A resource for historians and journalists, since 2004

Maravot News of the World
12:41 PM
- San Francisco
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
(last post

Search Engines & Filters

Trends, Iraq Casualties

Metric Conversion

kilometer: 0.6214 mile
meter: 39.37 inches
centimetre: 0.3937 inch
millimetre: 0.03937 inch
foot: 30.48 cm
Br. stone: 14 pounds
kilogram: 2.2046 pounds
litre: 1.0567 US quarts
hectare: 2.471 acres
– 1 djerib (Turkey)
– 1 jerib (Iran)
– 1 gong qing (China)
0° Celcius: = 32° F

Chart showing National Debt & Annual Deficits with Presidents. Democrat administrations are blue, Republican in Red. Click chart for larger image. and discussion. For old Maravot chart click here, News Trends.html.

2009 update (3.05.09)

Western News
Worth frequent visits
Best nose for news

Village Voice
Newsweek Magazine
Time Magazine
The New Yorker magazine
Vanity Fair
Aviation Week
Arch. & Prehistory news
New Scientist

Aral Sea Disaster
information please
DOD News
Le Monde.fr (
in French)
liberation.fr (
in French)
lefigaro.fr (
in French)
Spiegel Online
La Repubblica.It
PeaceReporter.net (Italy)
expatica.com (Spain)
standartnews.com (Bulgaria)
NIS News (Holland)
BBC News
Sky News (London)


The Independent
Belfast Telegraph
cnews.canoe.ca (Canada)
National Public Radio
New York Times.com
Washington Post
Washington Times
ABC News

Fox News


CBS News
WWLTV – New Orleans
Detroit Free Press (Freep)
LA Times

San Francisco Chronicle
El Paso Times (Texas-Mexico)
Banderas News (Mexico)

Financial Times
ino.com (World Indices)
Radio Free Europe
Radio News America
Democracy Now, radio & TV
The Guardian, Nigeria
Business Day (S. Africa)



International Agencies – News

Osama bin Laden fatwas.
This monster's own words will
lead to his destruction
Definition of fatwa (fatwah)
Maravot News Comment




August 1996

Maps of interest
Click on maps for larger image
Russia, Belarus & neighbors
Israel-Iraq & neighbors
Iran-Afghanistan-Pak.-India; Strait of Hormuz oil lane Iran threatens to block
Kazakhstan & neighbors

Historical map of Israel. Figure 2 shows the area allocated to
Israel by the UN in 1948. Compare to Israel' s map below of its security wall.

Israel's Security Fence.

Middle East Watch

Russia & Ukraine Watch

East Asia Watch

Relevant Works by Mel

News Headlines & Trends

08.23.10 Highway jam enters its 9th day, spans 100km

BEIJING (Xinhuanet) August 23 - Traffic authorities were still struggling to cope with days-long congestion on a major national expressway, nine days after traffic slowed to a snail's pace, and nearby residents are profiting on the latest traffic snarl by overcharging drivers for food. Since August 14, thousands of Beijing-bound trucks have jammed the expressway again, and traffic has stretched for more than 100 kilometers between Beijing and Huai'an in Heibei Province, and Jining in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, China National Radio (CNR) reported Sunday. Small traffic accidents or broken-down cars are aggravating the jam, the report said. "Insufficient traffic capacity on the National Expressway 110 caused by maintenance construction since August 19 is the major cause of the congestion," a publicity officer with the Beijing Traffic Management Bureau, told the Global Times on condition of anonymity Sunday.

Under current traffic regulations, the National Expressway 110 (G110), heading northwest from Beijing to Zhangjiakou in Hebei Province, and then heading directly west, is available to trucks with a carrying capacity of eight tons and above. The road suffered serious damage due to the greater volume of heavy trucks. This month there have been more trucks carrying excessive coal or fruit, but the Beijing section of the Beijing-Tibet Expressway is available only to trucks with a weight of less than four tons. The congestion is expected to last for almost a month, since the construction is due for completion September 13.

08.23.10 Nabucco gas pipe consortium delays plans to include Iran in project

MOSCOW (RIA Novosti) August 23 - A consortium of companies building the Nabucco gas pipeline designed to pump natural gas from the Caspian region to Europe bypassing Russia has delayed its plans to include Iran in the project, the consortium said on Monday. The consortium decided to continue the construction of two pipeline sections from Georgia and Iraq to Turkey and concurrently suspended a plan to build a pipe section from Iran, the consortium said in a statement. Christian Dolezal, a spokesman for the consortium, said Nabucco no longer planned to construct a pipeline section from Iran as the consortium was acting in accordance with international laws and rules, adding that the consortium could not comment on its further possible actions.

According to the Dow Jones agency, the consortium's decision may be connected with UN sanctions imposed on Iran, which western nations suspect of developing nuclear weapons. Iran insists its nuclear program is intended for peaceful purposes only. The Nabucco project, which is designed to pump gas from the Caspian region to European countries via Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Austria is a key element of western strategy to cut Europe's dependence on Russia's energy supplies. The 7.9 billion euro pipeline is expected to have an annual capacity of 31 billion cubic meters of gas, which will not exceed five percent of Europe's gas consumption in 2020.

08.23.10 Beer microbes live 553 days outside ISS

August 23 - Professor Charles Cockell from the OU explains how the experiment worked. A small English fishing village has produced an out-of-this-world discovery. Bacteria taken from cliffs at Beer on the South Coast have shown themselves to be hardy space travellers. The bugs were put on the exterior of the space station to see how they would cope in the hostile conditions that exist above the Earth's atmosphere. And when scientists inspected the microbes a year and a half later, they found many were still alive. These survivors are now thriving in a laboratory at the Open University (OU) in Milton Keynes. [More>>bbc.co.uk]

08.23.10 Why the world is running out of helium

August 23 - A US law means supplies of the gas a vital component of MRI scanners are vanishing fast. It is the second-lightest element in the Universe, has the lowest boiling-point of any gas and is commonly used through the world to inflate party balloons. But helium is also a non-renewable resource and the world's reserves of the precious gas are about to run out, a shortage that is likely to have far-reaching repercussions. Scientists have warned that the world's most commonly used inert gas is being depleted at an astonishing rate because of a law passed in the United States in 1996 which has effectively made helium too cheap to recycle. The law stipulates that the US National Helium Reserve, which is kept in a disused underground gas field near Amarillo, Texas — by far the biggest store of helium in the world — must all be sold off by 2015, irrespective of the market price.

The experts warn that the world could run out of helium within 25 to 30 years, potentially spelling disaster for hospitals, whose MRI scanners are cooled by the gas in liquid form, and anti-terrorist authorities who rely on helium for their radiation monitors, as well as the millions of children who love to watch their helium-filled balloons float into the sky. Helium is made either by the nuclear fusion process of the Sun, or by the slow and steady radioactive decay of terrestrial rock, which accounts for all of the Earth's store of the gas. There is no way of manufacturing it artificially, and practically all of the world's reserves have been derived as a by-product from the extraction of natural gas, mostly in the giant oil-and gasfields of the American South-west, which historically have had the highest helium concentrations.

Liquid helium is critical for cooling cooling infrared detectors, nuclear reactors and the machinery of wind tunnels. The space industry uses it in sensitive satellite equipment and spacecraft, and NASA uses helium in huge quantities to purge the potentially explosive fuel from its rockets. In the form of its isotope helium-3, helium is also crucial for research into the next generation of clean, waste-free nuclear reactors powered by nuclear fusion, the nuclear reaction that powers the Sun. Despite the critical role that the gas plays in the modern world, it is being depleted as an unprecedented rate and reserves could dwindle to virtually nothing within a generation, warns Nobel laureate Robert Richardson, professor of physics at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.

