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11.10.10 Israel malaria-fighters exploit mosquito's sweet tooth

JERUSALEM (Xinhua) November 10 - The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HU) researchers have come up with a way to eliminate malaria-bearing mosquitoes by exploiting the bloodthirsty insect's own insatiable sweet tooth, according to a press release sent to Xinhua on Tuesday. Malaria, a common disease caused by parasites and transferred via mosquito bite, is responsible for nearly two million deaths worldwide every year, many of them Africans living south of the Sahara Desert. The Attractive Toxic Sugar Bait Method (ATSB), developed at HU's Kuvin Center for the Study of Tropical and Infectious Diseases, was tested in the semi-arid Bandiagara District of Mali, West Africa, according the press release. Detailed in a recent issue of the Malaria Journal, ATSB integrates attractants of plant origin (fruit or flowers) with toxic sugar bait to reduce the populations of malaria-transmitting mosquitoes in infested areas.

...Guava and honey melons, two local fruits that have been found to be attractive to both species of mosquitoes, were used to prepare solutions of Attractive Sugar Bait (ASB) and ATSB, the latter containing an additive of boric acid as an oral insecticide. Both solutions, sprayed on patches of vegetation, included a color dye to mark the mosquitoes feeding on the solutions. Following the application of ATSB and ASB, the mosquito population in the treated sites declined by about 90 percent and remained low during one month of monitoring, which showed that most of the mosquitoes fed on the sprayed solutions.
[Full story>>xinhuanet.com]

11.10.10 Disappointed Pakistan slams US over UNSC backing for India

ISLAMABAD, November 10 - Peeved over US' strong backing for India's quest for a permanent UNSC berth, the Pakistan government on Wednesday slammed Washington over the move, claiming it would have "implications" for peace and stability in South Asia. The government expressed its opposition to US President Barack Obama's endorsement for India's efforts to gain a seat at the high table during a meeting of the cabinet chaired this afternoon by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani. The cabinet said "politics of expediency" should not be allowed to decide the future of the international order. "The Cabinet expressed its serious concern and strong disappointment on the decision of the United States to support a permanent seat for India on the UN Security Council," said a statement issued by the Foreign Office following the meeting. "This decision has grave ramifications for the direction and prospects of the system of multilateral cooperation as envisaged by the founding father of UN Charter..." [More>>indianexpress.com]

11.10.10 Christians targeted in Iraq attacks

November 10 - A string of roadside bombs in Baghdad kills at least three people and leaves another 24 injured. A series of bomb and mortar attacks targeting Christians have killed three people and injured 24 others in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, according to police sources. Attackers detonated at least 14 roadside bombs in predominantly Christians areas within a two-hour period on Wednesday morning and a mortar round struck in the southern Doura district. "These operations, which targeted Christians, came as a continuation of the [October 31] attack that targeted the Salvation church," an Iraqi interior ministry source said. The official referred to the October 31 attack that killed more than 50 people at a Catholic cathedral in the capital. Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for that attack and has threatened more violence against the Christian community. [More>>aljazeera.net]

11.10.10 Rise in number of sunburnt whales

November 10 - An increase in the number of whales with sunburnt skin has been documented by scientists after they took photographs and tissue samples of the animals. In the worst-hit species – the blue whale – researchers found that the numbers affected rose by 56 per cent between 2007 and 2009, which they said has "worrying" implications for their health. "Whales need to come to the surface to breathe, to socialize and to feed their young, meaning that they are frequently exposed to the sun," said Laura Martinez of the Institute of Zoology in London. "It is not clear what is causing this increase. A likely candidate is rising ultraviolet radiation as a result of either ozone depletion or a change in the level of cloud cover." [>independent.co.uk ; For more details see, via foxnews.com, aolnews.com, November 10, "Study: Whales get sunburned as Ozone layer thins."]

11.09.10 Leading Chinese credit rating agency downgrades USA government bonds

November 9 - One of China's leading credit rating agencies has downgraded United States of America government debt in response to what it sees as deliberate devaluation of the dollar by quantitative easing and other means. If China, now the second biggest economy in the world, stops buying US government bonds this could have a very negative effect on the global recovery. The Dagong Global Credit Rating Company analysis is highly critical of American attempts to borrow their way out of debt. It criticizes competitive currency devaluation and predicts a "long-term recession." Dagong Global Credit says: "In order to rescue the national crisis, the US government resorted to the extreme economic policy of depreciating the US dollar at all costs and this fully exposes the deep-rooted problem in the development and the management model of national economy.

"It would be difficult for the US to find the correct path to revive the US economy should the US government fail to understand the source of the credit crunch and the development law of a modern credit economy, and stick to the mindset of traditional economic management model, which indicates that the US economic and social development will enter a long-term recession phase." The analysis concludes:  "The potential overall crisis in the  world resulting from the US dollar depreciation will increase the uncertainty of the US economic recovery. Under the circumstances that none of the economic factors  influencing the US economy has turned better explicitly it is possible that the US will continue to expand the use of its loose monetary policy, damaging the interests the creditors. Therefore, given the current situation, the United States may face much unpredictable risks in solvency in the coming one to two years. Accordingly, Dagong assigns negative outlook on both local and foreign currency sovereign credit ratings of the United States."

The bombshell follows fears about the outlook for bondholders expressed closer to home by fund managers, including the American giant Merrill Lynch. Max King, global investment strategist at Investec Asset Management, who passed the Chinese note to me said: "Dagong is well respected as an independent credit rating agency which takes a more conservative view than better-known American credit rating agencies. It is interesting to see what people with money outside the American sphere of influence think.  Until recently, the US had been regarded as beyond reproach but now independent analysts say the position is deteriorating and likely to deteriorate further."
[>telegraph.co.uk; See related article,

abcnews.com, November 9, "Newt Gingrich: Sarah Palin right on Bernanke"
: Reporting and analysis from anchor of Good Morning America and ABC News chief political correspondent. They could soon be political opponents if Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin decide to make a run for the Oval Office but today the former speaker of the House agreed with Palin's criticism of Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke. "I would say that Bernanke is fundamentally wrong. That is he running he is fundamentally misreading the economy. This economy lacks confidence in the government, it doesn't lack cash," Gingrich told me. Yesterday Palin called on Bernanke to "cease and desist" with his plan to buy $600 billion worth of bonds and cited a warning from the German minister of finance, according to the National Review. Gingrich said it is "interesting" that Palin and Germany are on the same side but added America  should take a look at what the country accomplished. "Germany right now has its lowest unemployment rate in 18 years. They are the only exporting country in Europe that can compete with China," he said....

11.09.10 Obama urges progress on Muslim ties

November 9 - US president says more must be done to end mistrust between Muslim countries and America during trip to Indonesia. Barack Obama, the US president, has said he is making progress towards ending the mistrust between Muslim countries and the United States, but that the effort is incomplete. Obama flew from India to Indonesia, his former boyhood home, on Tuesday for the second leg of his 10-day Asia trip. At a joint news conference with Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, the Indonesian president, Obama said his efforts to improve the relationship between Muslims and the West had been "earnest" and "sustained." However, he said the progress was "incomplete" and there was more work to do. Obama also said he did not think "we're going to completely eliminate some of the misunderstandings and mistrust." The president said he wanted to make sure the US is "building bridges and expanding our interactions with Muslim countries." During their meeting in Jakarata, the Indonesian capital, Obama and Yudhoyono signed a "comprehensive partnership" that they had agreed to a year ago, including cooperation on economic and security issues. Though religious extremism often dominates the tensions between the Muslim world and the West, Obama said the relationship must expand beyond security issues. [More>>aljazeera.net]

11.09.10 Afghans arrest suspected insurgents on board plane

KABUL, Afghanistan (Reuters) November 9 - Afghan and international forces detained four suspected insurgents at Kabul airport after ordering the commercial aircraft on which they were flying to return to Afghanistan, the NATO-led force said on Tuesday. The plane, which had taken off for Saudi Arabia, was called back to Kabul airport on Monday after several intelligence tip-offs that a senior member of an insurgent group was on board, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said. An ISAF spokesman said foreign troops were involved in the operation, but only Afghan security forces had boarded the plane to arrest the men, who were unarmed and identified themselves to officials. One of the men was part of the al-Qaeda-linked Haqqani network, one of the three main insurgent groups fighting Afghan and foreign forces, ISAF said, and was wanted in conjunction with attacks against government and international troops. All four men had been travelling together, ISAF said. The other three — also described as suspected insurgents — were also detained. One was the subject of an Afghan arrest warrant. [More>>khaleejtimes.com]

11.09.10 Netanyahu on building plans: 'Jerusalem isn't a settlement'

November 9 - PMO responds to int'l criticism to advance plans for 1,345 homes in Jewish areas of east Jerusalem by saying gov't never agreed to place any restrictions on construction in capital, which has 800,000 residents. "Jerusalem is not a settlement, it is the capitol of Israel," the office of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday in a sharp response to international criticism to advance plans for 1,345 homes in Jewish neighborhoods of east Jerusalem. The government never agreed to place any restrictions on construction in Jerusalem, which has 800,000 residents, the prime minister's office said in a statement it issued while Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was in New York. Although much of the international community equates construction in east Jerusalem with that of West Bank settlements, Israel makes a sharp distinction between the two.

