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Maravot News of the World
10:55 AM – San Francisco
Mon, Nov 27, 2006
(last post) - Diamond Stud Earrings

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Faces of the Fallen – Iraq

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Metric Conversion

kilometer: 0.6214 mile
meter: 39.37 inches
centimetre: 0.3937 inch
millimetre: 0.03937 inch
foot: 30.48 cm
Br. stone: 14 pounds
kilogram: 2.2046 pounds
litre: 1.0567 US quarts
hectare: 2.471 acres
– 1 djerib (Turkey)
– 1 jerib (Iran)
– 1 gong qing (China)
0° Celcius: = 32° F

Chart showing National Debt & Annual Deficits with Presidents. Democrat administrations are blue, Republican in Red. Green reflects projected Bush debt. Click chart for larger image.

2006 update (2.25.06)

The Chart Showing the National Debt above is still valid: "The debt to the penny,"
The debt projection for 2009 is now $10.3 Trillion. Deficit for 2006 is $435 Billion.
OMB Budget FY2007
Interest on Debt 2006
Federal Debt 2006
Fed. Budget Summary 2006

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Power & Interest News Report : network to improve women's rights in Islam

Osama bin Laden fatwas.
This monster's own words will
lead to his destruction
Definition of fatwa (fatwah)
Maravot News Comment




August 1996

Maps of interest
Click on maps for larger image
Russia, Belarus & neighbors
Israel-Iraq & neighbors
Iran-Afghanistan-Pak.-India; Gulf of Hormuz oil lane Iran threatens to block
Kazakhstan & neighbors

Historical map of Israel. Figure 2 shows the area allocated to
Israel by the UN in 1948. Compare to Israel' s map below of its security wall.

Israel's Security Fence. Click on image for larger view or here for interactive link.

Middle East Watch

Middle East Times

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Kurdo's World (Blog)
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More newspapers

Click on image for org. to impeach Bush & Cheney.

Relevant Works by Mel

The Romance of Anais, an Arthurian-style tale written 1996 describing how Bush got us in the mess in Iraq with a short commentary on the
Chang-an cheat
Tapestry of One – on the creed of Buddha,
Duty & Profit, Nov. 1994
Against Leviathan, Jan. 1993
Immoral Coercion, Dec. 1994
Philistia Triumph thou
because of me
, Dec. 1993
Quest for Human Dignity, July 1994
What Price Justice? Sept. 1992

Maravot News is not responsible for the content of any links
from this site.

News Headlines & Trends

11.25.06 Rumsfeld okayed abuses says former US army general

MADRID (Reuters) November 25 – Outgoing US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld authorized the mistreatment of detainees at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, the prison's former US commander said in an interview on Saturday. Former US Army Brigadier General Janis Karpinski told Spain's El Pais newspaper she had seen a letter apparently signed by Rumsfeld which allowed civilian contractors to use techniques such as sleep deprivation during interrogation.

Karpinski, who ran the prison until early 2004, said she saw a memorandum signed by Rumsfeld detailing the use of harsh interrogation methods. "The handwritten signature was above his printed name and in the same handwriting in the margin was written: 'Make sure this is accomplished,'" she told Saturday's El Pais. "The methods consisted of making prisoners stand for long periods, sleep deprivation ... playing music at full volume, having to sit in uncomfortably ... Rumsfeld authorized these specific techniques." The Geneva Convention says prisoners of war should suffer "no physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion" to secure information.

Editorial note: Today a dear friend sent me a link to a radio show featuring Howard Zinn, "On the uses of History and the War on Terrorism," which published November 25, 2006. Howard Zinn has written numerous books and is professor emeritus at Boston University. After serving as a bombardier in World War II, Howard Zinn went on to become a lifelong dissident and peace activist. He was active in the civil rights movement and many of the struggles for social justice over the past 40 years. His classic work "A People's History of the United States" changed the way we look at history in America. He recently spoke in Madison, Wisconsin where he was receiving the Haven Center's Award for Lifetime Contribution to Critical Scholarship: This is an extract of the lecture: Zinn repeats, ""and if you know history.." throughout the lecture, illustrating how a people can be corrupted by their leaders, to focus money and power into a controlling elite's hands. It's imperialism, not democracy he says. In essence he says the people are drugged into believing that a war for Bush is noble, not realizing that one third of the victims, the dead and mutilated, are children. The argument reminded me of an old poem I wrote in 1972, called "The Prometheid."

Mel Copeland

(Howard Zinn)...Well, do you get the feeling sometime that youıre living in an occupied country? Very often thatıs a feeling I get when I wake up in the morning. I think, "I'm living in an occupied country. A small group of aliens have taken over the country and are trying to do with it what they will, you know, and really are." I mean, they are alien to me. I mean, those people who are coming across the border from Mexico, they are not alien to me, you see. You know, Muslims who come to this country to live, they are not alien to me, you see. These demonstrations, these wonderful demonstrations that we have seen very recently on behalf of immigrant rights, say, and youıve seen those signs saying, you know, "No human being is alien." And I think thatıs true. Except for the people in Washington, you see.

They've taken over the country. They've taken over the policy. They've driven us into two disastrous wars, disastrous for our country and even more disastrous for people in the Middle East...And the question is, how has this been allowed to happen? How have they gotten away with it?

...So, in trying to answer the question, I looked a little at the history of Nazi Germany...And Göring said, "Why, of course, the people donıt want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war? But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy. The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. All you have to do is tell them theyıre being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism. It works the same way in any country."

I was interested in that last line: "It works the same way in any country." I mean, here, these are the Nazis. Thatıs the fascist regime. We are a democracy. But it works the same way in any country, whatever you call yourself. Whether you call yourself a totalitarian state or you call yourself a democracy, it works the same way, and that is, the leaders of the country are able to cajole or coerce and entice the people into war by scaring them...