08.23.10 Bodies hung from bridge in Mexico

August 23 - Mexican police have said that they found four decapitated and mutilated corpses hung from a bridge outside the Mexican capital. The bodies of the four young men were discovered early on Sunday, near Cuernavaca, a city about an hour outside Mexico City, where many of the nation's elite own homes. The killings were the latest grizzly finding as the country battles an escalating drug war. A message had been left with the victims' heads warning supporters of a rival gang leader of similar fate. "This will happen to everyone that helps the traitor Edgar Valdes," the placard read, referring to a leading drug capo whose real name is Edgar Valdez. It was signed CPS — the initials for the South Pacific Cartel, a relatively new drug gang that has claimed responsibility for other gruesome killings. [More>>aljazeera.net]

08.23.10 25 Islamic militants escape from Tajik prison

(AP) August 23 - A group of 25 Islamic militants serving time on terrorism charges have escaped from a prison in Tajikistan's capital after dramatic assaults that left at least five guards dead, the security services said Monday. The escaped convicts include many members of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan terrorist group, among them Russian and Afghan citizens, officials said. The violent breakout from a prison run by the National State Security Committee in the capital, Dushanbe, has dealt the government an embarrassing blow after it claimed successes lately in a clampdown on alleged militant organizations. The prisoners attacked their guards late Sunday, killing one and badly wounding two others, the security services said. They then grabbed a supply of weapons, changed into camouflage uniforms and fled. [More>>indianexpress.com]

08.23.10 Suicide attack kills 20 at Pakistan mosque

PESHAWAR (AFP) August 23 - A suicide bomber blew himself up at a Pakistani mosque Monday, killing at least 20 people including a prominent local cleric in the lawless district of South Waziristan, officials said. It was the first significant suicide attack in Pakistan since August 4 and comes with the country battling to cope with the fallout of devastating floods that have affected up to a fifth of the country and hit 20 million people. The apparent target was cleric Noor Mohammed, a member of radical Sunni Muslim party Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, which has been linked to the Taliban, and a former lawmaker. He was greeting members of the congregation in the town of Wana after prayers when the bomber struck, officials told AFP on condition of anonymity...Washington has branded the rugged tribal area — part of which has now been hit by Pakistan's catastrophic flooding — a global headquarters of al-Qaeda and the most dangerous place on Earth. [Full story>>khaleejtimes.com; See also

msnbc.msn.com, "3 bombs kill 36 in northwest Pakistan"
: PARACHINAR - Three bomb attacks in northwest Pakistan — two in tribal regions near the Afghan border and a third near the region's main city of Peshawar — killed at least 36 people Monday, officials and a witness said. Meanwhile, three suspected US missiles fired from unmanned aircraft struck a house near Miran Shah in North Waziristan, killing nine alleged militants, said two intelligence officials. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to release the information to the media. The blast on the outskirts of Peshawar killed the leader of an anti-Taliban militia, Israr Khan, and two aides as he passed through a market in the village of Matni, said police official Khurshid Khan.

Three more people were injured. The government supplies a string of militias with arms and money to fight the Taliban militants. The deadliest blast was a suicide attack at a mosque inside a religious school in South Waziristan that killed 26 people and injured 40 more, said an intelligence official in the region. He spoke on condition of anonymity in line with the orders set down by his agency. He said Maulana Noor Mohammad, a former lawmaker who ran the school, was among the dead. Yar Mohammad, a local tribesman who was present inside the mosque, also said it was a suicide blast. [end]

08.23.10 Khamenei's cellmate remembers torture in Iran

DUBAI, August 23 - Power made Khamene a savage tyrant: Asadi. Iranian political activist and prominent journalist Houshang Asid remembers years of imprisonment and torture in the post-revolution Islamic Republic and reflects on the changes that turned his cellmate Ayatollah Ali Khamenei from a benevolent revolutionary to a savage tyrant. At the time of Shah Reza Pahlavi, Asadi and Khamenei shared a prison cell where they developed a close relationship that lasted up until the 1979 Islamic Revolution took place when it turned into a bitter animosity, the London-based newspaper Asharq al-Awsat reported Sunday. Asadi remembered his friendship with Khamenei and the first time they met in 1974 when they were put in the same cell.

In an interview with THE TIMES published Aug. 10, Asadi "jokes that he is the only man in the world to have seen Ayatollah Khamenei's private parts." "I was 26 and he was 37. We talked about philosophy and poetry and he told me how he fell in love with his wife. I was never attached to someone like that." Asadi was impressed with Khamenei's tolerance since, as a cleric, he never minded being close friends with a Communist and an atheist. When Khamenei was transferred from the cell, he embraced Asadi and cried. "I felt his tears while I embraced him and he told me something I will never forget: 'In an Islamic government, not one innocent person will shed a tear.' ".

...Asadi told the paper that he dreamt of freedom and supported the revolution in the hope of eliminating dictatorship. However, he was arrested four years after the Islamic government came to power. He first stayed in solitary confinement for 682 days and saw no one except Brother Hamid. "He flogged me, deprived me of sleep, hung me with ropes from the ceiling, and made me believe that my wife was also being tortured. He wanted me to confess. Of what? He himself had no idea." ...Asadi was saved from the capital punishment only when he said in court that he hated his past and that he was dedicated to serving Khamenei. Only then he was handed a 15 year jail sentence.
[Full story>>alarabiya.net]

08.23.10 Two French soldiers killed in an operation near Kabul

(AFP) August 23 - Two French soldiers in Afghanistan were killed in fighting Monday, while three more were wounded. France's death toll from the campaign now stands at 47. Two French soldiers were killed and three more were wounded in fighting in Afghanistan on Monday, President Nicolas Sarkozy's office said, bringing France's death toll from the campaign to 47. The dead were a soldier and an officer from the 21st Marine Infantry Regiment, fatally wounded by small arms fire during an overnight operation south of Tagab, 55 kilometres (34 miles) northeast of Kabul. "These soldiers gave their lives in the service of France's commitment to the peace and security of the Afghan people," Sarkozy said in a statement, condemning "murderous attacks" on NATO forces in Afghanistan. [>france24.com]

08.22.10 NYC mosque imam: US rights in line with true Islam

August 22 - The imam spearheading plans for an Islamic center near the New York site of the Sept. 11 attacks said Sunday America's sweeping constitutional rights are more in line with Islamic principles than the limits imposed by some Muslim nations. Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf told the Al Wasat newspaper in Bahrain that the freedoms enshrined by the US Constitution also reflect true Muslim values. A portion of the interview — to be published Monday — was seen Sunday by The Associated Press. Rauf is on a Middle East tour funded by the US State Department. He has discussed efforts to combat extremism, but has avoided any comments on the rancor over proposals for a mosque and Islamic center near the site of the toppled World Trade Center towers.

Durign his tour RAuf will visit Qatar, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates to promote religious tolerance and discuss Muslim life in America. According to CNN, US Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs committee, and Peter King (R-N.Y.), ranking member of the Homeland Security committee, said taxpayers should not have to fund the trip, which they called "unacceptable."
[>haaretz.com; For background stories on Rauf's vision of "Americanized Islam" see:

nytimes.com, August 22, "Feisal Abdul Rauf's balancing act in mosque furor"
: ...Mr. Abdul Rauf, 61, grew up in multiple worlds. He was raised in a conservative religious home but arrived in America as a teenager in the turbulent 1960s; his father came to New York and later Washington to run growing Islamic centers. His parents were taken hostage not once, but twice, by American Muslim splinter groups. He attended Columbia University, where, during the Six-Day War in 1967 between Israel and Arab states like Egypt, he talked daily with a Jewish classmate, each seeking to understand the other's perspective.

He consistently denounces violence. Some of his views on the interplay between terrorism and American foreign policy — or his search for commonalities between Islamic law and this country's Constitution — have proved jarring to some American ears, but still place him as pro-American within the Muslim world. He devotes himself to befriending Christians and Jews — so much, some Muslim Americans say, that he has lost touch with their own concerns...Mr. Abdul Rauf, with Ms. Khan, unveiled as usual, beside him, tells a questioner not to worry so much about one issue of the moment — Switzerland's ban on minarets — saying Islam has always adapted to and been influenced by places it spreads to.

...In the 1990s, the couple became fixtures of the interfaith scene, even taking a cruise to Spain and Morocco with prominent rabbis and pastors. Mr. Abdul Rauf also founded the Shariah Index Project — an effort to formally rate which governments best follow Islamic law. Critics see in it support for Taliban-style Shariah or imposing Islamic law in America. Shariah, though, like Halakha, or Jewish law, has a spectrum of interpretations. The ratings, Ms. Kahn said, measure how well states uphold Shariah's core principles like rights to life, dignity and education, not Taliban strong points.

The imam has written that some Western states unwittingly apply Shariah better than self-styled Islamic states that kill wantonly, stone women and deny education — to him, violations of Shariah. After 9/11, Mr. Abdul Rauf was all over the airwaves denouncing terrorism, urging Muslims to confront its presence among them, and saying that killing civilians violated Islam. He wrote a book, "What's Right With Islam Is What's Right With America," asserting the congruence of American democracy and Islam.

Maravot News article 08.20.10 US imam says extremism is global threat ; For extremists ideological sources in the Koran and Shariah law / traditions, see:

Maravot News article 08.21.10 Pakistan flood aid from Islamic extremists and Editorial notes.

