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11.06.09 Sudan leader's due visit sparks Turkey-EU row
ANKARA, Turkey (Reuters) Bashir's planned visit could be diplomatic crisis for Turkey. Turkey's President Abdullah Gul accused the European Union on Friday of "interfering" after the bloc asked Ankara to reconsider a decision to invite indicted Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir to an Islamic summit in Istanbul. The exchange underscores the risk for EU candidate Turkey that Bashir's plans to attend Monday's summit of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), in defiance of a warrant from the International Criminal Court (ICC), could escalate into a diplomatic crisis with Brussels.
11.06.09 Foreign journalists arrested in Tehran crackdown
November 6 - Media outlets around the world published pictures and stories from violent demonstrations in Tehran this week. The Iranian regime has responded to mass protests in Tehran this week by implementing a crackdown on foreign journalists. Two Canadian, one Japanese and one Danish journalist are thought to have been arrested for "unauthorized reporting" on demonstrations involving tens of thousands of opposition supporters on Wednesday. The 30th anniversary of the storming of the US Embassy was supposed to be marked with an official rally but it was hijacked by opponents to the Tehran regime. Opposition videos were published showing riot police and the Basij militia clubbing men and women and charging into crowds.
11.06.09 US unemployment rate hits 10.2%, highest in 26 years
November 6 - The American unemployment rate surged to 10.2 percent in October, its highest level in 26 years, as the economy lost another 190,000 jobs, the Labor Department reported Friday. The jump into the realm of double-digit joblessness — from 9.8 percent in September — provided a sobering reminder that, despite the apparent end of the Great Recession, economic expansion has yet to translate into jobs, leaving tens of millions of people still struggling...Republicans point to elevated joblessness as proof that the Obama administration's $787 billion spending package aimed at stimulating the economy had failed. Labor unions and some Democrats are calling for another round of spending to create more jobs. And all of this comes against a backdrop of continued worries about swelling federal budget deficits. [Full story>>nytimes.com; See related story,
11.05.09 33 militants killed in Waziristan by army and US drones
ISLAMABAD, November 5 - Renewed pitched battles erupted around the Taliban stronghold of Sararogha with 28 militants and five soldiers killed in fresh clashes, as drones, after a brief lull, fired missiles targeting a hideout in north Waziristan, killing five other insurgents. Pakistani forces advancing along three fronts on Taliban hubs also faced heavy fire fight as Taliban fighters held them back from overunning their other key stronghold of Ladha in South Waziristan. Heavy street fighting is reported going on in the town over the past 24 hours.
11.05.09 IAEA: We found 'nothing to worry about' at secret Iran nuke site
(Reuters) November 5 - United Nations inspectors found "nothing to be worried about" in a first look at a previously secret uranium enrichment site in Iran last month, the International Atomic Energy chief said in remarks released Thursday. Mohammed ElBaradei also told the New York Times that he was examining possible compromises to unblock a draft nuclear cooperation deal between Iran and three major powers that has floundered over Iranian objections..."The idea was to use it as a bunker under the mountain to protect things," ElBaradei, alluding to Tehran's references to the site as a fallback for its nuclear program in case its larger Natanz enrichment plant were bombed by a foe like Israel. [More>>haaretz.com]
11.05.09 Al-Qaeda says behind ambush on Yemen officers
DUBAI (Reuters) November 5 - An al-Qaeda group claimed responsibility on Thursday for the killing of seven Yemeni security officials in an ambush near the Saudi border this week. The attack on Tuesday was on the same day Yemeni rebels killed a Saudi security officer in a cross-border raid, underlining the growing security threat from Yemen to US ally Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil exporter. The attack on the Yemeni officers was carried out in the Hadramout valley region as they were returning from a visit to a Yemeni post on the Saudi border. "This operation was in support of our brothers imprisoned in the jails of Hadramout, Sanaa and elsewhere, and ... against all those who seek to bring harm to the mujahideen," al-Qaeda's Arabian Peninsula wing said in a statement posted on an Islamist website. [More>>khaleejtimes.com; See related story,
11.04.09 US backtracks & labels settlements illegitimate
CAIRO, November 4 - Clinton says peace talks must include Jerusalem. United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Wednesday that Washington does not accept the legitimacy of Israeli settlement activity but believes that getting to talks is the quickest way to achieve a freeze. "We do not accept the legitimacy of settlement activity and we have a very firm belief that ending all settlement activity, current and future, would be preferable," Clinton said after meeting President Hosni Mubarak. "Getting into final status negotiations will allow us to bring an end to settlement activity," she added.
11.04.09 Defense officials say weapons were bound for Syria, Hizbullah
November 4 - Hundreds of tons of weaponry, ten times the size of the Karine A shipment of 2002, were seized in an overnight raid Tuesday by the Israeli navy, some 100 nautical miles west of Israel, officials said. The ship seized was sailing under an Antiguan flag. The transfer of such large amounts of weapons, "is done in order to create a balance of terror with Israel," said Brigadier General Rani Ben-Yehuda, deputy commander of the Israeli navy, at a press conference. Defense officials said the 140-meter long Francop, captured near Cyprus, was carrying arms sent by Iran and destined for Syria and Hizbullah. After several days of the Israeli military monitoring the ship, Navy Seals boarded it in the middle of the night. Suspicions were raised after the Seals uncovered certificates within containers that documented Iran as the point of origin for some containers, with Syria as the intended destination.