...war corrupts everybody who engages in it. War poisons everybody who engages in it. You start off as the good guys, as we did in World War II. Theyıre the bad guys. Theyıre the fascists. What could be worse? So, theyıre the bad guys, weıre the good guys. And as the war goes on, the good guys begin behaving like the bad guys. [Full broadcast>>]

11.25.06 Seventy-nine killed including Iraqi soldiers in Iraq

BAGHDAD, November 25 – 79 people have been killed on different places of Iraq in separate incidents of violence on Saturday. More than 50 insurgents were killed and a pregnant woman wounded in a series of clashes between US-Iraqi forces and militants across Iraq, US military and police said. Police said up to 30 insurgents were killed in a series of clashes between joint US-Iraq forces and insurgents around the restive city of Baquba, northeast of Baghdad, police said, without providing further details. Earlier Saturday, a US military statement said US forces came under fire as they approached a suspected bomb-making facility near Taji, just north of the capital, and in the ensuing gun battle 10 insurgents were killed. [More>>]

11.25.06 US finds Iraq insurgency has funds to sustain itself

BAGHDAD, November 25 – The insurgency in Iraq is now self-sustaining financially, raising tens of millions of dollars a year from oil smuggling, kidnapping, counterfeiting, corrupt charities and other crimes that the Iraqi government and its American patrons have been largely unable to prevent, a classified United States government report has concluded. The report, obtained by The New York Times, estimates that armed groups responsible for many of the insurgent and terrorist attacks across Iraq are raising between $70 million and $200 million a year from illegal activities. It says that between $25 million and $100 million of the total comes from oil smuggling and other criminal activity involving the state-owned oil industry that is aided by ³corrupt and complicit² Iraqi government officials.

As much as $36 million a year comes from ransoms paid to save thousands of kidnapping victims in Iraq, the report said. It estimates that unnamed foreign governments — previously identified by senior American officials in Iraq as including France and Italy — paid Iraqi kidnappers an estimated $30 million in ransom last year.

11.25.06 US interference 'allowed terror gang to escape'

November 25 – A team of suspected terrorists involved in an alleged UK plot to blow up trans-atlantic airliners escaped capture because of interference by the United States, The Independent has been told by counter-terrorism sources. An investigation by MI5 and Scotland Yard into an alleged plan to smuggle explosive devices on up to 10 passenger jets was jeopardized in August, when the US put pressure on authorities in Pakistan to arrest a suspect allegedly linked to the airliner plot. As a direct result of the surprise detention of the suspect, British police and MI5 were forced to rush forward plans to arrest an alleged UK gang accused of plotting to destroy the airliners. But a second group of suspected terrorists allegedly linked to the first evaded capture and is still at large, according to security sources. [More>>]

11.25.06 Russia begins deliveries of Tor-M1 to Iran

MOSCOW (Xinhua) November 24 – Russia has begun delivering air defense systems Tor-M1 to Iran within the framework of an earlier signed agreement, Russian news agencies reported on Friday. "The deliveries of Tor-M1 to Iran have begun. The first systems have been delivered to Iran," a source in Russia's military and intestinal complex was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying, adding the Iranian soldiers who will operate the systems were trained in Russia...the Tor-M1 system can identify up to 48 targets and fire at two targets simultaneously at a height of up to 6,000 meters. [Full story>> ; See, November 25, "Russia's arms exporter denies reported missile supplies to Iran."]

11.25.06 BA responds to backlash by lifting ban on small crosses

November 25 – British Airways is to lift its ban on workers openly wearing small crosses after an unprecedented backlash from MPs, bishops and customers. BA made the decision after 100 MPs and 14 bishops joined a campaign of support for Nadia Eweida, a check-in worker who lost an employment appeal to wear a tiny cross. It comes after condemnation by the Archbishop of Canterbury and a threat from the Church of England to sell its £9 million stake in the airline...The ban on Miss Eweida caused outrage because members of other faiths, such as Muslims and Sikhs, are allowed to wear religious symbols. [Full story>>]

11.24.06 Iraqi militias take revenge for slaughter of 215

BAGHDAD (AP) November 23 – Police said to stand by as Shiite attackers hit 7 mosques, burn Sunnis alive. Shiite militiamen doused six Sunni Arabs with kerosene and burned them alive as Iraqi soldiers stood by, and killed 19 other Sunnis in attacks on their mosques Friday, taking revenge for the slaughter of at least 215 Shiites in the Sadr City slum the day before. The mosque attacks came after the government, in a desperate attempt to avert civil war, imposed a sweeping curfew on the capital, shut down the international airport and closed the countryıs main outlet to the shipping lanes in the Persian Gulf.

The Mahdi Army militiamen, armed with machines guns and rocket-propelled grenades, swept through Hurriyah neighborhood near an Iraqi army post, burning four mosques and several homes, and attacking worshippers as they left Friday services, said police Capt. Jamil Hussein. Gunmen loyal to the radical anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr had begun to take over the mixed neighborhood this summer and a majority of its Sunni residents had fled.
[More>>; See also, November 24, "Baghdad hit by wave of attacks."]

11.24.06 Fallout spreads from Russian spy death

November 24 – The fallout from the suspicious death of a former KGB agent in London reached the highest levels of Government this evening, as Britain's top ministers and security officials met to discuss the case. The Cobra Cabinet emergency committee, which met after the July 7 bombings and the discovery of the alleged plot to blow up transatlantic aircraft this summer, convened after doctors found traces of polonium-210, a highly toxic radioactive substance, in the urine of Alexander Litvinenko, a former spy and critic of the Kremlin.

If – as Litvinenko himself claimed before his death last night – the Russian state apparatus is shown to have had a hand in the poisoning, Anglo-Russian relations would be thrown into crisis. The Health Protection Agency, the body charged with protecting the public's health, described the apparently deliberate poisoning of Litvinenko on November 1 as an "unprecedented event" in the UK but said that the risk of exposure to those who came into contact with him was minimal.

...The identity of the poison dramatically catalyzed the investigation into Litvinenko's death. Chemists said that a fatal dose of polonium could only be produced artificially, by a particle accelerator or nuclear reactor. "This is not some random killing. This is not a tool chosen by a group of amateurs. These people had some serious resources behind them," Dr. Andrea Sella, a lecturer in chemistry at University College London, told Reuters.
[Full story>>]

11.23.06 US forces kill civilians, attack on health ministry ends

BAGHDAD, November 23 – American military forces in Iraq killed four civilians and wounded eight others in eastern Baghdad, while an insurgent attack on Iraqi Ministry of Health came to an end in the city's centre on Thursday. According to Iraqi police, a US force opened fire at a small bus during a raid in al-Fallah street in Baghdad's Shiite neighborhood of Sadr City. Witnesses said the victims were on their way to work when a US tank opened fire at their bus. The Americans, suspecting that a kidnapped US soldier was being kept in Sadr City, were conducting continuous raids in neighborhood. [More>> ; See also,, November 23, "Bombs kill 115 in Baghdad, gunmen storm ministry."]

