Intrnational Agencies News
Maps of interest
East Asia Watch
Dates of the wars:
1775 - 2005: 230 years
President Bush left today to attend APEC in Santiago, Chile, where he is expected to present his arguments for a standoff with North Korea. North Korea had announced that it had nuclear weapons capable of reaching the west coast of the US. Issues of security are expected to dominate the discussions, rather than economic.
Whether the topic of North Korean long-range missiles comes up remains to be seen. North Korean missiles capable of reaching the western United States were important to the media before George W. Bush's attack on Iraq.
An AP report February 13, 2003 cited a briefing of the Senate Armed Services Committee by CIA Director George Tenet and Vice-Admiral Lowell Jacoby, director of the Defence Intelligence Agency, who testified that the North Koreans have the capability to reach the western United States with a long-range missile. Previous intelligence reports said that such missiles have the capability to carry nuclear weapon-sized payloads. At the time White House spokesman Ari Fleischer, who was unfamiliar with the testimony, said that President Bush concerned about North Korea's missile development programs supports building an anti-missile shield. There was a question then of President George W. Bush's priorities whether North Korea or Iraq poses a greater threat to the United States. Baghdad does not possess weapons that can strike America, officials said. Replying to the questions, Fleischer said, "They are both important priorities. The question is, what are the means best used to deal with each priority." [Details on this February 13, 2003 report at CTV.ca]
The invasion of Baghdad occurred in early April 2003 and Weapons of Mass Destruction were not found in Iraq.
11.19.04 Sudanese government makes peace with rebels before the UN
The Sudanese government and rebel leaders signed an agreement today promising to end the Sudan's 21 year conflict. The agreement signed before the UN security council special session in Nairobi, says that the two sides will end their conflict by the end of the year. [More>>Guardian.co.uk].
11.19.04 Major Sunni mosque stormed and members of Association of Muslim Scholars arrested
US-Iraqi troops stormed the Abu Hanifa mosque, killing 15 insurgents and capturing 13. About 40 people were arrested, including several members of the Sunni clerical Association of Muslim Scholars, which spoke out against the U.S.-led offensive against Fallujah.
Speaking ahead of weekend meetings in Berlin of the Group of 20 wealthy and developing economies, US Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan warned that the US must cut its record budget deficit or face painful consequences. [More>>reuters.com]
11.19.04 Allies, lawmakers want full disclosure What does Powell know about Iran's missiles?
Members of Congress want more details with regard to Secretary of State Colin L. Powell's statement that Iran is studying how to equip missiles with a nuclear bomb. He made remarks Wednesday which appear to have been based on classified information. Thursday, while he was attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Conference, Powell clarified that his comments involved information that was not new and he thinks that "the Iranians still have a lot to do to convince the international community that they are not moving into the direction of a nuclear weapon." Representative Gary L. Ackerman of New York expressed the concern that American credibility already in question after America lied about Iraq was not served by Powell's comment. [More>>LA Times]
11.18.04 The risks reporters take in modern war and peace
With the high journalist mortality rates (36 reporters have died in Iraq, she claims) Hannah Allam, Knight Ridder, "a Deadly Dateline," describes what it is like to be among the media covering the war in Iraq. Her tale of wiping her shoes to remove human flesh after witnessing a bomb blast is disturbing.
11.18.04 al-Zarqawi headquarters may have been found
Soldiers discovered a house in southern Fallujah that may have been the headquarters of terrorist Abu Musab Zarqawi. Correspondence found in the structure written by Zarqawi to his lieutenants suggests the link. [Full story by Jackie Spinner, Washington Post]
11.18.04 Fabulous Bactrian gold collection inventoried
A Bactrian gold collection stashed away by Afghan conservators has been fully inventoried and the missing pieces identified. With the completed inventory, international authorites may be able to recover many of the lost items from dealers and collectors. 22,000 priceless objects including the Bactrian gold were hidden away when the Russian invasion of Afghanistan began. The Taliban government found one of the hiding places but could not break into it. The entire inventory now awaits the safe day when it may be restored to the Kabul museum. Oxford University archeologist Fredrik T. Hiebert led the team that catalogued the amazing collection. [More>>Thomas H. Maugh II article, LA Times]
Those who possess articles that belonged to the Kabul museum collection should voluntarily turn them over to their proper owners.