11.04.09 Iran opposition protesters return to streets
TEHRAN (AP) November 4 - Opposition protesters returned to the streets of Tehran Wednesday for the first time in nearly two months, clashing with security forces just blocks from a government rally to mark the 30th anniversary of the US Embassy takeover. The scenes of defiant chants, tear gas and baton-wielding police recalled the unrest that followed the disputed presidential elections in June. But the latest marches drew far fewer demonstrators and suggested the relentless pressure by authorities could be taking a toll on the opposition.
11.04.09 Security forces capture Fazlullah's close aide in Swat
MINGORA, Pakistan, November 4 - The security forces have apprehended commander Saifullah, a close aide of Fazlullah during search operation in Koza Bandia area of Tehsil Kabal, Swat. Saifullah, who had been involved in several militant attacks on the security men, is said to be a close aide of Fazlullah, the chief of banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, sources said. Sources said that Saifullah has been shifted to an unknown place for interrogation. Meanwhile, security forces have nabbed 2 persons accused of involvement in the killing of inspector Zota Khan, who was gunned down two days back in Kalakot area of Tehsil Matta. [>thenews.com.pk]
11.04.09 Five British soldiers shot dead by rogue Afghan policeman
November 4 - Five British soldiers have been shot dead after a rogue Afghan policeman turned a heavy machine-gun against a British training team inside a checkpoint in Helmand Province. The soldiers, three from the Grenadier Guards and two from the Royal Military Police, died in the village of Shin Kalay in Nad-e’Ali district of Helmand Province yesterday afternoon. Six British soldiers were injured in the same incident, several of them seriously. Two Afghan policemen, including the commander of the checkpost, were also injured before their assailant managed to escape. [More>>timesonline.co.uk; See related stories,
11.03.09 China's economic growth to exceed 10% in Q4: China Construction Bank
BEIJING, November 3 - China's economic growth would exceed 10 percent in the fourth quarter due to climbing export orders and increasing domestic consumption, according to a report issued by China Construction Bank (CCB) Tuesday. The report said China's full year economic growth would reach 8.3 percent, compared with Asian Bank's forecast of 8.2 percent in September and HSBC's 8.1 percent this week. As the economy rebounded, both investor and consumer confidence would rise in the fourth quarter, which would further strengthen the economic recovery...As developed countries showed more signs of economic recovery, China's exports would pick up with trade surplus expected to reach 250 billion US dollars this year, said the report. [More>>xinhuanet.com]
11.03.09 British break up several bailed-out banks
LONDON, November 3 - Some want US to follow suit to increase financial competition. The British government announced Tuesday that it will break up parts of major financial institutions bailed out by taxpayers, highlighting a growing divide across the Atlantic over how to deal with the massive banks that were partially nationalized during the height of the financial crisis. The British government — spurred on by European regulators — is forcing the Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds Banking Group and Northern Rock to sell off parts of their operations. The Europeans are calling for more and smaller banks to increase competition and eliminate the threat posed by banks so large that they must be rescued by taxpayers, no matter how they conducted their business, in order to avoid damaging the global financial system.
11.03.09 N. Korea threatens to expand nuclear arsenal
SEOUL, S. Korea (AP) November 3 - North Korea issued a veiled threat to increase its nuclear arsenal if US officials do not quickly agree to the one-on-one talks that the communist regime is demanding. The regime's impatience came days after its No 2 nuclear negotiator Ri Gun came away from meetings with Washington envoy Sung Kim without an agreement to hold bilateral talks. "If the US is not ready to sit at a negotiating table with the (North), it will go its own way," the North's Foreign Ministry said Monday in a statement carried by Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency. The statement did not elaborate, but it was widely seen as a warning that the North will bolster its nuclear stockpile — a brinksmanship tactic that the communist nation has often employed. [More>>indianexpress.com]
11.03.09 Pakistan army storms Taliban stronghold: military
ISLAMABAD, November 3 - Pakistan said Tuesday troops had stormed into another important Taliban stronghold, killing 16 militants and seeking to expand their control in a blistering air and ground offensive..."Security forces have commenced sanitization of Sararogha," the military announced in a statement. No official was immediately reachable for comment...Sararogha is one of the most strategic towns where ground and air forces are fighting in the forbidding mountains on the Afghan border. US officials say al-Qaeda is plotting attacks on the West from the lawless tribal belt. Sixteen militants and one soldier were killed in fighting so far in the town, the military said. Overall, 21 militants were killed in the last 24 hours, pushing the total number to 364 since the operation started, according to information provided by the army. The army has reported the deaths of 37 soldiers. [Full story>>thenews.com.pk]
11.03.09 Karzai vows 'inclusive' government
November 3 - Hamid Karzai, who won re-election as Afghan president after his rival withdrew from a runoff vote, has vowed that his government will represent all his countrymen. His comments on Tuesday follow stern warnings from his Western backers that he should work harder to tackle corruption. "Today I would like to say that no one will see themselves distant in this process and all of us will be a part of the Afghanistan government," he said in a low-key victory speech. [More>>aljazeera.net; See also,
11.03.09 Clinton offers US aid to help boost Muslim ties
MARRAKESH, Morocco, November 3 - US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton offered aid on Tuesday to boost ties with the Muslim world and urged Israel, the Palestinians and Arab countries to move beyond recrimination in the search for peace. "We are determined and persistent in the pursuit of that goal," she said in a speech at a development forum in Morocco attended by Arab ministers. After a weekend of heated words about the perceived US tilt toward Israel on the issue of settlements on the occupied West Bank, Clinton said it was important for all sides to "be careful about what we say" and avoid angry rhetoric.
