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11.30.10 WikiLeaks' chief says his next target is big business, big banks

November 30 - The world's most notorious whistleblower, Julian Assange, has broken from hiding in London to reveal his next target is big business and the unveiling of corporate secrets. The WikiLeaks' chief this week created a diplomatic relations nightmare by releasing 251,287 confidential US Embassy cables. The website creator further enraged the US, UK and Australian governments earlier this year when he unleashed a trove of Afghan and Iraq war documents. Now, the 39-year-old former computer hacker says he will expose global corporations. Speaking from his hideout in a London flat, Mr. Assange said a new haul of secret documents, about half of which relate to the private sector, would be released early next year. WikiLeaks' next target will be a major American bank, he said. "It will give a true and representative insight into how banks behave at the executive level in a way that will stimulate investigations and reforms," he told Forbes magazine, adding: "For this, there's only one similar example. It's like the Enron emails." Mr. Assange also said he was sitting on a haul of damaging data on pharmaceutical, finance and energy companies. [More w/links to newsmedia WikiLeaks documents>>news.com.au]

11.30.10 Mubarak told US to allow dictator in Iraq: WikiLeaks

CAIRO, November 30 - Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak advised the United States in 2008 to "forget" about democracy in Iraq and allow a dictator to take over, according to a diplomatic cable released this week on WikiLeaks. Mubarak made the comments during talks with visiting US congressmen to whom he also admitted that he was "terrified" by the possibility of a nuclear Iran, in the cable sent home from the US embassy. The president noted to the US delegation he had advised Washington against the 2003 invasion of Iraq that deposed dictator Saddam Hussein. But now that they had troops in mainly Shiite Iraq, American troops should not withdraw because that would only serve to strengthen Shiite Iran next door. [More>>indianexpress.com]

11.30.10 China 'backs Korean reunification'

November 30 - Chinese leaders privately support a unified Korea and would not stop the North's collapse, according to leaked US cable. Chinese officials increasingly doubt the usefulness of neighboring North Korea as an ally and would support the reunification of the peninsula if the communist state were to collapse, according to leaked US diplomatic cables. The latest documents released by the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks on Tuesday detail conversations between US officials and Chinese diplomats, as well as a senior South Korean official's discussion with his Chinese counterparts. Cheng Guoping, the Chinese ambassador to Kazakhstan, was reported to have told Richard Hoagland, the US ambassador, that "China hopes for peaceful reunification in the long-term, but he expects the two countries to remain separate in the short-term." The remarks were made during a three-hour dinner in Astana, Kazakhstan's capital, in June 2009, according to documents published on WikiLeaks website. Cheng was quoted as telling Hoagland that China's objectives in North Korea were to ensure they honour their commitments on non-proliferation, maintain stability, and "don't drive [Kim Jong-il] mad." [More>>aljazeera.net]

11.30.10 'Christmas Tree Bomber' was in touch with al-Qaeda mouthpiece

November 30 - Portland Suspect Mohamed Mohamud Wrote Jihadi Articles For Samir Khan, Praised al-Qaeda mouthpiece. Mohamed Osman Mohamud, the Somali-American college student charged with plotting an attack on a Christmas lighting event in Portland, Oregon, was in contact with, and wrote articles for, another prominent American al-Qaeda propagandist for nearly two years, authorities say. Mohamud, who was arrested in an FBI sting, is accused of attempting to detonate what he believed to be a car bomb in Portland's Pioneer Courthouse Square via cellphone during the annual lighting of the Christmas tree last Friday, which had drawn a crowd of thousands. The supposed explosive device was non-functional . Mohamud, 19, pled not guilty in federal court Monday to one count of an attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction.

The FBI affidavit alleges that Mohamud stated to undercover agents that he had wanted to take part in violent jihad since he was 15, and that he told FBI agents that he had written four articles since 2009 for two different on-line jihadist magazines edited and distributed by Samir Khan. Khan, 24, is the Saudi-born, New York-raised editor behind Inspire magazine, the English language online publication of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP. Khan, who has said he is currently hiding in Yemen, has become a rising figure in jihadist propaganda and an "aspiring" Anwar Awlaqi, according to US intelligence officials. Under the pen name "Ibn al-Mubarak," alleges the FBI, Mohamud wrote three articles "discussing violent jihad" that appeared in 2009 in Jihad Recollections, the web magazine edited that Khan edited from his parents' North Carolina basement before relocating to Yemen.

...In its affidavit, the FBI says it became aware of Mohamud after he exchanged emails with a jihadist in Pakistan in 2009. Mohamud was attempting to travel to Pakistan for weapons and explosives training, but failed to follow the instructions of his contact to reach someone who could facilitate his travel. The FBI then contacted Mohamud through an email with an undercover agent posing as the foreign facilitator, according to the complaint. Soon after the email exchanges, the affidavit alleges, Mohamud told the FBI undercover agent that he wanted to go "operational" but needed training. The first undercover agent allegedly introduced Mohamud to a second undercover agent.
[Full story>>abcnews.go.com]

(Updated 11.30.10) 11.28.10 East Java police ask ulemas to 'set right' terrorists' beliefs

JAKARTA, Indonesia, November 28 - East Java Police Chief Insp. Gen. Badrodin Haiti asked local ulemas to help correct the beliefs of terrorists and terrorist suspects, saying it was part of “deradicalization” designed to curb terror movements in Indonesia. Addressing a dialog organized by the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) in Surabaya, Badrodin said there were 40 terrorists and terrorist suspects from East Java who could be the subject of the deradicalization treatment. They are either in detention, undergoing legal processing or still on the police's wanted list. "Deradicalization is also important; this is where ulemas hold important roles to safeguard the communities from the influences of radicalism," Badrodin said before audience members representing the MUI, Nahdlatul Ulama, Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia and the Islamic Defenders Front. "I therefore ask ulemas to help educate terrorist inmates, to 'set right' their understanding of jihad, thought, and khilafah," he added, as quoted by Antara. The East Java consultative leadership council (Muspida) would begin a program gathering clerics and ulemas across the province for the purpose this December, Badrodin said. [>thejakartapost.com; Updated story,

thejakartapost.com, November 30, "Fundamentalism spread among science students: Cleric" : JAKARTA -
While students of Islamic universities in Indonesia are embracing liberalism, their counterparts in science schools feel apparently more appeal to fundamentalism, a prominent Islamic cleric said here Tuesday. Hasyim Muzadi, former chairman of Nahdlatul Ulama, Indonesia's largest Muslim organization, cited the phenomenon as he addressed a workshop on deradicalization organized by the National Anti-Terror Agency (BNPT). "Islamic universities these days usually produce liberalists, while science schools generate fundamentalists," Hasyim said. "I guess it's because students of Islamic universities are tired of having to be pious they've had to do it all the time; while science students are hardly in touch with religions that they search for it from available sources." He said the phenomenon could be seen among top science schools in Indonesia, including at the University of Indonesia. Indonesian Ulema Council secretary Amirsyah Tambunan blamed weak monitoring for the intrusion of fundamental movements in campuses. [end]

Editorial note: "Jihad is directed against the unbeliever (spelled variously, as kufr, kufur, kufar, Kafir)." One may wonder how Indonesian clerics 'set right' the understanding of terrorists in the context of the definitions of khilafa and the Koran's verses regarding unbelievers:

khilafaparty.org, "Articles & News" : What is the Khilafah (Caliphate) ?
Below you will find many questions and answers directly related to the Khilafah.

1. What is Dar al-Islam?
Dar al-Islam is the land where Islamic Law is implemented in all matters of life and ruling and whose security is maintained in the name of Islam even if its citizens are non-Muslims.

2. What is Dar al-Kufr?
Dar al-Kufr is the land where Kufr laws are implemented in matters of life and whose security is maintained in the name of Kufr even if all its citizens are Muslims. This is because the criterion of a region being Dar al-Islam or Dar al-Kufr are the laws that are implemented there, and the security by which it is protected, the criterion is not the religion of its citizens.

3. Which Muslim Countries today are Dar al-Islam?
Out of the Muslim countries of today, there is not a single country or state where Islamic laws are exclusively implemented in ruling and life's affairs; therefore all of them are considered Dar al-Kufr although their citizens are Muslims.

4. What is The Muslims Duty towards His Country?
Islam makes it a duty upon all Muslims to work to change their countries from Dar al-Kufr to Dar al-Islam, and this can be achieved by establishing the Islamic State i.e. the Khilafah, and by electing a Khaleefah and taking a bay'ah on him that he will rule by the Word of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta'Ala) i.e. he will implement Islamic laws in the country where the Khilafah has been established. Then the Muslims should work with the Khilafah to combine the rest of the Islamic countries with it, hence the countries will become Dar al-Islam and they will then carry Islam to the world through invitation and jihad.

5. What is the Khilafah
The Khilafah is the global leadership for all the Muslims in the world. Its role is to establish the laws of the Islamic Shari'ah and to carry the da'wah of Islam to the world.

A commentary on "Kufur / Kuffar / Kafir" ("unbeliever")

(from Maravot News 8.08.05 article
08.07.05 Inside the sect that loves terror ) :...Editorial note: An interesting site by an Islamic scholar defines what "kuffar" (disbeliever) means. His site, renaissance.com.pk Arguments and Rational details the Koran's verses and traditional and modern applications of the verses dealing with disbelievers: identifying them, punishing them, preaching to them and "'displaced directives." His argument refers heavily to Old Testament verses that set the foundation for verses of the Koran involving the punishment of disbelievers. The site (Punishing the Disbelievers) says, "In other words, what authorizes a Messenger to punish the Kuffar is that it can be ascertained in this very world that they are guilty of denying the basic truths in spite of being convinced about them. Good and evil are elucidated with ultimate clarity and people who accept evil do so not because of any confusion but because of their own stubbornness.