From November 2009 to September 2010 Israel halted new settlement construction in the West Bank, but during that time it continued to issue new tenders for building in east Jerusalem, which it considers part of its united capitol. "Israel does not see any connection between the peace process and the policy of planning and construction in Jerusalem, which has not changed in 40 years. For the last 40 years every Israeli government built in every part of the city. During that period peace agreements were signed with Egypt and Jordan and for 17 years direct negotiations were held with the Palestinians. These are historical facts. Construction in Jerusalem has never interfered with the peace process," the office said.

11.09.10 Palestinians demand immediate statehood to counter Israeli 'unilateralism'

November 9 - Raising the stakes in the deadlock over stalled peace talks, Saeb Erekat said it was clear from the latest announcement of building plans in East Jerusalem and Ariel that Israel wants settlements, not peace. Israel's plan to build new homes in East Jerusalem and the West Bank should be countered by international recognition of a Palestinian state, the chief Palestinian negotiator said on Tuesday. Raising the stakes in the deadlock over stalled peace talks, Saeb Erekat said it was clear from the latest announcement of building plans that Israel wants settlements, not peace. "Israeli unilateralism is a call for immediate international recognition of the Palestinian state," he said in a statement. The world paid little attention when the late Yasser Arafat declared a Palestinian state in 1988. But political winds have shifted and Israel today is seriously concerned that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas might win recognition. Abbas has floated the idea of "going to the United Nations" to declare statehood as one option if peace talks collapse, but only after first seeking support from Washington. [More>>haaretz.com]

11.09.10 Iran Guards destroy last Arab prince palace

DUBAI, November 9 - Regime wants to erase Arab identity: activist. A long dispute between Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards and the Heritage Authority at the predominantly Arab province of Khuzestan ended with the demolition of the palace of Feilieh, one of the landmarks of Ahwazi culture in Iran. A military force destroyed the palace of Sheikh Khazaal al-Kaabi, the ruler of the then semi-autonomous Sheikhdom of Muhammarah, now called Khorramshahr, and the last Arab prince in Iran, local press reported. The mansion, which overlooks the Shatt al-Arab waterway, is commonly known as the Feilieh Palace and is considered an integral part of the Ahwaz heritage. After failing to stop the demolition of the palace, Hassan Mohseni, spokesman of the Heritage Authority, said the authority will file a complaint against the Revolutionary Guards, according to the semi-official Fars News Agency.

The Feilieh Palace was built in 1917, eight years before the end of Arab rule in the Khuzestan province, and was listed as a cultural heritage site under the number 2845. The demotion of the Feilieh Palace demonstrates the growing chauvinistic attitude of the Iranian regime towards the Arab minority as well as the collaboration of the authorities in Khuzestan, said Yousef Azizi, Ahwaz journalist and human rights activist and secretary general of the Association against Anti-Arab Discrimination in Iran. "Some officials in the province of Khuzestan try to cater to the needs of the Iranian government and they did that to satisfy their accomplices in Tehran," he told Al Arabiya.net. "The main purpose of the Iranian government is to erase the Arab heritage in Iran through demolishing all proof of its existence."
[More>>alarabiya.net; See related article,

alarabiya.net (Reuters) November 3, "Ahmadinejad criticized by Iran Revolutionary Guards"
: TEHRAN - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has come under unprecedented criticism from the Revolutionary Guards, the elite military force usually considered his staunch supporter. A harshly worded article in the Guards' monthly magazine echoes criticism of Ahmadinejad from other parts of the Iranian establishment and shows attempts to mend rifts within the Islamic Republic's ruling elite have yet to work. Ahmadinejad and his close aides have faced criticism from lawmakers, the judiciary and some powerful clerics for saying parliament is no longer at the centre of affairs and promoting an "Iranian" rather than an "Islamic" school of thought...

11.09.10 Pirates use hijacked vessel to attack Spanish warship

November 9 - Somali pirates have used a Japanese-owned freighter they seized in October to stage an attack on a Spanish warship, the European Union's anti-piracy task force reports. On Saturday night, pirates aboard the MV Izumi, a Panamanian-flagged vessel they captured on October 10, attacked the SPS Infanta Cristina, a Spanish corvette, as it escorted a ship chartered by the African Union's peacekeeping mission in Somalia, according to a statement from the European Union Naval Force public affairs office. As the pirates attacked, the Infanta Cristina placed itself between the Izumi and the AU ship, the MV Petra 1, which was carrying peacekeepers, the statement said. "The attack was disrupted, and the pirates fled the scene," the statement said. [More>>cnn.com]

11.08.10 Violence breaks out in Myanmar after election

YANGON, Myanmar (AFP) November 8 - Deadly clashes erupted Monday between Myanmar government troops and ethnic minority rebels, prompting an exodus across the border as the junta's proxies prepared to claim victory in a widely criticized election. At least three civilians were killed when heavy weapons fire hit the town of Myawaddy in Karen State, an official in the military-ruled country said. There was no information on any troop casualties on either side. About 10,000 people fled across the frontier to neighboring Thailand, including many women and children, said Samart Loyfah, the governor of Thailand's Tak province on the border. Sporadic fighting continued to be heard in Myanmar, he said. Zipporah Sein, the Thailand-based general secretary of the Karen National Union (KNU), said skirmishes broke out between up to 300 Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) soldiers and the government army. "We don't know definitely but I think last night the army sent over more troops, they negotiated and the DKBA retreated but this morning they were blocked by army trucks and then it started," she said. A simmering civil war has wracked parts of the country, including Karen State, since independence in 1948 and observers say the junta's determination to crush ethnic minority rebels appears to have strengthened. [More>>khaleejtimes.com]

11.08.10 Large Hadron Collider (LHC) generates a 'mini-Bib Bang'

November 8 - The Large Hadron Collider has successfully created a "mini-Big Bang" by smashing together lead ions instead of protons. The scientists working at the enormous machine on Franco-Swiss border achieved the unique conditions on 7 November. The experiment created temperatures a million times hotter than the centre of the Sun. The LHC is housed in a 27km-long circular tunnel under the French-Swiss border near Geneva. Up until now, the world's highest-energy particle accelerator which is run by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (Cern) has been colliding protons, in a bid to uncover mysteries of the Universe's formation. Proton collisions could help spot the elusive Higgs boson particle and signs of new physical laws, such as a framework called supersymmetry. But for the next four weeks, scientists at the LHC will concentrate on analysing the data obtained from the lead ion collisions. [More>>bbc.co.uk]

11.08.10 48 killed in Iraq car bombing

KARBALA, Iraq, November 8 - At least 48 people were killed and 16 injured in a car bombing on a crowded street near a mosque in the central Iraqi city of Karbala, police said. The bomb exploded on Bab-Toueiraj street near the Imam Abbas mosque in Karbala, about 118 km south of Baghdad, police sources said. Police imposed a curfew across the Shiite holy city. Tightened security measures are taken throughout the year in the same area of Karbala to prevent attacks near the Imam Hussein shrine, one of the holiest sites in Shia Islam and a key pilgrimage site. [>timesofindia.indiatimes.com]

11.08.10 Radical Yemeni cleric Awlaki calls for killing of Americans

November 9 - US-born radical Yemeni cleric Anwar al Awlaki has called for the killing of Americans in a new video message posted yesterday on Islamist websites. Awlaki said Americans are from the "party of devils" and that no special religious permissions are needed to kill them, the Associated Press reported. In the 23-minute, Arabic-language message, Awlaki said it was "either them or us." Speaking in Arabic, Awlaki appears sitting behind a desk with a sheathed dagger in his belt. The cleric, who was charged last Tuesday in Yemen over alleged ties to al-Qaeda and incitement to kill foreigners, is also wanted in the US on terrorism charges. Washington linked the young imam and son of a former Yemeni government minister to a shooting rampage last November at a US army base and to the botched Christmas Day 2009 attack on a US airliner. [More>>news.com.au]

11.07.10 Nazareth imam charged with incitement and supporting terror

November 7 - Sheikh Nazem Abu Salim has allegedly used his web site and Friday sermons to back global jihad and declare solidarity with al-Qaeda. The imam from a controversial mosque in the Israeli Arab city of Nazareth was charged Sunday with incitement and links to a terrorist organization. Sheikh Nazem Abu Salim, who heads the Shihab A-Din Mosque, has delivered regular Friday sermons since 1997 at his own institution as well as in a number of other houses of prayer, including the Al-Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem. He also founded and runs a website called Muslim 48. The indictment presented to the Nazareth Magistrate's Court states that Abu Salim has used his sermons, books and web site to disseminate the views of global jihad and to show solidarity with al-Qaeda. According to the charges, Abu Salim has on a number of occasions urged his followers to commit acts of violence according to this worldview. Abu-Salim took the helm of a movement which he called "supporters of Allah-Jerusalem in Nazareth" in 1997. The movement used as its crest a globe within which the Dome of the Rock could be seen covered in a black flag, an image showing solidarity with the Taliban in Afghanistan. [More>>haaretz.com]