11.03.09 Khamenei: US offers smile, hides dagger
TEHRAN (AP) November 3 - Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's on Tuesday warned against the US imposing its will on negotiations with Teheran. Khamenei's statements come as Iran is asking to modify a UN-brokered proposal for Russia and France to turn the Islamic republic's uranium stockpile into nuclear fuel and allay Western fears over a possible weapons program. "Whenever the US offers a smile, it hides a dagger in his back," said Khamenei according to the state news agency. He rejected "talks in which the US decides about its results in advance." [More>>jpost.com]
11.02.09 Ford posts an unexpected profit of $997 million
DETROIT, November 2 - The Ford Motor Company on Monday posted a surprise third-quarter profit of $997 million and said it had had its first profitable quarter in North America in more than four years. The carmaker also said that, at least temporarily, it had stopped rapidly burning through its much-needed cash reserves. It reported positive cash flow of $2.8 billion during the quarter, ending September with $23.8 billion. Through the first nine months of 2009, Ford, the only Detroit automaker to avoid bankruptcy this year, has had a profit of more than $1.8 billion. Still, it has lost about $1.3 billion when one-time items, like a major debt restructuring, are excluded. Until now, its goal had been to break even or earn a full-year profit by 2011. On Monday the company said in a statement that it "now expects to be solidly profitable in 2011, excluding special items, with positive operating-related cash flow." It did not indicate whether a fourth-quarter or full-year profit is expected this year, nor did it provide an outlook for 2010, citing continued economic uncertainty. [More>>nytimes.com]
11.02.09 Timor rig at risk of collapse
November 2 - A portion of the oil rig ablaze in the Timor Sea has collapsed and there is a "large risk" the whole structure could collapse, a company official has said. Specialist teams have been brought in to fight the fire on the leaking West Atlas rig operated by PTTEP off the northwest Australian coast. Jose Martins, the financial officer of PTTEP Australasia, said on Monday: "The fire is out of control." He added that the collapse had been on to the wellhead platform. Nobody has been hurt in the fire and all staff had been evacuated. Environmentalists say the fire could worsen the impact of an already devastating oil spill. The blaze broke out on Sunday as workers tried to plug the leak that has been spewing oil into the sea for more than two months...Oil workers had made several attempts to plug a leak more than 2.5km under the sea bed when the fire broke out. ..Environmentalists estimate that about 10 million liters of oil have emptied into the sea so far, saying the leak had seriously harmed wildlife and that its effects could be felt for 20 years. [Full story>>aljazeera.net]
11.02.09 Iran wants new nuclear fuel talks, deepening doubts
VIENNA (Reuters) November 2 - Iran wants more talks on a UN-drafted nuclear deal because it needs guarantees it will receive reactor fuel, a senior official said on Monday, adding to doubts that a standoff with big powers can be ended soon. Western powers have urged Iran to accept a draft deal in which it would send most of its low-enriched uranium (LEU) abroad by the end of the year for further enrichment to turn it into fuel for a medical reactor in Tehran. Iranian Ambassador Ali Asghar Soltanieh told Reuters more talks were needed "in order to ensure that our technical concerns, and especially the issue of the guarantee of the fuel supply, are taken into consideration." Tehran appears to be stalling after seeming ready to make concessions to an international community that is threatening to impose more sanctions over fears that Iran is developing nuclear weapons. [More>>thestar.com.my]
11.02.09 Iran bans critical business newspaper
TEHRAN (AP) November 2 - Iranian authorities have closed down a business newspaper known for being critical of the government. The Iranian state news agency on Monday said the Culture Ministry ordered the newspaper closed because its content strayed from the business field. The Sarmayeh newspaper was known for articles critical of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's economic policies, which they say have impoverished the country.