Editorial note: "On the Americanization of Islam" Imam Rauf proposes a new Islam founded on the American Constitution / principles of freedom. In this sense his speech should be encouraged. However, an accommodation to the broad-ranging application of Sharia law would not balance with American Constitutional law or values: Sharia conventions such as reported in India, of a Sharia court forcing a young married girl to marry her uncle, who had raped her, and divorce her husband; of Saudi courts requiring marriage of 9-year-old girls, Sharia laws generaly persecuting women, in their dress and behavior; in a recent Saudi court's (pending) "eye-for-an-eye ruling" as they deliberate on severing the spinal cord of a man who attacked another man with a meat cleaver.

Other considerations such as the political power of mullahs, as in Iran, who persecute people who criticize the government, prescribing them as "mohareb" (enemies of Allah) subject to the death penalty under Sharia law; the Islamic ideal for restoration of a world "Arab" caliphate.

In Malaysia Sharia law overrules logic, prosecuting those who use the term "Allah" as a substitute word for God in Christian and Sikh documents. Beginning with this ongoing controversy in Malaysia, our document, "The Allah Controversy," opines the many conflicts Islam has with the West, and shows how the Koran contradicts itself: The Koran claims that it was written to confirm that the Bible (Jewish Scriptures & Gospel of Jesus) is true; yet verses in the Koran that advocate violence and holy war (jihad) against unbelievers contradict its profession of faith in the Bible / Gospel of Jesus. Also, the Koran's acknowledgement of Jesus as the Messiah (Gr. Christ) presupposes that followers of Islam ought to be Christians.

It may be that an Americanized version of Islam would be more appropriately served through the reconciliation of verses in the Koran that contradict the Gospel of Jesus and, equally important, to study and reconcile the meaning of the word "Messiah" (interpreted in Gr. "Christ," in English "Anointed One.") This is the verse in the Koran that acknowledges Jesus as the Messiah:

The IMRANS 3:45 The angels said to Mary: "Allah bids you rejoice in a Word from Him. His name is the Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary..

Incidentally, one of the terms used in the Bible that describes the Messiah is " the Word of God." Assuming the angels that recited the Koran (meaning "recital") are of God as the Koran claims then we must conclude that Mohammed, as he recorded the recitals of the angelic message, understood Jesus to be the Word of God and, thus, a word to be obeyed. The Koran's verses and its extensions to Shariah law that conflict with the Word of Jesus are thus cast in doubt. The Americanization of Islam could therefore begin with reconciling the Koran to Christ, enabling a joining of hands, as it were, with the majority of Christians in America.

Mel Copeland

08.22.10 Iran unveils 'Ambassador of Death' bomber

TEHRAN (AP) August 22 - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Sunday inaugurated the country's first domestically built unmanned bomber aircraft, calling it an "ambassador of death" to Iran's enemies. The 4-meter-long drone aircraft can carry up to four cruise missiles and will have a range of 620 miles, according to a state TV report not far enough to reach archenemy Israel. "of peace and friendship," said Ahmadinejad at the inauguration ceremony, which fell on the country's national day for its defense industries. The goal of the aircraft, named Karrar or striker, is to "keep the enemy paralyzed in its bases," he said, adding that the aircraft is for deterrence and defensive purposes. The president championed the country's military self-sufficiency program, and said it will continue "until the enemies of humanity lose hope of ever attacking the Iranian nation." [More>>cbsnews.com;

08.22.10 Kuwait watches pro-Iran sleeping cells: Report

KUWAIT CITY (AFP) August 22 - Terrorist cells could resort to violence if Iran came under attack. Kuwait is closely monitoring "sleeping terror cells" that would resort to violence if Iran came under a military strike, a newspaper quoted a security source as saying on Sunday. "The security agencies have been monitoring those cells for a long time and are aware of their moves and sources of funding," the unnamed Kuwaiti source told al-Qabas newspaper. They are "closely monitoring these sleeping terror cells through various methods and means," the source said without elaborating. Al-Qabas reported on Saturday that Bahrain's intelligence service warned other Gulf states that large numbers of "armed terrorists" were preparing for acts of sabotage if Iran was attacked over its nuclear file. [More>>alarabiya.net]

08.22.10 More than 100,000 evacuated as China-North Korea border floods

August 22 - At least four killed after Yalu river swells to dangerous levels in torrential rain. More than 100,000 people have been evacuated and at least four killed as the worst floods in a decade inundated the border between China and North Korea. After downpours in south and west China took 3,900 lives earlier this summer, it was the turn of the north-east to take a battering this weekend when torrential rains swelled the Yalu river to dangerous levels. Chinese television showed army helicopters airlifting people and soldiers reinforcing dykes with sandbags. Local newspapers ran pictures of the river, which demarcates the border with North Korea, rising over the top of its banks and seeping across the park that separates the river from Dandong city in Liaoning Province. At its peak the flow of the Yalu was 27,000 cubic meters per second on Saturday evening and remains at high levels with more rain forecast for the coming days. According to the state-run Beijing Times, the floods in Dandong are the second most serious since 1949. [More>>guardian.co.uk]

08.22.10 Pledges to Pakistan top $800m

August 22 - Donors from around the world have pledged more than $800 million to help victims of its disastrous floods, Pakistani authorities say. The continued floods have forced about 150,000 people to flee for higher ground in just the last 24 hours, the Pakistani foreign minister said on Sunday. At least six million people have been made homeless in three weeks of floods, and 20 million affected overall. Shah Mehmood Qureshi, the foreign minister, expressed gratitude for the $815.58 million in international assistance to ease the suffering from one of the worst disasters in Pakistan's history. "In such a situation, when the West and Europe and America are in recession and donor fatigue is being discussed, this kind of solidarity for Pakistan, I think, is very encouraging," he told a news conference in Islamabad. [More>>aljazeera.net]

08.22.10 Four US soldiers killed in day of Afghan violence

(AFP) August 22 - Four US soldiers were killed Sunday while fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan, NATO said, as the insurgents appeared to step up their campaign against officials and election candidates. The four American troopers died in three separate incidents, in eastern and southern Afghanistan, NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said. ISAF spokesman US Air Force Master Sergeant Jason Haag confirmed all four were Americans. The deaths bring to 451 the total number of international soldiers to die in the Afghan war so far this year, according to an AFP tally based on that kept by the icasualties.org website. The total in 2009 was 520. [More>>france24.com]

08.22.10 Drug traffickers, Mexican police battle within yards of US border

August 21 - A "major gunbattle" between drug traffickers and Mexican federal police broke out Saturday evening in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, just 30 yards from the US border at El Paso, Texas, causing US authorities to cordon off a section of the city, according to a US Border Patrol spokesman. Three police officers were injured and one armed suspect was killed, federal police spokesman Ramon Salinas said. First reports of gunshots came in from border agents around 7pm (9pm ET), US Border Patrol spokesman Ramiro Cordero told CNN. "The gunbattle is still going on right now," Cordero said 30 minutes after the incident began, just south of the University of Texas at El Paso. [More>>cnn.com]

08.21.10 Barak to US, France: Take steps to stop Lebanese flotilla

August 21 - After announced delay in departure of women's flotilla, Defense Minister speaks with foreign ministers of US and France, stresses that flotilla is an "unnecessary provocation." Defense Minister Ehud Barak spoke on Saturday with US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, US National Security Adviser General Jim Jones, and French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, and asked them to act to prevent the launch of the Lebanese flotilla setting for Gaza. The Defense Minister emphasized that Israel permits the import of civilian materials into Gaza after it is checked at the port of Ashdod. Therefore, he said, "The flotilla's attempt to reach Gaza is a needless provocation." Earlier in the day, the organizers of the women's flotilla from Lebanon to Gaza announced that the ships would not set sail on Sunday. Apparently, the reason for the delay is Cyprus's refusal to allow the ships to pass through its territorial waters or to drop anchor in one of its ports. [More>>haaretz.com]

08.21.10 Iran begins loading fuel at its Bushehr nuclear reactor

August 21 - Nationwide celebrations as Russian engineers oversee the arrival of an initial fuel shipment at Iran's first nuclear power plant. The operation to load fuel into Iran's first nuclear power station has begun amid nationwide celebration. Russian engineers will operate the Bushehr plant in southern Iran, supplying its nuclear fuel and taking away the nuclear waste. At the inauguration of the plant today, the head of the Iran's atomic energy organization, Ali Akbar Salehi, said it demonstrated that the country's nuclear aims were entirely peaceful - an assertion that the US questions. Describing the plant as a symbol of Iranian resistance, Salehi added: "Despite all pressure, sanctions and hardships imposed by western nations, we are now witnessing the start-up of the largest symbol of Iran's peaceful nuclear activities."