"So it can be concluded that since a Messenger reveals the basic truths in their ultimate form and those who deny it do so because of their stubbornness and even confess their sins, a Messenger has the perfect justification to punish his people after they have denied him." But in other places says, (Misplaced Directives) "In other words, what is construed from this Hadith is that a Muslim will be rewarded with Paradise if he kills a non-Muslim. Consequently, Imam Abu Da¹ud, the celebrated Muslim scholar and compiler of Hadith has placed this Hadith in a chapter entitled: (bab fi fadli man qatala kafiran: Chapter on the Reward of a Muslim who Kills a Kafir). Again, it needs to be appreciated that these words relate to the Idolaters of the Prophet¹s times who had lost their right to live after they had deliberately rejected the truth. These words are not related to later Muslims."

Verses from the Koran regarding Jihad against "Kufurs":

(from "The Allah Controversy"):

Koran, Repentance 9.20 Those that have embraced the faith and fled their homeland and fought for Allah's cause with their wealth and their persons are held in higher regard by Allah. It is they who shall triumph. Their Lord has promised them joy and mercy, and gardens of eternal bliss where they shall dwell forever. Allah's reward is great indeed.
9.116 ...Allah has purchased of the faithful their lives and worldly goods and in return has promised them the Garden. They will fight for His cause, slay, and be slain. Such is the true pledge which he has made them in the Torah, the Gospel, and the Koran. And who is more true to his promise than Allah? Rejoice then in the bargain you have made. That is the supreme triumph.

Koran, Women 4.91 Others you will find who seek security from you as well as from their own people. Whenever they are called back to idol-worship they plunge into it headlong. If these do not keep their distance from you, if they neither offer you peace nor cease their hostilities against you, lay hold of them and kill them wherever you find them. Over such men We give you absolute authority.
4.92 It is unlawful for a believer to kill another believer except by accident.
4.98 He that flies his homeland for the cause of Allah shall find numerous places of refuge in the land and great abundance. He that leaves his dwelling to fight for Allah and His apostle and is then overtaken by death, shall be rewarded by Allah.
4.104 Seek out your enemies relentlessly.

(from a commentary on Kufurs / Kafirs and the Islamic Hell [flex.com/~jai/satyamevajayate/hell.html by Zulfikar Khan) :

Koran 9:29 Fight those who do not profess the true faith (Islam) till they pay the jiziya (poll tax) with the hand of humility.

[*N. J. Dawood translation, Penquin Books: Repentance 9:30 Fight against such of those to whom the Scriptures were given as believe neither in Allah nor the Last Day, who do not forbid what Allah and His apostle have forbidden, and do not embrace the true faith, until they pay tribute out of hand and are utterly subdued.]

Koran 8:12 Remember Thy Lord inspired the angels (with the message): "I am with you: give firmness to the believers, I will instill terror into the hearts of the unbelievers, Smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger tips of them." [N. J. Dawood translation, The Spoils, 8:12 ..Strike off their heads, maim them in every limb!]

Thus We punished them because they defied Allah and His apostle. He that defies Allah and His apostle shall be sternly punished. We said to them: 'Feel Our scourge. Hell-fire awaits the unbelievers.']

Koran 9:5 "Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolators wherever ye find them, and take them (captive), and besiege them and prepare for them each ambush. But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then leave their way free. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful." [N. J. Dawood translation, Penguin Books: Repentance 9:5]

Koran 9:73 Prophet, make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites and deal rigorously with them. Hell shall be their Home: an evil fate..[N. J. Dawood, Repentance 9:73].

Koran 4:144 Believers, do not choose the unbelievers rather than the faithful as your friends. Would you give Allah a clear proof against yourselves?..[N. J. Dawood, Women 4:144].

Koran 47:4 When you meet the unbelievers in the Jihad strike off their heads and, when you have laid them low, bind your captives firmly. Then grant them their freedom or take ransom from them, until War shall lay down her burdens....[N. J. Dawood, Mohammed 47.4].

Koran 5:33-34 The only reward of those who make war upon Allah and His messenger and strive after corruption in the land will be that they will be killed or crucified, or have their hands and feet and alternate sides cut off, or will be expelled out of the land. Such will be their degradation in the world, and in the Hereafter theirs will be an awful doom; Save those who repent before ye overpower them. For know that Allah is Forgiving, merciful...

[N. J. Dawood, The Table 5:33 Those that make war against Allah and His apostle and spread disorders in the land shall be put to death or crucified or have their hands and feet cut off on alternate sides, or be banished from the country. They shall be held to shame in this world and sternly punished in the next: except those that repent before you reduce them. For you must know that Allah is forgiving and merciful.
Believers, have fear of Allah and seek the right path to Him. Fight valiantly for His cause, so that you may triumph.].

Other verses in Khan's commentary reflect on the Koran's view of Jews and Christians and the kufur's punishment in hell.

*Perhaps the most authoritative translation of the Koran is that by N. J. Dawood, Penguin Books, 1956-1974.

Mel Copeland

11.30.10 Suicide attack kills six in Bannu

PESHAWAR, Pakistan, November 30 - A suicide bomber blew himself up near a police station in Bannu on Tuesday, killing six people, including two children, officials said. "It was a suicide attack. The bomber came on foot and detonated himself near a police van close to a police station," said Bannu police chief Iftikhar Khan. "The death toll is now six. They include two boys aged seven and nine, one police official and three pedestrians. Nineteen people were injured," Khan told AFP. "Our van was the target of the blast," police official Raza Khan told AFP. The Pakistani Taliban, who frequently bomb government security forces in the northwest, later claimed responsibility for the attack. "We will keep targeting security forces in future," deputy spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan told AFP by telephone from an undisclosed location. [>geo.tv]

11.30.10 20 bodies found in northern Mexico mass grave

(AP) November 30 - The Mexican army discovered several clandestine graves holding at least 20 bodies near a ranch in the northern border state of Chihuahua, authorities said Monday. Soldiers found the bodies of 19 men and one woman buried in 12 graves over the weekend in the town of Puerto Palomas, across from Columbus, New Mexico, and informed police so they could oversee excavations, Chihuahua state prosecutor Jorge Gonzalez said. Gonzalez said that the bodies had been buried between four and eight months and that it had not yet been determined how they were killed because they were badly decomposed. Earlier this month, the bodies of 18 men who were kidnapped in Acapulco where they had gone on vacation were found in a mass grave outside the resort city. An alleged drug trafficker arrested last week in Mexico City told police he ordered the killings after mistaking the men for members of a rival cartel. Also in Chihuahua state, gunmen in two trucks chased and killed the newly appointed female police chief of the town of Meoqui on Monday. Hermila Garcia Quinones was driving to work when the attackers opened fire on her car, said Carlos Gonzalez, a spokesman for the state attorney general's office. [More>>cbsnews.com]

11.29.10 Obama proposes two-year pay freeze for Federal employees

WASHINGTON, November 29 - Federal employees will find their salaries stagnant for the next two years as President Obama announced on Monday a pay freeze that Republicans have claimed for the past year is necessary to help put the country on sound fiscal footing. The president said the freeze would apply to all civilian federal employees, including those working at the Department of Defense, but would not affect military personnel. "The hard truth is that getting this deficit under control is going to require some broad sacrifice, and that sacrifice must be shared by the employees of the federal government," Obama said from the White House. "Today, I'm proposing a two year pay freeze for all civilian federal workers." [More>>foxnews.com]

11.29.10 NATO troops killed in Afghan attack

November 29 - Troops shot dead by a man wearing Afghan police uniform during training session in eastern Afghanistan. Six NATO troops have been killed by a man disguised as an Afghan policeman in during a training session in eastern Afghanistan. The attack, which took place on Monday in Nangarhar province, is the latest in a series of similar attacks targeting foreign troops in Afghanistan. "An individual in an Afghan border police uniform turned his weapon against  International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF) during a training mission today, killing six service members in eastern Afghanistan," ISAF said in a statement released on Monday. ISAF did not reveal the nationality of the dead troops, but the attack took place in a part of Afghanistan where US forces are locked in a deadly ongoing struggle against Taliban fighters. The incident was the worst casualty toll  suffered by ISAF since eight troops were killed in five separate incidents on October 14. The deaths bring the number of coalition troops killed in Afghanistan to 668, according to a tally kept by the AFP news agency, making it the deadliest years since the US-led invasion toppled the Taliban government in 2001. [More>>aljazeera.net]

11.29.10 Subjects of leaks condemn release

November 29 - Governments around the world continued to react with disapproval on Monday to the first batch of disclosures from over 250,000 American cables, alternately brushing off revelations of problematic, embarrassing and impolitic comments and lashing out at Wikileaks, the Web site responsible for the release. Iran provided the most strident response, accusing the United States of purposefully allowing the confidential diplomatic correspondence to become public. A number of cables discussed many nations’ discomfort with Iran's nuclear program and revealed unvarnished opinions from world leaders on how to contain it, including by threat or force. "Some part of the American government produced these documents," President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said at a news conference in Tehran on Monday. "We don't think this information was leaked. We think it was organized to be released on a regular basis and they are pursuing political goals." Israel found some measure of vindication in the revelations of the breadth of the dismay with Iran. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the documents supported Israel's assessments of Iran. "There is not a huge gap between what we say behind closed doors and what we say openly," Mr. Netanyahu said, adding that such was not the case in other countries in the region. [More>>nytimes.com; See related story,

foxnews.com, November 29, "Lawmakers call on administration to prosecute WikiLeaks, designate as terror group"
: A top Republican congressman is calling on the State Department to designate WikiLeaks a "foreign terrorist organization," as he and several other lawmakers demand the Obama administration find a way to prosecute founder Julian Assange in the wake of the group's latest document dump. WikiLeaks' weekend release of more than 250,000 classified State Department documents has outraged Washington officials. The spilling of secrets this time deals with a trove of candid diplomatic cables and other missives spanning everything from Pakistan to Iran to North Korea and could jeopardize the United States' sensitive foreign policy dealings. Combined with the organization's prior mega-leaks of Iraq and Afghanistan war documents, the latest release is putting American lives in danger and breaking down the trust between the United States and its allies, lawmakers said. They urged the Obama administration to treat Assange and his operation severely. New York Rep. Peter King, ranking Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee, urged Attorney General Eric Holder to prosecute Assange and urged Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to designate his group a foreign terrorist organization, in letters sent out over the weekend... 

