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10.25.09 Baghdad rocked by car bombs, scores dead
BAGHDAD (AP) October 25 - At least 136 killed, including 25 staff members of Provincial Council, in blasts targeting government offices. Two suicide car bombs exploded in downtown Baghdad Sunday, killing at least 136 people and delivering a powerful blow to the heart of the fragile city's government in the worst attack of the year, officials said. While violence has dropped dramatically in the country since the height of the sectarian tensions, such bombings like Sunday's demonstrate the precarious nature of the security gains and the insurgency's abilities to still pull off devastating attacks in the centre of what is supposed to be one of Baghdad's most secure areas. Black smoke could be seen billowing from the frantic scene, as emergency service vehicles sped to the area. Even civilian cars were being commandeered to transport the wounded to hospitals.
10.25.09 Israeli police, Arabs clash near Jerusalem mosque
JERUSALEM (Reuters) October 25 - Israeli police stormed Jerusalem's al-Aqsa mosque compound on Sunday, hurling stun grenades at Palestinians who threw rocks at them, in another outbreak of violence at the holy city's most sensitive site. A Palestinian Red Crescent medic said 18 Palestinians were injured. Police reported that three officers were hurt. The unrest, following a similar incident a month ago, did not appear to herald any immediate slide into widespread violence that could disrupt US-led efforts to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, suspended since December. But the confrontation between Israeli police in riot gear and rock-throwing Muslims alarmed by rumors that right-wing Jews planned to enter the site was a reminder that Jerusalem remains a cauldron of heated religious and political passions.
10.25.09 Pakistan minister assassinated Islamabad
October 25 - A minister in Pakistan's Balochistan province was assassinated by unidentified gunmen in the southwestern city of Quetta, police said. Education Minister Shafiq Ahmed Khan, who belonged to the Pakistan People's Party, was on his way home after attending a function when gunmen opened fire at his vehicle. Khan was killed instantly while one of his relatives was seriously injured in the attack. The Baloch United Liberation Front claimed responsibility for the killing. The same group was involved in the kidnapping of a UN official earlier this year. [More>>indianexpress.com]
10.25.09 US soldier, several rebels killed in Afghan unrest
KABUL (AFP) October 25 - A US soldier and several Taliban rebels were killed at the weekend in the latest deadly violence to hit insurgency-hit Afghanistan, NATO and Afghan authorities said Sunday. The US soldier was killed on Saturday, the third American to lose his life since Friday. A Danish soldier also attached to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) was killed on Friday. [More>>khaleejtimes.com]
10.24.09 Timor Sea oil spill sparks concern
October 24 - Millions of litres of oil pouring into the Timor Sea from a ruptured well is causing an environmental disaster that will continue to unfold for years to come, campaigners say. A fourth attempt was made on Friday to plug the West Atlas oil platform off Western Australia, amid claims the amount of spillage could be much higher than previously estimated. PTTEP, the Thai based company that owns the rig, has thus far failed to stop the flow of sweet light crude oil, gas and condensate from the Montara wellhead, 250km northwest of the Truscott air base in Western Australia's Kimberley region. PTTEP estimates the well is leaking 400 barrels of oil a day, but the Australian government said the maximum flow could be as much as 2,000 barrels a day.
10.24.09 Obama declares national emergency for H1N1
(AP) October 24 - President Allows Officials to Bypass Federal Rules in Addressing Outbreak Behind More Than 1,000 U.S. Deaths. President Barack Obama declared the swine flu outbreak a national emergency and empowered his health secretary to suspend federal requirements and speed treatment for thousands of infected people. The declaration that Obama signed late Friday authorized Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to bypass federal rules so health officials can respond more quickly to the outbreak, which has killed more than 1,000 people in the United States.