11.23.06 At Beirut rally, Amin Gemayel declares 'second intifada' in Lebanon

November 23 – Former Lebanese president Amin Gemayel, the father of slain Lebanese minister Pierre Gemayel, declared the "second Lebanese intifada for independence," during a rally in honor of his son Thursday in Beirut, Israel Radio reported. "The Lebanese people will not rest until there is a new president in the Baabda palace, in place of Emile Lahoud," said Gemayel. At least 200,000 Lebanese poured into central Beirut to pay tribute to murdered Christian leader Pierre Gemayel on Thursday, turning his funeral into a show of strength against Syria and its Hezbollah allies.

The funeral in the St. George Maronite Cathedral in the capital was attended by Lebanese Druze leader Walid Jumblatt, French Foreign Minister Phillipe Douste-Blazy and Arab League chief Amr Moussa. Television footage showed mourners weeping openly during the service. Gemayel's coffin, wrapped in the flag of his Phalange Party - white with a green cedar emblem - was brought from his hometown and carried through applauding throngs in downtown Beirut to the cathedral, where the packed congregation sang hymns.
[More>> ; See also, November 23, "Lebanon mourners vent anger at pro-Syrian president."]

11.23.06 Pakistani Senate scraps Islamic law on rape

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) November 23 – Pakistanıs upper house of parliament, the Senate, passed a bill curtailing the scope of Islamic laws on rape on Thursday, paving the way for President Pervez Musharraf to sign it into law. The National Assembly, or the lower house, passed the Womenıs Protection Bill last week, in what was seen as a major test of Musharrafıs commitment to his vision of "enlightened moderation" for the predominantly Muslim country. The change in the law has been fiercely opposed by conservative Islamic parties, which make up the main opposition bloc in parliament. They said it would promote "free sex" in the conservative country.

The main change proposed in the bill takes the crime of rape out of the sphere of the religious laws, known as the Hudood Ordinances, and puts it under the penal code. Under the Hudood Ordinances, which were introduced by a military ruler in 1979, a rape victim had to produce four male witnesses to prove the crime, or face the possibility of prosecution for adultery. The proposed change does away with that requirement and will allow convictions to be made on the basis of forensic and circumstantial evidence. Liberal groups and human rights activities have hailed the amendment, although they also called for the complete abolition of the Hudood Ordinances.

11.23.06 'Pakistan trusts China more than US'

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) November 23 – Chinese President Hu Jintao is due in Pakistan on Thursday for a visit that is expected to cement the old friends' 'all-weather relationship' that was for decades underpinned by their mutual hostility towards India. Hu is arriving from India where he agreed with leaders to double trade and work to resolve border disputes. He will be keen to demonstrate China's steadfast support for Pakistan despite the warming Indian ties, analysts said. "There's a redefining of the relationship. The Chinese are demonstrating they're keen to have strong relations with both Pakistan and India. This is partly because China does not want to leave the South Asian sub-continent to other external powers," said former Pakistani foreign secretary Tanvir Ahmad Khan. [More>>]

11.23.06 Suspected bird flu outbreak in Iksan

SEOUL, South Korea, November 23 – The Agriculture Ministry said yesterday that it has discovered a suspected case of bird flu at a poultry farm in Iksan, in the southwest of the country. Health inspectors are now conducting tests after about 6,000 of the 13,000 chickens at the farm died between Sunday and Wednesday, Kim Chang-seob, chief veterinary officer at the ministry said at a briefing. Kim said the government was informed of the incident on Wednesday, raising alarm that the large number of deaths may be an indication the virus is of a virulent strain. The discovery comes as the country is on a high bird flu alert as migratory birds, which can easily spread the life-threatening disease, fly to the Korean Peninsula for the winter, the ministry said. [More>>]

11.22.06 Update, 11.21.06 Experts doubt usefulness of presidential powwow

JAKARTA, Indonesia, November 21 – At least two of the experts who attended the bilateral talks between President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and US President George W. Bush, are unsure whether their rapid-fire meetings with the American leader will amount to anything useful. Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University scholar Komaruddin Hidayat, who met Bush on Monday, said the most important issue for Muslims here was how to solve the decades-old Palestine-Israel conflict. "I have conveyed this to President Bush; that this is our prime concern. As long as there is no sign that the US is willing to solve the problems, Indonesian Muslims will continue to show their anger against the US," he said.

Komaruddin said he told Bush that Muslims here were trying to battle extremism and asked him to reconsider US policies. "Implicitly, we said, please, America's foreign policy, specifically on the Middle East, must be revised. Don't be one-sided because the crisis in Muslim world is mostly influenced by cases in the Middle East," Komaruddin said... Along with Komaruddin, Bush met eight other public figures -- physicist Yohannes Surya, economist Muhammad Ikhsan, educational expert Arief Rahman, health expert Nila Moeloek, Papuan leader Frans Wospakrik, Acehnese leader Yusni Sabi, Ridwan Jamaludin of the Indonesian Institute of Sciences and Adi Santoso from the Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology.
[Full story>> ; See related story,, November 21, "Indonesian protesters tell Bush: You are the terrorist." Update,, November 22, "Bus companies counting their losses after Bush trip": Angry public bus and minivan owners in Bogor are planning to bill the government for losses incurred by United States President George W. Bush's visit to the city on Monday. Chairman of the West Java Organization of Land Transportation Owners, Andriansyah, said 12 bus companies operating 240 city and intercity buses at the Baranangsiang terminal reported they had suffered Rp 600 million (US $65,217) in losses because of the two-day disruption to services caused by the terminal's closure on Sunday... Tightened security and rerouting during Bush's visit led to widespread congestion in the city and 5,000 public minivans and buses did not operate Monday...

11.22.06 Nuclear strikes from 'rougue states' possible – Russian Air Force

MOSCOW (RIA Novosti) November 22 – Russia's Air Force commander said Wednesday he considers nuclear missile launches by terrorists or 'rogue states' to be a genuine threat. "Increasingly probable and dangerous for the US, Russia and European countries are single or multiple missile strikes from third countries, known as rogue states, countries with unstable, non-democratic regimes, or terrorist organizations with access to missile technology," Vladimir Mikhailov said.