The first truckload of fuel was taken today from a storage site to a fuel pool inside the reactor building under the watch of monitors from the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency. Over the next two weeks, 163 fuel assemblies, equal to 80 tones of uranium fuel, will be moved inside the building and then into the reactor core. It will be another two months before the 1,000-megawatt, light water reactor begins supplying electricity to Iranian cities. Russia, which helped finish building the plant, has pledged to safeguard the site and prevent spent nuclear fuel from being used to make nuclear weapons. Moscow believes the Bushehr project is essential in persuading Iran to cooperate with international efforts to ensure it does not develop nuclear arms. Washington disagrees, arguing that Iran should not be rewarded while it continues to defy UN demands to halt the enrichment of uranium, a process used to produce fuel for power plants but which can also be used in weapons production.

08.21.10 Drone kills four militants in Pakistan

(AFP) August 22 - Four militants have been killed in a US drone attack in Pakistan's northwest tribal belt. The missiles targeted a compound used by militants in Kutabkhel village, about three kilometres south of Miranshah, the main town in North Waziristan tribal district, a security official based in Peshawar told AFP. "A US drone fired four missiles. They targeted a compound and also a car outside the compound," the official said. Saturday's drone strike was also confirmed by two intelligence officials in Miranshah. [>news.com.au]

08.21.10 Clash leaves 25 security guards, 50 Taliban militants dead in S. Afghanistan

LASHKAR GAH, Afghanistan (Xinhua) August 21 - Gun battle between Taliban insurgents and security guards of a construction company left 75 dead on both sides and injured dozens others in Helmand province in the south of Afghanistan, provincial governor Gulab Mangal said Saturday. "In the clash, initiated by Taliban on Sangin-Gereshk road on Thursday and continued until Friday afternoon 25 guards of the company and up to 50 Taliban militants were killed," Mangal told a news conference here. He also added that dozens others from both sides sustained injuries in the gun battle lasted for 12 hours. Without specifying any name, the governor said that "neighboring countries that do not want to see development in Afghanistan are behind this conspiracy." Governor Mangal also confirmed that several vehicles and machinery of the company were destroyed in the battle by Taliban. [More>>xinhuanet.com; See related stories,

geo.tv, August 21, "Foreign soldier, three civilians dead in Afghanistan"
: KABUL - A foreign soldier fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan was killed in an attack, while a woman and two children died in an operation aimed at an insurgent with al-Qaeda contacts, NATO said Saturday. The dead soldier's identity was not revealed, according to NATO policy. A statement from the alliance said the insurgent attack in which the soldier died took place on Friday in southern Afghanistan, where the Taliban-led insurgency is concentrated. The death brings to 444 the number of foreign soldiers fighting in Afghanistan to die in the war so far this year, according to a foreign news agency tally based on that kept by the icasualties.org website.

NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said in a separate statement that a civilian woman and two children were "accidentally killed" on Friday in an operation in western Farah province, another insurgency hotspot. Afghan and coalition forces were pursuing a "Taliban foreign fighter facilitator... known to traffic foreign fighters and weapons from Iran and associate with senior Taliban and al-Qaeda leadership," it said. [end]

cnn.com, August 21, "Afghan police killed during airstrike" : Three Afghan police officers were accidentally killed in an airstrike and a bomb killed five Afghan civilians in separate incidents in northern Afghanistan, NATO's International Security Assistance Force said on Saturday. The airstrike incident, which occurred on Friday in Jowzjan province, began when insurgents shot at Afghan security forces, and the troops asked for air support. An air weapons team consisting of two helicopters launched a hellfire missile and fired 30 mm rounds "toward an identified firing position." The service members later found the three dead police and other wounded officers.

ISAF dispatched a team to the region to investigate. In the other incident, an improvised explosive device attack killed five Afghan civilians and wounded two other people on Saturday. One of those killed was a leader of the Arkabi, a local tribal militia. "IEDs continue to kill and hurt innocent Afghan people who are going about their daily lives," said Col. Rafael Torres, ISAF spokesman. In other violence, three NATO service members died in southern Afghanistan on Saturday, ISAF said two died in insurgent attacks and another one was killed by an improvised explosive device. [end]

08.21.10 Pakistan flood aid from Islamic extremists

August 21 - There is not a United Nations pick-up or Pakistani government official in sight at the small but efficient relief camp, close to the north-west Pakistani town of Nowshera. Instead the food is provided by a hardline Islamist charity linked to terrorists blamed for the 2008 attacks on Mumbai. Two years after it was supposed to be banned, Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) members are working under a new name providing food, medicine and wads of rupee notes to hundreds of thousands of people affected by devastating floods. Similar makeshift camps run by Falah-e-Insaniat, the group's latest incarnation, are in operation across the land, raising fears that charities linked to militants are using the catastrophe to win hearts, minds and influence. The trend is all the more alarming because they are filling a vacuum left by the democratically-elected government, increasingly vulnerable to fury from flood survivors about its failures to provide aid. The Prime Minister's own disaster relief fund has raised a paltry 120m rupees — less than £1m — a figure that is scoffed at by Mian Adil, the vice-president of Falah-e-Insaniat. "We are raising that every day," he laughed. "We have thousands of volunteers, hundreds of collection points.

...Across the country the charity claims to be feeding more than 400,000 people, as well as distributing cash — as much as 7,000 rupees or £50 - to families in the worst affected areas where the government is struggling to help. It also has a fleet of ambulances at its disposal. Mr. Adil made no secret of his charity's origins and admitted he was a member of the banned group JuD and said it was providing 80% of the funds for its work with flood victims. He insisted the aid was delivered without a political message, but refused to condemn the actions of LeT. "We are just a welfare organization," he insisted. "But if you want me to call the jihadi groups terrorists then I will not. They are fighting for freedom."
[Full story>>telegraph.co.uk; See related stories,

timesofindia.indiatimes.com, August 21, "JuD goes online to woo friends"
: KARACHI - Hardline groups in Pakistan are plugging into Western online favorites Facebook and Twitter in a bid to win friends and influence people. Tweeting their view of a civilization clash between the West and Islam, and posting comments that advocate violence against non-Muslims, groups that are officially banned in Pakistan have found a welter of freedom online. Jamat-ud-Dawa, blamed for [the] 2008 Mumbai massacre, is going public intending to influence netizens to advocate violence against non-Muslims or "Kafirs." The information they have posted online with photographs clearly show men and women at their congregation brandishing guns and hi-tech assault weapons. Internet pages of Sipah-e-Sahaba, a banned militant Sunni Islamic organization, also openly preach their anti-Shia bias. [end]

Maravot News 1.18.10 article
01.16.10 Lonely trek to radicalism for terror suspect and Editorial notes on Koran's advocacy of violence against "Kafirs" (also spelled "kuffars")

Maravot News 4.09.09 article 4.07.09 US Muslims urge Obama to focus on civil rights Editorial note: "Confusion over the teachings of the Koran." (reprinted from Maravot News 12.04.08) :

"...Koran advocates violence against unbelievers (kuffar) / enemies:

Repentance 9.20 Those that have embraced the faith and fled their homeland and fought for Allah's cause with their wealth and their persons are held in higher regard by Allah. It is they who shall triumph. Their Lord has promised them joy and mercy, and gardens of eternal bliss where they shall dwell forever. Allah's reward is great indeed.
9.116 ...Allah has purchased of the faithful their lives and worldly goods and in return has promised them the Garden. They will fight for His cause, slay, and be slain. Such is the true pledge which he has made them in the Torah, the Gospel, and the Koran. And who is more true to his promise than Allah? Rejoice then in the bargain you have made. That is the supreme triumph.

Women 4.91 Others you will find who seek security from you as well as from their own people. Whenever they are called back to idol-worship they plunge into it headlong. If these do not keep their distance from you, if they neither offer you peace nor cease their hostilities against you, lay hold of them and kill them wherever you find them. Over such men We give you absolute authority.
4.92 It is unlawful for a believer to kill another believer except by accident.
4.98 He that flies his homeland for the cause of Allah shall find numerous places of refuge in the land and great abundance. He that leaves his dwelling to fight for Allah and His apostle and is then overtaken by death, shall be rewarded by Allah.
4.104 Seek out your enemies relentlessly.

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."

(From Maravot News 12.04.08) We find it appropriate here to repeat our comment in August 2005: "It is worthwhile for those who are trying to defeat Muslim terrorists to read the arguments listed in renaissance.com.pk." The Koran and the scholastic teachings of Islamic leaders must account to much of the acts of Islamic terrorism. For Islamic leaders to denounce acts of Islamic terrorism a bridge has to be crossed in their understanding of the Koran. An easy bridge that will enable peace is one that has to do with acknowledging these two points: 1) that the Koran claims to confirm the Bible (See Maravot News 4.09.09) and Jesus as the Messiah and 2) that the Koran, therefore, cannot contradict that which it confirms as its source."