11.29.10 Scientists trick cells into switching cell types

(AP) November 29 - Suppose you could repair tissue damaged by a heart attack by magically turning other cells into heart muscle, so the organ could pump effectively again. Scientists aren't quite ready to do that. But they are reporting early success at transforming one kind of specialized cell directly into another kind, a feat of biological alchemy that doctors may one day perform inside a patient's body. "I think everyone believes this is really the future of so-called stem-cell biology," says John Gearhart of the University of Pennsylvania, one of many researchers pursuing this approach. The concept is two steps beyond the familiar story of embryonic stem cells versatile entities that can be coaxed to become cells of all types, like brain and blood. Scientists are learning to guide those transformations, which someday may provide transplant tissue for treating diseases like Parkinson's or diabetes. It's still experimental. But at its root, it's really just harnessing and speeding up what happens in nature: a versatile but immature cell matures into a more specialized one. [More>>cbsnews.com]

11.29.10 Oregon Muslim leaders fear retribution after Christmas tree lighting bomb plot

CORVALIS, Ore. (AP) November 29 - Patrols around mosques and other Islamic sites in Portland have been stepped up as Muslim leaders expressed fears of retribution, days after a Somali-American man was accused of trying to blow up a van full of explosives during the city's Christmas tree lighting ceremony. Portland Mayor Sam Adams said Sunday that he beefed up protection around mosques "and other facilities that might be vulnerable to knuckle-headed retribution" after hearing of the bomb plot. The move followed a fire Sunday at the Islamic center in Corvallis, a college town about 75 miles southwest of Portland, where suspect Mohamed Osman Mohamud occasionally worshipped, prompting an FBI arson investigation and concern about the potential for more retaliation. Mohamud, 19, was being held on charges of plotting to carry out a terror attack Friday on a crowd of thousands at Portland's Pioneer Courthouse Square. He is scheduled to appear in court Monday afternoon.

An FBI affidavit said agents began investigating after receiving a tip from an unidentified person who expressed concern about Mohamud. An agent e-mailed Mohamud, pretending to be affiliated with one of the people overseas whom Mohamud had tried to contact. Undercover agents then set up a series of face-to-face meetings with Mohamud at hotels in Portland and Corvallis...The FBI affidavit said it was Mohamud who picked the target of the bomb plot, that he was warned several times about the seriousness of his plan, that women and children could die, and that he could back out. Officials said Mohamud had no formal ties to foreign terror groups, although he had reached out to suspected terrorists in Pakistan. After the FBI got a tip about Mohamud, an agent e-mailed him over the summer, pretending to be affiliated with an "unindicted associate" whom Mohammed had tried to contact. Agents had some face-to-face meetings with Mohammed.

On Nov. 4, in the backcountry along Oregon's coast, they convinced him that he was testing an explosive device
although the explosion was controlled by agents. On Friday, an agent and Mohamud drove into downtown Portland in a white van that carried six 55-gallon drums with detonation cords and plastic caps, but all of them were inert. Mozafar Wanly, father of the imam at the Salman Al-Farisi Islamic Center in Corvallis, said the fact that Mohamud was e-mailing someone in Pakistan shows nobody in the US supported his extremist ideology. "He's reaching for people outside because he doesn't find any terrorists here," he said. [Full story>>foxnews.com]

11.29.10 Robbery or hate crime? Sacramento cabbie severely beaten

November 29 - Sacramento cab driver Harbhajan Singh is recovering from severe injuries he received at the hands of two men he drove into West Sacramento early this morning. 56-year-old Singh believes the men intended to kill him, but he was able to get away. In a press release, West Sacramento Police say "two of the subjects began assaulting the victim and demanded money." But Singh says that his money wasn't what provoked the attack. He says it was his turban. "After he gets the money," Singh said of one of his attackers, "he's still fighting. He says 'I'll kill you.' I say, 'I'm not Muslim. Please.'" Singh has several stitches on his head and other parts of his body, bone chips in his nose, and bruising along his rib cage. He says he picked-up the near fatal fare at Harlow's in Midtown Sacramento Sunday morning. He says there were two men and two women. They first told him they were headed toward Broadway in Sacramento, but later had him drive into a dark West Sacramento neighborhood. That's when, according to  Singh, the two men exploded into violence. One shouted expletives and called him Osama Bin Laden. [More>>fox40.com; For other misunderstandings on the Sikh religion, See Maravot News 7.08.08 article 7.04.08 Sikh group joins protest against ban on use of word "Allah" in Malaysia]

11.29.10 Militants attack electrical towers in Iraq

BAGHDAD (Reuters) November 29 - Militants bombed three electrical transmission towers in Iraq's Anbar province on Monday, cutting power to numerous western cities and towns in the first attack on the power grid for months, officials said. Police said improvised explosive devices were used to destroy the three towers near the city of Haditha, disrupting power to Qaim, Akashat, Rutba and other towns and villages. "It was a sabotage operation," said Amir al-Ani, the manager of electrical distribution in the area. "An operation to repair the towers will be finished at the end of this week." Militants attacked Iraq's feeble electrical power grid frequently earlier this year as politicians squabbled over positions in a new government after a March election that failed to produce a clear winner. Intermittent electricity is one of Iraqis' biggest complaints about the government. In a month-long period during April and May, bombers toppled 22 transmission towers. Many of the attacks disrupted power to the northern Nineveh province. [More>>khaleejtimes.com]

11.29.10 Pakistan court bars Zardari from pardoning blasphemy accused woman

LAHORE, Pakistan, November 29 - A Pakistani court barred President Asif Ali Zardari or any other government functionary from pardoning a Christian woman sentenced to death for allegedly committing blasphemy in a case that has outraged rights activists. Chief Justice Khwaja Muhammad Sharif of the Lahore High Court issued the stay order in response to a petition filed by a man named Shahid Iqbal, who claimed Asia Bibi's case is sub-judice and the President was not authorised to grant her a reprieve. Chief Justice Sharif also issued notices to the federal and Punjab governments, asking the federal Law Secretary and the provincial chief Secretary to file detailed replies on the matter by December 6. The petitioner also demanded the disqualification of Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer for taking up the matter of a presidential pardon for Asia Bibi. [More>>indianexpress.com]

11.29.10 Pakistani woman's nose cut off by in-laws

ISLAMABAD, November 29 - A Pakistani woman's nose was cut off and her head tonsured by her in-laws who then locked her up for three days because they suspected her of having an affair with a neighbour, police said. The incident took place in Gujranwala in Punjab province. Aasiya Bibi's brother-in-law Anwar, his wife Kalsoom and sons Waqas and Awais caught hold of her and cut off her nose and shaved off her head, alleging that she had an illicit relationship with a local man. "Aasiya has been living with her in-laws for over seven years and her husband works in Multan, so he rarely manages to visit," Express Tribune quoted Aasiya's neighbour Nida as saying. Nida said that Aasiya's in-laws were often cruel to her. Police said that the family locked up Aasiya in a room where she lay for three days after the incident, till a police team released her after being tipped-off...Her brother-in-law Anwar said: "She was having illicit relations with a neighbour. We caught her and this was her punishment. She deserved what happened to her...I should have killed her on the spot." [Full story>>timesofindia.indiatimes.com]

11.29.10 Iranian nuclear scientist killed in bomb attack

November 29 - Another scientist badly wounded as attackers on motorbikes fix devices to windows of cars in Tehran. Bomb attacks have killed a prominent Iranian nuclear scientist and wounded another in Tehran, state TV reported today. Attackers riding on motorcycles attached the bombs to the car windows of the scientists as they were driving to their workplaces this morning, the station's website said. One bomb killed Majid Shahriari, a member of the nuclear engineering faculty at the Shahid Beheshti University, in Tehran. His wife, who was in the car with him, was wounded. The second blast seriously wounded the nuclear physicist Fereidoun Abbasi,52, also a professor at Shahid Besheshti University, and his wife. Confusion surrounded reports of a third explosion. Javanonline, a newspaper website close to the Revolutionary Guards reported that another explosion in Tehran killed two people but semi-official news agency Fars published an interview with Tehran's chief of police insisting there had only been two blasts. State TV swiftly blamed Israel for the attacks. The attackers were described as "unknown terrorists" by Press TV, the English language news network controlled by the Iranian government. [More>>guardian.co.uk]

11.28.10 Lee calls for China's role; Beijing offers 6-party talks but Seoul cold on proposal

November 28 - President Lee Myung-bak called on Beijing to take “a fair and responsible attitude” toward inter-Korean relations to help restore peace on the Korean Peninsula during his meeting with Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo on Sunday. China's foreign ministry later Sunday proposed holding a meeting of the chief envoys of the six-nation talks early next month to ease tension on the peninsula. Lee's aides at Cheong Wa Dae said that it was not time yet to discuss resumption of six-party negotiations. The last round of six-party talks aimed at denuclearizing North Korea was held in December 2008. Dai's trip to Seoul came as the international community is upping the pressure on China to exert its influence on North Korea after the North unleashed a barrage of shells on the South's Yeonpyeong Island, killing two marines and two civilians. Dai arrived in Seoul on Saturday as a special envoy of Chinese President Hu Jintao and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, a day before South Korea and the US began joint war games in the West Sea.