Mikhailov said accidental launches were also possible. "Although accidental launches of missiles with nuclear warheads have not occurred in the history of nuclear missile technology, this does not mean they will not occur in the future, given the growing spread of nuclear missiles," he said. Mikhailov also said terrorist organizations and the countries harboring them would not be deterred by the threat of a retaliatory strike, which has acted as a constraint for Russia and the United States, the world's largest nuclear powers. "The objective of terrorists is to attract as much attention to their attacks as possible," he said. [

11.22.06 US proposes NATO-Korea partnership

November 22 – US President George W. Bush plans to propose that South Korea and four other countries be added as partners to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization at its summit conference next week to expand the Atlantic alliance to the Pacific. The proposal, however, will not be an invitation for official membership. "These five countries – at least the three Asian countries, I should say, Australia, Japan and South Korea – do not seek NATO membership," Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns said. "But we seek a partnership with them so that we can train more intensively, from a military point of view, and grow closer to them because we are deployed with them." South Korean government officials said there has been no official proposal from the United States. They said the government will consider the possibility when an official offer is presented. [More>>]

11.22.06 Iraqi court sentences man to death for beheading Japanese backpacker

BAGHDAD, November 22 – The Iraqi central criminal court on Wednesday sentenced a man to death for killing Japanese backpacker Shosei Koda in October 2004. Hussein Fahmi, a 26-year-old member of a militant group formerly led by the now deceased Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, was indicted for his involvement in the murder of 24-year-old Koda. In trying to justify his act, Fahmi told Kyodo News after his arrest that he had to kill people from those countries that had sent troops to Iraq. [More>>]

11.22.06 Bush Sr. defends his son

ABU DHABI (AP) November 22 – Former US president George H.W. Bush was forced here yesterday into a defence of his son, current US President George W. Bush, whose Mideast policies were derided by a hostile audience. "My son is an honest man," Bush told the delegates attending a leadership conference here. "He is working hard for peace. It takes a lot of guts to get up and tell a father about his son in those terms when I just told you the thing that matters in my heart is my family."

...The Gulf used to be safe territory for former president Bush, an oil man who brought Arab leaders together in a coalition that drove Saddam Husseinıs troops out of Kuwait in 1991. But gratitude for the elder Bush, who served as president from 1989-93, was overshadowed by the foreign policy of his son, whose invasion of Iraq and support for Israel are deeply unpopular here. "We do not respect your son. We do not respect what heıs doing all over the world," a woman audience member bluntly told Bush after his keynote speech. Bush appeared stunned as the audience of young business leaders whooped and whistled in approval. [
Full story>>]

11.22.06 Syrian TV dramas tackle taboos

November 22 – Bullets tear through armed assailants while a bearded sheikh recruits the innocent for suicidal terror attacks in the heart of the Syrian capital. From the mountain overlooking Damascus, a sports car plunges down the cliff, bursting into flames – a final act of madness by the corrupted son of a high-ranking government official. These are just a few of the plotlines of Syrian television dramas which over the past few years have grown to dominate soap opera entertainment in the Arab world. In the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, it was Syrian dramas which gave Arab audiences a little more to chew on as they broke their fasts.

Not only are they less expensive to produce and more widely understood – with Syrian actors using less colloquial forms of Arabic than their Egyptian counterparts – their subject matter is more appealing too, say Syrian directors. Leading Syrian directors say their dramas are challenging the historical dominance of Egypt as the leading producer of television for the Arab world. In place of the staple nostalgia of history epics, it was home-grown terrorism, corruption in the circles of power and mass poverty that were the subjects, once considered taboos in this tightly controlled and socially conservative society, that were tackled head on by Syrian dramas beamed into the living rooms of millions of Arab homes...Last Ramadan, Anzour's series The Beautiful Maidens won him death threats from Muslim extremists after it questioned the militant belief that 72 virgins lie waiting in paradise for the would-be suicide bomber. It also drew an audience of an estimated 50 million across the Arab world.
[Full story>>]

11.22.06 US could bomb Iran nuclear sites in 2007: analysts

WASHINGTON (AFP) November 21 – President George W. Bush could choose military action over diplomacy and bomb Iran's nuclear facilities next year, political analysts in Washington agree. "I think he is going to do it," John Pike, director of, a military issues think tank, told AFP. "They are going to bomb WMD facilities next summer," he added, referring to nuclear facilities Iran says are for peaceful uses and Washington insists are really intended to make nuclear bombs, or weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

"It would be a limited military action to destroy their WMD capabilities" added the analyst, believing a US military invasion of Iran is not on the table. US journalist Seymour Hersh also said at the weekend that White House hawks led by Vice President Dick Cheney were intent on attacking Iran with or without the approval of the US Congress, both houses of which switch from Republican to Democratic control in January after the November 7 legislative elections.
[More>> ; See also, "Target Iran – Air Strikes."]

11.22.06 Iraq death toll at new high as Bush-Maliki to meet

BAGHDAD (AFP) November 22 – Iraq's civilian death toll reached a new monthly high of more than 3,700 in October, a UN report said Wednesday, as US President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki prepared to meet next week to review the situation in the war-torn country. As further proof of the daily bloodshed, seven members of a specialized security force were killed in a bomb attack south of Baghdad and three policemen killed in a restive town north of the capital. The United Nations said that the figure of 3,709 people, including women and children, killed in October was the highest since the US-led invasion and that "sectarian violence" seemed to be the main cause. [More>>]

11.22.06 Nartionalist Turks occupy former church of Haghia Sophia to protest papal visit

ISTANBUL, November 22 – About 40 members of a nationalist party occupied one of Istanbul's most famous buildings, the Haghia Sophia, on Wednesday to protest the visit next week of Pope Benedict XVI, police said. The protesters belong to the Great Unity Party, a far right-wing group that has previously staged demonstrations against the planned visit. Police said they were preparing to enter the former Byzantine church, which was converted into a mosque before becoming a museum, to remove the protesters. The Haghia Sophia is on the pope's list of stops during his Nov.28-Dec. [>]

11.22.06 Eleven suspected Taleban killed in clash with NATO-led forces

KABUL (DPA) November 22 – Clashes between foreign troops and Taleban fighters in eastern Afghanistan resulted in the deaths of 11 militants, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said Wednesday. [More>>]

11.22.06 Muslim scholars join rare summit on anti-female circumcision in Cairo

CAIRO (AP) November 22 – Prominent Muslim scholars from around the world, including conservative religious leaders from Egypt and Africa, met Wednesday to speak out against female genital mutilation at a rare high-level conference on the age-old practice. The meeting was organized by a German human rights group and held under the patronage of Dar Al-Iftaa, Egypt's main religious-edicts organization. It was held at the conference center of Al-Azhar, the highest Sunni Islamic institution in the world.

Al Azhar's grand sheik, Mohammed Sayed Tantawi, attended as well as Egypt's Grand Mufti, Ali Goma'a, whose fatwas are considered binding religious edicts. It is rare for such religious figures in Egypt to attend such a conference on an issue that remains sensitive and controversial here. An estimated 50 percent of schoolgirls in Egypt are thought to undergo the procedure, according to government statistics.