11.07.10 Volcano hinders rescue efforts, threatens flights

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) November 7 - Indonesia's most volatile volcano sparked transportation chaos Sunday, with several international airlines canceling flights to the capital and neighboring Malaysia airlifting out hundreds of its citizens. Panicked residents who live near the base of Mount Merapi — which has claimed 138 lives in two weeks — crammed into trains and buses to seek temporary refuge with family and friends elsewhere. The notoriously unpredictable volcano unleashed its most powerful eruption in a century Friday, sending hot clouds of gas, rocks and debris avalanching down its slopes at highway speeds, torching houses and trees and leaving a trail of charred corpses in its path. A mass burial for some of the 90 who died in that blast was planned for later Sunday. Merapi, meanwhile, showed no signs of tiring, sending out thunderous claps as it shot ash up to four miles (six kilometers) into the air, dusting windshields and rooftops hundreds of miles away. [More>>msnbc.msn.com]

11.07.10 Four dead in NWA drone attack

MIRANSHAH, Pakistan, November 7 - At least four people were killed [by] a US surveillance plane in North Waziristan Agency near Miranshah, Geo News reported Sunday. According to the sources, the US drone plane fired at least four missiles at a vehicle in Miranshah, killing at least four people. [>thenews.com.pk; See also

foxnews.com, November 7 (AP) "Pakistan: US drone strikes kill 14 suspected militants"
: PESHAWAR - A pair of American drone strikes killed 14 suspected militants in northwestern Pakistan on Sunday, local intelligence officials said, in the latest attacks against al-Qaeda and Taliban militants seeking sanctuary in the region. The missiles struck an hour apart in the North Waziristan -- the area that has seen the overwhelming majority of drone strikes over the last two months. The rugged region is home to hundreds of Pakistani and foreign militants, many belonging to or allied with al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

In the first strike, one American missile slammed into a house and another hit a vehicle in the town of Ghulam Khan just north of Miranshah, the main town in North Waziristan, the two officials said. Nine insurgents were killed. An hour later, another pair of missiles struck a vehicle in the nearby town of Datta Khel, killing five suspected militants, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to talk to the media. They said all five killed were foreigners...

11.07.10 Militants execute three 'US spies' in Pakistan

MIRANSHAH, Pakistan (AFP) November 7 - Militants publicly executed three tribesmen in Pakistan's northwestern tribal belt on Sunday after accusing them of spying for the United States, officials said. The men, blindfolded with hands tied behind their backs, were lined up near a gas station in the lawless tribal area near the Afghan border, local police official Nasir Khan said. "A man wearing a black mask then shot them dead one by one," he said — adding that the militants, before killing the trio, asked local people to "come and witness the fate of US spies." He said that about 100 people watched the executions at an open area on a road near Miranshah, the main town in North Waziristan and a bastion of Taleban and al-Qaeda linked militants. The alleged spies were local tribesmen aged 25, 28 and 32, Khan said. The militants left in two cars after the killings. A local intelligence official also confirmed the executions, which came amid a surge in US drone attacks in the Pakistani tribal belt. Militants frequently kidnap and kill tribesmen in the troubled region, accusing them of spying for the Pakistani government or US forces in Afghanistan, where Taleban fighters have been waging a vicious insurgency for nine years. [>khaleejtimes.com; See also thenews.com.pk]

11.07.10 Bodies of five Afghan policemen recovered, seven still missing

November 7 - Afghan authorities have recovered the bodies of five of the 16 policemen who went missing a week ago after an apparent Taliban attack on their remote base in eastern Afghanistan, Afghan officials said on Sunday. The discovery of the bodies is the latest suggestion that the policemen did not defect willingly, as some Afghan officials initially suspected, but in fact were captured by Taliban fighters. Their bodies were found in Wardak, a province in eastern Afghanistan that borders Ghazni, where they disappeared on Nov. 1. A spokesman for Wardak's provincial governor, Shahidullah Shahid, said the policemen, still in uniform, were shot to death, and would be returned home for a funeral. The corpses of four other of the missing policemen were found earlier, leaving seven still unaccounted for. The confusing incident, which led to the disappearance of an entire district's police force, underscores the challenge facing US and Afghan officials as they try to extend the reach of the Afghan government and security forces to some of the most remote and inaccessible districts of the country. In such areas, cell phone service is sporadic or non-existent. Bad roads prevent Afghan government officials from visiting. Even determining the fate of 16 policemen can be difficult. [More>>washingtonpost.com]

11.07.10 Mexico mass grave: 18 kidnapped tourists found

November 7 - A mass grave discovered in Mexico contained the bodies of 18 kidnapped tourists, it has been confirmed. Relatives of the Mexican holiday-makers identified the remains at a morgue in the resort city of Acapulco. They disappeared on 30 September after they left their home town of Morelia. Witnesses last saw them looking for their hotel in Acapulco. They are believed to have been kidnapped by a drugs gang, but it is not clear why. The region is the scene of a violent turf war between rival drug cartels. The families of the men, many of whom were related, have said most of them were mechanics who saved up money to take a vacation together each year. Police officers and troops examined the site of the mass grave just outside Acapulco on Wednesday, after a video was posted on the internet detailing its whereabouts. Two men featured in that video - who identified themselves as repentant gang members - are also believed to have been killed. In the video, the men, with their hands apparently tied behind their backs, said they had killed what they called the "20 michoacanos" a reference to the tourists' home state. [More>>bbc.co.uk; See related story,

japantoday.com, November 7, "Reputed drug kingpin killed in Mexico shootout"
: MEXICO CITY - Mexican marines killed a reputed Gulf cartel leader and one of Mexico's most-wanted drug lords in a spectacular, hours-long gunbattle near the US border, the latest in a growing number of hits on the country's drug kingpins. Antonio Ezequiel Cardenas Guillen, also known as "Tony Tormenta" or "Tony the Storm," was killed Friday along with four of his gunmen and three marines in the city of Matamoros, across from Brownsville, Texas, the Mexican navy said in a statement on Saturday...

11.07.10 Yemen orders US-born cleric found 'dead or alive'

SANAA, Yemen, November 6 - After court hearing, Qaeda attacks oil pipeline. A Yemeni judge ordered police Saturday to find a radical US-born cleric "dead or alive" after the al-Qaeda-linked preacher failed to appear at his trial for his role in the killing of foreigners. US-born Awlaki and Othman al- Awlaki, a relative, were both charged in absentia by a Sanaa court with "incitement to kill foreigners and members of security services." Judge Mohsen Alwan ordered the representative of the public prosecutor to inform the concerned authorities "to forcibly arrest ... Anwar al-Awlaki and ... Othman al- Awlaki." Yemen, under pressure to crack down on militants after a foiled plot involving air freight parcels bound for Chicago, began on Tuesday the trial of Awlaki, who is thought to be hiding in southern Yemen. Under Yemeni law, people are given some time to appear for trial before an order is issued that they be captured by force. The charges arose during the trial of Yemeni Hisham Mohammed Assem, who was in court to face charges of killing French energy contractor Jacques Spagnolo near Sanaa last month. Prosecutors told the court, which specializes in terrorism cases, that Awlaki had corresponded with Assem for months, encouraging him to kill foreigners. [More>>alarabiya.net]

11.07.10 Mosque blasts in Pakistan's NW kill at least 71

PESHAWAR, Pakistan, November 5 - Two explosions killed at least 71 people in mosques in Pakistan's northwest on Friday, officials said, after a relative lull in militant violence. In one attack, a suicide bomber blew himself up as Friday prayers were ending, killing at least 66 people, provincial government officials said. The attack occurred in Darra Adam Khel, a suburb of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province capital Peshawar. "Now the death toll is 66. It may rise further because several injured are in critical condition," Shahid Ullah, a senior provincial government official, told Reuters. He said 80 people were wounded. Some 300 people had gathered just after prayers when the bomber walked into the Waali Mosque's main hall and detonated himself, witnesses said. [More>>alarabiya.net]

11.04.10 Stock markets surge on Fed's $600B plan

November 4 - Will the Federal Reserve Help Unemployment, Housing Market? Here's What the Fed's Move Means to You. Stocks surged today after Wednesday's announcement that the Federal Reserve will purchase $600 billion worth of Treasury securities to boost the stagnant economy. The S&P 500 stock index rose nearly 2 percent by midday, its highest since the start of the financial crisis in September 2008. The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged 200 points. Markets around the world rallied on hope that the Federal Reserve can somehow return jobs and investment to pre-crisis levels. The most direct effect of the Fed's move will be on interest rates and consumers' investments.

This is the Fed's main tool for changing monetary policy. The Fed is going to print more money, thereby making money cheaper to borrow and interest rates lower. "One could argue that interest rates are too low already and Treasury prices are too high," said James O'Sullivan, chief economist with MF Global. Lower interest rates also could lead to lower mortgage rates for consumers looking to buy a home. Consumers who couldn't afford to borrow money or didn't want to borrow money now have greater incentives to do so at lower rates. With more people buying homes, the prices of homes could increase and lead to a boost to the housing market.

For consumers with investments in the financial markets, a large purchase like the Fed's, which will take place at a pace of about $110 billion per month until June 2011, theoretically should encourage investors to place their money in places with higher risk and returns, like the stock market, instead of low-yielding bonds, for example. As those assets increase in value over time, that means a better stock market and potential gains in wealth for people who own stock for retirement or general purposes.