11.18.04 Secretary of State Powell believes Iran seeks nuclear missiles
Secretary of State Colin Powell said Wednesday that he believed Iran has been studying ways to adapt nuclear weapons for use on missiles. He could not verify the accuracy of the data upon which he commented, however. Powell made the comment to reporters en route to a meeting in Chile. [More LA Times]
11.18.04 Second case of mad cow disease may have been found in the US
Officials of the US Department of Agriculture announced that a second case of mad cow disease, bovine spongiform encephalopathy, may have turned up. It would be four to seven days before the case could be confirmed. The disease attacks the animal's nervous system. An interesting FAQ page on the disease is at http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~comm/bsefaq.html.
11.18.04 Battle for Fallujah and Mosul continues
The battle for Fallujah and Mosul continues today. Mosul is a city that has a Kurdish sector, and the US-Iraqi-Kurdish forces are taking back police stations taken over by the insurgents. The attacks in the Kurdish sector of Mosul included the Kurdish party offices. The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) representative in Mosul, Sadi Ahmed Pire, believes "the Baath Party is behind the attacks, with Islamists following them." [More>>kurdistanobserver]
11.18.04 Jewish man shot in the head in Antwerp, Belgium
A young Jewish man walking near the Muslim and Jewish quarter in Antwerp was shot from close range in the head Wednesday evening and died Thursday afternoon. Moshe Yitzhak Na'eh, 24, was a father of three. It has not been determined whether it is a hate crime. Since no money was taken from his person, theft has been ruled out. [More>>Jerusalem Post]
Drug Trafficking on the Aghanistan Tajikistan border may increase. At the present time Russia guards the border, but it may be withdrawing. Russian Institute for Strategic Studies (RISS) Yevgeni Kozhokhin stated there were serious fears that after the complete withdrawal of Russian frontier guards from the Afghan-Tajik border, the situation there would deteriorate significantly. He believes "the United States bears the major responsibility for the increase of narcotics production under Karzai's regime. At the same time, Mr. Kozhokhin points out that Russia and other countries are willing to cooperate with the United States in the struggle against drug-trafficking. However, Washington has to take concrete steps toward such cooperation..." [More>>rian.ru]
11.18.04 High petroleum prices help Russia reduce its foreign debt
Moscow, November 18 (RIA Vovosti) Rodrigo de Rato, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, sees the increase in petroleum prices an opportunity for Russia to reduce its foreign debt and further economic progress. "I had an opportunity to tell the Russian President that we [the International Monetary Fund] are clearly discerning prospects for Russia's economic growth. High petroleum prices beneficially tell on it," he said to the media after conference with President Vladimir Putin. [More>>rian.ru]
11.18.04 Russia stepping up its military
Russian President Putin's announcement of new nuclear weapons development includes an overall military renewal. The Russian Armed Forces will obtain four strategic missiles, nine space vehicles and five carrier-rockets in 2005, said Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov. Other systems to be added include two Iskander-M rocket launchers, 17 T-90 tanks and 92 BTR-80 armored vehicles for the Russian army and 2 new vessels for the Russian Navy. Two strategic TU-160 bombers, seven Su27CM pursuit planes will be upgraded and high-precision air-to-surface missiles will be added. The Russian media presumed that the Putin comment on nuclear systems addressed the capability to defeat American ABM defense systems. [More>>pravda.ru]
Two high-profile task forces, one consisting of Us policymakers and scholars and the other of Asian experts, urged the Bush administration to adopt a less unilateralist posture towards Asia. The Bush administration should be more flexible in its dealings with North Korea and more engaged in transnational issues other than terrorism and nuclear proliferation. Both groups warned that US influence in Asia could diminish sharply. [More>>Jim Lobe article, www.atimes.com]
11.18.04 The US Senate raised the US debt ceiling to $8.2 trillion
The US Senate voted to raise the debt ceiling to $8.2 trillion. The $1 trillion increase (was $7.2 trillion) prevents the US from defaulting on current debt obligations but increases its debt exposure to the foreign central banks that own the debt (US bonds) and places a greater burden on the stock and bond markets. To sell the extra bonds authorized through the $1trillion increase, the government will no doubt have to increase interest rates. The bond market has already been oversaturated with US offerings and in the September 9, 2004 increment bond buyers did not respond to the offering. More bond offering flops and a possible US default loom on the horizon, since the debt (supply) is at levels exceeding market demand. Annual interest on the debt varies, according to the prime rate, and generally exceeds $1 billion per day. While US Bonds are guaranteed and backed up by the ability of the US to borrow more money, the US may have just passed the threshold of credibility.