10.24.09 Taliban call for Afghan poll boycott, threaten violence
KABUL (AFP) October 24 - The Taliban called on Saturday for a boycott of the upcoming run-off in Afghanistan's fraud-tainted presidential election as top US and UN envoys predicted fewer problems with the second round. While Western military chiefs say they can ensure the November 7 poll is conducted in a peaceful atmosphere, the warning from the Taliban threatens to further deflate turnout, which was less than 40 percent first time round. "The Islamic emirate (of Afghanistan) once again informs all the people that no one should participate in this American process and should boycott the process," said a Taliban statement emailed to AFP. [More>>timesofindia.indiatimes.com]
10.24.09 Pakistan captures Taliban chief's hometown
October 24 - Pakistan said Saturday it had captured Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud's hometown as the United States struck a village and killed 14 people and the Indian army accused Islamabad of firing at Indian army positions across the de facto border dividing Kashmir. Security officials said the army overran Mehsud's town of Kotkai overnight after three days of aerial bombardments which had underlined the huge challenge facing the military in taking on the Taliban in their tribal heartland. And in another part of the northwest tribal belt, a missile fired by an unmanned US drone spy plane killed at least 14 people, local officials said...Although figures are impossible to verify, the army says more than 160 militants and 23 troops have been killed in the week-long South Waziristan offensive. Twelve militants and three soldiers died in the final stages of the battle for Kotkai, it added. [Full story>>alarabiya.net; See other details,
10.24.09 Families of detained Iran reformists arrested
(AFP) October 24 - Iranian authorities have detained 35 relatives and supporters of jailed reformists, including wives and children, the reformist Sarmayeh newspaper reported on Saturday. In a separate report reformist website norooznews said "armed, masked guards" on Thursday raided a prayer ceremony in Tehran attended by families and supporters of jailed reformists who opposed the June re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
10.24.09 UK college bans Muslim student over burka spat
DUBAI, October 24 - A college in the United Kingdom has banned a Muslim student from enrolling because she refused to take off her burka, or face veil, press reports said Saturday. Shawana Bilqes, 18, was turned away from enrollment after she refused a staff member's request to remove her burka for identity fraud purposes, Britain's the Sun tabloid reported. Bilqes said she tried to compromise with staff but could not remove her burka because of her religious beliefs. Muslim scholars say the burka is not obligatory in Islam and is a cultural practice rather than Islamic. [More>>alarabiya.net]
10.23.09 Record recession for UK economy
October 23 - The UK economy unexpectedly contracted by 0.4% between July and September, according to official figures, meaning the country is still in recession. It is the first time UK gross domestic product (GDP) has contracted for six consecutive quarters, since quarterly figures were first recorded in 1955. But the figures could still be revised up or down at a later date, because this figure is only the first estimate. GDP measures the total amount of goods and services produced by a country. The pound fell sharply after the figures were released, reflecting the fact that many observers had expected the UK to have grown during the quarter. It was down 1.6% against the dollar, at $1.6339, and down 1.7% against the euro, at 1.0878 euros. [More>>bbc.co.uk]
10.23.09 26 killed in three blasts in Pakistan in one day
ISLAMABAD, October 23 - A fresh wave of terror gripped Pakistan today when suspected Taliban bombers struck a key airforce base and an upmarket restaurant and blew up a bus ferrying a marriage party, killing at least 26 people in an apparent reprisal of the army offensive on their stronghold of Waziristan. As clashes intensified in lawless tribal belt of South Waziristan, militants brought the fight to military's front door again when a cycle-borne suicide bomber blew himself up at a security check point of Pakistan Aeronautical Complex at Kamra in Punjab province, 50 kms from here, killing eight people, including two air force guards, and injuring 15 others in an early morning raid.
10.23.09 North Afghanistan 'a bridgehead for drug-trafficking to Russia'
MOSCOW (RIA Novosti) October 23 - Afghan regions controlled by the Northern Alliance serve as a bridgehead for drug-trafficking to Russia, a top Russian drug control official said on Friday.
An estimated 90% of heroin consumed in Russia is trafficked from Afghanistan via Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, and the vast majority of heroin consumed in Europe passes through Russia on its way from Afghanistan, where illegal drug production has reportedly risen 44 times since 2001. "In the fight against the Taliban, the US has used the Northern Alliance forces, which we are supporting even now," Viktor Ivanov, director of the Federal Drugs Control Service, said at a meeting at the General Staff Academy.
"This, in my view, is a mistake as the Northern Alliance forces were created to support the Najibullah [Afghan leader from 1987-1992] regime, but they betrayed him later, and the Northern Alliance became a bridgehead for sending drugs to Russia," he went on...The most modern and the best equipped laboratories processing opium poppy into heroin are located in the northern provinces of Afghanistan near the Tajik, Turkmen and Uzbek borders, which are areas of influence of the Northern Alliance. The real threat comes from drug bosses operating in the north of Afghanistan, "and the coalition forces are not conducting an effective fight against them," the official said. [Full story>>en.rian.ru; See related stories,
A new report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Addiction, Crime and Insurgency: The transnational threat of Afghan opium, shows the devastating consequences that the 900 tons of opium and 375 tons of heroin, trafficked from Afghanistan every year, have on the health and security of countries along the Balkan and Eurasian drug routes, all the way to Europe, Russia, India and China. It documents how the world's deadliest drug has created a market worth $65 billion, catering to 15 million addicts, causing up to 100,000 deaths per year, spreading HIV at an unprecedented rate and, not least, funding criminal groups, insurgents and terrorists...