The Chinese official delivered Hu's verbal message to Lee and Lee said everything he had to say to Beijing during the two-hour talks, Lee's top aide for public relations Hong Sang-pyo said. "Noting that North Korea's attack on civilians following its recent disclosure of a high-enriched uranium program indicates a major change of situation, President Lee requested China to take a fair and responsible attitude toward inter-Korean relations in the future to contribute toward peace on the Korean Peninsula," Hong said. "He asked China to play a role that suits its new position in inter-Korean relations of the 21st century as we seek coexistence and peace, now that the Cold War era of the 20th century is over."
[More>>koreaherald.com; See related stories,

en.rian.ru (RIA Novosti) November 28, "Chairman of North Korean parliament to visit China amid Korean tension"
: BEIJING - The chairman of North Korea's Supreme People's Assembly will visit China from Tuesday until Saturday amid increased tensions between the two Koreas, the Chinese official news agency Xinhua reported on Sunday. Choe Tae-Bok was invited by China's second most powerful official, Wu Bangguo, chairman of the National People's Congress of China, the agency said, without providing any further details of the visit. The visit comes amid heightened tensions on the Korean peninsula after North Korea's shelling of a South Korean island last week. Also, a senior Chinese diplomat visited Seoul to discuss the confrontation on the Korean peninsula, the agency said. China is seen as North Korea's most powerful ally, which has been urged by the West and Seoul to use its influence on the reclusive regime to ease tensions on the Korean peninsula...

foxnews.com, November 28, "Report: North Korea deploys missiles near Yellow Sea border"
: BEIJING - North Korea has deployed surface-to-air missiles near the Yellow Sea border, the Yonhap News Agency reports. "(The missiles) appear to be targeting our fighter jets that fly near the Northern Limit Line," a South Korean source told the news agency. The source who spoke on condition of anonymity says North Korea is preparing to fire the Soviet-made missiles. "The military is preparing for the possibility of further provocations as the North Korean military has deployed firepower near the NLL and is preparing to fire," the source said. This latest development comes as a US supercarrier and South Korean destroyer took up position in the tense sea on Sunday for joint military exercises that were a united show of force just days after a deadly North Korean artillery attack...

11.28.10 Bomb suspect to classmate: 'I hate Americans'

PORTLAND, Ore., November 28 - The Somali-born university student met with an undercover FBI agent in August at a Portland hotel and told him he had found the perfect location for a terrorist attack: the city's annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony. Mohamed Osman Mohamud told the agent that he had dreamed of carrying out an attack for years, and the city's Pioneer Courthouse Square would be packed with thousands, "a huge mass that will ... be attacked in their own element with their families celebrating the holidays," according to an affidavit. On Friday, Mohamud parked what he thought was a bomb-laden van near the ceremony and then went to a nearby train station, where he dialed a cell phone that he believed would detonate the vehicle. Instead, federal authorities moved in and arrested him. No one was hurt. The case is the latest in a string of alleged terrorist plots by US citizens or residents, including one at Times Square in which a Pakistan-born man pleaded guilty earlier this year to trying to set off a car bomb at a busy street corner. [More>>msnbc.msn.com; See related story,

cbsnews.com, November 28, "Arson at Oregon bomb plot suspect's mosque" ; Islamic center attended by Somali-born teen charged in plotting terror attack burned Sunday, no injuries reported. Officials say a fire at a mosque frequented by the Somali-born teenager charged with plotting to blow up a Portland Christmas tree lighting ceremony was arson. CBS Affiliate KVAL reports the fire occurred at the Salman Al-Farisi Islamic Center early Sunday morning. The fire was discovered by a police sergeant patrolling in the area at approximately 2:15am Sunday. The flames were quickly knocked down by arriving firefighters. Yosof Wanly, imam at the Salman Al-Farisi Islamic Center, said 80 percent of the center's office was burned Sunday morning but the worship areas were untouched. No one was injured.

The fire came two days after Mohamed Osman Mohamud, 19, was arrested on charges of planning a terror attack. Officials say the Oregon student was acting on his own initiative and not at the direction of any foreign terrorist organization. Mohamud hatched the plan on his own to use a cell phone to detonate what he believed was an explosive-filled van at a crowded Christmas tree lighting ceremony Friday, according to a law enforcement official. The official said Mohamud was very committed to the plot and alone planned the details, including where to park the van for the maximum number of casualties. Authorities say Mohamud sent bomb components to undercover FBI agents who he believed were assembling the explosive device, but the agents supplied a fake that Mohamud tried to detonate twice via his phone. The public was never in danger, authorities said...

11.28.10 Christians flee Karachi over threats

KARACHI, November 28 - Several Christian families in Pakistani city of Karachi have fled their homes while many have sent their women to safer places after a Christian boy eloped with a Muslim girl, causing tension in their neighbourhood , a media report said. The situation in Karachi's Saeedabad area has become tense after an 18-year-old Muslim girl eloped with a 20-yearold Christian boy last week, The News International reported. The couple fled to Faisalabad, where the boy converted to Islam and married the girl. Following the incident, the girl's family and activists of a political party allegedly threatened the Christian community of dire consequences if the girl did not return home. The girl's family also stoned the locality's church, forced a local school to shut down and reportedly forced the Christian people to migrate from the area. William Sattar, a social activist , alleged that police were picking up boys from the area and beating them up. Saeedabad police station house officer Nasir Sami said police are doing all they could to control the law and order situation. [More (blog comments)>>timesofindia.indiatimes.com]

11.28.10 Algeria tries Christians for opening place of worship

ALGIERS (AFP) November 28 - Defendants are converts to Christianity. Algeria will put on trial four converts to Christianity from Sunday for "illegally opening a place of worship," one of their lawyers told AFP. "The defendants, who are between 35 and 45 years old, have been charged with setting up a Protestant church in the region without authorization by authorities," said lawyer Mohamed Ben Belkacem. One of the accused has also been charged with illegally accommodating a French pastor who had travelled to Algeria to make a speech before members of the Christian community. The trial was originally scheduled to open on October 10 but put off after the court insisted it needed witnesses to give evidence.

Under a 2006 Algerian law Muslims or non-Muslims can only practice their religion after authorities agree to a place of worship. Over the past months several trials have opened in the north African country where Islam is the state religion for violation of Islamic precepts, notably involving converts to Christianity. A group of Muslims who were charged with breaking the daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan in August, were acquitted earlier this month. In mid-October a youth was sentenced to two years in prison and a fine for failing to abide by the fast but the prosecutor later said the sentence was for breaking a window pane at a police station. Two Christians who broke the fast were acquitted in early October. Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia told parliament last month Algeria would "always guarantee" freedom of religion.

11.28.10 Suicide bombers kill 12 at Afghan police HQ

KABUL, Afghanistan, November 28 - Two suicide bombers blew themselves up at an Afghan police headquarters Saturday, killing 12 officers in an area along the Pakistan border that still sees heavy Taliban attacks even as NATO pours in more troops and resources. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in eastern Paktika province, which has long been a refuge for Islamist extremists from around the world. It is one of the most violent areas of Afghanistan, where NATO and Afghan forces fight daily against the Haqqani network, a Pakistan-based Taliban faction closely tied to al-Qaeda. The attackers, who were disguised in police uniforms, made it through three security gates, said Nawab Waziry, the head of Paktika's provincial council. One attacker detonated his explosives inside the police headquarters building, while the other blew himself up near the entrance about 20 minutes later. [More>>japantoday.com] 

11.26.10 Chinese FM talks with DPRK, ROK, US diplomats on Korean peninsular situation

BEIJING (Xinhua) November 26 - Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi met with Chi Jae Ryong, Ambassador of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to China, and held phone conversation with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and ROK Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan on Friday. They exchanged views on issues including the situation of the Korean Peninsula, according to a statement released Friday night by the Chinese Foreign Ministry. The DPRK and the ROK should exercise calm and restraint, engage in contacts as soon as possible, and solve problems through negotiations and dialogue, Yang said. "The pressing task now is to put the situation under control and prevent a recurrence of similar incidents," he said.

