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11.20.08 Asian stocks fall, extending global rout
November 20 - Asian stocks fell yesterday, extending a global rout, as Japan's exports declined the most in almost seven years and US consumer prices sank by a record. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slumped 4.9 percent to 75.35 at 2:58 p.m. in Tokyo, extending this week's decline to 9.3 percent. Thirteen stocks fell for each that rose on the measure. MSCI's Asian index is less than a point away from its five-year low of 75.19, last reached on Oct. 27, as recessions in Japan and Hong Kong and lower profit forecasts wiped out a 25 percent rally sparked by global interest rate cuts and Barack Obama's presidential victory in the US.
That follows announcements yesterday that new-home starts in October were the lowest since at least 1959, when the government began keeping data. The consumer price index plummeted by the most since that series of monthly data was started in 1947, as the economy slowed so abruptly that companies had to slash prices to sell products...
11.20.08 Judge orders five detainees freed from Guantánamo
November 20 - In the first hearing on the government's justification for holding detainees at the Guantánamo Bay detention camp, a federal judge ruled Thursday that five Algerian men were held unlawfully for nearly seven years and ordered their release. The judge, Richard J. Leon of Federal District Court in Washington, also ruled that a sixth Algerian man was being lawfully detained because he had provided support to the terrorist group al-Qaeda. The case was an important test of the Bush administration's detention policies, which critics have long argued swept up innocent men and low-level foot soldiers along with high-level and hardened terrorists. [More>>nytimes.com]
11.20.08 Egypt hosts Arab piracy meeting
November 20 - Egypt has held a meeting of six Arab countries in an attempt to forge a joint strategy against piracy in the Gulf of Aden, which threatens the international trade route through Egypt's Suez Canal. The countries represented in the meeting on Thursday were those who share the Red Sea with Egypt - Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Jordan. A representative from Somalia's transitional government also attended the meeting, held behind closed doors in Cairo. Wafaa Bassem, an Egyptian diplomat, said ahead of the talks that the meeting would examine several options to tackle piracy, which threatens the Suez Canal trade and as such Egypt's key source of revenue.
11.20.08 Warplanes, troops kill 40 militants in NW Pakistan
ISLAMABAD (Reuters) November 20 - Pakistani forces killed 40 Islamist fighters on Thursday as artillery and jet fighters backed ground troops fighting in the Bajaur tribal region, and an air strike hit militants in Swat valley, officials said. Pakistani troops launched an offensive in Bajaur last August, and the military says more than 1,500 militants have been killed while 73 soldiers have also died, though no independent verification of casualties is available. NATO forces launched "Operation Lionheart" recently to put pressure along the Afghan side of the border across from Bajaur and squeeze the Taliban and al-Qaeda militants into areas where they can be attacked more easily.
11.20.08 Medvedev's Venezuela, Cuba trips set to rile US
MOSCOW (Reuters) November 20 - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's visits to Venezuela and Cuba during a week-long trip to Latin America look set to irk Washington, highlighting a foreign policy challenge facing President-elect Barack Obama. His trip to Venezuela, a key buyer of Russian arms, coincides with the two countries' first joint naval exercise in the Caribbean — traditionally viewed by the United States as its backyard. During his stay in Cuba, the Russian leader is likely to demonstrate Moscow's commitment to renew a Cold War-era alliance with Havana, abandoned after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Russia has stepped up ties with Venezuela and Cuba as its relations with the West and particularly the United States soured in the past few years amid a series of rows ranging from Kosovo to US missile defence plans in Eastern Europe. [More>>khaleejtimes.com]
11.20.08 Egypt minister says no to face veil
CAIRO (AFP) November 20 - The Egyptian ministry for religious endowments has weighed into the debate on whether a Muslim woman should wear a face veil with a book arguing that it is not Islamic, a newspaper reported on Thursday. The independent daily Al-Masry al-Yom published extracts of the book, entitled "The veil is a custom, not worship" by Religious Endowments Minister Mahmud Hamdi Zaqzuq, which the ministry will distribute to mosques. "I will absolutely not allow the spread of the niqab (the face veil) culture in Egypt," the newspaper quoted the minister as saying. [More>>timesofindia.indiatimes.com]
11.20.08 The medical miracle
November 19 - Mother-of-two becomes first transplant patient to receive an organ grown to order in a laboratory. A 30-year-old Spanish woman has made medical history by becoming the first patient to receive a whole organ transplant grown using her own cells. Experts said the development opened a new era in surgery in which the repair of worn-out body parts would be carried out with personally customized replacements. Claudia Castillo, who lives in Barcelona, underwent the operation to replace her windpipe after tuberculosis had left her with a collapsed lung and unable to breathe. The bioengineered organ was transplanted into her chest last June at the Hospital Clinic in Barcelona.