10.23.09 Somalia rebels threaten Uganda & Burundi
MOGADISHU (Reuters) October 23 - Insurgents vow to avenge dead civilians. Somalia's hardline Shabaab insurgents said they will attack the capitals of Burundi and Uganda in revenge for rocket attacks by peacekeepers from those countries that killed at least 30 people in Mogadishu. "We shall make their people cry. We'll attack Bujumbura and Kampala ... We will move our fighting to those two cities and we shall destroy them," Sheikh Ali Mohamed Hussein, a senior Shabaab commander, told reporters late on Thursday in Mogadishu. [More>>alarabiya.net]
10.22.09 UN chief calls on Hizbullah to disarm
UNITED NATIONS, October 22 - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned that the presence of armed Hizbullah and Palestinian terrorists in Lebanon is contributing to tensions and insecurity and could eventually lead to a resumption of hostilities. In his six-month report to the UN Security Council on Lebanon, obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press, the UN chief focused on implementation of a 2004 resolution that calls for the disbanding of all militias and urged that Hizbullah and the Palestinian groups be disarmed quickly. "The existence and activities of Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias ... continue to pose a threat to the stability of the country," Ban said. "The presence of weapons in the country outside government control and the continued existence of militias contribute to tensions and insecurity in Lebanon and beyond, and could eventually lead to the resumption of hostilities unless immediately addressed," he warned. [More>>jpost.com]
10.22.09 New jobless claims up unexpectedly to 531k
(AP) October 22 - The number of newly laid-off workers filing claims for jobless benefits rose more than expected last week, as employers remain reluctant to hire even with the economy showing signs of recovery. Claims had fallen in five out of the previous six weeks and most economists expect that trend to continue, but at a slow pace, as jobs remain scarce. The report is "slightly disappointing," Ian Shepherdson, chief US economist at High Frequency Economics, wrote in a note to clients, "but it does not change the core story, which is that ... a clear downward trend in claims has emerged" over the past two months. [More>>cbsnews.com]
10.22.09 Brigadier killed in Pakistan ambush
October 22 - Pakistan's police say unknown assailants have killed an army brigadier and his driver after firing on their military vehicle in the capital, Islamabad. State television said the unidentified attackers fled after carrying out the early morning attack in a prosperous residential area on Thursday. Qamar Ahmed, an official at the police emergency department, said witnesses saw two men on a motorcycle drive up to Brigadier Moin Haider's vehicle and unleash a hail of bullets at point blank range. Several others were also injured in the attack and the authorities said they had been taken to hospital. No group has immediately claimed responsibility for the strike, which is the second lethal attack in as many days. But Syed Kalim Imam, Islamabad's most senior police officer, said "terrorists and extremists are behind this." [More>>aljazeera.net]
10.22.09 Some currency dealers funding terrorists: Rehman
ISLAMABAD, October 22 - Interior Minister Rehman Malik has said that some..money exchange dealers are providing financial aid to terrorists. Talking to media here on Thursday, Rehman Malik ordered Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to investigate into the matter. The terrorists [are to] be dealt with under [the] Anti Terrorism Act, he directed. He warned that anyone extending any kind of help to the terrorists will be investigated under [the] Anti Terrorism Act. The Interior Minister said foreign sources are also involved in extending financial aid to the militants. [>thenews.com.pk; See related stories,
10.22.09 Seven Algerian security guards killed in ambush
ALGIERS, October 22 - In the deadliest attack by militants in Algeria since July. An armed Islamist group on Thursday killed seven private security guards in an ambush in the Kabylie region east of the capital, residents and security sources said. It was the deadliest attack in the country since July, when Islamists killed 11 in an attack on a military convoy. The string of attacks has been blamed on al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), which emerged out of the Algerian fundamentalist Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat and sees itself as the north African wing of Osama bin Laden's network. The group of guards were on their way to pick up employees of the Canadian engineering firm SNC-Lavalin when they were attacked 25 kilometers (16 miles) south of Tizi Ouzou. [More>>alarabiya.net]
10.22.09 Police: 6 al-Qaeda suspects arrested in Iraq
BAGHDAD (AP) October 22 - Six suspected al-Qaeda members, including two who were formerly detained by US troops in Iraq, were arrested near the western Iraqi city of Fallujah, a local police chief said on Thursday. Col. Mahmoud Al Isawi said the six men were wanted on suspicion of involvement in ‘murders’ and ‘attacks’ in and around Fallujah, 40 miles (65 kilometers) west of Baghdad. Al-Isawi didn't say when the arrests were made, but said the six are suspected of planning attacks and planting explosives that killed and injured civilians and members of the Iraqi security forces. "The group is believed to be behind many murders and attacks against the citizens and the police forces," Al Isawi told The Associated Press on Thursday. He didn't elaborate on specific attacks the men were allegedly involved in. [More>>khaleejtimes.com]
10.22.09 Kazakhstan willing to pump oil into pipeline via Turkey