...The ROK and the DPRK exchanged artillery fire Tuesday in waters off the west coast of the Korean Peninsula, leaving four people dead. China on Friday also voiced its opposition to any military acts in its exclusive economic zone without permission, days before a joint military exercise between United States and ROK on the Yellow Sea.
"We hold a consistent and clear-cut stance on the issue. We oppose any party to take any military acts in our exclusive economic zone without permission," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said in a statement Friday. [Full story>>xinhuanet.com]

11.26.10 Front-line city in Virginia tackles rise in sea

NORFOLK, Va., November 26 - In this section of the Larchmont neighborhood, built in a sharp “u” around a bay off the Lafayette River, residents pay close attention to the lunar calendar, much as other suburbanites might attend to the daily flow of commuter traffic. If the moon is going to be full the night before Hazel Peck needs her car, for example, she parks it on a parallel block, away from the river. The next morning, she walks through a neighbor's backyard to avoid the two-to-three-foot-deep puddle that routinely accumulates on her street after high tides. For Ms. Peck and her neighbors, it is the only way to live with the encroaching sea.

As sea levels rise, tidal flooding is increasingly disrupting life here and all along the East Coast, a development many climate scientists link to global warming. But Norfolk is worse off. Situated just west of the mouth of Chesapeake Bay, it is bordered on three sides by water, including several rivers, like the Lafayette, that are actually long tidal streams that feed into the bay and eventually the ocean. Like many other cities, Norfolk was built on filled-in marsh. Now that fill is settling and compacting. In addition, the city is in an area where significant natural sinking of land is occurring. The result is that Norfolk has experienced the highest relative increase in sea level on the East Coast — 14.5 inches since 1930, according to readings by the Sewells Point naval station here.

11.26.10 Saturn moon Rhea's surprise: oxygen-rich atmosphere

November 26 - ...The Cassini spacecraft had looked for an oxygen atmosphere around Rhea on two previous flybys, in 2005 and 2007. The probe found a few intriguing hints but came up empty. On those encounters, Cassini got within 312 miles (502 km) and 3,564 miles (5,736 km) of Rhea's surface. Last March, the spacecraft got much closer. It cruised over Rhea's north pole, coming within 60 miles (97 km) of the surface so close that it flew through the moon's atmosphere. Cassini's mass spectrometer confirmed the presence of both oxygen and carbon dioxide. Oxygen makes up about 70 percent of Rhea's atmosphere and carbon dioxide the remaining 30 percent, according to Teolis. Where Cassini sampled, the atmosphere is about 100 times thinner than the air cocooning Europa and Ganymede, the researchers found which explains why Cassini hadn't spotted it from afar...[Full story>>msnbc.msn.com]

11.26.10 Kenyan rangers gun down elephant poachers

(AFP) November 26 - Kenyan wildlife rangers have shot dead two poachers suspected of killing two elephants in one of the country's top national parks. The pair, a Kenyan and a Tanzanian, were gunned down on Thursday near the Amboseli National Park in the south of the country as they prepared to shoot a herd of elephants. "It is a group of poachers that we have been following up for the last three to four weeks. They were responsible for the death of two elephants about a month ago," said George Osuri on Friday, the Amboseli park senior warden. Kenya lost more than 200 elephants last year due to illegal trade in ivory driven by Asian and Middle Eastern demand for the tusks used in traditional medicines and for aphrodisiac potions. [>news.com.au; See related story,

cnn.com, November 26, "South Africa plans to use drones to stop poachers"
: In South Africa, poachers are meeting the tip of technology's spear as the government heightens efforts to curb the killing of rhinos for their horns. The past several months, South Africa has employed rhino GPS, police stings and more to stop rhino killings in South Africa's national parks and game preserves. Now, the government may put unmanned drones in the sky to help hunt the poachers. South African Defense Minister Lindiwe Sisulu said Thursday that the state hopes to deploy unmanned drone helicopters developed by national defense firm Denel in the fight against poachers, according to media reports. "The issue of rhinos is one we recognize as particularly brutal, and we have committed ourselves to SANParks [South Africa National Parks] in dealing with this matter," Sisulu said, according to the South Africa Times Live. "We also want to take advantage of the fact Denel has a particular UAV [unmanned aerial vehicle] that is able to assist us," she said, according to the South Africa Times Live...

11.26.10 Authorities find drug smuggling tunnel in San Diego

SAN DIEGO, Ca. (AP) November 26 - US authorities on Thursday found a sophisticated tunnel used to smuggle drugs between Mexico and San Diego, the second such discovery in the region in less than a month. The half-mile passage runs from a residence in Tijuana to a warehouse in San Diego's Otay Mesa area, the San Diego Tunnel Task Force said in a statement. Federal border patrol, drug enforcement, immigration, and customs enforcement agents in the task force arrested several suspects and seized an undetermined amount of marijuana in a tractor-trailer on US soil, the statement said. [More>>foxnews.com]

11.26.10 Duma recognizes Katyn massacre as Stalinist crime

MOSCOW (RIA Novosti) November 26 - Deputies from the lower house of Russia's parliament, the Duma approved a declaration on Friday recognizing the 1940 Katyn massacre of Polish officers as a crime committed by Stalin's regime. "Materials which were kept in secret archives for many years show that the Katyn massacre was committed on the direct orders of Stalin," the draft says. According to official data, over 20,000 Polish officers were killed in 1940 by the NKVD the Soviet secret police. The executions took place in various parts of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. The largest massacre occurred in the Katyn forest near the Russian city of Smolensk.

The Communists, who opposed the bill, say the Polish officers were executed "by German occupation authorities in the fall of 1941, rather than by the NKVD in 1940." They also say they can provide documents to prove their viewpoint. Communist lawmaker Vladimir Kashin said if the draft is adopted then the relatives of those shot in the massacre would attempt to gain financial compensation from Russia. The issue was the source of tension in Russian-Polish ties, but Russia's recent admission that Soviet forces were responsible did much to improve relations. President Lech Kaczynski and other Polish dignitaries were killed in a plane crash earlier this year whilst on their way to a memorial ceremony for the Polish officers slain in Russia .

11.26.10 Saudi arrests 149 Qaeda suspects in eight months

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, November 26 - Saudi Arabia has in the past eight months arrested 149 suspected al-Qaeda militants planning attacks on state and security officials and journalists, the interior ministry said on Friday. "During the past eight months, a total of 149" Qaeda-linked militants 124 Saudis and the other 25 foreigners have been arrested, interior ministry spokesman General Mansur al-Turki told reporters. One woman was also among the alleged Qaeda-linked militants, he added.

Their activities were spread across 19 cells in the early stages of formation that were dismantled by Saudi authorities, he said. "Schemes to carry out assassinations against security men, officials, and journalists were foiled in their advanced stages," the interior ministry said. Documents and weapons to carry out the attacks were also uncovered, it said, adding that the kingdom has contacted Interpol for the arrest of others linked to the plans. The foreign-linked cells were also involved in collecting money to support al-Qaeda inside and outside Saudi Arabia amounting to 2,244,620 Saudi riyals (598,509 dollars).
[>the news.com.pk]

11.26.10 Pakistan foils capital bomb plot; missiles kill 3

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) November 26 - Police arrested two would-be suicide bombers planning to attack a mosque and a government building in Pakistan's capital Friday, as local officials said another suspected US missile strike near the Afghan border killed three alleged insurgents. Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants seeking to topple Pakistan's US-allied government have carried out scores of attacks across the country, killing thousands. The military has responded by launching offensives in the remote northwest where the insurgents are based, and the US has increased its barrage of missile attacks on those strongholds out of reach of the Pakistani army. Police officer Bin Yamin said the detained men were linked to the Pakistani Taliban in the South Waziristan region, where the army has been fighting the militants since last year. [More>>khaleejtimes.com]

11.26.10 Muslims warn of anarchy if Christian mother pardoned

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AFP) November 26 - Pakistani Muslims have threatened anarchy if the Government pardons a Christian mother sentenced to death for blasphemy, calling hundreds of protesters onto the streets. Hundreds of Muslims marched in the eastern city of Lahore after the most influential Sunni Muslim alliance in Pakistan urged the Government not to grant mother-of-five Aasia Bibi clemency. A crowd of several hundred called for "Jihad" and pledged to sacrifice their lives to protect the honour of Muhammad. The rally was organized by a subsidiary of banned charity Jamaat-ud-Dawa, which the United Nations has blacklisted as a terrorist organization. "We will hold nationwide protests if the government pardons the Christian woman," the subsidiary's chief coordinator, Qari Yaqub, told participants.

Politicians and conservative clerics have been at loggerheads over whether President Asif Ali Zardari should pardon Bibi, who was sentenced on Nov. 8 to hang under controversial blasphemy laws for defaming Muhammad. "The pardon would lead to anarchy in the country," the head of the Sunni Ittehad Council, Sahibzada Fazal Kareem, said. "Our stand is very clear that this punishment cannot be waived." Pakistan has yet to execute anyone for blasphemy, but the case exposes the deep fault lines in the conservative country on a law that rights activists say encourages Islamist extremism in a nation wracked by Taliban attacks.
[>news.com.au; See other details,

alarabiya.net (AFP) November 26, "Pakistan Muslims warn of anarchy if Christian pardoned."
: ...Bibi was arrested in June 2009 after Muslim women laborers refused to drink from a bowl of water she was asked to fetch while out working in the fields. Days later, the women complained that she made derogatory remarks about the Prophet Mohammed. Bibi was set upon by a mob, arrested by police and sentenced on November 8....

View many stories recorded at Maravot News via google search "Jamaat-ud-Dawa"
(alias LeT)

11.26.10 Nigeria charges arms traffickers

November 26 - An Iranian and three Nigerians are charged with illegal arms trafficking as a shipment is intercepted in Lagos port. A member of Iran's Revolutionary Guards and three Nigerians have been charged in court for illegal arms trafficking. The Nigerian court charged the four men on Thursday over a shipment of mortars and rockets seized in the port of Lagos in October. Nigeria reported the seizure of the arms shipment, which had been hidden in containers of building materials, to the United Nations Security Council this month for an apparent breach of UN sanctions on Iran. Azim Adhajani, identified in court documents as a Tehran-based businessman and member of Iran's Revolutionary Guard, was charged with the importation of prohibited firearms, as was an alleged Nigerian accomplice.