11.19.08 Dow plunges below 8,000 - 1st time since '03
NEW YORK, November 19 - Stocks fell hard on Wednesday, with the Dow closing below 8,000 for the first time since March 2003, as ongoing anxiety about the economy and uncertainty about the future of the auto industry weighed on the market. The Dow Jones industrial average (INDU) shed more than 400 points to close 5% lower. All 30 Dow components lost ground. The Standard & Poor's 500 (SPX) index slid 6% to its lowest level since March 2003. And the Nasdaq composite (COMP) lost 6.5% to settle at its lowest point since April 2003. Stocks languished for most of the day, with the sell-off accelerating near the close of trade. Wednesday's dramatic retreat erases gains made in the previous session. [More>>cnn.com]
11.19.08 Big Three auto CEOs flew private jets to ask for taxpayer money
November 19 - Some lawmakers lashed out at the CEOs of the Big Three auto companies Wednesday for flying private jets to Washington to request taxpayer bailout money. "There is a delicious irony in seeing private luxury jets flying into Washington, D.C., and people coming off of them with tin cups in their hand, saying that they're going to be trimming down and streamlining their businesses," Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-New York, told the chief executive officers of Ford, Chrysler and General Motors at a hearing of the House Financial Services Committee.
11.19.08 Al-Qaeda warns 'house negro' Obama against sending more troops to Afghanistan
DUBAI, November 19 - Calling US President-elect Barack Obama a "house negro", al-Qaeda number two Ayman Zawahiri has warned him against sending more troops to Afghanistan, in an internet audio message released on Wednesday. ( Watch ) Zawahiri insulted Obama and other black Americans who have held high office in the US administration with the term used by the late black militant leader Malcolm X. "It is true about you and people like you ... what Malcolm X said about the house negroes," he said, naming former secretary of state Colin Powell and the current secretary, Condoleezza Rice.
11.19.08 Suspected US strike kills 5 militants in Pakistan
PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) November 19 - A suspected US drone aircraft fired two missiles at a house in northwestern Pakistan on Wednesday, killing five suspected militants, possibly including an Arab al-Qaeda operative, intelligence officials said. The al-Qaeda fighter was identified as Abdullah Azam al-Saudi by an intelligence official based in Dera Ismail Khan, hours after the missile attack in Janikhel tribal area of neighbouring Bannu district in North West Frontier Province.
"He used to coordinate between al-Qaeda and Taliban in Pakistan, and had also been responsible for recruiting people," the official told Reuters on condition of anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the media. There was no other corroboration that the Arab al-Qaeda fighter had been killed. Janikhel is not part of one of Pakistan's seven semi-autonomous tribal regions, but borders Waziristan — a militant hotbed where suspected US drone aircraft have launched a series of missile strikes in recent months. [More>>Kahleejtimes.com; See also alarabiya.net, November 19, "Top al-Qaeda leader killed in US missile strike" :
11.19.08 Iraq arrests senior Iranian commando at airport
BAGHDAD (AFP) November 19 - Iraqi security forces have arrested an alleged "senior" Iranian commando from the elite Revolutionary Guard's Quds Force at Baghdad International Airport, the US military said Wednesday. The military said they suspected the man of "involvement in facilitating Iranian weapons shipments into Iraq" under the cover of working for an organization involved in the restoration of Iraqi religious sites. The man is alleged to have used the organization as a front in order to bring weapons into Iraq concealed in shipments of building materials, the military said in a statement released late Tuesday.