ANKARA (RIA Novosti) October 22 - Kazakhstan's president confirmed on Thursday that his country is willing to pump crude into a planned $1.5-billion pipeline to bring Caspian oil to the Mediterranean via Turkey. Addressing Turkey's parliament, Nursultan Nazarbayev said: "We along with Russia are ready to join the Samsun-Ceyhan oil pipeline project." His statement came after a video conference between St. Petersburg and Ankara earlier on Thursday, when Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin told his Turkish counterpart, Tayyip Erdogan, of Kazakhstan's possible role...Three Russian oil companies — state-run Rosneft, oil pipeline monopoly Transneft and shipping firm Sovcomflot — signed a deal in Milan on Monday with Turkey's Calik Enerji and Italy's Eni S.p.A. on the pipeline with projected capacity of 60-70 million metric tons a year (1.2-1.4 million bbl/d). [Full story>>en.rian.ru]
10.22.09 Somali pirates hijack ship with 24 Indians on board
KUALA LUMPUR / LONDON, October 22 - At least 24 Indian sailors were taken hostage by Somali pirates who hijacked a Panamanian-flagged bulk carrier near Seychelles on Thursday, just a week after a vessel with two Indians among the crew was seized by the sea brigands. ( Watch Video ) [More>>timesofindia.indiatimes.com; See related story,
10.22.09 Ethiopia asks for urgent food aid
October 22 - The Ethiopian government has asked the international community for emergency food aid for 6.2 million people. The request came at a meeting of donors to discuss the impact of a prolonged drought affecting parts of East Africa. The UN's World Food Programme says $285m (£173m) will be needed in the next six months. Some aid officials say the numbers of hungry could rise. Aid agency Oxfam has called for a new approach to tackling the risk of disaster in the country. In a report marking 25 years since the famine that killed around one million Ethiopians, Oxfam said that imported food aid saves lives in the short term but did little to help communities withstand the next shock. [More>>bbc.co.uk]
10.22.09 US arrests hundreds in raids on drug cartel
October 22 - Calling it a "significant blow" to the operations of a major Mexican drug cartel, Attorney General Eric Holder announced on Thursday the arrests of 303 people and the seizure of illegal drugs, weapons and millions of dollars over the past two days in a series of coordinated raids in 19 states. At a news conference in Washington, Mr. Holder said the raids were aimed at the United States operations of the La Familia Michoacán drug cartel, which he described as the newest and most violent of Mexico's five drug cartels.
10.22.09 Arizona police hunt for dad accused of running over daughter
October 22 - Police Say Faleh Hassan Almaleki Believed His Daughter Was 'Too Westernized.' Police in Arizona are hunting for an Iraqi-American father who they say ran over his daughter with his car to punish her for becoming "too Westernized" and rebuffing the conservative ways he valued. Faleh Hassan Almaleki, 48, was last seen fleeing the parking lot of the Department of Economic Development in Peoria, Ariz., Tuesday after hitting his 20-year-old daughter and her boyfriend's mother with his Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Noor Faleh Almaleki is in "life-threatening condition," Peoria Police spokesman Mike Tellef told ABCNews.com today. Her boyfriend's mother, 43-year-old Amal Edan Khalaf, is also still hospitalized, but with non-life threatening injuries. "It occurred because her not following traditional family values. We've been told that by everybody," Tellef said. "He felt she was becoming too westernized and he didn't like that." Calls to the Almaleki family weren't returned. Noor Almaleki had backed out of an arranged marriage about a year ago, police learned, and had been living with Khalaf and her son in a nearby town. Tellef said the young woman dressed in American clothing and was wearing typical Western attire when she was struck. [More>>abcnews.go.com]
10.22.09 Police hurt as BNP protest turns violent
October 22 - Three police officers have been injured after violent protests over the appearance of BNP leader Nick Griffin on BBC's Question Time. The Metropolitan Police said the officers had been hurt during the clashes outside BBC Television Centre in west London. Two suffered minor injuries and the third was treated by paramedics for head injuries. Police said three people had been arrested during the clashes. More than 500 people were involved in the demonstration outside the BBC building in White City ahead of the filming of Question Time, due to be screened tonight at 10:45pm. About 25 protesters beat BBC security to gain entry to the reception area of the building. Mr. Griffin avoided the protesters by getting in to the building through a side entrance as opposition to his controversial appearance on the programme panel turned violent...As the crowd waited for the arrival of Mr. Griffin, protesters chanted: "We're black, white, Asian and Jew, BBC shame on you," and "we won't let Nick Griffin through." [Full story w/video>>news.sky.com]
10.21.09 US jobless rate hits 26-year high
(AP) October 21 - 23 States report higher unemployment in Sept., led by Michigan at 15.3%; though layoffs slowed, companies reluctant to hire. Unemployment rose in 23 states last month as the economy struggled to create jobs in the early stages of the recovery. While layoffs have slowed, companies remain reluctant to hire. Forty-three states reported job losses in September, while only seven gained jobs, the Labor Department said Wednesday. Some of the states that lost jobs still saw their unemployment rates decline, as discouraged workers gave up looking for work. People who are out of work but no longer looking for jobs aren't counted as officially unemployed.