11.02.09 UK woman jailed for hiding bomb files in burka
LONDON (Reuters) November 2 - Woman accidentally dropped memory stick while interviewed. A Moroccan woman who hid a computer memory stick in her burka containing thousands of files on making explosives, was sentenced to two years in jail on Monday after pleading guilty to possessing material likely to be useful to terrorists. Houria Chentouf, 41, from Manchester, admitted two offences of owning an article "connected with the commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism." But the mother-of-six walked free from Manchester Crown Court after having served time on remand following her arrest, the Press Association reported. The court heard how the memory stick contained more than 7,000 files, including an explosives manual for the "Brothers of the Mujahideen." I
11.02.09 Pakistan offers $5 million bounty for Taliban leaders
ISlAMABAD (AFP) November 2 - Pakistan on Monday offered rewards worth five million dollars for information leading to the capture, dead or alive, of the country's Taliban warlord Hakimullah Mehsud and 18 lieutenants. The rewards for top-ranking Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militants were offered in a black-and-white government advertisement on the front page of The News daily and flashed on Pakistani television channels on Sunday night. Mehsud, who took on the leadership mantle after a US drone attack killed his predecessor Baitullah Mehsud in August, headed the list with 50 million Pakistan rupees (600,240 dollars) slapped on his head..."Anyone who captures these people dead or alive or provides concrete information, the government will award them a cash reward," the advert said.
11.01.09 PA: Clinton hurting peace talks
(AP) November 1 - Palestinians on Sunday accused US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton of undermining progress toward Mideast peace talks after she praised Israel for offering to curb some Jewish settlement construction. After meeting Israeli and Palestinian leaders during a visit Saturday, Clinton called for an unconditional resumption of peace talks and welcomed Israel's offer for a slowdown in settlement activity. But Palestinians rejected the idea of resuming talks, reiterating their demand that Israel must first freeze all construction of Jewish settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem - lands they claim for a future state.
11.01.09 Saudi police discover al-Qaeda weapons cache
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) November 1 - Saudi Arabia - Saudi authorities have announced the discovery of large quantities of weapons in the capital Riyadh belonging to al-Qaeda terror network. The official Saudi Press Agency quoted an Interior Ministry spokesman Sunday as saying the discovery included 281 assault rifles and 51 ammunition boxes. Gen. Mansour al-Turki says the weapons were found buried in an empty rest house in the capital. He says police are searching for the owners of the house whom they suspects of having links with al-Qaeda. The al-Qaeda terror group, whose leader Osama bin Laden is a Saudi, has called for attacks on the kingdom's oil facilities as a means of crippling both the kingdom's economy and the hurting the West. [>khaleejtimes.com]
11.01.09 Security forces take control of Kotkai
WANA, Pakistan, November 1 - Security forces, during the ongoing operation Rah-e-Nizat in South Waziristan, have taken control of Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud's village Kotkai and unearthed a hidden tunnel where suicide bombers were trained. The security forces have claimed to have cleared Kotkai of militants, where they have also found a 500 metre long tunnel. The tunnel had a facility for preparation of suicide jackets which has been destroyed by the security forces. Suicide bombers were trained in this tunnel which connects different areas of South Waziristan. Kotkai is the area of Pakistani Taliban Chief Hakimullah Mehsud and Qari Hussain. [>thenews.com.pk]
11.01.09 Up to 6 killed, 37 wounded in south Baghdad bike bombing
BAGHDAD, November 1 - The death toll from a bike bomb explosion at a marketplace in south Baghdad on Sunday rose to six and 37 people were injured, a local police source said. "Our latest report said that six were killed and 37 injured by the bike bombing in the town of Mussayab," the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity...Mussayab, some 60 km south of Baghdad, is part of the once restive area, dubbed Triangle of Death, which is a cluster of towns scattered north of Hilla City, the capital of Babel province, some 100 km south of Baghdad. [Full story>>xinhuanet.com]
11.01.09 Regulators close 9 banks, mostly in West
November 1 - FDIC shuts branches in Ariz., Calif., Ill., and Texas; No. of failed US banks this year now 115. Regulators on Friday shut California National Bank of Los Angeles and eight smaller related banks as the weak economy continues to produce a stream of loan defaults. The banks closed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation were in California, Illinois, Texas and Arizona. They were divisions of privately-held FBOP Corp., a bank holding company based in Oak Park., Ill. US Bank in Minneapolis, a division of US Bancorp, agreed to assume the deposits and most of the assets of the banks. The banks had combined assets of $19.4 billion and deposits of $15.4 billion at the end of September, the FDIC said. The nine banks had 153 offices, which will reopen as US Bank branches Saturday. [More>>cbsnews.com]
11.01.09 Italy raid nets two mafia bosses
November 1 - Italian police say they have arrested two more suspected mafia bosses, a day after seizing their brother in a raid near the southern city of Naples. They say Pasquale and Carmine Russo were detained in Sperone, some 30km (20 miles) east of Naples. Salvatore Russo, the head of a Camorra clan that bears his name, was held in a raid on a chicken farm on Saturday. Interior Minister Roberto Maroni described his arrest as "a heavy blow for the Camorra." Salvatore Russo, 51, is one of Italy's most wanted mafia fugitives, officials say. He had been on the run since being sentenced in 1995 to life in jail for murder and links to organized crime. [More>>bbc.co.uk]
10.31.09 Giving 'tough love' to Pakistan, Hillary rejects mediation in Kashmir
WASHINGTON, October 31 - US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton concluded a turbulent visit in Pakistan on Friday by rejecting Islamabad's persistent thesis that terrorism could not be contained unless the Kashmir issue was resolved. She basically advised Pakistan to abandon the path of extremism and normalize relations with India using the trade route, without obsessing on disputes. While promising to support resumption of dialogue with India on all issues, Clinton repeatedly spurned Pakistani efforts to draw Washington into the process, suggesting such an effort may be counterproductive. "It is clearly in Pakistan's and India's interest to resolve [their dispute]. But it isn't to us to dictate a solution. That wouldn't last a minute," Clinton said on the show "Our Voice," one of several media engagements she had in Pakistan on an extra-ordinarily public and combative three-day visit.