11.19.08 Iraq discoversd remains of 150 Kurds in south Iraq
NAJAF, Iraq (Reuters) November 19 - Iraqi officials flew the remains of 150 Kurds found in a mass grave home to Kurdistan on Wednesday, after a moving ceremony that paid tribute to victims of repression under ousted dictator Saddam Hussein. The mass grave was first discovered by a farmer in an area near the southern city of Najaf three months ago, containing the remains of men, women and children. Officials identified them as Kurds by documents on some of the bodies. [More>>khaleejtimes.com]
11.19.08 Consumer price decline prompts fear of deflation
NEW YORK, November 19 - In another sign that the struggling economy continues to slow, consumer prices tumbled by a record amount in October, carried lower by skidding energy and transportation prices, raising the specter of deflation. The Consumer Price Index, a key measure of how much Americans spend on groceries, clothing, entertainment and other goods and services, fell by 1 percent in October compared with prices in the previous month, the Labor Department reported Wednesday morning.
It was the steepest single-month drop in the 61-year history of the pricing survey and raised concerns about deflation as the economy contracts and demand for goods and services plunge. Another report released Wednesday indicated that new home construction continued to fall. "This month it's more than slowing, it's outright contraction," said James O’Sullivan, United States economist at UBS. "And yes, if you extrapolate that, it's deflation." A continued decline in prices could worsen the economic slowdown by making it harder to pay off debts and would negate the impact of interest-rate cuts by the Federal Reserve. [More>>nytimes.com]
11.19.08 Indonesian government to detain blogger for defamation
November 19 - Communication and Information Minister Muhammad Nuh on Wednesday pledged that his office would arrest a blogger for creating a site that defaming the Prophet Muhammad. Muhammad Nuh said his office had a tool to detect the blogger's whereabouts. "We will penalize anyone or any group responsible for making such blogs," he told tempointeraktif.com. Nuh said the blogger had violated the 2008 law on information and electronic transactions, by disseminating information which could create rivalry among religious communities.
11.19.08 Indian navy fights off Somali pirates, destroys vessel
NEW DELHI, November 19 - An Indian naval frigate sunk a pirate vessel after repulsing an attack in the Gulf of Aden in a significant blow to the sea brigands at the heart of their operations in a third successive strike in as many weeks. The success for INS Tabar to neutralise rising sea piracy off Somalia came in the first major offensive from among dozens of warships from several countries protecting shipping lanes in the area when it destroyed the 'mother ship' of a group of pirates after a fierce battle on Tuesday. The pro-active operation from the Indian Navy comes a week after it saved two merchant vessels — one from India and other from Saudi Arabia — from being hijacked by sea pirates on Nov. 11 in the Gulf of Aden near the Horn of Africa. [More>>indianexpress.com; See related story:
"The pirates depend on us, and we benefit from them," said Sahra Sheik Dahir, a shop owner in Haradhere, the nearest village to where a hijacked Saudi Arabian supertanker carrying $100 million in crude was anchored Wednesday. These boomtowns are all the more shocking in light of Somalia's violence and poverty: Radical Islamists control most of the country's south, meting out lashings and stonings for accused criminals. There has been no effective central government in nearly 20 years, plunging this arid African country into chaos...
11.18.08 How can so much spam come from one place?
November 18 - At roughly 4:30pm Eastern time last Tuesday, the volume of junk e-mail arriving at inboxes around the world suddenly plummeted by at least 65 percent, an unprecedented drop caused by what is believed to be a single, simple act. According to security experts, one Silicon Valley based computer firm was playing host to computers of various organizations that controlled the distribution of much of the world's spam. Confronted with evidence tracing the spam activity back to the hosting firm, McColo Corp., Internet service providers pulled the plug, severing McColo's online connections.
By nearly all accounts, spam volumes have remained at far diminished levels, though experts interviewed for this story expect spam to soon bounce back or even exceed previous levels. But the question remains: How could such a massive concentration of spam activity be hosted for so long from the servers at a single US-based facility, in the belly of the security and tech community in Silicon Valley? The answer exemplifies how complex the battle against spam has become. Like other Internet hosting firms, McColo -- which has not been charged with any crime and has been unavailable for comment -- assigns certain Internet addresses for its clients' computers to use. In effect, that's how those firms operate on the Web.