10.21.09 US to order steep pay cuts at firms that got most aid
WASHINGTON, October 21 - Responding to the growing furor over the paychecks of executives at companies that received billions of dollars in federal bailouts, the Obama administration will order the companies that received the most aid to deeply slash the compensation to their highest paid executives, an official involved in the decision said on Wednesday. Under the plan, which will be announced in the next few days by the Treasury Department, the seven companies that received the most assistance will have to cut the cash payouts to their 25 best-paid executives by an average of about 90 percent from last year. For many of the executives, the cash they would have received will be replaced by stock that they will be restricted from selling immediately. And for all executives the total compensation, which includes bonuses, will drop, on average, by about 50 percent.
10.21.09 House committee votes to repeal antitrust protections for health insurers
October 21 - The House Judiciary Committee voted Wednesday to strip federal antitrust protections shielding health insurers from investigations into price fixing and other business practices, the first step in a legislative bid to clamp down on the much-maligned industry. Although Democrats have led the repeal push in recent weeks, the committee's 20-9 vote came with the support of three Republicans. The legislation would repeal portions of the 1945 McCarran-Ferguson Act that allows states to regulate health insurance providers without federal intervention. But critics of the law say that 64 years after its passage, the result has been regional monopolies that inflate premiums and discriminate against people based on their health status, gender and other factors. [More>>washingtonpost.com]
10.21.09 Top al-Qaeda operative among 3 killed in US drone attack in Pakistan
ISLAMABAD, October 21 - A top al-Qaeda operative of Arab origin was among three militants killed today in a US drone attack in Pakistan's lawless North Waziristan tribal region bordering Afghanistan. The drone attack at Spalga village near Miranshah, the main town of North Waziristan tribal agency, killed al-Qaeda operative Abu Musa al-Misri, Dawn News channel quoted sources as saying. The two others killed in the attack were local militants. Several other persons were believed to be buried under the rubble of the house targeted by the drone, news channels reported. Reports said Abu Musa, who was of Arab origin, had been active in an area used by the Taliban to prepare for suicide attacks. [More>>timesofindia.indiatimes.com]
10.21.09 18 imams among 600 Afghanis detained in Mardan
MARDAN, Pakistan, October 21 - Police have apprehended 18 Imams (prayer leaders) among 600 illegal Afghani immigrants residing in Mardan. Deputy inspector police [of the] Mardan region, Syed Akhtar Ali Shah told journalists on Wednesday that detained illegal Afghanis have been sent to jail. He also said that a grand operation against criminal elements in Mardan and Swabi will start from October 25. Twenty police teams have been specially formed for this operation. He said that fool-proof security arrangements have been made to prevent terrorism in Mardan. [>thenews.com.pk]
10.21.09 Bomb kills journalist, wounds another in Iraq
BAGHDAD, October 21 - An Iraqi police official said a bomb has killed one journalist and wounded another in northern Iraq. Police Col. Sherzad Mofari says Wednesday's blast targeted the Kirkuk home of cameraman Orhan Hijran, who works for Baghdad-based television station Al-Rasheed. He says the blast killed Hijran and wounded correspondent Mohammed Shahid of Cairo-based Al-Baghdadiyah. Jawdat Assaf, the director of Al-Rasheed TV, confirmed Hijran's death. According to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists, at least 140 journalists have been killed in Iraq since the US-led invasion in March 2003. That figure does not include Wednesday's death. [>thenews.com.pk]
10.21.09 How the Muslim world deals with the rise of Islamism
October 21 - The cries of joy from the four women elected to the parliament in Kuwait this past spring may yet turn into sobs. A religious edict published in that country last week states that any woman who wants to take parts in politics, either as a candidate or as a voter, must dress in accordance with Muslim religious law — with their head covered and "a long robe that hides all parts of the body and which is not so tight so that it would give prominence to any curves." For two of the women elected to the parliament — the first women to be elected to the assembly since the law permitting the election of women was passed in 2005 — this is a threat to their continued presence there.