10.31.09 Bomb kills soldiers in Pakistan
October 31 - At least seven Pakistani soldiers have been killed in a roadside bomb blast in a tribal region of northwest Pakistan, officials say. The vehicle was travelling in Pakistan's Khyber region on Saturday when it was struck about 15km west of the city of Peshawar. "Seven paramilitary soldiers were killed and 11 were wounded in the remote-control bomb attack," Shafirullah Khan, the chief administrative official of Khyber tribal district, told the AFP news agency.
Khyber is on the main supply route through Pakistan to Afghanistan, where international military forces are fighting the Taliban. The bomb blast came as Pakistan's military continued its offensive against Taliban fighters in South Waziristan, in the country's northwest. Pakistani fighter jets bombed three suspected Taliban positions in the Orkazai tribal region on Saturday, the Associated Press news agency reported. At least eight fighters were killed and several others wounded, the news agency cited intelligence officials as saying. [More>>aljazeera.net; See related stories,
10.31.09 Afghans had advance intel on UN attack
KABUL (AP) October 31 - Afghan intelligence had advance information that a Taliban attack was in the works in Kabul before a deadly assault on a UN guest house and ramped up security, but not during the pre-dawn hours when the militants struck, a top official said Saturday. Gunmen wearing suicide vests stormed the guest house before 6 a.m. on Wednesday, killing eight people - five of them United Nations foreign staffers. The gunmen also died.
10.31.09 History made as Chirac is told to stand trial
October 31 - Former head of state accused of embezzling taxpayers' money to put political allies in non-existent posts. Jacques Chirac, the former French president, was ordered to stand trial for alleged corruption while he was mayor of Paris. He is accused of embezzling taxpayers' money to pay more than 20 political cronies for posts that turned out to be non-existent. Mr. Chirac now becomes the first former head of state in French history to be put on trial. In an unprecedented move, an investigating magistrate ruled he should answer charges in court of using the city payroll to fund "ghost workers" who were, in reality working to promote his right-wing political party or in some cases doing nothing at all.
10.31.09 FDA smackdown pits bacteria against bacteria
October 31 - The 10 tomatoes sitting in a Tupperware tub at the Food and Drug Administration seem to be doing nothing more than rotting, slowly. But an invisible battle is raging on the surface of the fruit, with provocative implications for food safety and the war that humans have been waging against bacteria for a century. "This is the wrestling ring," said Eric Brown, a microbiologist at the FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, as he clicked open the lid to the tub. "This is the smack-down." Brown and a team of FDA scientists trying to prevent salmonella contamination in tomatoes have stumbled upon what they believe are powerful, naturally occurring "good" bacteria that can slaughter the "bad" bacteria that have become a persistent problem in fresh fruits and vegetables because they harm humans.
10.30.09 Pakistan strikes deep into al-Qaeda territory
SHERWANGAI, Pakistan, October 30 - In the mountains of Waziristan, the army claims to have recovered passports of extremists with links to the September 11 and Madrid attackers. Does this mean they are finally closing in on Osama bin Laden himself? After a sweep of a militant stronghold in the lawless tribal region of South Waziristan, the Pakistani army has recovered passports purportedly belonging to two leading al-Qaeda figures, including a member of the notorious Hamburg cell that orchestrated September 11. Among a pile of documents, photographs, weapons and computers seen by The Independent yesterday in Waziristan, is a German passport belonging to Said Bahaji, the logistical expert of the notorious German terror cell that orchestrated the 2001 attacks on New York and Washington.
10.30.09 'Waqf quietly pleased at Salah's arrest
October 30 - Heads of the Waqf Department have quietly expressed their satisfaction with the Israeli authorities' recent measures against Sheikh Raed Salah, leader of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, and top Fatah operative Hatem Abdel Qader, a senior official with the Ministry for Internal Security said on Thursday. Salah and Abdel Qader have each been arrested by the Jerusalem Police for their role in instigating the latest wave of violent protests at the Temple Mount. The two have also been banned by the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court from entering the Old City of Jerusalem for different periods of time.
Editorial note: Control of the Temple Mount is vested in the government of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, via the Waqf Department.
10.30.09 Facebook awarded $711m in spam lawsuit
October 30 - Judge Fines "Spam King" for False and Misleading Marketing E-Mails; May Face Criminal Contempt Charges. Facebook was awarded $711 million in damages in a judgment Thursday against self-described "spam king" Sanford Wallace. Judge Jeremy Fogel of the US District Court of the Northern District of California granted Facebook's application for a default judgment against Wallace for violations of the Can-Spam Act, which bans "false and misleading" marketing e-mails.... "The record demonstrates that Wallace willfully violated the statutes in question with blatant disregard for the rights of Facebook and the thousands of Facebook users whose accounts were compromised by his conduct," Fogel wrote in his judgment order, which also permanently prohibits Wallace from accessing the Facebook Web site or creating a Facebook account, among other restrictions. Facebook said the order should serve as a strong deterrent against spammers.