11.04.10 Probe sweeps past 'space peanut'

November 4 - NASA's Deep Impact probe has flown by Comet Hartley 2. The first pictures revealed a roughly 1.5km-long, peanut-shaped object with jets of gas streaming from its surface. The pass, which occurred about 23 million km from Earth, was only the fifth time a spacecraft had made a close approach to a comet. NASA said it would take many hours to retrieve all of the data recorded by Deep Impact's two visible-light imagers and one infrared sensor. But the initial pictures to get to ground gave a fascinating view of the comet's icy body, or nucleus. "Scientists often think of celestial bodies as roundish, and this obviously is not it's peanut-like," commented Dr Don Yoemans, who manages NASA's Near-Earth Object programme. "Mother Nature has once again pulled the rug out from under scientific ideas." The information from the flyby should give scientists further insight into the diverse properties and behaviours of what are some of the Solar System's most remarkable objects. "Every time we go to comets, they're full of surprises," said principal investigator Mike A'Hearn from the University of Maryland, College Park. "None of them look the same, which means there must be some fundamental differences in how they all work; and that's what we're trying to figure out with the Expoxi mission." [More>>bbc.co.uk]

11.04.10 Greek police defuse another bomb

November 4 - Greek police have carried out another controlled explosion on a parcel bomb addressed to the French embassy, the latest in a string of such packages received throughout the capital this week. Officials at the consulate building in Athens refused to accept the parcel, reportedly concealed in a large book, on Thursday and it was returned to the courier company where it was then detonated. Since Monday 14 packages have been sent to targets in Greece and other parts of Europe, leading Athens to impose a 48-hour suspension on air freight on Wednesday. Police told the Reuters news agency that they were also investigating suspicious parcels at a courier company in the Athens suburb of Markopoulo. [More>>aljazeera.net]

11.04.10 US names supporters of Pakistani terrorist groups

WASHINGTON (Reuters) November 4 - The US Treasury Department imposed sanctions on Thursday against individuals and groups that it said support two Pakistan-based terrorist organizations. Treasury said it intended to target the financial and support networks of Lashkar-e Tayyiba, or LET, and Jaish-e Mohammed, known as JEM, and will prohibit American citizens from dealing with the named persons and groups. It cited Azam Cheema for helping train operatives for the November 2008 Mumbai attacks and for organizing July 2006 Mumbai train bombings carried out by LET. Treasury also identified Hafiz Abdul Rahman Makki, whom it described as head of LET's political affairs department.

In addition, Treasury said it was designating Al Rehmat Trust for providing support for JEM. It also named JEM's founder and leader, Mohammed Masood Azhar Alvi, for acting on behalf of JEM. Treasury said Al Rehmat was a front company that has been involved in fund raising for JEM. In a statement, Treasury's under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, Stuart Levey, said that both LET and JEM had demonstrated that they were ready and willing to attack civilians and said taking action against them should help cripple their financial ability to operate. In addition to banning US citizens from dealing with them, Treasury said that it will freeze any assets of LET and JEM that come within US jurisdiction.

11.04.10 Air strikes kill 8 militants in Pakistan's Orakzai region

PESHAWAR, Pakistan, November 4 - Gunship helicopters bombed several Taliban hideouts in the restive Orakzai tribal region of northwest Pakistan on Thursday, killing eight militants, security officials said. The helicopters bombed rebel hideouts in Madori area of Orakzai Agency. Six militants were injured and two hideouts got destroyed in the air strikes, officials said. Madori is considered a stronghold of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan. [>indianexpress.com]

11.03.10 Restive voters divide power in Congress as G.O.P. surges to control of House

November 3 - Republicans captured control of the House of Representatives on Tuesday and expanded their voice in the Senate, as discontented voters, frustrated about the nation's continuing economic woes, turned sharply against President Obama just two years after catapulting him into the White House. Mr. Obama now faces the prospect of shared government in Washington for the balance of his term, and the unusual balancing act that comes with a divided Congress. While leaders of both parties are promising to cooperate, the prospects of bipartisanship are dicey — especially with the 2012 presidential election on the immediate horizon.

Republicans are already strongly positioned to win control of the Senate in 2012, when Democrats will be forced to defend 23 seats compared with just 10 for Republican incumbents, potentially limiting the party's incentive to compromise. And the issues facing the nation in the months ahead are hugely divisive, including a debate over the expiring Bush-era tax cuts and efforts to address the long-term fiscal problems, possibly by making big changes to Social Security and Medicare. Receiving a congratulatory phone call from Mr. Obama after midnight, the likely speaker, Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio, told the president that his top priority would be to create jobs and cut spending, aides said. But the parties have disagreed fiercely over how to accomplish such goals.

11.03.10 Fearful Iraqi Christians face fresh Qaeda threat

BAGHDAD (AFP) November 3 - Iraqi Christians on Wednesday faced fresh violent attacks after al-Qaeda listed them as "legitimate targets," two days after a church bloodbath and as Baghdad was battered by a wave of bombings. "All Christian centres, organizations and institutions, leaders and followers, are legitimate targets for the mujahedeen (holy warriors) wherever they can reach them," said a statement by the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), the local branch of Osama bin Laden's jihadist network. The group had earlier claimed responsibility for a hostage drama by gunmen at a cathedral in the Iraqi capital on Sunday night which ended in the deaths of 46 worshippers, including two priests.

"This is very negative, it is very bad for our people (Christians)," Baghdad's Chaldean bishop, Shlimoune Wardouni, said in reaction to the latest ISI statement. "They could be harmed. It could also force them to leave the country," said Wardouni. "But we must be strong, and ready for everything." Security had been reinforced on Wednesday around two churches in Karrada, the same district where the hostage drama had unfolded. There was an additional guard and armored vehicle as well as an extra police car keeping watch at the Virgin Mary church.

At Saint Joseph, where a funeral for those killed was held on Tuesday, armed security personnel, three Humvee vehicles and barbed wire protected the church. Christians were not the only targets in war-wracked Baghdad. About a dozen coordinated bombings targeting Shiite districts across the capital late Tuesday killed 64 people and wounded 360. Some bombs exploded outside restaurants and cafes, officials said. A number of mortar attacks also were reported. "Sixty-four people were killed and 360 wounded in last night's attacks," Health Minister Saleh al-Hasnawi said on state television.
[More>>khaleejtimes.com; See background article,

france24.com, November 3, "Terrorized Iraqi Christians face stark choice: flee or die"
: ...But Iraqi Christians still live under a persistent threat of violence. Many of them have fled the country since the beginning of the US invasion in 2003, as priests have been killed and there have been several attacks on churches. It is not a new phenomenon, explained Odon Vallet, a French historian specialised in world religions. Vallet says violence has been committed against Iraqi Christians since the 1920s. "Since then, tens of thousands of them have been persecuted, before being relatively protected under the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein, whose deputy prime minister Tariq Aziz was Christian," Vallet explained. "But with the two Gulf wars, persecution got worse than ever." The issue of the plight of Iraq's Christian communities was raised at a summit devoted to Christians in the Middle East in October. A high-ranking Iraqi clergyman at the meeting called upon the international community to put pressure on the Iraqi government to protect Christians from a possible massacre...

11.03.10 Implanted chip 'allows blind people to detect objects'

November 3 - A man with an inherited form of blindness has been able to identify letters and a clock face using a pioneering implant, researchers say. Miikka Terho, 46, from Finland, was fitted with an experimental chip behind his retina in Germany. Success was also reported in other patients. The chip allows a patient to detect objects with their eyes, unlike a rival approach that uses an external camera. Details of the work are in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Professor Eberhart Zrenner, of Germany's University of Tuebingen, and colleagues at private company Retina Implant AG initially tested their sub-retinal chip on 11 people. Some noticed no improvement as their condition was too advanced to benefit from the implant, but a majority were able to pick out bright objects, Prof Zrenner told the BBC. However, it was only when the chip was placed further behind the retina, in the central macular area in three people, that they achieved the best results. [More>>bbc.co.uk]

11.03.10 Suspect linked to cargo bomb plot arrested

November 3 - The Government will invest further in stopping terrorists overseas before they can target Britain, Home Secretary Theresa May said today. Mrs. May said it was highly likely British extremists "trained and hardened on the streets of Mogadishu" may try to return to commit mass murder in London. She revealed an alleged member of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (Aqap) was arrested in Britain earlier this year and is accused of planning a terrorist attack in this country. The Islamic terrorist group has been widely blamed for the printer bombs found on United States-bound cargo aircraft at East Midlands Airport and in Dubai last Friday.

Speaking at the Royal United Services Institute (Rusi) in Whitehall, Mrs. May said the Government's review of its counter-terrorism strategy will include "significant changes" leading to a "much better balance." She said: "Where necessary we will enhance our protective security measures; we will invest in conflict prevention and stopping terrorist plots overseas; we will refocus the strategy for preventing radicalization in the UK; and we will strike a better balance between our liberties and our security. There is much good work under way to tackle the terrorist threat. But where there needs to be change I will not be afraid to make it. I want an approach which is more targeted against extremist individuals, but that impacts much less on the good people of our communities. I want an approach which allows people to enjoy their liberty in safety and security..."

