of the personal data has been gathered as a result of "phishing" — a process whereby members of the public are duped into handing over their key details, such as user names, passwords and credit card details.
7.18.09 Iranian editorial shows deepening clerical rift
TEHRAN / WASHINGTON, July 18 - Editor accuses Rafsanjani of backing "law-breakers." A hard-line editor considered to be close to Iran's top authority accused a powerful cleric on Saturday of backing "law-breakers," in comments highlighting the deepening divisions in the Islamic Republic after a disputed election. Hossein Shariatmadari, editor-in-chief of the Kayhan daily, also criticized former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani for saying Iran was in crisis during a sermon on Friday.
7.18.09 Suicide bomber kills three Afghan soldiers
KABUL, Afghanistan, July 18 - A car packed with explosives rammed an army vehicle in troubled southern Afghanistan Saturday, killing three soldiers, the latest attack in a surge of violence ahead of the nation's presidential polls. Three other troopers were wounded in the suicide attack in Shahjoy, an insurgency-wracked district in the province of Zabul, the defence ministry said in a statement. [More>>thenews.com.pk]
7.18.09 Kashmir should be part of India, Pakistan discussions: Clinton
PAKISTAN, July 18 - Ahead of her talks with the Indian leadership, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said the disputes between India and Pakistan should be looked at with "fresh eyes" and that Kashmir should "certainly" be on the agenda of discussions between the two countries. Clinton, who will meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other leaders in New Delhi on Monday, said the meeting between Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani on Thursday has "ignited the hope" that both countries will pursue a dialogue again.
7.18.09 3 terrorists killed in last 24 hours: ISPR
RAWALPINDI, Pakistan, July 18 - The security forces continued Sunday the search and clearance operations during [the] last 24 hours in Swat and Malakand. According to a press release issued by Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), during search operation at Shangla and Shakardara, the security forces recovered 3 rockets of RPG-7, one 81 mortar, IEDs and ammunition.
7.18.09 Somali attackers seize aid workers
July 18 - Three foreign aid workers have been kidnapped by armed Somali men in a raid on a Kenyan border town, according to an official and local Somali residents. An unknown number of assailants entered the town early on Saturday and seized the three, residents in Mandera said. Resident Abdi Mohamed said: "I got up to gun shots, and it was over in a very short time. "There had been no resistance at all except from a guard whom they shot in the head. He is at the hospital now."
"The authorities in Mandera [in Kenya] told us that those aid workers had been kidnapped. We're now going to run after them," Sheikh Osman, an al-Shabab official in the neighboring district in Somalia, said. Al Shabab officials said the kidnappers were moving deeper inside the country and had been sighted in the Berdale district of the Bay region in south-central Somalia. [More>>aljazeera.net; See related story,
7.18.09 Japan starts sales of biofuel made from rice
TOKYO (RIA Novosti) July 18 - The Niigata Prefecture in Japan has pioneered the sales of a mixture of gasoline and bioethanol made from rice for animal feed, local media said on Saturday. The Mainichi Daily News newspaper said that bioethanol, produced from brown rice and blended with gasoline at a ratio of up to 3 percent, makes a mixture that "is equivalent to regular gasoline both in quality and mileage, and will be available in a similar price range" The new biofuel will be initially sold at 19 gas stations in the Niigata Prefecture, the paper said.
"The project will also promote effective utilization of rice paddies that are left uncultivated due to the government's rice-reduction program," Mainichi Daily quoted the National Federation of Agricultural Cooperative Associations Zennoh (JA Zennoh) as saying. JA Zennoh is expecting annual sales of about 33,000 kiloliters of the rice-based biofuel. Japanese oil companies started selling gasoline blended with bioethanol in 2007 in some retail markets in the country, but none of the mixtures was previously made with the use of rice. Japan's annual gasoline demand is estimated at 60 million kiloliters. [More>>en.rian.ru]
7.18.09 Feds shut banks in Calif., Ga. and S. D.
WASHINGTON (AP) July 18 - Regulators Close 4 Banks, Raising Total of Failed Federally-Insured Firms This Year to 57. Regulators on Friday shut two banks in California and two smaller banks in Georgia and South Dakota, boosting to 57 the number of federally insured banks to fail this year. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. was appointed receiver of the four banks. The two biggest were Temecula Valley Bank, in Temecula, Calif., with $1.5 billion in assets and deposits of about $1.3 billion as of May 31 and Vineyard Bank, National Association, of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. It had assets of $1.9 billion and $1.6 billion in deposits as of March 31.
7.17.09 Bank of America, Citigroup report large second-quarter profits
July 17 - Bank of America and Citigroup this morning became the latest megabanks to report large profits in the second quarter, even as financial analysts cautioned that the results conceal the extent of ongoing problems in the financial industry. The largest banks are profiting from the success of some lines of business, such as trading in financial products and helping companies raise money. But the basic business of banking, lending money to borrowers, remains deeply troubled.