10.29.09 Economy finally back in gear
NEW YORK, October 29 - Government says GDP grew 3.5% in third quarter, ending a year-long string of declines and coming in better than forecasts. The US economy grew at a 3.5% annual rate in the third quarter, ending a string of declines over four quarters that resulted in the most severe slide since the Great Depression. But some economists raised doubts about how long such strong growth can last. The increase in GDP, reported by the government Thursday morning, was slightly better than expectations. Economists surveyed by Briefing.com had forecast 3.2% growth in gross domestic product, the broadest measure of the nation's economic activity. The economy shrank at a 0.7% rate in the second quarter.
10.29.09 Clinton: Pakistan blew it on al-Qaeda
October 29 - Says It's Hard to Believe Pakistani Government Doesn't Know Where Terrorists are Hiding. US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Thursday that Pakistan squandered opportunities over the years to kill or capture leaders of the al-Qaeda terrorist network responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks. While US officials have said they believe Osama bin Laden and senior lieutenants have been hiding in the rugged terrain along the border with Afghanistan, Clinton's unusually blunt comments went further as she suggested that Pakistan's government has done too little to act against al-Qaeda's top echelon.
10.29.09 Iraq makes sweeping arrests over Baghdad blasts
BAGHDAD (AP) October 29 - Iraq announced the arrests of dozens of military and security personnel over the attacks on government buildings in Baghdad that killed 155 people, the Iraqi capital's military spokesman said Thursday. Maj. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi told The Associated Press that 11 army officers and 50 security officials have been taken into custody over Sunday's bombings — the worst attacks in Iraq in over two years. The massive blasts at the Justice Ministry and the Baghdad Provincial Administration caused outrage among many Iraqis, who question the ability of the government to protect its people ahead of parliamentary January's elections and the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq.
10.28.09 Tricks, not treats - Pew study finds 'deceptive credit card practices rising
October 28 - Alison Howard, a single mom from Atlanta, sent her only son Bryan off to college last year for what she hoped would be a lifelong education. One lasting lesson is now burned into his brain: Beware of banks bearing special credit card offers. The University of Albany, Ga., student, failing to fully familiarize himself with all the many lines of fine print in the terms of the arrangement, unwittingly racked up hundreds of dollars in penalty fees in just a few months. In an effort to protect consumers like Bryan Howard from what the Federal Reserve called "unfair or deceptive" practices by banks issuing credit cards, Congress earlier this year passed the Credit CARD Act of 2009.
10.28.09 95 killed, over 200 injured in blast in Pakistan's Peshawar city
October 28 - A car bomb packed with 150 kg of explosives ripped through a bustling commercial hub, including a market meant exclusively for women, in Pakistan's Peshawar city killing at least 95 people and injuring 213 others, hours after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in Islamabad to discuss fight against terror. Officials feared the toll could rise as many people were still believed to be trapped in the rubble of six buildings that collapsed due to the powerful blast. Many of the dead and injured in the explosion were women and children. The blast, which occurred in the congested "Peepal Mandi" area of NWFP capital Peshawar shortly after 1pm local time, left 95 people dead and 213 injured, Dawn News channel reported. Shafqat Malik, chief of the city's bomb disposal squad, said the blast, the 13th terror attack in Peshawar in recent weeks, was caused by a car bomb packed with 150 kg of explosives. [More>>indianexpress.com; See related stories,
10.28.09 Gunmen storm UN guest house in Kabul, 12 dead
(AP) October 28 - Taleban militants wearing suicide vests and police uniforms stormed a guest house used by UN staff in the Afghan capital, killing 12 people — including six UN staff. It was the biggest in a series of attacks intended to undermine next month's presidential runoff election. A Taleban spokesman claimed responsibility for the early morning assaults, which also included rocket attacks at the presidential palace and the city's main luxury hotel. The chief of the United Nations mission in Afghanistan, Kai Eide, said the attack "will not deter the UN from continuing all its work" in the country. One of the six UN dead was an American, the US Embassy said.