There is much confusion on the Koran and its various sects, as now illustrated in the New York Ground Zero mosque controversy. For a more complete review of the confusion and how the Koran claims to confirm the Bible, as well as Jesus as the Messiah (Gr. Christ), see "The Allah Controversy."

Mel Copeland

08.21.10 Russian FSB links several terrorist attacks to killed militant leader Shamilev

MOSCOW (RIA Novosti) August 21 - A number of recent terrorist attacks in Russia's volatile north Caucasus region have been linked to Khamzat Shamilev, the Chechen militant leader killed on Saturday during a special operation, the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) said on Saturday. "As a qualified demolition specialist, Shamilev himself planned and carried out bomb attacks using improvised explosive devices in the Real and Berkat markets in [Chechen capital] Grozny in October 2009 and July 2010 and also the bombing of the Staropromyslovsky district prosecutor's office on July 27, 2010," the FSB said in a press release. In the explosion in the Real market alone, 16 people were killed, it said.

Since 2008, Shamilev was regularly sent to militant leader Doku Umarov in the Chechen capital of Grozny to carry out terrorist activities, the FSB said. Umarov, who styles himself as "the Emir of the Caucasus," has claimed responsibility for the two most significant recent terrorist attacks in Russia: the derailment of a high-speed Nevsky Express train in 2009 and this year's Moscow metro bombings. Shamilev opened fire on police after they blockaded him in a house in Chechen capital Grozny. When he realized that he would not be able to escape, he blew himself up with a grenade. Earlier on Saturday, police in neighboring Dagestan killed another militant leader, Magomedali Vagabov, who is believed to be behind the March 29 suicide bombings on the Moscow metro that killed 40 people and injured 100 others.

08.21.10 Yemen says five Qaeda members among 19 killed

ADEN (AFP) August 21 - Five al-Qaeda members were killed in clashes with the army in south Yemen, the defence ministry's news website said on Saturday, bringing to 19 the toll from the previous day's fighting. Three al-Qaeda militants were also wounded in Friday's clashes between the army and gunmen in the city of Loder, southern Abyan province, said the report carried by the 26Sep.net news website. The latest deaths add to an earlier toll of 11 soldiers and three civilians killed on Friday. The defence ministry said it had managed to identify one of the slain al-Qaeda fighters as Adham Shibani, adding that the wounded militants were currently being interrogated. The security forces were tracking "other terrorists" who took part in Friday's fighting, the ministry said.

The militants who managed to flee were named as Ahmed Mohammed Abdu Daradish, Abdel Rauf Abdullah Mohammed Nassib and Jalal Saleh Mohammed Saidi. The interior ministry had said on Friday that 11 soldiers were killed "in an ambush set up by al-Qaeda terrorists and outlaws cooperating with them." Eight of the soldiers were killed when a rocket-propelled grenade hit their armored vehicle, according to Loder's regional security chief Yahya Al Barkani. Three civilians were killed — and another four wounded — when soldiers bombarded buildings near Loder market from where the military was being targeted, medical sources said. South Yemen, and the Abyan province in particular, is feared to have become a base for al-Qaeda militants to regroup, under the network's local franchise al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
[>khaleejtimes.com; See related story,

france24.com (AFP) August 21, "Ex-Guantanamo Qaeda militant surrenders to Yemen"
: An al-Qaeda militant, who served time at the US-run prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has surrendered to Yemeni authorities after expressing remorse over his history, a security source said on Saturday. Ali Hussein al-Taiss "expressed remorse for having served in al-Qaeda" and said he was "ready to collaborate" with Yemeni authorities, the source was quoted by the official Saba news agency as saying. The source did not provide details on how the surrender was negotiated or when it took place. The news came a day after 11 Yemeni soldiers were killed in an ambush by al-Qaeda militants in the southern city of Loder. On August 15, Yemen announced the surrender of another al-Qaeda operative. Jamaan Safian was responsible for the organization's activities in the Al-Jawf province, northeast of the capital Sanaa. Safian, whose name does not appear on the Yemeni list of most wanted al-Qaeda militants, "was sheltering non-Yemeni al-Qaeda members, especially Saudis," an official said.

08.21.10 Columbia arrests 'major cocaine trafficker'

August 21 - A Venezuelan businessman suspected of being part of a major drug trafficking ring has been arrested by Colombian authorities. Walid Makled Garcia, 43, who is wanted by the US on drug charges and Colombia and Venezuela on murder charges, was caught in the border city of Cucuta. He is accused of trafficking 10 tons of cocaine every month to the US and Europe. Colombian police have hailed the arrest as a significant success. Colombian police chief Gen. Oscar Naranjo said that Mr. Makled is on a US extradition list as "one of the world's most wanted drug traffickers." Also known by his alias "The Turk," Mr. Makled is wanted by a New York court for allegedly being part of a group which regularly smuggles large amounts of cocaine to the US and European markets. [More>>bbc.co.uk]

08.20.10 US: Direct peace talks to begin on September 2 in Washington

August 20 - Hillary Clinton, George Mitchel say through peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, all final status issues can be resolved in one year. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas have been invited to Washington to begin direct peace talks on Sept. 2, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said during a press conference on Friday. The meeting will serve to "re-launch direct negotiations to resolve all final status issues which we believe we can complete in one year," Clinton said. "There have been difficulties in the past, there will be difficulties ahead ... I ask the parties to persevere, to keep moving forward even through difficult times and to continue working to achieve a just and lasting peace in the region," Clinton said. The leaders of Egypt and Jordan have also been invited to join in the first session of direct talks.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed the US invitation to launch direct peace talks with Palestinians. "Israel wants serious and comprehensive talks," Netanyahu said in response to Clinton's statement on Friday. "We are coming to these talks with a serious desire to reach a peace agreement between nations, while still preserving Israel's national interests, security being the foremost of them." Netanyahu has long sought a resumption of the talks that stalled before a Gaza war in late 2008, saying he was ready to sit down at any time with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abba. The Middle East Quartet released a statement following Friday's announcement, reaffirming their support for the resolution of all final status issues.

08.20.10 US imam says extremism is global threat

(AP) August 20 - The imam who is leading plans for an Islamic centre near the Manhattan site of the September 11 attacks says that extremism poses a security threat in both the West and the Muslim world. The comments by Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf come during the first leg of a 15-day Middle East tour funded by the US State Department to discuss Muslim life in America and religious tolerance. Speaking after leading Friday prayers at a neighbourhood mosque in Bahrain's capital Manama, Rauf said he hopes to draw attention during his trip to the region to the common challenges to battle radical religious beliefs. "This issue of extremism is something that has been a national security issue not only for the United States, but also for many countries and nations in the Muslim world. This is why this particular trip has a great importance because all countries in the Muslim world as well as the Western world are facing this ... major security challenge." [More>>news.com.au; See also

cbsnews.com, August 20, "NYC mosque imam looking to 'Americanize Islam' "
: The imam leading plans for an Islamic center near the Manhattan site of the Sept. 11 attacks said Friday he has been working on a way to "Americanize Islam." While he did not elaborate on what an American version of Islam might look like, he did note that different interpretations of the faith have emerged over the religion's nearly 1,400-year existence. "The same principles and rituals were everywhere, but what happened in different regions was there were different interpretations," Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, who is on the first leg of a 15-day Mideast tour funded by the US State Department, said. "So we recognize that our heritage allows for re-expressing the internal principles of our religion in different cultural times and places." Rauf refused to discuss the political firestorm over the plans for an Islamic cultural center about two blocks from the World Trade Center towers. Foes of the project say it is insensitive and disrespectful to the victims of 9/11 and their families. The debate has become politicized ahead of November's midterm congressional elections...

08.20.10 Leaders fear for Netherlands' image as anti-Islam populist turns kingmaker

August 20 - Geert Wilders's plans to joins New York protests against Ground Zero mosque prompt confidential memo to diplomats. The Dutch government has launched a damage-limitation campaign to try to counter what it fears is the disastrous international impact of the Islam-bashing populist Geert Wilders. Wilders, whose success in June's general election catapulted him into the role of kingmaker in attempts to form a new coalition government, is to travel to New York to take part in protests on 11 September against the proposed Muslim community centre near Ground Zero. Maxime Verhagen, the acting foreign minister and Christian Democrats' leader, has voiced fears that Wilders's speech in New York will tarnish Dutch reputations. He has also taken the unusual step of circulating confidential orders to Dutch diplomats around the world on how to answer questions about Wilders's influence in a new government and on the fallout for Muslims in the Netherlands. [More>>guardian.co.uk; For background stories on Geert Wilders and his film "Fitna" see Maravot News 1.25.10 article 01.20.10 Dutch MP on trial for 'hate speech]

08.20.10 Now Atlantic is found to have huge 'garbage patch'

August 20 - A huge expanse of floating plastic debris has been documented for the first time in the North Atlantic Ocean. The size of the affected area rivals the "great Pacific garbage patch" in the world's other great ocean basin, which generated an outcry over the effects of plastic waste on marine wildlife. The new plastic waste, which was discovered in an area of the Atlantic to the east of Bermuda, consists mostly of fragments no bigger than a few millimetres wide. But their concentrations and the area of the sea that is covered have caused consternation among marine biologists studying the phenomenon. Using fine-mesh nets towed from a research ship, the scientists collected more than 64,000 individual plastic pieces at 6,100 locations out at sea over the 22-year period of the survey. The highest concentrations were centred at approximately the same latitude as Atlanta, Georgia (32 degrees North) but extended about 500 miles north and south of this line.