7.17.09 Rafsanjani: Clear up election doubts
July 17 - Top Iranian cleric Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani criticized hard-liners at the main Islamic prayers Friday, urging them to free opposition supporters arrested in the post-election crackdown and to clear up doubts over the disputed vote. Rafsanjani, a former president who sits on two powerful clerical ruling bodies, made the comments during his sermon before tens of thousands of opposition supporters, with opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi sitting in the front row.
khaleejtimes.com (Reuters) July 17, "Iran opposition stages fresh protests in Tehran" : TEHERAN - Defiant supporters of Iranian opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi staged fresh demonstrations in Tehran Friday, witnesses said, after a powerful cleric called for the release of detainees held in a post-election crackdown. Thousands of Mousavi supporters, shouting “Ya Hossein, Mir Hossein!” and "Allahu Akbar" (God is Greatest) demonstrated at various locations around Tehran university where Friday prayers were led by Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.
twitter.com, July 17 - (IranRiggedElect) BBC persian pics of Friday's sermon: http://bit.ly/7IR9l
witter.com, July 17 - (IranRiggedElect) A great video compilation of Tehran's protest on July 17 http://bit.ly/G4tRd (youtube.com video)
witter.com, July 17 - (IranRiggedElect) Many top iranian politicians were at the sermon on Friday, including Abdollah Nouri who hasn't gone for 11 yrs.
witter.com, July 17 - (#IranElection) Brave images from citizen-journalist at Tehran University protest today: http://bit.ly/1a68qN
7.17.09 Militants eyed in Indonesian hotel bombings
JAKARTA, Indonesia, July 17 - The nearly simultaneous suicide bomb attacks at two American hotels on Friday showed that Islamic terrorist groups, though significantly weakened in Indonesia in recent years, still had the means to mount deadly assaults in one of the most heavily secured areas in Indonesia's capital. Indonesian officials said it was too early to identify those behind the attacks at the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels, which killed eight people and wounded at least 50 more. But they appeared to be focusing on domestic militants, possibly individuals or splinter groups loosely tied to Jemaah Islamiyah, the al-Qaeda-linked Southeast Asian terrorist network.
7.17.09 Briton jailed for plotting suicide bombing
LONDON (Reuters) July 18 - A British Muslim convert was jailed for at least 10 years today for plotting to blow up a shopping centre using his own homemade "suicide vest." Isa Ibrahim, 20, a student from Bristol in southwest England, was arrested in April last year after police received what they described as a "landmark" tip-off from a member of the local Muslim community. During a search of his home, police found a quantity of hexamethylene triperoxide diamine — a high explosive that can be made from household ingredients and the same substance as used in the deadly London suicide bomb attacks of July 7, 2005.
timesonline.co.uk, July 17, "Former public schoolboy Isa Ibrahim convicted for planning 'carnage.' : A former public schoolboy who converted to an extremist strand of Islam and built a viable suicide bomb vest was convicted today of planning "carnage" at a crowded shopping centre. Andrew Ibrahim, 20, who changed his name to Isa in 2007 after his religious conversion, was arrested after members of the Muslim community in Bristol became concerned about his behavior and contacted police. Ibrahim, the son of a hospital consultant, was convicted of making an explosive with intent to endanger life or cause serious injury to property in the UK in April 2008. He was also found guilty of a charge of preparing terrorist acts by purchasing material to make an explosive, making that explosive, buying material to detonate the explosive, carrying out “reconnaissance” before the act and "making an improvised suicide vest in which to then detonate an explosive substance."...
Maravot News 2.07.06 (background story) 02.07.06 Muslim cleric Abu Hamza sentenced to 7 years jail: The British Muslim cleric whose North London mosque figured in some of the most important terrorism cases of the last decade was sentenced to seven years on Tuesday for charges including inciting murder. Egyptian-born Abu Hamza al-Masri was convicted on 11 counts, also including stirring up racial hatred in his sermons and possessing a handbook "of use to terrorists." and thestar.com.my, "Terrorist training camps might exist in UK – police" : LONDON (Reuters) - Police say they uncovered evidence of terrorist training camps in Britain after raiding Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri's north London mosque, which they believe was a global magnet for Islamic militants...
7.17.09 'Iran arms path to Hamas hit hard by Gaza war'
July 17 - Iran's smuggling network to Gaza has shrunk following Operation Cast Lead, and international awareness of the issue has increased, according to Western and Israeli intelligence sources. According to Western intelligence reports, Iran has been maintaining a robust arms smuggling system into the Gaza Strip as part of the support it extends to Hamas. This support is set up in a modus operandi similar to the one Iran has employed for two decades in helping Hezbollah in Lebanon through Syria.