At the conference, Tantawi said circumcision, another name for the practice, was not mentioned in the Islamic holy book, the Quran, or in Islam's Sunna – which are sayings and deeds of the prophet Mohammed. Those are the two main religious texts followed by Sunni Islam.

"In Islam, circumcision is for men only," he told the conference. "From a religious point of view, I don't find anything that says that circumcision is a must [for women]." Female genital mutilation usually involves removal of the clitoris. Those who practice it believe it lowers a girl's sexual desires and thus helps maintain her honor. With age-old cultural roots, it is practiced today in parts of sub-Saharan Africa and Egypt and other parts of the Arab world such as Yemen and Oman.
[More>> ; See related stories,, November 22, "Afghanistan's only female minister presses for women's rights" and, November 22, "Women banned from religious seminar in Saudi Arabia" : RIYADH - Women at a hospital in the Saudi capital, including doctors and journalists, were forced to leave a lecture about Islamıs stance on organ donation because they were women, reported Saudi- based Arab News on Wednesday. The sheikh who gave the lecture, a university professor, refused to enter the room until it was emptied of women. In the beginning, some women protested but in the end they gave in so the man could give the presentation.

"This is ridiculous," one woman, a medical professional and a Muslim, was quoted by the newspaper as saying. "In the Grand Mosque in Mecca, men and women pray together. Why are we being asked to leave? This guy knows a hospital is a mixed place. He should have realized that before he came," she said. "We had every right to be there," said another woman on condition of anonymity. [More details>>]

11.21.06 'UK policy can turn Muslims into extremists'

LONDON (PTI) November 21 – Distancing himself from Prime Minister Tony Blair's stand, British Home Secretary John Reid has said the war in Iraq and Afghanistan could be a 'factor' in turning young British Muslims into extremists. Although Reid said Iraq and Afghanistan was not the cause of the problem, he went on to say: "I do believe that foreign policy is sometimes a motivating factor in radicalisation of young Muslims and the potential recruitment to terror."

"It is better to be frank about it. To say it isn't a cause isn't to say it has nothing to do with the whole process," he told the Evening Standard. Blair, who returned from a two-day trip to Pakistan and Afghanistan on Monday, has on the contrary, repeatedly denied that his foreign policy and military operations could be blamed for driving Muslim youths into the arms of terror.

11.21.06 Two tons of explosives found in Egypt's Sinai

CAIRO (AFP) November 21 – More than two tons of explosives have been uncovered in Egypt's northern Sinai Peninsula, a security source said Tuesday. "Around two-and-a-quarter tons [5,040 pounds] of TNT explosives were found in the Gebel Maghara area," in northern Sinai, the source said. "The explosives were the same type used in previous Sinai bombings," the source added. [More>>]

11.21.06 Lebanese minister assassinated in attack on convoy

BEIRUT (Reuters) November 21 – Lebanese Christian cabinet minister Pierre Gemayel, an outspoken critic of Syria, was assassinated near Beirut on Tuesday, security sources said. Gunmen rammed their car into Gemayel's vehicle, then leapt out and riddled it with bullets as his convoy drove through the Christian Sin el-Fil neighbourhood, witnesses said. Gemayel, 34, was rushed to hospital where he later died of his wounds. Local television footage showed angry and weeping supporters gathering at the hospital.

The killing is certain to heighten tensions in Lebanon amid a deep political crisis pitting the anti-Syrian majority against the pro-Damascus opposition led by Hezbollah, which is determined to topple what it sees as a pro-US government. "We believe the hand of Syria is all over the place," Saad al-Hariri, son of assassinated former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri, said from Beirut shortly after Gemayel was shot dead. "Syria strongly condemns the killing," the official Syrian news agency SANA said. Hezbollah official Ahmed Melli said the Shi'ite group also condemned it.
[More>> ; See also, November 21, "Lebanese cabinet minister Pierre Gemayel assassinated in Beirut" ,, November 21, "Pierre Gemayel's assassination." and, November 21, "Hezbollah sets date for street protests at Lebanese government."]

11.21.06 Forty-seven suspected Taliban rounded up in Quetta and Kuchiak

QUETTA, Pakistan, November 21 – Police rounded up as many as 47 suspected Taliban in the Quetta and Kuchlak areas. Superintendent of Police Quetta Qazi Abdul Wahid told Journalists Tuesday that on secret information, police raided various parts of the metropolis including Pashtoonabad, Satellite Town and Kuchlak. Atota lof 47 suspected Taliban were wound up. They were shifted to an unknown destination and are undergoing intensive interrogation. [>]

11.21.06 Pakistan urged to act over missing BBC reporter

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) November 21 – International media watchdogs urged Pakistan on Tuesday to investigate the disappearance of a journalist working for the British Broadcasting Corporation. The journalist, Dilawar Khan Wazir, works for the BBCıs Urdu-language service in the troubled tribal areas on the Afghan border, where security forces have been battling Islamist militants linked to Al Qaeda and the Taleban. The press is generally free in Pakistan but several reporters covering the conflict in the tribal areas have been abducted and some have been killed over recent years. Wazir, who also reports for Pakistanıs Dawn newspaper, went missing in suspicious circumstances after visiting his brother in Islamabad on Monday. [More>> ; See details,, November 20, "Dawns Wana correspondent missing in Islamabad." and Update,, November 21, "Abducted BBC journalist released."]

11.21.06 Iraq and Syria restore relations

November 21 – Syria and Iraq are to restore diplomatic relations, after a break of more than 20 years. Agreement on restoring all diplomatic ties was announced in Baghdad by Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari and his Syrian counterpart Walid Muallim. Correspondents say Iraq hopes the move will help to stem a flow of militants across the border with Syria. Relations were severed in 1982, during Saddam Hussein's rule and soon after the beginning of the Iran-Iraq war. Syria and Iraq were governed by competing branches of the pan-Arab Baathist movement, and ties have been largely antagonistic. [More>>]

11.21.06 Russia to build telescope superior to Hubble – expert

MOSCOW (RIA Novosti) November 21 – Russia will build a deep space exploration telescope that will outstrip the U.S.-made Hubble Space Telescope, a Russian astronomer said Tuesday. Hubble, orbited in 1990, has been the most successful and expensive project in astrophysics, costing over $6 billion. "In cooperation with our colleagues from Germany, the United Kingdom, China and Spain, we have set ourselves the task of building the Spectrum-Ultraviolet telescope, which will surpass Hubble in some aspects," Boris Shustov, director of the Astronomy Institute at the Russian Academy of Sciences, told a news conference.