The two men and two more Nigerian suspects were also charged with conspiring to re-export the illegal shipment to Banjul, Gambia. The three Nigerians, Ali Usman Abbas Jega, Ali Oroji Wamako and Mohammed Tukur, pleaded not guilty, but only one was represented in court. "This is a matter of great national importance, and if I may add, it has international implications," Matthew Idakwo, the prosecutor, said. "These arms were imported from Iran to our country. It is of great interest to the world. In fact, the United Nations has interest in this matter." Hafsat Soso, the judge, said the four men would remain in the custody of Nigeria's state security service as investigations continued. Another illegal arms shipment was intercepted this week whilst transiting at the Lagos port, a spokesperson of the Nigerian navy said on Thursday.

11.25.10 So who's next for financial meltdown? Spain, Portugal and Belgium set to follow Ireland into abyss as debt crisis threatens to destroy the euro

November 25 - New fears have been raised about the future of the euro with the domino effect of faltering economies spreading today. The latest nation to get sucked into the crisis is Belgium after market traders pushed the cost of insuring the country's debt to record levels. The rising cost of Belgium's debt is now 100 percent of annual national income. That is raising concerns the country could join Portugal, Spain and Italy on the growing list of countries that could be heading for a financial crisis along with stricken Ireland.

The eurozone was dealt a further blow yesterday after Portuguese and Spanish borrowing costs rose sharply as investors worried that their debt levels will prove unsustainable, putting them next in line for a European bailout. As a major public sector strike in Portugal further undermined market confidence there, the interest rate on the government's 10-year bonds broke through the 7 percent barrier yesterday. The 10-year Spanish bonds rose to 5.08 per cent from 4.91 percent at the start of trading. Portugal and Spain are viewed as the 16-nation eurozone's next weakest links now that Ireland has followed Greece and accepted a massive international rescue package.

11.25.10 'Wikileaks documents show Turkey helped al-Qaeda

November 25 - Report: Documents expected to be leaked allege that Turkey allowed citizens smuggle weapons into Iraq, US helped Kurdish terrorists. Wikileaks is planning to release files that show Turkey has helped al-Qaeda in Iraq, according to London-based daily Al-Hayat. The newspaper also reported that the US helped the PKK, a Kurdish rebel organization. One of the documents, a US military report, reportedly charges Turkey with failing to control its borders, because Iraqi citizens residing in Turkey provided al-Qaeda with supplies to build bombs, guns and ammunition. A Wikileaks administrator also told Al-Hayat that the site needs Turks to volunteer to translate documents about Turkey's role in the war in Iraq and its bid for EU membership.

Other documents show that the US has supported the PKK, which has been waging a separatist war against Turkey since 1984 and has been classified by the State Department as a terrorist organization since 1979. The US military documents call the PKK "warriors for freedom and Turkish citizens," and say that the US set free arrested PKK members in Iraq. The documents also point out that US forces in Iraq have given weapons to the PKK and ignored the organization's operations inside Turkey.

On Wednesday, the Obama administration said that it had alerted Congress and begun notifying foreign governments that the WikiLeaks  website is preparing to release sensitive US diplomatic files that could damage US relations with friends and allies across the globe. Officials said the documents may contain everything from accounts of compromising conversations with political dissidents and friendly politicians to disclosures of activities that could result in the expulsion of US diplomats from foreign postings. US diplomatic outposts around the world have begun notifying other governments that WikiLeaks may release these documents in the next few days. "These revelations are harmful to the United States and our interests," State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said. "They are going to create tension in relationships between our diplomats and our friends around the world."

11.25.10 Turkey to respond if Israel attacks Lebanon or Gaza

BEIRUT, Lebanon (AFP) Erdogan says Turkey "will not remain silent." Turkey will not remain silent if Israel attacks Lebanon or Gaza, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in Beirut on Thursday, as ties between the longtime allies remained at an all-time low. "Does (Israel) think it can enter Lebanon with the most modern aircraft and tanks to kill women and children, and destroy schools and hospitals, and then expect us to remain silent?" Erdogan said at a conference organized by the Union of Arab Banks. "Does it think it can use the most modern weapons, phosphorus munitions and cluster bombs to kill children in Gaza and then expect us to remain silent? "We will not be silent and we will support justice by all means available to us," he said.

Turkey was once Israel's closest military and diplomatic ally in the Middle East but ties began to deteriorate when Ankara criticized Israel's December 2008 to January 2009 offensive against Gaza. Relations then nosedived on May 31, 2010 when Israeli naval commandos stormed a Turkish-registered protest ship, the Mavi Marmara, part of a flotilla attempting to break the Israeli blockade of the Palestinian territory. Nine Turkish activists were killed in the operation. Erdogan has said his country will not begin to restore relations with Israel until it apologizes for its "savage attack" on the vessel.
[More>>alarabiya.net; For background on the Mavi Marmara flotilla see Maravot News article and background links 06.11.10 'Marmara' captain: I opposed violence.]

11.25.10 Armenians protest Erdogan's visit: Lebanese haven't forgotten Turkey's bloody history

(AFP) November 25 - More than 100 members of Lebanon's Armenian community gathered outside Beirut airport on Wednesday to protest a two-day official visit by Turkish Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The demonstrators stood amid tight security outside the main entrance of the airport, hoisting banners that read: "The Lebanese have not forgotten Turkey's bloody history in the region" and "Erdogan should bow before our martyrs." "Today's Turkey is yesterday's Turkey: malicious, oppressive and an ally of the enemy," or Israel, read another banner. An AFP correspondent said police, army and SWAT teams were on hand to control the crowd, which had amassed across the street from a rival gathering of more than 100 Lebanese students who waved banners welcoming Erdogan as well as the red flag of Turkey. Erdogan, whose country is seeking to emerge as a key mediator in the Middle East, will meet top officials during his visit.

He will also inaugurate a burn treatment center in southern Lebanon and inspect his country's troops serving with UNIFIL. Lebanon is home to a 140,000-strong Armenian community, mostly made up of the descendants of those who survived the genocide in eastern Anatolia under Ottoman rule almost a century ago. Armenians say up to 1.5 million of their kin were systematically killed between 1915 and 1917 as the Ottoman Empire was falling apart. Turkey rejects the genocide label and argues that 300,000-500,000 Armenians and at least as many Turks died in civil strife when Armenians took up arms against their Ottoman rulers and sided with invading Russian troops. On Thursday, Armenian demonstrators are planning to hold another protest at the Martyrs Square in downtown Beirut.

11.25.10 Israel pulls down West Bank mosque

November 25 - Palestinians say troops have demolished mosques and several other structures in two areas in the occupied territory. Israeli troops have demolished a mosque and more than 10 other structures in two areas in the occupied West Bank, Palestinian sources have said. Most of the demolition activity took place in the village of Khirbet Yarza in the northern Jordan Valley on Thursday where local residents said troops had razed a very old mosque and its much-larger extension, which was built last year. They also said troops had levelled "more than 10 buildings used for sheep."

The Israeli  military confirmed knocking down what it described as "eight temporary structures" which had been built inside a military firing zone. "During the morning, the security forces and the civil administration destroyed eight temporary structures and the frame of another structure, which were built without the required permits inside a firing zone endangering the lives of the residents," according to a statement from COGAT, the defence ministry unit which acts as a link between the army and the Palestinians. In a statement, the Palestinian government said that their efforts to build a state are met with "state destruction by Israel". 

Khirbet Yarza is located in Area C of the West Bank, which is under full Israeli control and where all construction and planning issues come under the jurisdiction of the Israeli civil administration. At the opposite end of the West Bank, Israeli troops destroyed a building which was home to 18 people in the southern town of Yatta, the family and municipal officials told the AFP news agency. Figures from Bimkom, an Israeli NGO, show that around 95 per cent of applications for a building permit are rejected, with the civil administration only granting around 12 permits a year. According to UN figures, Israel destroyed 180 Palestinian structures in Area C in 2009, including 56 residential buildings.