But the spam often does not come directly from those computers, according to security experts who have documented the activity. Rather, McColo appears to have been home to a number of key Internet servers — computers that control networks of computers — that were used by their respective owners to coordinate the actions of hundreds of thousands of PCs that may be compromised with malicious software designed to turn them into spam-spewing zombies. According to research by several in the computer security community, some of the largest collections of hacked PCs, known as robot networks or "botnets," may have had their master control servers hosted at McColo. [More>>washingtonpost.com]
11.18.08 Canadian mosque accuses paper of 'extremism'
DUBAI, November 18 - Denies report it posted Jewish, Western slurs. A Canadian mosque that came under fire last week for publishing slurs and advocating a conservative lifestyle for Muslims is fighting back against what it said was distortion and discrimination. Mohamed Abou-Bakr, an official at the administration of the Khalid Bin al-Walid Mosque in Toronto told AlArabiya.net that the mosque had sent a complaint to the Canadian newspaper the Toronto Star after an article alleging it publicized slurs against Jews and western societies on its website and warned members against integration. The complaint accused the paper of "distorting" the content of the mosque's website in an attempt to "turn society against the mosque by charging it and the entire Muslim community in Canada of terrorism."
The statement, signed "Khalid Bin Al-Walid Mosque Management and the Board of Directors," continues: "We try our best to enrich Islamic knowledge for anyone who visits our web site and show to them the differing views of Islamic scholars on a particular subject." And, it adds: "We make it clear to all readers of our web site that unless the answers are provided by the Khalid mosque, the answers do not necessarily reflect the views of Khalidmosque.org."
The numerous attempts to block construction illustrate how a smoldering conflict that otherwise remains hidden from view is being openly waged in the field of architecture. Wherever you go, the pattern is almost identical: First there are complaints about encroachments on the urban environment and haggling over possible locations and the height of domes and minarets — whether they can be 15, 20 or 55 meters. Or, as is the case in Munich, it might just be about aesthetic competition with a nearby church. And, then, the debate moves to the underlying issue: the locals' fear of preachers of hate, terrorist attacks, jihad and the accusation that, with every minaret it builds, Europe is prostrating itself further to the power of Mecca...
Editorial note: "The clash of religions and placing limitations on God." The integration of Islamic cultures into Western society involves complex issues relating to traditions and religions and the misunderstandings that may be propagated through sacred teachings, teachers and politicians. Declamations against the Jews have a long history, for instance, from the time Rome invaded Palestine (Rome called it Palestine). To the pagan Romans Jews did not worship the gods, and after Titus sacked Jerusalem in 70 A.D., Jews were rounded up and sent to all parts of the empire as slaves, and many others found themselves being devoured in the empire's arenas and coliseums. Later Rome added Christians to the list of those who would be persecuted and fed to the beasts. The persecution of those who were "godless" continued, and as the West converted to Christianity, the Jews became persecuted more. "They killed Christ," was and continues to be a perception passed through the generations. The teachings played down the fact that Jesus Christ was a Jew and fully obeyed the Law of Moses, required of all Jews. Beginning with the Apostle Paul, however, the early Christian followers began to accept a new teaching, that the "Law of Moses" (commonly referred to as the Jewish Scriptures or Old Testament) is old and now obsolete, being only "shadows" of the New Testament. The teachings continue to this day among Christian ministers that the New Testament replaced the Old Testament, and Jews are criticized for not accepting Christ as "god and savior (Messiah)."