10.21.09 Terror suspect defiant in Mass. court
October 21 - Man who allegedly conspired to kill US politicians, troops and citizens tosses chair in courtroom. A pharmacy college graduate made a defiant appearance in federal court Wednesday, hours after being charged with conspiring with two other men in a terror plot to kill two prominent US politicians and carry out a holy war by attacking shoppers in US malls and American troops in Iraq. Authorities say the men's plans — in which they used code words like "peanut butter and jelly" for fighting in Somalia and "culinary school" for terrorist camps — were thwarted in part when they could not find training and were unable to buy automatic weapons, authorities said.
10.20.09 At rescued banks, perks keep rolling in
(Washington Post) October 20 - Washington Post: Fringe Benefits Increase Four Percent for Financial Firm Executives, Attracting Government Scrutiny. Even as the nation's biggest financial firms were struggling and the federal government was spending hundreds of billions of dollars to save many of them, the companies as a group were boosting the perks and benefits they pay their chief executives. The firms, accounting for more $350 billion in federal bailout funds, increased these perks and benefits 4 percent on average last year, according to an analysis of corporate disclosures filed in recent months.
10.20.09 UK: 'Deluge' of firms will hit the wall in 2010
October 20 - Britain is likely to see a "deluge" of business failures and rising unemployment next year, a report has warned. Begbies Traynor, the business rescue and restructuring firm, said Britain was in the "eye of the storm," with the economy at the midpoint of a "W-shaped recession." Its quarterly Red Flag Alert, which monitors the number of companies experiencing difficulties, said unemployment and insolvencies had not peaked. Some 134,000 companies had shown signs of financial distress in the third quarter, the report said. It warns that many small firms would probably fail next year despite receiving Government support. "The third quarter Red Flag Alert statistics demonstrate that the UK may be in the eye of the storm," the report says. "The well-intentioned Government efforts to prop up struggling companies may provide a necessary lifeline in the short-term but will ultimately prove futile in many cases." [More>>news.sky.com; See related story,
10.20.09 Baffin Island reveals dramatic scale of Arctic climate change
October 20 - Study delves back into 200,000 years of history to demonstrate the devastating impact of global warming. A frozen lake on a remote island off Canada's northern coast has yielded remarkable insights into how the Arctic climate has changed dramatically over 50 years. Muddy sediment from the bottom of the lake, some of it 200,000 years old, shows that Baffin Island, one of the most inhospitable places on Earth, has undergone an unprecedented warming over the past half-century. Scientists believe the temperature rise is probably due to human-induced warming. It has more than offset a natural cooling trend which began 8,000 years ago. Instead of cooling at a rate of minus 0.2C every 1,000 years — a trend that was expected to continue for another 4,000 years because of well-known changes to the Earth's solar orbit — Baffin Island, like the rest of the Arctic, has begun to get warmer, especially since 1950. The Arctic is now about 1.2C warmer than it was in 1900, confirming that the region is warming faster than most other parts of the world...
"The past few decades have been unique in the past 200,000 years in terms of the changes we see in the biology and chemistry recorded in the cores," said Yarrow Axford of the University of Colorado at Boulder. "We see clear evidence for warming in one of the most remote places on earth at a time when the Arctic should be cooling because of natural processes." The scientists found that certain cold-adapted organisms in the layers of sediment have decreased in frequency since about 1950. Larvae from species of Arctic midge, which only live in cold conditions, have abruptly declined and two species in particular have disappeared altogether. Meanwhile, a species of lake alga or diatom that is better suited to warmer conditions has increased significantly over the same period, indicating longer periods when the lake's surface was free of ice, the scientists said.