11.03.10 Top Taliban commander held in Karachi: Official

KARACHI, November 3 - Pakistani authorities on Wednesday claimed to have arrested a top commander of the banned terrorist outfit Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in an early morning raid in the country's financial capital. A senior official of the crime investigation department (CID) said commander Qari Yousuf was arrested from Karachi's Mominabad area of Orangi Town, which is believed to be the largest concentration of slum dwelling in South Asia. The official said that the arrest of Yousuf was a big breakthrough in the drive against terrorism as he was involved and named as an accused in the bombing of a police training centre in Mingora, Swat last year. The suicide bomb attack carried out by a 14-year-old boy trained and masterminded by Qari and two others saw 17 police trainees killed. Security had been on high-alert in Karachi since bouts of violence and target killings in the city last month. The official said two other members of the TTP were also arrested from Sohrab Goth area with explosives and arms. On October 25, the CID had also raided a house in Sohrab Goth where they arrested Sher Rehman and Zain Ullah alias Bilal two activists of the TTP who were involved in training suicide bombers. [>timesofindia.indiatimes.com]

11.03.10 US drone attack kills four

MIRANSHAH, Pakistan, November 3 - A US drone attack targeted fighters in northwestern tribal belt on Wednesday, killing four suspected militants and blowing their vehicle into a fireball, security officials said. Two missiles were fired at the vehicle in a suburb of Miranshah, the main town in the North Waziristan district. "The drone strike killed four militants," a security official in Miranshah said on condition of anonymity. [>geo.tv; See also

cnn.com, November 3, "In Pakistan, suspected drone strikes kill 13"
: ISLAMABAD - Three suspected US drone strikes killed 13 people Wednesday in Pakistan's tribal region, two intelligence officials told CNN. All three incidents occurred in North Waziristan, one of the seven tribal districts bordering Afghanistan. Five suspected militants died in Data Khel when a drone fired two missiles at a vehicle. A drone in the Mir Ali area fired three missiles at a vehicle and killed four suspected militants. And, a vehicle was targeted earlier in Miran Shah and four suspected militants were killed there as well. Based on a count by the CNN Islamabad bureau, Wednesday's third suspected drone strike was the 87th this year compared to 52 in all of 2009. The officials asked that they not be named because they were not authorized to talk to the media. [end]

11.03.10 Hamas: Palestinian killed in Gaza car explosion

GAZA, November 3 - Group says blast caused by Israeli air strike; man killed reportedly belonged to al-Qaeda-linked Army of Islam terror group. A car exploded outside Hamas police headquarters on Wednesday, killing a 27-year-old Palestinian and wounding a second man, Hamas officials said. Ihab Ghussein, spokesman for the Hamas-controlled Interior Ministry, said the explosion was caused by an Israeli airstrike, but the claim could not be verified. Some residents in the area reportedly  said the explosion occurred from within the vehicle. Ghussein said the man killed in the blast had been armed, though it was unclear to which group he belonged. According to some reports, the man was a senior commander in the Army of Islam, an al-Qaeda-linked group based in Gaza. A spokesman for Gaza medical services said the man who was killed was identified as Muhamad Jamal Nimnim from the Shati refugee camp, Ma'an News Agency reported. The IDF had no immediate comment. [>jpost.com]

11.02.10 Iraq probes church raid; says attackers disguised

BAGHDAD (Reuters) November 2 - Iraq launched an investigation on Tuesday into a church raid in which 52 hostages and police were killed, trying to find out how al-Qaeda-linked gunmen managed to storm the building despite checkpoints, an official said. Sunday's attack was the bloodiest against Iraqi's Christian minority since the 2003 US-led invasion, and drove fear deep into the hearts of many Iraqi Christians who had so far resisted the urge to flee their war-torn country. Baghdad security spokesman Major General Qassim al-Moussawi said the assailants were disguised as guards working for a private security firm and carried fake ids. "We have formed an investigation to uncover details of the attack and if we discover anyone has been negligent or complicit, he will be held strictly accountable," Moussawi said. "We have many question marks about how such a large number of terrorists managed to reach the church in the heart of Baghdad," he said.

Defence Minister Abdel Qader Jassim said the authorities ordered the detention of the police commander in charge of the district where the church attack took place for questioning, a standard procedure after high-profile attacks. Gunmen tied to an Iraqi al-Qaeda offshoot seized hostages at the Our Lady of Salvation Church, a Syrian Catholic cathedral, during Sunday mass, demanding the release of women they said had converted to Islam but were being detained by the Coptic church in Egypt. Early reports said they also sought the release of al-Qaeda prisoners in Iraq and Egypt. The attack, which lasted several hours, ended when security forces raided the church to free more than 100 Iraqi Catholics.
[More>>khaleejtimes.com; See related story,

france24.com (Reuters) November 2, "Series of fatal blasts strike Baghdad's Shiite neighborhoods"
: Up to 30 people were killed in a series of explosions around Baghdad on Tuesday, a police source said, two days after al-Qaeda militants staged a bloodbath when they took hostages in a Christian church in the Iraqi capital. More than 10 car bombs and roadside bombs exploded, some outside cafes, in the early evening in several mainly Shi'ite areas of the city, officials said. The police source, who asked not to be identified, said more than 60 people were wounded. [end]

11.02.10 Embassies targeted in wave of Athens parcel bombs

ATHENS (Reuters) November 2 - Bombs exploded at the Swiss and Russian embassies in Athens on Tuesday and police found suspect packages at two other embassies in a wave of parcel bomb attacks in the Greek capital. Police linked the attacks to Greek leftist guerrillas. Small bomb and gas canister attacks have been frequent in Greece since 2008 when the police killing of a teenager sparked the country's worst riots in decades. "A package was handed in at the entrance of the Swiss embassy in Athens today. Checks by our local employees revealed traces of metal," said Swiss Foreign Ministry spokesman Georg Farago. "When the external packaging was removed, the contents burst into flames," he said, adding that there were no injuries.

Tuesday's parcel bombs included one outside parliament, addressed to the Chilean embassy. Bombs were also found at the Chilean and Bulgarian embassies and one was intercepted at the offices of a courier company addressed to the German embassy. "It seems that this is a continuation of yesterday's attacks and that Greek guerrillas are behind it, but we are still investigating," police spokesman Thanassis Kokkalakis told Reuters...On Monday, a parcel bomb detonated at a courier office in Athens, slightly wounding an employee. Greek police then arrested two suspects carrying two more bombs, addressed to French President Nicolas Sarkozy and the Belgian embassy. Police on Monday intercepted a third bomb found at another delivery company and destined for the Dutch embassy.
[Full story>>thestar.com.my]

11.02.10 Yemen hunts bomb suspect, oil pipe attacked

(Reuters) November 2 - Yemen launched a major operation on Tuesday to arrest a Saudi bomb maker accused of being behind a foiled bomb plot involving US-bound parcels. With the military deploying, suspected al-Qaeda militants blew up an oil pipeline in southern Yemen operated by a South Korean firm on Tuesday, a local official said. It was not immediately clear if exports from the small oil producer would be affected. The aim of the military operation in the provinces of Maarib and Shabwa was to capture suspected bomb maker Ibrahim al-Asiri, and the US-born radical preacher Anwar al-Awlaki, who is wanted by Washington for his links to al-Qaeda, a Yemeni security official said. Yemeni authorities also began the trial in absentia of al-Awlaki, who has been linked to the failed bombing of a US-bound plane in December 2009 that was claimed by Yemen's al-Qaeda wing and who is thought to be in southern Yemen. "Asiri is believed to be hiding and moving with senior al-Qaeda elements such as (Yemen al-Qaeda leader) Nasser al-Wahayshi. Security intelligence are still tracking them down to exactly identify their whereabouts," the official said. [More>>khaleejtimes.com; See related story,

alarabiya.net, November 1 (AFP) "Yemen says 14 al-Qaeda suspects surrender"
: SANAA - Fourteen suspected al-Qaeda members, including senior figures, have surrendered in the restive southern province of Abyan, Yemen's defense ministry and a source close to the governor said on Tuesday...Five of them are leaders of the network's local branch in Abyan, a source close to Mayassari told AFP. Last month, another 15 suspected members of al-Qaeda surrendered to Abyan's governor...

11.02.10 CCTV shows moment Muslim woman stabs MP

November 2 - This is the moment caught on CCTV when Roshonara Choudhry stabbed former Labour minister Stephen Timms in the stomach. Armed with a three-inch kitchen knife, the 21-year-old student smiled before plunging the knife twice into the MP. Grainy images filmed in the local community centre and released on Tuesday show Choudhry walking up to Mr. Timms' desk...Instead of sitting in front of the MP, she moved round to the side of the desk as if to shake hands, but was in fact holding a knife in her left hand. As he offered his hand, she decided to strike. In one image, the blade can be clearly seen as she moved towards Mr. Timms. The footage was edited so that actual impact of the stabbing was not shown in court, but the jury was given stills from the CCTV. From these pictures, the MP could be seen to recoil from the attack and fall away from Choudhry.