11.18.08 Pirates strike off Africa again as new cargo ship is hijacked
November 18 - Pirates operating off the east coast of Africa struck again today when a cargo ship with an international crew was seized in the Gulf of Aden. The latest act of piracy in the dangerous waters of the Arabian Sea came as a hijacked supertanker carrying $100 million of crude oil remained anchored off the lawless Somali coast. Chinese state media has reported that the Hong Kong registered ship named Delight was seized this afternoon as it headed towards the Bandar Abbas port in Iran carrying 36,000 tones of wheat. Jane Campbell, US Navy Commander of the Bahrain-based 5th Fleet, says the ship is likely to be heading toward an anchorage site off the coast of Somalia. The nationalities of the 25 crew members are unknown but it is not thought they are from Hong Kong or mainland China. [More>>timesonline.co.uk]
11.18.08 US military launches joint border operation with Pakistan
WASHINGTON, November 18 - The US military has launched a coordinated operation with Pakistani forces to put pressure on insurgents on both sides of Afghanistan's wild eastern frontier, a US military commander said Tuesday. Dubbed "Operation Lionheart," the operation takes cooperation between US, Afghan and Pakistani forces to "the next level" in terms of intelligence sharing and coordination, said Colonel John Spiszer. "We are in coordination on a daily basis with the Frontier Corps," said Spiszer, who commands the 1st Infantry Division's 3rd Brigade.
11.18.08 Iran opens fourth navy base in Gulf
November 18 - The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) announced the opening of its fourth navy base on the shores of the Persian Gulf, opposite the United States Navy Base in Bahrain. "The [IRGC Navy] forces' preparedness to confront any sort of threat posed by enemies in the Persian Gulf has increased," Rear Admiral Murteza Saffari told reporters on Monday. Saffari explained that the location of the new navy base near the port town of Asalouya, was chosen because it showed the "highest level of foreign naval movements" and because of its strategic position opposite the US Navy Base in Bahrain.
11.18.08 Iran kills drug smugglers, seizes a ton of opium
November 18 - State television says police have killed four drug smugglers and have confiscated more than a ton of opium. Tuesday's report says the clash with smugglers took place near the town of Mirjaveh, about 950 miles (1,500 kilometers) southeast of the capital, Tehran, near the borders with Afghanistan and Pakistan. State television says the police seized about 1.6 metric tons (1.8 tons) of opium. The area has been the scene of frequent clashes between police and drug smugglers. Iran lies on a major drug route between Afghanistan and Europe, as well as the Persian Gulf states. Every year, Iran burns more than 60 tons of seized narcotics as a symbol of its determination to fight drugs. [>thejakartapost.com]
11.17.08 Wall Street slides on Japan recession jitters
NEW YORK (AFP) November 17 - US stocks opened weaker today as investors shrugged off the Group of 20 weekend economic summit and reacted to news that Japan had joined the Eurozone in recession. In opening trades, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 108.80 points (1.28 per cent) to 8,388.51 and the Nasdaq fell 15.17 points (1.00 per cent) to 1,501.68. The broad Standard & Poor's 500 index declined 11.72 points (1.34 per cent) to 861.57.
11.17.08 Bank of America to exercise option, buy in 19.6 billion CCB shares
BEIJING, November 17 - Bank of America said here on Monday it would exercise its option and purchase 19.58 billion H shares of China Construction Bank from central Huijin. The exercise price per share will be 1.2 times of the audited net assets value per share on Sept. 30, 2008. The transaction is scheduled to be completed by Nov. 30, 2008. [>xinhuanet.com]
11.17.08 Citi plans asset sales and job cuts
November 17 - The banking giant Citigroup, which a decade ago set out to rewrite the rules of American finance, announced Monday morning that it would cut 50,000 jobs in the coming quarters, largely by selling assets. In a meeting with employees, the bank's executives also said that Citigroup was seeking to shore up its capital base and cut risky positions. In addition, the bank would trim expenses by 16 percent to 19 percent, to about $50 billion in 2009. The job cuts would be in addition to about 23,000 layoffs already this year. Most of the job reductions would come through attrition or the sale of units, the bank said, meaning the actual number of layoffs could be less at the bank. The cuts would leave the bank with about 300,000 employees, down from its peak of about 375,000 in the fourth quarter of last year. [More>>nytimes.com]
11.17.08 Hijacked Saudi oil tanker in Arabian Sea freed: TV
DUBAI, November 17 - A Saudi crude tanker hijacked by pirates in the Arabian Sea on Monday has been freed, AlArabiya TV reported citing an unnamed official Saudi source. The US Navy, which earlier reported the hijacking, said the Saudi-owned super tanker seized by pirates off the coast of Africa is approaching the Somali coast. Saudi Aramco, which owns the supertanker, said it had no knowledge of any release. The US Navy earlier said that pirates have taken control of a Saudi oil supertanker off east Africa. The Sirius Star was the first oil tanker to have been seized by pirates in the area. The huge vessel can hold up to two million barrels of crude oil. [More>>alarabiya.net;See update:
There were no reports of damage to the ship or injury to the 25 crew aboard, which includes two Britons. But the capture of $100m worth of oil represents a dramatic show of strength from the Somali pirates who traditionally operate from speedboats, using automatic weapons and rocket launchers. News of the hijacking pushed up the price of crude by 2 per cent yesterday afternoon...