Kara Lavender Law from the Sea Education Association in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, said the size of the Atlantic "garbage patch" was roughly equal to the one in the Pacific, where circulating currents of the North Pacific Gyre have trapped it over a wide area to the north of the equator. "The Pacific has received more attention in terms of plastic accumulation but we know less about the Pacific so it's very difficult to compare the Atlantic patch in terms of size. We had a cruise this summer to try to find the eastern extent and in fact we failed to find it," Dr. Lavender Law said. "East of Bermuda we had no evidence of a decrease in concentration so we still haven't answered the question. All we can say is the highest concentrations between the two oceans are comparable. My guess is they are similar-sized problems," she said.
[More>>independent.co.uk; For articles on the "Pacific Gyre" see Maravot News 5.09.09 article 5.02.09 Mission to break up Pacific island of rubbish twice the size of Texas]

08.20.10 Pakistan to clamp down on Islamist militant charities

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) August 20 - Pakistan said on Friday it will clamp down on charities linked to Islamist militants amid fears their involvement in flood relief could exploit anger against the government and undermine the fight against groups like the Taliban. Islamist charities have moved swiftly to fill the vacuum left by a government overwhelmed by the scale of the disaster and struggling to reach millions of people in dire need of shelter, food and drinking water. It would not be the first time the government has announced restrictions against charities tied to militant groups, but critics say banned organizations often re-emerge with new names and authorities are not serious about stopping them.

"The banned organizations are not allowed to visit flood-hit areas," Interior Minister Rehman Malik told Reuters. "We will arrest members of banned organizations collecting funds and will try them under the Anti-Terrorism Act." Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari warned on Thursday that militants were trying to exploit the floods to promote their agendas
as they did after a devastating earthquake in Kashmir in 2005. More than 4 million Pakistanis have been made homeless by nearly three weeks of floods, making urgent the critical task of securing enough aid...In a sign of improving relations between the Pakistan and India since the Mumbai militant attacks in 2008, New Delhi said that $5 million in aid had been accepted after initial reluctance from Islamabad. [Full story>>thestar.com.my; See related story,

foxnews.com, August 20, "US boosts Pakistan flood aid to $150 million" :
The United States government has increased aid to flood-ravaged Pakistan to $150 million, with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pledging to help protect "as many people as possible" as the rain continues to fall. The US contribution helped the United Nations meet its target of close to a half-billion dollars in international assistance... 

08.20.10 Homeless Gazans seize Hamas government building

GAZA (Reuters) August 20 - Forty families whose houses were destroyed in conflict with Israel took over a building belonging to Gaza's Hamas rulers this week in a sign of dissatisfaction with the Islamist movement's failure to provide shelter. Angered by living in tents for two winters and now baking in the midst of an intense heat wave, the squatters took over the unfinished apartment house and have already resisted one police effort to evict them. "The heat and cold hurt our children. Where are you?" read a banner pasted on the wall of the building, in the first overt move against government property since Hamas seized power strip in 2007, ousting forces loyal to the Fatah movement of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Bassam Jamil, one of the squatters, said 43 families had moved into the building which was still under construction in Jabalya in the northern Gaza Strip. It belongs to the Hamas-run housing ministry. "We have lost faith that anyone will rebuild our homes. We have taken shelter in the building from the heat in the tents we've been living in," Jamil said. [More>>khaleejtimes.com]

08.20.10 'Al-Qaeda prepares for Israel-Iran war'

August 20 - Report: Al-Shehri warns against "the greater state of Israel." Al-Qaeda is ready to exploit a war "by the Jews against Iran," the Sunni group's second-in-command in Yemen, Saeed al-Shehri, said in an audio message this month, according to the Daily Beast. The mostly Shi'ite nation of Iran is an enemy to al-Qaeda, and al-Shehri predicted that after Israel attacked Iranian nuclear installations, Iran would blame Saudi Arabia which reports say may let Israel fly through its airspace to attack Iran and use the opportunity to seize the holy cities of Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia. Al-Shehri said Israel would then seize territory from surrounding Arab nations to establish "the greater state of Israel," and the Sunni Arab population of the Middle East would be trapped between the “Jews in the Middle East and Iran in the Peninsula," the Daily Beast reported. According to the Daily Beast, al-Qaeda would benefit from an Israel-Iran war because if Israel attacked Iran's nuclear installations, Iran would use its proxies to lash back at Americans in the Gulf, Iraq, and Afghanistan. The Daily Beast is a news aggregator and original content website owned by a former Wall Street Journal editor. [>jpost.com]

08.20.10 Iran broadcasts missile launch on state television

August 20 - Iran has test fired a surface-to-surface missile, according to the country's defence minister. Ahmad Vahidi's announcement comes a day before Iran is scheduled to launch its Russian-built first nuclear power plant in the southern port city of Bushehr. Television images showed the sand colored Qiam (Rising) blasting into the air from a desert terrain, amid chants of "Allahu Akbar" (God is greatest). The words "Ya Mahdi" were written on the side of the missile, referring to Imam Mahdi, one of the 12 imams of Shiite Islam, who disappeared as a boy and whom the faithful believe will return one day to bring redemption to mankind. [More>>telegraph.co.uk; For background & related stories, see Maravot News 8.18.09 article 8.17.09 Muslims must unite for Islam's savior: Iran ;

Maravot News 12.20.09 article
12.14.09 Iran president slammed for Mahdi comments ;

Maravot News 12.10.09 article
12.07.09 US wants to stop mankind's savior: Iran leader ;

Maravot News 2.20.10 article with twitter.com posts on Iran protests, how Iran's persecutions relate to its Constitution and Ali Khamenei's apparent role under the Mahdi (
Wali al-'Asr ** ) 02.15.10 West condemns Iran's 'bloody repression'

08.19.10 Jobless filings at highest point since November

August 19 - Equity investors on Wall Street found bad news staring them in the face again Thursday. Disappointing reports about the job market and a regional slowdown in manufacturing reminded traders that the economic recovery was beginning to slow and that the job market would continue to be weak because of it. Shares on Wall Street were down more than 1.5 percent in afternoon trading after the Department of Labor said that initial claims for unemployment insurance rose last week to a seasonally adjusted half a million people, the first time since November that they have reached that level. The jobless claims climbed by 12,000 to 500,000 from the previous week's revised 488,000. Wall Street analysts had expected the seasonally adjusted claims to drop.

"The whole lack of improvement and further rise in claims coincides with the concerns about production and growth in the economy," Steven C. Wieting, an economist for Citigroup, said. The unemployment report was the first of a one-two punch for investors on Thursday morning. In addition, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia's monthly index showed that manufacturing in the mid-Atlantic states shrank this month. The index fell to minus 7.7 points in August — its lowest level since July 2009 — from last month's 5.1 points.
[More>>nytimes.com; See related stories,

washintontimes.com, August 19, "CBO: US faces slow recovery, near record deficit"
: With the sluggish economy holding down revenues and the federal government still spending lavishly, the national deficit will hit $1.3 trillion this year — second only to last year's record, Congress's chief scorekeeper said Thursday. Adding to the grim news, the Congressional Budget Office said the ongoing recovery from the recession has been "anemic." The CBO projects that the economy will only grow at 2 percent over the next year, and unemployment will average 9 percent next year and won't fall to 5 percent until 2014. "Growth in the nation's output since mid-2009 has been anemic in comparison with previous recoveries that followed a deep recession, and the unemployment rate has remained quite high," the nonpartisan agency said. In just the last six months, Congress has added another $29 billion to this year's deficit, and $404 billion over the next 10 years, CBO analysts said. The 2010 fiscal year ends Sept. 30...

telegraph.co.uk, August 19, "Economy is on knife-edge, warn Bank of England policymakers" : Britain's economy is teetering on a knife-edge, with "substantial" risks of a relapse balanced against signs of "gathering momentum" in the recovery, according to minutes from the Bank of England's August rate-setting meeting. For a third month running, policymakers on the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) voted 8-1 to hold rates at 0.5pc and leave unchanged the Bank's £200bn quantitative easing (QE) programme after deciding the existing measures "remained appropriate." However, the minutes said that the "risks were substantial, and members stood ready to respond in either direction as the balance of risks evolved." Andrew Sentance was once again a lone voice calling for a rate rise in a meeting where the prospect of further QE was also discussed. Economists believe the MPC could soon be split three ways, with some members calling for more QE in the face of declining economic growth, others demanding rate rises to stave off rising inflation, and the bulk paralysed by the conflicting data...