7.17.09 US drone suspected of killing 5 militants in Pakistan
ISLAMABAD, July 17 - A suspected US drone attack killed five militants Friday when a missile was fired on a Taliban stronghold into a village in northwest Pakistan, Pakistani government sources told CNN. They said three people were wounded in the attack in North Waziristan, a mountainous region that borders Afghanistan. An official from the Political Agent Office said one missile from the drone hit the home of Abdul Majid in Garhiwam Bahadur Khel. He said the house was used by the Taliban as a Jihadi center. The Political Agent Office represents the Pakistani government in the area. Pakistan's Interior Ministry also confirmed the strike and deaths. The ministry said the home and a vehicle outside were destroyed. A resident, Din Muhammad Mehsud, said the eight victims were the only people in the house. A group of Taliban members had just gone out. [>cnn.com]
7.17.09 'Indirect fire' kills 3 US troops in Iraq
BASRA, Iraq (AP) July 17 - The US military said Friday that three of its soldiers were killed in an attack on a base outside Iraq's second largest city of Basra, in the south. Also, two Iraqis were killed and at least two dozen others were injured in bombings in Baghdad as huge crowds of pilgrims gathered to commemorate a revered Shiite saint. In Karmah, 50 miles west of the capital, the daughter and granddaughter of a police officer died in a bombing at his home. [More>>cbsnews.com]
7.17.09 Afghan bomb kills 11, including children
(AFP) July 17 - A Taleban bomb attack killed 11 civilians, including children and toddlers, going to a shrine in Afghanistan on Friday, police said following a surge of attacks ahead of key elections. The explosives ripped through a civilian pick-up vehicle taking a group of men, women and children to visit a centuries-old tomb in Spin Boldak district in Kandahar province, just a few kilometres from the Pakistani border. "Three women, three men and five children were killed," General Saifullah Hakim, a senior border police official, told AFP.
"All of them were civilians. They were going to a shrine when their vehicle was hit by a newly planted bomb," he added. Police said three women were wounded and evacuated to hospital. "Today at around 9:00am, a mini-van struck a roadside bomb in the Wanaki area of Spin Boldak," General Abdul Raziq, border police chief for Zabul and Kandahar provinces, told AFP, confirming the death toll. [More>>khaleejtimes.com]
7.16.09 On Capitol Hill, Paulson is assailed over Merrill deal
July 16 - Former Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. came under sharp criticism on Thursday for his role in forcing Bank of America to complete its acquisition of Merrill Lynch, as lawmakers questioned the lack of disclosure and use of taxpayer money in the deal. The bank's chief executive, Kenneth D. Lewis, was also assailed during a hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which is investigating the additional $20 billion bailout that Bank of America received for completing the Merrill deal. Several lawmakers accused Mr. Paulson of misleading Congress about how government money in the banking bailout would be used.
7.16.09 Foreclosures up 15% since January 2009
(AP) July 16 - The number of US households on the verge of losing their homes soared by nearly 15 percent in the first half of the year as more people lost their jobs and were unable to pay their monthly mortgage bills. The mushrooming foreclosure crisis affected more than 1.5 million homes in the first six months of the year, according to a report released Thursday by foreclosure listing service RealtyTrac Inc. The data show that, despite the Obama administration's plan to encourage the lending industry to prevent foreclosures by handing out $50 billion in subsidies, America's housing woes continue to spread. Experts don't expect foreclosures to peak until the middle of next year. Foreclosure filings rose more than 33 percent in June compared with the same month last year and were up nearly 5 percent from May, RealtyTrac said. [More>>cbsnews.com; See related story,
7.16.09 Defense official: Israel readying for attack on Iran
July 16 - Israel's recent deployment of warships across the Red Sea should be seen as serious preparation for an attack on Iran, an Israeli defense official told the Times of London on Thursday. "This is preparation that should be taken seriously. Israel is investing time in preparing itself for the complexity of an attack on Iran. These maneuvers are a message to Iran that Israel will follow up on its threats," the official was quoted as saying.