11.17.08 Taliban reject Karzai's offer for talks
KABUL, November 17 - Taliban rejected an offer of peace talks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, saying Monday there would be no negotiations until foreign troops leave Afghanistan. Karzai offered Sunday to provide security for reclusive Taliban leader Mullah Omar if he enters negotiations and said the US and other Western nations could leave Afghanistan or oust him if they disagree. But Zabiullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, said there could be no talks while foreign troops are in the country. "The Taliban's (leadership) decided they will not take part in any peace talks with Karzai or Karzai's administration until such a day when foreign forces leave Afghanistan," Mujahid said. [>thenews.com.pk]
11.17.08 Five Pakistani soldiers killed in suicide bombing
ISLAMABAD (DPA) November 17 - Five soldiers were killed on Monday in a suicide bombing at an army check post in Pakistan's restive Swat valley, security officials said. "A suicide bomber riding a red colored Mazda Datsun (mini truck) hit the post this morning near Gashkor village. Five soldiers were killed while five more troops and three civilians were injured in the attack," district police chief Dilawar Bangash said. Colonel Nadeem Ahmad, local army spokesman in the district, confirmed the incident and said the blast completely destroyed the security post.
11.17.08 Ex-Soviet bloc leads rises in CO2 emissions: UN
OSLO, Norway (Reuters) November 17 - Greenhouse gas emissions in many industrialized nations are still rising, especially in the former Soviet bloc, despite agreements to cut back, the UN Climate Change Secretariat said on Monday. Emissions by 40 industrialized nations grew by 2.3 percent to the equivalent of 18.0 billion tones of carbon dioxide in 2006 from 17.6 billion in 2000, it said. They dipped 0.1 percent in 2006 compared with 2005 but underlying trends were still up.
11.16.08 Gulf stocks plunge further as G20 fails to halt panic
KUWAIT CITY (AFP) November 16 - Stock markets in the Gulf states plunged on the week's opener Sunday as panic from the fallout of the global economic crisis continued to dampen investor sentiment. The slump came despite the approval by leaders of the G20 nations of an action plan on Saturday to restore global growth and prevent future financial upheaval while promising new spending plans and a set of reforms. Markets of Dubai, Muscat and Doha were the biggest losers, while the Saudi market, the largest Arab bourse, fluctuated sharply at the opening after diving 7.4 percent on Saturday to its lowest level since March 2004.