The whole attack lasted little more than a second before the attacker was hauled away by Faisall Butt, a security guard. The images showed her being grabbed around the shoulders and others in the community centre looked on in horror. A mother standing behind a pushchair half turned in disbelief as she witnessed the attack. Andrew Bazeley, Mr. Timms' assistant, also saw the attack and managed to prise the weapon from Choudhry's hand. Inspired by Anwar al-Awlaki, the US born radical al-Qaeda cleric, the student launched her attack less than a week after the General Election. She told police she wanted to "punish" Mr. Timms for supporting the Iraq war. Analysis of her computer revealed that she had also lined up a hit list of other MPs to target by researching their voting records.
[Full story>>telegraph.co.uk]

11.02.10 US intercepted dry run of parcel bomb plot in September

(AFP) November 2 - The US has said they caught parcels on route to Chicago from Yemen in September, in what is thought to have been a dry run for Thursday's thwarted package bomb plot. The US had linked the incident to al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula "weeks ago." The United States intercepted parcels from Yemen in September thought to be a dry run for the package bomb plot, a US official said, as Western governments tightened freight and passenger security. Two parcels addressed to Jewish institutions in Chicago and containing the lethal explosive PETN hidden in ink toner cartridges were uncovered Thursday in Britain and Dubai on cargo planes en route to the United States. But now it has emerged that US agents first found suspicious packages from Yemen back in September and linked them "several weeks ago" to al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, according to a US official. "The boxes were stopped in transit and searched," the official told AFP late Monday, confirming that the packages contained no explosives. "At the time, people obviously took notice and knowing of the terrorist group's interest in aviation considered the possibility that AQAP might be exploring the logistics of the cargo system," the official added. [More>>france24.com]

11.02.10 Four Americans killed in separate attacks in border city, Mexican authorities say

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico (AP) November 2 - Four US citizens were shot to death in separate attacks in the border city of Ciudad Juarez, Mexican authorities said Monday. Chihuahua state prosecutors' spokesman Arturo Sandoval said Edgar Lopez, 35, of El Paso, Texas, was killed Sunday along with two Mexican men when gunmen opened fire on a group standing outside a house. On Saturday, a 26-year-old US woman and an American boy were slain shortly after crossing an international bridge from El Paso. Giovanna Herrera and Luis Araiza, 15, were shot to death along with a Mexican man traveling with them just after 11am, Sandoval said. Sandoval said authorities also identified a 24-year-old woman killed Friday inside a tortilla shop as Lorena Izaguirre, a US citizen and El Paso resident. A Mexican man was also found dead in the store. Sandoval did not provide any information about possible motive in any of the slayings. [More>>foxnews.com]

11.02.10 Saudi fatwa against women cahsiers sparks outrage

RIYADH (AFP) November 2 - Saudi women activists expressed outrage and confusion on Tuesday at a new fatwa challenging a government initiative to allow women to work as cashiers in supermarkets and department stores. The fatwa, or Islamic religious ruling, issued on Sunday by the kingdom's governing body of clerics, said the cashier jobs were not permissible because they resulted in the women mixing with unrelated men, which is prohibited under Saudi Arabia's ultra-strict form of Islam. Signed by the country's grand mufti and six other top clerics, it contradicted a push by the government to create new jobs for women, who face high unemployment in the kingdom. "The progressive women are all outraged," said Fawzia al-Bakr, a professor at Riyadh's King Saud University. "It is not just about a woman working as a cashier... There are more than 60,000 women university graduates looking for jobs, so this is a big thing." Reem Asaad, a Jeddah economics professor, called the fatwa an attack on efforts like her campaign to create more jobs for women. "Its an organized war to stop what we are trying to do," she said, adding that "we don't know what will happen now." [More>>timesofindia.indiatimes.com]

10.29.10 Islamic Jihad leader: Israel must be wiped out of existence

Octover 29 - Organizers say up to 100,000 people attend largest Islamic Jihad rally in Gaza in several years; Hamas leader calls for unity against Israel. Tens of thousands of supporters of the militant Islamic Jihad movement rallied in the streets of Gaza on Friday, chanting "Death to America" and "Death to Israel." Young men and boys wearing white T-shirts with a slogan in the shape of a rifle carried portraits of militants killed in combat, under the black flags of Islamic Jihad. Ramadan Shallah, the group's exiled chief, currently residing in Damascus, sent a recorded message marking the anniversary of the assassination of the group's leader Fathi Shiqaqi in Malta in 1995, by presumed Israeli secret agents. "Israel will not bring peace to the region, it will only bring war and destruction and therefore, the slogan of all should be that Israel must be wiped out of existence," said Shallah, who is on a United States wanted list. Senior leaders of the ruling Islamist group, Hamas, joined the open-air gathering, the largest for years in honor of Islamic Jihad with up to 100,000 attending according to its organizers. [More>>haaretz.com]

10.29.10 PM slams UNESCO's classifying Rachel's Tomb as a mosque

October 29 - Government responds sharply to cultural body's request that Israel remove Rachel's Tomb and Cave of the Patriarchs from list of national heritage sites; Netanyahu calls decision "absurd." Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Friday slammed world culture organization UNESCO's decision to characterize the site of Rachel's Tomb as a Muslim mosque. "The attempt to separate the nation of Israel from its cultural heritage is absurd," said the prime minister. A statement issued by the Prime Minister's Office read, "It is unfortunate that an organization that was established with the goal of promoting the cultural preservation of historical sites around the world, is attempting due to political reasons to uproot the connection between the nation of Israel and its cultural heritage.

"The PMO's statement came in response to a report publicized by UNESCO that referred to Rachel's Tomb as a mosque and requested that Israel remove Rachel's Tomb
near the West Bank city of Bethlehem and the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron from the Israeli list of national heritage sites. UNESCO's requests come after Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in March, according to Saudi paper Al Wattan, claimed that the al-Aksa Mosque, the Cave of the Patriarchs and Rachel's Tomb "were not and never will be Jewish sites, but Islamic sites." Erdogan was referring to Israel's inclusion of the Cave of the Patriarchs and Rachel's Tomb on its national heritage list at the beginning of the year, but it was unclear why he mentioned the Aksa Mosque, since that site was not included. [>jpost.com]

10.29.10 Russia and US collaborate in Aghanistan drug raid

October 29 - Russian and US agents have taken part in a joint operation to destroy drug laboratories in Afghanistan, the head of Russia's drug control agency says. More than a tonne of heroin and opium was seized during the raids, which took place on Thursday close to the border with Pakistan, Viktor Ivanov announced. Mr. Ivanov said the haul had a street value of $250m (£157m) and was believed to have been destined for Central Asia. Correspondents say it is the first time there has been such a joint operation. Russian officials have in the past accused coalition forces in Afghanistan of doing "next to nothing" to tackle drug production, and thereby helping to sustain the estimated 2.5 million heroin addicts in Russia alone. Much of the heroin enters the territory of the former Soviet Union through Afghanistan's northern borders with Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. It then travels westwards across Kazakhstan, before entering the central and Ural regions of Russia, where there are large numbers of addicts. Mr. Ivanov said the operation involved about 70 personnel from both countries — including four Russian counter-narcotics agents — backed up by attack helicopters. [More>>bbc.co.uk]

10.29.10 Al-Qaeda plans to take hostage in 26/11 style on Britain

October 29 - Al-Qaeda planned to take hostages in Mumbai-style attacks on Britain, France and Germany to demand the release of the mastermind of the 9/11 strikes and has "reactivated" the plan now, a former associate of Osama bin Laden has claimed. Noman Benotman, a Libyan and former Afghanistan terrorist camp trainer, told German magazine Speigel in an interview that bin Laden wanted to force the US to release Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who is awaiting trial for his role in the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Centre. Bentoman claimed that he was present at several discussions about the plot and believed it has now been reactivated. "I have information that I consider to be reliable, according to which al-Qaeda in North Waziristan is training how to carry out multiple parallel hostage taking in order to enforce the release of a prisoner," he added.

He claimed that Muhammad Ibrahim Makkawi, who is counted among al-Qaeda's most sophisticated planners, has rejoined the terrorist group after he was freed in return for Iranian diplomats kidnapped by the organization. Another al-Qaeda operative, Adnan al-Shukrijuma, has been given a senior operational role in command structure, which suggest it is preparing for a major operation, he said. Bentoman, 43, lives in London and works with Quillian Foundation. After he turned his back on terrorism, after [the] 9/11 attacks, [he] became one of the world's leading experts on al-Qaeda. LeT terrorists stormed five-star hotels in Mumbai on November 26, 2008 and took several people hostage. In all, 166 people were killed in the strikes.
[>indianexpress.com; More details, complete Spiegel article, spiegel.de, October 29, " 'Euro Plot' : Al-Qaeda said to be planning European hostage-takings."]

10.29.10 US probing possible mail bomb terror plot

WASHINGTON, October 29 - Doctored ink cartridges on planes in UK, Dubai prompt searches of UPS planes, trucks in US; Suspicious items sent from Yemen. Authorities on three continents were investigating on Friday whether suspicious packages shipped from Yemen to the United States aboard cargo planes could be part of a terrorist plot. Suspicious packages containing toner cartridges with wires, powder and syringes were found during routine screening of cargo in the United Kingdom and Dubai, prompting authorities to scour three planes and two trucks in the United States on Friday. A source told CBS News that the two cartridges found in Dubai and the U.K. contained a syringe, powder and cell phone components. Yemen is home to the al-Qaeda branch that tried to bomb a US-bound airliner on Christmas. No explosives have been found but authorities are investigating whether the string of suspicious packages was a dry run for a plot to send bombs through the mail. Intelligence and law enforcement officials discovered suspicious packages in the United Kingdom and Dubai late Thursday night, prompting national security officials to alert President Barack Obama to a "potential terrorist threat," the White House said. Cargo planes in the UK and Dubai were searched in response to a specific warning that they were carrying suspicious packages originating in Yemen with addresses to synagogues and Jewish centers in Chicago, CBS News national security correspondent David Martin reports.