10.20.09 Iran delays chance to prove nuclear good will
VIENNA, October 20 - Senior diplomats from the US, Iran, France and Russia missed a noon deadline Tuesday to start talks aimed at hammering out a historic deal on Iran's uranium stockpile. At first, the negotiations at the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, Austria seemed to hold real promise. After the introductory round of talks late Monday, a senior US official said the Iranians had "engaged constructively." But on Tuesday, Iran reportedly precipitated a delay by suddenly announcing that France should be excluded from any deal — apparently the latest twist in a long-running business dispute between the French and the Iranians that dates back to the 1970s. [More>>cbsnews.com]
10.20.09 Pakistan urges NATO to share intel, seal Afghan border
ISlAMABAD (AFP) October 20 - Pakistan on Tuesday urged NATO troops stationed in Afghanistan to share intelligence and seal the border as it mounts a massive offensive against Taleban militants in the lawless northwest. Nearly 30,000 troops are pressing a three-pronged push in South Waziristan, part of the al-Qaeda-infested tribal district bordering Afghanistan. There are more than 100,000 foreign troops under US and NATO command in Afghanistan. Pakistan unleashed the offensive after a recent string of spectacular attacks including a 22-hour siege on the army headquarters. Pakistani troops are up against about 10,000 Tehreek-e-Taleban fighters. Pakistan Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Chairman General Tariq Majid made Tuesday's call during talks with Britain's armed forces chief Jock Stirrup, a military statement said.
10.20.09 Deaths in Pakistan campus bombing
October 20 - At least seven people have been killed and 29 others injured in twin bomb blasts at a university in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, police and witnesses say. The explosions occurred within minutes of each other at the International Islamic University in the eastern part of the city on Tuesday. The Pakistani Taliban has denied responsibility for the attack. "We have sent a team to the site. We are collecting information about casualties," a policeman said. The blasts at the International Islamic University hit the women's cafeteria and the Islamic law department. No group has as yet claimed responsibility for the attacks. Abdul Ghafar Quaiserani, a police official, said the two suicide bombers struck at about the same time.
10.20.09 Karzai agrees to November 7 runoff in Afghanistan
KABUL, Afghanistan, October 20 - Under heavy international pressure, President Hamid Karzai conceded Tuesday that he fell short of a first-round victory in the nation's disputed presidential election, and agreed to hold a runoff election with his top challenger on Nov. 7. Flanked at a news conference in Kabul by Senator John Kerry, the head of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Kai Eide, the top United Nations official in Afghanistan, Mr. Karzai said he would accept the findings of an international audit that stripped him of nearly one-third of his votes in the first round, leaving him below the 50 percent threshold that would have allowed him to avoid a runoff and declare victory over his main rival, Abdullah Abdullah. "I call upon this country to take this as an opportunity to move this country forward and participate in this new round of elections," Mr. Karzai said, according to the English translation of his remarks, adding that he was grateful to the international community for its help. [More>>nytimes.com]
10.20.09 Police: Car bomb, bus blast kill 6 in Iraq
BAGHDAD (AP) October 20 - Car bombs and planted explosives killed six people, mostly police, on Tuesday in different areas of Iraq as a low level insurgency continues to target the country's struggling security forces. A car packed with explosives blew up at a gas station in the town of Saqlawiyah, 45 miles west of Baghdad, killing three policemen and one civilian, a local police officer said. He said five policemen and one civilian were wounded in the same blast. In northern Baghdad, one civilian was killed and four were wounded when a bomb attached to a minibus exploded in Kazimiyah, a primarily Shiite suburb of the capital, said a police officer in the Iraqi capital. Minutes later, a roadside bomb targeting a police patrol in western Baghdad wounded three civilians, a local policeman said. In Hilla, just south of Baghdad, a roadside bomb targeting a police patrol killed one policeman and wounded two others, according to a local police spokesman. In the far northern city of Mosul a roadside bomb targeted an Iraqi army patrol, wounding two soldiers and one civilian, said a police officer there. [More>>foxnews.com]
10.20.09 21 terror suspects indicted in Lebanon
(AP) October 20 - A Lebanese investigating judge on Tuesday indicted 21 members of an al-Qaeda-inspired group for a bombing in northern Lebanon last year that killed 18 people, mostly soldiers. The suspects belong to the Fatah Islam group, which became prominent during a three-month battle with Lebanese troops in 2007, in the Palestinian refugee camp of Nahr el-Bared near the northern city of Tripoli. About 220 militants and 171 soldiers died in the bitter fighting, while Palestinian officials put the civilian death toll there at 47. The 21 indicted are said to be part of a "terrorist cell" believed to be behind a string of bombings last year, a court official said. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
10.19.09 Flow of terrorist recruits increasing
BERLIN, October 19 - Westerners attending camps in Pakistan and Afghanistan despite successful US strikes. Midway through a propaganda video released last month by a group calling itself the German Taliban, a surprise guest made an appearance: a cleanshaven, muscular gunman sporting the alias Abu Ibrahim the American. The gunman did not speak but wore military fatigues and waved his rifle as subtitles identified him as an American. The video contained a stream of threats against Germany if it did not withdraw its troops from the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan. Although the American's part in the film lasted only a few seconds, it has alarmed German and US intelligence officials, who are still puzzling over his background, his real identity and how he became involved with the terrorist group.