In the United Arab Emirates, the two bourses of Dubai and Abu Dhabi continued to reel under the woes of the flagging real estate sector amid reports of a sharp drop in the prices of units. Turnover was sharply down from this year's average, an indication that many investors are staying away amid a huge sell-off that included blue chip stocks. Traders said the sell-off came mainly from investors who were forced to liquidate stocks in order to raise cash to meet debt commitments. The Dubai Financial Market closed down 5.9 percent 1,981.44 points, the first time in more than four years it has dropped below the 2000-point barrier. [More>>khaleejtimes.com]
11.16.08 Tsunami alert lifted after quakes
November 16 - A tsunami warning issued after two strong earthquakes struck in the area of northern Sulawesi has been lifted, Indonesia's meteorological agency has said. A magnitude 7.7 quake struck in the Gorontalo area of Sulawesi island at a shallow depth of 10 km (6.2 miles), the agency said. It said a second 6.0 magnitude quake struck shortly afterwards in northern Sulawesi. The US Geological Survey said the second quake, at 5.34pm GMT, was 5.6 magnitude at a depth of 9.9 km (6.2 miles), 83 miles northwest of Gorontalo. Indonesia launched a new hi-tech system on Tuesday aimed at detecting a potential tsunami. It is also intended to provide faster alerts in a region battered by frequent earthquakes. The sprawling archipelago of some 17,000 islands lies in the seismically-active 'Pacific Ring of Fire.' It was hit by a devastating tsunami four years ago that left an estimated 170,000 people dead or missing in Aceh province. [news.sky.com; For a large part of the stories relating to the December 25, 2004 Tsunami see:
11.16.08 Stem cell 'living bandage' heals injury
LONDON, November 16 - Scientists at Bristol university have managed to grow a "living bandage" from a patient's own stem cells in a bid to heal a common sporting knee injury. Every year, many people suffer tears to the meniscal cartilage, which acts as a shock absorbing cushion between the bones of the upper and lower leg. Many are men and women in their twenties and thirties and the tears are frequently the result of twisting the leg during jogging, football, rugby, horse riding or skiing. Attempts made to sew together ripped meniscal cartilage today are often unsuccessful and can result in sportsmen spending a long time off the pitch undergoing rehabilitation.
11.16.08 'Iranians train Syrians to fight Sunnis'
November 16 - Iranian officers affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) have in the past four months established intelligence cells in Lebanon, comprised of Syrian agents and Hizbullah members, whose aim is to track down and annihilate extreme Sunni armed cells, the Kuwaiti-based daily A-Siyasa reported. The paper quoted a diplomatic source from the Gulf, who revealed the content of a report compiled by European intelligence agencies.
"Approximately 200 IRGC agents, who were based in Iraq, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, have arrived in Lebanon via Syria since late July, and began forming cells comprising members of [the Lebanese Shi'ite movements] Hizbullah and Amal, as well as Syrian intelligence officers," the diplomatic source told A-Siyasa. The cells included between 10-20 people each, and were residing in apartments belonging to pro-Syrian parties and individuals, including former Lebanese legislators and ministers.
The intelligence report stated that the IRGC-trained cells' prime target was to track down members of Sunni terror cells and to reveal their sources of weapons and money. Another aim was to assassinate or arrest Sunnis affiliated with terror in Lebanon. This, the report maintained, would serve to prove Syrian Bashar Al-Assad's claims that Lebanon has turned into a terror hub. [More>>jpost.com; See related stories:
11.16.08 Troops kill 30 insurgents in Afghanistan: US military
KABUL, Afghanistan, November 16 - Afghan and international troops killed 30 militants in southern Afghanistan's Helmand province, the US military said Sunday. The soldiers had been on patrol in the volatile province late Saturday when they spotted militants in the Nahr Surkh district, US Forces Afghanistan said in a statement. "The combined forces engaged the militants with small-arms fire, mounted weapons and supporting fire, killing 30 militants and destroying two militant vehicles," it said. No casualties were reported to the soldiers or civilians, it said. The force did not identify the militants it said it had killed. However Taliban militants and their allies are active in Helmand which is also the main producer of Afghanistan's illegal opium. [>thenews.com.pk; See also:
11.16.08 Iran' VP under new fire over 'insulting the Koran'
TEHRAN, November 16 - An aide to Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has come under fire for attending a ceremony that involved actions deemed insulting to the Koran, a row that has given fuel to the Iranian president's opponents before next year's election. Esfandyar Rahim Mashaie, who survived criticism this summer for asserting that Iran is "a friend of the Israeli people", came under renewed fire from conservatives and from religious leaders for "insulting the Koran." At a ceremony in Tehran on Nov. 8 on foreign investment in Iran's tourism industry, a dozen dancing girls clad in traditional clothes brought the Islamic holy book to the narrator on a tray. Official ceremonies in the Islamic republic often begin with a recitation of excerpts from the Koran, but the fact that the book was carried to the narrator by dancing girls went down badly with many influential figures. [More>>alarabiya.net]
11.16.08 Kuwaiti MPs to question premier over Iran cleric
KUWAIT, November 16 - Three Kuwaiti MPs said on Sunday they would seek to question the prime minister over a visit by an Iranian Shiite cleric, seen as controversial by local media, reviving a standoff between parliament and government. Waleed al-Tabtabai, Mohammad al-Mutair and Mohammad Hayef, all Sunni Muslim lawmakers, said in a joint statement that they will file the request on Monday. The three Sunni Islamist deputies said they will present a motion to question Sheikh Nasser al-Mohammad al-Sabah over possible violation of "security restrictions and religious rules" by allowing the cleric to visit although he had been banned from entering the country.