...The Spectrum-Radioastron aims to study the structure of galactic and extra-galactic radio wave sources, their internal processes and other processes occurring near them. It will comprise a space telescope and a ground tracking station. "If the antenna of the radio-telescope is 300,000 kilometers (187,500 miles) from the Earth, and the other telescope is on the Earth, they will represent one gigantic telescope," Shustov said. "The Spectrum-Radioastron project will make it possible to read a newspaper on the Moon."
[Full story>>]

11.20.06 Army gives Rumsfeld Doctrine a rewrite

FT. LEAVENWORTH, Kansas, November 20 – Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld may be leaving under a cloud of criticism over his handling of the Iraq war, but his invasion plan — emphasizing speed over massive troop numbers — has consistently been held up as a resounding success. Yet with Iraq near chaos 3 1/2 years later, a key Army manual now is being rewritten in a way that rejects the Rumsfeld doctrine and counsels against using it again. The draft version of the Army's Full Spectrum Operations field manual argues that in addition to defeating the enemy, military units must focus on providing security for the population — even during major combat. [More>>]

11.20.06 Fourteen tortured corpses found near BAGHDAD

BAGHDAD (AFP) November 20 – Police on Monday found 14 corpses of men tortured and killed execution-style on the southern outskirts of Baghdad, a security source said. The corpses were found at a place called Tuwairegh and were lying next to each other, he said. On Sunday police recovered 45 corpses from Baghdad. Dozens of tortured, bullet-riddled corpses are found every week in Baghdad of men killed in apparent sectarian attacks. [> ; See related story,, November 20, "47 Iraqis, two Iraqi officials escape assassination attempts."]

11.20.06 Kissinger adds to criticism: Give up on Iraqi democracy

WASHINGTON, November 20 – US former secretary of state Henry Kissinger, one of the Republican Party's most respected senior statesmen, says that the Bush administration may have to give up on democracy in Iraq to salvage the goal of stabilizing the country. Kissinger, who has frequently advised US President George W. Bush in the three years since the US invaded Iraq, told the Los Angeles Times that he believes democracy for now is out of reach for Iraq. "I think that's reality. I think that was true from the beginning," he was quoted as saying in the Sunday edition.

His comments, coming after the US electorate earlier this month dealt ruling Republicans a resounding defeat in Congress, largely over the lack of progress in the war in Iraq, sharpened the criticism aimed at the White House even from within Bush's own ranks. Kissinger's analysis also broadens the options being proposed for the war. Meanwhile, Republican presidential hopeful John McCain, a US senator who as a Navy pilot spent several years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, told ABC News on Sunday that US soldiers are "fighting and dying for a failed policy."

11.20.06 Blair says Afghanistan at heart of world security

KABUL, November 20 – British Prime Minister Tony Blair put Afghanistan at the heart of the global war on terror Monday, telling British troops that their desert battles here would decide the future of world security. Blair flew into the dusty moonscape of southern Afghanistan in the cockpit of a Royal Air Force Hercules transport plane to chat about anti-Taliban operations with members of the NATO force at the Camp Bastion base.

"Here on this extraordinary piece of desert is where the future of world security in the early twenty-first century is going to be played out," Blair told several hundred troops in a speech before departing for Kabul.

Despite recent resistance from Taliban fighters in the south that has cost 36 British lives this year, he said that they would overcome through their "determination, courage, and absolute will. "When you defeat them, you are defeating them not just on behalf of the people of Afghanistan but our country, Britain, and the wider world," he said at the base in Helmand province. [
More>> ; See also, November 20, "Blair pledges that troops will remain in Afghanistan."]

11.20.06 Syria offers support to Iraq

November 20 – Walid Moallem, the Syrian foreign minister, is holding talks with Nuri al-Maliki, the Iraqi prime minister, in Baghdad. It is the first official visit by a Syrian minister since Saddam was overthrown and appears to signify improved relations between the two countries. Moallem has offered Syria's support to the Iraqi government. Moallem met Hoshyar Zebari, the Iraqi foreign minister, on the first day of his visit, and is meeting al-Maliki on Monday. Moallem is also expected to meet Jalal Talabani, the Iraqi president.

Syria and Iraq have been at odds for decades, but Zebari said the visit would open "a new page in relations between the two countries." He said that Iraq now expected "complete relations with Syria." Damascus broke relations with Baghdad in 1982, accusing Iraq of fuelling riots in Syria. Syria supported Iran during the Iran-Iraq war from 1980-88. Commercial ties improved between the two countries towards the end of Saddam's presidency, but it has been more than six years since an official visit by a Syrian minister to Iraq.

11.18.06 Socialists nominate their queen

PARIS, November 18 – France's Socialists have made history with their new presidential candidate by nominating a woman, Ségolène Royal. Her likely conservative opponent is Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy. Ségolène Royal emerged late Thursday evening as the clear winner of the Socialist Party's nomination in France, clearing the way for her to run for president next spring. If she wins, the former Environmental Minister would be the first woman to occupy France's highest political office. The official tally gave Royal 60.6 percent of the vote, while her competitors, former Finance Minister Dominique Strauss-Kahn and former prime minister Laurent Fabius, received 20.8 percent and 18.5 percent, respectively.

A year ago Socialist party leaders were openly ridiculing Royal's presidential ambitions, but for months she's been queen of the polls. For most observers her nomination by 220,000 party members was already a fait accompli – the real question was simply whether the 53-year-old candidate would win the first round or face a run-off election in the coming weeks.

Royal is a centrist reformer in the Socialist Party who was seen for a long time as less popular with her base than with the media and the general public. Whether that's still the case is questionable: Royal reminded her party in an early ad campaign that anyone could vote as long as they enlisted in the party on time. Now, the traditionally not-so-numerous Socialist Party has 70,000 new members – many of whom may be exclusive campaigners for Royal.
[More>>; See also, November 18, "Royal repart en campagne."]

11.18.06 Dutch Muslims condemn burqa ban

November 18 – Dutch Muslims have criticized a government proposal to ban women from wearing the burqa or veils which cover the face in public places. Dutch Muslim groups say a ban would make the country's one million Muslims feel victimized and alienated. The Dutch cabinet said burqas – a full body covering that also obscures the face – disturb public order and safety. The decision comes days ahead of elections which the ruling centre-right coalition is expected to win.