11.25.10 No quick pardon for condemned Pakistani Christian

ISLAMABAD (AP) November 25 - Pakistan's president will not immediately pardon a Christian woman sentenced to die for insulting Islam but may do so later if an appeals court delays her case too long, an official said Thursday. Pope Benedict XVI has appealed for the release of Asia Bibi, a 45-year-old mother of five who has said she was wrongly accused by a group of Muslim women with a grudge against her. The case has prompted outrage from international rights groups and inflamed religious passions at home. In recent days, demonstrations have been staged both by Pakistan's Christian minority calling for her release and also by hard-line Muslims warning against any pardon for her and defending the country's blasphemy law, which critics say is misused to settle personal scores and by extremists to persecute minorities. Bibi, 45, is the first woman condemned to die under the blasphemy law. She has been jailed for 18 months and was sentenced Nov. 8 to hang. [More>>khaleejtimes.com]

11.25.10 Girl arrested for 'burning Koran and posting footage on Facebook'

November 26 - A British teenager has been arrested on suspicion of inciting religious hatred after she allegedly burnt a copy of the Koran and posted footage of the incident on Facebook. The girl, 15, has been bailed pending further inquiries. Police also arrested a 14-year-old boy on suspicion of making threats over Facebook. He too has been bailed pending further inquiries. The girl is accused of burning an English-language version of the Islamic holy book at her school in Sandwell, near Birmingham in central England. A police spokesman said: "The local neighborhood team have strong links with the school and have been working closely with key partners from the community and the local authority to resolve the matter locally. "Police will investigate and monitor any crime reported by individuals who may have been targeted." [>news.com.au]

11.25.10 Egypt detains Christian protesters

November 25 - Up to 156 Orthodox Coptic Christian protesters arrested following deadly clashes with police a day earlier. Coptic Christians in Egypt often complain of discrimination from the authorities . Egyptian authorities have arrested 156 protesters for involvement in Wednesday's bloody clashes between Christians and police over the government's refusal to grant them a permit to build a church. Those arrested have been accused of planning to kill policemen and the public prosecutor has ordered their detention for two weeks. A judicial source said on Thursday that the protesters were also accused of illegally demonstrating to prevent the authorities from doing their work. They will remain in custody for questioning for two weeks and will then either be formally charged or have their detention renewed if they are not released. The Orthodox Coptic Christian protesters who clashed with the police had been protesting against an official decision to stop them from converting a community centre under construction in the Cairo suburb of Giza. The riots erupted outside a municipal building, after authorities halted construction of the church, claiming the local Christian community had violated a building permit. One demonstrator was killed in the violence and dozens were wounded. [More>>aljazeera.net]

11.25.10 Eight militants killed in Orakzai agency

PESHAWAR, November 25 - Security Forces on Thursday killed eight militants in restive upper Orakzai agency, official said. Security forces used artillery to target the militants' positions in upper Orakzai agency. Two hideouts of terrorists [were] destroyed by artillery shelling. Separately the Security Forces and police launched [a] joint search operation in Hangu district and arrested 130 suspects. The operation was launched following [a] remote bomb attack on [a] vehicle of the forces that killed one troop and injured six others. Police also seized 10 kalashnikovs, four hand grenades and twelve rifles. [>thenews.com.pk]

11.25.10 International jihadists use Karachi as hub

KARACHI, Pakistan, November 25 - Karachi is the pulsating heart of Pakistan, but the city of 18 million is descending into a maelstrom of violence. While NATO uses the port to support its war in Afghanistan, international jihadism has established strongholds in the metropolis's slums and suburbs. The circle had to be closed with blood, in order to wipe out the disgrace of the previous day. That's the way of life here -- the way of life in Karachi. The six men were heavily armed, and yet they still managed to get through all the checkpoints and reach Club Road in the red zone, a highly secured district in the heart of the city. The head of the provincial government has his official residence here, not far from the American consulate, two luxury hotels and the police headquarters, where the office of the young inspector Omar Shahid is located. As the head of the anti-extremism unit, Shahid was at the top of the attackers' hit list.

The terrorists started shooting at the entrance to the police station. For 10 minutes, they fired at the guards, who returned their fire, until a vehicle packed with 1,000 kilograms (2,200 lbs.) of explosives rammed the gate of the police station. The massive explosion destroyed the three-story building occupied by the counterterrorism division and set off a firestorm. At least 20 people, including the suicide attackers, died on the evening of Nov. 11. Some 120 police officers, residents and passersby lay bleeding under the wreckage, as well as an unknown number of members of the extremist group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi who had already been in custody at the police station. It was a retaliatory attack committed by al-Qaeda's foot soldiers. On the previous day, a counterterrorism unit had arrested half a dozen of their fellow terrorists.

...In Karachi, politics is conducted with Kalashnikovs. The major parties maintain gangs of thugs and killers to protect their spheres of influence. Armed men dressed in suits stand in front of the heavily guarded headquarters of the Muttahida Quami Movement (MGM). The party represents the Urdu-speaking immigrants who came to Pakistan from the Indian part of British India after partition in 1947. Today they have their own courts and their own security service, representing a parallel system to that of the state's, according to the police.

The Awami National Party (ANP), which represents the Pashtuns, has also become a powerful force. The two parties accuse one another of constantly inciting violence. Since October, about 100 people have been killed here for political reasons, most of them provincial members of parliament and party officials. The death squads travel on motorcycles and shoot their victims while driving or stab them to death with knives. The militias are fighting each other for the dominance of individual apartment blocks and streets, for shares of the drug and weapons trade, for votes, for shakedowns or sometimes simply for honor. Even the liberal Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) of Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari is supported by its own trigger-happy militia in its stronghold of Lyari, a drab neighborhood of narrow streets near the harbor.

All are perpetrators and victims alike in this megacity of grotesque contradictions. Vastly wealthy families live in their villas, protected by high walls, while the barefoot children of the poorest of the poor play football in the garbage heaps of the rich. Young urbanites like the shrill TV host Ali Saleem, 31, who says he wants to "party, party, party until the end," crave a freer, Western lifestyle. Meanwhile, in large Koran schools a few blocks away, thousands of students are being indoctrinated into an extreme interpretation of the Koran
and taught to hate the American way of life. [Full story>>spiegel.de]

11.25.10 On 26/11 eve, Pakistan says there can't be viable peace without solving Kashmir

ISLAMABAD, November 25 - On the eve of the second anniversary of 26/11, Pakistan again harped on Kashmir and said there cannot be any trust between the neighbors unless there is peace in that region. Pakistan Foreign Office Spokesperson Abdul Basit said: "India knows full well that without resolving the Kashmir dispute, there can neither be mutual trust between Pakistan and India nor can there be viable peace in the region." Observing a "lack of will" on Pakistan's part to bring to justice the perpetrators of the Mumbai terror attacks judicial proceedings have been held up due to repeated hiccups India has stopped dialogue with the neighboring country. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh recently made it clear in the presence of US President Barack Obama that India would not talk unless Pakistan grounds the terror machinery that works on its soil against India. Pakistan said on Thursday India must show the "courage" to resume parleys to resolve all outstanding issues between the two countries...The spokesman reiterated Pakistan's oft-repeated allegations about violations of human rights in Jammu and Kashmir and the "suppression" of the Kashmiri people. He said Pakistan had "always maintained that all issues between Pakistan and India, including the Kashmir dispute, should be resolved through dialogue." [Full story>>indianexpress.com]

11.25.10 Brazil Marines join slum battles; 30 dead

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (Reuters) November 25 - Troops are "rescuing society from its position as a hostage to the drug trade," colonel says. Armored cars rolled through smoke-filled streets in Rio de Janeiro Thursday as police battled slum-based drug gangs for a fifth consecutive day in the city slated to host the 2016 Olympics. Live TV coverage showed heavily armed police exchanging gunfire with suspected drug traffickers in the hilly shantytowns on the city outskirts. Police targeted the Vila Cruzeiro slum in the northern part of the city, considered a stronghold of a gang thought to be behind ordering attacks. [More>>msnbc.msn.com]

11.24.10 US aircraft carrier heads for Korean waters

INCHEON, South Korea (Reuters) November 24 - A US aircraft carrier group set off for Korean waters on Wednesday, a day after North Korea rained artillery shells on a South Korean island, in a move likely to enrage Pyongyang and unsettle its ally, China. South Korea said the bodies of two civilians were found on the island after Tuesday's attack, which is likely to stir up more resentment in the country against its prickly neighbor. The nuclear-powered USS George Washington, which carries 75 warplanes and has a crew of over 6,000, left a naval base south of Tokyo and would join exercises with South Korea from Sunday to the following Wednesday, US officials in Seoul said. "This exercise is defensive in nature," US Forces Korea said in a statement. "While planned well before yesterday's unprovoked artillery attack, it demonstrates the strength of the ROK (South Korea)-US alliance and our commitment to regional stability through deterrence." [More>>thestar.com.my; See related story,

en.rian.ru, November 24, "China urges both Koreas to talk"
: China on Wednesday expressed regret over the artillery exchange between North and South Korea and called on both countries to show restraint and start talks as soon as possible. North Korea opened artillery fire on the South's Yeonpyeong Island in the Yellow Sea at 14:34 local time (05:34 GMT) on Tuesday, killing at least two South Korean marines and two civilians. Sixteen others were injured, along with three civilians. The South retaliated and warned of further strikes. The North later accused South Korea of attacking first. "China is paying close attention to the incident and feels regret over the loss of lives, injuries and damage to property," the Foreign Ministry said in statement on its website. "China strongly urges North Korea and South Korea to show restraint and composure, and engage in a dialogue as soon as possible to a avoid recurrence of such incidents," the statement read...