10.19.09 Tajikistan kills four members of Taliban-linked group
DUSHANBE, Tajikistan, October 19 - Police in ex-Soviet Tajikistan have killed four suspected members of an Islamist militant group linked to the Taliban, the interior ministry said Monday. The militants, who had holed up in a house in the northern Tajik city of Isfara near the border with Kyrgyzstan, were killed on Sunday during a firefight with police that left one officer wounded. "The insurgents who were killed belonged to Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU)," ministry spokesman Makhmadullo Asadulloyev told foreign news agency. "The police needed several hours to conclude the operation. Instructions on carrying out acts of terrorism and creating home-made bombs were seized." The group, all Tajik citizens, had effectively become trapped in the city after an attempt to cross into neighboring Kyrgyzstan was repelled by Kyrgyz border guards last week, Asadulloyev said. [>thenews.com.pk]
10.19.09 Iran threatens Britain, US after blast
(Reuters) October 19 - The head of Iran's Revolutionary Guards has vowed to "retaliate" against the United States and Britain after accusing them of backing the perpetrators of a suicide bombing that killed six Guards commanders. Iranian media say the Sunni Muslim insurgent group Jundollah (God's soldiers) has claimed responsibility for Sunday's bombing in Sistan-Baluchestan province, which killed 42 people in all. The incident threatened to overshadow talks between Iran and global powers in Vienna on Monday intended to tackle a standoff about Iran's nuclear ambitions.
10.19.09 78 terrorists killed in SWA operation so far: DG ISPR report
ISLAMABAD, October 19 - Military spokesman Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas Monday said 18 terrorists have been killed in the last 24 hours in the ongoing operation is South Waziristan, brining the total number of terrorists killed to 78. Giving a press briefing along with Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira, DG ISPR, told the reporters that the security forces after facing stiff resistance managed to gain control of Sher Bangai and Kotkai — [the] center of suicide bombings trainer Ustad Qari Hussain. [More>>thenews.com.pk; See also,
10.19.09 Afghan vote fraud: 1.3m ballots tossed
October 19 - Karzai Falls Below 50% Runnoff Threshhold; Final Decision on New Election Still Pending. UN-backed fraud investigators on Monday threw out nearly a third of President Hamid Karzai's ballots from Afghanistan's disputed August election, setting the stage for a runoff. The rulings dropped Karzai's votes to 48 percent of the total, below the 50 percent threshold needed for him to avoid a runoff with his top challenger, according to calculations by independent election monitors. It was unclear, however, whether the Afghan-led Independent Election Commission would accept the findings of the fraud panel and announce a runoff. Karzai's spokesman said it was too soon to make a judgment based on the figures released by the panel. [More>>cbsnews.com]
10.19.09 Thailand: Bomb blast wounds 24 in Yala
October 19 - Twenty-four people, including three soldiers, were wounded when a bomb went off at a busy market in the southern province of Yala on Monday morning, police said. Police said the improvised explosive device was hidden in a motorcycle parked in front of the market in the municipality. It went off about 7:30am when people were shopping for food...First Army Region commander Lt-Gen Pichit Wisaijorn blamed the attack on insurgents. "We had received a tipoff to prepare for a car bomb, but they used a motorcycle instead," he said. Police reportedly checked the parked motorcycle only minutes before it went off, but failed to detect the bomb. He added that this is the fourth time that the area has been attacked. [Full story>>bangkokpost.com]
10.19.09 Kurdish fighters show support for Turkish plans to expand Kurdish rights
October 19 - A group of 34 Kurds has crossed from bases in Iraq to Turkey in what the Kurdish rebel group PKK has called a "peace caravan." They hope their surrender will help resolve a decades-old conflict. The group of men and women, including eight PKK fighters and 26 Kurdish refugees, smiled as they entered Turkish territory on Monday, crossing over from the Iraqi Kurdish region, where most of the estimated 10,000 rebels are based. They were immediately detained by Turkish security forces.