The proposed ban would apply to wearing the burqa in the street, and in trains, schools, buses and law courts in the Netherlands. Other forms of face coverings, such as veils, and crash helmets with visors that obscure the face, would also be covered by a ban. Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk, who is known for her tough policies, said it was important that all people in the Netherlands were able to see and identify each other clearly to promote integration and tolerance.
[More>> ]

11.18.06 Blair admits Iraq a 'disaster'

November 17 – Tony Blair, the British prime minister, has admitted in an interview with Al Jazeera English that events in Iraq since the US-led invasion have been a "disaster." But he insisted that it was right to remove Saddam Hussein, the country's former leader, from power and blamed al-Qaeda, Sunni fighters and Iran-backed forces for the ongoing violence. Responding to a suggestion from Sir David Frost that the conflict had been a disaster from the start, Blair replied "it has," before blaming a combination of factors for the crisis. [More>> ]

11.18.06 IDF calls off strike after hundreds guard Gaza militant's house

November 18 – The Israel Defense Forces canceled a planned air raid on the home of a militant in the northern Gaza Strip on Sunday after several hundred Palestinians barricaded themselves inside the building, an IDF spokesman and witnesses said. Palestinian sources called the protest the first of its kind to have in effect prevented an air strike by the IAF. An IDF spokesman said the strike had been called off so to avoid inflicting civilian casualties. Hundreds of Palestinians formed a human shield around the home of the militant in Beit Lahia late Saturday to prevent an Israel Air Force air strike on the building, residents said. [More>>]

11.18.06 Pakistan foils bid to smuggle historic artefacts

KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) November 18 – Pakistan officials said on Saturday they had foiled a bid to smuggle hundreds of historical artefacts to the United Arab Emirates, and were looking for those who booked the consignment. The artefacts, worth million of dollars (euros), had been concealed in a shipping container that was seized on Nov. 1 at the main seaport in Karachi, Pakistanıs biggest city, said customs spokesman Muhammad Yahya. A total of 625 artefacts, including Buddha sculptures, were found in the shipment listed as furniture. [More>>]

11.18.06 Roh, Hu call for direct US dialog with North Korea

HANOI, November 18 – The key to success at the next round of North Korean nuclear talks is for the United States and Pyongyang to have as much contact as possible, the leaders of South Korea and China said on Friday. Meeting ahead of the formal summit of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders, South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun and Chinese President Hu Jintao also agreed that their countries had the most at stake in the six-party talks. "The leaders spoke of the need for the United States and China to have much contact at the six-party talks and show flexibility to resolve the problem," Roh's chief national security adviser Song Min-soon told reporters. [More>>]

11.18.06 Lebanese president writes off current government

BEIRUT (Xinhua) November 18 – Lebanese President Emile Lahoud said in a statement on Saturday that he no longer recognized the current government after the resignation of six ministers. "The current government no longer represents all the Lebanese people," the statement issued from presidential office quoted Lahoud as saying when he met a delegation from the Lebanese National League. "I promise you that Lebanon will witness the formation of a national government no matter what the cost," he added. Lahoud's remarks came two days after he announced the cabinet's approval of a UN draft to form an international tribunal on ex-premier Rafik Hariri's assassination was invalid. [More>>]

11.18.06 Unlike Clinton, Bush sees Hanoi in bit of a hurry

HaNOI, Vietnam, November 18 – President Bush likes speed golf and speed tourism — this is the man who did the treasures of Red Square in less than 20 minutes — but here in the lake-studded capital of a nation desperately eager to connect with America, he set a record. Mr. Bush emerged from his hotel for only one nonofficial event, a 15-minute visit to the Joint P.O.W./M.I.A. Accounting Command, which searches for the remains of the 1,800 Americans still listed as missing in the Vietnam War. There were almost no Vietnamese present, just a series of tables displaying photographs of the groupıs painstaking work, and helmets, shoes and replicas of bones recovered by the 425 members of the command. He asked a few questions and then sped off in his motorcade. It could not have been more different from the visit of another president, Bill Clinton, exactly six years ago this weekend, when he seemed to be everywhere. [More>> ; See related story,, November 18, "Terror attack threat has increased ahead of Bush's visit."]

11.18.06 Five Western security guards kidnapped in Iraq

BAGHDAD (AFP) November 17 – Militiamen disguised as police officers kidnapped an Austrian and four US security men guarding a 49-vehicle convoy in southern Iraq in the second abduction in three days that raised suspicions of security force collusion. And in an apparent abortive attempt to find the five missing men, six other security guards Friday illegally entered Iraq from Kuwait and clashed with police. One British guard was killed in the gunfight that erupted, a police officer said. Speaking in the southern town of Zubair, the officer said that the group of six was stopped by customs police and "clashed with them in which the British was killed and an American wounded." Two women bystanders and two policemen were also killed. [More>> ; See also, November 18, "Shi'ite assasinated, US warns of Sectarianism." and the, November 18, "Iraq hunts for kidnapped Westerners."]

11.16.06 Friend of 9/11 hijackers guilty of abetting murder

KARLSRUHE, Germany (Reuters) November 16 – A German court ruled on Thursday that a Moroccan friend of the Sept. 11 hijackers was guilty of abetting mass murder and must return to court to receive a new, harsher prison sentence of up to 15 years. Mounir El Motassadeq, a member of a group of radical Arab students in Hamburg which organized the 2001 attacks in which nearly 3,000 people died, was convicted last year of belonging to a terrorist organisation and given a 7-year jail sentence. But that court cleared him of abetting mass murder, saying he was a low-tier member of the group led by Mohamed Atta, who flew the first plane into New York's World Trade Center.

The Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe, Germany's top appeals court, overturned that verdict on Thursday, ruling that Motassadeq was an accessory in the deaths of 246 passengers and crew members who died on four planes that crashed on Sept. 11. Two were steered into the World Trade Center, another hit the Pentagon and a fourth crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. Motassadeq, 32, must now return to a court in Hamburg, where he has been tried on two previous occasions, to receive a new sentence. He faces up to 15 years in prison. "By assuming organizational tasks, he aided and abetted the attacks," Judge Klaus Tolksdorf told the court.
[More>> ; See more details,, November 16, "German terror trial: Motassadeq guilty on 246 counts of abetting murder."]