The UK package, discovered aboard a plane in East Midlands, about two hours north of London, contained a toner cartridge with wires and powder. It was found during routine screening of cargo in the United Kingdom, prompting authorities to scour three planes and a truck in the United States on Friday, US officials said....Cargo planes in the UK and Dubai were searched in response to a specific warning that they were carrying suspicious packages originating in Yemen with addresses to synagogues and Jewish centers in Chicago, CBS News national security correspondent David Martin reports. The UK package, discovered aboard a plane in East Midlands, about two hours north of London, contained a toner cartridge with wires and powder. It was found during routine screening of cargo in the United Kingdom, prompting authorities to scour three planes and a truck in the United States on Friday, US officials said.
[Full story>>cbsnews.com; See other details, guardian.co.uk, October 29, "Bomb scare as suspect package found aboard cargo plane in UK."]

10.29.10 Suicide bomber kills 11 north of Baghdad

BAGHDAD (AP) October 29 - Iraqi police and hospital officials say a suicide bomber killed at least 11 people in a town north of Baghdad. A police official said the suicide bomber detonated an explosives vest while inside a popular cafe in the town of Balad Ruz, 45 miles (70 kilometers) northeast of Baghdad. The death toll was confirmed by a hospital official. The area where the explosion occurred is home to many members of a Shiite sect and many of the dead and wounded were Shiites. The bombing broke what has been a period of relative calm across Iraq. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media. [>msnbc.msn.com]

10.29.10 Muslim man told Skype divorce joke stands

NEW DELHI, India, October 29 - A Muslim man who told his wife "I divorce thee" three times in an online Skype messenger conversation has been told the separation stands. The ruling, made in an online fatwa by the Darul Uloom Deobandi seminary in northern India, regarded as one of Islam's leading authorities on religious law said that the woman would have to first marry another man before she could remarry her first husband. The man, from Qatar, wrote to the seminary following his Skype joke to seek clarification. "Jokingly typed 'talak, talak, talak'(I divorce thee, I divorce thee, I divorce thee) to my wife on Skype chat. I don't understand Islam very much and did not know about how talaq works. We love each other very much and want to be together but right now [we are] caught in this thing. Want to know a way out," he wrote.

His hopes of a "way out" were dashed when the seminary issued a fatwa confirming his wife must first remarry another man, consummate the marriage, and then divorce him before she could be allowed to remarry her first husband. "When you gave three talaqs, your wife became 'haram' (forbidden) for you. Neither you have the right to take her back nor solemnise a new 'nikah' (marriage) without a valid 'halalah' (second marriage). After the completion of 'iddah' (a three month waiting period following a divorce), the woman can marry whomever she wishes except you," the fatwa stated. The ruling means it the couple will have to wait at least six months to remarry and bear the strain of the wife remarrying, having sex with another man, and divorcing again. "Allah and his Prophet has said the worst thing a couple does is to seek divorce. This is a hated act but the provision for Talaq in Islam is for unavoidable circumstances not for teasing or jokes," said Maulana Arshid Madani, President of Jamiat-Ulama-i-Hind, one of the largest Muslim organizations in India.

10.29.10 Protect yourself against Medicare fraud

October 29 - This month, more than 40 members of what is said to be an Armenian-American crime syndicate were arrested and charged in an extensive Medicare fraud. Prosecutors say the suspects stole the identities of doctors and thousands of patients, using them at more than 100 bogus health clinics in 25 states to bill Medicare for more than $100 million. On Oct. 21, officials at a chain of mental health clinics in Miami were charged with making $200 million in fraudulent claims for group therapy sessions that authorities said were unnecessary or never provided. Medicare scams like these are rampant, costing taxpayers billions of dollars every year.

But the schemes are not always so ambitious. Thieves may simply offer unsuspecting patients medical supplies and equipment they do not need, or do not qualify for, to collect Medicare numbers, said Julie Schoen, director of the California Senior Medicare Patrol, part of a federally financed antifraud program that operates in every state. The swindlers then bill for other supplies and services the patients never received and pocket the reimbursements. Another common ruse is to offer free services, such as cholesterol or diabetes screenings, to get Medicare numbers.

...GUARD YOUR CARD Protect your Medicare card as carefully as you would a credit card or Social Security card. Never give your number over the phone to a stranger — for instance, to someone who claims to be conducting a health care survey for the government. And never allow a friend or relative to use your card. Report a lost or stolen card immediately.

BEWARE OF FREE SERVICES Someone offering you a medical service free does not need your insurance information. If you are asked for it in connection with such a service, walk away. This can be a scam to collect Medicare numbers to use for fraud...You can check claims on your account online as soon as they are posted if you sign up at MyMedicare.gov. Seniors who are not comfortable with the Internet can assign a caregiver the right to check statements online.

...AVOID ENROLLMENT HAZARDS Beginning Nov. 15, Medicare recipients can sign up for or change plans. This period is also when criminals peddle bogus Medicare and Medicare D prescription drug plans. Many try to tempt seniors with offers of services and products that are not actually covered by Medicare. Check any insurance plan you are considering on the plan finder at Medicare.gov. If you cannot find it, it may not be legitimate. [Full story>>nytimes.com]

10.28.10 US man arrested for plotting to attack DC metro

WASHINGTON, October 28 - Naturalized US citizen was born in Pakistan. A Virginia man who allegedly believed he was helping al-Qaeda plan bombings at Washington area Metrorail stations was arrested on Wednesday, the Justice Department said. Farooque Ahmed, 34, of Ashburn, was taken into custody early in the morning after a federal grand jury returned a three-count indictment on Tuesday against the naturalized US citizen who was born in Pakistan. Federal officials said that the public was never in any danger during the investigation and that federal authorities had closely monitored Ahmed's activities until his arrest.

Earlier this month, the United States and Britain warned of an increased risk of terrorist attacks in Europe, with Washington saying al-Qaeda might target transport infrastructure. A US official, on condition of anonymity, said there was "no connection between recent reports of the terrorism threats in Europe and this arrest." Ahmed was charged with trying to provide material support to a designated terrorist organization, collecting information to assist in planning a terrorist attack on a transit facility, and attempting to provide material support to help carry out multiple bombings to cause mass casualties at D.C.-area Metrorail stations. A law enforcement official said that Ahmed was passing the information to someone who was working with law enforcement.
[More>>alarabiya.net; See other details,

foxnews.com, October 28, "NYPD issues threat note after VA. arrest"
: ..."The successful arrest of Farooque Ahmed may very well have thwarted devastating terrorist attacks which could have killed civilians as well as caused infrastructure and economic damage," said the NYPD assessment, drafted by the department's Counterterrorism Bureau Terrorism Threat Analysis Group. "While large scale terrorist attacks like September 11th remain a top priority for al-Qaeda's central leadership, the threat posed by homegrown extremists, acting on their own within the US is a serious concern." In particular, "homegrown" terrorists pose a "significant threat" because "their US citizenship enables them to enter and operate within the United States with greater ease," according to the "open source assessment," meaning it was based on news reports and other publicly available information. The NYPD assessment said buses, subways, railroads and other forms of public transportation "continue to be highly attractive targets for international terrorist organizations."

Starting in April, Ahmed of Ashburn, Va., watched and photographed the Arlington Cemetery, Courthouse, Pentagon City and Crystal City Metrorail stations outside Washington, according to the indictment...During a September meeting at a hotel in Herndon, Va., Ahmed suggested that rolling suitcases be used to hide explosives instead of backpacks, and he said that he wanted to kill as many military personnel as possible, according to the indictment. Four months earlier, during a meeting in a Sterling, Va., hotel room, Ahmed told an individual that he was planning to go to Saudi Arabia in November for the Hajj pilgrimage, but after the trip he might be ready to travel overseas to conduct "jihad," according to the indictment...
According to an FBI affidavit unsealed Thursday, Ahmed came onto the FBI's radar in January, after he and "an associate were inquiring about making contact with a terrorist organization in order to participate in jihad by traveling overseas to fight coalition forces in Afghanistan and/or Pakistan."...

10.28.10 Saudi prince backs moving planned NYC mosque

DUBAI, United Emirates (AP) October 28 - A Saudi prince who has aided the imam spearheading a proposed Islamic center near New York's ground zero is appealing for another site not associated with the "wound" of the Sept. 11 attacks, a report said Thursday. In interview excerpts published by the Dubai-based Arabian Business magazine, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal was quoted as saying that moving the planned mosque and other facilities would respect the memory of those killed in the 2001 attacks and allow American Muslims to choose a more suitable location. The comments are reportedly the prince's first public views on the dispute, which has stirred street protests and fiery debates between religious and political leaders over America's freedom of worship versus the lingering anger over the 9/11 attacks.