7.16.09 Protesters' blood will not go in vain: Mousavi
TEHRAN, July 16 - Iranian opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi vowed not to let the blood of protesters killed in postelection crackdown go in vain as he met with the family of a young man shot to death during the turmoil, reformist Web site reported Wednesday. Mousavi, meanwhile, announced Wednesday that he will attend Tehran's main Friday prayer services this week for the first time, a key symbolic assertion of the opposition's presence after the crackdown. The sermon Friday is due to be delivered by Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a powerful cleric in Iran's leadership who has not performed the sermon since the turmoil erupted following the disputed June 12 presidential election. Rafsanjani is a top rival of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and is believed to be a strong behind-the-scenes backer of Mousavi. "I'll join you (for prayers) on Friday July 17," Mousavi said, according to his Web site ghalamnews.ir. [More>>khaleejtimes.com; See related story,
7.16.09 Iran's nuclear agency chief resigns
July 16 - The head of Iran's nuclear agency has resigned, Iranian media has reported. Gholam Reza Aghazadeh, who led Iran's nuclear programme for more than a decade, also reportedly stepped down from his position as one of the vice presidents for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president. The ISNA news agency said on Thursday that Aghazadeh had handed in his resignation letter three weeks ago, but no reason was given for the move. No successor has yet been appointed. The resignation came ahead of a promised shake-up of the government. Ahmadinejad said last month that he would be making "considerable changes" to his cabinet. Aghazadeh is thought to be close to Mir Hossein Mousavi, the Iranian opposition leader who claimed the results of last month's presidential elections were rigged, as well as an ally of former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who backed Mousavi. The former nuclear chief served as executive deputy to Mousavi in the 1980s, and was Iran's oil minister from 1985 to 1997 before being appointed to head the atomic organization under Mohammad Khatami. [>aljazeera.net]
7.16.09 UN worker, bodyguard killed in Pakistan refugee camp
ISLAMABAD July 16 - A senior police official says a UN employee and a bodyguard have been killed in a shooting at a refugee camp in northwest Pakistan. Local police chief Ghayoor Afridi said gunmen shot the UN employee and his bodyguard Thursday at the Kacha Garhi camp near Peshawar. Afridi said the assailants tried to kidnap the UN official and opened fire when he resisted. Afridi said two Pakistanis working for the UN were also wounded in the attack. [More>>japantoday.com]
7.16.09 French hostage handed to Somali group
(Reuters) July 16 - A Somali group has handed over one of two French hostages to al-Qaeda-linked Al Shabaab militants to avoid clashes between the two bands, rebels and officials said. Gunmen from an Islamist faction in President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed's security forces seized the two in a Mogadishu hotel on Tuesday, then handed them to Hizbul Islam insurgents. But Al Shabaab — which is also fighting the Somali government — demanded that Hizbul Islam give the French security men to them...Western security services view Al Shabaab as a proxy for Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network in the failed Horn of Africa state, which has been mired in conflict since 1991. [Full story>>khaleejtimes.com]
7.16.09 Indian, French Navies free 14 hostages from Somali pirates
July 16 - Demonstrating excellent coordination in the last six days, the Indian and French Navies together ensured the safe release of 14 Indian hostages whose dhow (wooden ship) was hijacked by pirates off the coast of Somalia. "The close coordination between the two Navies helped in freeing 14 crew members of an Indian dhow 'MV Nafeya' after it was hijacked by pirates off Boosasso near Somalia at 1100 hours on July 10 by seven pirates armed with RPGs and AK47s ," Indian Navy officers said in New Delhi. The dhow, registered in Porbandar, Gujarat and operating n UAE, was hijacked by the pirates after it had dropped cargo at a Somalian harbour and was proceeding towards Dubai. After capturing the Indian dhow, officials said, the pirates attempted to hijack a Liberian tanker ship 'MV A Elephant' near Bab-el-Manbeb on July 13. [More>>indianexpress.com]
7.16.09 NASA refurbishes video of moon landing
(AP) July 16 - With the help of Hollywood, those historic, grainy images of the first men on the moon never looked better. NASA unveiled refurbished video Thursday of the July 20, 1969, moonwalk restored by the same company that sharpened up the movie "Casablanca." NASA lost its original moon landing videotapes and after a three-year search, officials have concluded they were probably erased. That original live video was ghostlike and grainy. NASA and a Hollywood film restoration company took television video copies of what Apollo 11 beamed to Earth 40 years ago and made the pictures look sharper. NASA emphasized the video isn't "new" — just better quality. [More>>cbsnews.com; See video, youtube.com and 1.nasa.gov, "Apollo Moon landing - 35th anniversary."]
7.16.09 The watery grave of Europe's monsters
July 14 - Fossils dredged up from the North Sea are revealing the exotic creatures that roamed the continent thousands of years ago. A dozen white, plastic fish boxes stand jumbled on the floor of a former fish-gutting plant in the pretty town of Urk in the northern Netherlands. Each box overflows with what appear to be large, serrated pebbles or small serrated boulders. In fact, they are the fossilized teeth of mammoths. Some are as big as melons. Others are the size of cricket balls — the molars of baby mammoths, which died prematurely from hunger, or the claws and fangs of a predator, 40,000 years ago.
09.11.05 When a nation lacks a competent leader it invites disaster – the legacy of Bush
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