11.16.06 Official says some kidnapped Iraqis tortured, killed

BAGHDAD (Xinhua) November 16 – Kidnappers who abducted dozens of people from a government building on Tuesday in Baghdad tortured and killed some of the captives, a spokesman said Thursday. "According to the released captives of the mass kidnapping, some of the hostages were tortured and killed," Basil al-Khatib, a spokesman for Iraqi Higher Education Ministry told reporters. Khatib did not say how many of them were killed, but he said that the released people themselves were tortured. On Wednesday, Khatib said that up to 70 people have been released. However, media reports gave conflicting figures of the hostages number who were snatched away from the ministry's building in central Baghdad. The Iraqi Higher Education Minister, Abed Thiyab al-Ajili, said Tuesday that the number of hostages was more than 100, including male employees and visitors. [More>>xinhuanet]

11.16.06 Dozens of kidnapped passengers killed

BAGHDAD, November 16 – As many as 60 or more passengers of six hijacked microbuses were killed by militants Thursday in Baghdad, eyewitnesses told the official TV channel al-Iraqiya, in the latest horrific incident of sectarian violence in conflict-torn Iraq. The exact number of victims was not yet known, but the figure was believed to be in the range of 60, as each of the six microbuses could carry up to 11 passengers. Unidentified militants had hijacked the six microbuses along with passengers in the mainly Shiite district of al-Kazimiya in western Baghdad. Soon afterwards, al-Iraqiya television said dozens of bodies had been found. [More>>]

11.16.06 Sectarian strife in Iraq imperils entire region, analysts warn

BAGHDAD, November 16 – While American commanders have suggested that civil war is possible in Iraq, many leaders, experts and ordinary people in Baghdad and around the Middle East say it is already underway, and that the real worry ahead is that the conflict will destroy the flimsy Iraqi state and draw in surrounding countries.

Whether the US military departs Iraq sooner or later, the United States will be hard-pressed to leave behind a country that does not threaten US interests and regional peace, according to U.S. and Arab analysts and political observers. "We're not talking about just a full-scale civil war. This would be a failed-state situation with fighting among various groups," growing into regional conflict, Joost Hiltermann, Middle East project director for the International Crisis Group, said by telephone from Amman, Jordan. "The war will be over Iraq, over its dead body," Hiltermann said.

11.16.06 PA lauds European draft for Mideast peace plan

November 16 – Spain will sponsor a new Middle East peace initiative along with France and Italy, the Spanish prime minister said Thursday, stressing that the international community cannot remain idle as violence rages between Israel and the Palestinians. Palestinian Authority spokesman Nabil Rudineh said Thursday that his government welcomed the initiative, particularly its emphasis on international intervention. Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero announced the initiative at a summit with President Jacques Chirac of France. "Peace between Israel and the Palestinians means to a large extent peace on the international scene," Zapatero told a news conference. [More>>]

11.16.06 Russia to buy 17 ICBMs in 2007 – minister

MOSCOW (RIA Novosti) November 16 – Russia will buy 17 intercontinental ballistic missiles in 2007, the defense minister said Thursday. Sergei Ivanov's words were in line with President Vladimir Putin's statement that Russia's armed forces must maintain a strategic balance to guarantee their ability to neutralize any potential aggressor. "Maintaining a strategic balance will mean that our strategic deterrent forces should be able to guarantee the neutralization of any potential aggressor, no matter what modern weapons systems he possesses," Putin told top military officials...As of January 1, Russia possessed 927 nuclear delivery vehicles and 4,279 nuclear warheads for strategic offensive weapons, Nikolai Artyukhin, head of the Defense Ministry's department for contract compliance control, said earlier...[Full story>>]

11.16.06 Reformist cleric slams mass disqualification in Iran vote

TEHRAN (AFP) November 15 – A prominent Iranian reformist cleric protested against the mass disqualification of candidates running for the body that chooses and supervises the Islamic republic's supreme leader, press reports said Wednesday. Mehdi Karroubi accused the hardline vetting body, the Council of Guardians, of "injustice" and "misjudgment" in barring almost half of the hopefuls running for the Assembly of Experts elections. In an open letter, Karroubi urged the head of the Assembly, Ayatollah Ali Meshkini, to "prevent the repercussions of such acts, which will result in people's distrust in the authorities and the clergy."

Three incumbent members of the Assembly, as well as a prominent reformist cleric, Hadi Khamenei – brother of Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei – have been banned from standing in the December 15 vote. "What are you doing and where are you headed? Who is responsible for this injustice?" Karroubi asked the Council of Guardians. Abbasali Kadkhodaie, spokesman for the Council of Guardians, said Tuesday that some 100 of the registered candidates had pulled out of the race while 244 had been disqualified, leaving just 144 to stand. The mid-December vote is being billed as a struggle between pragmatic moderates and ultraconservatives.

11.16.06 Vatican steps into veil debate

November 15 – The Vatican has stepped into the debate about Muslim women wearing veils, with a cardinal saying 'guests' must follow the laws of their host countries, including any bans on such face-coverings. Cardinal Renato Martino, a former Vatican envoy to the UN, heads the papal office on issues concerning migrants, itinerant workers and refugees. Martino was speaking at a news conference to present Pope Benedict XVI's annual message on migrant issues. He said countries: "Must require that guests who arrive from a different culture must respect the traditions, the symbols, the culture, the religion of the countries they go to." [More>>]

11.16.06 Tsunami strikes Crescent City

SAN FRANCISCO, November 16 – 5- to 6-foot surges wreck docks, sink boat hours after 8.1 earthquake hits near Japan. A tsunami generated by a powerful undersea earthquake near Japan struck the small Northern California fishing port of Crescent City on Wednesday, destroying docks, sinking a boat and fraying nerves. Bill Steven, a commander with the Del Norte County Sheriff's Department, said the tsunami was "more a series of big surges rather than waves," but he said the damage to the town's harbor was significant. The surges were reported at 5 to 6 feet high.

"The water surged back and forth like a river, and our docks aren't designed to handle swift water," Steven said. "About 50 percent of the harbor was affected. There's a lot of torn-up foam, wood and concrete. We know at least one boat was sunk, and we had to round up about 12 more that were torn from their moorings." Steven said no fatalities or injuries were reported. Crescent City residents are particularly sensitive to tsunami threats. The town was struck by a 21-foot-high tsunami in 1964 that killed 11 people and destroyed most of the town center.
[More>> (San Francisco Chronicle)]


05.23.06 Architect of New War on the West and Bin Laden via As-Sahab website
02.08.06 Iran misunderstanding – "Holocaust" means "whole burnt offering"
09.11.05 When a nation lacks a competent leader it invites disaster – the legacy of Bush
08.13.05 "Using force the George W. Bush way – Bush's crusade"
07.27.05 New security system for Temple Mount: Why the Dome of the Rock is threatened
03.24.05 Temple Mount controversy
02.19.05 'Dog-Deer' clan seen as common Chinese ancestor – relates to European Paleolithic Lion-Deer
02.15.05 Bush & Rice affects upon Iran's liaisons: it's all about oil and gas
12.23.04 US is losing war of ideas
12.21.04 United States attacking itself from behind
Why the Crusade & Jihad?


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