10.28.09 Somali pirates: 'We'll burn Brits' bones'
October 28 - Pirates have threatened to "burn the bones" of a British couple whose yacht they allegedly hijacked off the Somali coast. Talking exclusively to Sky News, pirate Mohamed Hussein warned any attack on his colleagues would endanger the lives of the two alleged captives. Paul Chandler, 58, and his wife Rachel, 55, from Tunbridge Wells, Kent, went missing after they set sail from the Seychelles towards Tanzania. [More>>news.sky.com]
10.28.09 Lebanon army dismantles 4 rockets aimed at Israel
October 28 - Lebanese troops found and dismantled four rockets ready for launching near the border with Israel on Wednesday, said a senior Lebanese army official. The discovery comes one day after a Katyusha rocket fired from Lebanon exploded in the Upper Galilee, marking the first such incident since last month. The attack on Tuesday drew a rapid response from Israeli artillery in a brief flare-up across the border that caused no casualties. [More>>haaretz.com]
10.28.09 Kuwait rules that women MPs can shun hijab
KUWAIT CITY, October 28 - Two of the four women elected refuse to wear hijab. Kuwait's constitutional court on Wednesday rejected a petition brought by four voters to declare invalid the election of two women MPs because they refuse to wear the hijab headscarf. The decision of the court, whose rulings are final, was announced to reporters by the chairman of the court, Yussef Ghanam al-Rashid...It also pointed out that the Kuwaiti constitution, which is higher than any law, guarantees personal freedom and freedom of faith and does not discriminate between people over their religion or sex. The emirate's fatwa department, which issues religious edicts, ruled in early October that Muslim women must wear the hijab in line with Islamic sharia law. [Full story>>alarabiya.net]
10.27.09 Karadzic heard discussing mass slaughter of Muslims in phonetap evidence
October 27 - Wiretap evidence of Radovan Karadzic allegedly discussing the mass slaughter of 300,000 Muslims was unveiled today at the genocide trial of the former Bosnian Serb leader. To an array of empty desks reserved for Mr. Karadzic and his defence team — who has boycotted his trial in The Hague - the prosecution began its opening statement by quoting the words uttered by Mr. Karadzic on the eve of the Bosnian conflict — the bloodiest seen in Europe since the Second World War.
10.27.09 Iran: World can't block our atomic program while Israel has nukes
October 27 - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Tuesday that as long as Israel was in possession of atomic weapons, Iran would not halt its nuclear program. "When an illegal regime possesses nuclear weapons, the other countries' rights for peaceful nuclear energy can not be denied," the semi-official Iranian news agency ISNR quoted Ahmadinejad as saying. Israel has never confirmed or denied foreign reports that it has a nuclear arsenal. [More>>haaretz.com; See also
10.27.09 China executes Tibetan protesters
October 27 - Two people have been executed in China for their involvement in deadly riots in Tibet last year, the Chinese foreign ministry said. The deaths on Tuesday are the first officially confirmed to have been carried out. Lobsang Gyaltsen and Loyak were executed for arson-related crimes committed in Lhasa, the regional capital, in March last year, the International Campaign for Tibet, which campaigns for self-rule for the mountain region in far-west China, said on Monday. Protests led by Buddhist monks against Chinese rule on March 14 last year gave way to violence. Rioters torched shops and turned on residents, especially Han Chinese, who many Tibetans see as intruders threatening their culture. At least 19 people died in the unrest, which sparked waves of protests across Tibetan areas. Tibetan exile groups say more than 200 people died in the subsequent crackdown. [More>>aljazeera.net]
10.27.09 Two Chicago men accused of plotting terror attacks in Denmark
October 27 - Federal authorities have arrested and charged two Chicago-area men in connection with an alleged terrorist plot focused on targets in Denmark after a newspaper there published cartoons that enraged the Muslim community. Prosecutors in Chicago and the District said that the men posed "no imminent danger" and noted that David Coleman Headley and Tahawwar Hussein Rana have been in US custody for several days while they conducted further "investigative activity." Headley, 49, allegedly identified targets in Denmark for a possible terror strike and traveled there twice this year to conduct surveillance and to report to overseers in Pakistan with ties to al-Qaeda, according to court papers.
Rana, a Pakistani native who resides in Chicago where he owns a halal meat business and an immigration operation, has been charged with conspiring to provide support to terrorists by allegedly helping to arrange Headley's travels. [More>>washingtonpost.com]
10.27.09 8 US troops reported dead in Afghan attacks
KABUL (AP) October 27 - Eight American troops were killed in two separate insurgent attacks Tuesday in southern Afghanistan, making October the deadliest month of the war for US forces since the 2001 invasion to oust the Taliban. In one of the insurgent assaults, seven Americans were killed while patrolling in armored vehicles, US forces spokesman Lt. Col. Todd Vician said. He said an Afghan civilian died in the same attack. The eighth American was killed in a separate attack elsewhere in the south, also while patrolling in a military vehicle, he said.
10.27.09 42 more extremists killed in SWA
RAWALPINDI, Pakistan, October 27 - Pakistan's military said Tuesday 42 militants were killed during some of the heaviest fighting reported from the frontlines of its offensive against the Taliban in their tribal sanctuaries. The latest death toll brings to 239 the total number of insurgents killed during the operation, but no information provided by the army can be verified with communication lines down and access banned to journalists and aid workers. An army statement said troops fought at multiple locations in the far north of South Waziristan, where ground forces thrust towards die hard Taliban positions from their rear base at Razmak, killing 30 militants. Security forces have surrounded Nawazkot, one of the Taliban's main regional strongholds and another 12 militants were killed in fighting on the approach to Taliban bastion Sararogha to the east and Kanigurram further south. [More>>thenews.com.pk]
10.27.09 Scientologists convicted of fraud
October 27 - A French court has convicted the Church of Scientology of fraud, but stopped short of banning the group from operating in France. Two branches of the group's operations and several of its leaders in France have been fined. The case came after complaints from two women, one of whom said she was manipulated into paying more than 20,000 euros (£18,100) in the 1990s. A Scientology spokesman told the BBC the verdict was "all bark and no bite." France regards Scientology as a sect, not a religion. Prosecutors had asked for the group's French operations to be dissolved and more heavily fined, but a legal loophole prevented any ban.