08.19.10 BP oil spill: scientists find giant plume of droplets ;missed' by official account

August 19 - A 22-mile plume of droplets from BP's Deepwater Horizon well in the Gulf of Mexico undermines claim that oil has degraded. Scientists have mapped a 22-mile plume of oil droplets from BP's rogue well in the depths of the Gulf of Mexico, providing the strongest evidence yet of the fate of the crude that spewed into the sea for months. The report offers the most authoritative challenge to date to White House assertions that most of the 5m barrels of oil that spewed into the Gulf is gone. "These results indicate that efforts to book-keep where the oil went must now include this plume," said Christopher Reddy one of the members of the team from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. The report, which is published in the journal Science, also said the plume was very slow to break down by natural forces, increasing the likelihood that oil could have travelled long distances in the Gulf before it was degraded. [More>>guardian.co.uk]

08.19.10 Mosque developers refuse to rule out donations from Iran

NEW YORK, August 19 - The developers of the Ground Zero mosque are refusing to rule out donations for the project from Iran and its hard line leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. "I can't comment on that" was the reply of mosque spokesman Oz Sultan said when asked specifically if the fundraising would extend to Iran and Saudi Arabia. "We'll look at all available options within the United States to start." Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the leader of the project known as Park51, said at meetings with downtown officials that he would raise money for the 13-story mosque from local Muslims, foundations and the sale of bonds. But in an interview with a London-based Arab newspaper earlier this year, he said his fundraising would also extend to Muslim nations around the world.

The possibility of tapping the rogue Islamic state of Iran for funds comes as the US is stepping up sanctions on the regime in retaliation for its support of terrorism and what is feared to be an illegal nuclear weapons development program. The mosque's developers said they were "committed to maintaining the current planned location," according to a statement on their blog. The statement came as Rauf began a Middle East tour on behalf of the US State Department. Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said the trip to Bahrain, Qatar and Abu Dhabi will cost taxpayers $16,000. He said that Rauf was not going to use the time in the Middle East to raise funds for his mosque.
[>news.com.au; See related stories,

japantoday.com, August 19, "Some Muslims question mosque near ground zero"
: NEW YORK - American Muslims who support the proposed mosque and Islamic center near ground zero are facing skeptics within their own faith — those who argue that the project is insensitive to Sept. 11 victims and needlessly provocative at a time when Muslims are pressing for wider acceptance in the US. Abdul Cader Asmal, past president of the Islamic Council of New England, an umbrella group for more than 15 Islamic centers, said some opponents of the $100 million, 13-story project are indeed anti-Muslim.

But he said many Americans have genuine, understandable questions about Islam and extremism. “For most Americans, 9/11 remains as an open wound, and anything associated with Islam, even for Americans who want to understand Islam — to have an Islamic center with so much publicity is like rubbing salt in open wounds,” said Akbar Ahmed, professor of Islamic studies at American University, a former Pakistani ambassador to Britain and author of “Journey Into America, The Challenge of Islam.”

He said the space should include a synagogue and a church so it will truly be interfaith. In light of those fears, and the opposition of many relatives of 9/11 victims, Asmal said organizers should dramatically scale back the project to just a simple mosque, despite their legal right to construct what they want. "Winning in the court of law is not going to help improve the image of Muslims nationwide," said Asmal, a Massachusetts physician. "You have to win the hearts and minds of the ordinary American people."...

Maravot News 8.18.10 article and background stories
08.18.10 Editorial: Obama's Islamic America

08.19.10 More Americans say Obama is Muslim

(AFP) August 19 - Roughly one in five Americans wrongly says Barack Obama is a Muslim, according to two new opinion polls out on Thursday amid a furor over a planned mosque near "Ground Zero." And roughly 30 percent of Americans say followers of Islam should be barred from running for president or serving on the US Supreme Court, according to one of the surveys, published in Time magazine and available on Time.com. The Time poll found 24 percent of respondents said they believed Obama — who attends a Christian church and has repeatedly spoken out about his faith — is a Muslim, while 18 percent said the same in a study from the non-partisan Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.

The polls amounted to another headache for Obama and his Democratic allies, who worry they face a rout in November elections to decide control of the US Congress and key governorships because of the sour economy. Pew took its poll before Obama waded last week into a bitter dispute over plans for a mosque and community center roughly two blocks from the New York site of the September 11, 2001 attacks. Time conducted its survey afterwards. Obama on Friday affirmed the right to build on religious freedom grounds, and on Saturday clarified that he was not taking a stand on the “wisdom” of doing so. Republicans, including some possible 2012 White House hopefuls, have vowed to make Obama's support for the right to build the project, which is broadly opposed by a majority of the US public, an issue in the upcoming elections.

08.19.10 Muslim woman who hasn't shown her face in public for 18 years ordered to remove veil to give evidence in Australian court

August 19 - A strict Muslim woman who says she has never shown her face in public, has been ordered by a female judge to remove her veil when she gives evidence in an Australian court. District Court judge Shauna Deane said in the Western Australian Supreme Court today that in the interest of a fair trial against a man accused of fraud, she should not be allowed to wear a niqab, which allows only the eyes to be seen. The 36-year-old woman, known only as Tasneem, said she was a strict Muslim and it was against her religion to show her face anywhere except in the confines of her home.

The defence has argued that her whole face should be seen so the jury could decide on the veracity of her evidence. But prosecutor Mark Ritter told the court that Tasneem had not shown her face in public in more than 18 years and would find it stressful to reveal her features to strange men. The judge agreed that the jury should have the opportunity to assess the facial expressions of the Islamic Studies teacher to help weigh up her credibility as a witness. Her decision, she added, was not to set a precedent for other courts — it was up to them to assess similar circumstances on a case-by-case basis.

08.19.10 Cyprus to Lebanon: We will turn back Gaza-bound aid ship

(AP) August 19 - Cyprus Lebanon envoy says ship will not be allowed to dock; crew, passengers will be deported to their country of origin. A Lebanese ship carrying aid and women activists hoping to break Israel's Gaza blockade will set sail Sunday from Lebanon despite warnings that they will not be allowed to make it past Cyprus, organizers said Thursday. The ship cannot travel directly to Gaza from Lebanon because Beirut is still technically at war with Israel, forcing the vessel to pass through a third country — in this case, Cyprus — before heading for the blockaded Palestinian territory. But on Thursday, the Cypriot ambassador to Lebanon told The Associated Press that the boat, the Mariam, will be turned back when it reaches Cyprus.

"We decided that such a ship will not be allowed to enter Cyprus and if such a Gaza-bound ship docks in a Cypriot port the crew and the passengers will be deported to their country of origin," Kyriacos Kouros said. Kouros said Cyprus has a moral and legal responsibility to those allowed into its waters, and that a blockade-busting ship could endanger lives along with regional peace and stability. But organizer Samar al-Hajj was undeterred Thursday, and said the ship, named after the Virgin Mary, will set out with between up to 75 female activists on a mission to deliver cancer medication, books and toys.

08.19.10 Armenia's next environmental crisis?

August 19 - The tiny mountainous nation may soon become a desert. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev arrived in Armenia Thursday evening on a two-day visit. On his agenda: the Russian military base, ongoing discussions about the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and a visit to the genocide memorial. But, what's not a priority is the environmental crisis currently taking place in Armenia. The tiny mountainous nation may soon become a desert, environmentalists say. Human logging in Armenia wipes out an estimated 750,000 cubic meters of forest coverage each year. Today only 8 percent of the country is forested. That's down from a peak of more than 40 percent, according to the World Bank.

At the current rate of deforestation, environmentalists say desertification will take place in the next 50 years. To make matters worse, the changing global climate is threatening the last fragments of the country's forests. The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) warns that "Armenia's future economic development will depend on the decisions that the current generation makes about investments in adaptation [to climate change]." The group recently released its findings in a study conducted by the Stockholm Environment Institute called the "Socio-Economic Impact of Climate Change in Armenia."