11.24.10 Four Taliban commanders killed

November 24 - Four Taliban commanders have been killed and an insurgent shadow governor captured in the British area of operations in Afghanistan, the military said today. The developments took place in recent weeks in the Nad-e-Ali and Nahr-e-Saraj districts of central Helmand Province, where most of the 10,000 UK troops in the country are based. Across Afghanistan 19 Taliban leaders and 252 lower-level fighters were killed or captured between November 15 and 21 alone, according to NATO figures. A total of 387 insurgent commanders were killed or captured nationwide in the three months before November 18. Major General John Lorimer, the new senior British military spokesman, said NATO and Afghan forces were "taking the fight to the enemy" and causing significant damage to militant networks. "There are isolated insurgent groups that are leaderless," he said. "There are people who are seriously worried and they don't have the equipment, they don't have their supplies, and they're beginning to wonder." [More>>independent.co.uk]

11.24.10 British forces destroy Somali pirate vessel

November 24 - A British warship on patrol off the Somali coast has destroyed a pirate "mother ship," NATO has said. The HMS Montrose Lynx helicopter spotted the craft during one of her dawn patrols. Snipers then sank it with heavy machine gun fire "in full view of the pirate camp," a NATO statement said. The boat was identified as the whaler from the MV Zouflecar, a vessel which has been acting as a pirate "mother ship" since it was seized on November 3. "Our destruction of the whaler close to a known pirate camp has sent a message to the Somali pirates, that NATO and other coalition forces are willing to take the fight to them in order to prevent them attacking merchant ships," said Montrose's commanding officer, Commander Jonathan Lett. NATO and EU Navfor, the European Union Navy Force Somalia, have intercepted several suspected pirates off Somalia and in the Gulf of Arden over the past few weeks, disrupting potential attacks. [More>>news.sky.com]

11.24.10 Crisis group calls for action on religious intolerance

JAKARTA, November 24 - The government need to immediately address growing religious intolerance, particularly in areas where Muslim hardliners and Christian evangelicals were competing on the same ground, a report says. The report, titled Indonesia: "Christianization" and Intolerance, by the Indonesia Crisis Group followed a series of clashes between religious groups in Bekasi, West Java.

"Without clear strategy, mob rule prevails. All too frequent officials capitulate to the group that makes the most noise, and the victors are then emboldened to raise the stakes at the next confrontation," Sidney Jones, Crisis Group senior advisor, said in a media release on Wednesday.   The report also recorded six points that had significantly raised tension in Muslim-Christian relations. Three of these points lay the blame on the government. The report said the government had failed to prevent intimidation of religious minorities and to promote religious tolerance as a national value.
[>thejakartapost.com; See related stories,

haaretz.com (AP) November 24, "Clash between Christians and police in Cairo leaves one dead"
: Hundreds of Christian rioters smashed cars and windows in Cairo Wednesday and clashed with police in protests against a halt in construction of a church that left one person dead, officials said. It was not immediately clear how the Christian protester was killed. Police fired tear gas and beat back rioters who threw stones at the officers and at a municipal building. Thirty people were injured in the clashes and 85 were arrested. Egyptian security officials said the riots erupted outside a municipal building in the suburb of Giza, near the famed pyramids. The protesters were angry after authorities halted construction on a church, claiming the local Christian community had violated a building permit. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to speak to the media. About 15 security vehicles surrounded the area where the church is and there was heavy security in the suburb after the clashes subsided. Coptic Christians make up about 10 percent of Egypt's population of 80 million.

They complain frequently of discrimination, though Christians generally live in peace with the Muslim majority with occasional flare-ups of tension and violence. The Coptic community says authorities in Egypt are reluctant to approve permits to build churches, which they say they need to accommodate growing numbers of worshippers. One way to evade the rules is to obtain permits for Christian service centers, which they then turn to churches. Authorities say this was the case with the church at the center of the riots on Wednesday. Human rights groups say attacks on Copts are on the rise, underscoring the government's failure to address chronic sectarian strains in a society where religious radicalism is gaining ground. The government insists Christians enjoy the same rights as Muslims. [end]

alarabiya.net (Reuters) November 24, "Support for UN vote against defaming religion wanes"
: UNITED NATIONS - Muslim states vote for resolution, Western ones oppose. A UN General Assembly committee once again voted to condemn the "vilification of religion" early Wednesday, but support narrowed for a measure that Western powers say is a threat to freedom of expression. The non-binding resolution, championed by Islamic states and opposed by Western countries, passed by only 12 votes in the General Assembly's Third Committee, which focuses on human rights, 76-64 with 42 abstentions. Opponents noted that support had fallen and opposition increased since last year, when the Third Committee vote was 81-55 with 43 abstentions.

The 192-nation General Assembly is expected to formally adopt the measure next month. The resolution was amended from versions passed in previous years in an attempt to secure support from Western nations. Instead of defamation of religion, it speaks of "vilification." It also condemned acts of violence and intimidation due to "Islamophobia, Judeophobia and Christianophobia." Last year's resolution, as in previous years, focused on Islam and did not mention Judaism and Christianity. Despite the changes, however, the United States, European Union and their allies rejected the resolution's calls for legislation banning the defamation of religion.

The text, submitted by Morocco on behalf of Muslim states, said the assembly "urges all States to provide ... adequate protection against acts of hatred, discrimination, intimidation and coercion resulting from vilification of religions, and incitement to religious hatred in general." US envoy John Sammis told the Third Committee Washington believes the amendments are inadequate. "We are disappointed to see that despite our efforts and discussions on this resolution, the text once again seems to take us farther apart, rather than helping to bridge the historical divides," he said. "The resolution still seeks to curtail and penalize speech," he said. "The changes ... unfortunately do not get to the heart of our concerns -- the text's negative implications for both freedom of religion and freedom of expression." He also said it was wrong to try to apply international human rights laws to religious beliefs, since human rights are intended to protect individuals, not governments or religions.

Islamic states say such resolutions do not aim to limit free speech but to stop publications like those of the Danish cartoons showing the Prophet Mohammed, which sparked bloody protests by Muslims around the world in 2005. Pamela Kling Takiff of Human Rights First, a US-based advocacy group, said the resolution fails to recognize the importance of freedom of expression and provides explicit support for national blasphemy and defamation laws that have been used to stifle freedom of expression. Leonard Leo, chairman of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, issued a statement welcoming the decline in support for the resolution. "Each year, more and more countries are recognizing that laws protecting religions from 'defamation' or criticism increase intolerance and human rights violations, instead of reducing these problems," Leo said. [end]

foxnews.com, November 23, "'Ground Zero Mosque' outrage" :
He wants your money. The developer of the so called "Ground Zero Mosque" is applying for federal taxpayer money to help him build the controversial and contentious project. The funds are designated to help lower Manhattan recover from the 9-11 terrorist attacks, which took place just around the corner from the proposed mosque and cultural center location. Sharif El-Gamal, the head of SOHO Properties, says the money will be used for a variety of services for Park51, as the project is called.

In a statement, El-Gamal said he is, "…committed to exploring all sources of revenue and funding to build the community center," noting that the request for a reported $5 million would help provide "social service programs....such as domestic violence prevention, Arabic and other foreign language classes, programs and services for homeless veterans, two multi-cultural arts exhibits and immigration services." El-Gamal did not specify exactly how much of the taxpayers' funds would be allocated to "build the community center."

"It's absolutely disgraceful," said an angry Congressman Peter King (R-NY) who is likely to be the new chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. "It goes entirely against the spirit of the fund," King told Fox News. "It's an affront to the memory of all those who were murdered on 9-11. There are so many worthwhile projects in lower Manhattan.  This shows a gross insensitivity to the most fundamental feelings of New Yorkers and to those murdered on 9-11 it is a slap in the face that is a terrible insult." King also notes that the reported $5 million request represents nearly one-third of all the $17 million that is now available. 265 groups have applied for the funding...
[See also Maravot News 11.23.10 article: 11.22.10 Islamic community center developer seeks federal funding]

haaretz.com, Novemer 24, "Palestinian official: Western Wall is not Jewish"
: Palestinian information minister says his 5-page report citing Muslim links to the shrine represents the official position of the PA. A senior Palestinian Authority official has issued a report saying the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem has no religious significance to Jews and is in fact, holy Muslim property. The contention could further inflame tensions over the disputed city and draw heavy rebuke from Israeli and Jewish leaders. Archaeology has shown that the Western Wall, the holiest place where Jews can pray, is a remnant of the biblical Temple compound, but the five-page Palestinian study states that the site has no link to Judaism. Al-Mutawakil Taha, deputy Palestinian information minister, said Wednesday that the document is the official position of the Palestinian Authority.

Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev described the report as incitement by denying a historic Jewish connection to Jerusalem. Israel approved Sunday a five-year plan to the tune of NIS 85 million ($23 million) to renovate near the Western Wall and the adjacent Jewish quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem. In announcing the plan, Regev said the budget would be for maintenance work only and does not cover areas that house disputed shrines holy to both Jews and Muslims. The move nevertheless drew condemnation from the Palestinian Authority, which said it was bad for the peace process. "Any Israeli activities in the occupied part of Jerusalem are illegal," PA spokesman Ghassan Khatib said. "It's not healthy as far as the peace process is concerned because peace would require the end of the occupation of East Jerusalem," he added. [end]

11.24.10 'Qaeda' bombing kills 23 Shia in Yemen rebel bastion

SANAA, Yemen (AFP) November 24 - A suicide car bomber killed 23 Shias at a religious procession in Yemen on Wednesday, an attack a tribal chief charged was a bid by al-Qaeda to fan sectarian tensions in the already restive country. Tribal leaders said the dead were all supporters or fighters of a Zaidi Shiite rebel group which has been observing an uneasy truce with the government since February. The bomber struck in Al-Jawf province, a rebel stronghold in the far north, as the faithful were preparing to mark Al-Ghadeer, the day on which Shias commemorate the anointment of Ali, one of the key figures of their faith, as successor to the Prophet Mohammed. "It was a suicide bombing and it was the work of al-Qaeda," the tribal chief said. "The suicide bomber driving a four-wheel drive vehicle blew himself up alongside the procession," he said. "Among the dead was provincial tribal chief Hussein bin Ahmed bin Hadhban and his son." Yemen is the ancestral homeland of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and has been a growing focus for the operations of his worldwide jihadist network, sparking a sharp increase in US military aid. [More>>khaleejtimes.com]


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