10.26.09 Rainforest treaty 'fatally flawed'
October 26 - Climate summit loophole lets palm oil producers cull vital wilderness. A vital safeguard to protect the world's rainforests from being cut down has been dropped from a global deforestation treaty due to be signed at the climate summit in Copenhagen in December. Under proposals due to be ratified at the summit, countries which cut down rainforests and convert them to plantations of trees such as oil palms would still be able to classify the result as forest and could receive millions of dollars meant for preserving them. An earlier version of the text ruled out such a conversion but has been deleted, and the EU delegation — headed by Britain — has blocked its reinsertion.
10.26.09 14 Americans die in Afghan helicopter crashes
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) October 26 - Fourteen Americans were killed in Afghanistan on Monday in two helicopter crashes whose causes were under investigation. Seven soldiers and three agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration — all Americans — were killed in a helicopter crash in western Afghanistan. And in the south, the midair collision of two coalition helicopters resulted in the deaths of four American soldiers. A spokeswoman for the American military, Capt. Elizabeth Mathias, would not specify an exact location for the crash in the west, although she said the craft was a large Chinook helicopter and the military was "98 percent sure that insurgent activity was not involved. The crash reportedly injured 26 people: 14 Afghan Army soldiers, 11 American troops and an American civilian.
10.26.09 Iran says two nuclear fuel options on table
TEHRAN, October 26 - Iran said on Monday it could deliver abroad some of its low-enriched uranium to be upgraded or buy the fuel directly as Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki blasted Israel as too "weak" to carry out any attack on Tehran's nuclear sites. Mottaki said Iran was mulling the UN-brokered deal which envisages shipping out Tehran's low-enriched uranium (LEU) abroad to be converted into nuclear fuel and would announce a decision within days. "For the supply of (nuclear) fuel, we may buy it like in the past or we may deliver a part of our (low-enriched uranium) fuel that we don't need now," Mottaki told the official IRNA news agency. "Both options are on the table."
10.26.09 Pakistan detains 11 Iranian Guards on the border
QUETTA, Pakistan (Reuters) October 26 - Pakistani forces detained 11 Iranian Revolutionary Guards on Monday for crossing into Pakistan days after an Iranian commander was reported saying his men should be allowed to confront terrorists in Pakistan. The Guards were arrested in the Mashkhel area on the border with Iran eight days after a suicide bomber killed 42 people, including six Revolutionary Guard commanders, in Iran's southeastern Sistan-Baluchestan province.
10.26.09 Iran's Khamenei charges foreign agents of plotting attacks in Iran, Iraq, Pakistan
TEHRAN, October 26 - Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Monday that terrorist attacks in Muslim countries like Iran, Iraq and Pakistan were carried out by foreign agents, the Press TV reported. "Perpetrators of terrorist and bloody moves are directly or indirectly linked to foreign agents," Khamenei was quoted as saying. "Bloody acts in some Muslim countries such as Iraq and Pakistan and certain parts of Iran are aimed at creating discord and difference among Shiite and Sunni Muslims," said Khamenei in a meeting with Iranian officials in charge of organizing Hajj ceremonies. "This is why Muslims should pay great attention to the issue of their unity," he said, adding that "During Hajj ceremonies (the pilgrims) should be sensitive about moves against the Islamic unity." [More>>xinhuanet.com]
10.26.09 Iraq renews call for UN probe after Baghdad bombings
BAGHDAD (Reuters) October 27 - Iraq renewed calls on Monday for a UN inquiry into the support given by foreign countries to insurgents after twin suicide blasts against government buildings in Baghdad killed more than 150 people. Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari said Sunday's bloodshed reinforced the need for the international community to help Iraq defend itself against bomb attacks as it emerges from years of sectarian conflict unleashed by the 2003 US invasion. "The bloody Sunday explosions strengthen Iraq's demand to the UN and the Security Council to nominate a senior international envoy to come to Iraq and evaluate the degree of interference targeting stability in Iraq," Zebari told al-Arabiya television.
10.26.09 Six terrorists killed in Oakzai Agency
PESHAWAR, Pakistan, October 26 - Security forces pounded militants positions in Orakzai Agency with the help of fighter jets, killing at least 6 terrorists and destroying two of their hideouts. According to sources, the security forces carried out the above action in Mamozai area of Upper Orakzai and Shakar Tangi area of Central Orakzai. Meanwhile, security forces have also eliminated twenty extremists in the past 24 hours within Orakzai Agency and Hingu. [>thenews.com.pk; See related story,
10.26.09 Net set for 'language shake-up'
October 26 - The internet is on the brink of the "biggest change" to its working "since it was invented 40 years ago", the net regulator Icann has said. The body said it that it was finalising plans to introduce web addresses using non-Latin characters. The proposal — initially approved in 2008 — would allow domain names written in Asian, Arabic or other scripts. [More>>bbc.co.uk]