"Armenia is focused on economic and social impacts when it comes to development, but the third aspect of sustainable development is environmental impacts and this is not being adequately addressed," said Jason Sohigian, deputy director of the Armenia Tree Project, a non-governmental organization working to reforest Armenia. "Business and economic development have been identified as a priority," he says. "That's obviously very important, but business and life itself are supported by natural ecosystem services like forests, water, soil, and clean air, which often can't be easily replaced when they are degraded or depleted." The Armenia Tree Project, based in the US state of Massachusetts is trying to revive Armenia's lost forests. In the last 16 years, the small organization has planted more than 3.5 million trees around the country. But with the current rate of deforestation, the group's efforts may not be enough to solve the country's problem.

08.19.10 Taliban attack road crew in south Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) August 19 - Taliban fighters attacked a road construction crew Thursday in southern Afghanistan and several people were killed and wounded, officials and witnesses said. Also Thursday, the US command said an American service member was killed the day before in fighting in the south, where Afghan and international forces were pushing into areas long held by Taliban insurgents. The death brought to at least 17 the number of US troops killed in Afghanistan this month. Sixty-six American troops died in July — the deadliest month for US forces in the nearly 9-year-old war. The attack on the road crew occurred in the Sangin district of Helmand province, according to a company employee, Salam Khan Durrani. He said several people had been killed or wounded but he had no precise figures because fighting was still raging.

...In the east, two Afghan civilians were killed and 14 wounded Thursday when a fuel truck exploded in the Bati Kot district of Nangarhar province, the coalition said. The blast also destroyed three civilian vehicles and caused damage to shops nearby. The incident was being investigated, but initial reports indicated an explosive device was the cause, NATO said. Also, a joint Afghan and NATO force killed 12 insurgents Wednesday in Puli Alam district of Logar province, the coalition said. Among those killed was Qari Muir, who had held several Taliban positions, including deputy shadow governor, military commander and the insurgent group's intelligence chief for Logar, NATO said.

...Also in eastern Afghanistan, coalition and Afghan forces killed three insurgents who were members of the fundamentalist Islamic group Jamaat-ud-Dawa, NATO said. Jamaat-ud-Dawa is a Pakistan-based group that is believed to be a front for Lashkar-e-Taiba, which India blames for the 2009 terror attacks in Mumbai that killed 166 people.
[Full story>>washingtonpost.com]

08.19.10 Yemen captures al-Qaeda prison escapee

SANAA (AFP) August 19 - Qaeda member involved in French tanker attack. Yemeni security forces have arrested a suspected al-Qaeda militant who was among 23 people sentenced to death for attacking a French ship who escaped from jail in 2006, a security official said on Thursday. Huzam Majali, who is considered a leading figure of al-Qaeda in the area of Arhab, north of the capital, was arrested on Wednesday. "He surrendered after a successful raid by the anti-terrorism forces on a house he was hiding in," the official said. Information obtained from "recently arrested elements and leaders of al-Qaeda have helped in arresting new people and foiling plots for terrorist attacks on vital security and economic installations," the source added. [More>>alarabiya.net]

08.19.10 New American connection to radical cleric

August 19 - US officials tell Fox News exclusively that a North Carolina man is the latest American citizen to show connections with Anwar al-Awlaki, the radical Muslim cleric linked to the Fort Hood shooting, the attempted Christmas Day bombing and the failed attack on Times Square. Officials say American Samir Khan is in Yemen, and "it is safe to conclude [Awlaki's and Khan's] paths have crossed." Khan, who began a radical blog in his early 20s from his parents' basement, is now being investigated by the FBI. 

Fox has learned that at least six people in North Carolina have been interviewed as part of the investigation. US officials say it is likely Khan was a key player behind al Qaeda's new English-language magazine called "Inspire," which instructs recruits on how to build  homemade bombs.   Khan's old website and blog, with its clean crisp graphics, sources say, was strikingly similar to the magazine. Congresswoman Sue Myrick, R-N.C., who has followed Khan's activities since 2007, has called for Khan's American citizenship to be stripped.  She is openly questioning why the US intelligence community has not been more aggressive in its pursuit of Khan.

08.19.10 France expels 'radical' cleric in anti-crime drive

PARIS, August 19 - France has expelled for a second time an Egyptian Muslim cleric it accused of preaching hate, the ministry of the interior said on Thursday, the latest deportation carried out in a crackdown on crime. Cleric Ali Ibrahim al-Sudani was deported back to his native Egypt, Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux said. "This individual very recently reappeared on our territory despite an expulsion order in his name, carried out in January," Hortefeux said in a statement of the former imam of the Hamza mosque, at Pantin outside Paris. "This hate preacher has repeatedly said violently hostile things about the West that are totally against our society's values," he said. The step comes after President Nicolas Sarkozy announced a drive against crime and illegal immigration, which has been condemned by human rights groups and the opposition. There has been no comment from Soudany. Since 2002, France has expelled 125 radical Islamists, including 29 imams and preachers, the statement said. It did not say how Sudani managed to get back into France. [>alarabiya.net]

08.19.10 Future uncertain as last US combat brigade leaves Iraq

August 19 - After seven years of war, the last US combat brigade crossed the border into neighboring Kuwait without much to cheer about. The last US combat brigade stationed in Iraq crossed into neighboring Kuwait in the early hours on Thursday. But there was little public jubilation as the US Army's 4th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, left ahead of an August 31 deadline to end combat operations after seven years of war. The brigade leaves behind some 50,000 of their colleagues whose job is to train the Iraqi army and police. The last of these troops should be out of the country in early 2012, as decided by US President Barack Obama. On Tuesday, a suicide attack in Baghdad killed 59 young men queuing up to join the army at a recruitment centre. In Basra, Iraq's third largest city, 43 people were killed in a triple bombing at the beginning of August. "It was after the Americans withdrew from our cities that the attacks began again," interior ministry worker Abu Ali told AFP, referring to a series of devastating bombings since the US military's exit from urban areas in June 2009. "If they withdraw completely, what will happen?" he asked. "The Americans must stay because the Iraqi government does not control anything," he said. [More>>france24.com]

08.19.10 Blast kills seven in China's Xinjiang

August 19 - Seven people have been killed and 14 injured in a bomb blast in China's Xinjiang region. The explosion happened in Aksu city in the west of the remote western region. A local government spokeswoman, Hou Hanmin, said a Uighur man drove a three-wheeled vehicle carrying an explosive device into a crowd. The man was arrested at the scene and investigations were ongoing, Ms Hou said. "It was a three-wheeled vehicle, it has an explosive device on it," she told the BBC Chinese service. "It exploded while the three-wheeled vehicle ran into the crowd at a street intersection." All of the injured were local residents, she said, and four of them had suffered serious injuries. Last year deadly ethnic riots erupted in Xinjiang after tensions flared between the Muslim Uighur minority and the Han Chinese. There have also been a number of blasts in Xinjiang in the past, which the government blames on Uighur separatists. [More>>bbc.co.uk]

08.19.10 Obama wants Burmese rulers to face UN war crimes investigation

August 19 - US move reflects the failure of engagement with Rangoon. The administration of US President Barack Obama has decided to throw its crucial support behind moves to establish a special UN commission to investigate alleged war crimes perpetrated by the military rulers of Burma. In what represents a marked rollback of one of President Obama's most controversial foreign policy initiatives, US officials said Washington would now back the war crimes investigation, as urged earlier this year by the UN special rapporteur for human rights in Burma. Washington is also said to be considering tightening sanctions against the junta.

The decision represents a reversal of an initiative announced last year to try to develop closer diplomatic ties with Burma by establishing regular meetings involving a senior US official. There was talk that a closer relationship could possibly be rewarded with a dilution or dropping of some sanctions. But reports suggest Washington believes its overtures to the military have largely been rebuffed, even though several meetings have been held. There is also likely concern over continued reports
though none of them confirmed that Burma is interested in developing a nuclear weapon. [More>>independent.co.uk]


    *Visitor statistics on maravot.com from 1&1. com. monthly visitors between 37,000-45,0000.
    Privacy Policy: We do not store any personal data from you. We have no way of knowing any vital information about you not even your name. Third-party distribution: We do not distribute information about your site usage to any third party. We are not responsible for the content of links from our site. Usage data: supplied by our Web Hosting service, 1and1.com, which consists of usage reports, such as page views / impressions and web pages visited, visitors' servers and geographical data (ISP's and country of origin).

    Maravot's Homepage

    Launched: 10.25.04 / 11.02.04 – | — |
    Updated: 8.19.10; 8.20.10; 8.21.10; 8.22.10; 8.23.10

  • Copyright © 1981-2010 Maravot. All rights reserved
    Copyright© 1981-2010 Mel Copeland. All rights reserved
    Background: tile from Cicero's villa (Marcus Tullius Cicero 106 B.C.- 43 B.C.)