Prince Alwaleed's Kingdom Foundation has contributed to the group run by New York's Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, but said he has given no funds to the planned center. Prince Alwaleed urged the backers of the proposed Islamic center not to "agitate the wound by saying, 'We need to put the mosque next to the 9/11 site.' Those people behind the mosque have to respect, have to appreciate and have to defer to the people of New York," the prince was quoted as saying by the magazine, which said the full interview will be published Sunday. "The wound is still there. Just because the wound is healing you can't say, 'Let's just go back to where we were pre-9/11.' "

Prince Alwaleed, who chairs a Saudi investment company that has major stakes in international giants News Corp. and Citigroup, also said Muslims in New York should consider a more "dignified" location than the proposed site in lower Manhattan. "It can't be next to a bar or a strip club, or in a neighborhood that is not really refined and good. The impression I have is that this mosque is just being inserted and squeezed over there," he said.

10.28.10 17 Taliban fighters killed in Pak's tribal areas

PESHAWAR, Pakistan, October 28 - Seventeen Taliban fighters were killed and 16 more injured in air strikes by helicopter gunships and a clash between militants and security forces in Pakistan's restive tribal belt near the Afghan border on Thursday, officials said. Helicopters gunships struck militant hideouts in Khadezai, Mashatri Kandao and Mamozai towns of Orakzai Agency. Twelve militants were killed and six more injured. Three hideouts were destroyed in the air strikes, security officials said. Security forces have stepped up operations against the Taliban in Orakzai Agency in the wake of a recent bomb attack that killed six soldiers, including an officer. Mamozai is considered the hub of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan fighters. Five militants were killed and 10 more injured in a clash between security forces and militants at Bakhmal Shah in Mohmand Agency. The clash began after the Taliban attacked a check post of the local peace committee or anti-militant militia. [More>>indianexpress.com]

10.28.10 15 killed in Mexican car wash massacre

MEXICO CITY, October 27 - Gunmen open fire at car wash in area where drug-gang violence has spiked; some victims apparently were washing stolen car. Gunmen killed 15 people at a car wash Wednesday in a Mexican Pacific coast state where drug-gang violence has risen this year. It was the third massacre in Mexico in less than a week. The gunmen in three vehicles drove up to the car wash in the city of Tepic and opened fire without provocation, said Fernando Carvajal, public safety secretary of Nayarit state, where the city is located. Fifteen men were killed and three people were injured. The motive was not immediately clear but investigators suspect it was the work of organized crime, Carvajal told reporters. He said most of the victims were recovering drug addicts and worked at the car wash. One victim, however, had just driven up to the business in a motorcycle and appeared not to have worked there, and another body was found at a nearby fruit stand. [More>>cbsnews.com]

10.27.10 PA against attempts to persuade Hamas to join peace process

October 27 - West Bank leadership concerned that US, EU may be reaching out to rival party: "Hamas has no vision or political program. They are using various methods to undermine the Palestinian Authority," spokesman says. The Palestinian Authority said on Wednesday that it was worried about “attempts” by the US and EU to persuade Hamas to join the Middle East peace process. The PA's announcement came as Fatah and Hamas prepare to resume “reconciliation” talks next week. In another development, a PA official said that Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmad Aboul Geith and General Intelligence Chief Omar Suleiman may visit Ramallah on Thursday for talks with PA President Mahmoud Abbas on the future of the peace talks with Israel and efforts to end the Hamas-Fatah rift.

The two rival parties have in recent weeks expressed cautious optimism about the prospects of reaching an agreement that would end their dispute. But despite the upbeat mood, the PA said that Hamas couldn't be part of any political process because its main objective is to undermine and replace the Palestinian government in the West Bank. Gen. Adnan Damiri, spokesman for the Fatah-dominated security forces in the West Bank, said that the PA leadership was deeply concerned about Western attempts to incorporate Hamas into the peace process. "The Palestinian leadership has learned that the US officials are now studying the situation of Hamas the same way they studied the situation of the PLO in 1990,"

Damiri said during a tour of Bethlehem. "Back then, the US used to consider the PLO a terrorist organization, as is the case with Hamas today." He said that the PA viewed these attempts with deep concern and considered them to be dangerous. “Hamas is seeking to cancel the role of the Palestinian Authority,” he charged. “Hamas wants to replace the Palestinian leadership. Hamas has no vision or political program. They are using various methods to undermine the Palestinian Authority, but we won't sink to their low level.”

10.27.10 Man kills his raped niece, gets a lighter sentence

AMMAN, Jordan, October 27 - Jordanian court reduces his sentence to 10 years. A Jordanian man was condemned to death on Wednesday for killing his raped teenage niece to "cleanse" the family's honor, but the sentence was later commuted to 10 years in jail. "The victim's family has urged the court to reduce the sentence, and it was commuted to 10 years in prison," a criminal court official told AFP. Murder is punishable by the death penalty in Jordan, but in the case of so-called "honor killings," a court usually commutes or reduces sentences, particularly if the victim's family urges leniency. Last year, Jamil, 41, shot his 16-year-old niece Abir eight times in different parts of her body after she was raped in 2008. The court did not provide the surnames of the victim or her uncle. "In his confession, he claimed that he killed the girl to cleanse his family's honor," the official said, citing court papers. Abir gave birth to a baby boy two months before her murder, and her family kept the child, he added. Between 15 and 20 women are murdered each year in Jordan in the name of honor, despite government efforts to fight such crimes. Parliament has refused to reform the penal code to ensure harsher penalties. [More w/blog comments>>alarabiya.net]

10.27.10 Bin Laden in warning to France

October 27 - Osama bin Laden, the leader of al-Qaeda, has justified the kidnapping of five French citizens in Niger last month, calling the abductions the result of French injustices against Muslims and warning they will continue. In a new audio recording attributed to bin Laden and released to Al Jazeera on Wednesday, he called on the people of France to stop "interven[ing] in the affairs of Muslims in North and West Africa." "The subject of my speech is the reason why your security is being threatened and your sons are being taken hostage," he said....Bin Laden also used the latest recording to criticise France's plan to ban the wearing of full face veils in public a law due to be implemented next year.[Full story>>aljazeera.net]

10.27.10 Indonesia struggles as tsunami, volcano tolls rise

MENTAWAI, Indonesia (AP) October 27 - Helicopters with emergency supplies finally landed Wednesday on remote Indonesian islands slammed by a tsunami that killed more than 300 people, while elsewhere in the archipelago the toll from a volcanic eruption rose to 30, including the mountain's spiritual caretaker. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono cut short a state visit to Vietnam to deal with the dual disasters that struck Indonesia in one 24-hour period, straining the country's ability to respond. The first aerial surveys of the region hit by the 10-foot (three-meter) tsunami revealed huge swaths of land underwater and the crumbled rubble of homes torn apart by the wave.

One house lay tilted, resting on the edge of its red roof, with tires and slabs of concrete piled up on the surrounding sand. Two days after an undersea earthquake spawned the killer wave, the casualty count was still rising as rescuers landed for the first time on the Mentawai island chain, which was closest to the epicenter and the worst hit. Bad weather had kept them away previously. The first cargo plane loaded with 16 tons (14 metric tons) of tents, medicine, food and clothes arrived Wednesday afternoon, said disaster official Ade Edward. Four helicopters also landed in Sikaap, a town on North Pagai island, which will be the center of relief operations.

10.27.10 NWA drone attacks kill 8

MIRANSHAH, Pakistan, October 27 - At least eight people [were] killed and scores [of] others [were] injured in a US surveillance plane missile attack in North Waziristan Agency, Geo News reported Wednesday. According to the security sources, [a] US spy plane fired at least two missiles in Dattakhel area of North Waziristan Agency, killing four people and completely destroying the vehicle. Earlier, as many as two missiles were fired at a house in Shinbaand area of Mir Ali. The local people kick-started the relief activities after the attack and recovered bodies of four people from under the rubble of the house. According to the sources, the spy planes are still making low flights in Dattakhel and other adjoining areas after the attacks, triggering panic among the people. [>thenews.com.pk; See also,

timesofindia.indiatimes.com, October 28, "7 killed in US drone attack in NW Pakistan"
: An unmanned US aircraft Thursday fired two missiles into a house in Pakistan's tribal region near the Afghan border, killing at least seven militants, security officials said. The strike was carried out in Datta Khel area in North Waziristan district, a known bastion of Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters involved in cross-border raids on NATO-led international forces in Afghanistan. "Three Arabs and an Afghan national are among the seven killed," an intelligence official said on condition of anonymity...

10.27.10 Parliament adopts pension bill, paving the way for reform

(AP) October 27 - France's lower house of parliament approved a pension reform bill on Wednesday, removing the last legislative hurdle to the proposal becoming law. The draft's proposal to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62 has triggered weeks of protest. France's parliament granted final approval Wednesday to a bill raising the retirement age from 60 to 62, a reform that has infuriated the country's powerful unions and touched off weeks of protests and strikes. The National Assembly approved the final text of the bill in a 336-233 vote Wednesday, marking its final hurdle in parliament. It was a victory for conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy, who has stood firm despite the protests an unpopular stance that has resulted in his lowest approval ratings since he took office in 2007. Protesters aren't yet giving up the fight, since Sarkozy hasn't yet signed the bill. In an attempt to revive a protest movement that has lost momentum lately, unions plan a new nationwide day of street protests and strikes Thursday that are expected to cause travel problems. France's civil aviation authority says Thursday's strikes mean airlines must cancel a third of their flights at Charles de Gaulle, Paris’ main airport, and half their flights at the smaller Orly airport south of the capital. Airlines generally try to spare long-haul flights in such cancellations. [More>>france24.com]


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