11.18.04 "No child left behind" program of Bush administration results in school closings
Experiencing continuing budget problems and a possible scandal, the Oakland, CA Unified School District announced that 13 schools would be closed. It has already closed 5 schools, and one of the reasons for the closing of the schools, besides California budget deficits, was that the schools do not measure up to the "No child left behind" requirements.
11.18.04 China makes trade agreement with Argentina
During his two-day visit in Argentina part of a tour of South America China's President Hu Jintao announced a new trade deal between China and Argentina involving China's $19 billion investment in Argentina in energy production and infrastructure. The agreement will improve Argentina's railway system and provide for oil exploration. [xinhuanet.com]
11.17.04 China concerned the US is sending wrong signals to Taiwan separatists
China urged the United States not to send any wrong signals to Taiwan separatist forces, Tuesday. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue made the comment in response to a US State Department press conference. "The US should honor the commitments repeatedly reaffirmed by the US government and leaders to adhere to the one-China policy, observe the three Sino-US joint communiques and oppose the 'Taiwan independence,'" she said. [More>>xinhuanet.com]
Forty-seven political and religious parties in Iraq plan to boycott the Iraqi January elections. At least eight Shiite groups and one Christian party were among the ranks in the protest. Their statement signed by the parties and groups, mainly Sunni factions led by the Muslim Clerics Association, was made on Wednesday. The reason for the protest is "the (US-Iraqi) assaults in cities like Najaf, Karbala, Samarra, Sadr City, Adhmiya, and especially the genocide crimes in Fallujah." [More>>xinhuanet.com]
11.17.04 Kazakhstan is invoking new controls to thwart terrorists
Kazakhstanıs National Security Committee(CNS) is standing for a toughening of legislation on religious associations, charity funds, and the mass-media. The government is amending the laws governing religious organizations, since those who conduct bomb attacks and mass killings often receive funding through them. It was also suggested to develop new rules for the mass-media. The CNS believes that the mass-media provoke fear among the population by showing terrorist acts and their consequences and in this way they help terrorists. Terrorists using the media become known and consider themselves to be heroes. This is why they choose to die and at the same time find their followers. [More>>khabar.kz]
11.17.04 Chirac said in Britain US-led invasion of Iraq has made the world less safe
French President Jacques Chirac said in London that the US-led invasion of Iraq and ousting of President Saddam Hussein has, if anything, made the world more dangerous. In his interview with the BBC he said, "I'm not at all sure that one can say the world is safer. There is no doubt there has been an increase in terrorism. To a certain extent Saddam Hussein's departure was a positive thing but it also provoked reaction such as the mobilization of terrorists in a number of countries which made the world more dangerous."
11.17.04 Russia tightening its air borders
Russia announced that it is tightening control of its air borders. Should any foreign spy plane, American or otherwise, cross into Russian airspace, Moscow will respond in line with its domestic laws, Colonel General Boris Cheltsov, Air force Chief-of-Staff, said at a press conference Wednesday. This statement was made after Russia detected a US Orion spy jet near the Russian border in the Caucasus. The general commented that it was the first time the Orion spy jet had come near the border and it was probably familiarizing itself with a new route. While this is the first spy plane seen in the area, the general noted that NATO appears to be interested in exploring the area. He stressed that the plane had flown over the neutral zone of the Black Sea without crossing into Russian airspace.
11.17.04 Russia to acquire cutting edge nuclear weapon systems
Moscow: News agencies reported Wednesday that President Vladimir Putin said Russia will acquire new nuclear weapon systems which other nuclear powers do not yet have. The new weapon systems are beyond the drawing boards of other nations and are unlikely to be developed by others in the near future. The new weapons would be deadlier than any contemplated on earth.
11.16.04 NASA SCRAM jet breaks world speed record
NASA launched a SCRAM jet (Supersonic Combustion Ramjet) that broke its previous world speed record and exceeded 7,000 miles per hour, ten times the speed of sound. The X-43A hypersonic aircraft, is an unpiloted 3.7 meter-long vehicle that burns hydrogen and compresses oxygen from the air at a very high speed. The scram engine, unlike conventional jet engines, has no moving parts and uses hydrogen as it's fuel source to power itself. Present rockets use liquid fuel and liquid oxygen which is much heavier, limiting the speed it can achieve. The SCRAM engine uses the oxygen in the atmosphere to mix with the hydrogen, creating thrust that can propel the vehicle much faster than conventional planes of today. The SCRAM engine is believed to be capable of propelling a vehicle at 25,000 MPH, which is the speed needed to escape the Earth's atmosphere.