11.16.08 Dalai Lama to take a back seat in Tibet's struggle for freedom
DELHI, November 16 - Half a century after he fled from the Chinese invasion of Tibet and began campaigning for its freedom, the Dalai Lama is ready to stand down from his role as the movement's political leader, amid mounting personal frustration with the lack of progress. Hundreds of Tibetans are gathering this week in Dharamsala, India, his base in exile, for a six-day crisis meeting that many believe is the most important for a generation. At issue will be how to proceed in the face of Chinese intransigence. Central to the debate will be the Dalai Lama's offer to take a back-seat role.
"His Holiness has said that China is trying to make this into an issue about him," said Tenzin Taklha, the Dalai Lama's spokesman. "He does not want to be a hindrance. He is taking a back seat at the present time because of a lack of [progress]. This is a very important event for the Tibetan movement. This will be deciding the direction we follow." The Dalai Lama retains the respect of the Tibetan movement, but there are some who have disagreed with his tactics over the years. While he has garnered worldwide support — including the backing of celebrities such as Richard Gere and Goldie Hawn — not all have supported his promotion of a conciliatory "middle way." In contrast to his call for "meaningful autonomy," a younger, more frustrated generation of Tibetans is demanding full independence. [More>>independent.co.uk; For background see:
11.16.08 Car bomb kills 15
BAQUBA, Iraq (AFP) November 16 - A car bomb has exploded at a police checkpoint in Iraq's volatile Diyala province today, killing at least 15 people, including seven policemen. Police Major Hassan al-Kurawi said another 20 people were wounded in the attack, which took place east of the provincial capital Baquba hours after Iraq's cabinet approved a wide-ranging military pact that would have all US troops withdraw by the end of 2011.
11.16.08 Bangladesh raids Islamist den, seizes explosives
DHAKA, Bangladesh (Reuters) November 16 - Bangladesh security forces raided a hideout of an outlawed Islamist group, arrested a top leader and seized 70 kg (155 lbs) of explosives, officials said on Sunday. "On intelligence tips we raided a hideout and arrested a top commander of the outlawed Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen group, and seized the explosives and 150 grenade shells," Colonel Gulzaruddin Ahmed of the Rapid Action Battalion elite force told reporters. He said another group leader and suspected mastermind of its operations, Moulana Sayed, managed to escape during the raid in a Dhaka suburb.
11.16.08 Gunmen seize cargo ship with 23 crew off Somalia
SEOUL, South Korea, November 16 - Armed gunmen have hijacked a cargo ship carrying 23 crew off the coast of Somalia, the latest attack near the lawless African country, a South Korean official said Sunday. The 20,000-ton-class ship, owned by a Japanese shipping company and registered in Panama, was seized by gunmen Saturday evening in waters 155 kilometers east of Somalia's Aden port, a South Korean Foreign Ministry official said, on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the record. The condition and safety of the crew were not immediately known. The official said he has no information on whether the gunmen were asking for ransom for the sailors’ release. The official said the 23 abducted sailors include South Koreans and Filipinos. Somalia, which has had no functioning government since 1991, is the world's top piracy hotspot. [More>>japantoday.com; See related story,
Editorial note: The UN Security Council resolution "permitting countries to enter Somalia's territorial waters to combat 'acts of piracy and armed robbery..' " appears to set a precedent that could be applied to other countries who fail to police terrorist activities against other states that are launched from within their borders.
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