11.16.04 Bin Laden's mountain fortress
http://www.mjakbar.org (Editor of Asian Age) has an interesting illustration on the mountain fortress that Osama bin Laden may be occupying.
Ismail Khan, a reporter for Dawn.com, spoke to wanted militant Abdullah Mehsud who informed him of a meeting held last week between himself and one of Pakistan's top military commanders, Peshawar, Lt-Gen Safdar Hussain. While the Pakistani military had him and his mujahideen pinned down in his village of Nano, Mehsud managed to escape their pincers. The one-legged militant had been held in Guantanamo for two years and masterminded the kidnapping of two Chinese engineers in early October. Mehsud's brother-in-law, Col (retired) Mohammad Yaqub Mehsud, arranged the meeting at Jandola Fort in South Waziristan, Pakistan on November 8. Mehsud expressed that he was not fighting against the Pakistani people but the US. [More>>Dawn]
11.16.04 Powell to visit Pakistan and India early December
Colin Powell will be visiting Pakistan and India about December 6, 7. He is expected to attend the inaugural ceremony for President Karzai in Kabul on December 7. Powell and President General Pervez Musharraf became close friends during Powell's four-year term as the US Secretary of State. The outgoing Secretary of State plans to visit several countries around the globe. [More>>Dawn]
11.16.04 International conference on energy cooperation held in Baku 11.16.04
Tuesday, a conference initiated by the European Union was held in Baku, Azerbaijan. It's purpose was to explore energy cooperation among the Caspian basin countries. Delegates to the event were from Azerbaijan, Georgia, Belarus, Iran, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Russia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine Uzbekistan and Armenia. The Armenian representative's presence was intended to be low-key, because of past relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Nevertheless, the Armenian representative's arrival in Baku sparked protests from the local public and political organizations. Armenia attended the conference at the Azerbaijani government's invitation. Its proximity to the Caspian oil fields seems to position Armenia as a viable resource in the transportation of fuel. [More>>ArC news]
11.16.04 India planning to invest $3 billion in developing oil and gas fields in Russia
To get a partnership in the energy sector India is talking to Russia about investing $1.5 billion in the Sakhalin-3 gas field and another $1.5 billion in the joint Russian-Kazakh Kurmangazy oil field in the Caspian Sea. The potential is up to one billion metric tons of oil. [11.14.04 AP article in the Hindustan Times]
11.16.04 Margaret Hassan, Irish-Iraqi CARE International agency worker believed to be dead
Several media reports suggest that Margaret Hassan may be dead. Her family received news that she has been killed [See also debka.com/]
11.16.04 Holocaust survivors cut off by Eagleburger's ICHEIC fund to pay for more monuments
The International Commission of Holocaust Era Insurance Claims (ICHEIC) may stop funding $1.15 million to the Israeli Generali Fund, making it nearly impossible for the fund to continue to pay insurance money to Holocaust survivors or the heirs of those who perished. Both funds help to track down pre-World War II insurance funds, mainly Italian, to compensate Holocaust survivors. The funds are used to pay the salaries of personnel who process from 50-70 claims per month from all over the world. ICHEIC's chairman, former US secretary of state Lawrence Eagleburger, has apparently decided to spend the fund on Holocaust monuments rather than people. The dispute between ICHEIC and the Generali Fund involved Eagleburger's denial of a $961,993 payment to a 71-year-old law professor and Holocaust survivor whose father owned a Generali insurance policy. A meeting is scheduled in Washington, and if the allocation of funds is not resolved Generali may have to close down.
ICHEIC was established in 1998 by European insurance companies, Jewish organizations, and the Israeli Knesset to help process insurance claims by Holocaust survivors and their heirs. It was established one year after the Generali Fund was established. [More>>article by Mati Wagner, Jerusalem Post]
About half of the funds recovered for holocaust survivors goes to administration costs.
11.16.04 Two rockets fired from Lebanon into Israel
Earlier this month the United Nations expressed concerns about the possibility of rising tensions along the Israeli-Lebanese border. Monday, evening two rockets were launched from inside Lebanon, one landing in the sea and the other apparently near a northern Israeli town. They may have been fired from the Lebanese border town of Naqura. Previous conflicts with the Israeli army have been with the Hizb Allah guerrillas, but Hizb Allah spokesmen denied knowledge of the source of the rockets. [More>>Al-Jezeera]
The Martyr Ghaleb Awali Group, on Tuesday claimed responsibility for Monday night's Katyusha rocket attack on western Galilee. [More>>Jerusalem Post]
11.16.04 Ebay buys out competitor Marktplaats.ni in Netherlands
Although it had made a good effort to compete against Marktplaats.ni in the Netherlands, Ebay took the easy way out and acquired the popular Dutch meeting place for buyers and sellers of goods and merchandise. The sell price was 225 million euros. [More>>nisnews.nl]
11.16.04 Marine suspended after shooting an unarmed insurgent in Fallujah
The shooting that took place in a Fallujah mosque Saturday was captured by an embedded American journalist. Mosques had been used extensively by insurgents, and, in this case, the men inside the mosque had been left in their wounded state by a former US military unit. The man who was shot had been pretending to be dead.
About 1.7 million people signed a petition in April demanding a popular referendum on secession from Iraq, and the independence movement has scheduled another conference for this week. Wary allies of the US, the Kurds suspect the US will barter Kurdish autonomy for the support of Iraq's Arab majority. Brigadier Rahim Mohammed Shakur, leader of the Kurdish peshmerga fighters 'under Baghdad's command,' said, "If we are ever attacked, I will stop being a regular Iraqi soldier and become a peshmerga again." [More>> kurdistanobserver.com]
11.16.04 US Forces launch offensive against Mosul
1,200 US soldiers launched an attack on Mosul to recapture about 12 police stations that had been abandoned by Iraqi officers after an uprising, following the US-led attack on Fallujah. Militants on the run blew up three police stations behind them. [More>>guardian.uk]
The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has begun operations to close down routes from Mosul to Irbil, where the Korean Zaytun Division is based. The Kurdish town Irbil, near Mosul, may be the object of the next offensive of the insurgents. "If Mosul were to receive a fresh U.S. assault, it could threaten Irbil, which is only 45 minutes by car from Mosul," an official with the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Monday. [More>>kurdistanobserver.com]
11.16.04 Bush announces Condoleezza Rice as Colin Powell's successor
In a short news conference 9:40am ET, President Bush announced the appointment of Condoleezza Rice as the new Secretary of State. Rice was gracious in her acknowledgment of Powell's past four years service as Secretary of State.
11.16.04 Mosul police helping insurgents
Radio Free Europe (RFE), Kathleen Ridolfo General Muhammad Khayri al-Birhawi, the director-general of Mosul police, was arrested by US-Iraqi forces, accusing him of cooperating with terrorists in the city. Earlier, Deputy Governor Khisro Goran accused police of colluding with insurgents: "We are convinced, because we have evidence...that many policemen in Mosul are loyal to the former regime and sympathetic to the terrorists. Their loyalty is not for the new Iraqi regime," Kurdistan Satellite Television reported on 13 November.
11.14.04 US September Bond sales a flop
11.14.04 Editorial by Priscilla Penwright, China hogging the oil not fair to America
VIENNA: Iran has agreed to a full suspension of uranium enrichment in line with an agreement worked out with the European Union...
Pakistani troops have been looking for Mehsud, 28, who was freed in March after about two years' detention at the US prison for terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Saturday Pakistani troops demolished several "terrorist hideouts" and killed up to 40 militants...
A decision handed down Wednesday in Chicago set a precedent on the "theory of liability" with regard to holding those who fund terrorist organizations liable for their activities.
11.13.04 Arafat's hidden horde
Arafat may have controlled a fortune larger than anyone ever conceived all financed through generous donations from charities, the EU, Saudis, other oil-rich countries, and, prior to the invasion of Iraq, from Saddam Hussein, who reportedly gave him $150 million.
11.06.04 Where to bury Arafat? He wanted to be buried at the Temple Mount More>>
Aloke Shekhar interviewed Mr. Saddik Safaev, Foreign Minister of Uzbekistan, on this eve of Safaev's visit to India. Points discussed in the interview reflect issues that are critical to American interests in fighting the war in Afghanistan. More>>
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President Bush launches illegal war
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